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Free Minds & Free Markets

Civil Liberties and Socialism Don’t Mix

Democratic socialists say they believe in civil liberties, but their ideology is and will always be hostile to individual freedom.

Rick Friedman/Polaris/NewscomRick Friedman/Polaris/NewscomIn 1981, the socialist economist and best-selling author Robert Heilbroner took to the pages of the democratic socialist magazine, Dissent, to answer what would seem like a rather academic question, "What is Socialism?" His answer was a raw, honest, and devastating critique of democratic socialism from a man wrestling with his faith. In his essay, Heilbroner—reminiscent of a similar definitional debate today among progressives and socialists—explained that socialism is not a more generous welfare state along Nordic lines. Instead, it is something entirely different, an economic and cultural configuration that suppresses if not eliminates the market economy and the alienating and selfish culture it produces.

"If tradition cannot, and the market system should not, underpin the socialist order, we are left with some form of command as the necessary means for securing its continuance and adaptation," Heilbroner wrote. "Indeed, that is what planning means. Command by planning need not, of course, be totalitarian. But an aspect of authoritarianism resides inextricably in all planning systems. A plan is meaningless if it is not carried out, or if it can be ignored or defied at will."

As Heilbroner reluctantly acknowledged, socialist planning cannot co-exist with individual rights, an achievement of Western culture he wanted to preserve. Instead, under socialism, culture must produce "some form of commitment to the idea of a morally conscious collectivity." This, however, was antagonistic to "bourgeois" culture, which "encourages and breeds the idea of the primary importance of the individual." And bourgeois culture, devoted to the sovereignty of the individual, he wrote, "naturally asserts the rights of individuals to speak their minds freely, to act as they wish within reasonable grounds, to behave as John Stuart Mill preached in his treatise On Liberty." A socialist culture, Heilbroner feared correctly, couldn't abide this "celebration of individualism" because it is "directly opposed to the basic socialist commitment to a deliberately embraced collective moral goal."

Most of today's democratic socialists, however, don't have the same doubts or circumspection of Heilbroner. The resurgent Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) argue that under democratic socialism "individual civil and political rights…which are routinely violated, would be strengthened, and public resources would be devoted to the development of a genuinely free press and a democratically-administered mass media." Lefty Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin—in a howler of a puff piece for The New York Times on "The New Socialists" such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders—argues that "what the socialist seeks is freedom."

This rhetoric, however, is profoundly ignorant of history and the internal logic of socialist ideology, as Heilbroner diagnosed it, or it's artifice. There is only one kind of democracy that socialists can create, and that is an illiberal one, where the "majority"—I suspect some kind of vanguard in reality—engages, yet once again, in massive experiments in social engineering in an attempt purge people of their nasty habits.

Democratic socialists will no doubt sneer at such an argument, but how could it be otherwise when the self-proclaimed goal of democratic socialists, according to DSA member and Jacobin staff writer Meagan Day, is to "end capitalism." To engage in such a project, however, can lead nowhere else but tyranny.

Heilbroner understood this. In an endnote to his article, he shockingly admitted that socialism always faced "two historic problems" that he "deliberately passed over" in his essay. "The first is the necessity to intervene deeply, and probably ruthlessly, into the economy in order to establish the socialist order in the first place," he wrote. "The second is the need to continue a policy of painful intervention to accommodate the socialist economy, once set in place, to the constricting limits of the environment."

But no social engineer, as any Marxist knows, can separate the economy from its political and cultural milieu. And so ruthless intervention in the economy necessitates ruthless intervention in politics and culture. A thought experiment is therefore in order if we take democratic socialists, like Day, seriously in their pursuit of capitalism's destruction.

Say a democratic socialist like Ocasio-Cortez does one day achieve the presidency of the United States and her party takes Congress. Could democratic socialists abide a free press, one where papers like The Wall Street Journal and magazines like Reason criticize the party for its economic illiberalism? Could writers and artists critical of the regime work without fear of political repression and surveillance? Could citizens of the United States rest assure that democratic socialists would follow tradition and peacefully relinquish the reins of the government—an achievement of historical proportions—to a party they deem "capitalistic" if they lose the next election when their goal is to abolish capitalism?

I think not, if the socialists are serious about their project. In his Dissent essay, Heilbroner confronted the authoritarian problem inherent in socialism. "But under socialism, every dissenting voice raises a threat similar to that raised under a democracy by those who preach antidemocracy," he wrote. "Because socialist society aspires to be a good society, all its decisions and opinions are inescapably invested with moral import. Every disagreement with them, every argument for alternative policies, every nay-saying voice therefore raises into question the moral validity of the existing government, not merely its competence in directing activities that have no particular moral significance."

Democratic socialists cannot remain democratic if they want their utopian vision to succeed. They also, regardless of what they argue, cannot be civil libertarians, as Heilbroner suspected. The collective, undergirded by the power of the state, will always triumph over the messiness of the individual's liberty to think, speak, write, work, and associate as they wish. Democratic socialism is not freedom, despite what the Corey Robins of the world argue. It is authority paternalistically dressed up in the language of liberation and wielded on behalf of that fuzzy abstraction, "the people," regardless of what flesh and blood individuals want.

Capitalism and liberal democracy are far from perfect, but they do allow room for what John Stuart Mill called "experiments in living," where socialists, libertarians, and everyone else in between can pursue their idea of the good life. And that's a society worth defending from the reactionaries who out of ignorance or malice call themselves freedom fighters.

Photo Credit: Rick Friedman/Polaris/Newscom

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  • Eddy||

    "Matthew Harwood is managing editor at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His opinions are his own and not those of the ACLU."

    Wow, good luck keeping your ACLU gig after this article comes out.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I am sure there are still many at the ACLU that tolerate ideological pluralism. Right? Right?

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No. Soon we will all become one with the collective.

  • Venezuela||

    No shit?

  • Sevo||

    Tell us about it.
    North Korea

  • Azathoth!!||

    Civil Liberties and Socialism Don't Mix

    Taa-Daaa!

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Just work harder !

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    "" Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) argue that under democratic socialism "individual civil and political rights…which are routinely violated, would be strengthened,"'

    I don't know. Every time I've talked to one, they do not seem interested in the right of the individual, just the rights of the collective. And talking further, it's usually just the rights of those they like or are in their collective.

    Find a DSA person defending the rights of Donald Trump.

    An example I've seen is in body shaming. The very same people who have been making an issue out of Trump's penis size, now have a problem with him call Stormy a horse face. Body shaming Trump is Ok, Trump doing the same is not.

  • Think It Through||

    Yeah, you're going to have to show your work on anyone making an issue out of Trump's penis size, and the "very same people" being outraged at horseface. Link or cite?

  • Briggs||

    Not really how it works, if they don't defend Trump against insults to hi appearance.

  • mmmjv||

    Who' are you saying is supposed to defend Trump?

  • Toranth||

    For the most obvious, Michael Avenatti.

  • JesseAz||

    Most late night talk shows, Kimmel for one. Cnn big time. Asking directly about Trump's dick multiple times on air and then outraged yesterday.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    In a free country, Donald Trump gets to call Stormy Daniels "horseface" and she gets to ensure that the disaffected incels who support him know that their hero is a tiny-dicked liar.

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Have we ever gotten a good explanation of why she banged him? Was it just the potential dollars for extortion later?

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb.

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb.

  • Woody Chip Hurrrrr?||

    To them, the only civil liberties are the right to a job, the right to housing, the right to food, the right to universal health care, etc. Protection from the government is not a right.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    To them, the only civil liberties are the right to a job, the right to housing, the right to food, the right to universal health care, etc if you're one of them.

    FTFY

  • Paloma||

    Which are not truly rights.

  • dangfitz||

    Have to agree on socialists being unconcerned with the individual. Every one I speak to seems to have a problem getting their head around the concept of an individual right, and usually comes to the conclusion that I'm confused since such a concept can't exist in reality.

  • mmmjv||

    It was Trump who made his penis size an issue

  • polijunkie100||

    Actually, I thought it was Rubio. He was trying to play Trump's game and doing it badly.

  • Barry Gold||

    "Find a DSA person defending the rights of Donald Trump.

    An example I've seen is in body shaming. The very same people who have been making an issue out of Trump's penis size, now have a problem with him call Stormy a horse face. Body shaming Trump is Ok, Trump doing the same is not."

    His right to free speech under the First Amendment? Absolutely.

    His "right" to call Stormy Daniels "horse-faced" without being criticized for it? Absolutely not.

    That's what the First Amendment is all about: you get to speak. I get to speak. If I don't like your speech, I get to say nasty things about it.

    Wrt Trump and Stormy Daniels, however... I'm reminded of a story told by a writer for The New Yorker. Somebody had done something the writer didn't like. The writer sent in a column that scathingly criticized the other person. Harold Ross (Editor-in-chief of The New Yorker) sent it back with one sentence written across the top:

    He doesn't have a column.

    Translation for those who don't see the point: you are not supposed to use your high social position to metaphorically beat up on those with less social power. What's private should stay private.

    Of course, Daniels laid herself open to criticism by making herself a public figure with her lawsuit against the President. Still, there's a big power gap between (little-person suing Trump) and (President of the United States). One should be cautious when using that extra power.

  • BioBehavioral_View||

    Excerpt from the novel Retribution Fever:

    Without a comprehensive plan, however, these United States will continue to sink into increasing debt while continuing to print currency of decreasing value.

    In the name of "humanitarianism and social justice", the self-anointed will continue trying to destroy the most humane and just system ever devised by mankind — individualistic capitalism and its companion, positive control, operating in a democratic republic based upon a written constitution protecting life, liberty, and property as well as the pursuit of happiness. Their alternative always had been collectivistic socialism and its companion, negative control, based upon a fluid, "living" constitution oppressing life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness while claiming to protect them.

    [Optional Note: Positive control refers to delivering desirable consequences as a function of the following paradigm: occurrence or non-occurrence of targeted behaviors to receive a reward; i.e., do something promoted or do not do something prohibited then receive a reward, for example, work then receive a wage. Conversely, negative control refers to the following two paradigms: 1) occurrence of a promoted behavior in order to avoid or escape an aversive event, for example, pay a tax then avoid prison; or 2) occurrence of a prohibited behavior then receive punishment, for example, exceed a speeding limit then pay a fine.]

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    Shorter Optional Note: Positive Control = The Carrot. Negative Control = The Stick.

  • Microaggressor||

    Well, you'll work harder with a gun at your back for a bowl of rice a day.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Slave for soldiers til you starve and your head is skewered on a stake.

  • Chmeee||

    Fear is a very powerful motivator, that's for sure.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "public resources would be devoted to the development of a genuinely free press and a democratically-administered mass media."

    Free to criticize their socialist rulers? Didn't think so.

  • Paloma||

    Ask Fernando Alban, the opposition leader in Venezuela who was jailed by Maduro's government. Except we can't anymore. He "committed suicide" by throwing himself off the top of the prison.

    Probably out of remorse for having betrayed The People.

  • JesseAz||

    Odd how the media is so outraged by Saudi Arabia and silent on Cuba or Venezuela.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    Doesn't the US already not sell weapons to Venezuela and Cuba, not prop up their economy, and not help their rulers out? I mean, I thought the whole point of the outrage at Saudi Arabia was in the form of "Saudi Arabia's rulers are just as bad as Venezuela's and Cuba's, so we ahould treat them the same as Venezuela's and Cuba's", not to say that Saudi Arabia is bad but the other two aren't.

  • Paloma||

    We're still a big consumer of Venezuelan oil. They trade their oil to Cuba for military backup.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    I did not know we were a big consumer of Venezuelan oil.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    As I understand it, California imports a lot of oil from sketchy countries, due to their refusing to allow pipelines from points East to transport oil from the rest of the country.

  • bernard11||

    We import about 50% more from Saudi Arabia than from Venezuela.

  • Paloma||

    Just wait until the Dems get wind that abortion is illegal in Venezuela. That should bring on some sanctions.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Only of the pre-born. Abortion of walking, talking Venezuelans who oppose the enlightened socialist regime is hunky dory.

    This apparently earns them a pass with progressives, who are similarly "enlightened." Or "woke," as they so fashionably put it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Capitalism is what naturally emerges from the enforcement of property rights and contracts. The foundation of this is self ownership. If you own yourself, you own what you produce, and you can do with it as you wish.

    Civil liberties are also based upon the foundation of self ownership.

    But socialism must necessarily destroy self ownership. You and the fruits of your labor belong to the collective. Everything is for the greater good.

    So socialism cannot destroy capitalism while preserving civil liberties. It is a logical impossibility.

  • CE||

    Socialists could theoretically allow freedom of speech, thought and expression to continue, if they felt secure in their electoral majority.

    But the evidence that they will be magnanimous is pretty scant.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    You mean like Facebook is still a forum for free expression of ideas but then comes along and bans anything conservative or libertarian while leaving alone calls for genocide if they're aimed correctly?

  • Ed Grinberg||

    Like George Orwell said: "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    All people are equal, therefore all people are fungible, therefore individuals and minorities are always disposable for the benefit of a larger group.

  • BYODB||

    Well, now that you mention it, that is often how it works out in communist or socialist states. In theory it's the same issue you run into with pure democracy.

  • DajjaI||

    Socialists think everyone should work and be paid equally. As a result they work the absolute minimum possible, and spend the rest of the time scheming for how to raise to power above the masses, and control them as they labor and massacre beneath them. This they call 'freedom'. Whereas capitalists work hard and accrue wealth so that they can retire and leave work for others to follow in their footsteps. #mineeyeshaveseentheglory

  • sarcasmic||

    It's ironic that socialists like to refer to capitalism as "a race to the bottom," while the forced equality they support results in reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator.

  • Lowdog||

    Because, consciously or not, up is down, black is white, etc in the socialist-leaning mind.

  • Paloma||

    They believe in the Labor Theory of Value, which means a janitor who works hard should be paid the same as a doctor or scientist who works hard. CEOs don't work hard so they should make less.

    They're all about other people working hard.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Maybe the useful idiots believe that stuff, the actual communists believe in never giving the marks a break.

    It's a con, pure and simple.

  • Red Tony||

    This is one of the better pieces at Reason I've seen in the past month. Not only was it done by a guest writer, the dude is also from the ACLU, and he STILL had the balls to call out socialism.

    "Be better to socialists" my ass.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    I'm stunned Reason ran it.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Socialists' authoritarian tendencies sound roughly as bad as right-wingers' authoritarian tendencies.

    Good thing America's liberal-libertarian alliance is on the case, making America great for at least six or seven decades of American progress.

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb

  • JoeBlow123||

    Fantastic article, agreed. Especially liked this part:

    "There is only one kind of democracy that socialists can create, and that is an illiberal one, where the "majority"—I suspect some kind of vanguard in reality—engages, yet once again, in massive experiments in social engineering in an attempt purge people of their nasty habits."

    I am not sure why we have all forgotten even realitively recent history and started to slowly embrace socialism. Have we truly forgot how horid it is, pretend all those past tries were just mistakes and will not happen in the future?

    One side note: why does Jacobin name themselves after a bunch of blood thirsty, terrible revolutionaries that were so terrible they were killed by their compatriots to stop their terribleness? Does not make sense, the Jacobins were trash, not sure why a trash Socialist mag names themseleves after bloodthirsty, moralistic trash like the Jacobins. They are not even trying to hide their true face.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    It's disappointing to see Reason publish something like this. We're living in an era in which the most severe violations of civil liberties are clearly coming from the right, or more precisely, the alt-right. There is a white nationalist President whose draconian immigration policies are curtailing the most important freedom of all: the freedom to move to the United States. And if that wasn't bad enough, he's steadily chipping away at the second most important freedom: abortion.

    I'll admit we libertarians have differences with democratic socialists on minor issues like the minimum wage or corporate tax rates. But we must not let such petty gripes distract us from the big picture. Politicians like Ocasio-Cortez largely agree with the Koch / Reason immigration agenda — she wants to #AbolishICE, after all — and are natural allies in the fight against Orange Hitler, which obviously should be our top priority.

    #LibertariansForOcasioCortez
    #Resist
    #BlueTsunami

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    This article does not deal with those issues. I know you are obsessed with immigration and abortion as a Buchananite paleocon, but keep it in your pants.

  • Here for the outrage||

    If you haven't noticed, those two issues are the reason the leftists who write for Reason shit on the Right, while constantly posting articles about how democrats and the left attack our constitution.

    Trump is EVIL! Also democrats try to use mob rule to get what they want, and use violence to try to get their way.

    Without this leftist asshattery at Reason, there would be no need for OBL

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If you haven't noticed, those two issues are the reason the leftists who write for right-wingers who comment at Reason shit on the Right themselves, while constantly posting articles comments about how democrats and the left attack our constitution.

    FTFY

  • Briggs||

    If you haven't noticed, those two issues are the reason the leftists who write for right-wingers who comment at Reason shit on the Right themselves, while constantly posting articles comments about how democrats and the left attack our constitution. LEAVE LEFTISTS LIKE ME ALONE!!! STOP POINTING OUT THAT WE'RE EVIL!!!!!!
    WAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

    FTFY

  • ThomasD||

    Why U mad bro?

  • Here for the outrage||

    I prefer to use my own words for now. When you lefties send me to re-education camps I'll be sure to seek your advice though

  • TuIpa||

    He's so socialist that he even took your words and used them himself.

  • Here for the outrage||

    You deserve your own HNR blog

  • Seamus||

    I really, really hope this is sarcasm.

  • PeteRR||

    More along the lines of parody.

  • Red Tony||

    OBL satirizes the left's point of view. That's their entire schtick. They're good at it, too, especially when it comes to always keeping an optimistic tone.

  • CDRSchafer||

    The vacuousness and humorlessness makes it so believable that it's a real SJW screed.

  • CE||

    It seemed like it could even be real, until the #LibertariansforFeinstein hashtag.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    He is a true expert on vapid proggie jibber-jabber.

    I for one fear for him, spend too long down in vile, pitless darkness of the proggie and nothing but loathing will be produced.

  • Paloma||

    You're kidding me, right?

  • dangfitz||

    I'm currently enslaved for half of my working day (FICA is 15.3%, State income tax is 9%, federal income tax is 22%, property tax is 5% - we're at 50%, and my state doesn't have a sales tax). What's left is spread thin because government intervention in the marketplace (health care, housing, transportation, food, energy, etcetera etcetera) has distorted prices upwards. Those are pretty severe violations of civil liberties. "Getting rid" of Trump is a worthy goal, but if you're thinking of replacing him with a Schumer, an Ocasio-Cortez, a Hillary... that's not an upgrade. Obama deported more people than any other President, including Trump. He also holds the record for innocent children drone-bombed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I like this article, and will share it.

  • dangfitz||

    I'm currently enslaved for half of my working day (FICA is 15.3%, State income tax is 9%, federal income tax is 22%, property tax is 5% - we're at 50%, and my state doesn't have a sales tax). What's left is spread thin because government intervention in the marketplace (health care, housing, transportation, food, energy, etcetera etcetera) has distorted prices upwards. Those are pretty severe violations of civil liberties. "Getting rid" of Trump is a worthy goal, but if you're thinking of replacing him with a Schumer, an Ocasio-Cortez, a Hillary... that's not an upgrade. Obama deported more people than any other President, including Trump. He also holds the record for innocent children drone-bombed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I like this article, and will share it.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    His opinions are his own and not those of the ACLU.

    I can imagine.

  • Dont Tread On Womyn||

    "second most important freedom: abortion."

    i lol'd

  • Dont Tread On Womyn||

    damn it

    Re: OBL

  • georgeliberte||

    Yes, itis the freedom to be involuntarily terminated for the fetus.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Could democratic socialists abide a free press, one where papers like The Wall Street Journal and magazines like Reason criticize the party for its economic illiberalism? Could writers and artists critical of the regime work without fear of political repression and surveillance?

    They might, actually, just like socialist publications and art abound in today's culture.

    I think the real problem here is socialists (democratic ones, whatever that means) don't abide things like personal choice and private property-- they believe in confiscatory taxation schemes and they definitely don't abide free association-- especially in areas of economics. All of those things ARE civil rights.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Except that capitalism doesn't object to socialism in principle. Only to the extent that it's imposed.

    If you're in a capitalistic society, and you want to run a commune, capitalists have no problem with letting you. They might reasonably expect you to fail, but their only demand will be that you let people leave your commune.

    Socialism isn't content to exist along side capitalism, it means to eliminate capitalism. So the fact that somebody might be willing to pay for the WSJ or Reason carries no weight with them.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "If you're in a capitalistic society, and you want to run a commune, capitalists have no problem with letting you."

    Let me rephrase this, if you will...

    "If you're in a capitalistic society, and you want to run a commune, capitalists will not try to stop you."

    There's a difference between allowing someone to do something and not stopping them from doing it.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm not sure what that difference is supposed to be, unless "allowing" implies some affirmative aid in your view.

    Capitalists don't lift a finger to stop people from forming communes, but can't be expected to refrain from competing with them, and if they can't hack the competition, so be it.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Families are collectives. My children don't earn a dime dammit. When they gonna pull that weight?

  • Paloma||

    Probably when you're old and need help going to the bathroom, feeding yourself, and remembering your meds.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    At that point, why are you even alive anymore?

  • ThomasD||

    "I'm not sure what that difference is supposed to be"

    The difference is that, when you speak of 'allowing' something to happen you are implying that the decision to alter it is somehow within your purview.

  • ThomasD||

    e.g. the state does not allow you to draw breath. We permit the state to exist pretty much to the extent that it does not attempt to 'allow' such things.

  • Rossami||

    Distinction without a difference. When you speak of 'not stopping' something, that equally implies that the decision to stop it is somehow within your purview. In both cases, the implication is weak.

  • ThomasD||

    No 'do not stop' does not equal 'allow'. The implications are quite different.

    That I do not stop the Moon in it's orbit in no way implies that I have any ability to do so.

    Were I tell tell you that "I allow" it to continue in it's orbit you'd (rightly) think me daft..

  • dangfitz||

    "allowing" implies that there's some standing to disallow. There isn't.

  • dangfitz||

    "allowing" implies that there's some standing to disallow. There isn't.

  • ThomasD||

    "There's a difference between allowing someone to do something and not stopping them from doing it."

    This (especially given the permissatarian bent of of this publication) cannot be stressed enough.

    It's not that you 'allow' anything, it's that, so long as they aren't fucking around with the unwilling, you have no business bothering them.

  • Rossami||

    A for-profit magazine that says nice things about socialism is not a "socialist publication". It's a capitalist publication appealing to a particular audience. Likewise, socialist art is not merely art that's friendly to socialism. If the artist expects to get paid for his work, it's not "socialist art".

    Socialism is government control over the means of production. That necessarily includes production of things like magazines and art. The only examples of socialist publications and art that you will find today are in countries like Venezuela and North Korea. And in every one of those examples, well, fear of political repression and surveillance are pretty much a given.

  • Here for the outrage||

    Count Dankula called, he wants his nazi pug back

  • Here for the outrage||

    "fear of political repression and surveillance are pretty much a given"

    Welcome to Europe, go ahead and try to be mean via "art" on the internet

  • Paloma||

    The more collectivist a society, the less artistic expression, because it destroys personality.

  • DarrenM||

    Socialism is control by the collective or the "community". In practice, on a scale of any size, this does end up being the government. What's funny is that socialists are all for sharing financial profits, but never want to share the associated risks.

  • ||

    Let's file this under the 'No shit' file.

    It's macabrely telling we have to point out that socialism is inherently collectivist and in order to succeed must destroy the individual spirit.

    People like Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders, taken to their logical end, are indeed what we saw in the old CCCP...and gulags. They're dangerous illiterate, illiberal ignoramuses. And their followers still more so.

    There's no such thing as a socialist-libertarian as some idiotically and preposterously claim to be anymore there's no such thing as 'settled science' and 'hate speech'.

    If socialists can come to terms with this fact and be honest, then they inevitably rely on lies and deception to. 'No, don't be silly. We would never suppress speech, take away guns, create camps! We're democrats! As they sharpen their knives.

    Stay away.

    "Could democratic socialists abide a free press, one where papers like The Wall Street Journal and magazines like Reason criticize the party for its economic illiberalism?"

    Someone should remind this to some on Reason staff.

  • ThomasD||

    "Someone should remind this to some on Reason staff.

    What part of the "inevitably rely on lies and deception" do you not recognize?

    Did you miss the article where it was mentioned that a bunch of avowed Marxists got together and worked out a cultural solution for the failure of the economic approach to Marxism yet the real problem was the people who were making a "conspiracy theory" by pointing out those very same historical facts?

  • Paloma||

    University campuses are a good example. Even the quasi legal systems they've adopted under Title IX.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    University campuses are a great example.

    Our strongest schools are operated in the liberal-libertarian mainstream. Science, tolerance, academic freedom. Harvard, Berkeley, Columbia, Yale, Penn, NYU, Michigan, Wellesley, Williams, Reed. Institutions that inspire and build our society.

    Conservative-controlled campuses are third- and fourth-tier institutions, shackled by censorship, that teach nonsense and reject academic freedom and science. Hillsdale, Regent, Wheaton, Grove City, Liberty, Franciscan, Oral Roberts, Biola, Ouachita Baptist, Ave Maria, Ozarks. Mediocre-at-best backwater goober factories.

    The liberal-libertarian alliance is the foundation of American strength and progress.

  • MikeP2||

    Go to hell you vile bigot

  • D-Pizzle||

    Funny that several of my daughter's classmates from Ave will be attending medical school (yes, accredited U.S. medical schools, you ass) this Fall. Maybe, just maybe, these schools know more than an ignoramus like you.

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb

  • Rock Lobster||

    ^^This.^^

  • ||

    Very good article by the way.

    No bull shit.

    Just the straight reality.

  • Rock Lobster||

    It is.

    I wonder how quickly the author will be excommunicated from the ACLU and The Party of Science for promoting Hate Speech?

    Asking for Alan Dershowitz.

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Lefty Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin—in a howler of a puff piece for The New York Times on "The New Socialists" such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders—argues that "what the socialist seeks is freedom."

    So in this new twist, slavery is freedom?

  • Mickey Rat||

    What the socialist means by freedom is to be unhindered by responsibility. It is to be relieved of dealing with the consequences of your choices. It is a libertine notion, not a liberty minded one, as freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

  • Woody Chip Hurrrrr?||

    The right to food, jobs, housing, healthcare ... at somebody else's expense. Protection from government is not a right, it is not even a thing, because government is those things we do together, under the control of the wise elites.

  • ThomasD||

    The right to food, jobs, housing, healthcare ... at somebody else's expense.

    And all that food, job, housing, healthcare, etc. will also be 'up' to somebody else's expectations. You'll 'get' it, and you'll like it. Because it's for the common good.

    That so many doe eyed 'leftists' do not see this coming continues to amaze me.

  • BYODB||


    That so many doe eyed 'leftists' do not see this coming continues to amaze me.

    There's a reason those types are inevitably the first against the wall. Even Lenin and Stalin referred to this type of individual as a useful idiot. They're not really communists or socialists, they're just fools with no ability to reason and who will believe anything if it sounds good.

    There are more of that type of person than anyone seems willing to believe.

  • Paloma||

    God said "Take what you want...and pay for it."

    The problem is the paying for it. When the logical consequences happen, they blame someone else. No matter how ridiculous. It's the capitalists, or the US or some international conspiracy.

  • Microaggressor||

    Well put. Capitalists desire the freedom to succeed; socialists desire the freedom to fail. The problem is the societal impact of insulating people from the consequences of harmful choices. It leads to more harmful choices. Preventing people from reaping the profit of their effort leads to fewer productive choices. Also known as the incentive problem of socialism.

  • Juice||

    Bernie Sanders, New Socialist

  • Rock Lobster||

    What the socialist seeks is freedom from reality. The closest they ever get to that is death. As evidenced by the great socialist experiments of the twentieth century, they are pretty good at inflicting this "freedom" on everyone else.

  • FreeRadical||

    The young followers of "democratic socialism" simply lack the mental capacity or desire to learn anything beyond platitudes uttered by charming politicians like Ocasio-Cortez.

  • Alcibiades||

    Ocasio-Cortez; she's dumber than a sack of gravel.
    You seen any interviews she's given, talk about air-head.

    Oh, and apropos of the question,"would there be a free press and room for critiques within our new socialist paradise, she provided the answer; she tried to block the press from gaining access to some of her talks.

  • Rock Lobster||

    To extrapolate from the wisdom of Ulysses Everett McGill (O Brother Where Art Thou?):

    She's "dumber than a bag of hammers"... and sickles.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    charming politicians like Ocasio-Cortez.

    I've never heard her speak or seen her TV appearances, is she really all that charming? Every picture I've seen of her she has a massive case of Resting Bitch Face (RBF).

  • Mickey Rat||

    Not always. There are the crazy eyes.

  • Libertymike||

    One should not conflate Occasional-Cortex with intellectual heft.

    Said otherwise, she's as dumb as a sack of hair.

  • Briggs||

    "Occasional-Cortex "

    This is about as good as Block Insane Yomomma.

  • CDRSchafer||

    In her defense she can mix a drink which is more than any Democrat in Congress is good for.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    And without a Ted Kennedy to drink it, what good is that?

  • Microaggressor||

    Hillary's still around, making noises.

  • D-Pizzle||

    The only mixed drink Ted Kennedy drank was scotch and scotch.

  • ||

    They always describe 'demagogues' here in Quebec as 'charismatic'. In fact, it always fascinates me how left-wing politicians get tagged as such.

    Like Lucien Bouchard. A man who advocated for the break up of Canada but was married to an American. So if things went 'poof' he had a nice exit option.

    They all do.

    Charming.

    There's nothing 'charming' in Cortez.

  • Paloma||

    Compared to Hillary? Compared to Warren? She's the soul of charm.

  • ||

    Meh. All the same worthlessness to me.

  • JeremyR||

    It's not even young followers. I saw on Twitter that Bill James, the baseball stats guy, was a big fan of hers.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    There is only one kind of democracy that socialists can create, and that is an illiberal one, where the "majority"—I suspect some kind of vanguard in reality—engages, yet once again, in massive experiments in social engineering in an attempt purge people of their nasty habits.

    "A year from now, ten, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better." That's the biggest problem with Socialism, Communism, Marxism, and all the other various flavors of collectivism is that they're based on the flawed premise that with enough government force, coercion, and outright "purges" they can "re-educate," beat down, or just plain eliminate all the wreckers, hoarders and Kulaks that stand between them and their "worker's paradise" utopia.

  • BYODB||

    It's an inherent flaw in their ethos in that they believe man can be perfected. In the entire history of mankind, this has been repeatedly and often proven to be a complete falsehood, but the appeal of a perfected man seems to continually drive those with this intellectual disease to murder swaths of people in an effort to 'cleanse' a state of being that is, in fact, endemic to humanity.

    It's why these types of people always give themselves away with their intense loathing of humanity. It's also why you should never trust transhumanists.

  • Procyon Mustelid||

    From the same source, "I look out for me and mine. That don't include you 'lless I conjure it does." And he's right: why shouldn't any group with a reasonable chance of success at it try to kill or enslave all the non-members? Eliminate the threat and competition, or better yet turn them into a useful resource.

  • Rock Lobster||

    First, we just have to cut out the dead wood.

    We just need the right people in charge (and we're the ones we've been waiting for).

    This time it'll work for sure.

    Trust us!

  • Aloysious||

    I feel weird. Read the whole article instead of skipping straight to the comments.

    Good job.

  • posmoo||

    It's been a long damn time since you apes threw a tomato at the left without starting with the obligatory conservatives suck / almost apologia for being a libertarian intro. does the editor have a serious illness? well vacation or serious illness, I appreciate the ideas here, and nice writing.

  • ||

    Yeh. It's nice to not have Robbyesque or ENB 'conservatives are snowflakes too' false equivalencies.

  • Here for the outrage||

    For now, the left is insane beyond whataboutism.

    But eventually some south american will get stuck in an air conditioned detention center long enough for Shikha to call everyone a racist

  • Alan Vanneman||

    All of the democracies of Western Europe had socialist governments following WWII at some time. Democracy "survived". Civil liberties are certainly taking a beating in the UK these days, with a "Conservative" government in power.

    Socialism in Latin American countries usually takes the form of a social revolution--very often, a white ruling class is displaced by a revolutionary alliance explicitly devoted both to punishing the displaced ruling class and rewarding the poor, composed largely of a mixed-race population. Social revolutions are vehicles for revenge, are usually economically unstable, and all but guarantee the loss of civil liberties. But generalizations about "socialism" in general prove nothing.

  • Sevo||

    "Civil liberties are certainly taking a beating in the UK these days, with a "Conservative" government in power."

    Yeah, 'cause you could say what you pleased when Labor was in power, right?
    Right?

  • Libertymike||

    Whether it was under Blair or Brown,
    chaps could say "Muzzie get out of town."

  • posmoo||

    the uk got as close as anyone to socialism, and they went from #1 or #2 in computers, automobiles, ships, telecommunications, trains, steel, chemicals, hydrocarbons, masonry, planes, and research into everything on earth to an also ran. by 1980 the british middle class was poorer than the poorest quintile in america. around 1978 our nation was absolutely swimming in british au pairs just trying to get warm. and that was because the labour government consolidated and every single important industry and every single industry was essentially destroyed.

    why do we need to spend Thursday rehashing nonsense and putting facts out.

    https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ International_Computers_Limited

    https:/ /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ British_Leyland

    no, none of the western democracies had socialism, but the uk came close and almost became a third world nation for it.

  • ||

    Not just the UK (including Scotland) but Germany, Sweden, Holland and France too.

  • CE||

    The UK has a conservative government? Compared to what?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Compared to what?

    North Korea

  • Rossami||

    re: "All of the democracies of Western Europe had socialist governments following WWII"

    Citation needed. Because from an objective perspective, that's pretty obviously not true. As the article above points out, a 'generous welfare state' is not at all the same as a 'socialist state'.

  • Calidissident||

    Literally none of the Western European countries were "socialist" in the classical sense of the word, which is the way the DSA people mean it. Their ultimate goal is not Sweden or the postwar UK, it's the complete abolition of capitalism, private property and markets, etc. That never happened in any of the Western European countries you're talking about.

  • Paloma||

    Except the Castros are white and Batista was mixed race.

  • Sevo||

    "...Command by planning need not, of course, be totalitarian..."

    Perhaps in theory...

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Command by planning need"

    And of course, just by sheerest coincidence the socialists just happen to be uniquely qualified to determine what is "needed"

  • Rock Lobster||

    As long as the right people are in charge, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Woody Chip Hurrrrr?||

    Socialists can contract with each other to simulate socialism, with as much financial enforcement as they can stomach. Contract with the socialist party to turn over all your property and income, or maybe only 10%. Contract with them that you lose all your property if you opt out; or only lose half, or 10%, or 90%.

    But socialism can never simulate individualism.

    When I see two systems like that, I know which one is superior.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Hellboner was right. Central planning requires a strong police state. Luckily for American socialists, in this country the groundwork for that has been laid for some time now.

  • FreeRadical||

    The ladies love him.

  • D-Pizzle||

    Well with a name like that...

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Democratic Socialism is an Oxymoron

  • Libertymike||

    No, not really. As Hoppe has accurately noted, "democracy is a soft variant of communism."

  • GoatOnABoat||

    Eh, maybe... Kings and queens too

  • Juice||

    Didn't Karl Marx say that democracy was the road to socialism?

  • Freddy the Jerk||

    But no social engineer, as any Marxist knows, can separate the economy from its political and cultural milieu.

    Tell that to the dumbass who wrote the "There's no such thing as cultural Marxism" article.

    But yeah, an uncharacteristically good article for this joint.

  • ThomasD||

    "Command by planning need not, of course, be totalitarian."

    Which is much like saying you can still play chess, even if you are not certain what pieces remain on the board.

    Practically speaking, any meaningful sort of central planning that would obviate any sort of spontaneous markets must be effectively totalitarian, if not perfectly totalitarian.

    IOW the only things that wouldn't matter to the state, would be things that don't matter to mostly everyone.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    "IOW the only things that wouldn't matter to the state, would be things that don't matter to mostly everyone."

    Considering the current plastic straw insanity, that [things that don't matter to mostly everyone] would be a pretty short list.

  • ThomasD||

    No, it would be a long list of things like 'grains of sand under your toenails" or "the color of the blank sheet of paper protecting the back of 'dear leader's' portrait in it's frame."

    The same picture frame that must be hung, in clear view, within 1.20 meters of the primary entrance to your assigned domicile.

  • Paloma||

    King stay the King

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    And that's a society worth defending from the reactionaries who out of ignorance or malice call themselves freedom fighters.

    If firefighters fight fires, and crime fighters fight crime.....what do freedom fighters fight?

    /G. Carlin

  • Juice||

    And what about prize fighters, huh?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Also? Beaufighters!

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Could citizens of the United States rest assure that democratic socialists would follow tradition and peacefully relinquish the reins of the government—an achievement of historical proportions—to a party they deem "capitalistic" if they lose the next election when their goal is to abolish capitalism?

    Ask Antifa, et.al.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Hell, ask Hillary. 'Civility can only return when we're in charge again."
    The totalitarian instincts of a 3 year old.

  • Lester224||

    The bad Socialists will take over the country and do bad things.

    That's 30% of the Reason articles every month. You can skip them now.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "bad Socialists"

    Is there any other kind?

  • MikeP2||

    No. Thank god for the 2nd, and the wisdom of our founders.

  • Rock Lobster||

    To be sure, though, socialists mean well, and we should be better toward them.

    That's the other 70%.

  • Uncle Jay||

    Who needs civil liberties in a socialist state when you can have secret police, gulags and a firing squad waiting for just for you?

  • ThomasD||

    In a socialist state you are always free to speak your mind, comrade.

    Once.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Lefty Brooklyn College professor Corey Robin—in a howler of a puff piece for The New York Times on "The New Socialists" such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders—argues that "what the socialist seeks is freedom."

    Yeah.

    Also - up is down, light is dark and wet is dry.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You would prefer that socialists support big-government wall-building, statist womb management, the drug war, statist micromanagement of clinics for women, tariffs, abusive policing, voter suppression, a 'your papers, please?' system, government gay-bashing, torture, avid protectionism, school prayer, and other pillars of the authoritarian view?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I would prefer that socialists never get the chance to impose anything whatsoever on anyone.

    There has never been so much as one single instance anywhere on earth in the entire span of human history where socialism has ever been proven to be a success.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Wait a minute Gilbert Martin. On this site and others I'm told constantly that the U.S. itself hosts a statist government, and that folks who support it are socialists. Libertarians say that all the time. I suggest the U.S. is widely regarded by most people—not libertarians, I guess—as a big success. If I said it was a proven success, and someone disagreed, I'd think they had a screw loose. So would most people, world-wide.

    Maybe you can discover that is factually wrong—for sure, you can deduce its wrongness using some libertarian theory. But I don't think you can prove the theory is right.

  • Kirk Solo||

    You are dumb

  • Spookk||

    Continually seeing the inaccurate conflating of Democratic Socialism with "socialism" is annoying beyond belief.

  • MikeP2||

    There is nothing innacurate in conflating the two. The democratic part is nothing more than a pleasant sounding adjective to appeal to dolts like you. Socialism is socialim...the antithesis of the freedoms we enjoy.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    There is no conflation.

    Socialism is socialism.

    Slapping the "democratic" in front of it doesn't change what it really is one iota.

  • jello.beyonce||

    B.S.
    I'm no fan of the "Democratic Socialist" movement, but there's nothing inherent in the system that makes it any better or worse than anything else.

    "It is not the process by which the authority is selected, but the authority itself that
    needs to be scrutinized."
    -The Authoritarian Personality in the 21st Century"

    Ditto for economic models.

    Heilbroner wrote. "Indeed, that is what planning means."
    Well guess what? Our "capitalist" system is wholly planned by a few corporate Lords.....for their continued benefits, in spite of all others.
    We have a "Planned market economy" in the U.S.
    That planning is just as much an enemy to individual freedoms.

    That being said, I do find Ocasio-Cortez to be a complete hypocrite.
    She's spent over $1 million trying to further her career.....rather than use her time & energy to raise money to truly help others.

    This article presents a stupid/deficient argument.

  • The Last American Hero||

    That must be why our Corporate Overlord Sears was able to crush that upstart Amazon back in the 90's.

  • mmmjv||

    "Say a democratic socialist like Ocasio-Cortez does one day achieve the presidency of the United States and her party takes Congress. Could democratic socialists abide a free press, one where papers like The Wall Street Journal and magazines like Reason criticize the party for its economic illiberalism? Could writers and artists critical of the regime work without fear of political repression and surveillance? Could citizens of the United States rest assure that democratic socialists would follow tradition and peacefully relinquish the reins of the government"

    My God those are dumb questions. Of course we could. We have done so plenty of times in the past. You can not name one instance, because it has never happened, where a Democratic president or Congress tried to shut down a free press. Writers and artists critical of the "regime work" (the use of that word says a lot) have always worked without fear of political repression and surveillance. You are also unable to name one instance, because again it has never happened, where a Democratic Congress or president has refused to peacefully relinquish the reins of the government. Johnson did it in 1969, Carter in 1981, Clinton in 2001, and Obama in 2016.

  • MikeP2||

    You fail to undersatnd the distinction between Democrat and democratic socialist.

    The former is a political party. The latter has never been in power in the US and is the antithesis of our fundamental concepts of personal freedom.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Strawman much?

  • D-Pizzle||

    "You can not name one instance, because it has never happened, where a Democratic president or Congress tried to shut down a free press. Writers and artists critical of the "regime work" (the use of that word says a lot) have always worked without fear of political repression and surveillance. You are also unable to name one instance, because again it has never happened,"

    Yeah. Ask my friend James Rosen.

  • mmmjv||

    The article makes the assumption that most, if not all, Democrats are rabid Marxists. Then building on that lie it presents wacko conspiracy theories about how they would make us all go Commie

  • swampwiz||

    We are already under an illiberal - or at least an illiberal wannabe - administration, one that supposed is for the free market. I don't see how an American socialist regime would necessarily be illiberal, aside from being stronger at throwing folks in jail for not paying their high taxes.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Here is Heilbronner: Because socialist society aspires to be a good society, all its decisions and opinions are inescapably invested with moral import. Every disagreement with them, every argument for alternative policies, every nay-saying voice therefore raises into question the moral validity of the existing government, not merely its competence in directing activities that have no particular moral significance.

    Here is Harwood misunderstanding Heilbronner: Democratic socialists cannot remain democratic if they want their utopian vision to succeed. They also, regardless of what they argue, cannot be civil libertarians, as Heilbroner suspected. The collective, undergirded by the power of the state, will always triumph over the messiness of the individual's liberty to think, speak, write, work, and associate as they wish.

    The problem is that Harwood supposes socialism must be critiqued as moral ideology, and that capitalism must be permitted to escape any such critique.

    Harwood's capitalism is being treated morally as axiomatically perfect. Heilbronner's view of capitalism is not that.

  • MikeP2||

    There is nothing moral or immoral about capitalism. It follows the morality of the individual.
    Socialism subverts the individual and imposes an external 'morality'. This is the antithesis of Libertarianism and the very basis or a society where an individual has personal rights.

    To see any defense of socialism here is ridiculous as is such a childish misunderstanding of capitalism.

    Are there immoral capitalists? Absolutely....no different than society in general. But socialism is by its very tenets, evil and immoral, suppressing individual rights and freedoms for societal 'good'.

    There is ample evidence of this throughout history. Every sngle attemptt at socialism has ended in bloody revolution, some horribly so.

  • Qsl||

    I'll freely grant that no socialist should be given a pass because their aims were "noble", but you will not then declare capitalism is free from such scrutiny, given the boorish justifications given of why capitalism could never conscious items like segregation because it's inefficient to do so (and nevermind libertarians often and LOUDLY decry the horrors of the tyranny of the majority- unless it is only expressed through markets like god intended). Best of luck justifying liberty and freedom without an appeal to morality.

    But my god the mental gymnastics on display from libertarians is a joy to behold. Another circle-jerk about the horrors of socialism? Touch me there! Any proof that libertarianism can function for even a city block, let alone a nation?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    MikeP2, I gather you mean every attempt in the past which did lead to revolution, without regard to the attempts which did not. Plus, you must be excluding also the attempts now ongoing, which as yet show nothing but domestic tranquillity. Either that, or you're basing your generalization on the certainty of upcoming bloody revolution in Norway, right?

  • MikeP2||

    I have no doubt that in a socialist revolution, occasio-cortez is the type of sociopathic bint who would happily line 'enemies of the people' up against the wall.
    We live in a golden age of freedoms where tolerance of her idiocy is possible. But she and her evil idiology is the enemy of freedom and no one should ever forget that.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Characterizing Heilbroner as a "socialist economist . . . wrestling with his faith," is a disservice to Heilbroner's memory, to his scholarship, and to the truth. Heilbroner was best known as an intellectual historian of economic ideas. His most popular work, The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers still stands as a right-down-the-middle exposition of the full range of economic theory, from the first economists onward.

    That book brilliantly, entertainingly, and readably compares and contrasts the ideas of the greatest economists. It dispassionately lets the comparisons themselves deliver whatever challenges they substantively support. Marxism comes in for plenty of critique by those comparisons, and Heilbroner underlines the main points appropriately—in a way that any capitalist would approve.

    It's a great, un-ideological book. Every devotee of economic theory on this blog who hasn't read it should order it now. Reading that book will improve the economic reasoning of anyone trying to think economically, regardless of ideology.

  • macsnafu||

    Yes, The Worldly Philosophers *is* a good book, well worth reading, although I'm not sure it's entirely unbiased. But that doesn't mean that Hielbroner couldn't be a socialist economist wrestling with his beliefs.
    The provided link to Heilbroner's "What is Socialism" is also an interesting read.

  • EZepp||

    Simply put, socialism MUST lead to tyranny in 3 simple steps. First, in order to distribute equally, government must count. Second, in order to count, it must control the ability to count. Lastly, to have that ability in the face of human nature requires force.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    EZepp, you left out the fourth step, the QED: government force equals tyranny.

    Problem is, the converse of that is also tyranny. Prohibition of government force means no right of self-government—a condition long since accepted by most as the very definition of tyranny.

    I get that libertarians except themselves with regard to that standard, but that doesn't mean most folks do. Playing games by re-defining terms to give them special meanings, which you then foolishly (if tacitly) attribute to common understanding, is not effective argument.

  • Abe Froman||

    One need only look at the Soviet Union in the 1930's or currently at Venezuela to see the fruits of Socialism.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    A Socialist is a Communist is a Fascist is a Nazi. Only the uniforms and other cosmetic detains change. the economic devastation, human misery, and mass murder remain the same.

  • Widhalm19||

    This, I can promise to any moron considering Socialism which tries to end private property. You will be killed and your body dismembered. End of story .....

  • MarkW201||

    Mr. Harwood's proposition is empirically testable. There have been numerous instances of socialists coming to power in stable democracies--the Labor party in the UK, the Social Democrats in post-WW2 Germany/West Germany, etc. Have socialists in such countries shown a demonstrably greater hostility to a free press than non-socialist parties? I don't think so, but the point is that there is a factual record. We don't need to rely on Mr. Harwood's feverish speculations.

  • tinwhistler||

    Socialism is morally corrupt. It is based on an end to private property, which is the foundation of American freedom. As soon as we had a progressive income tax, we no longer had a right to private property. The government could take whatever they wanted from anyone and give it to others. Socialism is nothing more than armed robbery protected by the state and morally corrupt.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Hence, the leftist mob--the collectivized "useful idiot."

  • Abe Froman||

    Let's just all move to Venezuela and get it over with.

  • Salero21||

    Not only she's a joke, she's a fake Portorican.

  • Alec Rawls||

    "Democratic socialists cannot remain democratic if they want their utopian vision to succeed."

    I don't know what kind of socialist Heilbroner was but everyone can be assured that no Democratic Socialist ever had any thought of remaining democratic. All you have to do is look at their concept of "democracy," which is explicitly totalitarian, brooking NO dissent.

    Go to any Democratic Socialist meeting and you will see that every vote requires unanimity. They will not go forward on the smallest point until everyone, EVERYONE, knuckles under.

    It is a technique of mind control, making use of the mechanism of cognitive dissonance discovered by experimental psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s. If you can get people to go along with something Festinger found that their brains will reconcile their beliefs to conform to their actions. Anything you can get people to go along with they will think henceforth that that must be what they believe is right.

    So the Democratic Socialists get people to come to their meetings out of curiosity. Confronted with this unanimity voting thing, the newcomers out of courtesy don't want to hold up the will of the majority so they agree to go along. They give their assent, their vote in favor, and the mechanism of cognitive dissonance then deforms their belief system to conform to the perverse choice they just assented to. (Comment continued below…)

  • Alec Rawls||

    (Continuing from above…) Everyone has seen that weird cultish "public mic" thing the Democratic Socialists do where one person makes a spiel in front of the group, proceeding phrase by phrase, and the entire group repeats each phrase word for word. Same mind control technique. They are using he mechanism of cognitive dissonance to make sure everyone's mind is freshly deformed into conformity with the group mantra.

    Obviously there is nothing the least bit democratic about this radical intolerance for a single dissenting vote. They have no democratic ideal for their totalitarian ambition to come into conflict with and overwhelm. They are just pure totalitarian from the very beginning. Their concept of "democracy" itself is purely totalitarian.

    Don't believe me? Go to one of their meetings. Just be prepared to not under any circumstances concede a vote to them because the mechanism of cognitive dissonance is a REAL THING. Don't go testing your vulnerability. Many people have lost their souls to that incredibly stupid garbage. Be prepared to be rude in their eyes or DO NOT GO.

  • Alec Rawls||

    P.S. To not go along with the Democratic Socialists' unanimity voting rule you will probably have to end up getting kicked out, and getting yourself kicked out of a Democratic Socialists meeting in the current environment is probably NOT SAFE, so I would not recommend anyone going to one of these meetings just to see how thoroughly perverted these freakazoid cultists really are.

    You are probably safe in your own mind if you do it explicitly as an under-cover thing, where you are going to let yourself PRETEND to be one of them. Just don't have any naïve curiosity and natural considerateness, where you are going to be humble and when in Rome, do as the Roman's do, or you will come out with saucer eyes and scrambled brains.

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