Sometimes, the best way to appreciate what you have is to compare it to an alternative.
A 2020 YouGov survey revealed a shocking statistic: 40 percent of Americans have a favorable view of socialism! It is incredible to think that this system is so widely favored in the land of the free, and very much a part of politics today. But many people don’t actually know what socialism truly is, and how it can lead to communism. As voters, we must be able to understand the dangers of such systems, spot their ideas in rhetoric and policies, and know why they have historically failed where Americanism has succeeded.
Socialism, in general, is an economic system in which the government controls the means of production, redistributing wealth to give everyone in society an equal or “fair” share. It is often regarded as the first necessary step towards communism, which abolishes private property and applies socialism through cultural revolution and government policies.
A Lesson from History
Communism is based on Marxist theories that divide the population into two opposing groups. Marx called them the bourgeoisie versus the proletariat, or business owners versus the workers. He predicted that the exploitation of the oppressed (proletariat) would eventually cause them to rebel and seize the means of production that would then be owned collectively and run by the state. This has been implemented throughout history using this general strategy:
The goal is to foster instability and fear, and then to persuade enough people to give more power to the government as a solution to the chaos.
Earlier this year, I had a sobering conversation with Xi Van Fleet, a Chinese immigrant who experienced communism during the Chinese Cultural Revolution which occurred from 1966 – 1976. What she related was eye-opening and disturbing, and I couldn’t help but notice many of the same symptoms in America.
Xi told me that in order for the communists to spark a revolution and recreate Chinese society, they had to motivate a sufficient number of citizens to drive that revolution. So they divided society, painting a narrative of class division between landowners and land workers—the “oppressor group versus the oppressed group.” Any difference in economic outcomes—no matter the reason—was portrayed as a result of oppression. Moreover, group identity was passed down, so that people who didn't even own land anymore were still considered oppressors. Indoctrination of schoolchildren played a key part in promoting this narrative.
Once this framework was established in the minds of the “oppressed,” they could believe that a forcible overthrow of their “oppressors” was the only way forward. Undermining law enforcement was a key aspect of this overthrow. Mao Zedong was applying the basic strategy Marx and Engels had laid out in their Communist Manifesto, published in 1848.
Do you see a similar narrative in America? I do.
In many of our educational institutions, corporations, and media outlets, “inequalities” between fellow Americans are being portrayed as evidence that America perpetuates a system of oppression which keeps certain “classes” of people from achieving their full potential. Whether the divisions are based on race, income, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, or immigration status, the goal/result is to divide America into the oppressor and the oppressed. And regardless of your current circumstances or actions, your label determines which category you fall into.
The solution, according to the cultural Marxists of our day, is to use the power of government to dismantle such perceived systems of oppression and eradicate inequalities between the “classes.”
Spotting Examples in America Today
You may have seen these ideas promoted by groups like the Democratic Socialists of America, “the largest socialist organization in the United States, with over 92,000 members”. Other promoters include Black Lives Matter, Our Revolution, and Justice Democrats—the PAC which helped elect the most radical members of Congress who advocate for socialist policies. In our voter guide, you may have noticed some of these groups listed as endorsers of or contributors to candidates.
The road to communism is paved by policies like a national, government-administered healthcare system, heavy taxation and regulation that limit the benefits of private property, Green New Deal-style radical environmental initiatives that place a heavy burden on taxpayers, and movements to abolish the police.
You can also spot socialist and communist ideas in “code words” and phrases used by politicians. Look for consistent themes that create or take advantage of a crisis, place the blame for that crisis on an “oppressor” group, identify an “oppressed” group, and present a utopian solution that often promises an equal or more “fair” outcome guaranteed by government action. You may recall that “equity” was one of the code words I wrote about in this previous article.
Why Socialism Fails and America Succeeds
Both socialism and communism fail because they don’t acknowledge the truth about human nature or God as a higher power than government. They place too much power in the hands of a few people, discourage creativity and productivity, and reward our sinful tendencies like laziness, envy, and hatred. Everywhere they have been truly implemented, they have failed to produce the abundance that freedom and free enterprise bring about.
Americanism works because its principles are based on a Judeo-Christian understanding of human nature. God made us in His image with wonderful creative capacity, yet we are also fallen, and sinful in nature. That is why we must recognize, as our founders did, that because government is made up of sinful people, it cannot create utopian outcomes. And it cannot take the place of God. Government works best when it is properly restrained yet strong enough to protect our rights, enabling freedom and creativity to flourish.
The American way produced freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. What has been the result of countries embracing the ideals of socialism and implementing them through communism? Tyranny, misery, and oppression. Most profoundly, the death of over 100 million people.
The citizens of these countries were promised a new order where the government would liberate them from their oppressors. Instead, they were subjected to even more oppression, poverty, and misery as their dictators were able to unleash the depths of human depravity on their citizens.
What Can You and I Do?
One great Christian thinker said, “Ideas have consequences; bad ideas have victims.” The victims of Marxist ideas taking root in America will be our children and grandchildren . . . unless we stand up. And a crucial place to stand is at the ballot box. But you have to know what your candidates believe.
Does the person on your ballot want to keep us rooted in the principles that the Founders believed, or try to remake America into an entirely different nation? Do they understand that the framework of liberty enables us to “form a more perfect union” without destroying its foundation built on biblical, self-evident truths? Have they learned the lessons of China, Cambodia, the Soviet Union, and their suffering citizens?
America is on the ballot this year. It is not the first time we have faced down communism, but the situation is no less dire. In 1964 Ronald Reagan reminded us, “If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” As my friend Xi Van Fleet said,” I don’t want to live under communism again, so I’m going to fight until I die. But for most Americans, I think the first thing is to wake up.”
It’s time to wake up and to stand together! Many proponents of socialism are on our ballots, and quite a few have already been elected. We know where their ideas lead. We must be informed and help inform others before this crucial Election Day.