Socialism's Nine Lives
To anyone in 21st-century America who has never succumbed to the temptation, buying into socialism must seem at best an exotic and at worst a deeply perverse thing to do. For socialism–that system under which all or most of the means of production and distribution are owned by the state in order that it may impose ever greater economic equality–painfully violates everything the world has learned about the behavior of human beings and the behavior of economies, taking the starch out of the former and killing off the energy of the latter. That is true even when socialism has been benignly intended (as in the case of Israeli kibbutzim or the Labor government of postwar Britain). When not benignly intended–that is, especially in serving as the justification for the policies of Lenin, Stalin, and their disciples–socialism has set world records for cruelty, oppression, and plain murder.
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