Candice Malcolm: The fall and rise of communism

communism.jpg

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

This week marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the collapse of the USSR.

On December 25, 1991, then Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, and the hammer and sickle flag was lowered over the Kremlin for the last time.

It was a peaceful, subdued end to a terrifying chapter in human history.

Communism was doomed to fail. Every iteration of it has ended in cruel and blatant failure.

Communism, and its more fashionable younger brother, socialism, inevitably collapse because they are economically unviable.

As Margaret Thatcher once said, the problem with socialism is, eventually you run out of other people’s money.

Every experiment with communism — from Russia to Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and North Korea — has suffered a similar economic and political fate.

When the government takes over private businesses, there is no incentive to work hard, to produce more, or to grow the economy.

Instead, as the government takes more, there is less to go around, resulting in shortages, queues and starvation. That’s economics 101.

But communism gets worse.

When governments have the power to take and redistribute the wealth in society, they also gain the power to punish those who disagree with them.

The twentieth century featured some of the darkest moments of human history.

Communist regimes and authoritarian governments killed more people than the crusades, black plague and Genghis Khan, combined.

Communism produces misery. Every time.

But communism is often disguised and dressed up to appeal to new demographics.

Bernie Sanders is not a would-be dictator.

But his self-styled “democratic socialism”, much like communism and socialism, is based on Marxist philosophy.

It shares the same fundamental goals and relies on the same structure of government.

Bizarrely, many of the ideas that collapsed along with the USSR are now are making a comeback, especially for the young.

A 2014 Reason-Rupe survey found Americans aged 18 to 24 have a more favourable view of socialism than of capitalism.

Of those surveyed, 58% had a favourable view of socialism, compared to 37% who viewed socialism unfavourably.

Young Americans were more comfortable than any other generation in supporting a socialist political candidate.

That’s troubling, especially since the same study found most Millennials cannot correctly define socialism.

When Millennials were asked the question again, this time given the definition of socialism — the government taking over and running private businesses — their attitudes changed significantly.

The survey then found 64%...(READ MORE)