Many young people are becoming enamored with socialism. It would be well for us to review recent experiments in socialism.

Dr. James Brooks

Dr. James Brooks

In the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, millions of people starved to death in a fertile agricultural area. It was common for people to wait in long lines for basic items like toilet paper. Those who spoke against this socialist regime were killed or put into forced labor. The USSR was an economic failure and eventually collapsed.

There is a country in South America which, a few decades ago, was the wealthiest in its region. It has fertile soil and oil reserves greater than Saudi Arabia. The people were so well off they put the policies of democratic socialism into effect. Since they had so much, they felt to share their abundance with the less well off.

Then they elected a socialist leader who set about to redistribute property in a “fairer” way. He instituted a system of government-controlled prices for many consumer goods and mandated a high minimum wage. The government established free hospitals and clinics, building many new facilities. They created 8,000 subsidized supermarkets and small markets all over the country to make food affordable.

Under this president, an economy was established that does not function like a market under capitalism, but rather is controlled by the central government in an effort to meet the needs of its people.

After some 14 years of this grand socialist effort, we can see the results. Venezuela struggles to provide the most basic of products. The country’s hospitals lack soap, medicine, electricity and even food. Like the old Soviet Union, people are starving.

When food is available, citizens storm the markets. Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds of body weight in 2016, and an average of 24 pounds in 2017. Crime is out of control and overwhelming the government’s ability to keep it in check.

Socialism does achieve its goal of equality. As a result, over 90% of Venezuelans are classified as living in poverty. Winston Churchill observed, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Freedom leads to an increase in living standards for everybody. While some are elevated more than others, everyone benefits. Socialism leads to everybody except the rulers being equally poor, often below the level of the lowest social class of Americans.

Research by Robert Rector shows that Americans living under the government poverty line have more living space than the average non-poor Swede, Frenchman, or German.

For more on Robert Rector’s research on poverty in America, search online for “Understanding Poverty in the United States: Surprising Facts About America’s Poor.”

If we follow the example of others in pursuing socialism, we will surely reap the same result. We would effectively strangle the goose that laid the golden egg. Better yet, choose happiness, choose prosperity, choose freedom.

James Brooks is a medical doctor practicing in Idaho Falls.

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