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Friday, May 6, 2016

Your Socialist Zombie Survival Kit

An Essential Reading List

Like a TV show zombie, just when you thought it had been struck down for good, socialism keeps rearing its ugly head. Will nothing keep this pernicious ideology buried in the dustbin of history? No record of failure? No death toll? No indisputable economic critique?

Unfortunately envy springs eternal, and with every state-generated economic downturn, there will always be those susceptible to the siren song of class warmongers: the urge to scapegoat, the draw of freebies, the lure of loot.

America’s socialist demagogue du jour is presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. He may not have won the Democratic nomination, but he has won over many young people to the dream of “democratic socialism”: a “kindler, gentler” socialism, under which state officials given absolute economic power will somehow not be corrupted absolutely, thanks to the magic of voting.

Eternal vigilance is the price of protecting our remaining liberty. So let us again review the ironclad case against socialism, so we can strike it down once more before it lurches any closer. Consider this page of resources your socialist zombie survival kit.

Each section below starts out with a quote from the article “What is Democratic Socialism? Q & A,” published by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). Each claim is followed by articles that refute it. Following that is a list of classic quotes against socialism.

“We believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect.” – Democratic Socialists of America     

“Democratic Socialism” Is a Contradiction in Terms

Thursday, March 17, 2016 by Sandy Ikeda

What happens when you try to combine democracy with socialism?

When Socialism Works

Thursday, March 31, 2016 by Steven Horwitz

Sanders-style economics will undo any large society.

Actually Bernie, Markets, Not Socialism, Promote Kindness

Monday, March 21, 2016 by Julian Adorney

Markets are made of cooperation.

Venezuela Runs Out of Toilet Paper, Achieves True Socialism

Wednesday, April 08, 2015 by David Boaz

“New Socialism” looks and feels just like the old kind where shortages, queues, black markets, and official theft are the norm.

“We believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy…” – Democratic Socialists of America    

Why Socialism Is Impossible

Friday, October 01, 2004 by Richard M. Ebeling

Without the price system, decisions must be made in the dark.

Why Socialism Failed

Wednesday, May 31, 1995 by Mark J. Perry

Collectivism is based on faulty principles.

The Myth of Scandinavian Socialism

Thursday, February 25, 2016 by Corey Iacono

The Nordic model is far from socialist

Scandinavian Irony: Socialism Meets Liberalization

Friday, September 01, 2006 by Sara F. Cooper

Scandinavia is in the midst of an economic transformation and has taken notable steps toward liberalization and has benefited greatly from it.

Debunking the Big Myth about Sweden in 80 Seconds or Less

Thursday, April 07, 2016 by Donald J. Boudreaux

History shows capitalism made Sweden rich and big government made it stagnate.

Socialism Is Harder than You Think

Sunday, March 20, 2016 by Scott Sumner

Unfortunately, while France is moving away from these policies, the US is likely to move some distance in their direction. Socialist ideas are superficially appealing.

Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth

Thursday, May 28, 2015 by Ludwig von Mises

Ludwig von Mises wrote this seminal piece in 1920. It shows that the idea of socialism is completely incompatible with economics. It spawned three decades of debate. It remains the decisive demonstration that socialism cannot work in practice.

The Use of Knowledge in Society

September 1945 by F.A. Hayek

This is not a dispute about whether planning is to be done or not. It is a dispute as to whether planning is to be done centrally, by one authority for the whole economic system, or is to be divided among many individuals.

“Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.” – Democratic Socialists of America   

Dissent Under Socialism

Thursday, July 24, 2014 by Sandy Ikeda

Intolerance for free expression grows with the scope of central planning

Is Socialism Good in Theory?

Wednesday, October 01, 2003 by Sheldon Richman

Socialism should be discredited on moral grounds, too.

Socialism Is War and War Is Socialism

Tuesday, June 09, 2015 by Steven Horwitz

Both forms of central planning are reactionary, not progressive.

Socialism Is Legal Plunder

Saturday, September 01, 1984 by Dean Russell

The destructive effects of those governmental activities as predicted by Bastiat a century and a half ago are visible everywhere, in the United States as in France—huge deficits, increasing taxes, inflation, more crime, an enormous growth in government, a decline in moral values, and so on.

The Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia, 1917-1991 and Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime

Wednesday, February 01, 1995 by Richard Pipes, Martin Malia, Ralph Raico

Socialism is an assault on reality.

Quotes About Socialism

“Socialism, in the final analysis, amounts to the frustration of willing exchange by people who are unaware of how little they know.” – Leonard Read 

“Socialism only seems to work when you don’t fully implement it, when you keep enough capitalism around to pay socialism’s bills, at least for a time. It’s the difference between milking the cow and killing it. Socialism has no theory of wealth creation; it’s just a destructive, envy-driven fantasy about redistributing it after something else (and somebody else) creates it first.” – Lawrence Reed

“The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!”  – Ludwig von Mises

“The chief difference between free capitalism and state socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretenses” – H. L. Mencken

“Socialism produces bad music, bad art, social stagnation, and really unhappy people.” – Frank Zappa

“All socialism involves slavery.” – Herbert Spencer

“Socialism is the shortest distance between prosperity and poverty.” – Robert Higgs

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” – Thomas Sowell

“Socialist or economist, you have to choose” – Alfred Jourdan

“It is not the truth of Marxism that explains the willingness of intellectuals to believe it, but the power that it confers on intellectuals, in their attempts to control the world. And since, as Swift says, it is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into, we can conclude that Marxism owes its remarkable power to survive every criticism to the fact that it is not a truth-directed but a power-directed system of thought” – Roger Scruton

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.” – Frédéric Bastiat

“A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.” – Ludwig von Mises

  • The Foundation for Economic Education, founded 1946, works for a free and prosperous world.