Political Cultism

We all know who the Reverend Jim Jones was.  Jim Jones took a cult of followers to Guyana, and had them commit suicide.  918 people were given cups filled with cyanide-laced Kool Aid, and all of them lost their lives.  Jim Jones is the poster boy of the religious cult leader, and is often called one of the most evil men in recent history.

For every person Jim Jones had die, Chairman Mao killed 100,000 people.  Political cults are worse than religious cults, and no cult is more dangerous than the cult of socialism.

90% of all Americans live above the global mean income standard, and yet socialists tell us that we are a miserable country, in need of radical reform.

When our nation was founded, 90% of the population lived in absolute squalor.  Today, 90% of our population are quite literally rich, by global standards.  For a nation as rich as ours to pretend that our nation has never done anything well, is the height of hubris.  It is wise to look at the things in our history that we did not do well (and to hopefully do better in the future), but if we have any interest in truth, we have to also acknowledge the fact that we emerged as the richest, most powerful nation in world history.  Maybe we should do more of that which made us rich, and less of that which holds other nations back.

Cults are not interested in looking at whole truths, and as such, socialists give a tainted view of America’s past, looking at only those facts that paint us in a negative light, in need of radical reform.  Socialists have no interest in the things that made Americans rich.  Just as Jim Jones told his followers falsehoods to get them to commit physical suicide, so too socialists tell us falsehoods to get us to commit economic suicide.

If you want to shut up a socialist, ask them to name one nation – any nation – that emerged as a wealthy nation through any form of socialism. There have been exactly zero, in all human history, and yet socialists pretend that socialism breeds wealth.

I can name nations that emerged as wealthy through free markets all day long. All I have to do is to name all of the rich nations on Earth. I can even name some of the poor nations on Earth as having emerged as rich nations through free market capitalism, before letting socialism flush their wealth back down the toilet. Venezuela was the wealthiest nation in South America when I was born.  Chile, by contrast, was the poorest nation in South America when I was born.  Today, Chile is the richest nation in South America, and Venezuela is the poorest.  Why?  Because Chile went from socialism to free market capitalism, and Venezuela went from free market capitalism to socialism.  Venezuela took the cult route and committed suicide, whereas Chile left the cult, and prospered.

Today’s Chile is at a cross roads.  Two years ago, Chile ranked seventh on the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index (marking it as the 7th most free market economy on Earth), but Chile’s former President, Michelle Bachelet (a socialist) did everything she could to reverse course.  Today, Chile is in 20th place.  Chile’s new President (who has only been in office for a few days) is Sebastian Pinera, a billionaire who believes in free markets.  Chile has switched between Bachelet and Pinera twice now, as the Chilean people try and decide whether to follow economic reality, or the political cult of socialism.

Like Chile, the United States is at a cross roads.  In 2007, right before Barrack Obama was elected, the United States was in 4th place on the economic freedom index, with a score of 81.98. Today, we rank 18 (two slots above Chile), with a score of 75.7.  History tells us what made America great, but our socialists tell us we are not great, and never have been.  Our socialists want us to follow their political cult.

Venezuela, incidentally, is third from the bottom in economic freedom.  Only Cuba and North Korea score lower than does Venezuela.

Studies show that there is a strong, positive correlation between economic freedom, and economic growth.  Poverty rates show a strong negative correlation with economic freedom.  Everything from levels of innovation, to social progress, are strongly correlated with economic freedom, such that as economic freedom scores go up, incomes rise, poverty falls, and social freedoms grow.  Conversely, when economic freedom scores go down, incomes stagnate (or fall), poverty rises, and social freedoms retract.  The correlations are real, based on hard data, but socialists tell us differently.  Socialists tell us to join the cult.

The Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index isn’t perfect, and one thing the Heritage Foundation arguably under-values is the effect of welfare on labor.  Some nations that have enormous welfare systems perform better on the index than they should.

The Heritage Foundation argues that welfare does not directly harm economies; that the real harm comes from changes in savings rates, and changes in the workforce participation rates, both of which are weighed into the Economic Freedom Index.  What I would tell the Heritage Foundation is that, while they are correct that the correlation between welfare and workforce participation rates may be indirect (and thus delayed), the Heritage Foundation is inflating the index’s ability to predict future growth by erasing the time gap between changes in welfare rates, and changes in workforce participation rates.  When you take 60% of someone’s pay in order to pay people who are not working, it’s hard to call that ‘free’.  Where cultures do not stigmatize those who refuse to work, changes in welfare levels impact workforce participation rates very quickly, but where cultures place a high value on work, the workforce participation rate comes down only as the culture changes, which can take generations.  As a consequence, socialists point to the Scandinavian Countries as examples of welfare systems working, but the reality is that the cultures of the Scandinavian Countries are changing.  Younger Swedes are far more apt to live off welfare than were their more industrious parents and grand parents, and as the culture changes, the welfare system becomes less affordable.  Scandinavia does not prove that socialism works; it only proves that socialism does not always collapse as quickly as it did in Venezuela, and as it has in so many other places.  What played out in Venezuela is also playing out in Scandinavia, just at a slower pace.  Socialists ignore all of the many problems the Scandinavian countries face, holding them up as models of utopian success, which is to say that socialists use Scandinavia as a propaganda tool to get people to join the cult.

All one has to do is to consider the socialist dream of a society with zero income inequality, and the cult-nature of socialism becomes evident.  Who is going to work forty hours a week on a farm, or in a factory, making the food and material items society needs to survive, when they could instead have that time for leisure, making the same amount of money having fun as someone else makes working?  Socialists pretend that there is something moral about supporting those who do not work, but I would ask why socialists think it is moral to refuse to work.  Who is contributing more to society: someone working forty hours a week making food, or someone playing on a PlayStation all day, every day?  If everyone, or even most people, choose to play all day, where will the food come from?  Until a socialist can explain to me how they can distribute that which is not produced, I will put my morality into hard work, and will support economic systems that encourage work.  I will not join the cult.

There is a very strong collective incentive for work to be accomplished, but the only individual incentive to work is the economic one of earning an income.  Only a cult member could believe that everyone will choose to work, doing things they do not enjoy, without an economic incentive to do so.

At some point the world will have to recognize socialism for what it truly is: a political cult, and one that has cost hundreds of millions of lives.