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The Class That Failed – A socialist allegory updated for Obamanomics5 min read

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Here's an Obama spam making its rounds among us neocons.  It reminds me of A lesson in economics using beer. These allegories are always a bit oversimplified, but they are important in that they:

  • Communicate the essence of the proposed plans in a simple to understand analogy
  • Communicate the clear and simple problems of the proposed plans
  • Communicate the real concerns, fears, and anger of the opposition
  • Involve ridicule from the minority, which should be viewed as a warning that failing to heed the concerns will lead to the next step – public defiance (can you say "Town Hall meetings"?)

What such allegories lack in sophistication they easily make up for in clarity, something most political plans, including Obama's, lack.


An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student  before, but had once failed an entire class.  This is the story of that class.


The class had insisted that Obama's socialist economics worked, and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich – great equalizer and instrument of justice.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".

"All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade, so no one will fail – and no one would receive an A (an acceptable downside in order to save the failing).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B.
The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy.

As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied very little.
The second test average was a D!
No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that. 


MY EPILOGUE:  Who is missing from this tale?  Quite a few important archetypes:

  1. The Hard Worker.  Where is the student who had enough character to realize that, even if his reward was diminished by the system, it was his duty to do what was right and work hard?  Does removing reward totally demoralize everyone?  Looking at Soviet Russia, the answer is, it demoralizes enough people that the few that might have enough character to continue to work hard, be they liberal ideologues or those devoted to personal excellence, make no difference, and the system fails.
  2. The Conservative Contrarian.  Where is the person who objects to the plan from the beginning as misbegotten?  Surely not all students were raised to be daft enough to believe that economic socialism and liberalism are worth pursuing?  The steadfast Conservative is the missing hero from this story, holding the course on timeless principles that honor humanity, virtue, and God.
  3. The Neo-Conservative Contrarian.  Where is the person who wakes up midway and realizes that the plan is foolish?  You know, the 'liberal mugged by reality' turned Conservative?  Surely not all social liberals are lemmings that can't switch at least to an Independent position – there are many in the current real world situation, I am sure.  Such people are the moderating voices of the NEXT administration, which tends to be at the opposite end of the pendulum swing when the power shifts away from socialistic catastrophe.
  4. The Die Hard Socialist.  Where is the student who says "it failed because we did not implement it correctly!  There is still merit in socialism!"  They claim that they deserve an A, even if they failed to study because the problem wasn't with THEM, it was with the SYSTEM.
  5. The Suicidal Disillusioned Socialist.  Where is the poor person whose hopes are dashed by the failure of the experiment, who, having lost everything in such a social experiment, becomes depressed, a substance abuser, and suicidal?  This is the real cost of socialistic experiments – they offer hope, and when they inevitably fail, they take with them the hopes of thousands or millions, and leave them destitute.

Regarding the inevitable depressing outcomes of socialism, not only do they take people's hope away after getting it so high, it offers no hope after it comes crashing down.  It reminds me of D'Souza's question, "Where is atheism when bad things happen?" (Answer: Absent). Since it can offer no hope beyond the material world, it leaves people worse off than before, demoralized, beaten, and without answers.