A rose by any other name…
Is it Nationalist Socialist or is it Democratic Socialist? I can never remember the difference, can you? Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while sitting amidst the bounty provided by capitalism pontificates about the socialist goals we should be forced to accept. Amidst top notch electronic equipment and crowds of paid ticket holders AOC tears into capitalism. Socialists are good at tearing things down. But name me one thing they have ever built and operated successfully.
The Rep. called the system that has raised 80% of the globe from extreme poverty since 1980 “irredeemable.” She rails against the injustice of people having to work jobs rather than write poetry. She would have you believe socialist countries are famous for ensuring that people work only the jobs they find spiritually rewarding. Must be those are the only ones that need to be done.
Eventually she arrives at her most damning line of attack: America as is; is “garbage.” It seems that in the United States, “if you don’t have a job, you are left to die.” Well not exactly. In fact, that’s an odd critique given the long history of death associated with socialism.
But then again…
It’s an even odder critique given the fact that life expectancy has radically increased under capitalism. In 1850, the average European life expectancy was 36.3 years. Today, the average life expectancy across Europe stands at approximately 80. The United States currently boasts effective full employment. In fact, America’s poor are in danger of dying of obesity, not starvation.
In America we spend, on a state and federal level, at least $1.1 trillion per year on means-tested welfare programs. By census data, that amounts to nearly $9,000 per household in the United States annually, or nearly $28,000 for every person living in poverty in the United States. Maybe the “garbage” and “if you don’t have a job, you are left to die…” comments aren’t exactly complete and correct.
So how many have they caused to expire prematurely?
Estimates of the number of 20th century victims of Socialist/Communist regimes: Although any attempt to estimate a total number of killings under these regimes depends greatly on definitions, several attempts to compile previously published data have been made:
1. According to R. J. Rummel’s book Death by Government, about 110 million people, foreign and domestic, were killed by Communist democide from 1900 to 1987.
2. In his introduction to the Black Book of Communism, Stéphane Courtois gave a “rough approximation, based on unofficial estimates” approaching 100 million killed.
3. According to Benjamin Valentino in 2005, the number of non-combatants killed by Communist regimes in the Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China and Cambodia alone ranged from a low of 21 million to a high of 70 million.
4. In his book Red Holocaust, Steven Rosefielde said that Communism’s internal contradictions “caused to be killed” approximately 60 million people and perhaps tens of millions more.
5. Matthew White published his rough total of 70 million “people who died under communist regimes from execution, labor camps, famine, ethnic cleansing, and desperate flight in leaky boats”, not counting those killed in wars.
6. The Dissident blog of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation made an effort to compile updated ranges of estimates and concluded that the overall range “spans from 42,870,000 to 161,990,000” killed, with 100 million the most commonly cited figure.
7. Professor Stephen Kotkin wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Communism killed at least 65 million people between 1917 and 2017: “Though communism has killed huge numbers of people intentionally, even more of its victims have died from starvation as a result of its cruel projects of social engineering”.