Why do socialists ignore the grim reality of socialism?

The party is in melt-down after the latest poll results but, instead of realising that there is something wrong, the activists have set about claiming that Labour need to go all Corbyn and Sanders.

The problem with these socialists is that they have little understanding of the grim reality of socialism.

Democrats following Sanders, on the other hand, are proposing a fundamental break with our market-based economic system. They are proposing a completely different course by promoting socialism.

It is an interesting choice. Socialism is one of those ideas that has great theoretical attractiveness but a record of massive practical failure. The devastation — not just economic but also in terms of human suffering — that has been wrought in the name of the greater good of a socialist system is staggering.

When so many young people express so much enthusiasm for the idea of socialism and want to try it again, you have to wonder if they have ever been taught the history of the twentieth century.

One suspects that the same faculty members who dance in the streets with them for Sanders may be culprits in failing to mention the horrors brought on by socialism in every nation that aggressively embraced it during the last century.

I suspect the writer is correct.

These students may wish to turn to historical sources and study recent efforts to create socialist economies and societies. The lessons are clear, so this research will not take long.

They might start with the experience of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Notice the name. Or the National Socialist movement called Nazism. Notice the name again. Or Maoist China, a socialist state again in name. Millions of people died under these banners of socialism and millions more were impoverished.

If those examples seem too extreme, try some of the countries that have pursued socialist government while still remaining somewhat democratic.

Greece comes to mind. It has seen a massive reduction in the standard of living after years of socialist, democratic government. You can also add in Portugal, Spain and, to a significant degree, France. All of these nations have suffered at the hands of socialist leadership that has fundamentally undermined their standard of living.

In the Americas, Venezuela and Argentina are two nations blessed with an incredible abundance of natural resources and wealth. Both, in the not too distant past, were economically vibrant. They are now suffering massive reductions in the standard of living of their people.

The list goes on and on. Country after country, where the demagogues of class warfare and “something for nothing” economics have sold their bill of goods to a frustrated electorate, has seen not only a drop in its standard of living, but in many instances peoples’ freedoms and lives destroyed.

Our schools and their history faculties clearly skipped over all this while imparting knowledge that would purportedly help students evaluate the best economic and political course for our nation.

They ignore the grim reality of socialism. Put simply, there is no such thing as a socialist paradise.

It appears the focus must have been on how uniquely unjust America is. Or perhaps on how unfair our form of market economics, built on individual risk-taking and entrepreneurship, has been to our people.

People like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Howard Schultz and Bill Gates are all massive job creators. They all give America a unique economic edge in a competitive world. And they are all products of America, and our market economy.

Try to find such opportunity or such prosperity in a socialist nation. It does not happen.

Maybe what needs to be fixed is not our market economy but our educational system. It skips over teaching the historical and undeniable failures of socialism and thus leaves our students totally unprepared to evaluate whose ideas will work best in leading our nation and improving our quality of life.

If Labour want to be taken seriously, then they have to recognise that most Kiwis don’t buy the socialist dogma anymore. We live in the centre. Many of us are self-employed and we know that if a dollar must be spent it must be earned first. Labour are yet to learn that lesson, and so they make rash promises that would cost billions and the voters say, “How are you going to pay for that?”


– The Hill


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  • Muffin

    “They ask how are you going to pay for that”. The answer is always tax.

    • Disinfectant

      And when that starts to run out they plunder their neighbour’s like Nazi Germany did.

  • Abjv

    The US education system has given us Sanders and Trump. What do you expect when “world” means anything that happens outside your state, and knowing the list of world countries and capitals involves 49 entries? I met an American from the south once, who was overjoyed to find that Georgia had a seat at the UN but couldn’t work out why Alabama didn’t.

    • kereru

      This has been going on since the 1960s. I remember the National Geographic once ran a quiz among senior students in the USA asking them to name the countries on a blank map of the world. Something like 70-80% filled in Russia instead of Canada. Is it any wonder there was such fear about the Russian bear breathing down their necks?

      In another instance, we came across a shop assistant in the mall closest to the Airport who’d never heard of New Zealand. Given that LA was the only gateway from the Pacific to the USA at the time, we could hardly believe it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, we met a couple on a bus in LA who had just come back from a trip to Texas and told us the Texans hadn’t heard of their home state of Iowa.

      Closer to home, the NZ Education Dept insisted that volunteer ESOL teachers take a paper on the Treaty of Waitangi. As most of my pupils only knew how to say ‘hello’, and one elderly Chinese woman had never been to school, it seemed more important that I should teach her how to dial 111 and ask for help in an emergency. I suspect the Dept of Education might not have agreed, so immersed in PC cloud-cuckoo-land as they were. I sincerely hope a degree of common sense has grounded them a little since then.

      • Dave of the West Bank

        Back in late 1943, Dad was in charge of 50 sergeant pilots traveling NZ-GB. On the New York to GB leg on the Queen Elizabeth with 15,000 American troops – ~2,000 of whom were officers – they had a competion among the officers as to who could write down the most US States in 10 minutes. Dad was happy to report that his year of High School education spent at the bottom of the 3rd Form stood him in good stead, as he won the competition!

        (As an aside, the Kiwis felt honoured to be given the job of keeping the submarine watch.)

      • johnandali

        When I was serving in Vietnam during the war, an American (GI) saw the NZ titles on my uniform and said, “Noo Zeeland eh?” I replied, “Do you know where it is?” He responded, “Somewhere off the coast of Ireland?” Absolutely true. Word for word. Even after nearly 50 years you don’t forget such a conversation.

    • MarcWills

      Fewer than 50% of Americans have passports, so they don’t get out much.

      • Mark

        A great number of them get out plenty,a very high number serve in the US Military & travel extensively overseas,they don’t need passports to do this.
        I know a lot of US citizens who have been all over Europe & Asia,oh & not just to drop bombs on them either.
        The no passports myth is simply that.

        • Bud

          Also keep in mind that prior to 2009 there were a lot of countries US citizens could visit without a passport. Currently they can still go to Canada and Mexico (driving) and a smattering of Caribbean and Pacific islands with just a drivers license.

          • Mark

            Exactly,and I will admit though I think this country is beyond fantastic,had I had the good fortune to be born in the USA,I’d still be riding around there quite happily,probably wouldn’t need a passport.

    • Bud

      As an immigrant from the US I feel compelled to make excuses for what you perceive as their limited world view.

      First of all, the US is big, and it is diverse. Traveling to different regions, even within a state, can be a significant geographical and cultural change, and take days of traveling. This goes on for many thousands of miles and people tend to deal with what is near, and take increasingly less interest in what is further away.

      Having said that, most Americans are not completely unaware; I would guess that the the vast majority can tell you what countries are in Africa, Europe and Asia, even if they can’t place them on a map.

      Being on an Island is a very different experience; you can bounce around and get a feel for the whole thing in fairly short order. The natural inclination is the then look elsewhere to see what is going on there. So I would agree that Kiwis are much better travelled and have a better grasp of world events, but I don’t think they actually know more, it is just a different knowledge set.

      And as far as Sanders and Trump go, what you are seeing is an outright rebellion; the people have had more than enough of the self serving political parties and are supporting the candidates that are outside the party. That isn’t ignorance, that is a fight for representation.

  • Orca

    The old adage is that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But what happens when society deliberately re-writes history and edits out all the bits that they don’t want the future generations to know? New Zealand doesn’t teach the true history to our students anymore, that wouldn’t be politically correct.

  • LesleyNZ

    All Labour Party members MUST watch this video and then ask the question as to whether they really want to follow Bernie Sanders and acknowledge what he believes in and wants to do? “We always knew Bernie Sanders supporters were scary in their own way. Like your mom showing up to your high school in her robe….” A very funny video – that is scary, true and actually happened. Steven Crowder becomes an actor and appears as Jean-Guy Tremblay a newly-naturalized French Canadian who is confined to a wheelchair. JOURNEY FOR BERNIE! JEAN-GUY TREMBLAY GETS TO #FEELTHEBERN – Jean-Guy Tremblay takes you on his “Journey for Bernie” as he casts his first American vote for Bernie Sanders! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjcD4ZBagZA
    Read more: http://louderwithcrowder.com/jean-guys-bernie-journey/#ixzz45e3FAZf6
    Follow us: @scrowder on Twitter | stevencrowderofficial on Facebook
    Read more: http://louderwithcrowder.com/jean-guys-bernie-journey/#ixzz45e2OOuvf
    Follow us: @scrowder on Twitter | stevencrowderofficial on Facebook

  • tjb

    Its always a good idea to refer to Nazis by their proper name of National Socialists. Rubs the lefties the very wrong way because the truth hurts.

    • Ruahine

      Luv it!!

  • MarcWills

    Why are there so many young socialist idealists who worship Che Guevara? If you knew the truth about him you would know he belongs in the same category as most of the uncelebrated world mass murderers.


