The Birth of the Radical Left in America and the Harm it Does
A lesson for Australia

Dr G. Bergman

(Investigator Magazine 197, 2021 March)

The radical left in America, as typified by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and the so-called squad, now appears to have a major influence on the Democrat party. The modern radical left was largely birthed by the German intellectual Karl Marx (1818-1883). For this reason today many of his followers are called Marxists. They now dominate many social science departments at many of our leading universities.

Marx himself has an instructive history.

His parents descended from a long line of rabbis, although Marx's father converted to Christianity. His son, Karl, professed Christianity as a youth. He was baptized a Lutheran in 1824, attended a Lutheran elementary school, received praise for his Christian essays "on moral and religious topics." His first written work, titled The Union of the Faithful with Christ, was a treatise on the "love of Christ." Marx, at this time, believed that it was Christianity that made men brothers. Marx wrote in a school essay that the "brotherhood of man was rooted in the union of the faithful with Christ." He concluded that it is only through the love of Christ that "we turn our hearts at the same time to our brothers, whom He [Christ] has bound more closely with us, for whom He also sacrificed Himself."  Union with Christ, he wrote, gives us "an inner elevation, comfort in sorrow, calm trust, and a heart susceptible to human love, to everything noble and great, not for the sake of ambition and glory, but only for the sake of Christ."

He remained a committed Christian until he encountered the materialist atheistic writings and ideas as a University of Berlin student from 1836 to 1841. Marx became increasingly critical of Christianity especially regarding the "the miracles of the New Testament as messianic myths," and at the end of his university studies, Marx's criticism of Christianity became more explicit. His slide from Christianity eventually led him to militant atheism and his favorite quote, “religion is the opiate of the people.” He explained in detail in his Ph.D. dissertation why he rejected God, namely because, he concluded from his University studies, that the proofs for the existence of God are nothing but empty tautologies.

He eventually wrote the book that changed the world, Das Kapital, in which he condemned capitalism that in turn inspired the communist revolution whose goal was human equality, which was to be forced on the people if necessary. A chief way he created equality was to redistribute wealth. Obviously, the wealthy class resisted the government's attempt to redistribute their wealth, which they felt they earned honestly from their hard work. The result was the worst mass murder in all of history. An estimated over a half-billion persons died in the communist takeovers. This includes in the Korean war, the Viet Nam war and 30 other wars. The fruits of Communism and aggressive persecution of Christians still plague North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and the mixed economies of China and Russia. Communism, today called the radical left, although very appealing to many, has an abysmal record of failure. It has not worked no matter where it has been tried.

The latest example is Venezuela. 

I have a friend from Venezuela who, with his family, fled the country, explaining it was once one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Now it is one of the poorest due to, he claims, the controlling party called the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela). The President of Venezuela is the head of state and the head of the government and their unicameral federal legislature.

If the Democrats end up controlling the presidency and both houses and pack the supreme court, it appears we in America may be heading in the same direction as Venezuela.

Is Socialism the Answer? A Tragic Lesson From the Past.

The socialists, including soft socialists Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, have been much in the news lately. Their promises clearly earned votes, but if implemented they will produce unintended consequences as recently occurred in Venezuela; once the wealthiest nation in South America it has been driven into poverty.

The best example is the catastrophe caused by The National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), abbreviated Nazi. The early twentieth-century German Nazis were far ahead of their neighbors in providing a plethora of social programs, including old-age insurance, rent supplements, unemployment and disability benefits, old-age homes, interest-free loans for married couples, state-paid healthcare, day-nurseries, holiday homes for mothers, and food for needy families.

Nazis spent lavishly on virtually every aspect of German life, including medicine, super highways, entertainment, cruise ships, resorts, art, music and much more. These social welfare programs represented a Hitlerian endeavor to promote the well-being of all German citizens. As Hitler stated in 1934, he was determined to give all Aryan Germans "the highest possible standard of living" in the world. And he did for a while, achieving enormous popularity as a result. The expenses for the Nazi’s welfare state increased significantly each year. Soon they went to war to conquer land to give to the disserving Germans these rich social benefits.

The Nazis ruled for only a dozen years, partly because that was how long it took unbridled socialist economic policies to consume the accrued capital of almost all of Western Europe.  In the first six years of Socialism, German government spending was paid for by canceling foreign debt, issuing junk bonds, currency manipulation, and seizing the assets of the wealthy Jews. As Margaret Thatcher observed, “The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money.“

When Hitler ran out of Germany's money, in 1938 he proceeded to seize the wealth of the Czechoslovakian Treasury, then in 1939 the Polish Treasury, and in 1940 the French Treasury. The German decision to invade these countries had strong economic motives. Hitler even managed to get the British to hand over to Germany the more than 23 tons of Czech gold in their possession. In addition, Germany's economy also benefited enormously from the reintroduction of slavery into Europe. 

Socialist regimes eventually run through the accrued assets of the economies they conquer to deliver their utopian promises. The level of social spending Nazism instituted cannot be maintained indefinitely.  After they exploit all other possible assets, they began using assets that can be liquidated, including petroleum and minerals. In the final throes of impoverishment they began converting humans into liquid assets, including slave labor. Then regime change was forced by whatever method the now impoverished people were able to achieve. In the case of Germany, the regime change was in the end forced by the Allies.  

The Socialist Free College for Everybody Trap

Government paying for student college-loan debt is a campaign issue that motivates those with large debts to vote for persons supporting these programs. When I was  college age, coming from a broken family, I had no choice but to commute to a local college. My only expense was tuition, books and gas. Working one day a week to meet my expenses, I completed my BS, MS and PhD at Wayne State University in 9 years, graduating with honors without debts. Persons who go away to college today have the added expense of room and board that can add 30,000 dollars or more a year to their expenses. This luxury is like a person buying a luxury Cadillac instead of a used Dodge as I did, then discovering he cannot make the payments and expecting the government to bail him out. Later, when I attended Miami University on scholarships for my Chemistry graduate work, I realized the luxury I missed.

Free college for everyone sounds like a great idea until one considers the implications. My son was a professor in Norway and taught at other colleges in Europe. He explained the reality of free tuition. The government is not going to pay billions for students to earn degrees with little demand like literature and art, so they survey employers to determine how many people they need in each college major. Then they convey to each college the number of majors in demand, as robotics and medicine, they can admit. The goal is to fill real positions, not educate in every area students have an interest. The college where my son taught was allocated 30 slots in the area my son taught. As several hundred persons applied for slots, most were not admitted regardless of their qualifications.

In America most colleges have open enrollment. All high school or GED graduates who can pay or borrow tuition money can attend college. In Europe, most people are unable to enter their ideal chosen field. In America, students are more apt to earn degrees in areas of interest and, after graduation, work in the family business. Consequently, many earn degrees in their area of interest and not with the goal of working in that area. Actually, over half of all college students never graduate and, of these, only 27 percent work in the area of their major. The reality is free college often means only the academically privileged can attend.