The Socialist Subconscious
What the budding socialist says explicitly: “I am willing to pay more taxes in order to help the underprivileged.”
Implied meaning (Level 1, moral belief): “Everyone should be willing to pay more taxes in order to help the underprivileged.”
Implied meaning (Level 2, moral imperative): “Everyone must pay more taxes in order to help the underprivileged.”
Implied meaning (Level 3, political activism): “The state should force everyone to pay more taxes in order to help the underprivileged.”
Implied meaning (Level 4, political authoritarianism): “The state has the moral authority to commandeer everyone’s wealth, and indeed to assume control of the entire economy, in order to achieve the goals it deems essential.”
The leap from the explicit statement to the Level 1 implication indicates a lack of pride or moral character. Needing to universalize one’s belief is a sign of weak conviction, self-doubt. Why does your preference require the validation of universal agreement?
The leap from Level 1 to Level 2 demonstrates a mind that has detached its emotional judgments from rational consideration. That “must” expresses the agent’s desire to circumvent argument or dissent. This is the righteous anger phase.
The leap from Level 2 to Level 3 reveals a soul in a state of severely arrested development. It is not enough to believe that everyone else must do as he wishes to do. Everyone must be compelled to do so, in order to justify his will. The socialist activist is the child stamping his feet, wailing and fuming: “I want it!”
The leap from Level 3 to Level 4 announces the soul completely unhinged from normal human feelings of mutual respect or goodwill. “Live and let live,” and “To each his own” have vanished from his view of life. Control over others has become the end in itself, the ultimate “that for the sake of which” of his life.
A close observation of the stages of this descent into the psyche of the earnest socialist, however, unmasks his true motivation. The sincere socialist is an enslaved individual whose dreams of control are essentially an extraordinary case of what is sometimes called “Stockholm syndrome,” i.e., the oppressed victim identifying with his oppressor. The dream, specifically, is to salvage a distorted image of oneself as potent and effective in life, by aligning oneself with the tyrant who is in truth forcing one into abject submission.
It is no surprise, then, that socialism, viewed as the quasi-benign public policy face of totalitarian thuggery, finds its most useful and plentiful adherents among the very young, the very ignorant, and the very frightened — those in whose souls we are likely to find both the least real potency and the most spiritual insecurity about feeling impotent.