"We have to say yes to socialism — to the word and everything. We have to stop apologizing.”
~ Jim Carrey, on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”
“Medicare for all, ending student debt, ….it seems like if there is maybe a shining spot in this Trump tragedy, it’s that it’s made the Democrats sort of rediscover who they are.”
The appetite for socialism is on the rise again in America. “Democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders, once considered a marginalized, fringe player in U.S. politics, is now respected and revered by many inside one of this nation’s two major political parties. Other “democratic socialists” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are becoming rising stars in the Democrat Party as well. When I read the comments following articles on Fox News about Ocasio-Cortez or on the subject of socialism in general, those in favor of socialism (a minority of readers at Fox, to be sure) typically answer the critics by pointing to the nation’s military or local police or fire fighters as positive examples of “socialism,” or they’ll talk about Social Security or Medicare or public schools. With such a narrowly selective view of what it means to embrace socialism it’s no wonder people – particularly the young – are mystified by the critics. So it’s time - yet again - to get some clarity on what socialism actually is and what’s wrong with it.
Socialism, per Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is defined as follows:
“Any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
Let me repeat: “…governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
That goes a tad bit beyond military, police and fire protection, or even Social Security, wouldn’t you say? I’d like to point out the irony of this nation’s Left, so often critical of our military and police, using these services as their shining examples of socialism. Now, I know that “democratic socialists” like Bernie Sanders attempt to distinguish socialism from “democratic socialism” by supposedly drawing the line at having government take physical control of the means of production; but when their plan is to tax the pants off of the producers to finance their socialist agenda, they are – for all practical purposes – making government the de facto owner of the means of production, correct? Still, socialism apologists will read this with wide eyes and ask, “Gee, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with sharing the wealth and making things more equal for everyone? What’s wrong with ‘social safety nets’ like Social Security and Medicare?”
This is where, as a critic, I’m supposed to point to the predictable human tragedy unfolding in Venezuela, where socialism was working just great until it wasn’t and now people are struggling just to survive. Or I’m supposed to point to America’s national debt, now $22 TRILLION and rapidly climbing, and the prospect of an unimaginable catastrophe of our own when the bill for our “social safety nets” finally comes due (don’t worry, it’ll probably only happen to your children). Or I’m supposed to give you a crash course in simple economics or human nature in the hopes that people will finally get it. Or maybe I should talk about the dismal state of our public schools and how the Left has used the socialist nature of our education system to take almost complete control of it. Sorry to disappoint you but I’m not here to argue the obvious flaws of socialism. There’s no point in bothering the socialists with the realities of economics or human nature. They just cover their eyes and refuse to see it.
What’s wrong with socialism, “democratic” or otherwise, is that it is a complete contradiction to the notion of individual freedom that this nation was founded upon and that is supposed to be protected by our Constitution. Maybe, just maybe, that’s why the Kavanaugh fight was so bitterly fought by the Democrats.
Go back and read Merriam-Webster’s definition of “socialism,” or research the rhetoric from people like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and take note that the word “voluntary” is conspicuously missing from that definition and from the Left’s passionate speeches. That’s why “socialism” is a dirty word to those who read between the lines and truly comprehend the implications of it. Socialism – democratic or otherwise – is forced wealth transfer, also known as “theft.” When Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez excite their cheering crowds with their schemes for imposing socialism on this nation, people are actually cheering at the prospect of being able to legally steal from their fellow citizens. Nice, eh? To make it more palatable and side-step the sound logic against it the Left cunningly inserted the word “democratic” in front of “socialism” because changing the names of things that we rightfully associate with evil is what they always do. “Democracy” - and the notion of voting – attaches positive feelings to something that amounts to the proverbial “two wolves and a sheep deciding what’s for dinner,” as so brilliantly put by the eternally wise Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately community organizers like Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are trying to supplant their own version of wisdom for that of Benjamin Franklin’s and all of the Founders who sought to preserve individual liberty.
There are times when it makes sense for us to do things as a unit, the military being the prime example which is why it is expressly provided for in the Constitution. If and when our nation comes under attack or needs to assert itself militarily, what moron would argue that this can be done on an individual level? But what excuse, other than wanting someone else to pay your bills, is there for socializing healthcare, retirement or a college education? All of these things are attainable on an individual level as evidenced by the fact that people have been doing so for centuries. There is no practical imperative that justifies depriving citizens of their freedom for such things.
The biggest rub of all when it comes to the Left’s attempts to turn us into a might-makes-right socialist nation is that they could have as much voluntary socialism as they want. Nothing is stopping Bernie Sanders and his followers from pooling their resources for healthcare, retirement and higher education or anything else they want to socialize on their own. They don’t need to persuade us to exercise that kind of freedom. They could start tomorrow if they wanted to. The problem is, they want our money and they want the power to control these things for everyone, as they do with public education; consequently our freedom to say “NO” is very annoying to them.
Margret Thatcher’s famous quote, “Socialism is fine until you run out of other people’s money,” is often invoked as the simplest explanation for what’s wrong with socialism, but it is perhaps a bit too simple as it doesn’t fully capture her feelings towards socialism as well as this quote from Stephen Pollard for his book review of Claire Berlinski’s “There Is No Alternative’: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters,” in which he wrote:
“[Berlinski} is quite right, for example, to stress that Thatcher's crusade against socialism was not merely about economic efficiency and prosperity but that above all, ‘it was that socialism itself—in all its incarnations, wherever and however it was applied—was morally corrupting.’"
“Morally corrupting.” Yep, I think that says it well.
As for Jim Carrey and his call for us to “say yes to socialism,” this is precisely what we might expect from someone who makes his living talking out of his ass.
Just say NO to socialism.
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