Socialism: A History of Failure

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

The things left-liberals inevitably overlook in pursuit of their policy preferences are the three that argue most persuasively against them: history, human nature and math.

There is no better example of the phenomenon than the American left’s enthusiasm for socialism, currently dressed up as “democratic socialism.”

In an October article entitled “Venezuela, Once an Oil Giant, Reaches the End of an Era,” three New York Times writers combined to publish more than 1500 words documenting Venezuela’s decline into chaos and poverty, none of which included the reason: socialism.

Instead, the writers reserved their disapprobation for the environmental devastation caused by mismanagement of the nation’s petroleum industry, and the “punishing American sanctions” levied upon Venezuela’s rogue regime.

Times writers aren’t alone. In 2018, the Washington Post published a piece entitled, “No, Venezuela doesn’t prove anything about socialism,” arguing that socialism shouldn’t be judged by Venezuela: “The country’s catastrophic collapse is, we’re told, all we need to know about the terrifying dangers of socialism.”

It’s more than enough, but not according to the native Venezuelan writer who observed that millions of Venezuelans fled to neighboring South American countries that survived socialism and later thrived, at least in relative terms.

It’s a bit unclear, but the writer seems to make the argument that Latin American nations, uniquely, must first experience (and escape?) socialism in order to become more prosperous.

Rather than blame socialism, left-wing apologists generally attribute Venezuela’s humanitarian crisis to corruption, authoritarianism, cronyism, the pernicious residual effects of capitalism, and American animosity and sanctions.

But, history records that, in every nation that chose or imposed socialism, coercion was/is necessary to sustain the system, and corruption and cronyism are endemic.

Irremediably math-challenged, socialists’ promises always exceed their system’s ability to deliver, so socialist market strategies and governments always fail.

Venezuela’s socialist policies – and results – were predictable: The regime blew money on ineffective social programs; increased the national minimum wage (repeatedly); nationalized industries and gave control to worker co-ops headed by incompetent, corrupt political cronies.

The nation’s petroleum infrastructure immediately fell into disrepair. Production cratered. Then, government overspending increased as world oil prices collapsed, so already-massive deficits ballooned.

Venezuela’s socialist regime “solved” deficits by printing money, causing major inflation. Inflation led to price controls. Price controls caused shortages.

It’s human nature to find workarounds, so shortages led to black markets for food, fuel, essential supplies, even currency. Nowhere is the U.S. dollar stronger than in Venezuela.

Fuel supplies dwindled even before Venezuela’s oil industry collapsed. Exploding crime rates, widespread starvation, critical medical and other shortages inspired mass protests that are brutally suppressed by the regime’s military cronies.

Because the systems are fundamentally incompatible, Venezuela’s socialist regime destroyed the nation’s already-vestigial free market democracy.

The Post writer accused American conservatives of exploiting Venezuela’s problems: “It’s appalling to see my country’s suffering leveraged for cheap partisan point-scoring.”

Socialists don’t like truth-tellers.

Socialism has been/is being rehashed by despotic strongmen in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South and Central America with the same results as the European failures that launched the socialist scourge. Yet, cynical, politically-ambitious American socialists excuse their belief system’s comprehensive failures, citing them as “evidence” the system was never “properly implemented” by the “right” people.

Sadly, many young Americans cannot accurately define free market capitalism.

It’s human nature for altruistic youngsters to embrace noble-sounding terms like “equality,” but they should learn the facts of socialism’s unblemished history of empowering and enriching regime insiders, while institutionalizing repression and human suffering for everyone else.

Young Americans must be taught the essential truth that the concept of free market capitalism, a system from which everyone has a chance to benefit, was developed by – and for – outsiders.

Socialism is relevant here, because the American left’s most-energized elements consist of ambitious self-avowed “democratic socialists” and similar economic malcontents.

Tellingly, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former-party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz went blank or refused to answer when asked separately, on-camera, to explain the difference between a Democrat and a socialist.

If there are differences, senior Democrats should be able to explain them in specific generally-understandable terms.

In fact, neither socialism nor its inevitable tragic consequences are new. “Democratic socialism” is merely window dressing – a deception.

Pray that America remains free, that the nation never succumbs to socialism in any of its soulless, equally-repressive forms.