What if I told you that there was an idea that had caused the deaths of 100 million people in just one century? And what if I told you that, despite all those deaths, the idea still has wide support to this day?
Would you believe me?
Surely, people must be crazy to still believe in such a thing!
But believe it or not, that’s exactly what’s going on around the world right now.
That idea is called socialism, and it’s even taking root right here in the United States.
Sadly, socialism still is supported by far too many people. These people claim that socialism has never really been tried before and that someday it will work if it could only be executed faithfully.
If they believe this, these people are either misinformed or are flat-out lying.
The majority of the 20th Century served as a testing ground for their theory, and it failed miserably every single time.
A Worldwide Problem
From the gulags in the Soviet Union to the famine caused by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward” in China and the millions slaughtered in the killing fields of Cambodia, the results are in: Socialism has failed.
Sixty-Five million people were killed under Mao Zedong’s reign in China, 20 million were killed during the years of the Soviet Union, and 2 million were killed in North Korea and Cambodia respectively.
That is the legacy of socialism.
Wherever socialism has been tried, it has led to nothing but violence, starvation, and tyranny.
Over the coming days, I will chronicle the history of socialism in each of the countries that have implemented the system into their government. It is my hope that, upon reading this series, you will share this information with others so that the idea of socialism is eradicated once and for all.
Our education system has failed our children and this bodes badly for the future of the country.
According to the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, 52% of millennials would rather live in a socialist or communist society. Only 40% of millennials would like to live in a capitalist society.
A large percentage of Americans have never been taught about Communism at any level of education. Many of them can’t accurately define socialism. Half of all Americans think that modern-day European welfare states are socialist (which is completely inaccurate).
The Scandinavian countries are often pointed to as proof that socialism works, but those countries do not meet the true definition of socialism. Socialism is defined by the government owning the means of production and outlawing private property. The Scandinavian countries, however, finance their large welfare programs with a capitalist economy.
This lack of understanding is the main motivation for this series. People on the Right and Left alike need to understand what true socialism looks like. The word is thrown around so often that it has lost its meaning.
In order to understand why socialism fails, it is important to understand some basic economics before we proceed.
Economically, Socialism Can’t Work.
Without market incentives, it is impossible to efficiently allocate resources. It is impossible for a government bureaucrat to know what every consumer desires to purchase.
When a market is left alone and allowed to operate, consumer demand is taken into account and organically signals to private producers what consumers desire.
Without a profit motive, economies collapse. A producer will produce as long as there is demand for their products.
Under a centrally-planned economy, the government dictates what gets produced and how much it costs. In a market economy, the value of a product (the sale price) signals to producers how much to produce.
In socialist countries, there is no way to gauge the value of a product. This often causes shortages for goods that consumers desire and a surplus of goods they don’t want.
The price of a good has a mystical effect on the world. Without it, our standard of living would be far lower than it is now. You would not be reading this article on a computer or other mobile device if there was no pricing mechanism in place.
Origins Of Socialism
Frenchman Francois-Noel Babeuf is often credited with being the first advocate for socialism. He tried to turn the French Revolution into a socialist revolution but was ultimately unsuccessful. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would both cite Babeuf multiple times in the Communist Manifesto.
Babeuf outlined his version of socialism by saying: “Money would be abolished, the circulation of gold or silver forbidden. Thus provisioned, no member of the community may possess anything other than what the law makes available through the agency of the governors.”
He envisioned a society in which citizens would be divided into occupations and obligated to share the fruits of their labor with their fellow countrymen. The production would be dictated by a government administration.
However, before he could implement his ideas, Babeuf would suffer the same fate as many other Frenchman during the Revolution: he was sent to the guillotine and executed.
Picking up the socialist mantle left to them by Babeuf, Karl Max and Friedrich Engels popularized the idea around the world, most notably through their writings in the Communist Manifesto and Marx’s economic text Das Kapital.
According to Marx and Engels, private property should be outlawed. Capital dissolved human bonds and man was a slave to capitalism.
Through their writings, they inspired future leaders, most notably Vladimir Lenin, who arguably saved the two German philosophers from historical obscurity.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx wrote: “In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. We communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s labor, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity, and independence.”
The writings of Marx and Engels would inspire future generations of socialist leaders, the most-high profiled of which will be covered in this series in the coming days.
We will take a look at former socialist nations and leaders throughout history, as well as those that still exist today.
Over the next several days, we will analyze Venezuela, the Soviet Union (and modern Russia), China, Cuba, Paris Commune, East Germany, North Korea, and Cambodia.
It is a sad reflection on our political discourse today that this series on the history of socialism is even needed at all to convince modern Leftists and millennials that Socialism is a failed idea.
It is my hope that writings such as this will one day lead to the death of socialism. Socialism is an evil system that breeds nothing but human suffering.
But together, perhaps we can ensure that no more lives are lost to this ideology.
In part one of our series, we will examine the most notable case of socialism gone wrong in the modern world: Venezuela.
Check back with FreedomWire on Monday for part one of the History of Socialism Series!
Until then, take a moment to watch this video. It’s a shocking reminder of the horrors of communism and socialism, and it encapsulates what this series is all about. (Warning: video contains graphic imagery that may be disturbing to some viewers)
UPDATE: Read Part One of the series HERE!