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Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  His firm, Timothy D. Naegele ... more

Why Do So Many Americans Support Socialism?

Date: Monday, November 11, 2019 1:34 AM EST

The title of this article opens up vistas that few Americans have ever thought about, much less explored fully.  Many if not most are idealistic, and want to survive and want for the very best of their loved ones; and they want the best for those whom they know, and for their fellow Americans.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was no poverty or homelessness, or unattended and unremedied illnesses, and that every American lived a life that was healthy and fulfilling, inspirational and constructive.  On February 26, 2010, I published an article here that was entitled, "America: A Rich Tapestry Of Life."  In it, I quoted an interview that I had given:

I believe in this country, and I believe in Americans of all colors, faiths and backgrounds. The United States is the only true melting pot in the world, with its populace representing a United Nations of the world’s peoples. Yes, we fight and we even discriminate, but when times are tough—like after 9/11—we come together as one nation, which makes this country so great and special. Also, all of us or our ancestors came here from somewhere else. Even the American Indians are descended from those who crossed the Bering Strait—or the “Bering land bridge”—according to anthropologists.[2]

I believe those words today, as fervently as ever.  To the best of my beliefs, I am not jealous of anyone; and I want Americans of all shapes, sizes and colors to succeed and be happy and fulfilled.  In a new article—"Socialism guarantees failure and suffering – So why do so many Americans support it?"—Victor Davis Hanson, a senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has written:

Multiple forms of socialism, from hard Stalinism to European redistribution, continue to fail.

Russia and China are still struggling with the legacy of genocidal communism. Eastern Europe still suffers after decades of Soviet-imposed socialist chaos.

Cuba, Nicaragua, North Korea and Venezuela are unfree, poor and failed states. Baathism — a synonym for pan-Arabic socialism — ruined the postwar Middle East.

The soft-socialist European Union countries are stagnant and mostly dependent on the U.S. military for their protection.

In contrast, current American deregulation, tax cuts and incentives, and record energy production have given the United States the strongest economy in the world.

So why, then, are two of the top three Democratic presidential contenders — Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., — either overtly or implicitly running on socialist agendas? Why are the heartthrobs of American progressives — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — calling for socialist redistributionist schemes?

Why do polls show that a majority of American millennials have a favorable view of socialism?

There are lots of catalysts for the new socialism.

Massive immigration is changing the demography of the United States. The number of foreign-born U.S. residents and their children has been estimated at almost 60 million, or about 1 in 5 U.S. residents. Some 27 percent of California residents were born outside of America.

Many of these immigrants flee from poor areas of Latin America, Mexico, Africa and Asia that were wrecked by statism and socialism. Often, they arrive in the U.S. unaware of economic and political alternatives to state socialism.

When they reach the U.S. — often without marketable skills and unable to speak English — many assume that America will simply offer a far better version of the statism from which they fled. Consequently, many take for granted that government will provide them an array of social services, and they become supportive of progressive socialism.

Another culprit for the new socialist craze is the strange leftward drift of the very wealthy in Silicon Valley, in corporate America and on Wall Street.

Some of the new progressive rich feel guilty about their unprecedented wealth. So they champion redistribution as the sort of medieval penance that alleviates guilt.

Yet the influential and monied classes usually are so well off that higher taxes hardly affect them. Instead, redistributionist taxation hurts the struggling middle classes.

In California, it became hip for wealthy leftists to promote socialism from their Malibu, Menlo Park or Mill Valley enclaves — while still living as privileged capitalists. Meanwhile, it proved nearly impossible for the middle classes of Stockton and Bakersfield to cope with the reality of crushing taxes and terrible social services.

From 2008 to 2017, the now-multimillionaire Barack Obama, first as candidate and then as president, used all sorts of cool socialist slogans, from “spread the wealth around” and “now is not the time to profit” to “you didn’t build that” and “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

Universities bear much of the blame. Their manipulation of the federal government to guarantee student loans empowered them to jack up college costs without any accountability. Liberal college administrators and faculty did not care much when graduates left campus poorly educated and unable to market their expensive degrees.

More than 45 million borrowers now struggle with nearly $1.6 trillion in collective student debt, with climbing interest. That indebtedness has delayed — or ended — the traditional forces that encourage conservatism and traditionalism, such as getting married, having children and buying a home.

Instead, a generation of single, childless and mostly urban youth feels cheated that their high-priced degrees did not earn them competitive salaries. Millions of embittered college graduates will never be able to pay off what they owe — and want some entity to pay off their debts.

In paradoxical fashion, teenagers were considered savvy adults who were mature enough to take on gargantuan loans. But they were also treated like fragile preteens who were warned that the world outside their campus sanctuaries was downright mean, sexist, racist, homophobic and unfair.

Finally, doctrinaire Republicans for decades mouthed orthodoxies of free rather than fair trade. They embraced the idea of creative destruction of industries, but without worrying about the real-life consequences for the unemployed in the hollowed out red-state interior.

Add up a lost generation of woke and broke college graduates, waves of impoverished immigrants without much knowledge of American economic traditions, wealthy advocates of boutique socialism and asleep-at-the-wheel Republicans, and it becomes clear why historically destructive socialism is suddenly seen as cool.

Regrettably, sometimes the naive and disaffected must relearn that their pie-in-the sky socialist medicine is far worse than the perceived malady of inequality.

And unfortunately, when socialists gain power, they don’t destroy just themselves. They usually take everyone else down with them as well.[3] 

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Alpha Stockman 1 year ago Member's comment

I think many who support socialism have never truly experienced it. Or they'd realize it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Danny Straus 1 year ago Member's comment

I used to be a big proponent of socialized medicine because I do believe everyone should have access to health care. But then I lived in a country that, though it has state of the art medical facilities, it also has socialized medicine. People have to wait months to get a doctor's appointment. People can literally die waiting for specialized tests.

Texan Hunter 1 year ago Member's comment

Sadly, it's even worse for our vets here in the US.

Timothy Naegele 1 year ago Author's comment

The VA seems to be improving, quite dramatically. I have a friend who is a retired doctor, and has essentially no hearing in one ear. He is 92, and a multimillionaire, with homes in two states. He is a veteran; and the VA paid for a new hearing device costing thousands of dollars, which he just received. He says there were excellent, and much better than local doctors whom he consulted.

Texan Hunter 1 year ago Member's comment

That's good to hear. I've read some articles last year that said vets were literally dying waiting for treatment. It made me ashamed.

Timothy Naegele 1 year ago Author's comment

I agree completely.

Timothy Naegele 1 year ago Author's comment

See also naegeleblog.wordpress.com/.../why-do-so-many-americans-support-socialism/ ("Why Do So Many Americans Support Socialism?")