Driving out of a parking deck today I saw a van with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker. I know that he is popular in and around his home state of Vermont but I was taken aback by a sign of support for him so far into the conservative, Right wing South. I actually appalled me as do most liberal Democrats and especially people that would throw their support behind an avowed Socialist. It has really surprised me as of late that Socialist has stopped being a 4-letter word in the United States.
I don’t know if it is because people like the promise of free stuff from the government or have a poor grasp of history. I suspect it is both themes that repeat themselves again and again. We have evidently failed to learn hard won lessons of the twentieth century. Namely; that millions will die for the institution of authoritarian socialism and that it will invariably fail. Make no mistake, all socialism at its end for will become authoritarian.
This reminds me of an interview I saw recently of Anatoly Kuznetsov. He was a Ukrainian born author that lived under the Soviet Union. He escaped to England where he then shared storied of repression under authoritarian socialist rule. I believe his words, spoken nearly half a century ago, say it best:
Communist doctrine, communist teaching is very attractive… and it grew out of good convictions and beliefs. But life it appears is a good deal more complex than it appeared to the founders of Communism. And we see ancient history being repeated again. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Thanks to Communism that road has become many miles longer. I only hope to mention the name Stalin and you’re bound to agree with me. If that is possible; if it is possible to have millions of victims completely senselessly, that means that the idea itself is no good.
The idea that the people can organize into unions, collectively raise wages, and live in equality sounds awesome. But stratification across society is endemic in every population, culture and economy throughout history. The only way to move towards such objectives is through authoritarian control via the government. In other words; at the barrel of a gun and via censorship.
Oxford Union Youtube channel is great and I highly recommend subscribing. In their debates you get to hear both sides. I try to be critical of my own biases to vet out any inconsistencies or fallacies. By this age in life however, I rarely have to stray from my convictions because I start from a bias towards reality. During the debate on Socialism I found the oratory skills of the parties favoring free market capitalism to be unparalleled in their passion and eloquence. Plus everything just sounds smarter in a British accent. Here is an example:
To the credit of the side espousing that Socialism DOES work their points were primarily and almost exclusively contained within the realm of idealism. Again, with an anti-realistic bias. There were two valid criticisms among them I will admit. Those being an anecdote of one proponent’s ancestors living in a coal mining town where workers were exploited and the postulation that the Soviet Union was able to establish institutions of public transit and public education in a matter of years as opposed to the free market taking centuries.
To the point of worker exploitation; in our current society we have exceedingly cheap and widely available means of relocating to better circumstances. Though local ties and obligations may seem insurmountable remember that while modern Americans may need to pack their belongings into their car and drive a few hours to a new city the first people here took what they owned and spent months on treacherous ocean voyages.
To the second point of public works. Much if not all of the infrastructure needed to provide these things came from private industry and innovation. And as a more apt retort, as given by one of the debators, would you rather send your children to school in North Korea?
I highly recommend listening to the entire interchange and I’ve put the link below. In the meantime I was left with the question people keep asking me about my wacky views, “what are you really going to do?” I’ve decided the best and only way is this; Reject, Refute, and Ridicule.