Marxism. Socialism. Communism. Progressivism. They are different names and versions of the same sick joke played on mankind for eons. Each of these systems of thought and government, no matter how nobly they might be portrayed or generous they appear, all exist to let the rich, connected, and powerful thrive at the expense of the serfs.

Each of these systems share a defining attribute: they require enforcement by the state at the point of a sword or down barrel of a gun. Every single nuance of life must be dictated and controlled. There can be no unapproved actions, or even thoughts.

Even when the systems are working perfectly, they not only fail to deliver on their packaged assurances of happiness and equality, but they end up producing sorrow, misery, and despair for all but the exclusive class of self-appointed masters. Consider how the rulers of China, Venezuela, the old Soviet Union, and so many others lived compared to the huddled masses. 

When confronted with the misery found in Marxist countries, the only explanation the proponents can muster is that their ideas simply haven’t been done properly by the “right” people. Just give them one more shot, they declare.

The sad truth is this: it is not that these systems haven’t been tried well enough, it is that they have been tried repeatedly. By their very nature, they are designed to be destructive to the human soul. They arise not from a sincere belief in human dignity and individual liberty, but are rather the sick product of elitist nihilism.

Karl Marx wrote in 1844, “The first requisite of the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.” Marx was a secular humanist, who wanted to replace the God of scripture with the promise of a benevolent state. What he really wanted, of course, was to set up himself and his followers as the unquestionable master lording intellectually over the masses.

For those who believe Marxism or socialism can somehow be compatible with scripture, consider this one point. Marx’s system demanded the abolition of all private ownership. It rested on the economic premise that no one should own anything.

Scripture not only presumes private ownership of goods and property, but in the Ten Commandments given to the people of God, we are told not to steal. In parable after parable in the New Testament, Jesus extols hard work, investment, and private ownership. Yes, we are commanded as believers to help those in need, to share what we have – but to do so voluntarily from joyful hearts, not compulsion by the state.

The modern “-isms” arising from Marx are rooted in the state stealing all property, and distributing goods based on the intellectual whims of those in charge. 

It’s not that the “good ideas” of Marx and his followers have been poorly executed, it is that their ideas are wholly incompatible with human joy at the most fundamental moral level.

Deep in their hearts, the sincere adherents of the “-isms” know they are wrong. It is why they are such a joyless lot. They promote what they know is a lie.

It is why they cannot handle mockery. They hate being questioned, and are enraged when their beliefs are exposed to ridicule; they are thin-skinned and emotionally weak. Their value system is built on a foundation of intellectual, emotional, and personal insecurity. They are schoolyard bullies, who relentlessly torment all who refuse to bow down and comply.

It is time to stop coddling them, to stop treating their ideas as even slightly meritorious. Nearly two centuries of practical application, and a millennia of extended experience, have proven them completely wrong. 

Socialists, progressives, communists, and Marxists are the flat-earthers of political and economic thought. Some of them are con artists, many are stooges, but all of them are victims to their own bad ideas. They are not intellectuals sincerely seeking truth; they are the fall-guys in a long, deadly, sick joke. 

We must continue to fight these pernicious beliefs, expose the greed, and ridicule the outlandish claims. And, yes, even to point and laugh at them.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."