Ignoring Socialism’s Countless Corpses

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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

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