Formulating an Anti-Socialism-Argument

I’m trying to formulate an argument that can be used in a political discussion or as a text on a political website. Can anyone please give me a feedback if it is formulated grammatically well (I’m nativ german). Primarily I’m interested in two things:
(1) Are there any linguistically errors?
(2) How convincing is the argument (regarding it’s content)?
I am especially concerned about the red text between the question marks.

Within a capitalistic system even those who favour a collectivistic lifestyle can live in accordance with their preferences. There is no rule that prevents people from joining up and founding their own collective within a capitalistic system. If a hundred of people would decide to put their money together, buy a piece of land, found their self-sufficient-community and establish socialistic rules – nobody would hinder them.
Capitalism enables individuals to choose even a socialistic lifestyle within the capitalistic framework – if anyone wants to. But on the other side socialism is defined as a system that dictates everyone to work for the state, there is no opportunity to produce and sell products on one’s own, no opportunity to trade goods, provide service for money or to start up your own business – people just have one option: they are obliged to work for the state and live along socialistic rules.
So capitalism ?allows/provides? a socialistic lifestyle ?within it’s framework?(as well as enjoying all the possibilities free market is offering) but socialism does not ?provide/allow? a capitalistic lifestyle [within]. If capitalism provides every lifestyle an individual ever can want - why should anybody promote socialism anyway?

How is English this? (How nativ does it sound?)

Your argument sounds OK (English wise), but you’ve got a typo/error in your preceding questions. No “ally” on linguistic.

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thanks for the feedback!

With respect to the argument, I think it depends on what you’re going for. If it’s just preaching to the choir or trying to persuade people who might be relatively uninformed, then it’s fine as far as that goes. But it’s not a credible argument at a philosophical level in my opinion.

The first problem is you’re defining the word “socialism,” which is a very expansive word covering a wide range of traditions, under a very controversial definition, viz., “state socialism.” Most socialists at this point wouldn’t consider themselves “state socialists” who want “everyone to work for the state.” For example, consider Chomsky who writes that “socialism” for him is the idea that “the people who work in a factory ought to own it.” Many “socialists” such as Chomsky would agree with you about the horrors of state socialism. This makes your argument a strawman right off the bat.

> So capitalism ?allows/provides? a socialistic lifestyle ?within it’s framework?(as well as enjoying all the possibilities free market is offering) but socialism does not ?provide/allow? a capitalistic lifestyle [within]. If capitalism provides every lifestyle an individual ever can want - why should anybody promote socialism anyway?

Second, and again, this depends on your audience and goals, but a socialist is going to respond that the inability of individuals to privately own means of production which are then used to hire “wage slaves” is a feature of socialism, not a bug. One can imagine a socialist arguing that “of course socialism won’t allow capitalists to seize means of production. That’s because it’s immoral for them to do so. We’re not going to allow children to be sold into slavery either. What’s your point?” In this sense, your argument begs the question against socialists on the moral question with respect to capitalism.

Capitalism exists organically in all of us, a system may be applied such as rules and regulations, thus creating a capitalist system. Capitalists neither allows or provides socialism. Socialism is a contrived system and it was the original economic system in America…study Jamestown in Va and the social experiment that was tried and failed to the point it almost wiped our the settlement…to get you started: The Pilgrims’ Failed Experiment With Socialism Should Teach America A Lesson The Pilgrims

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Think about this: If a large group of people would reach an agreement that “chomsky-socialism” were a good idea, they could realize it within Capitalism! So why should anybody need socialism, if Capitalism allows EVERY lifestyle within itself?

Capitalism is the system - and only system - that allows people to choose freely how they want to live (assumed a large group of people wants to live so).

There is NOTHING you can’t experience within Capitalism, if you could convince a group of people to live that life-style. And if your idea were good you could convince people - if not, the idea can’t be good. How would you refute this?

Like I said, I think it’s a fair point to someone already convinced that capitalism is a morally acceptable system. But the argument just talks past a socialist who believes that capitalism is immoral. The socialist would say “why should anyone have the right to ‘freely’ engage in unjust activities such as gaining control over means of production and then exploiting the less fortunate with wage slavery?” Your argument needs to begin with an argument for why capitalist relationships are fair, moral, and just (for this, I suggest Jason Brennan’s Why Not Capitalism?). Then it’s no longer begging the question against the socialist.

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Like I said: If Capitalism allows every lifestyle - even socialism - within itself, why could anybody think Capitalism is immoral??

But the most people do not. I ask you why?

