With several U.S. Democrats asking to implement socialist policies in the country, President Donald Trump made a strong statement that America will never accept socialism. He made the declaration during his 2019 State of the Union address.
America and socialism
“Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country… America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free… Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country,” Trump said during the speech.
The President highlighted how Venezuela was once a rich country and had been reduced to poverty and despair through socialist policies. Trump also condemned the ruling Maduro regime for their brutality against the citizens of Venezuela, promising that the U.S. will always stand with the people in their quest for freedom.
Trump’s statements come at a time when some people in the Democratic Party are turning toward socialist policies and ideals. According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, almost 57 percent of Democrats had a positive view of socialism. In contrast, Democrats who viewed capitalism favorably fell from 56 percent in 2016 to 47 percent in 2018. In contrast, 71 percent of Republicans had a positive view of capitalism, while a mere 17 percent thought socialism was a good thing.
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has advocated for the complete abolition of capitalism in the U.S. They also want to shut down prisons, provide free medicare and education, make housing a human right, abolish immigration and customs enforcement, and want to provide guaranteed income for all Americans.
While some Democrats make these claims, they don’t provide a detailed blueprint of how they are going to achieve their promises. This is understandable, since it is nearly impossible to bring such promises to fruition. In the light of past experiences where governments have made similar promises, the present ones seem like empty shells reminiscent of the 5-year plans by Stalin’s USSR and Mao’s China.
Why socialism is dangerous
To understand why extreme socialist systems can be destructive, one only needs to look at the current state of Venezuela, which has often been put forward as the poster child of socialism. The country is blessed with one of the biggest reserves of oil in the world and has tons of gold and other minerals. Yet, the corrupt Venezuelan government of today has become a complete failure, having driven people to the edge of poverty, forcing many to migrate to neighboring countries, which has placed a tremendous burden on those countries.
For a society to grow, it is essential that its top performers are well rewarded. Socialism reverses this and penalizes performers while rewarding the non-performers, thereby creating an environment where there is no incentive to work hard or innovate. After all, if the government is going to take all your hard earned money because “you made more than others,” what is the point of putting in the effort to earn it. Instead, you can sit idly at home and collect the “guaranteed income” offered by the government.
Such a system can easily end up killing a country’s economic growth. Successful people may well abandon the nation and move to other countries that reward performance and protect their assets. Eventually, such a country can fail and the society can descend into chaos, just as Venezuela demonstrates.
As Winston Churchill rightly said: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” Americans will do well to remember Churchill’s wisdom and prevent socialists from gaining power in the government.
Abdication of personal responsibility
The greatest fault of socialism that opens the door to other failures is the complete abdication of personal responsibility. When individuals depend on the government and not on their efforts and ingenuity, this gives rise to a crop of dependent citizens that no longer have the incentive to be meaningful contributors. History shows that such people will do whatever they can, through violence or coercion, to maintain the status quo until they bring about the complete destruction of societal values. This is how socialism, the precursor to communism, destroys nations.