Who doesn’t like free stuff? The short answer is “no one.” (By the way, is there a greater word in the English language than “stuff?” Very descriptive. It can mean whatever one wants it to.) Anyway, we all like freebies, especially if the other guy is paying for it.
That, my friends, is the essence of socialism. Share and share alike. You should not keep more than you really need, and you should give some to me. You’re ambitious and work hard; I’m not and take it easy; and we both share in the proceeds. As Wikipedia puts it, individuals don’t own property; everything is owned by the collective group, and the government controls production, distribution and virtually everything else. To me, it is akin to communism. (Think how things worked in the former Soviet Union.)
To take this point further, the philosophy is that any success you, as an individual, may have had is attributable, not to your hard work, intelligence, ingenuity, and determination, but to the government and the system. Remember President Obama’s proclamation that “you didn’t build it.” (As many of you know, his odd statement became the inspiration for the title of my blog.) Under socialism, in essence, the “haves’ pay for and support the “have nots.” Paradoxically, despite ample evidence that socialism has never been successful in any country, ever, its popularity is spreading, even to the US. Ah, the lure of “freebies.” More on that later.
The roots of socialism, with its basic tenant of common ownership of property, can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and the philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Socialism in America can trace its lineage to the early 19th century and utopian experiments, such as the New Harmony, the Shakers, Brook Farm and the Oneida Community, among others. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the movement was influenced by the philosophy of such as Karl Marx, Lenin and Trotsky.
The Soviet Union was the biggest socialism/communism experiment. As those who follow history know, eventually, its economy imploded. More recently, socialism has failed in Cuba, Venezuela, and elsewhere. As we have seen time and again, inevitably a system that relies on common ownership and government controls while stifling free enterprise and individual incentives is doomed to failure. Inevitably the government runs out of money to pay for all the services it provides.
Additionally, the claim of share and share alike is bogus. In socialist countries a very small elite class always develops, which garners the lion’s share of resources, and the vast majority of the people are plagued by severe shortages of food and other necessities. For example, according to Wikipedia, the food shortage in Venezuela is so acute that some 80% of the people claim they are unable to afford sufficient food to sustain themselves. Those who have been to Cuba will note the desperate living conditions of the non-privileged, especially those residing outside the areas normally seen by tourists.
Some people point to the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark as socialist success stories, but that is misleading and premature. Firstly, their open border policies have resulted in a flood of immigrants, which will, inevitably place a severe, and possibly fatal, burden on their social and economic structure and potentially bankrupt the government. Secondly, given the high volume of immigrants relative to the size of the native population of these countries there is a real concern that their traditional cultural and social identities will be drastically altered, and not for the better. There is ample evidence that this is already occurring, especially in Sweden, which is being plagued by increases in violent crimes, such as murder, rape and anti-Semitism. Thirdly, they spend very little on the military. Norway maintains armed forces of about 25,000; Sweden maintains around 20,000, including reserves; and Denmark only 5,000 when fully mobilized. They rely on the US and NATO for defense. Obviously, the US’s military needs are considerably greater and more expensive.
Furthermore, most of Western Europe has been turning increasingly socialist, in varying degrees and with varying results, mostly bad. Those who have been following the news in France, Germany, Italy and the UK in recent years are cognizant of this. The empirical evidence of the negative impact of socialism and open borders in these countries is plain to see for anyone who cares to look. This is very instructive to Americans as the Democratic Party moves further to the left toward outright socialism and open borders. Bernie Sanders, who admits to being a Socialist, almost won the Democratic nomination in 2016 (and probably would have if the “fix” had not been in for Hillary). Don’t be fooled by the term, “progressive.” In this case it is a misnomer, a more acceptable description of the Dems’ brand of socialism.
Do you doubt me? Listen to the parade of speakers at the recent Netroots Nation conclave in New Orleans. If you’ve never heard of Netroots, I suggest you research it. I think they are very radical and dangerous. They espouse programs like open borders, abolishing ICE, deposing President Trump (via impeachment or violence), universal free education pre-K through college, universal healthcare, and other similar nanny-state programs. Sounds good, but they have no conception of how to pay for these goodies. If you do the math you will quickly ascertain that there is no way to do so. They don’t care. They aim to entice voters with the prospect of freebies, and there is evidence that it is working.
In 2015 a Gallop poll disclosed that 47% of Americans would support a socialist candidate for president. The movement seems to be particularly enticing to young people. A November 2017 YouGov poll disclosed that a majority of Americans aged 21-29 prefer socialism to capitalism and believe that capitalism works against them. I believe that many, if not most, of the Americans who support socialism don’t have the foggiest notion of what it is, its track record, or what it would mean for America. But, their votes would still count.
If you think these people are a radical fringe outside the mainstream of the Democratic Party, think again. The speakers at the Netroots convention who supported these ideas included Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Cynthia Nixon, and Alexandria Ocasio-Nixon, each of whom has expressed ambitions for political office, up to and including president. Moreover, many of these same programs have been supported, or at least not contradicted, by Dem leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, and Maxine Waters.
Not only has the Dem Party been moving sharply to the left, many of its leaders have been advocating violence against those who disagree with them. For example, Maxine Waters has been advocating confronting Trump supporters wherever you find them. People have been accosted in restaurants, movie theatres and at a Congressional softball game. Antifa thugs have routinely attacked speakers or peaceful demonstrators at rallies supporting moderate and conservative ideas. To me, this is excessive and dangerous. One Congressman has already been shot. Eventually, someone who is minding his own business is going to be killed. I understand that some people are unhappy with the direction of the country. However, the American way to seek change is at the polls, not through name-calling and violence.
The socialist new left no longer seems open to dialogue or debate. If you disagree with them you are branded as evil and racist, a misogynist, or a white supremist. The “Nazi” label has been used so routinely that it does a real disservice to those who were murdered in the Holocaust by real Nazis.
In my view, the fact that moderate, responsible Dem leaders, such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have not spoken out as voices of reason is most disconcerting. Do they support these ideas, or are they afraid of hurting their political standing, or perhaps, a little of both? Time for real leaders to stand up, guys.
Most of the media has chosen to ignore or downplay the aforementioned developments. Consequently, many voters are unaware of what is happening and the consequences. If left unchecked we could easily follow down the path of Western Europe.
Hopefully, these far left, socialist candidates will be roundly rejected at the polls. If not, the country will be heading for trouble.