With the rise of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many other leftist politicians, the draw to socialism has taken hold of many American teens.
A new article published Friday titled “What Is Democratic Socialism and Why Is It Growing More Popular in the U.S.?” and written by Samuel Arnold, an associate professor of political theory at Texas Christian University, pushed the growingly popular concept of “democratic socialism” to readers of Teen Vogue, the online magazine on a mission to be the “young person’s guide to saving the world.”
.@TeenVogue, a magazine once intended to promote fashion and beauty trends for young teens, is now promoting the idea of socialism to young people in a new series titled “Bread and Roses” (you can’t make this up) https://t.co/CxvmBxiLaL pic.twitter.com/rOpTrRcjI4
— Kara Zupkus (@kara_kirsten) May 1, 2020
After claiming, “Socialism: It’s back,” the article initially attempts to posture as neutral, saying “So who’s right? That’s for you to decide. But first you need to know some basics.”
Those “basics” turn out to be series of one-sided arguments that are incongruent with reality — but seeing as the article is under Teen Vogue’s new “Bread and Roses” series “exploring the growing interest in socialism among young people seeking alternatives to recovery in this pivotal moment in global history,” that doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Arnold initially discussed the opposition to socialism, namely that of President Donald Trump, and described the kinds of people he believes oppose such a system.
“Many Americans side with Trump in rejecting socialism,” Arnold wrote. “Despite its increasing popularity among younger Americans and Democrats, socialism remains broadly disliked, especially by Republicans and seniors.”
With most teens doing all they can to fit in with their peers, a sentiment like that is certainly not going to encourage them to explore their options and risk being grouped in with the “Republicans and seniors” demographic.
A significant point the article goes on to make, and a common one among progenitors of Marxist theory, is that wealthy billionaires like Jeff Bezos have total control over the “means of production.”
“Ask yourself: Who controls the American economy? Who calls the economic shots? Ordinary working people, or wealthy capitalists like Bezos? The answer is the latter,” Arnold wrote.
Bezos amassed his wealth because he gave consumers something they wanted in the form of Amazon. Many of those people paid for his services in a consensual exchange, making Bezos rich.
The bigotry against successful businessmen and CEOs is a faulty line of logic, as conservative icon Ben Shapiro made clear in an argument with a socialist during a question-and-answer segment after one of his talks.
“The owner of the factory carries the risk therefore he gets the benefit,” Shapiro said. “If the company goes bankrupt and this guy has to pay off all of his debts, the worker may lose his job but he’s not the one who’s going to incur the debt of having gone bankrupt.”
“It is the investor he pays the downside, who invested in all the machinery, who sunk millions of dollars into making your labor productive. ‘Cause guess what your labor is without that machinery? Gunk. Nothing.”
Arnold then suggested that the proper solution, under socialism, to correct this problem of wealthy billionaires like Bezos having control of their property would be “public” and “social” ownership, which he attempted to distinguish from “state” ownership.
“Democratic socialists seek “public” or “social” ownership of the economy, which is not necessarily the same thing as “state” ownership. Although state ownership is certainly an important mechanism in the democratic socialist tool kit, it’s definitely not the only one.”
After claiming that “state” ownership isn’t what socialism is all about, Arnold offered no other example of how “public” or “social” ownership could be achieved except through the federal government.
Arnold then contradicted himself, referring to the “state” ownership of wealth in Norway, which he claims is a great example of socialist success.
“According to an analysis from the People’s Policy Project, the Norwegian state (which is highly democratic) owns over 60% of national wealth, and over 76% of national non-home wealth.”
Calling Norway socialist for this reason is extremely faulty. Washington-based economist Daniel J. Mitchell explained as much in a Foundation for Economic Education article.
“If you read the article, he has a tortured definition of democratic socialism. One of his variables is government ownership, which normally would be a reasonable piece of data to include. But it’s an artificial number when looking at Norway because the government controls the nation’s oil and also has a big sovereign wealth fund that was financed by oil revenue,” Mitchell explained.
“But it’s nonsensical to argue that oil-rich Norway somehow provides evidence for the overall notion of democratic socialism. It’s sort of like looking at data for Kuwait and asserting that the best economic system is hereditary sheikdom.”
Arnold attempted to explain how democratic socialism is different from all the failed socialist regimes of the past, yet he was unable to do so. His analysis of socialism simply can’t stand up to scrutiny from experts like Shapiro and Mitchell.
“Socialism can only occur at gunpoint — that’s what it comes down to,” Crowder said.
“People make you give the government your money, an increasing amount of your money the more successful you are, or they send in scary men with guns to take you away.”
Crowder finished the video with one last gut punch to the democratic socialism narrative.
“Putting the word ‘democratic’ in front of your ‘socialism’ doesn’t make it any inherently more moral, nor less violent,” he concluded.
Now that’s the side of socialism impressionable young people clearly aren’t going to find in Teen Vogue.
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