Einstein Was Wrong When It Came To Socialism
Socialism caused the famed physicist to reject all the foundations of science
When it came to politics, Einstein was no Einstein.
Albert Einstein was one of the smartest scientists ever. But when it came time for him to convince others of his socialist views, he essentially rejected all of the foundations of science.
Science is founded on facts, models and experiments. Facts are basic observations about reality anybody can confirm. Models are the stories that we tell to explain the world in a useful way. Logic lets us develop the new predictions of our models, and experiments let us test them.
A few years before his death, in the inaugural article for an American socialist magazine, Einstein argued that the facts we have observed about economics have emerged from at least somewhat capitalistic systems and therefore must all be discarded in discussions of how to overcome such predatory systems.
He also claimed that models for economics are difficult because observed economic phenomena are often affected by many factors which are very hard to evaluate separately. Furthermore, the models of economics we have learned have been foisted on us by immoral conquering peoples who have controlled our education; therefore we must dispose of all models that are not socialistic.
Even logic fell by the wayside after socialism invaded Einstein's soul. Science cannot create ends, he explained. Science, at most, can supply the means. So who can supply the ends? The ends themselves are conceived by personalities with lofty ethical ideals. Einstein left unstated who these lofty personalities are who ought to control our lives.
Einstein abandoned all of the foundations of knowledge and truth. He wrote, quite plainly, We should be on our guard not to overestimate science and scientific methods when it is a question of human problems.
Man can find meaning in life, he asserted, only through devoting himself to society.
He was totally and utterly wrong. You and I have found meaning in our lives without devoting ourselves to society. It's not a model, because it doesn't explain the world. It's certainly not logical. In fact it's self-contradictory. To devote to a cause means to willingly give yourself over to it. But if every individual gives himself over to a society, then there is no longer any will left to oversee and manage the devotion. And it would fail by experiment. You and I are counterexamples.
Einstein envisioned a centrally planned economy, a single world government, with all means of production publicly owned, with work distributed equally among all those who are able, with a guaranteed livelihood to every person on Earth, and with an educational system oriented towards social goals.
What would Einstein do with those who were able to work but didn't want to? Or those who wanted to exchange some of their guaranteed livelihood today for a chance at great wealth tomorrow (and were willing to risk poverty for it)? Or those daydreamers who wanted to challenge accepted principles? Would he simply educate all the ambition out of them?
Socialism is a worm, a worm that even Einstein couldn't shake. If the greatest physicist of the twentieth century can succumb to the socialist infestation, then anybody can. Perhaps our only defense is to maintain an even stricter adherence to the search for truth than he did. When it came to politics, Einstein was no Einstein.
This originally appeared in the Fairfield Weekly.
October 7, 2010
Dr. Phil Maymin [send him mail] is an Assistant Professor of Finance and Risk Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He is the author of Free Your Inner Yankee and Yankee Wake Up.
Copyright © 2010 Phil Maymin