Then this socialist must be an ignoramus! Because you can’t think that a system, that let you decide freely to live every (alternativ) lifestyle you want to, is immoral.

If he thinks that “control over means of production” is immoral, why doesn’t he join to a socialistic community? If there is no community, why doesn’t he establish one? If he does not find enough people to start a collective, why would you think that this system could be a good idea???

Socialists have traditionally had two main strands of argument against capitalism. First, that capitalism is inefficient, and second, that it’s immoral. The inefficiency argument isn’t heard so often anymore, as the 20th century was a very bad century for socialists, and all the data seems to be on the side of capitalism. Socialists therefore seem to focus a lot more on the moral arguments these days.

The problem with your argument, as I’ve said, is that it implicitly assumes that capitalism is a moral system with moral human relationships. Again, as I said, this is perfectly fine if your argument is directed at people who already believe in capitalism (but then, why bother with the argument?) or at least consider capitalism and capitalist relationships morally acceptable. But to the socialist, your argument begs the question. Telling a socialist to just “live and let live” isn’t going to work, anymore than if someone were to say to you to “live and let live” with something like slavery or child molesting. Here is what your argument sounds like to a socialist (in a moral sense): “if you don’t like child molesting, just go live in a community where people don’t molest children, what’s the big deal?” Socialists believe capitalism is fundamentally immoral. They don’t want to live in a society where capitalism is allowed.

I think moral is the last thing a socialist can rely on.

Do you actually read what I’m writing? [Or is it because of my bad English?]

What in this sentence is it, that you can’t understand:
-> You can decide to live a socialistic life within capitalism, if a group of people wants to esablish such a community. E.g. the Amish are proofing this (although they are no socialists - thank God).

You can decide to live a socialistic life within capitalism, if a group of people wants to esablish such a community.
But why aren’t there any collectives within the U.S.?
Because nobody wants to live like that!

The big deal is that you can’t control, if there is child molesting. If you could all would be good.

As I said before:
If he thinks that control over means of production is immoral, why doesn’t he join to a socialistic community? If there is no community, why doesn’t he establish one? If he does not find enough people to start a collective, why would he think that his system could be a good idea?

And why aren’t you answering inconvenient questions?


Just so we’re clear, I agree with you.

You started a thread requesting feedback on your argument and help in improving it. That’s what I’m trying to do. I think that your argument commits the fallacy of begging the question, for reasons I’ve already given. As I’ve said, I think this is a relatively simple fix. Just include at the start an argument for why capitalism and capitalist relationships are fair and moral.

I know my tone sometimes is a bit aggressive – that’s what always is happening when I’m discussing with liberals.

And yes, my problem-fix is a little bit simple. I know that there is a difference to live in a community consisting of, let’s say, two hundred people vs. living in a socialistic governed state. But the principle is the same.
If there really were al lot of people that are thinking socialism were a good idea, they could act it out within a community like, let’s say, the Amish-Community (in a socialistic form). And if that community would provide a good or an at least approximately acceptable lifestyle, this community could grow and reach higher complexity.

All this is possible within capitalism - so no reason to claim that capitalism were immoral. And as I see it, you do not want to recognize this. That’s what made me angry.


We’re not communicating very well here. I don’t think capitalism is immoral. I’m a “classical liberal,” and what that means to me is that I support free trade and free markets as both morally necessary and the best solution to problems of inequality.

I’m just trying to help you fix what I see as a small problem with your argument.

Even if you’re correct and it really is possible to build up a socialist counter-society within a capitalism dominant federal government (and I’m not sure that you are correct in this, it’s a complicated question), this would in no way convince a socialist that capitalism is morally acceptable. Socialists believe that capitalist relationships are exploitative and similar to slavery. To be clear, as you seem confused on this point: I’m not personally arguing that capitalist relationships are immoral. I’m telling you what I suspect a socialist is going to say with respect to your argument, and I’m telling you what you can do to preemptively defuse this potential objection to your argument.

Ah – okay. Sorry.

I do not want to endorse this, but there have been such communities (Jonestown). And theoretically – I would not endorse that too – the Amish could make an agreement to establish socialistic rules, if they wanted.

Assumed there were a large socialistic community within a capitalistic state (as large as the Amish-Community) and everyone could participate or not – what implicates that everyone who remains outside the community (I would do that) is doing this by his one’s choice: Would and could they still claim that this is immoral?
I mean: Could someone claim that something (capitalist relationships) are immoral when they are chosen by people freely - especially when there is an alternative?

