The Opportunities of Socialism
"That's not a problem – it's an opportunity."
That's a line attributed to Curtis E. LeMay, a man who ran into a lot of opportunities and solved them all. It's one of the class of quotes that serves to put things into proper perspective and one that should be more well known than it is.
It should also be kept in mind as we gird our loins for our next encounter with the left. Suddenly, thirty years after the collapse of communism, with the USSR and its empire long buried in the dustbin of history, we're inundated with "true socialists" – the adorable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the somewhat less fetching Andrés López-Obrador in Mexico. (There are others as well. In Pennsylvania, no less than four members of the Social Democrats of America won primaries this spring as Democrats. In all four cases, the GOP has not bothered to run an opposing candidate.)
This development is causing considerable excitement. Among the conservative establishment, this takes the standard form of "They're coming...they'll take our guns, they'll take our children...everyone will have to dress in drag...there's no hope, nothing can be done..."
We've already begun to hear this, and we'll hear more of it. It's the standard conservative response to any challenge from the left: hoist up the white flag immediately while discussing what John Adams and Alexis de Tocqueville would have said about it. In a real sense, traditional American conservatism can be considered the France of political philosophies.
A few things we need to keep in mind:
Socialism don't work. When I was growing up, lo, in the days of steam and the horse carriage, it was a foregone conclusion that socialism, whatever form it took, was infinitely superior to all other systems and would sweep all before it as time progressed. This was accepted by just about everybody on all ends of the political spectrum. (The conservative response in embodied in the words of ex-communist Whittaker Chambers: "I have left the winning side for the losing side.") Only a handful of followers of Hayek and von Mises's Vienna school had any objections at all. Among everybody else, it was merely a question of when and how far it would go.
This is not easy to excuse, since even as far back as the '50s, it was obvious that socialism, in whatever form, was a type of political leukemia, debilitating everything it touched. Every single socialist state on record has been an absolute failure at providing the minimum level of subsistence, at the same time as the capitalist states were embarked on what Christopher Chantrill calls "the great enrichment" (and let's not chatter about Sweden, which, like most of Western Europe, is a capitalist state with an extremely comprehensive social welfare program).
Let's just take the USSR. It remains unknown to most that the Soviets were propped up at every point by the capitalist West. Those grand dams were built by Metro-Vic. The great "industrial city" of Magnitogorsk was constructed largely by Ford. Then we have Lend-Lease, the endless grain shipments, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, that started in the '50s and continued all the way down to the big collapse in 1989. That is socialism: a system that cannot match even the most miserable, corrupt, and ill managed capitalist or mercantilist state. Even fascism, closely related as it is, has a better record of accomplishment. Mussolini drained the Pontine marshes, a pesthole since before the days of Rome. Not a single socialist state can claim anything to match that.
The opportunity here takes the form of utilizing this sudden upsurge of the socialist infection as a teaching moment. Attention is going to be focused on Ocasio-Cortez, López-Obrador, and all the rest. Fine – let's see 'em produce. And when they don't, let's nail every last one of them to the wall.
The Zombie Party. A second point is that this sudden socialist outburst is not a sign of health in the left-of-center polity. It's more like maggots crawling over a rotting corpse. It's a sign that American liberalism is dead. The New Socialism is the flipside of the #WalkAway movement. Decent, caring individuals among liberals – and there are plenty of them – have been shocked by the bloodshed and violence being carried out in their name. They are appalled by the threats on social media, by the viciousness of comics and commentators, by the open violence practiced by Antifa and the like. They've seen through the curtain, and they want no more of it. Some will join the MAGA movement. Many will retreat from politics altogether in disgust, and who can blame them? Another large segment will keep their options open.
But the fanatics, the vicious, the stupid...they're headed farther left. It's this group, the ones who consider Michael Moore and Kathy Griffin to be heroes, who laugh at the jokes about DJT's kids being raped, and who at least think about pulling on a black balaclava to kick in windows and toss firebombs, who are the supporters of the New Socialism.
This a wound that will not heal, a twain that will never again meet. The Democratic Party has gone over the edge and is in free fall. Note how many of these candidates aren't actually "Democrats" at all, but in fact are denizens of odd little socialist cults strictly limited to academia and large urban areas. This is true from Bernie on down. This crew comprising "fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist," to use Orwell's immortal phrase, may think it's their time to "go national" in seizing the Democratic Party, but they'll be inhabiting a corpse.
Beyond that, we have ancillary factors such as the fact that López-Obrador is more than a bit of a crazyman. He actually held an "inauguration" the last time he lost the election. (Now, whom does that remind you of?) Not to mention his plans to pardon the cartel leaders and drive tens of thousands of people across the U.S. border – what can possibly go wrong with that?
And little Alezandria? Well, she's a waitress. There's something off here – she was raised in an upscale Westchester suburb and has impressive, if odd, educational achievements (some faculty at MIT actually named an asteroid after her), but all it led to was waiting tables and pouring coffee. This suggests to me that something went drastically wrong somewhere along the line, but I have no idea what, and our chances of learning about it from our honest media are about the same as getting a look at Obama's college transcripts. But there you have it. The great hope of the socialist revolution is a waitress – and one, furthermore, notorious for stealing tips. (You could argue that that is excellent training for a socialist politician.)
So while some may see the Four Horsemen appearing over the horizon, I see opportunity. Socialism has been a curse on Western culture for over a century, kept alive by lust for power, backed by ignorance and wish-fulfillment. It's time to put an end to it. If Alexandria and Andrés are the best they can come up with, that shouldn't be a difficult trick at all.