One conundrum I’d like to hear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders unravel is why, if socialism is such a great ideology, three million Venezuelans have fled their homeland this past year. Despite the stories out of that beleaguered nation of people eating out of garbage cans or cannibalizing their pets to stay alive, an increasing number of Democratic members of Congress profess to believe socialism is the answer to all our nation’s problems.
Out in the general populace, support for socialism is also running high. As LU contributor Jeff Dunetz notes, the number of Democrats who identify as socialists has shot up from 7,000 to 37,000 just since the 2016 election. Far-left actor Jim Carrey recently declared, “We have to say yes to socialism — to the word and everything. We have to stop apologizing.”
Much of this boosterism stems from an ignorance of what socialism is. Gallup pollster Frank Newport writes:
When asked to explain their understanding of the term “socialism,” 17% of Americans define it as government ownership of the means of production, half the number who defined it this way in 1949 when Gallup first asked about Americans’ views of the term. Americans today are most likely to define socialism as connoting equality for everyone, while others understand the term as meaning the provision of benefits and social services, a modified form of communism, or a conception of socialism as people being social and getting along with one another. About a quarter of Americans were not able to give an answer.
One American who was able to give an answer is veteran Sen. Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.), who has been in the Senate since 2009.
Merkeley appeared on CNN after Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, where he was asked about the president’s vow that the U.S. will never become a socialist country. After wrongly claiming that the administration’s plan is to phase out social services for senior citizens, Merkeley was asked what he believes the term socialism means. Here is his definition:
Well, it is a society coming together to increase the standard of living of our seniors, and that is pretty much the definition. And the president’s attacking it
Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) tries to define socialism: "Well, it is a society coming together to increase the standard of living of our seniors, and that is pretty much the definition. And the president's attacking it." pic.twitter.com/YYp1IF69KM
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) February 8, 2019
It’s light-years away from the sorts of gibberish spouted by Ocasio-Cortez et al., which few Americans have any taste for when you get down to cases.