Someone is going to have to explain this to me. But let me warn you: Oscar Wilde couldn't do it. Karl Marx couldn't do it. My own brilliant brother couldn't do it. So you're up against some tough company before you even start. Which doesn't mean I don't sincerely want you to try.
But Socialism doesn't make sense to me. I get the idea, which is noble in the same way that a perfect world would be delightful. I understand the concept, which is simple on the face of it. What I want to understand is where you get the idea that it works. What I don't get is how you can look past the utopian side of it and see anything but the purest evil.
I read Wilde's "The Soul of Man Under Socialism" before going to Canada (well, Quebec). He had me for a second. Then I saw generations of people whose soul had been sucked dry and spit out by socialism. People for whom life's grand ambition was to turn 18 and be grandfathered into the public dole, which allows them to spend other people's money on beer and cigarettes so they have the time to enoble the world by watching TV. I saw a medical system that was so inept that people put up coffee cans in grocery stores with the message: "Please donate. If I can get to the states, the doctors there can help!" (I even LIVED this scenario with a friend, who went to every doctor in the province for months and suffered. He was totally cured in two weeks upon his return to the states. Stories like this didn't make it into the Michael Moore propaganda, but they happen with regularity.) I asked around. What do you like about it? "It's free" was the only positive. "It isn't free. Other people are being forced to pay for it. Where the hell did you get the idea that this is free?" "Well, I don't pay anything." Neither would I, if all my clinics looked like yours.
I read the communist manifesto. But it was too late: I'd already seen too much of the real history that followed its publication. 70 million dead in China. The killing fields. Stalin out-murdering Hitler. The former Eastern Block's outrageous pollution of the environment. A noble young woman who cannot talk about the horrors of communism in Romania without crying. These are the undeniable fruits of communism, no matter what the intellectual roots claim. If you can look at them and still espouse the idea, then you are either too stupid to participate in the debate, or you know something I don't about why all this is OK.
Recent events in Greece tore down your argument even further--and you haven't even made it yet. The socialist nations are broke and the shiftless masses are angry. Ever lived in public housing, or been to a county clinic? These are the undeniably ugly places to which socialism wants us all to go.
But forget all that. You have to get me with philosophy. Because the bare bones is where the final die is cast. And here they are:
Wanting to help people is good. Wanting people to help each other is noble. Forcing to people to help each other is Satanic. There is little (if any) nobility in a system that takes money from one person at gun point and gives it to another. Especially when the recipient's only job is to spend what you just gave him. There is no such thing as "free universal health care." There is no such thing as something for nothing. There is no system in Nature that rewards zero effort behavior. Hence, at the moment your belief that we should help each other turns into "we should have a system that forces us to help each other," it cease to be noble, or even natural, and makes you a fascist--no different from anyone who seeks to force their views upon their neighbors.
To sum up: It has never worked in practice; it has never led to prosperity; it has never ended poverty. The consolidation of power it requires has lead to millions of people being murdered, tortured, and oppressed in its name. It is philosphically repugnant, a belief system for fascists and tyrants.
I am nevertheless open to your ideas. Mostly because I am uncomfortable with the implications of how widespread socialistic ideas have become--especially if the only explanation is: "people are just that selfish, lazy, and dumb." Which is pretty much what I'm left with at the moment.
If that argument fails to grab you, I also have never understood hundreds of other widespread atrocities, any of which I'd love to "get," if you're willing to help. For instance:
Classic rock, for the most part, eludes me. Anything having to do with the hippy movement is a mystery. How anyone derives any pleasure from Monopoly is beyond me. As well as Hootie and the Blowfish, the Paris Hilton enigma, people who think we didn't land on the moon, people who eat at McDonald's, why smokers don't categorize their vile cigarette butts as litter, parents who let their kids drink 40 ounce energy drinks, and time travel.