Over at National Review Online, Tom Rogan has put together a scathing indictment of Socialism, the only plague in human history that is entirely self-induced. Historians record that it has killed at least 160 million people in the past nearly century and a quarter when it has gripped the imaginations of bien-pensants(1) all around the world.
Some say the number of murdered surpasses 200 million.
If you were to add in the additional, collateral death caused by the mere fact of socialism’s existence — from wars of conquest, resources pollution, politically-based famine, poverty, malnutrition and disease, as well as general social and economic dislocation — then no one disputes a figure in excess of 250 million. A quarter of a billion.
Socialism has less overtly violent forms — currently holding sway, for example, across Western Europe, and as we watch those stagnant and moribund economies lurch and stagger their way toward economic and social chaos, we are left to conclude only that death, misery, poverty and destruction are the inevitable, logical conclusions of every experiment in socialism ever conducted,
In his essay, Rogan shines a bright light on several examples: countries awash in valuable resources, whose populations live in squalor, disease and violence while their supposedly egalitarian, benevolent socialist overlords lounge in astonishing opulence and corruption.
Here are a few choice passages from Rogan’s essay:
Socialism. Humanity’s most tragic experiment.
For all its varying faces — from the totalitarianism of North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela to the social democracies of Europe — the truth shows forth in absolute clarity.
Earlier this week, we learned that in 2013, foreign investment in France declined by 77 percent.
That’s 77 percent.
That figure isn’t just bad, it’s unambiguously catastrophic. But the costs of President François Hollande’s failure aren’t simply economic. They’re also societal. Galvanized by popular disenchantment with the establishment, the French far Right hopes to win major victories in forthcoming local elections.
In short, the Fifth Republic isn’t looking so great.
Unfortunately, not everyone can see it. Staggeringly, many influential Europeans remain convinced that a socialist magic kingdom lurks just over the horizon. Tellingly, some European leftists are so committed to this delusion that they fervently celebrate the regimes of Cuba and Venezuela. Castroville and Chavezland — beacons for a 21st-century European enlightenment?
Let’s consider socialism’s record in these nations.
In Cuba, we find an aged leader who rants as his nation crumbles. When the Castros are finally gone from this Earth, the face of their revolution will not be that of Che Guevara. Instead, it will be images like this.
And then there’s Venezuela. Lieutenant-Colonel Lunatic having now departed, President Maduro is proving a worthy successor. Under Venezuela’s embrace of socialism, “the land of grace,” as Columbus called it, has descended into an abyss of 56 percent inflation, warlike murder rates, and toilet-paper rationing. This, from the country with the world’s largest oil reserves. Could there be a more damning indictment of a political theory?
Still, paying heed to Hollande’s failure isn’t just a European necessity. There are lessons for the U.S. here too. For a start, in its derisory analysis of the U.K.’s austerity program, the American Left has been proved wrong. The U.K. has demonstrated that cutting spending isn’t only sensible, it’s an absolute necessity. The liberal failure to grasp this speaks to a broader point. While American conservatives must ensure that we join the debates of the moment, we must also face down those who argue that a European governance model holds all the answers. Whether it’s “soaking the rich” or social welfare in Scandinavia, Europe’s experience is a parable.
I should know — I lived it.
Ignoring human nature, socialism is an ideology that dooms itself from the start. By assuming the implicit virtue of common interest without individual empowerment, socialism opens the door to the worst of individualism. It is in fact the very opposite of what it claims to be. It is an agent of the powerful “special” against the broader society, and an agenda of stagnation against opportunity. And today, because of it, Europe rots in economic pain and social tension.
Socialism’s failure has been crystallized.
Don’t believe me? Then test my thesis. If you’re ever in Paris, take a detour from the high-fashion boutiques of the Champs-Élysées. More specifically, get onto the Boulevard Périphérique and head to the eastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. That’s where the socialist dream finds its inexorable reality in a sprawling mass of crime-ridden housing projects, a place of endemic social isolation.
A place where hope goes to die.
That last, or something like it, should appear on Socialism’s gravestone: “Socialism turned vast swaths of land on our fair planet into places where hope, and people, went to die.” The production of that gravestone can’t arrive soon enough. It’s simple: kill socialism — itself the killer of hopes and dreams and aspirations, of all that is good and decent in people, and of the people themselves — and bring real, genuine hope back to life all around the world.
I’d like to add one last note here. I lived in Paris in 1981, just after the election of France’s first openly Socialist President, Francois Mitterand. I did then as Rogan suggested that we do now, and I went into Clichy-sous-Bois. It wasn’t, then, as Rogan describes it now. It was poor, but safe. A bit bedraggled, but hardly a crime-ridden hellhole, as it is now.
How ineffably sad that within the tiny space of a generation, socialism can simply destroy vast tracts of land, rendering them uninhabitable for all but the desperately poor and the thugs that prey on them; turning their beaten and bedraggled inhabitants into little more than animals scuttling furtively from one refuge of relative safety to another, all the while looking over their shoulders for the next predator.
One good thing has come from socialism in this country. Now the accusation of “Socialist!” is — rightly — met with clenched-teeth defensiveness. When Barack Obama — surely a true socialist (see my thought exercise here) if there ever were one — heard the accusations, he found himself forced to declare himself a true free market capitalist. It is good, really good that the accusation of “Socialist!” be in the same category as “Nazi!” and “Cannibal!” (<– in Africa) and “Murderer!” and “Rapist!” and “Child molester!” and “Scum!”(2)
No one and no thing has caused greater human misery in the past century, in history, than Socialism and Socialists.
(1) – Someone who accepts and/or espouses a fashionable idea after it has been established and maintains it without a great amount of critical thought.
(2) – Each of the left’s monikers eventually comes to find itself turned into a label for something odious. Note, now, how the left scrabbles frantically to avoid the poisonous name: “liberal.” Now, of course, they’re not “liberals” but “progressives.” Soon enough, as the stain and stink of leftism permeate the word “progressive,” they’ll have to abandon it in favor of something else. What will they become then? “Futurists?” “Forward thinkers?” Who knows, but it will be something that they hope will cover the stench of their putrefying, reactionary, moldering, desiccated, blood-soaked, old ideas.