Many people just younger than me have very little understanding of the Cold War and why it was fought. Indeed it is fashionable to poo poo the Cold War and a distaste for socialism among what appears to me to be an uninformed crowd. See man, you just don’t get socialism. Etc. Etc.
The state is celebrated under socialism. The state makes crony capitalism possible. An expansion of the state will only bring more cronyism and more stagnation. Even a crunchy hippy version of socialism will bring more corporatism. This is a hard thing for many to accept, but the only way to really fight corporatism is to free the economy so that competition takes hold. As competition takes hold the cronies get more uncomfortable. Eventually if the economy is freed enough many cronies will go out of business.
However, make the government bigger and the incumbent players, the established cronies, can stay in power indefinitely.
But cronyism, as nasty and terrible as it is is not the worst part of socialism. Even worse is the adoption of the secular religion of socialism. And it is a religion. One which many have killed for. One which many have died opposing.
Scandinavian socialism which is always held up as some societal ideal (far from it, Sweden right now is a net outflow country) was a luxury item for the West. Gated (not any more) communities of ethnically and religiously homogeneous folks who generally got along and didn’t mind paying taxes to each other. You pay me. I pay you. It was a wash. (And even still socialism is degrading with each passing year.) Scandinavia it has been said is great if one is white and generally lacking in ambition.
If one stands out in Scandinavia one is often derided, as chief chef Rene Redzepi at NOMA (now closed) one of the great restaurants in the world, can attest. He has openly talked of his struggles in the face of the Scandinavian “Law of Jante.” (Though to his credit he has succeeded wildly.)
(From The Paris Review)
These are the rules of Jante Law, the social norms one should apparently be aware of if one is planning a move to the north:
You shall not believe that you are someone.
You shall not believe that you are as good as we are.
You shall not believe that you are any wiser than we are.
You shall never indulge in the conceit of imagining that you are better than we are.
You shall not believe that you know more than we do.
You shall not believe that you are more important than we are.
You shall not believe that you are going to amount to anything.
You shall not laugh at us.
You shall not believe that anyone cares about you.
You shall not believe that you can teach us anything.
However in other places where socialism has been embraced the weird, the ambitious, the unusual, the non-compliant weren’t just shunned, they were killed. That is a fact. Socialism, internationalist or nationalist, often – far too often, brings death with it.
Am I saying that socialism equals death? No I am not. But it demands compliance and the use of force. And history has shown us that often in the name of “socialism” people take the use of force, the need to make other people comply too far.
Some of us are just too strange for socialism.
Mass killings occurred under some Communist regimes during the twentieth century. Estimates of the death toll vary widely, depending on the methodology used. Scholarship focuses on the causes of mass killings in single societies, though some claims of common causes for mass killings have been made. Some higher estimates of mass killings include not only mass murders or executions that took place during the elimination of political opponents, civil wars, terror campaigns, and land reforms, but also lives lost due to war, famine, disease, and exhaustion in labor camps. There are scholars who believe that government policies and mistakes in management contributed to these calamities, and, based on that conclusion combine all these deaths under the categories “mass killings”, democide, politicide, “classicide”, or loosely defined genocide. According to these scholars, the total death toll of the mass killings defined in this way amounts to many tens of millions; however, the validity of this approach is questioned by other scholars. In his summary of the estimates in the Black Book of Communism, Martin Malia suggested a death toll of between 85 and 100 million people.