By Dave Duffy

Issue #176 • April/May/June, 2019

There are lots of news stories these days about socialism’s rise in the United States, especially among the young and admirers of newly elected New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC as the media refers to her. The 30-year-old AOC, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, rose to fame like a shooting star in 2018 when the largely Latino population of New York’s 14th Congressional District elected her with 78% of the vote. The Republican got 14%, which is typical.

AOC is charismatic and good looking, sort of like a movie star, and she quickly won the admiration of college students and the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, including that other famous but older socialist from Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders. Nancy Pelosi, the Congressional House Speaker who used to represent the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, has been overshadowed by the enthusiasm surrounding AOC.

But Pelosi has been cool to the rising star, not because she doesn’t have similar socialist leanings, but because she has the political savvy to understand that AOC’s rise could mean the Democratic Party’s fall in the next Presidential and Congressional elections.

That’s because AOC has not just become the darling of the college crowd and the mainstream media, but she is also popular with conservative pundits and talk radio because she articulates clearly what they have been warning their listeners about for years, namely, that the Democrats’ ultimate plan is to install socialism in America. AOC makes their job easy.

The problem the Democratic Party has is twofold:

1) Most likely voters understand the disastrous historical record of socialism, especially when it comes to economics, so they won’t vote for someone who openly espouses socialism.

2) So how can they silence AOC, or at least mute her socialist rhetoric? They don’t dare use dirty tricks like they did with Bernie Sanders during the last Presidential election.

Recent history of socialism

In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, ending the Cold War and settling once and for all the question of which system worked best, capitalism or socialism. The Soviets had forced socialism on 1/6th of the world’s surface since the end of World War II, and they and their 15 captive nations in Europe and Asia had dissolved into ruin and bankruptcy after suffering through one disastrous five-year plan after another. During the same time period, the Western Democracies, which had adopted freedom and capitalism, had prospered, creating enormous middle classes and giving their poorest boundless opportunities to advance economically. It is the most compelling side-by-side political and economic experiment in all of history.

And today, right now as you read this, Venezuela, once the richest country in South America and still sitting on untold riches in the form of the largest proven oil reserves in the world, is imploding economically with its people starving, crime out of control, and three million of its citizens having already fled the country. Why? Socialists got hold of Venezuela in 2000 with Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution which instituted textbook socialism. It is suffering the same fate as the Soviet Union, but on a smaller scale.

And these countries didn’t just fail as socialist economic systems. Socialism always comes with coercion, as ordinary people are loath to give up their stuff so it can be redistributed to someone else. When they refuse, socialist authorities always imprison the “dissidents,” just as Venezuela does today and just as the Soviet Union did. The Soviet Union was a much bigger experiment than Venezuela, so it managed to execute at least a million of its citizens who could not be reeducated to believe in socialist ideology, worked to death at least a million more in its infamous Gulags, and killed more millions in unnecessary food shortages.

Never has it been made so clear in the minds of so many living people that socialism is a bad idea, and that, instead of making everybody equal, it makes everybody poor and enslaved to the almighty state.

So let’s fast forward to today’s political landscape in the United States. Capitalism is firmly entrenched and we continue to prosper with a large middle class. You’d think we’d all be doubly smart about capitalist economics vs. socialist economics, especially with the ongoing and very visible socialist economic catastrophe going on in a once prosperous country like Venezuela in our own hemisphere.

But we’re not doubly smart; instead some of us are stupid as can be about economics with much of our youth wishing out loud for the United States to adopt socialism, and certain politicians holding up their fingers to see which way the political wind is blowing. It’s hard to accept that politicians could be so crass, or so many of our citizens could be so uninformed about the lessons of history.

But the wind does not favor the socialists. Too many of us have felt this hot air before. — Dave Duffy


  1. One major difference between pure Socialist countries and Capitalist ones is that you can legally live in a small socialist system within a capitalist system such as the many communes in the 1970’s. In a socialist system when capitalism arises amongst the populace(black market)its punished, because they can’t compete. And black markets always do arise in socialist systems even with the possibility of severe punishment because socialism doesn’t properly function as a system. Capitalism is pro choice!

  2. I guess I’m still Old School, What you youngsters call Socialism, too me is Nothing less than Plain old Communism !.
    If anyone needs a True understanding on that subject, Flag down most any Russian can driver, he or she will fill you in, without all the junk we get from the SOCIALISTIC controlled news.
    God Bless America !
    God bless President Ronald J. TRUMP !

  3. I have to disagree with Gregory Pledl’s comment on socialism and capitalism. First, the so-called “successful socialist countries in Europe” are currently in the early stages of failure; their population does not even replace itself, so they are importing immigrants with a FAR different work ethic. I don’t believe that ANYONE will be calling them “successful” in 30 years… Even at their best they failed to produce the innovation and economic success of the United States with it’s government throttled capitalism. Also, I would not say that “capitalism’s goal is for each individual to get as much as he can, while socialism’s goal is for everyone in the community to get enough.” I would say that both systems want everyone to get enough, but that capitalism lets YOU decide what is enough while socialism decides for you.

  4. Gregory, you are being dishonest. There are plenty of lousy and failed socialist countries in Europe. FYI the Soviet Union was the USSR care to guess what the second S stood for (hint: Socialist). I have lived in Europe, and been to the “socialist” countries. Guess what they HAD in common? A relatively homogeneous Caucasian population with a culture of working together. They are the size of Oregon, and not very nice places to live. They will fail under the weight of freeloaders and criminals. Don’t pretend that Socialism and Communism are completely unrelated. When the government “socializes “ private businesses and takes your property (in the form of 60% taxes) it matters not what they call call it. I guess you forgot that it was the National Socialist party that ran Germany in the 1940’s huh?

  5. Dave, thanks for laying this out clearly. Capitalism has been the economic system that has improved the lives of more people worldwide than any other economic system.

  6. The writer of this opinion has no understanding of economic systems, nor the history of socialism.First, he confuses communism with socialism. He also ignores a number of successful socialist countries in Europe. I would suggest he look at the history of Milwaukee, WI. I would also suggest that the difference between capitalism and socialism is a mind set. Capitalism’s goal is for each individual to get as much as he can, while socialism’s goal is for everyone in the community to get enough.

  7. William Bradford described a hippy commune type set up in “Of Plymouth Plantation”. And it flopped by being a great deal for the lazy and sneaky and legit needy at the expense of the go-getters. When homeschoolers teach of colonial america please check out the results of this hippy commune and what the solution was and what it’s results were. I think you will find it exactly in line with what Mr. Duffy was saying, and also very relevant to your students.

    Not the message the government schools with it’s union teachers want to be getting into though.


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