Bryan Griffin: Too Many Lives Bet On The Nuance

Jul 31, 2019

I recently returned from missions work in rural parts of Cuba. What I witnessed there appalled me: dismal, oppressive living conditions, a shortage of food and clean water, the lack of basic necessities available for purchase, and a generally oppressed and tortured people. This sad reality is the manifestation of communism. The Cuban people are doomed to eternally suffer under the communist Castro regime as long as it remains in power.

“Nothing is impossible for those who fight” read billboards that litter the Cuban countryside, emblazoned above a grinning Fidel and Raul Castro in military garb.

This is of course misleading. Fighting back, or even speaking out against the government, means death or imprisonment. The regime tries its best to prop up a 60-year-old narrative of a “glorious revolution” that took place in the 1950s when then-dictator Batista was ousted by the combined forces of Castro and Che Guevara. They turned out to be worse.

What was sold as good for the people turned out to be much, much worse.

One overwhelming thought remained with me throughout my trip: how can American society possibly embrace socialism as a valid political ideology?

Vladimir Lenin said quite plainly, “the goal of socialism is communism.”

Bernie Sanders, AOC, and others on the American left are quick to defend their version of socialism as “democratic.”

Here’s the problem: communism and socialist experiments have been the greatest single killer in human history.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal two years ago on the 100th anniversary of Lenin’s first communist experiment, columnist David Satter called communism “the greatest catastrophe in human history.”

In the last 100 years, communism has killed an estimated 94 million people. Add to this the estimated 28 million who died under fascism and big government killed more people over the last 100 years than both world wars combined or even natural disaster.

Nuancing socialism as “democratic” is like putting a shock collar on a tiger. Based on the track record of socialism and communism, it would mean betting far too many lives on the subtleties and nuances that differentiate democratic socialism from its full and evil manifestation. As a society, we shouldn’t be willing to even come close, nonetheless takes cues from these ideologies, especially because these nuances haven’t been definitively articulated by the democratic socialists who champion them.

Where are the lines drawn? If healthcare and education are nationalized, how does that not then become the government’s free pass to make decisions about the welfare of our bodies or the ideology of our children?

Every time we hear from the crop of Democrats running for President in 2020 we hear more promises of things or services being provided by the government. Many candidates who haven’t openly ascribed to the label of Democratic Socialist have still publicly endorsed the Green New Deal, which AOC’s chief of staff recently exposed as a push for socialism. This is just one example of my larger point that the lines are blurred on the left. Socialism is sometimes openly embraced, or sometimes passively accepted as the means to achieve an end. It’s a bait and switch. There should be a repulsion to the very idea of such ideology having weight among valid possibilities.

Some say it hasn’t become that pervasive on the left. If socialism is only still a fringe element of thought, where are the voices from the Democratic Party clearly eschewing the evil ideology, and where are the concrete stopping points in the policy positions of Democratic candidates that will ensure big government ideas don’t grow into fully socialist policies?

Too many lives are bet on nuances that frankly aren’t clear or present at all among Democrat discourse.

These shouldn’t even be nuances, these should be bright, solid lines.

Communism and socialism are violent killers and oppressors that belong squarely on the ash heap of history.

Bryan Griffin of the London Center for Policy Research is a lawyer and author who specializes in American policy in the Middle East.

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