Why Socialism, and Why Now?

Victor Davis Hanson asks what a lot of people have been asking — why socialism, and why now?:

The handmaiden of failed socialist regimes has always been ignorance of the past and present.

‘Socialist!” is no longer a McCarthyite slur.

Rather, the fresh celebrity “Squad” of newly elected identity-politics congresswomen — Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) — often either claim to be socialists or embrace socialist ideas. A recent Harris poll showed that about half of so-called millennials would like to live in a socialist country.

Five years ago, septuagenarian Senator Bernie Sanders (D., Vt.) was considered an irrelevant lone socialist in the U.S. Senate — Vermont’s trademark contribution to cranky quirkiness.

But in 2016, Sanders’s improbable Democratic primary run almost knocked off front-runner Hillary Clinton, even as socialist governments were either imploding or stagnating the world over.

After Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 general election, Sanders is back, running as a socialist warhorse, promising endless amounts of free stuff, with those promises suddenly being taken seriously.

Sanders, like the members of the Squad, has limited political power. But the celebrity and social media influence of these new and retread socialists has been on the upswing — especially in the current 21st century climate of radical transformations in economic and political life.

Note the shock over Clinton’s 2016 defeat, the furor directed at a take-no-prisoners Trump, and sudden progressive criticism of the Obama presidency as too temporizing, weak, and ineffectual. And there are still other undercurrents that explain why currently socialism polls so well among young Americans.

College-educated Americans collectively owe an estimated $1.5 trillion in unpaid student loans. Many of these debtors despair of ever paying the huge sums back.

Canceling debt is an ancient socialist rallying cry. Starting over with a clean slate appeals to those “oppressed” with college loans.

Read more: National Review

Image credit: www.nationalreview.com.