The Rebirth of Socialism

“Democratic Socialists” believe radical change can come from peaceful political action, like voting.  But the harder core Marxist socialists believe that radical change can only be implemented by violent revolution.  Can we expect Marxist terrorism, along the same lines as Islamist terrorism?  Let’s hope not, but it could happen.

(Gene Veith – Patheos)  With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, people were saying that socialism had been “consigned to the dust bin of history.”  Free market capitalism and liberal democracy were so ascendant that people were talking about the “end of history,” in the sense that the wars and ideological conflicts that make up so much of history were over with.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist as of Christmas day, 1991.  But just 28 years later, socialism is back in vogue.  Among Democrats, 57% have a favorable impression of socialism, with a minority of 47% saying that about capitalism (the overlap liking both systems).  Two avowed socialists, Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortes, dominate the party.  Almost half of Millennials, 48%, identify themselves as socialists.

A big article in the latest New Yorker magazine, entitled Pinkos Have More Fun, chronicles the way socialism has become fashionable among the cool people.

. . .Among New York’s creative underclass — cash poor but culturally potent — it feels like everything but socialism is now irrelevant. “I’ve noticed that there’s a kind of baseline assumption in the room that everyone is a socialist,” says Brostoff. “And if they’re not, it’s because they’re an anarchist.” Coolheaded Obaman technocracy is out; strident left-wing moral clarity is in. And while this atmospheric shift is felt most acutely among the left-literary crowd, it’s also bled into the general discourse, such that Teen Vogue is constantly flacking against capitalism and one of the most devastating insults in certain corners of the internet is to call someone a neoliberal.

To be sure, most of the neo-socialists are unclear about the concept.   From the New York Post editorial Socialism’s millennial fans don’t even know what it is:

Today’s Democratic socialists don’t seem to embrace the classic definition of socialism as government control of the means of production — which has traditionally meant nationalizing whole industries.

These socialists insist they don’t support repressive states like the Soviet Union or North Korea. But Sanders and the rest refuse to say a critical word about Venezuela, which is on the brink of social and economic collapse due to socialism.

Instead, they point to Scandinavian-style socialism in nations like Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden as “true socialism.” One problem: Those countries aren’t socialist.

As Danish Prime Minister Lars-Lokke Rasmussen has said: “Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

These “socialist” states have no mandated minimum wage or guaranteed jobs. Taxes are higher than US rates, but largely by making the middle and working classes pay big via the Value Added Tax — which hits consumption, not income or wealth.

True socialism, in fact, is reflected in Venezuela, Cuba and the Soviet Union. All are or were economic disasters and brutally repressive states.

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