Socialism's Broken Promise: Even in the United States, the Utopian Economic and Political System Known as Socialism Remains Attractive to Those Who Are Not Familiar with Its Track Record of Broken Promises
Telzrow, Michael E., The New American
"The free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America," said Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). "The action proposed today by the Treasury Department will take away the free market and institute socialism in America." Senator Bunning's comments, made in the wake of the bank bailout, and followed by the election of a president who has openly advocated redistribution of wealth, should make Americans pause, for the formerly unthinkable is upon us.
Socialism, the Utopian economic and political system that promises equality, prosperity, and universal peace through the workings of a collectivist state, has repeatedly been exposed as a colossal failure. Its history, marked by failed societies and brutal dictatorships, is quite literally littered with the bodies of millions of innocents, and yet in the United States we stand on the brink of a socialist abyss, the edge of which looms ever closer as time passes. The conflict between individual and collective rights rages on, but despite socialism's historical failures, it remains attractive to those vulnerable to its false promises of egalitarianism and economic equality. Instead of being relegated to its own proverbial "dustbin of history," it continues to entice well after its failures and crimes have been laid bare for all to see.
Socialism and its twin partner communism cannot be separated, and in fact socialism has its modern roots in the Communist Manifesto. It was there that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels laid the blueprint for a type of socialism that called for total social change and class warfare. "Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians [laborers] have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to win," wrote the two socialist revolutionaries in 1848. They promised the world to laborers; they would take the property from capitalists (whom they call bourgeoisie) for the benefit of laborers: "The distinguishing feature of communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property.... In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."
They claimed that laborers were held down by capitalists, that only capitalists benefited from capitalism, and that communism would literally stop the buying and selling of goods and allot everyone an equal amount: "In communist society, accumulated labor is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the laborer.... Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriations." In truth, the working classes had much to lose under socialism, and for later generations the shackles of communism would weigh heavy; for in practice, a central person or group had to control the redistribution of the wealth, and under communism power was concentrated for the benefit of the few at the controls--at the expense of the masses, no matter the harm and the suffering visited upon the masses.
In a later preface to the 1888 edition of the Manifesto, Engels made it clear that various socialist Utopian systems of the mid-19th century and earlier were dead and had been replaced by a "crude, rough hewn, purely instinctive sort of communism." This was the model that would usher in the Russian Revolution and set the stage for a class of 20th-century societies that featured two distinctive qualities: political dominance by a revolutionary party, and nationalization of the means of production coupled with the transfer of personal property to the state. Although it cannot be said that all socialist countries are communist, it is safe to say that all communist countries are socialist, and in the case of Venezuela, we see a socialist state moving along a trajectory that will ultimately end in a classic communist state. …