Why Socialism Is on the Rise


de-blasioIt took capitalism half a century to come back from the Great Depression. It’s taken socialism half that time to come back from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In New York City, avowed socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared that his goal is to take “dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities” — the gap between rich and poor. In Seattle, newly elected socialist city Councilmember Kshama Sawant addressed supporters, explaining, “I wear the badge of socialist with honor.” To great acclaim from the left, columnist Jesse Myerson of Rolling Stone put out a column telling millennials that they ought to fight for government-guaranteed employment, a universal basic income, collectivization of private property, nationalization of private assets and public banks.

The newly flowering buds of Marxism no longer reside on the fringes. Not when the president of the United States has declared fighting income inequality his chief task as commander in chief. Not when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said that America faces “no greater challenge” than income disparity. Not when MSNBC, The New York Times and the amalgamated pro-Obama media outlets have all declared their mission for 2014 a campaign against rich people.

Less than 20 years ago, former President Bill Clinton, facing reelection, declared “the era of big government” over. By 2011, Clinton reversed himself, declaring that it was government’s role to “give people the tools and create the conditions to make the most of our lives.”

So what happened?

Capitalism failed to make a case for itself. Back in 1998, shortly after the world seemed to reach a consensus on the ineffectiveness of socialist schemes, economists Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw wrote that the free market required something beyond mere success: It required “legitimacy.” But, said Yergin and Stanislaw, “a system that takes the pursuit of self-interest and profit as its guiding light does not necessarily satisfy the yearning in the human soul for belief and some higher meaning beyond materialism.” In other words, they wrote, while Spanish communists would die with the word “Stalin” on their lips, “few people would die with the words ‘free markets’ on their lips.”

The failure to make a moral case for capitalism has doomed capitalism to the status of a perennial backup plan. When people are desperate or wealthy, they turn to socialism; only when they have no other alternative do they embrace the free market. After all, lies about guaranteed security are far more seductive than lectures about personal responsibility.

So what is the moral case for capitalism? It lies in recognition that socialism isn’t a great idea gone wrong — it’s an evil philosophy in action. It isn’t driven by altruism; it’s driven by greed and jealousy. Socialism states that you owe me something simply because I exist. Capitalism, by contrast, results in a sort of reality-forced altruism: I may not want to help you, I may dislike you, but if I don’t give you a product or service you want, I will starve. Voluntary exchange is more moral than forced redistribution. Socialism violates at least three of the Ten Commandments: It turns government into God, it legalizes thievery and it elevates covetousness. Discussions of income inequality, after all, aren’t about prosperity but about petty spite. Why should you care how much money I make, so long as you are happy?

Conservatives talk results when discussing the shortcomings of socialism. They’re right: Socialism is ineffective, destructive and stunting to the human spirit. But they’re wrong to abandon the field of morality when discussing the contrast between freedom and control. And it’s this abandonment — this perverse laziness — that has led to socialism’s comeback, even though within living memory, we have seen continental economies collapse and millions slaughtered in the name of this false god.

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  • Bellerophons_Revenge

    “a system that takes the pursuit of self-interest and profit as its
    guiding light does not necessarily satisfy the yearning in the human
    soul for belief and some higher meaning beyond materialism.”

    Socialism is on the rise because of statements like this. It concedes the moral high ground to those who believe that man’s highest purpose is to serve something other than himself. Whether that “something” is the state, the race or God the point is that you are not worthy of living your life. Only in submission to a “higher” power can your life have significance.

    Historically, morality has always been anti-individualist. The ultimate human evils are always greed and selfishness. A philosophy that disparages the individual life will necessarily lead to sacrificing the individual life.

    Read the Declaration of Independence. Did the Founders revolt because they were being prevented from serving others? Or did they revolt in the name of individual rights, the rights of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?