    As for Elon Musk, if I was given $4 billion dollars subsidy, even with my limited business skills I’m sure I could do ‘very well’ for myself too, even if I made a token product and employed a few show staff.

    • David Moore

      They don’t care about the truth, they worship the myth.

      • Bud

        Excellent summary

  • cows4me

    Socialism is the answer for many that can’t explain away why they live lives of mediocrity. It’s easier to find fault with the system, it’s easier to blame the plight of these lives on someone else and it’s so much easier to expect others to lift them out of this type of life. Socialists like the idea that all will be right in the world if all are equal, this thinking defies logic and nature. But where they always fall down is they believe the way they would govern is not socialism but some magic political system blessed on fairy Godmothers and good spells. It’s not of course it’s socialism and it will be a screw up like every version of socialism before it.

    • MarcWills

      We currently have a Socialism experiment in progress, so it will be interesting to see (in time for our 2020 elections) just how is young Jason Trudeau doing in his laboratory called Canada?

      • Superman

        When he was elected I had the exact same thought. I have a lot of friends in Canada and have just been for a long visit. It is a great country and it reminds me a lot of NZ. Let’s see what happens now.

        • Orca

          For one answer to that, look at another WO article today: “The Story that Never Was”.

  • Hard1

    The grim reality of early Socialism…the yearning is deep.

  • Doc45

    One of the blinkers worn by socialists is the inability or unwillingness to see the difference between self interest and greed. A farmer who does well using his skills and knowledge and buys a second farm is greedy. The young guy who he adds to his list of employees and who receives wages by selling his skills and knowledge is exercising self interest. They are both creating wealth, adding value to the community, growing GDP and exports, both need each other but one is reviled and the other is championed.

  • nudgy

    “Show me the Money” has now ingrained itself into the minds of sensible voters. A great line which cut the ground out from under Goff and the lame successors that have followed him. A watershed moment delivered by our best Prime Minister ever.

  • phronesis

    The short answer is that they don’t. They are aware that Socialism always leads to a vast bureaucracy of well paid and powerful public servants. With their degrees in transgender poetry appreciation they naturally see themselves as properly part of this ruling elite. It’s not the working class that votes for socialism, it’s the children of the relatively privileged who have been to University and can’t understand why the peasants don’t bow down to them.

  • Superman

    Labour needs to learn the first lesson of gambling: Don’t double down. Or as the old saying goes: If you are in a hole stop digging.

  • Toby

    I think the lefties often get confused between socialism and fairness.
    They aren’t the same thing.
    You don’t have to have a socialist society to have a fair society.
    As someone who considers myself center right, I want a fair society. I don’t want people dodging taxes or ripping off the system. But I also recognise the need for safety nets.

    I just want a system that is fair and allows people to be successful. The system should not hold anyone back and equally it should not give anyone advantages that are not available to everyone else.

    It should be up the individual to be as successful in the system as they want to be.

    The idea of the government lowering the bar to the lowest common denominator in order to enforce equal fairness is just insane in my books.

  • digby

    Socialism is great in theory but doesn’t work in practise. it doesn’t work because the worker isn’t directly rewarded for his efforts in a fair manner. If you got paid the same as someone who basically does the least possible then why would you go to the extra effort? Socialist leaders are also another reason. They get greedy. I’m not saying capitalism works perfectly but it works better than socialism. There are also greedy capitalists. Both systems can learn off each other but it seems to be human nature to be either for or against something. We need to develop a system where everyone is compensated fairly for their efforts but not obscenely. If we could get the world to agree to a maximum annual income level. Wealth earned over that level gets taxed at a very high rate which would mean that there would be no tax havens and no point in moving businesses to other countries to avoid tax. The whole word seems to have evolved to a point where we have a large number of people working in fields where they produce nothing of real value in a global context. If the worlds tax laws were simplified we could then have the millions of accountants who take a large slice of the worlds income doing something that actually benefits the world.

  • sandalwood789

    “…Labour need to go all Corbyn and Sanders.”

    I hope they do!

    It really is amazing. The lefty world view is that losing an election is *never* their fault (for lousy policies) – it’s because they “didn’t communicate well enough” or some other stupid excuse like that.

    Long may Labour continue to add 2 and 2 and get 17.

  • Citizen

    Well here’s a list of the worst nanny states in Europe…As you’d expect Finland and Sweden are at the top…but Britain is in 3rd place! https://fee.org/articles/how-the-uk-became-the-third-worst-nanny-state-in-europe/