Socialism is now cool in some circles. Newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praises "Democratic Socialism" and told comedian Stephen Colbert, "in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no person in America should be too poor to live."
Colbert ate it up. "Seems pretty simple!" he replied, to cheers from his audience.
But socialism shouldn't be cool, Gloria Alvarez reported recently, noting that it wrecks economies. In this video she points out that it also leads to government using force against its own citizens.
Regimes that call themselves socialist have killed millions of people. Tens of millions were killed in the USSR. Same in China. Millions also died in Cambodia and North Korea, which claimed to follow socialist ideals.
Today's socialists say that those countries didn't practice "real" socialism. They promise that their experiment will be different, and better. "Democratic socialists" like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez certainly promise to avoid anything like the horrors of previous self-described socialist governments.
But Alvarez says that socialism, whatever the variant, tends to turn out the same way. Right now, people die in Latin American countries that fell for socialism's promises.
In Cuba, because government restricts private property and trade, Cubans trade on the black market to survive. Sometimes the government violently cracks down on them.
Alvarez interviews Ibis Valdes, who says: "my father was a political prisoner [in Cuba] for almost a decade … because in his 20s he sold soaps and perfumes and did not want to relinquish all of his profits to the government."
Michel Ibarra, who escaped Cuba, says: "Socialism is the perfect excuse for someone who wants to rule an authoritarian regime."
Political violence in the name of socialism also occurred in Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Alvarez interviews Ramón Muchacho, a former mayor of a section of Venezuela's capital city, Caracas. He tell Alvarez that he was pressured by socialist leaders to use his police force to brutally suppress protests against the regime. Because he refused, he was threatened with jail. He fled to America.
"It seems to me we are not able to learn," Ramón Muchacho tells Alvarez. "[Politicians] will always be dreaming about the future and never delivering. People keep falling in love with that kind of crap."
Alvarez hopes that some will learn. Gustavo Tefel, who fled violence in Nicaragua tells her that he did.
"I don't think [people] realize how deep socialism is involved in all [the violence]…America is a great country. People really don't appreciate it much…they should travel a little more to poor countries to really get a feeling for what they have here in the United States. Just look around, you know, and really get some knowledge."
The views expressed in this video are solely those of John Stossel; his independent production company, Stossel Productions; and the people he interviews. The claims and opinions set forth in the video and accompanying text are not necessarily those of Reason.