  • ricpic

    Capitalists will never defend themselves. That’s the job that religion has done for hundreds of years. How so? Inculcate the young with the commandments and most important the proscriptions listed in the Ten Commandments and you raise generations that are checked, internally, from communist theft and communist bloodymindedness. The communists know this of course, witness the ferocity of their assault on Judaism and Christianity. Revive religion and you deal communism a fatal blow.

    • Bellerophons_Revenge

      Tell that to the Pope. He doesn’t have a problem with socialism. For him, “unfettered” capitalism is the cause of human problems. He, like Obama, wants greater equality.

    • Consider

      “Revive religion and you deal communism a fatal blow.”

      Probably with instructions like these:

      Mathew
      19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
      and
      19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  • MichaelSmith

    It isn’t socialism that’s rising in the U.S., it is fascism.
    Under socialism, the means of production are nationalized and taken over by the government. Under fascism, the means of production remain in private hands, but the government assumes dictatorial powers to force businesses to sell only the products and services the government demands, and on the terms and conditions government demands.
    For instance, Obamacare leaves private health insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies in place, but regulates and dictates to the last detail what insurance policies can be sold, what treatments will be available, what drugs can be administered, etc. Insurance plans not meeting these standards have to be cancelled, despite Obama’s explicit lie that “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
    There is a reason why this distinction is important. With socialism, it is very clear who is to blame when the inevitable economic catastrophes occur — government, as the overt owner and operator of the businesses, cannot blame anyone else for the disasters. But with fascism, there is a built-in scapegoat: the private insurance companies, hospitals, doctors etc. can now be blamed when the inevitable cost increases, shortages, denials of care and long waiting times occur.
    And that’s is what will happen. As the health care system succumbs to the pressures of these fascist regulations, Obama and his apologists will do two things. First and foremost, they will blame doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, etc. for the problems — and then they will argue that all of these problems would have been even worse had the Democrats not passed Obamacare.
    It is fascism, pure and simple. And it will be the economic disaster that all such statism inevitably produces.

  • Consider

    One should finally decide what is socialism. Are that De Blasio and Obama or Mao and Stalin.
    If De Blasio and Obama are socialists than even more so are the ‘regimes’ that rule Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Canada.
    However these ‘ regimes’ score best in various international comparisons of national performance, much better than the US, the champion of self reliance, free market and free enterprise.

    • reader

      Right. The USSR scored itself very well too. I can tell you from the first hand experience that Swedish health care is dead horrible. And also, Swiss aren’t really socialist in your sense: their federal government is much looser than that in DC at present, they have tougher immigration laws, and they don’t have customary for Europe stringent anti-gun laws.

      • Consider

        Regarding the USSR I was not speaking about someone praising oneself but about objective judgment by others. I bet that healtcare on the average is better in Sweden than in the US despite your experience.
        In Switzerland they have strong cantonal authorities, resident foreigners make up 23.3% of the population, and (anti)guns laws refer to military weapons (rifles, mainly) traditionaly kept at home by conscripts.

        • reader

          Objective judgment by others? Who exactly? A progressive think tank? NGO? One of the UN committees? By using the words “objective judgement” you’re giving away you’re having no clue even what criteria the “objective judgement” is based on. And no, Swedish medicine sucks even by European standards, which are quite low compared to the US, dud. By the way, everything you wrote about the Swiss – I suppose using wiki or something – confirm what I said, but you’re so dim that you don’t even realize it.

          • Consider

            “Who exactly?”

            Maybe Ben Shapiro and yourself!

            Like when talking about ‘socialism’, you show that you don’t know what you are talking about.

            Mazedong, Obama, Olaf Palme, De Blasio, all in the same class, all socialists!

