When you think of Albert Einstein, what comes to mind? For many years I would think of a genius who helped to transform our understanding of the universe and ultimately helped humanity gain immensely. He was this, certainly, and his contribution in that respect should be praised (He certainly deserved being named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Century.”). He was also, it is largely forgotten and I came to learn only in recent years, an adamant humanitarian and socialist. Dr. Einstein opposed the use and possession of nuclear arms, war, racism, facism and capitalism. He truly was a great thinker, not only because of his scientific contribution but also because he had a compassionate and holistic worldview.
This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career.
I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child. The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.
– Albert Einstein, “Why Socialism?“
Like Einstein, I advocate an engaging socialism that embraces democracy and seeks to alter the selfish and success-driven mentality that capitalism thrives on and confines us with. I believe in socialism because it is an effective and necessary tool in actualizing compassion and reducing suffering. In an era when we are overusing the world’s resources, overpopulating the planet, fostering vile wars, allowing disease and poverty to spread, destroying environments and permitting countless other tragedies to go unchecked, we need to grasp this truth that socialists live by and that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once spoke: “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concern to the broader concerns of all humanity.”