Socialism, by any other name, is still—well—socialism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines socialism as “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” Note: owned, or merely “regulated” by the community in the United States refers to the government, where a republican-style democracy is supposed to represent the will of the people.
It seems that, depending on the actions of Congress and the Executive Branch (who are elected to represent the people), sometimes it is the will of the people—other times, not so much. In Marxist theory, socialism is an actual transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism. We all know how that has worked out.
Socialism—like its fraternal twin Communism—over the last one hundred years-plus has led to the absolute elimination of personal freedom in nations around the world. It is a failed system that, unfortunately, is still with us. We need look no further than Cuba, Venezuela, China, and the failed Soviet Union.
Millions have died over the last century at the hands of socialism and communism. In the name of fairness and everyone having all things in common, people still suffer, are imprisoned, and die because of this political system. Human rights are sidelined in the faux claim of taking care of everyone. It is blatantly unfair in every country where it exists.
Having everything in common has always led to an elitist few who control the lives of everyone else. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Czarist Russia, for example, Vladimir Lenin—who deposed the Czar—inherited the palaces and wealth of that ruler and became a ruthless de facto monarch himself. His was a political system that successfully advocated the overthrow of capitalism with the promise that the government would take care of everyone. It may sound like a nice theory to some, but it is one that never works out in practice.
While some politicians, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC), readily identify as democratic socialists, socialism as a political and economic philosophy in the United States is often more subtle and disguised. There is a reason for the subtlety. While there is much discussion about socialism in America today, most people in the United States have a suspicion—if not an outright fear—of America becoming a socialist-style country. A politician in most parts of the United States would have a difficult time being elected to any office if they openly espouse socialism.
The reason for the suspicion and fear has everything to do with the definition and history of socialism. Do we really want the production, distribution and exchange of products and services to be controlled by the government? Does that control eliminate the basic principles of a democracy like the United States? Socialism is the antithesis of capitalism, an economic principle that values freedom and entrepreneurship.
Winston Churchill famously stated, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent value is the equal sharing of misery.” He went on to describe socialism as taking care of the “submerged tenth” by bringing the other nine-tenths down to their level. The logical end of socialism is the elimination of upward mobility. It robs people of the dream of bettering themselves and building a better life for their families. The end result of socialism has ever been economic stagnation, shared misery, and government control.
Americans have every right to be suspicious of quasi-socialist ideas. Whether it is the Green New Deal, a federally mandated guaranteed minimum wage, government control of critical aspects of the economy and elimination of other parts of the economy and its related industries, or a single-payer health system—we need to be afraid, very afraid, of any program that diminishes personal freedoms and increases bureaucratic government control. (While the much-lauded Affordable Care Act provided healthcare for millions—it eliminated private healthcare for millions more who believed the empty promise that if they liked their doctor or health insurance, they could keep it.) It is an insidious philosophy that will not have a happy ending.
While few politicians would openly promote rampant socialist takeovers of the private sector—it is the general direction advocated by many on the Left. Many of those on the Left view the United States as a failed nation, “a country of irredeemable inequities and people with reflexively racist instincts.” Left-leaning elected officials are simply clever enough to parse their words and to promote their misguided philosophy under the guise of equality and fairness. That has been the modus operandi of every socialist leader in human history.
Like the proverbial camel who puts his nose under the tent with the intent of eventually moving in, Americans must be aware of the dangers of creeping socialism—no matter how it is dressed up—and defend the individual liberties of all people and a compassionate capitalism that has made the United States the great nation it is to this day. There is a reason people flee socialist regimes and risk their lives and livelihood to come to the United States of America.
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