I’m a devoted husband, father, doctor, proud American, and a serious Jew. I’m 63 years old. I have kids who recently graduated from college. I’ve been around the block a bit, experienced a lot, read and learned a lot.
Many fine young people in our colleges and universities are now interested in socialism. Many Americans my age view this with dismay and anger. They say, “This is not what our young should be embracing. How could these young people be so misguided and ungrateful?”
I don’t have anger about it. I have an understanding. Here is why: the more you leave behind childhood, the more you realize you never really leave it behind. When the most confident, mature man comes wheeling into an emergency room scared and sick, often you see the needy, vulnerable kid coming out. It’s a compassionate and sensitive doctor’s responsibility to recognize that part of the patient and address that child-spirit with comfort and hope.
And that’s what socialism is about: the frightened child inside us who doesn’t want to grow up, leave mom and dad and go out into the big, scary world. Socialism is, at its core, the world of the child. It is the world of “Take care of me, mom and dad State. Make the State big and powerful so it can give me all I need and want — all that free stuff — free college, free minimum wage, free childcare, free food, free savings for retirement, even free birth control pills.”
But, as life has it, we must leave home and go forth as men and women into an uncertain, tough, beautiful, but often scary and tragic world. There is no choice. Trying to hang onto childhood always leads to very bad things. It destroys the spirit and soul of the adult who rejects adult things and wallows in childhood. It destroys societies.
It’s understandable, this attitude. I have it deep inside me as well. However, when we unleash it on societies’ economic and governing systems through socialism, all that childishness spills out and wrecks things, like a nation-sized kid with a massive temper tantrum. Because then come along the false mom and false dad of the gargantuan socialist state — the state that promises all the free stuff but in reality forces Cubans to live in slavery-lite on $25 a month and bring their own sheets to dirty run-down hospitals. This is the socialist state that forces Venezuelans to sift through garbage cans to feed their kids. It’s why a billion people in communist China and the old Soviet Union lived for decades under the iron fist of false mommies and daddies enslaving their subjects in grinding poverty — perhaps celebrating the apple or orange they might get a couple of times a year.
It takes gritty, hard, liberal American, adult sweat and tears, risk and initiative, maturity and self-denial to create a fruitful country with happy citizens. And a big part of that adult world is the necessity of keeping the government small so it doesn’t come in the guise of mom and dad promising us stuff but instead delivering the iron fist of slavery. It takes the adult realization that nothing is free; everything takes expense and hard work. It takes, in summary, the adult world of free market capitalism, not the child world of socialism to get us those lives of freedom and autonomy, those iPhones, Boeing 737s to fly us cheaply all over the world, clean water from our sinks, MRI scanners just down the road, and blueberries in winter at Whole Foods. All this disappears or becomes available only to the politicians who lord it over us, if the child is unleashed and told to run the place with socialism.
Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the great majority of college professors and administrators are children in adult bodies who have arrived on our shores with their socialism. They have taken over the Democratic Party, our universities, Hollywood, and our public government-monopoly schools. Soundly reject them and their ideology if you want to lead a decent, dignified American life.
I understand the allure of socialism. I don’t make fun of those who ascribe to them. I just encourage everyone to channel who they are meant to be — not the child they carry within. Mom and dad are gone. The big, iron-fisted State of socialism and leftism will not and cannot replace them. All leftism, from communism to democratic socialism, does is keep us small, weak, dependent, impoverished, and very unfree little boys and girls.
Howard Sachs is a radiologist in Washington, DC.