Socialism and taking

Kyle Smith of National Review Online challenges a popular myth about socialism.

The snakiest of snake-oil pitches goes like this: Give us some of your freedom and we’ll take care of you. Socialists have been making similar claims back as far as Plato. The end result doesn’t have to be Venezuela. It can just be . . . Europe.

What’s wrong with Europe? Despite a turn away from socialism in some corners of the continent, the damage done to the continental economies by decades of mild socialism is apparent. Taking into account taxes, social-welfare benefits, and the cost of living, Sweden and Germany would be among the poorest U.S. states, on a median-income basis. Swedes in the U.S. are by some measure better off than Swedes in Sweden.
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The battery cell of the Democratic party is socialism. The young, the elites, and the media are lit up by it like a bunch of little kids hopped up on birthday cake and cotton candy. Not since the 1930s has socialism been as much of a threat as it is today. And look how the 1930s went. The New Deal was an age of such breathtaking government interference in the community of economic life that the federal government went after kosher butchers in Brooklyn, and even threw them in jail, for allowing customers to pick the chickens they wanted. Today’s socialists are unabashed about their wish to deliver some kind of New Deal follow-up. Who knows what curtailments of freedom will accompany their promises to make you free from worry.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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