One of the many fatal flaws of socialism is that people who are sold on it have no idea what it actually is. For instance, one popular defense of socialism on social media is that if you are in favor of fire departments, highways, Social Security, etc., then you love socialism. Except those things are NOT “socialism.” Every government has certain things it does in the public interest and pays for through taxes. That is not government control of the means of production.
And Social Security was designed as an insurance program to which people contributed throughout their lives and got their own money back in retirement. It was perverted through the years by government spending the money on other things and replacing it with IOUs, which turned it by default into an entitlement program that it was never meant to be. Now, one generation pays in and the money goes to generations that joined earlier. That’s not exactly socialism, either, that’s a “Ponzi scheme.” If you ran a system like that in the private sector, you’d end up in prison with Bernie Madoff. But socialism and Ponzi schemes are similar in that they both take money from one person and give it to another, and they both eventually collapse.
Another fatal flaw of socialism is that it fails to take into account human nature: you can’t give control over that much power and money to a few bureaucrats and not expect them to be corrupted by it. I recently saw a video in which someone who’d quit one of the radical millennial “progressive” groups was quoted as saying that the people he’d worked with knew they were promoting dictatorship but thought it was okay because they would be “benevolent dictators.” They were so incorruptibly noble, good and well-intentioned that nothing could go wrong, like in Cuba or Venezuela. That’s the same self-deluded line socialists have peddled everywhere it’s been tried, including Cuba and Venezuela. When it fails, there’s always the same excuse: “Socialism works, but the right people haven’t been in charge of it yet!”
People duped by socialism are also always convinced that all that free stuff from the government is going to be paid for by someone else, i.e., “the rich.” By the time they figure out that even the rich don’t have enough money to pay for all that free stuff and now, they are classified as “the rich” and getting the bill, it’s too late.
A recent poll by Business Insider found that 48% of millennial Democrats identify as “socialists” or “Democratic socialists,” but I’d bet few of them even know what socialism really is, having not been taught that in school. So Campus Reform took its camera to Florida International University and gave some socialism-friendly students an example of how it works that they could understand. Turns out socialism drops in popularity pretty fast when young people discover how much of their particular form of wealth “sharing the wealth” would cost them.