Is the paragraph above sufficient to prevent? Or what else would you say ?

Couple thoughts…

Voluntary arrangements within a capitalist society are not socialism, at least not in my mind. Sure some folks might call their voluntary arrangements socialism, but they’re not inflicting them on everyone else. They can call it socialism if they like. It just doesn’t matter very much, whether it’s the Amish or a bunch of communists (the stateless kind).

The socialism that matters is the kind that must be imposed involuntarily on folks who don’t want it. That kind of socialism literally cannot exist inside a capitalist economy. If imposed, that economy would no longer be capitalist.

Yes, it’s just about the definition of words.

State-socialism means that people can’t own means of production and it’s forbidden to do your own business. That’s true. And you can’t do anything against this forbiddance. That’s true again. This implicates: You can’t experience free-market-experieces within socialism.

But within capitalism you could decide freely to live in a collective in which socialistic rules are established. E.g.: You could buy a farm and invent 10 people to work together with you – and all incomes would be shared equally. In this scenario people de facto would experience that what should be experienced within state-socialism. I don’t insist to call this “socialism” because it bases on a free decision - but at least it’s a “socialistic-lifestyle”

My argument should be:

  • You can’t experience a capitalistic-lifestyle within socialism.
  • But you can experience a socialistic-lifestyle within capitalism. (emphasis on lifestyle)

-> Therefore capitalism is superior, because it enables both lifestyles. It enables everything you can want.
-> And socialism isn’t necessary at all because socialistic-lifestyle is already enabled within capitalism.
-> Indeed socialism is immoral because it forces people – as you said correctly – to live a socialistic-lifestyle and forbids the other.

Is this comprehensible?

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I think the socialist lifestyle experience in a voluntary community inside a capitalist society is radically different from an involuntary socialist society based on public ownership over the means of production. I don’t think you can over-estimate the importance of that distinction. At all times in a voluntary arrangement, you can walk away from it freely. The incentives and disincentives that guide our individual decision-making processes are going to be radically different under those conditions. Capitalism does not permit the existence of socialism.

I have to quibble about definitions of socialism. J.'s right. It’s controversial, but it shouldn’t be. In my economics education, we always viewed it as the public ownership of the means of production. If that “state” socialism is not Chomksy-socialism, well I don’t know what Chomsky-socialism is, and I don’t know why it would be called “socialism” at all. Perhaps you can enlighten me, J.

As far as I’m concerned, if it’s compatible with a capitalist economy, then it’s capitalism (which is also controversial and I view as laissez faire free market economics). Capitalism promotes real economic diversity with options available for any all preferences as suppliers meet the wildly different demands of buyers. In education, that might mean a school with cerebral academic settings around fountains and marble columns or a working lab with hands-on participation by every class member or various combinations of both depending on the learning styles of the students. It may mean pooling resources in a small collectivist or cooperative group. The United States has a variety of cooperatives or co-ops in different industries already, but they are near capitalist (our nation isn’t really capitalist) and must function in context of the economic system around them. The results will be radically different from a socialist economy.


I think you’re basically right. Chomsky’s version is a form of “stateless” socialism called anarcho-syndicalism, but it’s hard to say what this would look like because Chomsky (and a lot of others like him) are intentionally vague on what it would entail beyond just “means of production owned by workers directly, and not through a state.” This sort of socialist would oppose “public” ownership of the means of production, instead insisting that workers in a specific factory or business should all have ownership in that specific factory or business.

With that out of the way, I think RWNJ has a fair point that “socialism” at some point has to involve a moralized use of force to prevent people from becoming capitalists. Workers owning a factory together might be an idea that’s present within socialism, but it’s also an idea that’s present within capitalism. There’s nothing saying that only socialists have ownership over the idea of workers owning a factory together collectively.

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Two large retail corporations in my area are employee-owned. I’m not sure how they work, if some people own more than others because they do have managers and presidents and vice presidents and grunts and all that, with different wages. In a more free-market economy, nothing would prevent them from owning their “factory.” Under my definition of socialism, the workers themselves would not own their own factory in a socialist state. They would “own” it and the means of production throughout the state along with their fellow citizens as managed by their political class. Private ownership of a factory by a group of workers will lead to the inequities I think socialism is supposed to address.

Perhaps these anarcho-syndicalist types should consider capitalism as the potential answer to their moral objections. Maybe they should really look at how our “state capitalism” works and question whether that in its pursuit of social and economic justice has led to the outcomes they consider immoral.

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