I know conservatives love to poke fun at her. I know liberals love to pretend that she’s brighter and more promising of a leader than she probably is. But New York’s socialist representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just said (or tweeted) something really important. Something so important that I think every American, young and old, needs to read it, consider it, and fully grasp what it means.
In the middle of a multi-tweet economics rant, AOC threw this out:
This tweet is incredibly instructive. It is the perfect answer to any academic (or college kid enamored with their “brilliant” econ professor) who pretends, “Venezuela isn’t the fault of socialism; it’s the fault of a dictator.” It’s the perfect rebuttal to those who would excuse socialism of its horrors by arguing that “democratic” socialism is far different from the tyrannies established by socialist despots.
AOC is undermining that lie, even if unintentionally. She is demonstrating that it isn’t just “wealth” that socialists want. Being rich doesn’t make you the enemy. Remember, Bernie Sanders is a millionaire, Democrats control 41 of the 50 wealthiest congressional districts in America, and AOC herself is not struggling to make ends meet.
No, wealth isn’t the problem. It’s only certain kinds of wealth. And actually, it’s only certain kinds of wealthy people that are the problem, and are to be targeted with confiscatory taxation.
AOC has clearly identified people who are doing things that she doesn’t like – Betsy DeVos, operators of for-profit prisons, members of the Bush Administration, etc. In other words, Democratic Socialists like AOC aren’t interested in or motivated by fairness in wielding the gun of government. Targets are far more arbitrary than just a bracket of people who make “x” amount of dollars per year. It’s about who you are and whether you’re viewed favorably or unfavorably by the arbiters.
That is precisely how even well-intentioned socialism turns into a Venezuelan nightmare. Or a Cuban nightmare. Or a Soviet nightmare. Or Nicaraguan nightmare. Or North Korean nightmare. Or East German nightmare. Or nightmare in every other civilization in world history that has tried this failed economic system.
Socialism is not about the people. It’s about centralizing power in the hands of our betters, who may initially claim to care about the people. But it is never long before that power corrupts, and socialist overlords use it to benefit their friends and political allies, while punishing their enemies.
Here are eleven words I never thought I’d write: We’d all do well to learn what AOC is teaching us.