What’s the difference between communism and socialism? Not much, actually. Under socialism, according to American commentator Kevin D. Williamson, “central planning ends with a gun in your face.” Under communism, “central planning begins with a gun in your face.”
Either way, there’s a gun; either way, misery is guaranteed. The goal of socialism is, in many ways, communism.
Nevertheless, socialism, the idea that has more variants than COVID-19, has many supporters. Italian author Francesco Sisci appears to be one of them. In a piece for Asia Times, Sisci recently described the upsides to Xi Jinping’s neo-socialism.
When one thinks of the Chinese regime, a number of words spring to mind, but “rosy” isn’t one of them. “Millions imprisoned in Xinjiang; Tibet in a state of siege; Hong Kong falling from its former glory with the best and brightest flying away for their freedom; and over a billion people under constant surveillance by an almighty and omniscient state monitoring every voice and facial expression through billions of spy devices of all shapes and forms.” These are the words of the aforementioned Sisci.
Somewhat incredibly, he then proceeds to lay out the positives, or the “rosy upsides,” associated with such a system. According to Sisci, Xi is in the process of forming a “neo-socialistic” society. His first major success came just a few months ago when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) brought an end to “extreme poverty.” However, as I have noted before, extreme poverty still exists in China; in fact, there is reason to believe that 70 to 80 percent of the country’s citizens live a hand-to-mouth existence. Xi, writes Sisci, “has promised pensions and a free health care system covering everybody in 15 years. … One can poke holes in these claims, but the overall improvement of life for all Chinese is evident.” However, some 600 million Chinese people would probably beg to differ.
Xi, we’re told, “is mindful of the welfare of the middle class and encourages small and medium enterprises (SME) by facilitating their access to credit and cutting red tape and corruption.” Again, as I have discussed before, China’s caste system, by design, discriminates against hundreds of millions of people. The messages of “encouragement” and “inclusivity” are, at best, disingenuous.
According to Sisci, “China, different from the old USSR, doesn’t kill large companies.” No, the Chinese regime just kills people—as seen in its genocide in Xinjiang. I mean, this is communist China we are talking about, a country where people are worked to death, quite literally; a country where schoolchildren are beaten; a country where hundreds of millions live in abject poverty; a country where sexism, racism, and ageism reign supreme; a country where people live under a dehumanizing social credit system. There are no “rosy upsides,” and to argue otherwise is utter madness.
In recent weeks, Xi, yet again fixated on the idea of economic equality, has set his sights on high-income earners. Going forward, they must share their earnings with the less well-off. This form of neo-socialism is nothing more than coercive bullying disguised as pragmatic leadership. When applied as policy, socialism becomes state-supported robbery masquerading as good governance. After all, robbing the rich to help the less well-off is still robbery. Robin Hood economics makes for good fiction, but it makes for poor policy.
Meanwhile, in the United States
But try telling that to Zohran Mamdani, a Ugandan American politician who believes socialism has an important part to play in the United States’ future. In New York City, for example, the growth of the Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA), a movement with close ties to communism, has some individuals excited.
Why, even to this day, is there so much fascination with socialism?
Bernie Sanders, a man who has made millions railing against the millionaires, played a huge role in the socialist resurgence that swept the country six years ago. Somewhat comically, many of the people arguing for “socialist utopias” have a poor grasp of history, and an even poorer grasp of reality. They advocate for things that would make everyone’s life considerably worse, including their own.
The opposite of socialism is, of course, capitalism. In its purest form, capitalism promotes the individual; it promotes free markets, choice, and the opportunity of forging one’s own destiny. In the United States, with the growing influence of Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, we are witnessing crony capitalism, rather than free-market capitalism. The latter promotes competition and innovation; the former promotes corrupt and manipulative behaviors. It’s important not to confuse the two. Socialists would do well to remember this.
The idea that socialism can “save” America is a thing of delusion, a belief that is totally untethered from the economic and sociopolitical realities of today. Almost half the American population can’t afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Would adopting socialism help or further harm these people? Millennials support socialism, we’re told, because they “want to make America great … for everyone.” As a millennial, I struggle to see how socialism, a philosophy that has failed repeatedly throughout history, can bring happiness to anyone. In fact, socialism does little but distribute the misery more equally.
As Dr. Andy Norman writes, “our minds are fundamentally lazy and like to take shortcuts.” Humans are “hungry for confirming evidence” and thoroughly “dismissive of inconvenient truths.” When an individual opts to double down on a bad idea, it’s often to protect his identity “and rationalize self-serving delusions.”
In a truly socialist economy, the government fully owns and controls the means of production. Personal property is replaced by collective ownership. “Common prosperity” becomes collective despair. Who, apart from the most deluded of individuals, actually finds this appealing? Sadly, more than a few Americans.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.