With the release of the Green New Deal proposal today, this seems perfectly timed. It’s another one of those Campus Reform videos where they send Cabot Phillips out to ask questions of people on the street. Often Phillips is infiltrating a far-left protest crowd and finding out what they really know about what they’re protesting. In this case, the crowd isn’t far left and they know quite a bit about what they’re protesting. They know because they fled their home country to escape it.
“What would be your message to people who think socialism would be a good idea here?” Phillips asked.
“From the perspective of people who’ve lived through failed socialism, it’s very hard to accomplish,” one young woman said. That’s probably the least cutting response.
“I don’t think any Venezuelan can really like socialism because we’ve seen it put in place very well,” another woman replied. Later in the clip she added, “We also thought that this could never happen in our country. We had a balance of powers. We had democracy and we elected our leaders.” Yes, they did, and they elected a democratic socialist who was charismatic and who promised Venezuela would never make the tyrannical mistakes made in Russia. And yet, here we are.
A third young woman replied, “It doesn’t work the way the book says it works because we’re human and we have imperfections and socialism is too perfect to be true.”
I really like that answer. Socialism really is tremendously appealing to young people who don’t know better. A clever demagogue can make it sound like utopia is just around the corner. I mean a world where every need is met sounds great in theory. But in practice it doesn’t work out that way. As you centralize government power, ostensibly to meet needs of the least of these, you create an incentive for unscrupulous thieves and liars to seize that power and wield it to maintain themselves in luxury indefinitely. And the premise of socialism, that the collective is more important than the individual, makes it increasingly hard for the mistreatment of any individual to matter. After all, you can’t start a revolution without breaking a few eggs.
“Bernie Sanders is your enemy. Do not ever get involved with this individual or any of the other socialists,” an older man said. That’s good advice.
Here’s the clip. It’s worth watching and hopefully, a few AOC/Sanders fans will see it and think about what these people are saying.