There has been a lot of talk about Socialism in the Democratic party and there are some who would like to see it increasingly in U.S. law. Millennials have an overall favorable view of Socialism and were big supporters of the Bernie Sanders campaign in 2015. I believe that the reason for that has been the failure of schools to teach about what Socialism actually is (or Capitalism for that matter) and what results have come from Socialist regimes.
The definition of Socialism is a political and economic theory which advocates for the means of production, distribution, and exchange to be owned or regulated by the community. Socialism is often used interchangeably with communism and is used as a step towards communism. Communism, according to Merriam-Webster, is rooted in Karl Marx’s theory of revolutionary socialism which advocates an overthrow of capitalist structures within a society, societal and communal ownership and governance of the means of production leading to the eventual establishment of a classless society. Since Fascist is a word currently being thrown around carelessly, I include the definition of it as well. Fascism exalts nation above the individual and stands for a centralized government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. I feel that many do not understand what Capitalism is either so here you go. The definition of Capitalism according to Miriam Webster is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.
In the end, Socialism, Communism and Fascism all have the following in common: Capitalism is the enemy, the collective outweighs the individual and the end result has always been tyranny. Joseph Stalin was responsible for an estimated 20 million deaths during his reign in the Soviet Union. Mao Tse-tung killed an estimated 38 million Chinese. Kim Il Sung was responsible for 4-6 million deaths in North Korea. Miguel A. Faria in his book, Cuba in Revolution (2002) states the following: “Since Fidel Castro took over the island in 1959, the best figures that we can glean is that between 30,000 to 40,000 people either have been executed …in the firing squad wall or have died in the hands of their communist jailers”. People in opposition to these leaders who were not killed were condemned to prisons and work camps.
Venezuela was once a prosperous country due to the largest oil reserves in the world. In 1975 the Democratic Action party nationalized the oil industries. In the midst of the subsequent crumbling economy and strikes, Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998 to create a socialist utopia. Since 2013 Venezuela has been #1 on the world misery index. In 2016 the economy collapsed with a 700% inflation rate according to the American Institute for Economic research. A UN report reveals that 94% of Venezuelans live in poverty in 2019.
Sweden is often listed as examples of places where Socialism “works”. There have been high taxes and they have had a generous social safety net since the 1960’s (which resulted in them dropping from the fourth richest nation in the world down to the 13th richest). Leaders realized the nation’s continued success depended on freer markets, not total government, and started to lower taxes and government spending as well as deregulate and privatize broad swaths of the economy, including the addition of school choice in the 1990’s.
The one thing to know about Socialism and/or Communism is that the equality that is sold is a myth. There is no such thing as everyone being equally prosperous. The only way everyone can be equal is when everyone is equally miserable.