One of the wonderful things about America is that both the Left and Right are champions of freedom. The difference lies in what we mean by freedom. The Left emphasizes freedom as a material good, and the Right sees freedom as primarily a right rooted in individual sovereignty. For the Left, freedom means “freedom from want.” If you don’t have money, health care, homes, cars, etc., you’re not free. Or as FDR put it when pitching his failed “Economic Bill of Rights”: “Necessitous men are not free men.”

The relevance of the Soviets’ effort to provide every goody imaginable isn’t to suggest they came up with the idea; it’s to demonstrate that when such ideas are put into practice and allowed to run their course, they fail — and often crush both kinds of freedom in the process.

Regardless, the failure of Communism didn’t put the debate to rest because the debate is eternal. Like those summer fireflies, it is a permanent fixture of the human condition, particularly among the affluent and fashionably rebellious young who are always eager to explain why this time is different.