Socialism and Leadership (Part 2)

By | March 13, 2014

[March 13, 2014]  In Part 1 of this two-part series, I pointed out how Socialism “contains a number of beautifully crafted ideas that are appealing to just about anyone … but ultimately destructive in practice.”  In Part 2, we discuss the impact of Socialist ideology on individuals and some of their characteristics that may influence them and explain some of their behavior.  Leaders should be mindful of the affects of Socialist ideas in the workplace. 

Socialism-TimeMagSocialist economic systems are inefficient models.  The most successful Socialist nations are typically resource rich and do not have fiscally responsible social institutions.  There are many reasons for this; desire to ensure “equal” treatment of all citizens (e.g., education, health care, and jobs for everyone), elevation of the state over the individual (e.g., increased government), etc.  This ideology translates into the idea that the state owes the individual everything – something we often call “entitlements.”  We have all seen this in the worker who expects the government (or workplace or union) to provide them with all their “rights” (wants and desires). 

Another noted characteristic of Socialism is that the hated group (or circumstances) must change over time.  Socialists also believe they must constantly be on the lookout for “moral wrongs” and that they have the personal obligation to help correct.  Since Socialism has no stable value system, these targeted groups (or circumstances) will evolve.  Thus, the individual who adopts the Socialist ideology is prone to fads and fashionable causes.  Being part of “the in-group” is important and some scholars say that they are prone to mob behavior. 

Leaders who espouse Socialism are adamant and accept as true that their system is better than all others.  People who believe in the Socialist ideology consider themselves morally superior to non-believers.  Expression of this moral purity is paramount and is important to justify themselves as more advanced intellectually.  Thus, Socialists are smarter and better than everyone.  That is why the form of government that adopts the Socialist ideology is not relevant as long as it is capable of ensuring all citizens harmoniously support the state.  Individuals who believe in this ideology are often enamored with dictatorial governments because those systems get things done.  The cost in dollars and in lost freedom is not relevant.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” – Margaret Thatcher

Senior leadership in Socialist governments is easier than in Democratic ones.  There is no need for debates of ideas among the public because the solutions are with the intelligentsia1.  Being a Socialist follower is easier and more comfortable.  It comes with “certainty” that you are righteous.  Even if you are wrong in your methods and assessments to attain a moral position, as long as your intent or motivation was pure, your behavior is acceptable.

Socialism remains to this day a very attractive and appealing idea that fulfills human desires.  It is seductive because the individual can feel morally and intellectually superior and thoroughly convinced of their righteousness.  The problem is that they are willing to impose their beliefs on everyone else. 

When persuasion to accept the Socialist solutions does not work, then methods that are more forceful will be used.

 

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[1]  See Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligentsia

 

 

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

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