            When several sources agree on something, for all practical, purposes this can be considered as an “objective judgement”, until refuted by some more thrustworthy information.
            And at least one readily available source (yes from Wiki)shows that of 10 developed countries the basic indicators regarding health (life expectancy, infant mortality rate, doctors per 1000 people, etc) the US are worst in all categories except costs (expenditure per capita), which were higher in the US case. In short, less performance for more money, that was the raw picture of US free market medicine.
            Even Italy fared better.
            The data are from 2007, before Obama, before ‘socialism’, in the Bush era when the brave and the free, the proud and the independent, the self reliant and the responsible ruled, and everything was rational, market guided, the invisible hand in full action.
            Switzerland. In addition to what has been said, 45,000 naturalizations take place every year (in a country of 8 million).
            How many crimes can be made with military type weapons that cannot be hidden in the pocket, but must be paraded in the open?

          • reader

            Wiki is not the source, it’s a garbage compactor. The best case scenario, it does contain reference to the source(s), which you did not care to display for some reason. It’s funny that you – who may not have ever left your parents basement for all I know – accuse me of not knowing what socialism is, when I lived most of my life under different socialist regimes. I KNOW what socialism is it is just another term for the tyranny of aristocracy, or political class, or socialist bureaucrats, or whatever name you can make up for it, over masses, or plebs, or individuals who are supposedly incapable of making decisions that benefit their lives to the fullest. I’m running away from socialism all my conscious life, because, apart from being destructive, socialism is immoral. It’s the ideology of looters.

          • Consider

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_compared#International_comparisons
            Hoping that the above address will work and that you will find all references and sources that you need.
            I KNOW what socialism is, that is, socialism according to Marxist definition as well as the ensuing capitalism. You are not in position to lecture me.

          • reader

            This is a clear mark of religious fervor. As we know, the scientific method requires adequate amount of empirical evidence supporting theoretical thesis. The empirical evidence accumulated for over 100 years is unequivocal: very single state built after the marxist model failed, causing mass mystery, poverty, destruction and death. Yet, religious marxist fanatics like this keep droning on.

          • Consider

            Bullshit.
            You fell victim to the inadequate definition of terms.

          • reader

            All you need to be able to do for starters is count – over 100 million directly killed by marxists in the 20th century. But marxist drones can’t count. Does wiki say anything about how poor US government schools are? The dumbing down of its product is no accident. The drones are needed to vote for the Big Government type.

          • Consider

            FDR and Tony Blair must also have a share in these 100 million, since their are socialists.
            The public schools in Norway,Germany and Switzerland are OK.

          • reader

            FDR and Tony Blair are not the all-out marxists per se. They are the crony “let’s make a deal with big business” to buy the votes type. But they’re certainly closer to marx on the statist scale. In fact, FDR’s vice Wallace was an outright marxist.

          • Consider

            The article assumes that types like de Blasio, Clinton (later phase), probably Obama et all. are socialists.
            If they are socialists Mao and Pol Pot are not.
            Or vice versa.
            Period.

    • Bellerophons_Revenge

      Sweden has a standard of living that is only 70% of that in the US. It’s healthcare system is far worse at actually delivering health care than the US.

      The much quoted study in which the US was supposedly 37th in health care was based on arbitrary standards like “equality of care” in which a nation that had no health care of any kind would rank higher than the US because everyone was equally without health care. On the only standard that really matters, actual delivery of care, the US ranked number one. That part is rarely mentioned.

      Sweden has a much higher violent crime rate than the US as does most of Europe. England, in particular, has four times the violent crime of the US. The only crime in which the US ranks poorly is murder and that is primarily due to the extraordinary level of murders in the black community. It is nearly ten times the murder rate of all other ethnic groups.

      The life expectancy in the US is held down because of two things, murder and accidents, neither of which is due to health care. If you compare the ages of natural death in the US to the rest of the world, the US is near the top for life expectancy.

      Finally, the US is not the “champion of self reliance…” as you claim. In measurements of economic freedom the US is 18th in the world. Australia, New Zealand and even Dubai rank higher. The highest level of economic freedom is in Hong Kong followed by Singapore, the two fastest growing economies in the world.

