Socialists of the past had a major excuse for believing as they did. Most of them had never seen the benefits of true capitalism unleashed on their nations. They saw the elite, compared them to the common man, and were sold a promising ideology because they had nothing amazing from which to draw comparisons.
Modern American socialists do not have that excuse. The evidence of capitalism’s virtues aren’t just apparent to every American willing to look past their own shortcomings. In most cases, the benefits of capitalism enable their disregard for the truth and empower them to embrace the failed socialist ideology without risk of it actually harming them. They have the luxury of adopting a philosophy that’s made possible by the freedoms they readily scorn.
How can this be? Are millions of Americans (yes, there are likely millions of people who openly or secretly wish for socialism) so ignorant they can’t comprehend the truth around them? Have they been fitted with ideological blinders that keep them oblivious to anything pertaining to capitalism that isn’t deeply negative?
After watching videos of everyone from young students with no real cares in the world to some of our elected officials who are vying for Bernie Sanders’ mantle, I’ve come to the conclusion that socialism is appealing to those who don’t actually grasp what capitalism does for the nation. A perfect case-in-point was posted by YAF as Ben Shapiro took on a seemingly intelligent young socialist in a debate over pencils.
"Now we're done."
— YAF (@yaf) January 29, 2019
To any average socialist, the arguments this young man was making probably made sense. In essence, he was suggesting the workers at a pencil factory were entitled to a large portion of the profits because without them, the pencils couldn’t get made. We didn’t get to see the aftermath following Shapiro’s unquestionable shellacking of the guy, but if it were possible for this radical progressive to see the errors in his ideology, it would have been shortly after the mini-debate.
It’s a little unfair to use Shapiro as the example because he is a very skilled debater, but the facts alone were enough to unravel every point the young socialist was trying to make. Even a less-skilled debater could have handled this situation just fine with only facts in hand.
Unfortunately, my prediction is that he not only left the debate without changing his mind, but he likely felt he had the upper hand, that he made the most valid points. That’s the nature of this strong delusion sweeping across America. Socialism is making seemingly intelligent people abandon logic, clarity, and the humility necessary to admit they were wrong.
I’ve contemplated possible strategies conservatives can use to reverse this trend. It’s not like abortion or gun owner rights in which people are driven by emotional responses to various individual stories they’ve heard or experienced in their lives. In both cases, changing hearts and minds is relatively easy with thoughtful discourse. There are examples throughout YouTube of people who changed their minds on the spot based on new information they were presented. Heck, our President was once in favor of partial-birth abortion and very restrictive gun laws. On these and other issues, opinions can be shifted.
Socialism is different. Those who hold to the tenets of socialism have molded it as their worldview, or more accurately state, have been molded into that worldview. We can help someone change their mind about abortion by showing them a video of a 20-week-old fetus, but we can’t change a socialist’s perspective by showing starvation in Venezuela.
Their minds are made up, and that’s dangerous.
Does it mean we need to give up on them? Absolutely not. Socialism is virtuous on the surface level. Once people are shown this beautiful surface level in which equality of condition trumps equality of opportunity, the ugly truths below the surface are less likely to sway them back to the truth. It’s infectious which is why it’s spreading. More people are not only accepting that socialism is the best ideology, but that it’s possible in America in the near future.
If we can’t sway them with the facts about how socialism has and always will fail, and if we can’t reason with them about the dangers of a socialist mindset, we’re left with only one logical recourse. To stop socialism from rising, we must isolate it in a place where it’s allowed to fail. Sadly, this is already happening. California is on a path to becoming a socialist state.
Within a decade, I believe California will have single-payer healthcare, income taxes over 20%, petty taxes on everything imaginable, and housing prices that far exceed the current median of $539,400 (over double the national average). The state will start losing residents faster than it already is, which is why stage two of their socialist plan will focus on two things to encourage residency. First, they’ll institute a universal basic income. Then, citizenship will become arbitrary and based on different tiers; a foreign national living in California will essentially be a California citizen even without being an American citizen.
Before anyone claims this cannot happen, let’s not forget the sway California will have on a future Democratically controlled Washington DC. They won’t try to stop them. They’ll encourage them. The radicalization of the state will be the example Democratic Socialists hope will succeed so it can spread throughout the nation.
As a California resident, this terrifies me. I will fight it with everything in me, but I’m not naive enough to believe it can be stopped. Republicans lost half of their Congressional delegation in the midterms. It’s conceivable that the state could be completely run by far-left Democrats after the next election. If that happens, the socialist utopia will start to take shape.
This may be devastating to those of us who love the state, but it’s the path we’re on and the momentum to keep it heading down that path is practically unstoppable. The only thing that will stop it is catastrophic failure, which is all but guaranteed.
The states are the laboratory of the nation. This socialist experiment can’t be stopped, so it must be allowed to fail. Only then can these young, idealistic socialists rising in our nation be shown that capitalism must be embraced no matter how repulsed they are by it.
California’s course is set. Socialism will fail the state and all the people living there. We can’t change that now, but the rest of the country can learn from California’s failures. Until that happens, socialism will continue to be loved by those who won’t see its dangers.