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The concept of Socialism can easily be summed up with this simple statement often seen on buttons and bumper stickers: “Socialism, you make it, they take it.” There is perhaps no issue that more clearly reflects our divided nation than the debate over socialism. It was once clearly understood that socialism could not exist in harmony with our Constitution and economic system. Yet today, thanks to a liberal education establishment that has for years attacked capitalism while singing the virtues of socialism, many in our society and government have embraced this failed economic system of government. To restore sanity in America and help ensure the promise of a bright future for our children, we must reject socialism and embrace the capitalist system that has brought our nation such great prosperity.

Socialism and the closely associated communist systems of government and economics have failed everywhere they have been tried. These systems do not take into account the reality of human nature. Ultimately, they produce only shared misery and scarce resources for most, while also creating a wealthy and powerful ruling class that exists above the misery and want of the “masses.” It is well documented that farmers in the Soviet Union would routinely allow their crops to rot in the field, because no matter how hard they worked, along came the government to take the fruits of their labor and leave only enough to barely survive. Hence the Soviet Union invariably suffered one food crisis and one shortage after another. The work ethic was destroyed, hard work was not rewarded, hyper-inflation was rampant, and the system eventually crashed into bankruptcy and despair.

I saw this shared misery firsthand shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. I was a Company First Sergeant in the Marine Corps, the senior enlisted Marine in my unit, and we were the first to train with the Russian Naval Infantry after the fall of the Soviet Union, in an exercise called “Cooperation from the Sea” with the III Marine Expeditionary Force in 1994.  I was in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, and we went to Vladivostok Russia for this exercise. My time spent in Vladivostok confirmed so much of what I had heard about life in a communist country.

The first stark reality that drew my attention was the lack of color in Vladivostok, compared to the United States. There seemed to be only gray, dark depressing colors everywhere – their buildings, their signs, their city seemed void of the vibrant colors of the West.  After our U.S. Navy ship docked, we found that the two Russian military ships docked on each side of ours were freshly painted, however a short walk exposed the rest of their ships to be rusted and in horrible repair; indeed, we found out in later conversations with Russian military personnel that many had not been out to sea in years.

As we moved about the city of Vladivostok, we saw more and more examples of the failed economic and governmental policies of communism. The roads were in terrible condition, and many Russians lived in high-rise apartments they called flats, which were in great need of repair. We observed elderly women and men climbing many flights of stairs to get to their flats, grocery bags often in tow, because none of the elevators worked. What we found to be true everywhere we went in Vladivostok was that almost nothing mechanical worked.

The Russian people were so warm and friendly, and they all dreamed of one day living in America, or a country like it. They were optimistic that a new day was dawning for them, and they longed for the freedom and opportunity that they knew existed in the United States. We were encouraged to get to know Russian families because one of the main missions of our deployment there was to begin to break down the barriers and stereotypes that existed, as relations between the United States and Russia after the fall of communism were at that time improving.

I had the honor of getting to know a young Russian family who invited a group of Marines to their home for dinner. We felt horribly guilty eating with them for they had extraordinarily little, and we quickly learned that meat was a great luxury for them; they had very little opportunity to have it. Many foods we take for granted in our country were simply unaffordable or unavailable to them. Their flat was very small but full of love, and they did their best to make us feel welcome. The meal was quite simple and all vegetables, but we were incredibly grateful for it, and found ways to repay them when they took us sightseeing around the city.

When this young Russian family took us to see their city, they chose to take us to locations where symbols of communism had been destroyed. We saw large statues of communist leaders torn from their foundations and statements of communist doctrine vandalized. The Russian people loved their homeland and would fight for it, but they hated the government, the oppression and the economic system that brought them such shared misery.

The failure of socialized medicine was also in stark display during our visit. It was obvious that dental care was almost nonexistent in Vladivostok. Most people, even young people, had major dental problems readily apparent, and we concluded that there was likely no fluoridation in the water, or the dental care we take for granted in the United States.

I could go on with the things we saw and experienced in Vladivostok, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, but I will just say that we found the Russian people to be wonderful human beings longing for the freedom that Americans take for granted. This evil empire we know as the Soviet Union had finally been brought to its knees by President Ronald Reagan. The fall of the Soviet Union gave the citizens of Russia at least a fighting chance for a bright future, but as history has shown us, after decades of oppression and government control, their future was anything but certain, reflecting the complexities of moving forward once freedom has been lost.

This reality is not unique to the Soviet Union; you can find the same truth in every communist/socialist country, from Cuba and Venezuela to the nations oppressed behind the Iron Curtain during the reign of communism. Today, some communist countries are economically successful because they have in fact embraced capitalist economic doctrine. Case in point – China.

China maintains a communist dictatorship while also embracing many of the capitalist principles that made our nation so prosperous. Meanwhile, the United States seems headed for socialist economic doctrine that has failed everywhere and that for the most part China has left behind. Many in our country who promote socialism point to European socialist countries as examples of success. American Socialists often embrace the Denmark and Sweden forms of socialism as superior to the United States, but not so fast. They are in no way superior to our economic system and cannot live in harmony with our traditions of liberty.

Those who embrace European Socialism want the government control over people’s lives they see in these systems. They abhor the individual freedom and liberty in our nation and long for more control over the lives of their fellow Americans that can only come with destruction of our merit-based principles and a move to a socialist system. They see the success and wealth achieved by many in our country as an evil thing. They demand instead equal result, and the end of equal opportunity. The socialist system they advocate can only produce the shared misery of scarcity, destruction of our work ethic and the end of the freedom, liberty and prosperity that have long existed in the United States.

It is clear that many of the countries claimed by socialists to be models of European Socialism are very capitalist in nature. Denmark for instance is listed by the Heritage Foundation in the top 10 nations offering the most economic freedom. These countries use their money to prop up their large welfare states, but what is done in small European countries would not scale in our country. It would require taxes at a level of 60% or more, which would destroy our economic system. In 2021, as the federal government has engaged in out-of-control spending, we have trillions of dollars in national debt that threatens our economic future and is producing the worst inflation we have seen in decades. These troublesome realities are without the massive spending required by those who advocate for socialism.

Socialism is un-American. It cannot coexist with our Constitution and way of life. It will destroy the opportunities for success that have long been the hallmark of the United States, and will usher in shared misery and scarcity from which we may never recover. To restore sanity in America, we must reject socialism by taking back our education system from the far-left through greater parental choice in education; we must elect strong leaders to fight back against the socialists that have taken over the Democrat Party; and we must personally sound off with our friends and neighbors against socialism. We must also recognize the mainstream media’s attempt to normalize socialism in America while hiding its immorality and failures.

Capitalism is not perfect, particularly when it lacks a moral foundation. Yet, in the United States it has produced the greatest standard of living the human race has ever known. Walk into any department store or grocery store and look down the aisles at the bounty our system has produced, as well as the means to acquire it for those willing to work. Not so in a socialist system, where the bounty and means are replaced by scarcity and lack of resources. Why would we want to go there?

To restore sanity in America, we must reject socialism.

Author: Steven Holt