We keep hearing how wonderful socialism would be. America would be a better place if we would stop being so stubborn, mean, and greedy and allow the most powerful government on the planet to just take care of us. Bernie Sanders almost became the Democratic candidate by advocating some of this far-left magic. Consequently, I think I will create a class based on one of the golden rules of classical socialism.
My class will exhibit “compassion.” Supposedly, conservatives like myself have no “compassion,” but I will demonstrate otherwise. “Compassion” will be the prime directive of this new class.
Being a “compassionate” fellow, Karl Marx explained how this can be done. He said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Actually, he may have stolen the idea from a Frenchman by the name of Morelly, who had previously called for the elimination of all private property. Morelly stated that everything should belong to anyone. If a person needed anything, they would go to a central store and simply take what they needed. Morelly proposed that, “…nothing will be sold or exchanged between citizens.” One simply, “…will go to the public square, which is where these items will have been brought by the man who cultivate them, and take what he needs…"
Currently, I have some very nice students who will occasionally fail my class. It is obviously not their fault. They are the victims of oppression and capitalistic greed. So I will utilize the god-like Marx and create a student heaven modeled around the eternal socialist dream, in which students can go to the central store and get everything they would need for my class. Textbooks, pencils, paper… even laptops and smart phones will be available to everyone. Who will supply these items? I don’t know, but I’m not worried about it. Someone will surely step up and supply everything needed.
Students do need grades. Some bad students need better grades. Other students have grades that are unfairly high. In traditional classes, these good students will not pay their “fair share” of grades to students less fortunate than them. My class will end this discriminatory practice.
Grades in the class will be distributed as Marx has suggested… from each according to his ability and to each according to his need.
I could give everyone an A, but that would just destroy the value of an A for everyone. For grades to be worth anything, someone would have to work for them. It is all like money. If the government just gave everyone the minimum wage, the minimum wage would buy nothing, unless someone did enough work to create the minimum wage money in the first place. The world has this nasty little habit of demanding that anything with value must be obtained with an equal amount of valued assets. Liberals go into petulant funks when this reality is mentioned, but when you are falling off a roof, you can’t stop simply because you decide not to fall.
So there is only a certain amount of good grades produced by my class. The students who worked hard, studied for hours and got good grades will be required to lay all those grades into a common pile.
I, as the most power member of my new socialist collective, will then distribute the grades based on my perception of need, always setting aside a few grades to throw onto the altar of diversity.
Some students may protest, but they will be silenced when their “greed” becomes obvious to them, and they become appropriately socialized.
I will need a larger classroom to accommodate all the students who will want into my course. Since most good students will avoid the class, I will also ask if I can force a few of them into the class.
No problem. What is a little force between comrades?
Dennis Clayson is a business professor at the University of Northern Iowa. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the University of Northern Iowa.