Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

socialism the failed idea that never dies

Cryptozoology is a subculture and pseudoscience devoted to proving the existence of fictitious creatures from folklore. Kristian Niemietz explores the economic equivalent of cryptozoology in Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies. In this book, a socialist states that their economic and moral ideal is similar to unicorn hunting. The socialists’ ardent belief in socialism is similar to that of a unicorn hunter, who carries out scientific investigations in an attempt to prove its existence.

Venezuela wasn’t “real” socialism

Socialists in the United States are quick to say that Venezuela wasn’t “real” socialismm, yet the evidence to support this is overwhelmingly negative. While Chile’s socialist economy has led to the highest standards of living in South America, Venezuela has been hit by one of the worst economic crises of the past 60 years. Some economists claim that Venezuela’s collapse was caused by corruption, but these economists ignore the structural component of economics. Corruption is a malignant tumor that has ravaged democratic governments the world over. More powerful states encourage corruption and rent-seeking.

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The economic model of Venezuela’s socialist state has failed, and this has not been remedied. The Chavistas have not learned the lessons of economic history, and Venezuela’s socialist model is failing, despite the rhetoric and slick TV ads. But that doesn’t mean that the socialist model is worthless. It’s worth remembering that Venezuela was not “real” socialism.

Kim Il Sung’s genius

North Korea’s propaganda documents are reproduced and repackaged to establish Kim Il Sung as the foremost Asian communist. Although the Cultural Revolution, which swept Communist China from 1966 to 1976, isolated Mao Zedong from the global communist movement, radicals in the U.S. accepted Kim Il Sung’s status as the premier Asian communist. However, North Korea elevated him to the status of socialist theorists.

Comrade Kim Il Sung made the Juche idea immortal and established a superior state political method, social management, and cultural system. He further consolidated the revolutionary cause of the Juche generation. He wisely guided the socialist revolution and social construction in the DPRK, and turned the entire nation into one big unified family. As the great leader of the DPRK, he deserves the utmost respect and awe.

Western intellectuals’ enthusiasm for socialism

In the past, the Western intellectual community has been divided over the merits of socialism. Most Western intellectuals had never expressed such a firm faith in socialism, or in the revolutionary working class. These certitudes are a sharp contrast to those of the New Left, who were largely apathetic toward the idea. In their recent recollections, the editor of the Partisan Review noted that “socialists in America, who are usually so cynical and uncompromising, have demonstrated a distinct lack of enthusiasm for socialism.”

While the socialism of the Soviet Union differed little from More’s Utopia, most European socialists shared this view. Moreover, they believed that the idea of socialism was not really political. This contradictory development of world communism created a trap for unwary radicals. These activists thought that they were absorbing the program and ideas of Marxism and Lenin’s Bolshevism, but were actually being indoctrinated by the tyrannical bureaucratic caste that had taken over the Soviet Union and the Third International.

Socialism’s honeymoon period

The Soviet Union is far from a utopian socialist state, but its early experiments with socialism have attracted many intellectuals. While some of those intellectuals continue to support the socialist experiment, their feelings of love and loyalty often turn sour, and they blame the “invisible enemy” and unspecified efforts to overthrow the system. But, as Socialism’s honeymoon period progresses, so too will the socialist experiment’s pitfalls.

As a result, socialist movements are growing in popularity. Their ideals are attractive to many, and they are a legitimate critique of capitalism. However, the reality of the thirty-year free market settlement is bleak: the work force is precarious, towns are hollowing out, and homes are expensive. The ideological underpinning of free markets – the meritocracy – is increasingly shattered. In a society in the process of deconstructing, the myth of meritocracy has less relevance than a chocolate teapot.

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