In the past several years it seems that socialism (the ever-increasing control of a strong central government over the means of production and distribution) has become much more appealing to younger people in the United States. Many now proudly call themselves socialists.
Self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders had no trouble at all gathering huge crowds of young people during his presidential campaign. And of course, at Antifa riots, there are plenty of red flags being waved around by the “protestors” (sometimes with a hammer and sickle emblazoned on the flag).
So, since socialism (including its more tyrannical forms: communism, fascism, nazism) has become more appealing to young people in the United States today, I have a few serious questions to ask them. These questions are to incite serious thought, not invectives or slogans or platitudes (which is what I get in response much of the time when I have debated committed socialists). Kindly think about these questions, and if you think it is worth it, pass them on to your friends.
1. How much of what I earn belongs to you, and why?
If you are an able-bodied person, why should you be able to live at others’ expense? What moral authority do you have to justify your actions? What would you think if I were to go door to door and ask people to contribute to my bank account, or my retirement? And yet, plenty of people do this every day, expecting others to hand over their hard earned money to a benevolent government which will then “fairly” redistribute income to others they deem are more worthy.
How does a government of bureaucrats know how to do this fairly and justly? Where do such geniuses come from and how can we find them?
Please listen to Walter Williams’ ideas on income redistribution:
Here are his thoughts on social security and the cure for poverty from a libertarian economic model:
2. What economic theory has lifted more people out of poverty than any other?
When you look at the history of America and compare it with other nations in the past 400-500 years, you see a very interesting phenomenon. America, in contrast to other nations, has not had a famine since the days of the Pilgrims.
We’ve had hard times, to be sure (the Great Depression), and people have gotten mighty hungry (the Native Americans on reservations, prisoners in the Civil War, the Donner party, etc.), but America has not had a famine in which thousands or millions of people have starved to death. The Soviet Union did every few years (some, as in Soviet-occupied Ukraine, were on purpose to eliminate enemies). China under the leadership of Mao Zedong had a massive famine in the Great Leap Forward. The New York Times published an outstanding article on how Mao’s collectivism killed millions.
North Korea had devastating famines in the 1990s, and Venezuela today can barely feed its own people.
But America feeds its own people (a little too much, in fact) and sells (or donates) extra around the world to feed others! In America we have no shortage of orange juice, shoes, cell phones, cars, computers, microwaves, tools, books, hamburgers, kale or peanuts. Name a product — we have it in abundance, and so do most of the poor in the United States. Why is that? Meanwhile in Venezuela, toilet paper is being rationed.
How has America, in just two centuries, leaped so far ahead of other nations in Europe and Asia to become the world’s lone superpower today? (China is catching up, due to their embrace of some capitalist/free market principles.) Here are some of my favorite videos of Milton Friedman explaining how capitalism and free markets are the best answers to poverty:
And my favorite:
3. What economic theory has spawned the deadliest and most repressive regimes in history?
This of course is where I come up against the abysmal lack of education among many American young people. I remember a discussion with a Bernie supporter in which I stated that Nazism was just another form of socialism. He vehemently disagreed (naturally). And yet when I quoted the full title of the Nazi party (in German and English to him) he couldn’t believe it.
“Nazi” is an abbreviation for “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” Hitler’s government owned every aspect of German life and he dictated to the industrialists exactly what they should produce, how much, and to whom it should go. That is certainly a command and control socialist government.
But, since real history (and economics) is negligible in public schools today, here are a few videos with the facts on the deadliest regimes of the 20th century:
4. Why do you believe that other people can take care of you and spend your money better than you can?
Seriously, why do you believe that bureaucrats in a central government office somewhere can take care of you better than you can? Why do you want a strong centralized government picking the winners and losers in life? Is it because our government has done such a good job in spending us into $20 trillion debt over the past 16 years? Is it because the Pentagon gets such good deals for weapons systems and toilet seats and never wastes a penny? Is it because government healthcare is so efficient in seeing and treating people successfully?
Take a look at the VA and the implosion of the Affordable Care Act before President Trump was elected. Take a look the insurance companies that are withdrawing coverage, premiums are skyrocketing, and people are getting kicked OFF their health insurance plans as a direct result of the ACA (I was one of them). Yep, government geniuses fixed our health insurance and health care problems. Or not.
How about the welfare state? Government does a great job in eliminating or reducing poverty right? Since the creation of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty” in 1964 our federal government has spent a whopping $22 trillion! For that amount of money we could have cut a check for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars years to everyone at the poverty level and have been done with poverty!
But we did not. So how successful has the War on Poverty been? For all the money spent, it has not even put a dent in poverty. In fact, a good case could be made that our government has destroyed families and has permanently hooked entire generations of Americans on the government dole. Here is an excellent summary of the government’s failure in this area.
Ask yourself, “when was the last time the federal government took over a business or industry, ran it efficiently, and lowered costs?” Then listen to the crickets.
5. Why must I do with less (through tax increases) but government must never do with less money?
Just talk about eliminating a completely unnecessary and wasteful department (like the US Department of Education) and listen to people howl. (How did we EVER educate our kids before the federal government got involved?)
I grow weary every time I hear a politician say of tax cuts, “Well how will the government pay for this?” as though the thought never occurred to anyone that maybe the government can cut something? Anything? Why does government have first claim on every penny I make? Why is it that they think they have all my money first and then “graciously” LET me have some at the end of the day? Whose money is it?
6. What is a “living wage” and who defines it?
If socialists are bellyaching how the minimum wage should be $15 per hour, why shouldn’t it be $16? Heck, go for broke — demand a $20 per hour salary. How about $50 per hour? (Now you’re talking!) Seriously, why not these prices?
Take a look at how well this has panned out in Seattle lately. Here’s a report from the “uber right wing” Washington Post.
It was no surprise to conservative and libertarian economists who predicted that businesses would cut hours and lay off workers to make ends meet. But what is the necessity of a minimum wage anyway? Here are some quick videos by noted economists:
Walter Williams vs. former Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.):
7. Why is it unfair or immoral for people who are smarter, who have a better work ethic, who are honest and thrifty, to do better than others in life?
If someone is making more money than you (and they earned it through honest hard work) why are you angry and believe that you (or others) deserve a chunk of what THEY earned?
I ask this because when I talk to self-professing socialists, I hear a lot of greed. The rich (anyone who makes more than a certain line they artificially draw) are automatically bad. They shouldn’t make that much money. Why?
Why not? I know that Jeff Bezos, Labron James, Charles Koch, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Steyer, and Steve Wynn make a whole lot more money than I do. How much? I don’t care. Their money is theirs (or should be). Now if someone got their money by breaking the law, then they need to be prosecuted. But how much money is in an honest citizen’s bank account is none of my business.
If you really believe that the “rich” need to cough up more money to be “redistributed” to others, why not just be honest and advocate seizing ALL their money and property? (Now that wouldn’t be greedy, would it?) But of course you could only do that one time because the “rich” would not have any property or money left.