Why do millennials keep trying to make socialism happen? Well, to be quite frank, it is because they are uninformed or ignorant of history. In the many months since Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy and campaigned as a “democratic socialist” I have had far too many discussions with my peers about socialism. Too often, they point towards countries they’ve never been to with entirely homogenous populations. They say that those countries are proof that socialism works! They willfully ignore the ongoing crises in Venezuela that are the culmination of years of socialist government.
Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to have just one example to knock down the myths of socialism. Trust me, there are many myths that can easily be debunked if you get your facts straight and know how to explain them. To help you out in your valiant fight against socialism on and off your college campus we’ve compiled this list of six books for you. These books are all about socialism’s flaws and capitalism’s merits and will prepare you for any crazy socialist you’ll encounter. With these books in your arsenal, you’ll be an informed debater on the issue and better able to educate others.
The Problem with Socialism by Thomas DiLorenzo
Remember when “socialism” was a dirty word? Now students at America’s elite universities are parroting socialist talking points and “sure-thing” Hillary Clinton is struggling to win the Democratic nomination against a 74-year-old avowed socialist who promises to make the nation more like Europe. What’s happened? Do Americans need a reminder about the dangers of socialist ideology and practices?
Thomas DiLorenzo, economics professor and senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, deconstructs the retrograde ideology that has suddenly become disturbingly hip in The Problem with Socialism.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism by Kevin Williamson
Stalin’s gulag, impoverished North Korea, collapsing Cuba…it’s hard to name a dogma that has failed as spectacularly as socialism. And yet leaders around the world continue to subject millions of people to this dysfunctional, violence-prone ideology.
In The Politically Incorrect Guide™ to Socialism, Kevin Williamson reveals the fatal flaw of socialism—that efficient, complex economies simply can’t be centrally planned. But even in America, that hasn’t stopped politicians and bureaucrats from planning, to various extents, the most vital sectors of our economy: public education, energy, and the most arrogant central–planning effort of them all, Obama’s healthcare plan.
In this provocative book, Williamson unfolds the grim history of socialism, showing how the ideology has spawned crushing poverty, devastating famines, and horrific wars. Lumbering from one crisis to the next, leaving a trail of economic devastation and environmental catastrophe, socialism has wreaked more havoc, caused more deaths, and impoverished more people than any other ideology in history—especially when you include the victims of fascism, which Williamson notes is simply a variant of socialism.
Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis by Ludwig von Mises
This masterwork is much more than a refutation of the economics of socialism (although on that front, nothing else compares). It is also a critique of the implicit religious doctrines behind Western socialist thinking, a cultural critique of socialist teaching on sex and marriage, an examination of the implications of radical human inequality, an attack on war socialism, and refutation of collectivist methodology. In short, Mises set out to refute socialism, and instead yanked out the egalitarian mentality from its very roots. For that reason, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis led dozens of famous intellectuals, including a young F.A. Hayek, into a crisis of faith and a realist/libertarian political orientation. All the collectivist literature combined cannot equal the intellectual achievement of this one volume.
What Adam Smith Knew: Moral Lessons on Capitalism from Its Greatest Champions and Fiercest Opponents by James Otteson
What exactly is capitalism, and why do its advocates support it? What are the main objections to capitalism that have been raised by its critics? Are there moral reasons to support capitalism, or to oppose it? In this time of globalization and economic turbulence, these questions could not be more timely or more important.
This book provides some answers through seminal readings on the nature, purpose, and effects of capitalism as understood by its most influential expositors, both historical and contemporary. In addition to Adam Smith himself, the selections gathered here include essays and excerpts by thinkers ranging from Locke and Rousseau to Hayek and Cass Sunstein. All are chosen and arranged to highlight the ways that capitalism bears on a set of fundamental human concerns: liberty, equality, social order, virtue and motivation.
If you want to develop an informed judgment about whether markets and morality mix, this anthology is a good place to begin.
Socialism, Fascism, and the Tyranny of Big Government by Michael Dahlen
In popular political discourse, fascism and socialism are portrayed as polar opposites. The former is pegged on the far Right, the latter on the far Left. But this categorization is flat-out wrong. Despite their superficial differences, fascism and socialism—along with Nazism and theocracy—are fundamentally the same. They are all examples of statism and totalitarianism.
These systems oppose freedom, liberty, and individual rights. They impose one-party rule, control or abolish private property, and censor or oppress racial, religious, political, and ideological enemies. They also seek to export their particular brand of tyranny throughout the world. Whether the goal of a tyrant is achieving utopia, enforcing God’s will, or establishing a master Aryan race, the results are always the same: purges and show trials, man-made famines and concentration camps, war and mass murder.
Socialism, Fascism, and the Tyranny of Big Government surveys the main statist politico-economic systems. And it concludes with a brilliant analysis of the nature and causes of tyranny.