Socialism has no Future
You might think that my title to this commentary, Socialism has no Future, is just my political opinion. But that is not what I am trying to say. Let me explain.
Maybe it’s the pandemic. Maybe it’s all the protests and rioting. Maybe, it’s the upcoming elections as the Democrats veer further and further to the left. But I was thinking about what kind of world my kids and grandkids would be living in after I am gone, and I was getting a bit depressed. I mean everybody wants their kids to have a happy, successful life. A prosperous life. A free life where they can choose how they want to live. A life where they have hope for a better future for themselves and their kids.
America appears to be heading to a dark place (and the Chinese are chortling in their Moo Gu Gai pan). We are faced with no alternative between the Scylla of the chaotic Trump administration and the Charybdis of the anarchic progressive left (if you don’t know what I am talking about Google Greek mythology).
The progressive left is luring young people into its web by offering an idyllic world of equality of outcomes and environmental activism to save the planet. This socialist egalitarian paradise will fall far short of the American Dream. Egalitarianism can only be created by force. By decreeing politically based outcomes no matter what inputs there are of effort or creativity, progressives will suck the drive out of anyone trying to improve the world or their situation in the world. Without competition there is no reason to strive to improve products or processes. Innovation will wither. Economic growth will stall. It will be a lowest common denominator life where the future is the same as the past.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the Washington Consensus on democracy and free markets, historian Francis Fukuyama announced, “the end of history.” But there can be no end of history in the Western world as scientific discoveries, economic growth, innovation and competition are constantly changing and renewing the world we live in. Since that so-called end of history, just in America we have had the Internet, social media, smartphones, self-driving cars and private sector spaceships. The Western world is in a constant state of renewal (which is the corollary to creative destruction).
Not so the socialist world. The Soviet Union collapsed because its sclerotic economy could not produce the goods the people needed to survive. Absent the West, the Soviet Union could have continued for many years in an ever-descending cycle of declining production and shoddy products. Pressure to keep up with a more dynamic American economy accelerated its inevitable collapse. Communist China’s attempt at collectivization under Mao caused millions of deaths by starvation. No, it is the socialist world that would be the end of history. A stark, drab world where nobody has the hope of creating a better life for themselves or their posterity.
The socialists of the twenty-first century state that previous attempts to create egalitarian states have failed because of poor planning or flawed leaders such as Stalin, Mao and Chavez. I have been reading Thomas Piketty’s latest book, Capital and Ideology (yes, I am still reading it – it’s over a thousand pages long) and I have yet to see him name of successful egalitarian society. The closest he can come are the Nordic social democracies that are not exactly egalitarian (although more egalitarian than the rest of Europe, the US or China) and are not socialist (while the government provides a lot of services most of the means of production are held by private sector companies). They do not apply many of the leveling tactics preferred by Piketty such as highly progressive taxes (they tax everybody and have more billionaires per capita than the US). Further, the Nordic countries realized their socialist policies had gone too far and that growth was declining and failing to provide tax revenue to cover mounting expenses. The 1970s marked the highwater of social democracy in Scandinavia, which has moved back toward the center in recent decades.
So, when I say that socialism has no future, I mean that literally. In his book, Piketty states that zero point eight percent economic growth is perfectly okay. However, egalitarian socialist economies have not proven the ability to create even that meager amount of growth. There will be no American Dream in Socialist America. There will be no better life for succeeding generations. Just the same drab now that afflicted the Soviet Union. But everyone will be equal (except the leaders of the progressive party).
The problem with America’s democratic socialists is that they live in a bubble. They don’t just want to defund the police. They want to defund any program that does not fit their social justice agenda. They ignore the fact that we live in a complex and dangerous world that doesn’t care about their social justice agenda.
The progressive left will solve easily the immigration problem. Under the regime envisioned by the progressive left there will be no need for a border wall. All the people around the world that are flocking to America for their chance of achieving their American Dream will not come to Socialist America. The Soviet Union did not have an immigration problem. Venezuela does not have an immigration problem. China definitely does not have an immigration problem. Hong Kong will have an emigration problem as people try desperately to get to England or some other Western country. Socialist countries do not have immigration problems because nobody wants to go there and the people already there want to get out.
The progressive majority would act quickly to implement the Green New Deal that would decimate US energy production and strangle economic growth. There is no way that wind power and solar energy can fulfill more than a small percent of US energy needs. And the greens won’t touch nuclear energy for reasons that no one can understand (China has 46 nuclear power plants in operation with 11 under construction and another 36 in the planning stage). And once the US becomes carbon neutral, the 85% of the carbon produced by the rest of the world will continue to grow and contribute to climate change. Progressives will say that the US is showing leadership by its good example – while China and India laugh at what dufuses Americans are.
The progressive left will also resolve the so-called New Cold War by letting China have its way around the globe. No more expensive freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea. No more Space Force to counter China’s growing militarization of outer space. No more foreign aid or military support for countries around the world trying to stay out of China’s political orbit. And Russia would have a free hand in Europe as well.
The sole focus of a progressive left sweep of the presidency and Congress will be the redistribution of wealth (which will be considered the equivalent of racial justice as well). American businesses will be seen as an enemy that must be bound tightly by regulation to limit their exploitation of workers in the form of profits. The jails will be emptied of common criminals to make room for the wealthy white-collar criminals whose guilt is proved by their wealth.
I hear that Australia is nice. I wonder if they will have room for my grandkids.