First appearing in 1851, this phrase made famous by Karl Marx, but not originating from him, is often used as shorthand to describe Socialism. But in reality that is not how Socialism has worked. Society instead would change the ruling class, sometimes quickly other times slowly. The working class who this was all supposed to be about promoting, remained. But there has been one human institution that has always believed in this idea. The family.
The family looks after its members, the young, the sick and the old. We know that even in the stone age cripples were looked after for years, because we can see the condition of their bones. We know if a bone has been injured and if it repaired itself. The thing that is most needed is time, which means that this person who was effectively useless wasn’t cast aside. They were fed and protected, maybe they worked at some other task we don’t know. What we do know is that they were cared for.
All of us can point to examples where family have let people down. One reason that we can all do that is because we think it’s wrong. Like a soldier running away from the battle we might be able to sympathize but we still think that it is wrong. Because we know that family should look after each other. That each member needs to be looked after, even when someone has gone bad we still feel guilty for not looking after them. Even when they are beyond help.
Most of the time family works as it is supposed to, although again most of the time we are not put to the test. We do look after each other, we give aid and comfort, because we know that it is the right thing to do. Some people try to upscale the family, to pretend that all of society can be treated as if it is one big family. Which doesn’t work, because we cannot treat everyone as if they are family. That destroys our own family, it makes them less important than strangers.
Communist say that communism is man’s natural state, that in primitive societies no one owns property and the community looks after all of its members. Which is true, but it misses a vital point and that is that everyone in that community is related, they are all family. Family looks after family, that is man’s natural state.
It is also why socialism cannot be upscaled. A family must be small enough for everyone to know and care about each other. In fact they need more than that they need to be related by blood. Biology matters. Today that needs to be said.
From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs, works perfectly within the family. For anything larger it is simply a recipe for bleeding those with ability dry. Sooner or later they get sick of being used for no benefit and they stop having as much ‘ability’.
Family is the only socialist institution and it always will be.