      When George Bush took office the US ranked 2nd for economic freedom. When he left office the president who said that he had to violate free market principles to save the free market had dropped the US to number 6 in the world. His successor, the worst president since WWII, dropped us to 18th.

      • Consider

        Good!
        Only murders are a problem!
        I am well, thank you for asking, I only have cancer.
        Othewise all is OK.
        “Champion of self Reliance”. I am talking of “values” promoted, not necessarily achieved or practiced.
        Well, surely promoted are the values of self reliance in health (die if you have no money), education (remain illiterate if you don’t have money to pay for your education) and so on.

  • Laura Thompson

    We know now that the 20th Century was the deadliest century of all time…in that with all the deaths from an ideology or religion, more people were killed in the name of socialism, Marxism, communism, fascism during the 20th century than all the other centuries combined. Why has America turned a blind eye to those realities? Has history taught us nothing?

    • Consider

      In other centuries, there was much less people on the planet, and weaponry was much less lethal.
      One should place things in proportion.

      • Laura Thompson

        If you think about it in those terms then you aren’t truly understanding the amount of killing that occurred under the name of socialism or communism. I don’t have the primary resource for the figures but heard it from a movie called “Grinding America Down” where a historian spoke that statement, but whether you think about the amount of people there were in the world they way you put it and the kind of weaponry, you still must consider that the killing that occurred did not occur during any wars. Stalin alone was responsible for over 60 million of his own citizens. These figures represent dictators that were killing their own citizens. It is very remarkable to me. I looked it up on several sites on the internet and all of them have very high numbers. See http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/COM.ART.HTM. If you don’t trust the data then do the research yourself. Basically I was trying to make the point that the move toward communism has never turned out well for the people and you should have been able to follow that logic.

      • Laura Thompson

        Also see http://frankwarner.typepad.com/free_frank_warner/2006/05/dictatorships_d.html. If you use the sentence “how many people were killed in the 20th century under dictatorships” you will get a plethora of sites that confirm my answer. Mind you, this site says 294 million and that does not include wars. Also remember that Stalin starved millions of his citizens and that is a warfare tool used throughout every century, so not all of the killing was done via new weaponry and technology.

    • kernals

      the new deal saved America from communism, so a new new deal will do the same 80 years later

  • ssmith

    See :Agenda : Grinding America Down

    http://vimeo.com/63749370

    The only complaint I have is that I wish the documentary/movie was even longer or there will be a sequel, so much info. in there ! Even including the foreword in Saul Alinsky’s infamous book ” Rules for Radicals” where we are shown it is dedicated to..lucifer !
    ‘ nuff said ?

  • david

    The primary reason for the rise of Neo-Marxism is the 2009 bailout of Wall Street.
    While common people were having homes foreclosed,and prior to that jobs
    outsourced with legal support from the Bush2 Administration along with massive
    tax cuts for the wealthy, the ’09 bailout for the fatcats was the straw that broke
    the camels back.
    Everyone should have seen the coming of this backlash. It is truly sad, but the “one percent” have planted the seeds of their own destruction.

    • Bill_H2

      Neo-Marxism created the financial climate for the financial collapse in the first place. It took the form of government forcing banks under the CRA to give loans to poor people for housing they could not possibly afford (another case of wealth redistribution gone wrong). To say that capitalism caused the financial collapse is akin to a U-boat captain firing a torpedo at a cruise ship and then saying the cruise ship was defective because it sunk!

      Stop the Disinformation please

      • david

        When you bail out the one percent, that is no longer capitalism: that is fascism/feudalism which has given rise to Neo-Marxism
        Ronald Reagan would have NEVER allowed a Wall Street bailout!

        • Bill_H2

          I’m not as sure as you that Reagan would have been able to say no under the same circumstances. If the bailout was not done, our entire civilization would have been put at risk and Reagan was smart enough to have seen that.

        • kernals

          The guy who served as his vice president did