By Rachel Witherspoon
Life is hard. That is an indisputable fact that we all must accept at some point in our life.
When most young people first become aware of this difficult reality, they begin searching for something to make it seem less bleak and more manageable. Thanks in large part to effective marketing that can be more accurately described as propaganda and a poor historical education, they often think they find this in socialism.
Their sources on socialism tell them that the only way for them to have a fair chance in life is for them to defeat evil capitalism and for the government to more evenly distribute means so that people are neither poor nor billionaires. After all, no one needs to be a billionaire, but everyone does need to have some money to survive. They are taught that anyone who has more money than them is taking advantage of them, and they disdain the idea of businesses making profits.
Those sources also tell them that they need to be angry, and they need to rise up for justice and equality. Violence may be considered necessary in order to achieve their mission, as America has witnessed firsthand recently in what is reminiscent of the tactics from the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia during the early 1900s.
Most young people don’t know about the Bolshevik Revolution, though, or if they do, they have been trained to rationalize the horrific murders and crimes that took place through the lens of forwarding the important cause of equality in Russia. They aren’t made aware of the rest of the story where the socialist policies lead to communism, socialism's ultimate goal, executing 20 million Russians alone.
Yes, you read that right, 20 million Russians died just by execution at the hands of the communist regime. That does not include the millions that died from starvation, war, or epidemics, all hallmarks of socialist and communist policies. Merely, those sentenced to death by the government for being in the wrong class, having the wrong political opinion, or saying the wrong thing, among other high crimes and misdemeanors. 1
Throughout the 20th century, communism took over 100 million lives around the world. 2
Young people need to be taught about the history of socialism and communism around the world and the impact on human lives.
They also need to be taught about the history of capitalism around the world, and the impact capitalism has on human lives.
There is no doubt that capitalism has never been perfect, and there have been many atrocities involving capitalism, such as slavery and horrid conditions at factories. However, for most of the developed world, those conditions have radically improved from the time of Marx’s writings. Laws exist to protect workers as well as many regulatory bodies to ensure their safety. Gone are the days of the sweatshops and factories using child labor in America. Better still, capitalism provides consumers with the information and alternative options to choose companies that do not utilize such practices where it is legal. For instance, those concerned with human rights abuses can learn about the sweatshops in Communist China. Here, Uyghur Muslims are forced to work while imprisoned in concentration camps for their religion and make the appropriate purchasing decisions.
Capitalism has also been responsible for lifting more people out of poverty, while socialism forces them into it. Just from 1990 to 2010, the market economy lifted more than a billion people out of extreme poverty. 3
Compare that life-saving number with the number of executions carried out through communism.
Even for those who still live in poverty, their quality of life has greatly improved over the last century, thanks to capitalism. Things like refrigerators, washers, and even cars that were once reserved for only the richest members of society are now available to many people in the poorest income brackets of the most developed nations like America. More than that, capitalism provides them with the opportunity for upward mobility, something else that isn’t possible with socialism. 4
Life is hard; I cannot deny that. But life is a lot easier, and we are all a lot better off, thanks to capitalism. It is up to us, and especially our younger generations, to keep it that way.
About Rachel Witherspoon
Rachel Witherspoon is a young American graduate student with a passion for utilizing the knowledge found in economics, business, and political science to help others. She is a fierce advocate for America and an even bigger advocate for the First Amendment.