Opinion / Politics

Democratic Socialism is a Bear Trap – Remember History

democratic socialism

History repeats itself – unless stopped.  Growing advocacy of “democratic socialism” among Democratic presidential candidates is more than troubling.  It is misinformed, ignorant of history, and downright scary.  Here is why. 

The faster life moves, the shorter memories become.  Thirty years ago, when in my 20’s and studying history in Europe, a fellow Oxford student invited me to Poland – then dominated by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which began as the Russian Social Democratic Party.

That party, like other democratic socialist parties, took the view that centralized control over all things made by the private sector, decisions made by private individuals, and direction of society was superior to millions of private decisions.  The government could do it better.

In the name of socialist advancement, authoritarian control was systematically imposed over private lives – directing everything from education to health care, security to economy.  A command and control economy, directed by party leaders, first subsumed then suffocated private sector initiative, production, quality and access.

To enforce compliance with socialist expectations, penalties were assessed – personal and financial, then physical and horrific. Accountability for misuse of government power was nowhere to be found, since ruling socialists do not hold themselves accountable.  They are, by definition, unaccountable.

Private activities were disallowed, punished and perished, except in dark allies and at great risk.  Enforcing compliance was necessary to assure happiness. That was socialism at its best, a welfare state skipping glibly down the proverbial road paved by good intentions – to hell. 

After all, what could go wrong if the aim was good?  To force equality on humanity might cost personal liberty, but that was a price worth paying, right?  That is the unstated, unholy and immoral belief of socialists: Forced redistribution of wealth is justified, so coercive government action against the individual is justified.

The problem, of course, is that individuals get wise to this coercion, loss of control, penalties for private initiative, and loss of access to quality goods.  Put upon by the socialist state, they object.  That is when screws are tightened.  Socialism, like a cancer, does not give up easily. 

Speech is punished, prior freedom to offend, complain and politically resist repressed.  Repression starts slowly, through coordinated social pressure, humiliation and legal action.  Socialist influence over media grows, becoming party to the repression. Dissidents are disparaged, persecuted, and isolated.  Fear grows, as political freedoms enjoyed by Americans in the Bill of Rights – shrink, eventually disappear. 

That was Poland in the 1980s, under Soviet socialist democratic control.  That was the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany and Yugoslavia, too, under socialist domination.  I visited dissidents in each of those places. Today, you see socialism at work in the economic and political repression of Venezuela, Cuba, Laos and China. 

So, here is the point. Socialism is not a game, joke, slogan, joy ride, lark or political free lunch.  It is a deadly serious error in judgment, one that begins innocently enough, promising all for everyone at the expense of no one, soon becoming a nearly inescapable bear trap, swapping individual liberties for the illusion of equality – ultimately suffocating democracy, capitalism and liberty.

By the grace of God, my friends in Poland – who showed unimaginable political courage – were reinforced by a freedom-loving American president, Ronald Reagan, Great Britain’s Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II.  They escaped the bear trap. 

How much better would it be, given the chance, not to step in such a trap?  That is where we are now.  Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is an avowed socialist, having spent his 1988 honeymoon in the Soviet Union trashing American foreign and domestic policy – the same policies that freed those Russians and Poles from socialism’s unclenching grip. 

Bernie Sanders is joined by other Democratic candidates, in a ready embrace of democratic socialism.  They could all use a refresher in where democratic socialism leads – nowhere good.  History repeats itself – unless stopped. 

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Diana Erbio
2 years ago

Socialism and Communism are examples of the pathway to hell being paved with good intentions. People must learn history!

PaulE
2 years ago
Reply to  Diana Erbio

Agreed! Unfortunately, some people still cling to the notion that ignorance is somehow bliss. Thus we end up with one political party running 24 presidential candidates, each preaching the standard socialist playbook. All while the vast majority of the Democrat voter base seems perfectly happy to cheer them on.

Jack Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

PaulE,
I’m always fascinated and disturbed by the many misguided folks cheering for the Democrat candidate in their various campaign appearances —- Biden, Booker, Harris, Sanders, et. al. . . . . The socialist Democrats are like the blind leading the blind; they have the wrong vision for America and their supporters are either too naïve or too intellectually lazy to recognize how far they’ve drifted into dangerous waters . . . away from the core American values that made our country the greatest nation on the planet.

