I received some push back from a number of readers regarding my last column on how to help millennials learn the truth of socialism. Some argue that surely Bernie Sanders has no intention to bring the Soviet or the Chinese communist style gulags, famine, and reeducation labor camps to the US.
But if you examine the history of the 20th century: when Stalin, Mao, Castro, Kim, Pol Pot and others came to power, none of them declared they would bring gulags, reeducation labor camps, famine to their countries and people either. They all won popular support of their people by promising them new nations where everyone enjoys equality and freedom. They all made similar declarations to this one:
· "We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.
· We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small trades people, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.
· We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.
· The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.
· COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD!"
Sounds nice, doesn't it? Would you take a different view if I tell you the above was an excerpt from a 25-point plan, presented by Adolf Hitler on February 24th, 1920, at the National Socialist Party (commonly known as the Nazi) convention?
All socialists promised to save us and provide us with a better life. Only after they came to power, and despite the different cultural backgrounds they grew up with, they all resorted to using gulags and reeducation labor camps as effective means to suppress individual freedom. The very evil nature of socialism/communism requires a government to abolish private property rights and individual freedom at all cost, so the government can have the sole ownership of all the means of production and is in charge of the distribution of resources. It's a system by design to make the state/government as powerful as it can be, while treat individuals as insignificant as they can be. Of course, soon after, socialists realized that the natural laws of economics was not something they could just bend to proletariat's will. Food shortages, long lines and famine were the natural consequences of their disastrous policies. Unfortunately, it fell on ordinary people to pay the ultimate price--their lives. But socialists considered their blood soaked hands clean as snow. Pol Pot famously said “I did not join the resistance movement to kill people, to kill the nation. Look at me now. Am I a savage person? My conscience is clear.”
Bret Stephen of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote, "In the work of preserving civilization, nine-tenths of the job is to understand the past and stress its most obvious lessons." So it worth repeating again and again: socialism has never worked. If you still want to know whether there's a gentle and benevolent version of socialism. I ask you: is there a lighter shade of darkness? The answer to both questions is "no."