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The Success of Socialist Candidates Would Mean a Return to Poverty and Tyranny

On Tuesday, two veterans of the 2016 campaign launched by self-identified socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won important upsets in Democratic primaries. Sanders himself congratulated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and former NAACP Chair Ben Jealous, who each defeated rivals endorsed by the Democratic Party. Their victories have been hailed as "progressive," but the socialist ideology they pursue is truly regressive, and would resurrect the age-old tragedy of a pre-free market command economy with fewer options and more poverty.

Sanders declared that Jealous' victory "showed that running a progressive, issue-oriented campaign can bring all working people together in the fight for justice."

What does Sanders consider "progressive"? An ever-increasing government control of the economy, heavy on redistributing wealth. But don't take my word for it — examine Ocasio-Cortez's campaign platform. Here it is, complete with some snarky explanations courtesy of America Rising.

Ocasio-Cortez promises "Medicare For All," the standard Sanders approach to health care, "free" public universities and trade schools, guaranteed jobs for everyone, a 100 percent renewable "infrastructure overhaul," and guaranteed housing. How would she pay for all this largess? "Taxing Wall Street."

Riiiight. Even if you confiscated every single dollar in the stock exchange, that would not come close to covering the cost of all these programs. In the process, you would be killing the engine of growth that enables jobs, goods, and services to exist in the free market in the first place.

In short, full implementation of this plan is not only economically infeasible, it would derail America's wealth-creating machine, bringing back a poverty and injustice all too familiar in human history.

What socialists like Jealous, Ocasio-Cortez, and Sanders seem not to understand is that the free market capitalist engine of growth that enables the unprecedented wealth America enjoys is a fragile thing, relatively new in world history. The rejection of this growth engine represents a return to the unchecked power of government, and a resurgence of the kind of tyranny that killed millions in the last century.

Throughout most of human history, government has had immense power. The monopoly on force which the state generally enjoys has fostered all kinds of injustice. Going back to roughly 2000 B.C., kings you have never heard of in places that are now called Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey taxed their citizens heavily to construct massive monuments proclaiming the glory of their names. Many of them even built new cities, naming them after themselves.