First Principles

Millennials and Zoomers: Socialism Will Ruin Your Life

The reality is that there are a few, extremely powerful people, set to benefit, who want to dismantle a civilization that is the culmination of millennia of the world’s best minds—a distillation of the heights of human glory and wisdom.

Hello Americans 35-and-under. As a fellow Millennial, I’m talking to you. 

Socialism, and its close cousin, Communism, is descending on North America with a vengeance. And the main reason it might soon succeed is that you’ve been lied to and indoctrinated your entire lives through the media, the school system, and institutions of higher education. 

We are particularly vulnerable in this time of pandemic national crisis, as we are seeing brazen attempts at unrelated government overreach in both Canada and the United States in recent days. This should be a warning.

At first blush, many of the tenets proposed by these philosophies and political approaches seem common sense and attractive. Who doesn’t want everyone to have enough money to live? Or to have access to top-notch health care? Or expect respect for the equal dignity of both sexes and all races and classes?

But the way socialism and communism propose to address these needs is rooted in a false conception of economics and human nature, an ethos of unbridled envy and thirst for power.

These systems will empower an elite of the few and take everything that is precious to you, just so you can, theoretically, have your ration of bread and toilet paper and equally share misery—that is, until the bread and toilet supplies simply run out. 

We have had a test run with this reality in recent weeks with the coronavirus crisis. But at least it is temporary—for now.

I already know it’s likely I’ll be accused of “fear-mongering” or exaggeration, so let me beat the naysayers to the punchline. Until you’ve read The Gulag Archipelago, can regurgitate the actual stats of torture and killing in Mao’s China and the Cambodian genocide, and have internalized the very real application of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals to the radical Left’s approach to politics these days, your accusations simply don’t carry weight.

I have read these. More than that, I personally know people affected to this day by these corrupt regimes—regimes our young and, unfortunately, coddled generation has no context for understanding. The gruesome stories are beyond belief, but they are real. The relevant words: mass starvation; betrayal; cannibalism; torture; existential distrust of family, your lover, your child. 

I met an older Polish man on my way to Krakow a few years ago who told me grimly that at the age of eight, his father was taken from their home one night, with no reason given, and he never saw him again.

We horrifically dishonor the suffering of millions by buying into the idea that the fragile stability, freedom, and economic access we have enjoyed is something that we deserve and with which we nonchalantly may tamper. Our pride and entitlement are sickening. Perhaps the more proximate case study of Venezuela would do us some good—10 years flat from the implementation of socialist government, and Venezuela’s world economic position plummeted

Some argue this devastating economic plummet wasn’t due to socialism, but that rebuttal doesn’t hold water. True socialism has never once confirmed a different result. The Scandinavian countries, often pointed to as socialist success stories, in fact, veered away from full socialism, foreseeing the havoc that system would wreak on their countries. In nearly direct proportion to the extent of socialism’s implementation do we see its horrific destruction.

In his university years during the 1970s, my dad, with strong idealist and socialist sensibilities, traveled to Romania—a country still self-proclaimed as socialist, though not communist—to visit family, right in the center of the region behind the Iron Curtain. After being ruthlessly searched at the border, and hearing the personal stories of his family, he came back to Canada a sworn enemy of the evils of creeping communism and socialism in the West. One need only smell the bitterness to know the poison. If only more could smell.

The reality is that there are a few, extremely powerful people set to benefit from the system who want to dismantle a civilization that is the culmination of millennia of the world’s best minds—a distillation of the heights of human glory and wisdom. They have been working single-mindedly and with dedication toward achieving this goal for more than a century, which is why it’s the air you breathe now—that is, the principles you’re being constantly fed and are so familiar to you now—don’t seem all that threatening. We didn’t drink the Kool-Aid; it spiked our amniotic fluid.

The main issue, and the most temptingly deceptive, is that the socialist and communist principles compare us to an invisible ideal—one which has never happened and, as any sane person can admit, will never happen. Human nature is flawed and corrupt and stubborn. Our systems, imperfect as they are, are among the best ever created to curtail the worst of this corruption and power-obsession. 

To have a justice system that isn’t mob rule is novel. To have even a concept of “human rights” is novel. To be able brazenly, condescendingly, and obliviously to speak “truth to power,” regardless of the worth of your opinion, without any real consequence, is an utterly Western ideal, fought for with blood. Do you know this? Can you picture a world without these underpinnings?

Minorities: where would we rather live than here and now? Truly—where? And when? Name it and own that, and then we can have a conversation. Might you be someone whom the world has treated unfairly? Absolutely. And any decent person of goodwill wants to remedy that as much as possible. That is the constant, unfailing work of a truly civil society. But we are insane if we do not see what we have. We are disastrously, grotesquely ungrateful.

I have hesitated to speak or write thus far because, being a sensitive person and someone who cares about individual humanity and truly heartbreaking stories, I know we can proliferate nuance to the sky with the difficulties of very real humans in every strata of society. As a songwriter, I tell these stories without agenda, and I consider it one of my greatest honors. There will always be people falling through the cracks in a flawed world, and we will always have a serious moral responsibility to see, love, and help our suffering neighbors. 

Thus, the likelihood of this message being hijacked by the particulars, as a smokescreen to the pulsing seriousness of this immense leviathan undercurrent, is high. (Refer back to Rules for Radicals, please.)

But it is time for us to realize we are on a sinking ship, and without putting up a fight, we will soon all be under waves of horror most of us have never thought possible. All of the victim narratives, the railing against patriarchies, the spoiled brat tantrums on the world stage, will become utterly irrelevant as we all crumble under the tragic weight of the great collapse of everything we have ever held dear.

Thirty-five-and-under, I’m talking to you: how much are you prepared to lose?