Illustration on Kelloggs’ experience in Venezuela by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times
In the United States, surveys show that many millennials are not merely soft on socialism but openly support it. They think capitalism benefits only the “1 percent” and no one else, despite America’s matchless record of upward mobility and prosperity.
Since the 1960s, the media, Hollywood and the education system have presented a warped view of America along with a sugarcoated version of socialism. So, we should not be surprised when we see so many young people fooled by the false promises of redistributive economics.
The millennials are the main force behind Vermont’s Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, and they are pushing the Democratic Party even further to the left.
Last Tuesday, four Democrats backed by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) won primary elections for state legislative seats in Pennsylvania. Arielle Cohen, co-chair of the Pittsburgh DSA chapter, told HuffPost that the promise of socialized health care and “free education” helped seal the deal.
“We’re turning the state the right shade of red tonight,” she crowed.
Well, at least we’re getting closer to truth in advertising. Socialism is a variant of Marxism, whose most virulent form is communism, symbolized by the color red. The universal result of such regimes is economic stagnation, confiscation of property, rule by the few, mass emigration and even mass murder.
The media enthusiastically adopted the reversed color scheme because they don’t want the masses to wake up and see where all this is going. Plus, even though elements of the left are chronically red-eyed and furious, the media delight in casting conservative middle Americans in red because it makes them seem unattractively angry.
While they’re busy trying to turn America into yet another failed state, our homegrown Democratic Socialists seem oblivious to glaring examples of the consequences of such a transformation only 105 miles south of Key West in communist Cuba or another 1,274 miles south in fast-becoming communist Venezuela.
Under the Castro regime, Cuba became and still is an economic basket case with jails full of dissidents.
In formerly prosperous Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro’s latest stunt is to sue an American cereal company famous for its corn flakes because it wants to cease operations. In Marxist regimes, where the Berlin Wall is a happy memory, it’s illegal to leave a workers’ paradise.
Last Tuesday, after Kellogg’s, based in Battle Creek, Michigan, announced it was pulling out of Venezuela’s collapsing economy, Mr. Maduro said he also would take over the cereal factory, located in the city of Maracay.
The seizure comes just before another fake national election on Sunday in Venezuela designed to further insulate Mr. Maduro and keep up the pretense of a functioning democratic republic. Mr. Maduro is heavily favored, despite electric blackouts, food riots, zoo animals being eaten and the chronic shortage of staples such as toilet paper. It helps to jail opponents, crush or seize the opposition press and threaten anyone else who gets in your way.
As for the Kellogg’s factory, which will go the way of America oil company operations nationalized under Mr. Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez, “I’ve taken the decision to deliver the company to the workers in order that they can continue producing for the people,” he said.
Good luck with that. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, yet following nationalization has managed to produce a fraction of the oil produced by countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia and Russia. A steep drop in world oil prices has not helped. But the biggest problem was the Chavez and Maduro governments’ failure to staff the nation’s cash cow with competent executives and reinvest in exploration and equipment. Instead, they put their stooges in charge, milked the confiscated operation and redistributed the proceeds to their supporters.
Venezuela’s socialism has created one of the worst inflation rates in the world. In the year ending in February, prices rose by more than 6,000 percent, according to opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly. Thousands of starving Venezuelans are pouring over the border and threatening to destabilize Colombia and beyond.
After the United States defeated National Socialism and fascism in World War II and then communism in the Cold War, many Americans thought our God-fearing country was pretty well insulated from socialist insanity.
But unless they are reminded, people have short memories. The shocking affection for socialism among the nation’s young adults shows that much work remains to set the record straight.
• Robert Knight is a Washington Times contributor. His latest book is “A Strong Constitution: What Would America Look Like if We Followed the Law?” (djkm.org, 2018).