Socialism Is a Disease



I understand that in the United States there are still those who think that the machinery of government can be used as a substitute for personal responsibility on the part of the gov­erned. This idea, as we know only too well in Britain, is the open road to disaster. It changes persons with responsibilities into robots with rights.

And while you fortunate Americans will last a little longer than the rest of us, your doom is also assured if you, like us, rely upon politics and collective action to relieve you of the normal and natural responsibilities of healthy men. For social­ism is not a system; it is a disease. The "something for nothing" mentality is, in fact, an economic cancer.

In England we have suffered nearly five years of effective socialist government. But that is only the end of the story; we are merely completing 50 years of a sloppy sentimentalism in public affairs of which the present socialism is merely the logical outcome. In the process we have murdered old virtues with new deals. Well-meaning, shallow-thinking, kindly people, aware of the scriptural injunction that "the greatest of these is charity," have failed to notice the distinction between the real article and the giving away of other people’s money. So, having lost our faith, we come to the end of the story; we have accepted false hopes and practiced a charity which is nothing of the kind.

From Rights for Robots, a speech delivered in 1950 by SIR ERNEST BENN Single copies on request from the Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, N. Y.


November 1959

comments powered by Disqus


* indicates required
Sign me up for...


July/August 2014

The United States' corporate tax burden is the highest in the world, but innovators will always find a way to duck away from Uncle Sam's reach. Doug Bandow explains how those with the means are renouncing their citizenship in increasing numbers, while J. Dayne Girard describes the innovative use of freeports to shield wealth from the myriad taxes and duties imposed on it as it moves around the world. Of course the politicians brand all of these people unpatriotic, hoping you won't think too hard about the difference between the usual crony-capitalist suspects and the global creative elite that have done so much to improve our lives. In a special tech section, Joseph Diedrich, Thomas Bogle, and Matthew McCaffrey look at various ways these innovators add value to our lives--even in ways they probably never expected.
Download Free PDF