Dismantle the myths of socialist paradise
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Radical progressives try to convince Americans, especially young Americans, that socialism is the solution to America’s socio-economic problems. They are banking on a thousand-year-old ignorance of the repeated failures of socialism and on the proven capacity of free enterprise to produce opportunities and prosperity for the greatest number.
To camouflage their intention, progressives speak of “democratic” socialism. They promise a quiet land of collective property and equal distribution. But in any case, for over a century the socialist “paradise” has turned out to be a centralized state administered by political elites.
For a realistic understanding of socialism, educators must first dismantle the most glaring myths about this pernicious system.
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Myth # 1: Karl Marx, the founder of socialism, was one of the great thinkers of the 19th century.
In truth, Marx was wrong about almost everything. Almost 200 years after the publication of the “Communist Manifesto”, the nation-state has not withered and capitalism rules most of the world economy. The workers preferred to transform themselves into entrepreneurs rather than revolutionaries, to their great advantage. Private property is the cornerstone of any prosperous country (including the Nordic countries). As the respected economist Paul Samuelson wrote: Marx’s “scientific socialism” is “colossally unnecessary”.
Myth # 2: Socialism places power in the hands of the people.
In truth, socialism cedes power to the government and the political elites that run it. After more than 60 years, the Cuban people are still awaiting the free and open elections promised by Fidel Castro. According to a leading Latin economist, the economic catastrophe in Venezuela, caused by his experience of socialism, “eclipses” the whole history of the United States, Europe or Latin America. Socialism has devastated this once prosperous country so much that today 90% of Venezuelans live in poverty.
Myth # 3: Socialism works in Denmark and in the other Scandinavian countries.
In truth, Denmark has a market economy and it is capitalism that allows the Danish government to finance a generous welfare state through personal income taxes and top-down VAT. A frustrated Danish Prime Minister told a shocked Washington audience: “I would like to clarify one thing… Denmark is a market economy. Denmark (as well as the other Nordic countries) has relatively few trade regulations and no minimum wages, which led one economist to say, “Denmark is probably more capitalist than the United States.”
Myth # 4: Socialism has never failed because it has never really been tried.
In fact, socialism has failed wherever it has been attempted for over a century, from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to today’s Chavez-Maduro socialism in Venezuela. Nowhere has democratic socialism been more faithfully practiced and then rejected by public demand than in Israel, India and the United Kingdom after the end of World War II.
Israel’s early settlers sought to create an economy in which market forces were controlled for the benefit of all. Socialism worked until Israel suffered its first major recession despite extensive government controls. The government backtracked and adopted a market economy. A high-tech revolution swept through the country, turning Israel into a major global tech player.
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After independence in 1948, India adhered strictly to a socialist ideology. But wars, drought and the oil price crisis of 1973 shook the country: half the population lived in poverty. The government abandoned socialism and the Indian middle class grew enormously, becoming the largest in the free world. Never before in recorded history, wrote an Indian journalist, so many people have stood up so quickly.
After three decades of socialism, the UK experienced a socio-economic revolution in the 1980s with the election of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Privatization was a fundamental reform of Thatcher. The government sold state-owned airlines, airports, utilities and telephone, steel and oil companies. Moving from Keynes to Hayek, the former “sick man of Europe” reacted quickly, regaining solid economic health.
Whether it is a small country in the Middle East, a large agricultural country with a population of 1.3 billion, or the nation that started the industrial revolution, capitalism has every time overtaken socialism.
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This is the real story of socialism, a pseudo-religion masquerading as a pseudo-science and run by political elites. It could only be passed in America if we repudiate all founding principles, do away with federalism, regulate the 33 million small businesses that produce nearly half of America’s jobs, and heavily tax everyone, not just the 1 Richest%, to be paid because the government had to manage the lives of 330 million Americans from cradle to grave.
Millennials have a choice: the stifling embrace of socialism, under which individual liberty and responsibility are abandoned, or the freedom of democratic capitalism, under which people of all colors and classes can work to be that that they want to be.
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