Peter Falkenberg Brown
 
 
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Why Socialism Would Destroy America’s Economy and Freedoms

This essay was the basis for a speech I gave at the event of the same name, on November 20, 2019, co-hosted by the Gray and Windham Republican Committees with the co-sponsorship and support of 50 additional organizations and leaders. Around 100 people attended.

Nov 23, 2019

(25 minute read)

Table of Contents

  • Socialism Starts with a Faulty Premise and an Incorrect Compass Heading
    • The Socialist View of the Human Condition
    • The Reality of the Human Condition
  • Definitions of Socialism and Capitalism
  • The Jaundiced Views of Socialists
    • Immoral Theft and Hypocrisy
  • Who Are the “Have-Nots”?
  • Many of the So-Called “Haves” Help Billions of People
  • Capitalism and Free Enterprise Have Blessed the World
  • The Lies of Socialists and the Death of Truth
    •   Miseducation of the Young
  • The Rotten Fruits of Socialism
  • How Can We Defeat Socialism?
  • Endnotes

Peter Falkenberg Brown: “Why Socialism Would Destroy America’s Economy & Freedoms”To borrow a phrase from the sixteen-year-old Swedish leftist Greta Thunberg, freedom-loving Americans, both conservatives and liberals, are at the edge of a “mass extinction” event with Thunberg’s active participation.1 I am not referring to her accusations about climate-caused extinction, but rather to the destruction of the political and economic freedoms that have blessed the populations of the world for hundreds of years.

In spite of the recent tragedies of the mass murders of a hundred and fifty million innocent victims by communist and socialist governments, and in spite of the utter economic destruction caused by socialist experiments in countries around the world, a 2019 poll conducted for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation reveals that seventy percent of millennials are likely or extremely likely to vote for a socialist.2

With so many young voters moving far left to socialism, what can we, as freedom-loving Americans, do? How do we convince millennials that socialism would destroy America’s economy and freedoms? Why would it? There are many ways to answer that question. Here’s my attempt:

Socialism would destroy America’s economy and freedoms because it’s a totalitarian system rooted in hatred, envy, and revenge that gives political and economic power to a bureaucratic élite who inevitably become corrupt as they steal from the masses whom they set out to liberate. As socialism removes economic and political freedoms, it crushes the human soul and turns its citizens into jailers and slaves. Personal dreams and ambitions fade away, and society descends into bored mediocrity, corruption, poverty, fear, and death.

Socialism Starts with a Faulty Premise and an Incorrect Compass Heading

If one tries to solve a problem with the wrong premise, it’s very much like starting a journey with your compass setting one degree off. You might not notice it at the beginning, but your destination will be incorrect.

The Socialist View of the Human Condition

The problem with socialism is that its view of the human condition is deeply flawed. Socialists see the faults of the world, misdiagnose the problem, and then apply the wrong solution. Their compass is off. They are correct that poverty and inequality exist. Selfishness exists. Every good-hearted person can and should abhor the frequent misery of the human condition.

But many socialists look at humans who disagree with them, and in particular capitalists and religious people, as virtually irredeemable. They see “rich” people as evil “haves” endlessly oppressing the “have-nots,” a conflict that can only be resolved by the authoritarian hammer of government. Government must force people to be good, redistribute their wealth, and forcibly modify politically incorrect thinking, speech, and action.

The Reality of the Human Condition

The reality of the human condition is that rich people, capitalists, and the so-called “Haves” cannot be simplistically lumped into a category called “evil people.” Humans are all different and unique. The core problem of the human condition is an invisible trait that all humans must deal with and grow beyond: that of selfishness in the human heart. Both capitalists and socialists can be intolerably selfish—or not.

Socialists don’t recognize that human beings, both rich and poor, have spiritually and morally grown over millennia, and civilization has become more democratic and much kinder to those in need.

Socialists also don’t recognize that moral change, love, and unselfishness cannot be forced by government. Their view of human growth was summed up on a sign in the Solovki Gulag concentration camp which stated, “With an Iron Fist, We Will Lead Humanity to Happiness.”3

The answer to global poverty is to inspire unselfishness within the free environment of capitalism, so that wealth and prosperity are created for increasing numbers of people. This might be called “unselfish capitalism” centered on the values of love, beauty, joy, and freedom. One day, perhaps, those who propagate totalitarian ideologies like socialism will realize that living in freedom is indeed the best way to prosper.

Definitions of Socialism and Capitalism

We all know the dictionary definitions of socialism versus capitalism. With the first, the state owns the means of production, distribution, and exchange, while with the second, those functions are owned by private individuals or corporations. Anyone who loves freedom and wants to own their own property should prefer capitalism.

