Fearsome Comrade has some insightful thoughts about the nature of socialism:
An important difference between socialism and capitalism is that socialism promises salvation delivered from on high, while the only thing capitalism can promise is competition. Because of this, socialism can be preached in much the same manner as the Christian gospel is preached. You can take a typical Christian evangelistic message, replace the words “sin” with “profit,” “Satan” with “Big Business,” “God” with “the government,” “Jesus” with the politician of the hour, and “salvation” with “social justice,” and you’ve got an appeal to socialism. This struck me as I read some excerpts of Marx and Engels. Ultimately, they didn’t build their system with an appeal to reason. They built it on evangelistic zeal, apocalyptic vision, and powerful appeals to a coming paradise.