Socialism seems to be gaining in the U.S., especially in the more liberal bastions of eastern states. There was a time in this country when a political candidate with socialist leanings would be shunned by both political parties. Now they are embraced and celebrated by the Democrat Party.
I blame our education system. Public education was the single biggest long term mistake this country has made. There are bright spots, but overall the public education system has turned into an indoctrination factory for socialist views. Children are told that social justice must prevail, white privilege is rampant, and our country is racist, sexist, bigoted, and homophobic. Rarely is government taught except to bash the Constitution and espouse socialism.
Remember, I am viewing this from a national scale. Local schools may differ. And this is not limited to K-12 schools. The same problem is rife in universities as well. A good case in point is Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. She ran on an avowed socialist platform. She graduated from Boston College with a minor in economics. Yet every time she opens her mouth on economic issues she makes a fool of herself. Even liberal news media are questioning her answers when asked how to pay for her desired programs. She even said the three “chambers” of government are the president, Senate, and House. So much for a college education.
There are only a few types of government. Primary among those are socialism and its cousin communism, democracy, and republic. Socialism is the control or regulation of production, distribution, and exchange by government. Democracy is the rule of the majority. Republic is a state where supreme power is held by the people through elected representatives. Inherent in the concepts of democracy and republic is capitalism.
Ask what our government is and you will many times be told “a democracy.” It is not. It is a republic, specifically a democratic republic. There are reasons for that. A democracy is nothing more than mob rule. If a majority vote on something that hurts the minority, well, the majority rules regardless. A republic allows majority voice while protecting the minority. Thus things like the electoral college and two senators per state.
Socialism, in any form, either immediately or eventually, only benefits those in power. The rest of a populace is subject to the whims and edicts of those in power. If government leaders want to embrace climate change as an excuse to impose more taxes, the people have no voice. You just pay either voluntarily or otherwise.
Many, especially Millennials, support democratic socialism. Supposedly that is a kinder, gentler version of socialism. Sadly, such a system would not last long. Human nature being what it is, democratic socialism would soon evolve into full-blown socialism when power hungry elites completely take over a system. One only need to look at Venezuela for proof. That only took four years.
This raises the inevitable discussion about capitalism. Capitalism, restrained only by reasonable and minimal governmental rule, works. It has been proven over and over. Competition brings products to the market that are better and cheaper than their predecessors. It keeps costs low. It creates jobs.
It is only when government opts to get involved that monopolies occur on products or services. That is called crony capitalism where those businesses in favor with the current regime get preferred status, protection from onerous laws, and favorable tax treatment. Our government is lobbied for favorable laws and tax laws, and reap the benefits. Two industries come to mind. Hollywood gets many subsidies and favorable tax laws not available to any other industry.
Second, big banks get exemptions from the very laws intended to protect the public from them and get bailouts as “too big to fail.” There is no penalty for bad decisions or poor investments. That is crony capitalism. These are just two examples, there are other industries as well.
Europe is supposed to be the model for liberal America. Yet Europe’s socialist tendencies are fast changing. They are trying to walk back their open border policies because they are inundated with immigrants who have no loyalty to the country they live in. France is seeing riots when their new liberal leader imposed a carbon tax on gasoline. When it comes time to pony up, socialism doesn’t look so good.
Are Americans who support socialism simply poorly educated or stupid? Or is there another agenda? In my view, we first need to change the education system.
Tom Riggins’ column appears every other Wednesday. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.