Let’s start with a definition of socialism. Kevin D. Williamson’s is as good as any other. Laurence Reed cites Williamson’s July 2015 article, “The Whitest Privilege.” Reed says that Williamson’s definition of socialism comes as close to explaining socialism-in-theory as he’s seen in a while:
Socialism and welfare-statism, like nationalism and racism, are based on appeals to solidarity—solidarity that is enforced at gunpoint, if necessary. That appeal is more than a decent-hearted concern for the downtrodden or the broad public good. It is, rather, an exclusionary solidarity, a superstitious notion that understands “body politic” not as a mere figure of speech but as a substantive description of the state and the people as a unitary organism, the health of which is of such paramount importance that individual rights—property, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of association—must be curtailed or eliminated when they are perceived to be insalubrious.
Reed adds that “The socialist countries that seem to work—like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark—do so not because of the socialism they have but because of the capitalism they haven’t yet destroyed. Go full socialism and you get Venezuela. Or worse yet, North Korea.” Now I introduce to you a list of books presented by Jeff Minick that can inoculate your loved ones from the siren of social justice or equality. Instead, all that is required is respect of the other, not admiration per se but at least respect and an ounce of consideration demonstrated by reflection and questions that honor folks.
by Jeff Minick
at Intellectual Takeout
For the first time in our history, many politicians and candidates label themselves socialists, as if that title were a badge of honor. Many of their young constituents doubtless find something just and romantic in the idea of socialism. Some believe, too, that socialism would provide them with “free” education, “free” medical care, and in some cases, a guaranteed income.
To those of us who stand opposed to a government-controlled economy, this thinking seems at times infantile, and also dangerous. The bloody history and economic failures of socialism – here I include fascism – and of communism in the twentieth century should rebuff the starry-eyed.
And yet socialism is growing in its appeal.
So how do we combat that disease, other than in the voting booth?
Here is one small way to begin: education.
We start in our homes with our children. It doesn’t matter what schools they attend – public, private, or homeschools. Through reading and discussion in the home, we can teach our young people of all ages the evils of socialism. Below are just a few possibilities.
1. The Little Red Hen. This nursery room tale imparts the same lesson taught by Captain John Smith to the idlers of Jamestown: “He that will not work shall not eat.” We can aid the impoverished, the disabled, and the jobless among us, as we do now, without resorting to the evils of socialism. The Little Red Hen teaches the values of initiative and work.
2. The Children’s Story. In 1989, novelist James Clavell published this short, frightening tale of what might occur in an American classroom taken over by socialists. Given the current state of American education, many might argue that The Children’s Story has already occurred. Here is a good book for the family to share, a timely warning about the dangers of dictatorship in our modern age.
3.The Gods of the Copybook Headings. “Robbing selective Peter to pay for collective Paul:” So writes Rudyard Kipling in this poem. “Copybook headings” refers to certain morals or inspirational quotes printed at the top of a student’s copybook in the 19th century. The poem reminds us of the eternal verities, like 2+2=4. Socialism is not one of those truths.
4. Animal Farm. George Orwell’s classic rebuttal of Soviet Communism can be easily read and understood by middle-school students. In this allegory, Orwell demonstrates that the real beneficiaries of socialistic and communistic governments are the planners and bureaucrats. Like the Communists in Russia, the pigs in this novel become even worse oppressors than the farmer they drove away.
5. Tanstaafl. An acronym for “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” probably coined by Robert Heinlein in his novel The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. “What you get, you pay for,” Heinlein wrote. True in 1966 and true now.
6. I, Pencil. Leonard Read’s explanation of how an ordinary pencil comes into being and appears on store shelves remains a classic explanation of the workings of free enterprise and the “invisible hand” that brings our goods to market.
7. 1984. Back to George Orwell. Every high school student in our country should read 1984. Published in 1949 as Nineteen Eighty-Four, this novel introduced words like Big Brother, newspeak, and unperson. From Communist China’s “social credit” policy to our practice of political correctness in the digital age, we are fulfilling some of Orwell’s prophecies.
8. Darkness at Noon. Arthur Koestler’s masterpiece regarding the show trials under Stalin, a scenario we are currently reliving in the efforts to impeach Donald Trump. In this novel, Nikolai Rubashov, a revolutionary past his prime who has run afoul of the system, gets a bullet to the back of the head. Today we are more civilized. We dox those we dislike, de-platform them, or smear their reputations.
9. The Black Book of Communism. Here the authors dig into the “Crimes, Terror, and Repression” of Communist regimes in the twentieth century. From the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, Communism worldwide has killed up to 100 million people and deprived millions more of basic human rights. Time to end that madness.
10. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. Chapter Two of Kevin Williamson’s examination of collectivism is titled Yes, “Real Socialism” has Been Tried—And It has Failed. Yep. It has been tried in Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, and dozens of other countries, and always it has failed. Why on earth anyone wants to repeat the experiment here in America is unfathomable.
It’s time to bury socialism forever. Using these resources and others, we may yet reverse this move toward a failed ideology that increases poverty, represses freedom, and gives control of the economy and the government to a small set of elites.
Thanks to Paula Deist at Lew Rockwell.com.
I will add one other title to Minick’s list, the latest book by Rand Paul, the senator from Kentucky and son of Ron Paul. His book is titled The Case Against Socialism. Check out a selected list of chapter titles from the book:
Socialism Rewards Corruption
The Poor Are Better Off Under Capitalism
Bernie’s Socialism Also Includes Praise For Dictators
Today’s American Socialists Don’t Know What Socialism Means
Capitalism Makes Scandanavia Great
No, Bernie, Scandanavia is Not Socialist
American Scandanavians Have It Better Here
Hitler Was A Socialist
The Nazis Hated Capitalism
Socialism Promises Equality and Leads to Tyranny
Poetry Can Be Dangerous Under Socialism
It’s Not Socialism Without Purges
Freedom Is Not the Inevitable Outcome of History and Must Be Protected
If Socialists Can’t Find a Crisis, They Will Create One
Socialist Green New Deal Allows for No Dissent
Thanks to Robert Wenzel for that list. And be sure to check out Wenzel’s comments on Paul’s book:
It exceeds any other recent books that have been written about socialism. It is the assassination of socialism.
The thoroughness of the coverage of current socialist topics and the depth of analysis is simply superior to any other modern-day book out there about socialism.
Every modern-day socialist advocate is discussed from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to the economist Thomas Piketty.
Rand covers organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America to programs like the Green New Deal.
He destroys them all with facts, theory and history lessons in a breezy writing style that includes an occasional biting wit.