Alyssa Ahlgren: How to Be a Socialist in America

The rise in popularity of a socialistic ideology, primarily among young Americans, has less to do with economic policy and a fiscal mindset and has more to do with cosmic justice.

Democratic Socialists

Every good debate and exchange of ideas needs a baseline. The baseline is the basic commonality of which the opposing ideals can stem from. Without baseline facts, there can be no productive conversation. 

Let’s set up our baseline. Fact number one, America is the wealthiest nation on earth with virtually its entire population living above the global poverty line. Fact number two, capitalism has boosted the world’s GDP by 15,700% since 1800. Fact number three, everywhere socialism has been nationally implemented, the country has failed. So, how do you become a socialist in America?

The rise in popularity of a socialistic ideology, primarily among young Americans, has less to do with economic policy and a fiscal mindset and has more to do with cosmic justice. Great economist and thinker Thomas Sowell coined the term “cosmic justice,” and describes it as going beyond simply applying the same rules and standards to everyone, known as equal opportunity, to seeking blanket equality of social and fiscal outcome. Sowell calls it “one of the impossible dreams which has a very high cost and very dangerous potentialities.”

Proponents of socialism are not thinking on economic terms, they’re thinking on arbitrary terms of universal equality; a seemingly empathetic goal with drastically unempathetic means. Equal outcome sounds great in theory because the theory presupposes the outcome is a successful one. However, it is much easier to bring down the successful than to lift up the unsuccessful. A team is only as strong as its weakest link, as it is so with socialism. In reality, equal outcome does not mean equal success but equal mediocrity; more accurately, equal oppression. 

If achieving cosmic justice (something of which will never be possible) is a driving force behind the socialist mentality, then why would advocating for the destruction of free-will and the liberty to engage in consensual transactions of capitalism be the crux of the platform? After all, socialism is just about alleviating unjust oppression, right? It seems paradoxical to alleviate oppression through the oppression of individual freedom. However, this illogical rationale is easily dismissed by supporters of socialism due to one powerful drug – selfishness. 

Who, or what rather, has done more for the impoverished in America? The federal government or the altruistic actions of private citizens? I’ll give you a hint, the establishment of our massive federal welfare state that started the war on poverty has been a catastrophic failure. In contrast, the citizenry of the United States contributes more to help those in need than any other country on the planet. What sounds more empathetic: expanding nationalized social programs by taking more out of the hands of hardworking Americans or allowing the people to keep the fruits of their labor, enabling us to help our fellow man? I’m asking a lot of questions because the four in 10 Americans that embrace some form of socialism desperately need self-reflection. 

The reason the empathetic approach doesn’t make sense is not because socialists feel others are being disenfranchised, it’s because they feel disenfranchised themselves. Again, it’s selfishness. Socialism is not about what can I do for you. It’s about what’s in it for me. It’s the lie that stealing someone else’s money to appease your own financial burden is somehow virtuous. Labeling socialist policy as equality while living in an economic environment where your success is dictated by personal responsibility and individual decisions is disguising jealousy as justice.  

Notice the only people advocating for socialism are the people who have never lived under it. Notice the only people advocating for the demise of capitalism are the people who are privileged enough to have exclusively experienced it. When all you’ve known is freedom and living in a prosperous country your pool of excuses to pick from are limited, in fact, you only have one and it’s staring at you in the mirror. That’s not saying there aren’t disadvantaged people. Getting dealt bad cards in life is not the fault of a free-market system, it’s the inevitable unfairness of life. But trying to rectify these inevitable inequities of life is not righteousness, its playing God. 

You can fundamentally alter the system as much as you want, inequity and disparity will always exist. It all comes down to what kind of disparity you want – one where the rich get richer but so do the poor and middle class, or one where the rich get poorer and so does everyone else. In no free society does the rich getting taxed to death lead to a prosperous working class. However, the law of economics and reality are merely inconsequential subsidiary details when it comes to the popularity of socialism. Tack the word “free” or “universal” before anything and all logic goes out the window. It’s as if the lights go out in the pre-frontal cortex whenever we think we’re going to get a hand-out.

We are the most powerful country in the world built off the most moral and successful system known to man, so how can you be a socialist in America? It’s easy. Obsess over cosmic justice, ignore history, ignore statistics, ignore economic theory, make government God, and let your self-interest rise above the rights and property of others. In other words, you have no excuse to be a socialist in America.