Socialism and its more ideological brother, communism, is dead everywhere in the world. It doesnt work and neither do the people yoked to this failed ideology. This has tremendous implications for the world, but most of all for America. Ill get to those in a minute, but first Id like to do a survey.
The communist branch of the rob from the rich and make everyone rich form of government is the worst. It kills and destroys. The Soviet Union, despite reports from the New York Times in the 30s, killed 20 to 30 million people in the 20s and 30s effort to collectivize agriculture. Communist China did even better in its efforts to collectivize agriculture. Upward of 50 million. Pol Pots Cambodia killled at least 2 million. So communism is good at killing. Let us look at a communism that doesnt kill. At least not much. Yet. Cuba. Before Castro under the capitalist dictator Batista Cuban per capita income was on the order of $100 a month and rising. Under the communist dictator Castro, per capita income is $10 a month and falling. So the communists are good at killing people and destroying economies. So where are they now? Russia (formerly part of the USSR) is adopting various capitalist ways to recover from communism. Its problem today is that the only people with any kind of capitalist experience are Mafia criminals. China, too, is adopting a more market-based economy. So it is pretty obvious that communism is dead.
How about a more moderate version of stealing from the rich to make everyone secure? Socialism. France, Germany, and Sweden are exemplars of running an economy based on theft from the producers to help the less fortunate. What is happening in those countries? All are on the verge of a continuous negative economic slide. They are headed from a middle-class standard of living to a Third World standard. What is Germany trying to do in response? Ease labor restrictions that make it hard to fire workers in downturns. Currently, its economy is tuned for the weakest times, and when good times come, employers are reluctant to hire. What is France trying to do in response to a problem similar to Germanys? Ease labor restrictions. Neither country is having much luck so far because those on the gravy train are unwilling to give up any of their gravy for the good of their country. How is Sweden doing compared to America? Not so good and getting worse. The lowest class in the American economy is our black citizens. Compared with Sweden on a buying power basis, blacks have a $2,000 a year per capita advantage over the Swedes. So the socialists are not doing too well.
Socialism/Marxism is DEAD. The post modern (Pomo) version of communism will not save it. Pomo is just the fluorescence of the rot. It is not some new deadly version of communism that will take over the world. It is the result of decay. But that is a story for another day.
Every place that adopted capitalism as its economic model at the end of WW2 has done rather well. Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, to name just a few. They were all dictatorships of one kind or another in their early capitalist phase, but once per capita income rose above about $300 a month, representative democracy came into power. Not bad.
So communism is dead and socialism is dying. What does this mean for America? It means the left in America as we know it is dying. The first glimpse of that was in the 2002 national election. The first post-9/11 national election. The Democrats lost ground. Post-Iraq, you hear a lot of formerly centrist Democrats saying they no longer care for the party. Barring some major catastrophe between now and 2004, I expect a Republican landslide.
What we are seeing in American politics is the calving of the iceberg of socialism from the body politic before it heads out to sea to melt away. What will be left is libertarian/liberal ideals on what will be the left/center and the cultural conservatives on the right. We are going back to the original definitions of liberal and conservative in vogue more than 100 years ago.
This is a HUGE shift in politics. It is plainly visible to anyone who wishes to take notice but will not become obvious until after the next election. Even then, what will be noticed is the demise of the Democrats. The rise of the libertarian center will take a bit longer to notice.
The only hope for the Democrats is that they give up their pacificism and become ardent evangelistic democrats on the world stage. That is not such a big shift. It just means going back to what they used to stand for. The other thing the Democrats must do is give up on socialism. Robbing from the rich, no matter how morally desirable, ruins economies. Ruined economies are at best stagnant. They cant help the poor much. At worst, they throw the whole economic machinery in reverse.
So what does that leave for the Democrats? Civil liberties. Less intrusive government was always a very important principle for Democrats.
What do I expect in the real world? The Democrats will give up nothing. They will collapse and fade. What will be left? The Republicans.
The Republican Party consists today of two wings: The cultural conservatives with their base in religion and the libertarians with their leave me alone attitude; government out of my bedroom and out of my wallet is their motto. Now the cultural conservatives like to use the power of government to force their cultural rules on the country. But unlike the socialists, who cannot get what they want without government guns, the cultural conservatives can go back to the founder of their main religion, who said to a group of people who were trying to enforce cultural rules with the power of government: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. So they might not like giving up power, but they can do it. They have an example to live up to. Even so, in a world with no socialists to combat, I do not think the two wings of the Republican Party are compatible.
What I expect in the long run is that the Democrats will die, and the Republicans will split. And the leave me alone coalition will be at the center of American politics. Time will tell.
M. Simon is an industrial controls engineer for Space-Time Productions and a Free Market Green. © M. SimonAll rights reserved. Permission granted for one time use in a single periodical. Concurrent publication on the periodicals Web site is also granted.