A frightening 70% of millennials say they would back a socialist candidate for office.
Today, we are seeing many socialist ideas gaining traction, such as “free” college tuition, government-run health care, and a guaranteed income even for able-bodied people who don’t work.
While we can blame some of the attraction on socialism’s false promises of fixing every social ill, the indoctrination present in our schools and universities, and members of the media who carry its water, some of the blame lies with us, the older generation.
Too often, we have failed to educate newer generations about socialism, instead leaving it up to others who have a different agenda. In partial reparation, here are six of the more persistent myths debunked.
1. Socialism has never failed because it has never really been tried.
In truth, socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried for over a century, from the former Soviet Union to the democratic socialism of Israel, India, and Great Britain after World War II to present-day Venezuela.
2. Denmark (or your favorite Scandinavian country) is a prime example that socialism works.
The reality is, Denmark has a free-market economy that produces goods and services that the government then heavily taxes to finance an extensive welfare state. Denmark’s prime minister once told a shocked Washington, D.C., audience: “I would like to make one thing clear … Denmark is a market economy.”
Like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway all rely on free-market capitalism to finance their expansive welfare systems.
3. Socialism is compassionate and caring.
In truth, socialists only care about the collective, not the individual. In Maoist China, children as young as 12 were subject to capital punishment, women were forced to work in coal mines, and workers were harassed with threats of prison if they were late.
4. Socialism places power in the hands of the people.
Actually, true socialism depends upon the dictatorship of a military leader or a political party. Socialist leaders promised to bring down dictators only to replace them with their own Marxist dictatorships in places like China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Laos.
5. Karl Marx, socialism’s founder, was one of the great thinkers of the 19th century.
Marx was wrong about nearly everything. Nearly 200 years after “The Communist Manifesto,” the nation state has not withered away. Capitalism, not socialism, rules the global economy. Workers have not turned into revolutionaries but entrepreneurs. And private property—rather than being rejected—is a cornerstone of every prosperous country.
6. Human nature is malleable and easily changed by government edicts.
For 70 years, the Soviet Union tried to suppress people’s innermost desires for freedom and for improving their lot in life. In practice, socialism depends on constant policing by the state and huge prison camps to coerce people and maintain power.
These are just some of the many myths and realities of socialism, an ideology that has failed everywhere it’s been tried.
We must work to enlighten our children and grandchildren. We must be there to counter the falsehoods they are learning from professors, the media, and pop culture, or we will surely lose another generation to this poisonous ideology.
Originally distributed by the Tribune Content Agency