The definition of insanity—or so they say—is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
(And for the record, no—Albert Einstein didn’t say it. But I’ve digressed.)
I’m reminded of a story I read recently to my young daughter where Winnie the Pooh tries to bury a pot of honey in the hopes of growing a honey tree. Pooh can bury that pot every single day and it’s never, ever going to grow a tree, much less one that spouts honey.
So when I apply that logic to the current rise of socialism on the North American continent (Bernie Sanders and his cult-like following, the 28 year old socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her stunning defeat of a 10-term incumbent Democrat in New York, or the meteoric popularity of avid socialist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador who is currently set to sweep the Mexican presidential elections on Sunday)—I can’t help but think:
How will it be any different this time?
How will this time be any different? Whether it’s Bernie Sanders (whose name sits near the top of serious contenders for the presidency in 2020) or Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (who wants to be president) or Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (colloquially referred to as AMLO, who more than likely will be Mexico’s next president) … how will it be any different?
Socialist candidates have always promised some combination of the same things: Free healthcare; tuition-free education; income equality; an end to racial/ethnic disparities; an end to corruption … the tired list drawls on.
And yet every time these things are promised to crowds of struggling, frustrated, tired citizens yearning for something better, the result is always—full stop—the same.
(And no, the oft-cited Scandinavian nations don’t even remotely count as socialist successes. In particular, Sweden built itself up on free-market principles, dabbled in socialism for a while in the 70s during which time “entrepreneurship plummeted. Job creation and wages sputtered,” and now that they’ve turned ship—not surprisingly the results have been positive.)
These people yearning for something better are generally already living some form of socialism, crony capitalism or at minimum political corruption and big government control. That’s certainly the case in Mexico, and it’s almost overwhelmingly the case in the U.S. where Sanders’ and Ocasio Cortez’s supporters sit—in Democratic, liberal strongholds.
And yet they’ve been convinced that what they’re living is real capitalism.
They’ve been convinced that the free market, that individual ingenuity and entrepreneurship is what leads to poverty, corruption, and struggle. So it’s really no wonder why—despite piles and piles of history books that clearly illustrate the contrary—they believe socialism is their ticket to a better life. “We’re tired of so much oppression, so much hunger and so much corruption,” said one AMLO supporter, “But I feel excited and my hope is growing that Mexico can change.”
Just stop for a second and consider something.
In the U.S., Ocasio-Cortez is running on the idea that we need to abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)—partly because many on the left view ICE as “America’s Gestapo,” but chiefly because Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk believe the world is entitled to the unmatched prosperity of the United States.
Let’s focus in on that: “the unmatched prosperity…”
Why do millions flee their corruption-laden, impoverished countries—risking life and limb to try and taste the American dream?
Because it’s different.
By and large, the United States has always (especially after its initial dabbling in socialism on The Mayflower) operated on the premise that government should be as small a presence in the everyday lives of its citizens as possible; on the premise that each individual has the potential to climb as high up the ladder of success as he or she is willing to work; on the premise that we are only guaranteed our lives, our liberty—and the right to pursue happiness.
The fact that our government was never intended to operate as a guarantor of happiness is exactly why our country, unlike so many others the world over, has risen to such heights of personal and national success. Capitalism—that is, true capitalism—is the only economic system that works in concert with how we are hard-wired as human beings.
Capitalism recognizes (and harnesses) an inherent human desire to be free.
Socialism, in contrast, needs all people to suppress this desire. Socialism requires people to be dependent—and to be ok with that. Funny enough, it decries the perceived selfishness of the so-called privileged, and yet fosters immense selfishness itself, because “taking care of yourself is no longer a virtue.”
The message is always the same: screw the rich guy. Don’t try and be successful like him—just screw him. There is no true aspiration in socialism. Only dependence. Profit—the outcome of ingenuity and hard work—is a dirty word.
Despite free education being a core tenant of most socialist platforms, there’s no real push to better yourself, but to have something better taken from one person and handed to you.
How long do you think that will be successful? How long will the hard-working continue to work while others begin to figure out that they’ll get the same no matter how lazy they are?
Socialism fosters envy, selfishness, laziness—and manages to kill prosperity every time. Capitalism brings prosperity despite selfishness. Socialism is selfishness.
And unless we take time to teach our children where it’s failed, why it’s failed, and how true capitalism is the ONE shining light in a world full of once-successful nations that have fallen under the impossible weight of collectivism, our fate will be no different.
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree