1. Why now, with a great economy – and Venezuela as the classic example of how to kill a country with socialism – are so many buying in to Yellow-Brick-Road economics? The unemployment rate, job creation, and price of energy point to a bright future. The last time Americans were turned on by socialism was during the Great Depression, with 25% unemployment and Hoovervilles dotting the landscape. Then there’s Venezuela, once one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, where there are periodic blackouts in what was a major oil-producing state. A March 12th story in The New York Post reported, “Desperate Venezuelans were forced to turn to filthy sewage drains and polluted rivers as the country’s nearly weeklong power outage left many without water.” And this is when Millennials and most Democrats say they favor socialism over free enterprise. Bottom line: It’s about power and plunder, not fairness and compassion.
2. Socialism is based on a profound ignorance of the laws of economics. Karl Marx, who spent most of his life writing in the library of the British Museum, refused to set foot in a factory – fearing it would shatter his illusions. At the ripe old age of 29, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is like a babe wandering around a grown-ups world – where people work and pay taxes. Her last job was bartending at a Manhattan saloon. If you asked her how a corporation works, she’d begin babbling about the “1%” and the Israeli “occupation.” For socialists, ignorance is an impenetrable shield.
3. Socialism makes a few rich and many very poor. Hugo Chavez, the socialist ruler of Venezuela before the current socialist ruler of Venezuela, used to say it’s “bad” to be rich – which is why the policies of he and Maduro have produced so many desperately poor people. Chavez’s favorite daughter, Maria Gabriela Chavez, is worth an estimated $4.2 billion – doubtless acquired through canny investments. In the USSR, there was the “new class,” which grew fat on the misery of the proletariat. Socialism is a way for non-producers to strike it rich.
4. Socialism is fueled by envy. In the socialist melodrama, there’s always a villain – a role currently assumed by the Democrats favorite scapegoat the proverbial 1%. “Why should they have so much more than you,” socialists ask? Well, perhaps they work harder than you, take risks you’re unwilling to take. Maybe they’re smarter or more creative. Yes, they’re ultra-rich SOBs – ultra-rich SOBs who produce wealth and innovations and jobs. When we help the Bernies of the world to pull them down, we pull down ourselves with them.
5. Where has socialism ever worked? Taiwan versus China (before it adopted market reforms)? East Germany versus West Germany? North versus South Korea? No, no, no, say Bernie and Bitchy. We mean democratic socialism, what they have in the UK and Scandinavia. Britain almost sank under the dead weight of post-World War II socialism, before Margaret Magnus began cutting and privatizing. Scandinavian socialism is more myth than reality. Take Sweden. Guided by conservative governments, by 1970, Sweden had the world’s 4th highest per capita income. Then the socialists came in, raising taxes, piling on regulations, and spending like drunken Vikings. By 1990, Sweden’s per capita income had plummeted to 14th worldwide. Since 1997, ministries that propose new spending have to offset it with cuts in existing programs. In 2007, the nation reduced unemployment payments. In the preceding decade, power and transportation sectors were deregulated. The highest corporate tax rate was cut from 28% to 22% (scheduled to go to 20.4% by 2021). Today, Sweden is richer than all major EU countries. Some socialism.
6. Socialism consistently fails, domestically as well as internationally. In America, the failure of socialism extends to almost everything the government touches, except the military, including the U.S. Postal Service, public education, VA hospitals and public housing. U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III wrote in an opinion last year that public housing in New York City (the People’s Republic of de Blasio) was “Somewhat reminiscent of the biblical plagues of Egypt, these conditions include toxic lead paint, asthma-inducing mold, lack of heat, frequent elevator outages, and vermin infestation.” The city’s housing authority has “whitewashed these deficiencies for years,” the judge charged. In the Big Apple, the house that socialism built rests on mold, toxicity and vermin infestation.
7. Laying the groundwork for socialism. The left is on course to bankrupt the nation, import swarms of mendicants, raise debt from student loans to unsupportable levels, and repeal the Industrial Revolution with the Green New Deal. They intend to build their socialist utopia on the ruins of what’s left of a free-market economy. As Tucker Carlson points out on FOX News, student-loan debt stands at $1.5 trillion, more than the GDP of Spain or Sweden. In the past 13 years, the average indebtedness per graduate increased from $20,000 to $37,000. For two million Americans, it’s more than $100,000. Academia has gone on a spending spree, encouraged by federal subsidies. (Between 1997 and today, the number of administrators on college campuses has more than doubled.) Now, proponents of socialism threaten to solve the problem government created by nationalizing student loans. Works for them.
8. Socialism’s cheerleaders – the academic/media axis. The media made Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, creating a legend out of a ditz who defeated a 10-term incumbent – a middle-aged white-guy hack who didn’t know he was in a race till it was too late – in one of the most heavily Democratic congressional districts in the country. Every time a Democrat presidential hopeful proposes another socialist program, media mutts salivate like Pavlov’s dogs. Academia is even worse. In a 2017 survey covered by U.S. News and World Report (based on responses from 8,688 full-time professors at 51 of the 60 top-ranked liberal arts colleges), there were 10 registered Democrats for every one Republican. From lectures, to assigned reading, to speakers, most college campuses resemble the Communist International, except they’re to the left of Stalin.
9. Anti-Semitism isn’t an aberration; it’s central to socialism. Some on the left professed to be shocked when Sanders and AOC rushed to the defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar, after her anti-Semitic Tweets. But the movement has always been anti-Semitic. Socialists were quick to pick up on anti-Jewish stereotypes – Jews care only for money; Jews are lackies of business interests; There’s a Jewish conspiracy to dominate humanity. In his 1844 essay (“On the Jewish Question”) Marx wrote: “What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money.” This was a meme picked up a century later by Germany’s National Socialists. The late Hugo Chavez had a paranoid belief in Jewish conspiracies. In 2005, he referred to Jews as “the descendants of the same ones who crucified Christ,” who had “taken possession of all the wealth of the world.” From this perspective, the Hitler-Stalin Pact made perfect sense.
10. Millennials (Generation Dumb) and Socialism. As we’re regularly reminded, socialism’s greatest appeal is for the young, Millennials (ages 22 to 27) in particular. According to a recent survey, more favor socialism than capitalism (43% to 32%). This stands to reason, given their profound ignorance of U.S. History and economics. In a YouGov survey by the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness, only 35% of Millennials knew which presidents were shown on Mount Rushmore (compared to 71% of Boomers). Only 11% of the former knew which rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment. And it doesn’t get any better for the next generation. The same survey showed that over half of today’s high schoolers believe Obama was more important to America than George Washington. They’re probably right. How can winning the War for Independence and leading the United States through its first quarter century of existence compare with Obama Care and subsidizing Iran’s nuclear program.
You could call the foregoing socialism simplified, for the really simple. Those who want to avoid the cataclysm need to keep reminding our fellow citizens that socialism isn’t just bad economics, it’s evil, part of the death march of progress.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.
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