You Say You Want a Revolution
Free your mind instead: What Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialists really want is a more generous welfare state. And that’s ok.
“He would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich.” — Margaret Thatcher
Communism is dead. Socialism is dead.
Well, that is to say communism- and its precursor on the way to communism, socialism- is dying a slow death in countries like Cuba and Venezuela. Just as socialist and communist societies of various sizes and scopes have languished to death throughout history.
Capitalism has its problems. Socialism and communism have nothing but problems. At the heart of these problems is simple math and basic human nature:
In a communist society where a third of the population are children and a third of the population are elderly, what happens to the third who are able to work and therefore must bear the workload of the entire population?
The short answer is that you have to build walls to keep them in or find some other way to force them to keep on working.
Mass starvation, imprisonment and torture have been the historically preferred methods. Communism has delivered plenty of starvation, imprisonment, torture, and mass murder; but very little in the way of positive benefits to the people unlucky enough to live under such deprivations, let alone the world.
Despots usually must close borders to keep people trapped inside their kleptocratic, murderous republics; there aren’t massive waves of people trying to immigrate as to necessitate keeping anyone out.
Whereas, no one is forced to live in America. People can leave anytime they want. People from all around the world languish on lists for work visas or undertake long, dangerous journeys to immigrate here.
Even America’s most outspoken critics in Congress must not think the U.S. is too terrible as they fight tooth and nail to allow larger and larger numbers of immigrants to live here.
Communism, on the other hand, hasn’t had that great of a run. Between Mao, Stalin, and Lenin, to say nothing of smaller-scale but equally devastating losses of life and property in places like Albania, communism is said to have killed over 100 million people in the last 100-years alone.
That death count makes a strong case for communism being the biggest single disaster in all of recorded history.
Communism might have died out in a Texas grocery store right around the time the Berlin Wall fell. Right around the same time Boris Yeltsin, on a diplomatic delegation from the U.S.S.R., got a look at what capitalism had done for the people of the U.S., while his countrymen starved on breadlines back in the motherland.
But communism limps on in China today, bearing up under the increasing weight of keeping iron-fisted state control over the media. If you build a Great Firewall of China, you must know people plan to try and get through it.
Whether the Chinese government can withstand the relentless pressure of Chinese hackers who want access to the world’s internet, and the same information (some of it wrong) that the rest of the world has, is anyone’s guess.
But it doesn’t look good. Again, it defies human nature: “Forbid us a thing, and that thing desiren we” as Chaucer put it.
There is also the troubling moral question of the growing surveillance state in China, the country’s attempts to contain the coronavirus- and some of the uglier implications of a communist, authoritarian government like China’s that is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful.
Or the troubling question of how the authoritarian regime has, in the name of the greater good, confined its Uighur Muslim citizens to re-education camps. This, incidentally, is China’s answer to radical Islam.
But what has really killed communism is the global economy.
Communism is theoretically impossible in 2020: Global capitalism the current real-world reality.
China is simply a large and populace country that harnesses its plentiful cheap labor and low-regulatory environment to produce goods to sell to…capitalist countries with the money to buy those goods.
No wealthy capitalist countries, no communist China.
The socialist hegemonic utopia of the nordic nations is also a mirage. On closer examination, all of the countries politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez like to hold up as examples of how a socialist system can work were all countries who became wealthy through capitalism and then expanded their social programs.
Socialism did not make these countries successful; capitalism did.
The nordic nations still have a lower corporate tax rate than the U.S., even after President Trump lowered the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35% to a more competitive 26% after he took office.
Europe isn’t really any more liberal than the U.S., either. Some countries are more liberal, some conservative, just like U.S. states.
Democratic socialists in the U.S. like Bernie Sanders understand better than anyone that if the next generation wants to sustain larger social welfare programs, it’s going to need free capital and labor markets to pay for them.
Sanders may just be the man to deliver.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)