TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM THAT THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WON'T TELL YOU
By Don Feder
July 30, 2018
Like pet rocks in the '70s and beanie babies in the '90s, Democratic Socialism is now the rage, following its spectacular failure throughout the 20th century. Will mercantilism and National Socialism make comebacks too?
The Democratic Socialists of America got a boost when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated 10-term Congressman Joe Crowley for her party's nomination in a mostly Hispanic district in the Bronx. The 28-year old is a giggly space cadet who says she's "not an expert on geopolitics," despite a degree in international relations from Boston University. She's also anti-Israel and was endorsed by Black Lives Matter.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tony Perez says she "represents the future of our party." I don't doubt it.
The DSA has seen its membership jump from 5,000 in November 2016 – when a candidate who was proud to call himself a businessman was elected president to 40,000 in June. That's supposed to be a sign of the movement's growing popularity. (There are red states with Republican county committees that are larger.) Wonder how many you'd have left if you subtracted college kids on the daddy dole, young adults living in the basement of their parents' homes and the faculties of Ivy League colleges and universities.
Popularity aside, here's everything you need to know about democratic socialism that the MSM won't tell you.
1. The movement's leaders are frauds.
The more-socialist wing of the Democratic Party is always carrying on about "the top 1 percent" — the wealthiest Americans. But their leaders are comfortably ensconced among them.
Take Vermont's Bernie Sanders, the only avowed socialist in the Senate, whose website proclaims, "The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time." If property is theft, who did Bernie rob to make it into the top 1%? In 2016, Sanders earned $858,750 in book royalties. Combined with his congressional salary, that put him over $1 million — 25 times more than the average American ($45,567). Is Bernie immoral?
Elizabeth Warren is the scourge of the "ultra-rich." In 2012, Warren's net worth (estimated between $3.7 million and $10 million) made her the 76th richest member of Congress (out of 541 senators and representatives) not a poor man's club.
If nothing else, the Massachusetts Senator has gotten plenty of political mileage out of her claim that she's part American Indian — which is based on "family stories" that she refuses to verify with a DNA test. But then socialism itself is based on a lie: That, instead of producing, a society can loot its way to prosperity.
2. It appeals to the most feckless, ignorant generation in history — millennials.
The generation born between 1981 and 1998 is the first to have a more favorable view of socialism than capitalism (43% to 32%). They fueled Bernie's presidential campaign. They are also whiny, ill-educated, narcissistic and absolutely convinced of their own virtue. (Snowflake socialism?) As a whole, they know less about American history and contemporary politics than any that have gone before them.
They probably believe in socialism because it sounds cool and compassionate, without understanding how it works.
Instead of marrying, they have relationships. They flit from job to job. (According to a 2018 survey, 43% of millennials say they expect to leave their current employment within two years.) They don't identify with what's called organized religion. They feel less loyal to America than their predecessors.
So, it's a generation that avoids attachment, that's distrustful of institutions, wants to turn the economy (the institution that has the greatest impact on their lives) over to the state.
Millennials aren't big on logic.
3. The Democratic Party isn't "embracing" socialism, it's at last being honest about the essential nature of modern liberalism.
Since FDR and the New Deal, the Democrats have been the party of big government — the party of mega-deficits, onerous regulation, confiscatory taxation, inflation and income-leveling. The differences between the agendas of Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer (or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi) are more rhetorical than real. The Democratic establishment claims to believe in a market-based economy while doing everything possible to undermine it.
Democrats have given us the progressive income tax, the Federal Reserve System, the minimum wage and Obamacare, but say they're defenders of the free market. Hillary Clinton says she's a capitalist, "with appropriate regulation and appropriate accountability," which is like saying you believe in the Second Amendment, with appropriate bans on various types of firearms and ammunition, and appropriate anti-gun rhetoric.
4. Wherever it's tried, socialism has failed spectacularly.
Look at satellite photos of South and North Korea at night — an ocean of sparkling lights versus near total darkness. Socialism is the darkness.
Where are socialism's success stories? Mexico under the PRI and its successors? Britain under successive Labor governments following World War II? Greece? Venezuela? The IMF estimates that Venezuela's inflation rate will hit 13,000% this year — up from a modest 2,400% last year.
In the U.S., the cities and states run by socialists (in some cases for decades), teeter on the proverbial brink of bankruptcy — among them Connecticut, California and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Chicago, Detroit and Oakland.
If socialism worked, California would be a fiscal success story, instead of a black hole that the middle class is fleeing, and Chicago would be propping up the federal government.
The failure of socialism, democratic or otherwise, is premised on a simple but inescapable truth: People need an incentive to work. Keep reducing the incentive, and eventually you'll have a society of drones.
5. People move from socialist to capitalist countries, not the reverse.
Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, the Berlin Wall was not built to keep West Germans from fleeing prosperity to a bleak, Soviet-style existence. Mexicans at our southern border aren't clamoring for poverty.
Every day, 35,000 cross the Simon Bolivar Bridge from Venezuela to Colombia. Since 2017, more than a million Venezuelans have relocated to Columbia, which is a paradise only compared to what they left behind.
During the Cold War, the phenomenon was called "voting with your feet." Today, it's taking the investment your life represents out of a failing business and putting it in another stock.
6. The idea that all people have a right to live with dignity is an absurdity.
Ocasio-Cortez and her gang want everyone to have a guaranteed income which will allow them to "live with dignity." What's dignified about living as a dependent of the state? Dignity comes from earning your bread by the sweat of your brow. A parasitical existence in not conducive to self-esteem.
7. In the U.S., the worst-run businesses are operated by the government.
The perpetually in-the-red United States Postal Service, VA hospitals, public schools — these are not models of excellence. Clinton and Obama pledged devotion to public education, then sent their children to for-profit, private schools.
Under democratic socialism, everything would be run like the post office — inferior service, prices that bear no relation to supply and demand, and queuing up for hours to get service.
8. Democratic socialism is an oxymoron.
It's democratic until the masses complain too much about what's being done to them. Then the guns come out, and bullets replace ballots. Why should counter-revolutionary elements be allowed to take us back to a time when the masses had choices? In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez came to power democratically. His successors have maintained power with elections that increasingly resemble voting in the Soviet Union.
Democratic socialism is a slogan the left doesn't take seriously. A communist is a socialist with a gun. A socialist is a communist who doesn't have a gun — yet.
9. It's not a revolt of the masses, but of the elites.
Calls for socialism don't come from the poor or the middle-class but the wealthy — the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, movie stars and Soros types. Ted Kennedy spent 47 years in the Senate trying to rig the economy so that no one else would ever achieve the success of his family.
The wealthy have control over material things — the things that money can buy. The power to control the lives of others only comes from politics. That's why the elites — including academia and the media (news and entertainment) — favor socialism. Wealth and fame will never give them the influence over others that gargantuan government brings.
10. Socialism is un-American.
America was founded on individual liberty. The Founding Fathers were successful merchants, farmers and professionals — men of property. The French Revolution was about equality and cutting off heads to achieve it. Ours was about equality before the law, equal in our rights and responsibilities, not in our possessions.
The vision of Plymouth and Philadelphia wasn't of an anthill society. We didn't become the greatest success story in history in less than 200 years, based on income-leveling, collective ownership, five-year plans and the dignity of handouts.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains a Facebook page.