Ignoring Socialism’s Countless Corpses

By | 2019-03-20T08:21:18-07:00 March 20th, 2019|
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An old joke goes like this: Q. What did socialists use before candles? A. Electricity.

I’m sure the people of Venezuela aren’t laughing. But as the people of this once-prosperous country scrounge for food in trash bags and go without electricity and running water, some in our own country seriously sing the praises of socialism. Allegedly well-educated individuals remain on the socialism bandwagon even as Venezuela circles the drain.

What accounts for this phenomenon? Why is socialism so popular with young people? Why did they rally to Bernie Sanders in 2016?

Why do they lionize Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Party’s shiny new thing? AOC, as the press has dubbed her, graduated cum laude from Boston University with a degree in economics and international relations. I taught for a while at Boston University in the 1990s and got to know the late John Silber, BU’s president, who turned the school into an excellent institution. He must be spinning in his grave.

How could someone graduate from a well-respected university and be as ignorant of basic economics as this woman?

To answer this question, it is useful to look to the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, who in the early 20th century stressed the importance of “cultural hegemony” as the means of establishing the conditions for a Marxist revolution.

Read the rest in Providence Journal.

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

About the Author:

Mackubin Owens
Mackubin Thomas Owens is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) in Philadelphia, and editor of Orbis, FPRI’s quarterly journal. He recently retired after 29 years as Professor of National Security Affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. From 1990 to 1997, Dr. Owens was also Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly defense journal Strategic Review and Adjunct Professor of International Relations at Boston University. Owens is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Leadership and Democratic Statesmanship in Wartime (2009) and US Civil-Military Relations after 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain (January 2011) and coauthor of US Foreign and Defense Policy: The Rise of an Incidental Superpower (2015) and The Evolution of the Executive and Executive Power in the American Republic (2014). Before joining the faculty of the War College, Owens served as National Security Adviser to Senator Bob Kasten, Republican of Wisconsin, and Director of Legislative Affairs for the Nuclear Weapons Programs of the Department of Energy during the Reagan Administration. Dr. Owens is also a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, where as an infantry platoon and company commander in 1968-1969, he was wounded twice and awarded the Silver Star medal. He retired as a Colonel in 1994. Owens earned his Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Dallas, a Master of Arts in Economics from Oklahoma University, and his BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara.