Hollywood and the Siren Song of Socialism

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Published on: June 25, 2015

Mr. Sanders Goes to Hollywood. And he got a good reception, too. That is, super-liberal Bernie Sanders, Democrat from Vermont who believes in socialistic policies, has a message that apparently resonates with the limousine liberals in Tinseltown.

Writing for Hollywood Reporter (June 20, 2015), Tina Daunt notes, “After the glitz and glitter of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s fundraising trips to L.A. this week, a cadre of industry super-liberals turned out Saturday to support Sanders.”

She adds, “Sanders – a self-described Democratic socialist – is the candidate who checks all the progressive boxes, earning him a devoted Los Angeles following.”

His platform sounds appealing to the naive, until you ask the question: How will all this be paid for? And what happens if you don’t happen to agree with that particular policy?

Here are a few of the 12 points of his “Agenda for America”: Reversing Climate Change …Creating Worker Co-ops … Growing the Trade Union Movement … Raising the Minimum Wage … Making College Affordable for All … Health Care as a Right for All. Most of the points read like socialist pamphlets from the 1930s.

This positive reception from Hollywood of an avowed socialist reminds me of how collectivist thinking gets repackaged and resold as if it’s something new and exciting, as we’ve seen recently with the move for “social justice.”

Everywhere the siren song of socialism is received, even with supposedly the best intentions, it fails. I write this with the caveat that I’m not claiming Hollywood types embrace atheistic communism with its bloody track record. But ideas have consequences.

Socialism violates two of God’s Ten Commandments. Thou shalt not steal (even the government) and Thou shalt not covet. By definition, socialism covets thy neighbor’s goods. And it relies upon the force of government to redistribute those goods.

Furthermore, it contradicts human nature; thus, it always fails. This is not to be confused with Christian charity, which is voluntary and greatly to be encouraged.

Can you name one spot on earth where socialism has ever worked?

Joshua Muravchik was the national chairman of the Young People’s Socialist League from 1968 to 1973. But he became disillusioned with socialism. In 2002, he wrote an excellent book on the subject, called “Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism.”

I had the privilege to interview him for a TV special, “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger.” He told me, “Socialism has kind of proved itself to be bankrupt, but it’s not dying out in the intellectual world.”

In his book, he writes, “From New Harmony [Robert Owen’s failed experiment of a socialist commune in 19th century Indiana] to Moscow, from Dar es Salaam to London, the story of socialism was the story of a dream unrealized, a word that would not be made flesh.”

He concludes, “By no means were all socialists killers or amoral. Many were sincere humanitarians; mostly these were adherents of democratic socialism. But democratic socialism turned out to be a contradiction in terms, for where socialists proceeded democratically, they found themselves on a trajectory that took them further and further from socialism.”

He adds, “Only once did democratic socialists manage to create socialism. That was the kibbutz [in Israel]. And after they had experienced it, they chose democratically to abolish it.”

Meanwhile, the USSR was among the most ambitious attempts to force socialism on a country. Lenin and Stalin had to crack a few skulls to do this. Quite a few. Of course, they created a government all based on atheism. Under big-government schemes, the government is god. So there is no place for other gods. Religious freedom and true socialism don’t mix.

Before being disillusioned by Stalin and the failed USSR, many leftists from the West, “fellow travelers,” went to the “worker’s paradise” to celebrate the breakdown of traditional society – capitalism and private ownership, the traditional family and religious influence in society.

This reminds me of Eugene and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, a husband and wife team who had been Communists until they became disillusioned with the whole thing.

When the Soviet Union finally imploded in the early 1990s, they wrote: “When it all collapsed, the question was, after 70 years, what do we have to show for it? Especially when it became clear that, even on a basic level, the system didn’t deliver the goods, the one thing it was supposed to do. So what we had to show for it was tens of millions of corpses.” That may be the extreme, but so also was Mao’s China.

Socialism in any form is a bad idea. Everywhere it is tried it brings misery and sometimes death. If Hollywood were more honest, we’d see some epic movies on the failures of life under the socialists and communists. Why would we want to go down this road again, even partially? Been there, done that.

Get Jerry Newcombe’s fascinating account of Christianity’s influence on our founding: “The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation”


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