Socialism as a terrible idea

Richard Rahn:

If someone advocates an ideology that has contempt for the individual and has caused untold economic misery and the deaths of hundreds of millions at the hands of their governments, what would you think of that person?
The ideology I refer to is, of course, socialism and its numerous variations, including the utopian socialists, the Fabian socialists, the National Socialists, and, naturally, the communists. Socialism is simply an economic system where the government (or collective) owns and controls the means of production. Given that the two centuries of socialists' experiments, whether by utopians, Marxists, or Fabians, always ended in economic failure and a loss of personal liberty, why are people around the globe still proudly proclaiming themselves socialists? Socialist parties are still popular in parts of Europe, Latin American, and in much of Africa. Socialist parties have been elected to power in both Spain and Portugal in recent months. Many college professors and students on U.S. campuses claim to be socialists.
The "national socialists" caused the death of tens of millions of people. The communists in Russia, China, Cambodia and elsewhere caused the collective deaths of more than 100 million people and impoverished billions of others. (I happened to be at the Kremlin in Moscow in August 1992, when the Russia demographers announced they had determined there were 63 million "excess deaths" in the Soviet Union during Josef Stalin's reign -- 1923-53.)
The Third World socialists have kept their countries unnecessarily mired in poverty for a half-century. The democratic socialists gained control in England in 1945 under Clement Attlee. As a result, the British economy was run into the ground. Hence the British people voted to reprivatize their economy under Margaret Thatcher beginning in 1979.


If people knew the real history of all the socialist experiments and its flawed theory, very few (other than the delusional or mean-spirited) would be socialists. People do not know the history of socialist disasters because the educational establishment and much of the news media have engaged in a massive cover-up. The large majority of teachers throughout the world are government employees or depend on government grants. All too many are thus understandably hostile to the idea government enterprises do not work as advertised and, hence, reluctant to both teach and allow materials in the classroom that show the socialist model neither works in practice or theory. Surveys in the U.S. and elsewhere show the overwhelming majority of professors and public school teachers are on the left side of the political spectrum, so one should not be shocked they hesitate to teach history and theory that show their self-interested ideology is a failure.


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