In 1848 two German philosophers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, wrote the Communist Manifesto, a political document, which purported to provide an analytical framework for the understanding of class struggle. Face to face with the horrors of working class life during the Industrial Revolution, Marx and Engels understandably yearned for an escape from the realities of the brutality around them and dreamed of a world in which everyone shared both in the means of production and its fruit. They imagined a utopia.
That their intentions were good did not change the fact that the nonsensical faux history Marx and Engels created and their equally fantastic prescription for the organization of society and government has been the cause of widespread destruction across the globe ever since. The role of the party as the vanguard of the change they envisioned in particular has been seized upon by nations such as the former Soviet Union and North Korea to justify mass murder and widespread oppression. Compared to the number of people killed in Communist regimes the millions killed by the Nazis pale in comparison.
Here in the United States, thankfully, we have never seen a widespread adoption of communism in its purest form. We have seen, however, much to our detriment, a steady, growing belief in the milder, "socialist" principles of state ownership of industry and state management of the economy. One would think that the sudden and catastrophic collapse of the Soviet Union, the largest centrally managed economy in the history of the planet, would have ended any question as to the relative merits of capitalism versus socialism. Apparently not.
Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, and a surprisingly large number of other Silicon Valley moguls, are now advocating the idea that everyone in the country should receive some sort of guaranteed minimum income. In short, everybody would be handed a certain amount of money by the government every month in exchange for doing nothing. The idea is apparently that people, once given a basic income will then be free to discover their true purpose, try new things and explore their options.
The possibility that people freed from the necessity to work might opt to not work does not seem to have occurred to the proponents of this idea. Nor does there seem to be any real examination of the cost of such a program, where the money would come from and who exactly it is that will continue to work anyway so as to actually generate the income necessary to pay for this giveaway.
A guaranteed income is only one of the socialist ideas that appear to be gaining increasing currency as we drift toward the next Presidential election in 2020 however. Democratic candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have either endorsed or indicated they are studying a proposal to provide government jobs to everyone who wants one. Under this guaranteed employment scheme, it would be the responsibility of the federal government to employ everyone in America not currently working.
What these jobs would be, where they would be, who would supervise them, how much they would pay and where we would get the money remain unknown. Nonetheless, as fanciful as the concept sounds, it is increasingly becoming a serious topic of debate among major political candidates.
These ideas join other socialist proposals now treated as mainstream by large elements of the Democratic Party: single-payer, nationalized health care, ever higher levels of taxation, ever greater governmental control over industry and the finance sector, ever greater governmental interference in matters historically left to the discretion of state and local governments, etc. The Democratic Party veers ever further to the left and socialist fantasies, especially in regard to economic policy, appear to have won the day.
Marx and Engels were two philosophers that invented a history of human economic and political evolution devoid of any relationship to reality. They imagined a future just as divorced from any connection to the real world. Increasingly, the socialist policies being espoused by the left in this country share the same characteristics.
The government does not create wealth. The government does not create jobs. Money does not appear out of thin air whenever the government wishes it to.
Jobs and wealth are produced by private industry and working men and women. What enriches a nation and benefits everyone are hard work, drive and initiative. Those individuals seeking to better the lives of everyday Americans and guarantee them a better future should remember that and focus on public policies that allow business to flourish.
That's reality. Everything else is a fantasy and one which hurts us all.