Socialism does indeed work–for a while. “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister.
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Socialism works…for a while. When a society chooses to adopt socialism, many things are now free that were not free before. Well, not free, because they still cost a ton of money, but are free to the recipients. It will take awhile before the added taxation, mounting debt–or both–that are required to pay for all of the now free stuff begins to be initially burdensome, and if unchecked, fatal. Whole countries have gone broke. And more are doing so today
Put simply, “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher, former British Prime Minister.
Not long ago, the US was engaged in fighting the Cold War, a war against both Soviet Russia’s geographic expansion and its desire to instill its political and economic way of life on conquered nations. Communist thinking, an imposed way of life, really, is the philosophical, social, political and economic ideology, whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society. com This is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes. BTW, if you don’t think Communism needs to be imposed, think back to the Berlin Wall. And this wall needed to be built to keep people in–not out.
This was a necessary fight. Imagine, if you will, that the USSR, Soviet Russia, had not collapsed, but instead had spread its failed economic and political philosophy to even more countries instead of fewer. Example of the destructive power of communism: As a result of the communist philosophy, that way of thinking, the reunification of West and East Germany, basically the rescue of East Germany, was time consuming, costly and painful. It took decades and $1T (trillion) to rescue East Germany from the miserable lifestyle they had: few freedoms, few and poor consumer products, near-empty grocery store shelves and cars so bad they are a running (pun intended) joke even today. While West Germany was producing VWs, Porsches, Audis and Mercedes Benz, East Germany was making the Trabant, a completely sub-standard car most often called, a “Spark plug with a roof.” And you had to wait to get one, even if you could afford it.
This historical reminder is important because there are many similarities between Democratic Socialism and communism. We’ll get to those similarities in a moment.
Recently, and much in the news, Rep. Joe Crowley of New York City, one of the top Democrats in the House of Representatives, lost his primary in a shocking upset on June 26th, 2018 to community organizer and avowed Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. When asked why she is a socialist, she replied, “I am a socialist because no one should be too poor to live in this country.” A statement, by the way, that many if not most people, capitalist or socialist, would find entirely acceptable. But her philosophy is far more complete than just that. Ms. Ocasio Cortez has claimed association with the New York City Democratic Socialists of America. Many Democratic leaders and party members have hailed the 28-year-old as a window into the future of the Democratic party.
Here are a few quotes from the New York City Democratic Socialists of America web site; you’ll find them under the Mission page:
- “New York City Democratic Socialists of America is dedicated to the project of building a socialist society — a society free of all oppression with a democratically-run, ecologically-sustainable economy. Such a society would secure real equality of opportunity for everyone. It would guarantee basic rights to housing, food, healthcare, education, a job, and an income. And it would eliminate all forms of oppression, including oppression based on race, gender, sexuality, and ability. Our goal is a socialist world.”
- “Socialists have learned through decades of fighting for reforms that the capitalist system serves the interests of the ruling class. It is designed to meet their needs and insulate their power from threats from below. Our strategy therefore is different from the liberal one. We work to organize millions of people into democratically-led movements that take militant action against bosses and politicians. It’s only through mass direct action, strikes, and confrontation that we can force those with power to make concessions — and eventually to take that power from them.”
- “Every year, people of color in the United States are the targets of police brutality, mass incarceration, and state-sponsored murder.” “We can expect renewed mobilizations in the coming year against these outrages. The Black Lives Matter movement continues to build resistance to the police and mass incarceration and a new generation of activists is being radicalized in these struggles. NYC-DSA needs to turn its members out in force to join this fight. We must also help to build the campaigns that will in the long-term help to roll back policing and mass incarceration (more on our tasks related to this work in the section on city politics).”
Let’s take a few of their points from the goals section in the Mission Statement, and look at the Revolution 2.0 response. Ms. Ocasio Cortez, soon to be elected to Congress in her heavily Democratic district, has associated herself with this site. As, I am guessing, would both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
- “It would guarantee basic rights to housing, food, healthcare, education, a job, and an income.” “Our goal is a socialist world.” RWR Response: How on earth are we going to survive as a nation, as a viable society, if, “…housing, food, healthcare, education, a job, and an income.” are all seen as basic human rights? And, therefore, free?
- “It’s only through mass direct action, strikes, and confrontation that we can force those with power to make concessions — and eventually to take that power from them.” RWR Response: In other words, they are calling for, among other things, evicting more people from restaurants, more scathing and foul social media attacks, and more harassing people up close and personal right in front of their homes. It is a call for a militant and confrontational agenda without any pretense of civility. In other words, exactly what Maxine Waters is urging.
- “We must also help to build the campaigns that will in the long-term help to roll back policing…” RWR response: This is a time when we need more policing. Better policing would also be an improvement, and I am all for that. But more is clearly necessary in certain areas. Not less.
Democratic Socialism, as advocated by Ms. Ocasio Cortez, and Senators Warren and Sanders, is not merely a costly expansion of the welfare state. It calls for a sharp and dangerous turn toward free everything for everyone who wants it, along with major upheavals in our culture. Keep that in mind as you see our nation continuing to move more and more in that direction. (BTW, today’s photo was taken from a Democratic Socialist protest.)
If that is what you want, well, you can just sit back and let it happen. Others are already doing the job for you.
If that is not what you want, well, get up and do something. First, educate yourself so that you know what you are talking about. You can start with reading the Democratic Socialists of America’s NYC web site. Then contact your elected representatives and let them know where you stand, and why. Talk to people who agree with you, and give them the facts and lines of argument they can learn from and employ with others. Talk to people who think they want Democratic Socialism, and think it through with them. Start by caring about them–yes, caring about them–listening to who they are and where they are, and why they think the way they do. Then lead them–lead them–step-by-step, fact-by-fact, and with care and non agenda-based reasoning, to where you are. We can can this. Remember, what we have is better not only for our country, but for them as well.
But, Will, what about those few, but real, countries that appear to be making socialism work. Fair point, but they are vastly different from the US; tiny, homogenous, and already moving away from socialism for a variety of reasons. But that is another podcast.
It is time for our usual parting thought. For us at Revolution 2.0, it is not only change your thinking, change your life. It is change your thinking, change your actions, change the world. And if you can do it in love and enjoy the people around you at the same time, all the better. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.