Socialism's Folly across Time

Article excerpt

Byline: Wes Vernon, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The main problem in completing a study on all of the damage and misery socialism has inflicted around the world over many generations is that at some point, the author must stop and wrap it up. Thus, the reviewer's challenge becomes the familiar where to begin.

Through experiment after experiment, Kevin D. Williamson, in his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, counts the many ways in which this ideological fraud has fallen short and left misery in its wake - except for central planners and their favored operatives.

So that our terms will be clear, Mr. Williamson is referring to all strains of socialism, whether practiced by the Fabians of Western Europe's democracies and their imitators in the United States or at the barrel of a gun, as in Castro's Cuba, North Korea under Kim Jong-iI, the old Soviet Union or Hitler's National Socialism. Democratic socialism is often seen as communism on a slow train, where the inevitable result is centralized government power and less freedom for the individual.

Mr. Williamson, a top editor at National Review and adjunct professor at New York City's King's College, gets to the centerpiece of our contemporary experience with socialism on these shores in an entire chapter where he makes the case that Obamacare looks like socialism because it is socialism. Not that we could not have surmised as much by the book's cover where old Karl Marx himself is pictured looking ever-so-scholarly with an Obama button on his lapel.

The most familiar thread in all strands of socialism - creeping or jackboot, velvet glove or iron fist - has much in common with the old hat trick. As its government practitioners play the class-hatred card to force a redistribution of wealth, many other basic human rights are also redistributed just to make it fair. Then ultimately, they disappear altogether for all but the elite distributors of rights.

Included among the glaring examples is socialist Zimbabwe's land reform program used by the Robert Mugabe government as a pretext to attack organized religion.

Here at home, an example in the making is the Obama-majority Federal Communications Commission's deceptively titled net neutrality program to regulate (read take control of) the Internet. You take for granted your right to go online to find your favorite source of information. Coercive socialists (is there any other kind?) want to take it away from you.

Freedom of speech? Oh, that's a beautiful concept, darling, but wouldn't it be more fair if we could redistribute speech?

Far-fetched? Consider Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in a law journal wherein she wrote that government's motives should be the foremost consideration - rather than the real-world effect of the law in First Amendment cases. …