Cuba is currently facing its biggest-ever protests against communism in its country. Thousands of Cubans started a grassroots campaign asking for a free market economy and less state intervention.
But what about our kids? When you talk to our young people about socialism, they usually say, “you’re fearmongering. we want Sweden socialism, not Venezuela socialism.” How could you respond? In two steps.
Step 1 is to first put into concrete terms as to why socialism is bad. It is important to remember that most Americans never learn about the complete failures of socialism in school. Don’t just say socialism has failed or socialism restricts personal freedom, use these concrete numbers below.
Since 1900, socialism has been tried and rejected in Angola, Austria, Armenia, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bulgaria, Burma, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Cambodia, Congo, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, East Germany, Grenada, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Korea, India, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mongolia, Macedonia, Mozambique, Moldovia, Nicaragua, North Korea, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UK, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Venezuela, Sudan, Syria, Sweden, Somalia, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Yemen, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe.
Worth noting, it has also failed in UK and Sweden (1950s-70s) when both governments experimented with high levels of government taxation, ownership and regulation of the means of production.
“In the belief of our pursuit of freedom, socialism, and democracy to achieve the society of sufficiency, justice, and equality,” — Preamble of Sudan’s Constitution (1973)
An internet search will show that all these countries had something similar to this quote in their constitutions when starting their socialist experiments. Socialism always sounds good, but it never ends well in reality. They have failed regardless of era, culture, technology or continent.
Sometimes it even fails on an unimaginably bloody scale. Here are the deaths, since 1900, associated with the worst socialist offenders:
USSR: 20 million deaths
China: 65 million deaths
Cambodia: 1 million deaths
North Korea: 2 million deaths
Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths
Africa: 1.7 million deaths
Afghanistan: 1.5 million deaths.
That approaches close to 100 million people killed since 1900 by socialist governments. These conservative estimates are from The Black Book of Communism (1999). For comparison, the Nazis killed an estimated 11-20 million people.
Once you have made the failures of socialism concrete by giving your youth the exact numbers killed, move on to the next step.
Step 2 is to explain that every idea that is currently popular with the left in our country is the failed socialism kind, not the Sweden “socialism” kind.
On $15 minimum wage: Sweden doesn’t have any minimum wage
On open borders: “If migration levels are so strong that integration is no longer successful, we risk further problems,” said Prime Minister Löfven of Sweden (2020)
On taxing the 1%: Sweden doesn’t tax the rich, they tax everyone. Sweden’s top tax bracket, over 50%, starts for people making $70,000 per year. America’s top tax bracket, just under 40%, starts for people making $400,000 per year.
Green New Deal: Sweden ranks high (75.2) on the Economic Freedom of the World Index. That puts them in the top 10% of all countries in the world. This means their government generally focuses on playing the referee to their private industry free-market instead of picking winners and losers like the Green New Deal proposes.
Public schools: Sweden has complete school choice. All parents get vouchers that can be used to send their kids to the school of their choice.
Medicare4All: Medicare4All proposes the federal government pay for all health care services in the country. You would use the doctor or hospital you want, and the federal government would pay the bill using the higher tax rates. Sweden, on the other hand, employs choice in its health care system. Their health system is mainly run and funded by the county and municipal governments as they see fit. Private health care and insurance are available for those who want them.
Wealth tax: Sweden has none.
Universal basic income: Sweden has none.
The bottom line is that socialism, in theory and practice, always looks good on the surface but falls apart on further inspection. And that will always be the key to arguing against socialism. Discuss specifics.
All of the above information can easily be found published in multiple books or through simple internet searches. Use this article as a jump-off point to get your young adult thinking and researching. I encourage you to share this article with all of the young adults in your lives so you can educate and encourage the younger generation to get beyond the liberal vs conservative fights and get to the truth.