History shows us that socialism usually leads to body counts. Whenever I bring this up around those advocating socialism they’re usually quick to saying, “Yeah but how many people has capitalism killed?” While they believe this is a smart response in which their opponent can only answer with an absurdly high number the truth of the matter is capitalism hasn’t actually killed anybody.
An advocate of socialism is always quick to laugh at my answer and bring up all those die because they’re unable to afford medical care, housing, food, etc. The problem with their rebuttal lies in the fact inaction does not kill somebody. Capitalism is a form of voluntary trade where people in a free market are able to take the product of their labor and trade it to others for the product of their labor. If you don’t like the terms of a trade you can walk away and no harm will come to you. Unfortunately there will be those who can’t afford basic needs but they do have other options including charity and mutual aid societies. Still some people will inevitably die from exposure, disease, or hunger under capitalism as with any economic system.
Socialism is a different beast altogether as the product of your labor is not yours to keep. In order to provide for everybody a central state confiscates the product of peoples’ labor so it can be equally distributed. This is where the real difference between socialism and capitalism comes into play; under socialism if you refuse to turn over the product of your labor to the state they will use for to take it for “the greater good.” Thus socialism is not a voluntary economic system but one based on the act of theft. Another aspect of socialism that is necessary for this topic is the idea of a new “socialist man.” Proponents of socialism believe people must be educated in order for a socialism utopia to form and this education is often the source of violence in socialist countries. Those who refuse to cooperate and play but the state’s rules are usually shipped off to reeducation or labor camps (often both camps being the same thing in practice). On the other hand capitalism works with our current society without the need to education the populace.
Capitalism vs. socialism is really a debate between voluntary and forced society. Under capitalism all transactions are voluntary whereas transactions under socialism are performed through coercion. If you die because somebody failed to provide you with something we don’t claim the would-be provider killed you. A man with a carry permit who refused to intervene in a violent crime is not said to have murdered the victim. When a farmer fails to provide food to a starving man we don’t charge the farmer with murder. Thus the people socialists claim are killed by capitalism can not be said to have been killed by capitalism. Those people died because they were no provided with a need and that doesn’t fit the description of being killed.
The victims of socialism however are usually those who dissented against the state or tried to maintain the product of their labor by concealing it from the state’s agents. Many Ukrainian farmers were labeled enemies of the state and hauled away because they attempted to conceal grain for their sustenance. Those farmers were murdered by the state because they refused to turn over what was rightfully theirs; in other words the state played the part of the mugger in a robbery. When somebody kills another while performing an act of theft we call it murder. Therefore by definition socialism is said to kill people as the redistribution of resources necessitates theft which necessitates violence.
The people advocates of socialism claim are killed by capitalism die due to the lack of action whereas those killed by socialism are killed by purposeful action.