Published on July 25, 2022
If you put a crab in a bucket, it will climb out. However, if you put several crabs in a bucket, they will all stay inside the bucket. If the crab decides to get out of the bucket, its friends will drag it back inside.
It is believed that the reasoning of crabs, which prevents others from breaking out of the bucket, can be described as “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” Even if it turns them into crab soup, they will stay in the bucket. Hence the expression “crab mentality”.
Like crabs, anti-capitalists seek to keep society in the bucket, even if it leads to catastrophic consequences. We see this through large-scale socialist projects like the Soviet Union or Maoist China, which were determined to punish the rich, even if it meant the poor had to suffer along with them. In addition, personal achievement and profit are punished under socialist regimes because they contradict the collectivism and solidarity of workers. Never mind that their five-year plans lead to food shortages and economic inefficiency. As long as everyone is in the bucket, the crabs can suffer together.
This mentality can also be observed among today’s anti-capitalists on a personal level. Capitalism allows those who are skilled and industrious to rise, leaving everyone to decide their own fate.
The individual against anti-capitalism
According to Ludwig von Mises in Anti-capitalist mentality :
The rule of principle, to each according to his achievements, does not allow to justify personal shortcomings. Everyone knows very well that there are people like him who succeeded where he himself failed. Everyone knows that many of those he envies are self-made people. And what is much worse, he knows that everyone else knows it too. He reads a quiet reproach in the eyes of his wife and children: “Why weren’t you smarter? He sees how people admire those who have done better than him, and look with contempt or pity on his failures.
This individualism leads to personal responsibility, and those who are unable to accept this responsibility try to blame others for their own failures. The crab may be concerned that he couldn’t leave the bucket even if he tried. He may be angry with the other crab for choosing to leave the bucket before him. He projects his insecurities and becomes jealous of those who are successful. Instead of thinking personally about how to achieve his goals, the anti-capitalist drags everyone else down. He does this by assuming that anyone who has succeeded has done so out of malice and trickery. He equates the pursuit of profit with selfishness. He advocates policies aimed at humiliating the successful in the name of equality.
This is particularly reflected in the income tax, which robs the productive members of society of their money and uses it to fund the welfare state. It punishes those who are successful in order to provide favors and funds to those who did not earn this wealth on their own.
Why should someone who works hard to climb out of the bucket be held down because others can’t do the same? Anti-capitalists spend their time finding excuses to justify that these people do not deserve their income, whether they are landlords, bankers or business leaders. They like to denigrate those who contribute more to society than themselves.
Because of the crab mentality, anti-capitalists seek to use the state to destroy successful people by promoting punitive invasive legislation. They bully those who want to fend for themselves and encourage dependency on the welfare state.
The problem is that by removing the incentive to work hard, they are undermining productivity and innovation, to the detriment of the entire country.
Unfortunately, there is no happy ending for the crabs left in the bucket.
Translation of counterpoint