Socialism, an economic system with an unbroken record of failure, still succeeds in attracting adherents. One recent poll reveals that among members of Generation Z, slightly more have a positive reaction to socialism (61%) than to capitalism (58%).
In our hemisphere, Cuba and Venezuela stand out as stark monuments to the miseries inflicted by socialism. In Cuba, thousands of opponents were put “up against the wall” to be shot by firing squads, and thousands more are in prison today. In Venezuela, the government recently ordered the military to run over its own people, as they protested in the streets. But this is not what young people have in mind when they profess admiration for socialism. And, in fairness, they have a point. All socialist systems fail, but not all socialist regimes murder and imprison their people.
A better illustration of how socialism works — or doesn’t work — appears in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl.
The city of Chernobyl is not Havana or Caracas. Rather, it brings to mind the reaction of the heroine in Ayn Rand’s We the Living upon first hearing the words of the “Internationale”: “They were not intoxicating as wine, they were not terrifying as blood. They were gray as dishwater.” Chernobyl is a dishwater city. The buildings are decaying. Paint peels from the walls. Everything rusts and corrodes. Men’s suits, even those of high ranking government officials, are dowdy and ill-fitting.
These physical attributes match the mental characteristics of the Party apparatchiks who run the place. These are gray dishwater men, whose primary purpose in life is to avoid doing anything for which they might possibly be blamed. Continue reading