Let’s go beyond the technical definitions and look at how socialists feel about capitalism and how they define it in popular culture. Teen Vogue stated that “Capitalism takes the position that ‘greed is good” while “anti-capitalists view capitalism as an inhuman, anti-democratic, unsustainable, deeply exploitative system that must be dismantled.”4

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describes capitalism as: “… it means that we seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else, and we seek it at any human and environmental cost.”5 AOC then described Democratic Socialism as: “It means putting democracy and society first, instead of capital first.”6

Elizabeth Bruenig, a millennial writer for The Washington Post wrote: “Capitalism is an ideology that … turns every relationship into a calculable exchange. Bodies, time, energy, creativity, love—all become commodities to be priced and sold.”7

Socialists will inevitably point to the country of Denmark as the best working example of socialism, but their claim is debunked by Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen who stated: “I would like to make one thing clear: Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy; Denmark is a market economy.”8

Is capitalism so evil, based simply on greed and exploitation? University of Dayton history professor Larry Schweikart defines capitalism as:

An economic system in which individuals freely decide what they will produce and who they will serve. Since both parties have to consent, it’s a system in which success demands that you serve the needs of others before you are rewarded for your work.9

That doesn’t sound like exploitation to me.

The Jaundiced Views of Socialists

The jaundiced views of modern socialists about capitalism and humans who espouse it are directly influenced by Marxism. In The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx wrote that the bourgeoisie live in relationships of “naked self-interest,” of “callous ‘cash-payment,’” and “the icy water of egotistical calculation.”10

Marx condemned capitalism, writing that “in one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”11 He defined workers as “slaves of the bourgeois class.”12 He also helped give birth to the unrelenting hatred and scorn for conservatives that we see with social justice warriors who refuse to engage in civil debate, writing, “the charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination.”13

Someone might wonder why I’m referencing Marxism, and also might suggest that socialism is not the same as communism—that socialism is “kinder and gentler.” However, both systems run on the same totalitarian track, and the farther down that dictatorial road the government goes, the more the two systems resemble each other. Adam Buick of the Socialist Party of Great Britain wrote:

As far as we are concerned, socialism and communism are exact synonyms, alternative names to describe the future society we wish to see established . . .14

Marx gave birth to an ideology of hatred toward capitalists which was translated into hard-core leftist strategy in the 1960s by the communist writer Saul Alinsky in his book Rules for Radicals. He wrote:

What follows is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away. In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people . . .15

Of course, the power is not given to “the people.” Instead, power ends up in the hands of a group of privileged, leftist, élite dictators who look down on and dominate the proletariat.

Communism and socialism are destructive to humans, and are also anti-God, which is demonstrated by the Left’s unremitting hostility to Christians and religion in general.

Saul Alinsky dedicated his book Rules for Radicals to “… the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.”16

When the misnamed actor Christian Bale received a Golden Globe for his wretched portrayal of Dick Cheney in the movie Vice, he stated: “Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration on how to play this role.”17

The Left’s division of the world into a war between the oppressor “Haves” and the oppressed and victimized “Have-Nots” has created a grievance culture of entitlement in which resentment, complaint, and lack of personal responsibility have infected the hearts and minds of countless millennials and young people. Anyone who is “oppressed” gets a free pass, perfectly summed up by the founder of the Democratic Socialists of America, Michael Harrington, when he said:

People who are much too sensitive to demand of cripples that they run races ask of the poor that they get up and act just like everybody else in society.18

Think about that. There are poor people all over the world who are not leftists and who don’t feel oppressed, but instead believe in hard work. The Vietnamese boat people are wonderful examples of how a so-called “poor person” can find success in a free market economy by working hard.

Immoral Theft and Hypocrisy

Socialism’s grievance culture has created an immoral and hypocritical view of the private property and money that belong to those who worked hard to obtain them. Because socialism views every capitalist as an exploiter, it justifies taking their money, their property, their freedoms, and even their lives. But, as The Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro stated in his criticism of socialism, “It is immoral to steal from people even if you vote to steal from people.”19

Socialism is immoral because it is theft. Steven Crowder said it well:

Greed? What’s more greedy than wanting to take from someone else something that you haven’t earned?20

Socialists speak about taking money from the rich and redistributing it to the poor. What about the socialists who are wealthy? To be true to their ideals, they should give their money and property to the suffering workers of the world and live on the minimum wage. All of the 2020 Democratic candidates for President who espouse socialism should do that. But they won’t because they’re special, and they have a mission to lead the proletariat. The new American socialist leaders will eat well as the people starve. They’ll shop at private stores while the people can’t buy bread. The socialist fish rots from the head.

Who Are the “Have-Nots”?

