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As a witness to the Cold War, I am rather disturbed by the amount of praise I’ve been hearing for socialism lately, and it makes me wonder what exactly are we paying history professors for? It seems that college students are being conditioned to view business success as the enemy of the people, to view honest labor as exploitation, and to see private wealth as something that should be seized by the government.

Throughout my youth, America was literally at war with socialism. So it seems rather insane to me, after everything that happened in the last century, that I would even need to issue a hazardous warning about this dangerous ideology. From the guillotines of the French Revolution to the food riots in modern Venezuela, socialism has devastated every nation that ever tried it. This is not political hyperbole, this is historical fact. Socialism has killed more innocent souls through starvation, imprisonment and genocide than both world wars put together.

And putting the word “democratic” in front of the word socialism is false advertising at its worst. All it means is you can vote yourself into a hell that you can only shoot your way out of. In truth, socialism is the poisoned fruit of democracy. For when you offer people the option of voting free stuff for themselves, it is very hard to talk the voters out of it. Then after socialists gain power, and discover they can print their own money, you have the recipe for a permanent wealthy ruling class followed quickly by national bankruptcy. Indeed, the so-called “wealth-gap” is far greater in socialist countries than it is in capitalist countries. That’s why socialist countries have to build big border walls – to keep workers in. You will notice there are no migrant caravans heading for Cuba or Nicaragua. Survivors of socialism vote with their feet.

But the most dangerous allure of socialism, and likely the reason young people keep returning to it, is that it pretends to appeal to our best intentions. It offers total equity across the board. Equal wages, equal schooling and health care, equal opportunity and equal protection from oppression.

These are all noble goals, to be clear. But the delivery mechanism is to eliminate all competition, all private property and private enterprise, and to abandon your freedom to an all-powerful bureaucracy. I don’t think college professors are explaining this devilish detail to their students.

Another trick used by modern socialists is to describe the “Scandinavian” model of socialism. Again, this is false advertising. All Scandinavian countries are capitalist economies with enormous taxes and an engorged welfare state that results in a lower overall standard of living.

Perhaps older people are more attuned to history because we lived through it. We’ve been burned by con men and cheated by utopians, and we’ve learned that nothing good in life is ever free. Although capitalism can be cruel, it has helped more people than it has hurt, for it is the living example of true democracy.

Even if you never go into a polling station, you vote 20 times a day with every purchase you make. You elect the businesses who provide products and jobs that improve the quality of everyone’s life.

We should never take this real freedom for granted nor exchange it for the safety of a prison nation. Nor should we ever forget those true cold war soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Korea, Vietnam, and Cambodia, to halt the spread of socialism.

Wayne Moss is from West Alexander.

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