The Daily Illini

Churchill’s words still stand today

Back to Article
Back to Article

Churchill’s words still stand today

By Guzi He, Columnist

Winston Churchill once declared at the dinner table “socialism would make society comparable to that of the white ant.”

It was the 1940s and Britain’s Prime Minister had to cut short his conversations, most likely so he could spend more time in the War Room. As a result, the man never explained why he chose to liken the ideological descendants of Marx to some lowly insect. Nonetheless, people today can still look upon Churchill’s allegorical creature and appreciate the true face of socialism.

The white ant, otherwise known as the termite, is a species of insect best known as a household pest. Using their jagged jaws and stomachs full of enzymes, termites feast upon the wood that comprises almost every home. Mahogany in the hands of men may turn into a work of art: an engraved table, perhaps. Give that same table to termites, and it is but sawdust. In other words, what men create, termites occupy and destroy.

In a normal society, human beings engage in a process of perpetual creation. They create because others buy. Farmers till the land not just to feed themselves but also their fellow city dwellers who visit the grocery store. Henry Ford produced cars because people pay to ride in private metal boxes.

Socialists, perhaps by design or jealousy, aim to destroy creation itself. Either at gunpoint or through taxation, socialists take what others make.

Joseph Stalin violently expropriated grain from peasants, persecuting anyone who resisted and former president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, nationalized foreign-owned energy industries and squeezed their profits to fund his social programs, just to name a few.

The result: People renounce work because their creations would inevitably fall into the hands of predatory officials. Oil production halted in Venezuela, and Russian peasants fled the collective farms. A lack of incentives accounts for the idleness plaguing socialist countries.

Then comes the actual destruction. In the early 2000s, Robert Mugabe began having his supporters seize land from Zimbabwe’s white farmers without compensation. Overnight, people claiming to be veterans of the Rhodesian Bush War, who overthrew white minority rule but were not old enough to have fought in any conflict, sprung up to reap their prize.

With little experience in agriculture, the new owners left vast swaths of land vacant. Productivity dove and inflation went through the roof. Today Zimbabwe remains bankrupt, ranking 175th on the Economic Freedom Index due to rampant corruption, violence and overregulation.

One does not learn the value of wealth unless he earns it. This explains why parents only give their children allowances for doing chores. Just as pirates often squander their loot in a single night, socialists care little about effectively utilizing resources because they were never theirs to begin with. In addition, well-connected bureaucrats never suffer from their own economic mistakes.

Socialism is also a sort of bionics. If the inventor designs an aircraft according to the intricacies of a bird’s wing, the socialist designs whole communities based on that of an anthill. Is it a mere coincidence that one is called a “socialist” while ants are “eusocial” beings (creatures born attached to a hierarchy which determines their life’s role)?

The answer is negative. A state with control over the process of supply and demand inevitably decides who should provide which goods and services. How else could Cambodia’s Pol Pot have forced urban residents into farming had he not stripped them of everything?

Socialism does not trust people to do as they please and still make the right economic choices. As such, the English language has a word for it: undemocratic.

Guzi is a freshman in LAS.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment