Free Minds & Free Markets

Americans Are Still Confused About What Socialism Actually Is: New at Reason

Soviet revolutionary Vladimir Lenin used the motto, “Land to the peasants, peace to the nations, bread to the starving.” Sounds good, right?

Chris Riha/ZUMA Press/NewscomChris Riha/ZUMA Press/NewscomWhy are we still debating the merits of socialism?

There seem to be three main answers. First, a surprising number of people still are seduced by its nice-sounding promises. Second, some politicians and activists are using the term again, which gives rise to this discussion. If you ask the public anything, including the virtues of cannibalism or self-immolation, a certain percentage will like the idea. Third, many people think wanting more social-welfare programs is the same as being socialist.

There is indeed nothing new. Perhaps it's human nature to cheer politicians who make grandiose promises that don't pan out, while being overly critical of the flaws in a system that has created unparalleled wealth and opportunity. But can't we try to be a little wiser?

Polls say large percentages of Americans have a vaguely warm view about socialism. The best response is to highlight its failures in its many forms, especially as some politicians use the term in a positive way. Let the debate continue, writes Steven Greenhut.

Photo Credit: Chris Riha/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Ken Shultz||

    Is Steven Greenhut's article missing from this post?

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It looks that way. Not that many in the commentariat will read it anyway. I certainly don't expect the "But Sweden!" crowd to read it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Not that any of the "editors" are even out of bed yet but I wonder if KMW has already sent the text saying "WE NEED PIECE ON NZ MOSQUE SHOOTINGS I WANT IT ON MY DESK WHEN I GET IN KTHXBYE X".

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Social Media is scrambling to remove the videos from the internet. Hahah good luck.

    NZ does not have as strict gun control as Australia but its more strict than the USA.

    Evidently this Australian and his pals shot up two Mosques in New Zealand at 8:40pm EST and 1:40pm local time

  • sarcasmic||

    Socialism has an emotional appeal because it actually works with small enough groups of people, like families and tribes, where there is accountability. But it doesn't scale well. Once the group gets too big for people to be accountable to one another, it fails.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Socialism can also work, or at least work better, in populations with high social trust and conformity. In other words, low diversity.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I wonder how many socialists are aware that "socialism" in a small group requires a shame based culture for it to work, and how many of them want to live in such?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties cannot even handle anonymous fatshaming on the internet.

  • moneyshot||

    Far-right ideology detailed in Christchurch shooting 'manifesto'

    Document consists of rant about white genocide and desire to create atmosphere of fear for Muslims

    A man identifying himself as a suspect in the Christchurch mosque attacks published a "manifesto" outlining his motivations in which he espoused far-right and anti-immigrant ideology.

    The man says he is called Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old born in Australia. The 74-page document, called The Great Replacement, consists of a rant about white genocide and lists various aims, including the creation of "an atmosphere of fear" against Muslims. Guardian


  • albo||

    Yeah, where does this guy stand? His philosophy is a toxic mix of everything that bad on both sides of the political spectrum. He's more confused than a virgin at a gang bang.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    He left a Manifesto, so we will find out something but based on how scrubbing the internet of the shooting video is more important to New Zealand authorities than finding out details of the shooters and the motive, we will get Socialist NZ government version.

  • albo||

    The good news for Twitter is that there is something in his manifesto for everyone to use to attack their sworn political enemies!

  • moneyshot||

    White Nationalist = Classic right wing. He left no doubt where he stands.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Those Nazis. Always trying to spread Socialism.

  • moneyshot||

    White Nationalist = Classic right wing. He left no doubt where he stands.

  • albo||

    He listed China as his preferred government.

  • moneyshot||

    Authoritarian. Kills Muslims. Classic right wing.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    So Obama was right wing?

  • Sevo||

    You were gone for a couple of days, turd. I was hoping you either got banned again for kiddie porn or maybe made the world a better place and died.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    PB is circling different socks to plan his next kiddie porn tutorial.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    This murderous scumbag is alone responsible for the murders.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Evidently there were 3 accomplices, so not correct.

  • albo||

    To these idiots, Socialism = unlimited "free" ice cream that rich people other than me pay for.

  • Inigo Montoya||


    These idiots need to learn There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. My father taught me that when I was 7 or 8, and I've yet to find even a shred of evidence it's incorrect.

    They'd also do well to study BF Skinner. People, just as much as monkeys or rabbits, respond to conditioning. You "punish" people who generate wealth by seizing most of it and "rewarding" others who made zero effort to help them generate their wealth, and they will stop producing wealth. It's no different than giving shocks when someone does a particular thing: you honestly think they'll continue doing it for long?

  • mtrueman||

    "My father taught me that when I was 7 or 8, and I've yet to find even a shred of evidence it's incorrect."

    Your father charged you, a mere slip of a lad of 7 or 8, for lunch?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Why are we still debating the merits of socialism?

    Because socialism is a system of universal enslavement of all to all. And socialists are usually smart enough to let the ignorant dupe themselves into believing they'll be the masters and not the slaves.


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