Socialists work to indoctrinate the so-called “have-nots” to adopt an attitude of resentment and complaint. But dividing human beings into two classes based on whether they have money or not is ridiculous, ignorant, destructive, dishonest, and immoral.

A young socialist in America like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was far wealthier when she was a bartender than an enormous number of people around the globe suffering from extreme poverty. Yet, she probably thought of herself then as a “have-not.” How about now, when she makes $174,000 per year as a Congresswoman who constantly accuses capitalism of being selfish?

The curious thing about humans is that they can be poor one year, rich the next, and then poor all over again. Their economic situation may change, but the profoundly important factors in their life are their spirit, their attitude, their value system, and their hard work.

My third great-grandfather Jonathan Brown was a farmer in Clinton, Maine. He might have qualified as a have-not, but I don’t think he thought of himself that way. Instead of accusing the rich, he held Bible studies in his home for forty years and worked hard. His son, my second great-grandfather William Wentworth Brown, worked his way up until he could buy a company in Berlin, New Hampshire and rebrand it as the Brown Paper Company, which at its height owned four million acres of timber between Maine and Florida. Was he an evil, capitalist “have”? His workers thought he was a wonderful and kind man. Then the company went belly-up in the Depression, and my grandfather Norman, who had married Helen Falkenberg, a Swedish Baroness, ended up living with her in a leaky mansion on Vaughan Street in Portland’s West End. His “haveness” was fading away.

Their son, my father Carl, was born as a “have” but watched the family money disappear, and struggled thereafter with alcoholism and the holding down of jobs until the end of his days.

I was born as a poor cousin, a so-called “have-not.” I could have become a socialist with resentment, since I was a pot-smoking, inhaling, teenage hippie in the early seventies and hung around with leftists who had Angela Davis posters on their walls.

But I didn’t become a leftist. My father and mother taught me to get a job and work hard, and I did. I also found God and adopted the view that human beings were sacred incarnations of a Creator who had made them to be divine, loving, generous, kind, and yes—successful. I’ve been training myself and working on that success my whole life.

Am I a have or a have not? I have far less money than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but I have immense gratitude for the many blessings I’ve received, and I’m grateful to be rich in spirit. AOC’s attitude about humans beings, the economy, and capitalists is just plain wrong.

Many of the So-Called “Haves” Help Billions of People

When Marx was alive, there were undoubtedly a lot of nasty, unkind, and repressive factory owners who didn’t give a whit about their workers. But civilizations advance and people grow. Today, according to Forbes, “the top 12 billionaire job creators—all together worth more than $308 billion—have generated at least 2.3 million jobs globally.”21

Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett started the Giving Pledge, and as of 2019 have signed on two-hundred and four billionaires to commit to give more than half of their wealth to charity.22

Capitalism and Free Enterprise Have Blessed the World

Arthur Brooks, the former President of the American Enterprise Institute, cited a report that the percentage of people living in starvation-level poverty has fallen eighty percent since 1970.23 That’s incredible!

He said: “If you really want to help the poor, stand up for capitalism.”24 In a 2012 speech, Brooks stated:

It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.25

In “Stop Blaming the One Percent” published in The Patriot Post, Michael Swartz wrote:

Only a small fraction of the “one percent” inherited their fortunes; instead, the large majority made their wealth by working hard and taking the risk to start a small business, creating their own market in many cases. . . . Wealth creation is the right model, not a stunted system built on envy fomented by wealthy Democrats.26

The Lies of Socialists and the Death of Truth

One dreadful result of socialism is the Death of Truth.

The conservative radio host Dennis Prager has emphasized over and over again that Americans must recognize that the Left lies as a tactic. Not liberals—but the left.27 Vladimir Lenin said:

We must be ready to employ trickery, deceit, law-breaking, withholding and concealing truth. We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, scorn, and the like, toward those who disagree with us.28

Miseducation of the Young

Perhaps the most devastating lie of the Left has been that of miseducation of the young. The Left has lied to them—and continues to lie to them—about the values of freedom and the history of the west.

Many young people today are victims of what I call “The Mowgli Factor.” Mowgli was of course the Rudyard Kipling character from All the Mowgli Stories who was raised by wolves and for some time thought he was a wolf.