Harrison
2 years ago

As a man and a Christian, I have held my tongue for too long. These sophisticated articles are impressive with their lengthy words and paragraphs, but they are tantamount to blasphemy.

Where is God in these pieces? How has He been lost in your worldly philosophical viewpoints?

The form of government that we have is the form that God wants. He is all-powerful and He is the one to decide how his children are to be governed. There is no such thing as “Democratic Socialism” or a “Republic” or anything else; these are just worldly terms applied by men to inadequately explain the plans that our benevolent Creator has for us. They are not for us to understand. I am disappointed. Turn your heads away from the television and toward the crucifix.

Pray for humility.

Mary Louise
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

AMEN and thank you sir.

Jack Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

@Harrison,

No such thing as a “Republic” ? You were correct about the term, “Democratic Socialism” but not the former. Try telling that to our founding fathers when you get to Heaven; you might be surprised at their reaction. And to say that the viewpoints expressed by the writers of these articles is “tantamount to blasphemy” is a bit strong. Really? You may be a Christian, as you claim, but that doesn’t mean we should all keep our heads buried in the sand like ostriches when it comes to government affairs. I agree with you only on one point: God is conspicuously absent in many of these discussions, but don’t assume that the writers of these articles are atheists or agnostics, or their motives are somehow suspect. It’s not your place to judge them, even if you disagree in principle; that’s for God to do.

Harrison
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack Thomas

Our founding fathers were Deists, not Christians, so you will not find them in Heaven. They made their choice to turn away from the light of the Lord and they are burning along with the rest of the heretics.

Jack Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

Some of our founding fathers were deists, some were Christians, that’s true. But whether these fine men who sacrificed their fortunes and their very lives for this country we enjoy today went to heaven or hell when they died isn’t really your call to make. It’s God’s and His alone. Let’s leave it at that.

Harrison
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack Thomas

It would be a lovely fairytale to believe that our founding fathers are all in Heaven. They achieved great things in their earthly lives.

But Thomas Jefferson famously said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”

That is worldly heresy if ever I’ve heard it. If this man was allowed to enter the kingdom of Heaven, then everything I’ve devoted my life to is meaningless.

Jack Thomas
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

Again, that’s your view of Jefferson, not God’s. God isn’t in the revenge business. He’s in the “redemption” business. Redemption and forgiveness for anyone who seeks Him and calls upon His name. You really have no idea what Jefferson’s spiritual relationship with God was near the end of his life. Or, for that matter, any of the other founding fathers near the end of theirs. Nor do I. So let it go . . .

Harrison
2 years ago
Reply to  Jack Thomas

I don’t drink. I don’t gamble. I keep Kosher because that is not a “Jewish” rule; it is a Biblical rule. I have kept all the Commandments. I spend the Sabbath in prayer. I was first in line to vote for Donald Trump in the primary and the general election, because he was the only true Christian in the race.

And you are saying that in the eyes of God, I am equal to a pot-smoking socialist liberal who has a sudden conversion on his deathbed? Well, that is news to me.

And by the way – Of course God is in the revenge business! Have you heard of Eve? Lot’s wife? Sodom and Gomorrah? You act as if these are made-up fairytales when every one is a historical fact.

Harrison
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

(Re-reading this now, I see it came off as angrier than I intended. I am unable to delete it but I will let it go as you requested.)

Nathan
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

WOW. I mean, with all due respect, calm down, sir.

Nobody believes that every word of the Bible is the literal truth. That is physically impossible since there are passages that contradict one another. Some of it is truth and some of it is mythology. As Christians we all have the free will to decide which parts are important and which parts are best left to history.

Tim
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

Nobody but One, Jesus Christ, can be good enough to enter heaven on there own. That is why Jesus came. To save us all. where all sinners one way or the other.

Tim
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

Jefferson was pointing out was, look for yourself and then decide on your own.

Tim
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

That is just propaganda from atheist. If you study historical documents, you will find all that the founding fathers used to start this country was based on the Bible. Read the prayers from George Washington. that will show you what you need to know.

Tim
2 years ago
Reply to  Harrison

Thank you for pointing this out. More need to understand that God is in control. He appoints government leaders for his purpose.

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