By Robert Wenzel
Repinted from Lew Rockwell.com
There has been something of a renaissance for socialist support in America.
Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, while seeking the Democratic nomination for president this year accumulated 13 million votes in the primaries, 43.0% of the votes cast.
The high-profile political figure Kshama Sawant is a member of the Socialist Alternative and also sits on the Seattle City Council. Her following is growing.
In his new book, The Problem With Socialism, Thomas DiLorenzo reports that a YouGov.com poll reveals that 43% of those between the ages of 18 and 25 have a “favorable” opinion of socialism and that they have a higher opinion of socialism than capitalism.
Many more in America advocate interventionist policies that are steps on the way to full blown socialism.
How could this be? Anyone who is familiar with the history of socialism knows of the millions that have died under socialist rule. They know the horrific economic conditions that have developed under socialism.
It is as though Americans, the millennial generation, in particular, have no inkling of the history of socialism in practice nor the writings that have cut the theoretical foundations of socialist ideas to shreds.
Given that the college educational environment is infiltrated with leftist professors as is mainstream media, it should probably not be a surprise that students aren’t taught an accurate story about socialism and that the general public’s understanding is just as bad.
It is obvious that something must be done to change this situation. DiLorenzo has taken a giant step in countering the trend in his new book.
The Problem With Socialism is quite simply a total and complete smashing of socialism. Any socialist belief that a socialist holds dear has for certain been totally destroyed in this book.
The horrific history of socialism and weak theoretical structure are laid bare.
From the early colonists experiments with socialism in America to the expansive socialist adventures in the Soviet Union and Mao’s China, DiLorenzo reports on the deaths and destruction.
He attacks the theoretical construct of egalitarianism and contrasts it with reality.
He examines and informs on the follies of government enterprises.
He exposes the idea that socialism has been a success in Scandinavia,
He explains how government welfare increases poverty.
He explains how socialism causes pollution.
He links the ideas of a central bank and progressive income taxes back to Karl Marx and explains why they cause weak economies.
He explains how socialist regulations create monopolies.
He explains the ways that capital is being socialized.
In short, this book provides a rebuttal to every modern day claim made by socialists. Be it full out socialists or those who may want to advance socialism in only certain ways and only in certain sectors of the economy.
This is the book millennials need to read. It is the book socialists of all ages need to read.
It is also the book that must be read by all those who favor free markets and a free society so that they understand how to counter the arguments of socialists and general interventionists.
DiLorenzo’s book is an intellectual nuclear attack on socialist thinking. Books like this matter.
Dr. Walter Block tells the story that when he was a young socialist he approached Nathaniel Branden at a luncheon where Ayn Rand had spoken. He declared he was a socialist and would like to debate.
Branden agreed to talk with him, under conditions. Here is Block explaining the exchange:
When I arrived at the luncheon, I found that the group was sitting in “pecking order”: Ayn Rand at the head of the table, Nathaniel Branden and Leonard Peikoff, first along the two sides of the table, and the lesser lights ranged alongside. I was of course relegated to the foot of this august assembly, whereupon I turned to my neighbor, a neophyte as it turned out, and tried to argue the socialist side of a debate against capitalism. He replied that he really wasn’t very knowledgeable about this issue, but that the people located at the other end of the table certainly were. At this point I betook myself there, stuck my head between Ayn’s and Nathan’s, and announced that there was a socialist here who wanted to debate someone on economic issues pertaining to capitalism. (I was a bit of a chutzpanick in those days). They politely asked, Who was this socialist, and I replied that it was me.
Nathan very graciously offered to come to the other end of the table with me for this purpose, but he imposed two preconditions: first, I would be honor bound not to allow this conversation to lapse with this one meeting, but would continue with it until we had achieved a resolution: either he would convince me of the error of my ways, or I would convince him of his. Second, I would read two books he would later recommend to me (Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt). I agreed, and we spoke for an hour or so upon that occasion, followed up four or five times more for a similar duration at his apartment, where some of the other Randians took part, including Ayn, Leonard Piekoff, Barbara Branden and Alan Greenspan.
At the end of this process I was converted to libertarianism. I devoured both books and became a strong adherent of what I now know as the limited government libertarian position or minarchism.
While Atlas Shrugged and Economics In One Lesson are two extremely valuable books, today’s socialist require a direct attack hit to shake them of their poor thinking since they are inundated by socialist type ideas in school, on television and just about everywhere else. Their erroneous views are supported day and night.
The direct hit attack is The Problem With Socialism.
I plan to take the Nathaniel Branden model and ask any socialist who wants to debate me to read DiLorenzo’s book and advance any objections he can find to what is written in the book. The book is that powerful and important.
If you are a free market advocate, read the book so that you learn how to rebut all the socialists claims.
If you are a socialist, I challenge you to read the book and email me after, if you think there are any weaknesses in it.
At EconomicPolicyJournal.com, I have a section titled, The Best Books to Read to Get a Solid Introductory Understanding of Economics, it is a very select list of books. I have just added The Problem With Socialism to that list.
This powerful book is well written and its paperback pulp fiction size, even in its hardback edition, will result in it not appearing daunting to the current new generation that absorbs things in bits and bytes.
They’ll read it. The smart ones will absorb it and their socialist views will be blown up inside their minds with extreme intellectual force.