The Mowgli Factor illustrates how easy it is to completely misinform innocent children and turn them into “Mowgli Children.” The Left has been successfully doing this to America’s children for sixty years at least, which is why seventy-percent of them are now likely to vote for a socialist. They were never adequately informed about the miserable track record of communism and socialism, and many of them don’t even know who Joseph Stalin was or how many people he ordered killed. The answer to that is at least thirty million.29

Andrew Klavan, in writing for The Daily Wire about how the left manipulates people, stated:

They teach them that disagreement is hatred so that they will not listen to the opposition. Thus they transform those who follow them into raging idiots—raging because they see hate-filled enemies everywhere, idiots because they never have to test their ideas in honest discussion with those who see things differently.30

The Rotten Fruits of Socialism

Socialism always bears rotten fruit. It has never worked. Free enterprise manages markets organically, with millions of decisions made by buyers and sellers. Good products and services succeed. Bad ones fail. A totalitarian socialist government can’t possibly manage that complex process.

The conservative John Stossel wrote: “Governments aren't good at running supermarkets.”31

How Can We Defeat Socialism?

The Left has succeeded in indoctrinating such a large percentage of the populace, from multiple generations, that recovering from that ignorance may take many decades.

It is that same ignorance that has given rise to the rebirth of socialism. To counter it, conservatives and freedom-loving liberals must speak out, loudly and constantly, about how destructive socialism will be for America. Unfortunately, standing up and speaking out is a risky proposition, because of the blanket of politically correct cultural totalitarianism that has smothered our country and the West.

However, we are left with no alternative. If the West doesn't wake up soon and utterly reject the fear-based, hate-based culture of political correctness, it will be impossible to say or write anything in opposition and the battle for freedom will be lost. Have we already gone past the point of no return? We must insist that we have not!

Stand up, push back, speak out, write, rally, communicate, and educate both young and old to reject leftism, socialism, and Marxism.

In that effort we must also turn our attention to elections and voters. Freedom-loving Americans must educate elected officials and candidates for office to reject socialism and then inspire voters to vote for them. The Founding Fathers would be horrified by the current slate of leftist elected officials and candidates. I think that they would say, “We warned you!”

It’s time to heed their warnings, stand for freedom, and articulate the message that:

Socialism would destroy America’s economy and freedoms because it’s a totalitarian system rooted in hatred, envy, and revenge that gives political and economic power to a bureaucratic élite who inevitably become corrupt as they steal from the masses whom they set out to liberate. As socialism removes economic and political freedoms, it crushes the human soul and turns its citizens into jailers and slaves. Personal dreams and ambitions fade away, and society descends into bored mediocrity, corruption, poverty, fear, and death.

We cannot let that happen.

 


Endnotes


1   https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/read-greta-thunberg-s-full-speech-united-nations-climate-action-n1057861

2   https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/11/07/the-next-generation-of-americans-will-embrace-socialism-if-we-lose-the-war-on-history/

3   https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2003/04/14/seasons-in-hell-4

4   https://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-capitalism-is

5   https://www.prageru.com/video/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-does-not-understand-capitalism-or-socialism/

6   Ibid.

7   https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-time-to-give-socialism-a-try/2018/03/06/c603a1b6-2164-11e8-86f6-54bfff693d2b_story.html

8   https://www.prageru.com/video/democratic-socialism-is-still-socialism/

9   https://www.prageru.com/video/americas-socialist-origins/

10   Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto and Selected Writings (Macmillan Collector’s Library), 24.

11   Ibid.

12   Ibid., 30.

13   Ibid., 45.

14   https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1970s/1978/no-886-june-1978/question-definition-4-socialismcommunism/

15   Saul D. Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals (Vintage Books, 1989), 3.

16   Ibid., iv.

17   https://www.huffpost.com/entry/christian-bale-mitch-mcconnell-dick-cheney_n_5c32beede4b0d75a98322419

18   https://creativequotations.com/one/1297.htm

19   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOEq7IVu5VI

20   https://www.prageru.com/video/democratic-socialism-is-still-socialism/

21   https://www.dailywire.com/news/bernie-sanders-attacks-bill-gates-wealth-gates-employs-over-100000-people-sanders-does-other-things

22   https://givingpledge.org/About.aspx

23   https://www.prageru.com/video/if-you-hate-poverty-you-should-love-capitalism/

24   Ibid.

25   https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/chart-of-the-greatest-and-most-remarkable-achievement-in-human-history-thanks-to-free-market-capitalism/

26   https://patriotpost.us/articles/66675-stop-blaming-the-one-percent-2019-11-08

27   https://www.dennisprager.com/explaining-the-left-part-vi-do-leftists-believe-what-they-say/

28   Vladimir Lenin, quoted in Max Eastman, Reflections on the Failure of Socialism (The Devin Adair Company), 87.
https://ia902909.us.archive.org/21/items/eastman_socialism/eastman_socialism.pdf

29   https://www.victimsofcommunism.org/education

30   https://www.dailywire.com/news/klavan-we-are-in-a-war-of-words

31   https://reason.com/2018/10/10/socialism-destroys

 

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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