At the very moment we succeeded in banishing a deadly affliction from our country, in other words, people began eschewing the measures that made this medical miracle possible.
Socialism, too, is having an American renaissance. As with measles, if it’s allowed to spread, the result will be needless human suffering.
A generation after the fall of the Soviet Union, young Americans have forgotten, if they ever learned, what happens when a citizenry allows itself be enraptured by the promise of communal ownership of a national economy (“Socialism Is Back, and the Kids Are Loving It,” page 55). Such regimes have failed whenever and wherever they’ve been tried, engendering misery, starvation, persecution, and wasted human potential on a massive scale. At this very moment, hyperinflation and desperate shortages of food, medicine, and power are ravaging Venezuela (“Man-Made Disaster in Venezuela,” page 75), a previously rich country that had every intention of forging a better, smarter socialist future for the 21st century.
What unites the left’s flirtation with socialism and the right’s move toward nationalism is the willful discarding of long-understood, dearly learned truths about how to make the world a better place. Like the death count when parents stop vaccinating their kids, the fallout from these developments may not be instantaneous. But bad ideas can be hard to contain once they get going, and the results are not likely to be pretty.