AOC never really goes away, so it’s not accurate to say that she’s “back.” The extremist New York Democrat who missed the Cold War and its lessons has launched yet another attack on capitalism, in response to a question from one of her social media followers.
FEE picks up the story:
“The question of billionaires is less about being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ individual and more about the immorality of a system and economy that not only allows abuse of everyday people, but financially rewards the powerful who profit off not paying workers a living wage, keeping medicine expensive … or otherwise hoarding unthinkable levels of wealth for the very few by denying basic dignities of life for the many,” she wrote.
Ocasio-Cortez continued, “Billionaires are a symptom of a society that does not afford people basic elements of dignity,” concluding, “If people want we can revisit the billionaire question when everyone has healthcare, climate change is addressed, [and] people have actual dignified standards of living.”
This is laughably wrong-headed as morality and economics. But to some it’s also seductive, making it dangerous.
Let’s take a look at a couple of billionaires we all know.
Steve Jobs started out with nothing. He invented and perfected things that brought some value into people’s lives, personal computers. Jobs wasn’t the only one building personal computers and operating systems, but the ones he built were successful. They enabled people to do things, be more creative, and work more efficiently. Jobs went from nothing to billionaire, but he didn’t do so by “abusing” people economically (morally, yeah, there’s probably a case to be made there). He built and sold products of some value, and people and businesses traded the money they earned from working for those products. If his products brought no value, Jobs would have ended where he started — with nothing.
Jeff Bezos started with nothing. He had an idea, which seemed weird at the time, which was to sell books on a website. The common way to buy books before he showed up was to go to a store, walk around, browse or hunt, pick up a book, leaf through it, and decide to buy it or not. Bezos’ Amazon seemed counter to all that, and it was. But it offered value: It turned out that people could do without the browsing. Amazon succeeded and expanded and now it’s a global behemoth, Bezos is a billionaire, and millions (maybe billions) of people have bought books and a whole lot more from him. You can buy almost anything on Amazon now. Seriously, almost anything. Amazon is also now a reference, a library of products with reactions from customers. It provides a whole lot of value.
One could argue that both Apple and Amazon destroyed other businesses en route to success, and that’s true, but it’s also true that they have created world-changing value and that’s what their success is ultimately built on. If no one wanted to buy books from a website, as Bezos gambled they would when he established Amazon, he’d have stayed in that corner with the hand-made “Amazon.com” sign instead of becoming the richest individual in the world.
That was only in 1999. Amazon went from a weird idea to one that has changed the world. Amazon surely made the current pandemic a bit more tolerable.
Should Jeff Bezos not exist? Should he not be rewarded for having an idea and having the guts to pursue it wherever it might lead? AOC would argue yes — she infamously blocked Amazon from expanding and creating jobs in New York, depriving 25,000 people of employment. It didn’t hurt her, she works for the government now and is elected in a far-left district that will keep her in office for as long as she wants.
But if Bezos didn’t exist, or if Amazon never happened, over 1.1 million people would not have jobs there. Each of those jobs creates value, in work and money, for those individuals.
The way a billionaire happens is typically this: they have an idea to make or do something no one else has done (or they have an idea to do something already being done, but better and more efficiently), they spend their own time and energy making it happen, they take risks, and they make it. Or they don’t. We don’t hear about the billionaires that never happen, just the ones who make it. Some of them make and lose fortunes many times over the course of their lives, as they take risks, succeed, take more risks, fail, take more risks, succeed, and so forth.
At any rate, AOC is a socialist. That’s the label she chooses to wear.
But socialists, not billionaires, are the ones who should not exist. AOC should be deeply ashamed to wear that label.
Socialism is a disastrous failure wherever it has been tried. It’s also the most brutal ideology ever conceived. Over the course of the 20th century, variants of socialism amassed the single highest body count of any ideology in history. From Soviet communism to German National Socialism (better known as Nazism, of course), Chinese communism, Cuban communism, Cambodian Khmer Rouge communism, and various other strains, socialism/communism is responsible for the murders of 80 to a hundred million people.
Six to 7 million in Nazi death camps.
Up to 12 million in Stalin’s Ukraine famine.
Some 30 to 50 million in China’s Cultural Revolution and brutalities associated with the regime.
Another 2 million in Cambodia under the communist Khmer Rouge, about 25% of that country’s population at the time.
Add in Cuba. Venezuela. Vietnam. North Korea. And on and on.
Socialism/communism is rule by the few who seize everything they possibly can from citizens, turning them into worse than subjects. It imprisons the creative, the independent, those who place their faith anywhere but government.
Even where softer forms of socialism have been tried, such as the Scandinavian countries AOC and Sen. Bernie Sanders often cite as examples for the United States to follow, it has failed and been rejected.
Anderson Cooper: When people hear the word socialism, they think Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela. Is that what you have in mind?
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Of course (LAUGH) not. What we have in mind—and what of my—and my policies most closely resemble what we see in the U.K., in Norway, in Finland, in Sweden.
Yeah. They’re not socialist anymore, because it failed.
The U.K. is easy to deal with. The British people rejected the socialist ownership model in 1979, leading to a long run of privatizations and deregulations. Even the Labour Party began moves to privatize the Royal Mail when it was in government in 2008 (the privatization was completed by the coalition government in 2013). Britain is overwhelmingly a free market economy.
There is actually a similar story in Sweden. Like Britain, Sweden had been a free market for many years and had grown rich as a result when socialist politicians were elected and began to bring the economy under the control of the state. This led to a significant decline in Sweden’s wealth relative to other countries and crushed entrepreneurialism.
Socialism has no — zero — redeeming qualities. None.
The founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, probably put it best when he recently slammed socialism as “trickle-up poverty.”
In a recent interview with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Mackey said business bosses need to more aggressively push back against progressives’ increasingly popular critiques of capitalism, a system he called “the greatest thing that humanity’s ever created.”
Asked whether the business world’s culture needs to change, the grocery tycoon replied, “It needs to evolve. Otherwise the socialists are going to take over, that’s how I see it. And that’s the path of poverty.”
“They talk about trickle-down wealth, but socialism is trickle-up poverty,” he said. “It just impoverishes everything.”
Exactly right. Capitalism enables an environment that allows individuals or groups to create wealth from their ideas and work by taking risk. Mackey knows all about that, but unfortunately his left-skewing customers may not. Socialism subjugates people to the state, robbing them of their dignity and wealth and destroying their incentive to be creative. It allows a very few to have unchallenged power over everyone else and destroys government accountability to the people. Socialism is the opposite of the American ideal of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Socialism is all about collecting power and wealth in the hands of the few, and is thus fundamentally immoral. Socialism is the ultimate greed feeder, it just feeds those who lust after government power, not individual freedom. The real problem with the likes of AOC is not just that they are economically and morally illiterate, though they are that. The real problem with their likes is they lust after controlling the rest of us and they desire to force everyone else to do their bidding, whether we want to or not.
Socialism is a form of slavery, ultimately. See: China’s concentration/labor camps. It has no place in this century or the future. Socialists should be shamed out of their greedy, destructive mindset.