This story has been circulating around the internet for some time (just use a search engine to look up “Socialist Classroom Experiment” however I personally saw the story first here). Some things to ponder while reading – (1) most likely this never happened but a parable is a parable; so what is the message?, (2) was the agreement unanimous or majority overruled the dissenters? and (3) if this really happened how many people do you think dropped the class and ‘defected’ to another?
“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. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. The Class agreed!
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 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.”
Now some comments and issues I had with the story:
1. If the agreement was not unanimous but just a simple majority decision then that is how it happened in real life Russia, Cuba, China, and so forth. Thus the morality and virtue of hard work would have been overruled by those who did not adhere to that common American virtue. This is how I view the story.
2. There was still someone in charge. Obviously this was not a “All people are equal, but some are more equal than others”, but it could have been stopped. Thus the ending where people fail the whole class is a bit heartless of the professor.
3. I can safely assume that after the policy was put into place all the study groups and sessions would have ended. Just as in a real Socialist take-over all of the non-profits would stop helping people – who can compete with the Government who can change policies at a whim.
4.Afterward great parties would have been thrown (even up to the night before the test) as why study if you can rely on other people to do everything. Remove the reason for the effort and the effort is removed – it just takes some people longer to slide down into decadence.
5. The whole capitalism, Marxism, socialism, communism, debate all boils down to the common phrase “He does does not work, shall not eat”. The Capitalist embraces this, the Marxist despises this, the Socialist dissolves this, and the Communist destroys this. Every time this comes up all the bad of Capitalism comes up (and yes, there are horrible things that happen here – just read the ‘Jungle‘ by Upton Sinclair – but the horrible things are not limited by the economic system in place). The horrible things are done by horrible people: and we are all horrible people. It’s called sin.
6. In a market driven, competitive society there are more freedoms than in a Government driven society. For example there was a debate round I judged that turned into a Capitalism verses Marxism debate from a mass media value resolution – and one thing that both the teams did not realize was that on one side there is an oligarchy of media but it was market driven (Capitalism) whereas the other side only one media outlet is permitted and the people have no say – mere propaganda (Marxism).
7. The whole issue hinges on jealousy of those who do well. By all means there are human rights! These rights are abstract – rights like freedom of religion (which is opposed by Marx), freedom of speech (opposed by Communism), freedom of assembly, and so forth. Human rights are just that – rights that make us fully human. Take away someone’s ability to worship their God, or their ability to protest and they become less than human – they become slaves. Human rights are not things like Health care, nor are they things like owning a house, or a ‘chicken in every pot’. You can still be human without food, you can still be human without being healthy, you can be human if you don’t make tons of money, you can be human if you don’t have the top grades, you cannot be human if you are denied the ability to shape your own destiny or face your own consequences. Those who claim that those concrete and not abstract rights are human rights to be self-evident need to check their philosophy.
8. College students: stop watching Michal Moore movies or if you do challenge his assumptions! His movies do not show both sides of the issue and force you into a state of change for change sake. Plus Moore is the film equivalent of Dan Brown – both fictional stories claim to be based on truth, but get all the facts wrong or misrepresented.
9. Remember there is no such thing as ‘a free ride’ – someone always has to pay for it. In a Capitalist society the free things are a loss to the person that provided them (what a generous person!), in a Marxist, Socialist, or Communist society the free things are a loss to everyone because all the free products come from high taxes (what a greedy Government!).
10. Finally, remember that ideas have consequences – luckily the students in this parable only failed a class. Be warned however that a class can be repeated, but a State does not have that luxury.