One of the unfortunate side effects of societies that see huge increases in material wealth is an often simultaneous increase in the number of malcontents who decry the increase in well-being. The hypocrisy is often galling, as when entitled rich kid college students protest capitalism, all the while taking selfies on their iPhones, drinking their Starbucks lattes, and wearing designer clothing. But perhaps most galling are the politicians who, having benefited from the freedoms our political system offers, nonetheless offer full-throated advocacy of socialism.
One of the most prominent examples of that today is Kshama Sawant, an openly socialist member of Seattle’s city council. The council recently passed a new tax known as the “Amazon tax” which targets Amazon and other large employers and forces them to pay a head tax on their employees. In response to passage of the tax, Sawant ranted about how this is the first step in creating a new type of society. In her words:
We are preparing the ground for a different kind of society, and if you, Jeff Bezos, want to drive that process forward by lashing out against us in our modest demands, then so be it. Because we are coming for you and your rotten system. We are coming to dismantle this deeply oppressive, racist, sexist, violent, utterly bankrupt system of capitalism. This police state. We cannot and will not stop until we overthrow it, and replace it with a world based, instead, on solidarity, genuine democracy, and equality: a socialist world.
Coming from someone who came from a Third World country, who took advantage of all the opportunities this country offered to make a name for herself, the only way that statement can be characterized is as hateful and ungrateful. It’s hard to believe that someone who has gained so much from this country could want to destroy the very system that brought her to where she is, but that’s what Sawant and her ilk want. She is biting the hand that fed her, and she doesn’t care.
In the minds of Sawant and her fellow travelers, they’ll be the socialist elite calling the shots and enjoying the good life. But in reality, they’ll be among the first lined up against the wall as leaders more ruthless than they take power in a socialist regime. Let’s not forget that everywhere socialism has been tried, it results in uniform poverty and misery. Socialism has been responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of innocent people, both directly and indirectly.
By contrast, Western capitalism, as flawed as it is due to taking on elements of socialism and fascism through political machination over the decades, has been responsible for hundreds of millions of people pulling themselves up out of poverty and bettering their lives. It’s responsible for advances in health and nutrition that save millions of people every year from dying of malnutrition or from simple infections. For Americans, it should be a really easy choice: choose capitalism and a comfortable life, or choose socialism and misery.