“Democrats more positive about socialism than capitalism,” blares the headline on a new poll by Gallup this week. According to the survey, 57 percent of Democrats and left leaners surveyed have a positive view of socialism, compared to just 47 percent of Democrats and left leaners who have a positive view of capitalism.
What the heck? There is only one way to read this: Way too many Democrats are simply uninformed. I am not saying they are stupid. I am not saying they are ignorant. I am saying they are uninformed. Sadly, that is not surprising, given the tripe that passes for “education” in our public schools. And it is even worse for those who go on to college. Most four-year universities and colleges in this country are populated by left-wing professors whose hatred for America is only surpassed by their sense of entitlement to the fruits of other people’s labor.
The typical graduate of the typical four-year college in this country thinks better of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Ho Chi Minh than he or she does of Ronald Reagan. They simply do not know, or understand, that socialism is but one step removed from communism, and communism kills. Ask the survivors of Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields (where upwards of two million out of a population of just eight million were killed), or the survivors of Stalin’s purges (where upwards of 20 million were killed) what they think of communism and its “softer” cousin, socialism.
The Democrats (and Democrat leaners) who said they have a positive view of socialism clearly do not understand the link between economic freedom and political freedom. History shows you simply cannot have one without the other. That’s why the United States was able to leapfrog over the older, more established, more socialistic nations of Europe to become the world’s dominant power in the middle of the last century. Risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and property rights are the very heart of capitalist societies. They are the engines that drive economic growth and innovation, the “sine qua non” of economic dynamism.
Economic growth and dynamism lead to a higher standard of living. More money in your pocket means more control over the decisions that affect one’s own life. And that leads to more political power. Individualism is the heart of the American experiment. Risk-taking is what allows the son of a Syrian immigrant to build the world’s most valuable company. Entrepreneurialism is what allows a college kid building a software solution for rating girls to turn his idea into a multibillion-dollar company in less than a dozen years. Capitalism is what allows an entrepreneur to build an online bookseller into a company whose sales will surpass $200 billion this year.
Do any of the Democrats and left leaners polled in the Gallup survey think Apple, or Facebook, or Amazon — or any of literally thousands of other companies that provide value to their customers and employees — could have been birthed in Sweden? Capitalism is, at its core, inextricably linked to the American experiment. Ours is a nation of risk-takers, not risk-avoiders. For those who insist that capitalism is inherently selfish, and ignorant of the challenges faced by poor people around the world, keep this in mind – our capitalist system has done more to pull people out of poverty both here and abroad than any other economic system in the history of the planet.
But Democrats — at least an awful lot of them, according to Gallup — seem not to understand this link between economic freedom and political freedom, without which they cannot enjoy personal freedom. They don’t understand that if we yield our economic freedom to government, to let government take more of our resources and make spending decisions for more of our money, we will also be yielding our political freedom, and, in doing so, reducing our personal freedom.
It is not surprising to learn that so many Democrats don’t get the connection. This is a political party, after all, with a major leader — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — who just said “We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great.” Surprising? No. Disappointing? Yes. Fighting words? Most definitely.