by Charlie Kirk
Neo-socialist radicals have had so much success at bending the Democratic Party to their will that they’re starting to forget just how deeply unpopular their policy agenda is with the rest of the country.
During a recent MSNBC profile of freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her former senior campaign aide, Walid Shaheed, advanced the dubious theory that democratic socialism has become mainstream and that capitalism is now a “fringe” movement.
“I think Bernie Sanders really opened the window for the debate on democratic socialism in this country,” Shaheed said during the special. “It’s not as fringe as you might think. In fact, what’s becoming fringe is if you call yourself a capitalist openly.”
Clearly, Shaheed needs to get out of the office more often. His assessment might accurately reflect the majority sentiment inside AOC’s Capitol Hill echo chamber, but for the rest of America, capitalism retains its revered status as the most effective economic and political system humanity has ever devised for enhancing safety, affluence, and human happiness.
Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders is laboring under the same delusion as Shaheed. “Those ideas that we talked about here in Iowa four years ago that seemed so radical at that time … well, today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people,” Sanders insisted during a recent campaign rally.
In reality, though, Sanders’ ideas are still just as radical as they were last time voters rejected him.
Democratic socialists have seized on a recent poll to claim that their discredited philosophy is gaining popularity, but while that survey did find that a bare majority of young people hold a positive view of socialism, it also revealed that Americans overall still overwhelmingly prefer capitalism to socialism, by a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent.
It’s not difficult to understand why. After all, nothing has done more to lift humanity out of poverty than the market economy. In fact, the single greatest story of human achievement of the past 2,000 years is the dramatic rise in living standards we’ve experienced over the past two centuries thanks to the adoption of capitalism.
Capitalism is an unparalleled engine of prosperity that has enabled the world to sustain almost 7 billion people, compared to just 1 billion in 1800. One expert noted that if you multiply the gains in consumption by the gain in life expectancy worldwide, then multiply that result by 7 (for the population increase since 1800), humanity as a whole is 120 times better off than it was 200 years ago.
In the past three decades alone, progress has been so rapid that the number of people worldwide who live on less than two dollars per day is less than half of what it was in 1990.
Thanks to capitalism, even many of the world’s poorest citizens enjoy access to necessities such as food, clothing, and healthcare, while luxuries such as television, cell phones, and the internet have become virtually ubiquitous in developed countries.
Socialism, on the other hand, has consistently produced misery, poverty, and death wherever it has been tried.
In its mildest forms, socialism is an economic drag that impedes growth and innovation; when it’s taken to the extremes, socialism can turn even the most economically vibrant countries into desolate wastelands.
Hugo Chavez, for instance, was praised by democratic socialists such as Bernie Sanders for seizing the nation’s oil fields and promising to eliminate poverty and provide free health care and education for the people. Two decades after the start of Chavez’s “socialist revolution,” however, those promises have turned out to be empty, and the once prosperous Venezuelan people are now in need of the most basic staples of life — water, food, clothing, and electricity.
AOC, her staff, and other advocates of resistance and revolution can fantasize about socialism being mainstream all they want, but in reality, the American people overwhelmingly disagree — and for good reason.
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Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, an advocacy group for young conservatives.
Photo “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.