Garry Kasparov, former Soviet citizen and arguably the best chess player in the world, is warning against the socialism peddled by Sen. Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail that has grabbed the free-for-all mindset of millennials who are drawn to his "prescription for America" like moths to a flame.
"Hey, Bernie, don’t lecture me about socialism. I lived through it," Kasparov writes for The Daily Beast -- an unabashedly progressive outlet.
He explains his goal:
To remind people that Americans talking about socialism in the 21st century was a luxury paid for by the successes of capitalism in the 20th. And that while inequality is a huge problem, the best way to increase everyone’s share of pie is to make the pie bigger, not to dismantle the bakery.
Kasparov is reeling off of the viral success of a recent Facebook rant he penned that eventually led him to write this article:
What he sees happening to America is a reversal of the script. Instead of America being a place where ambition and risk goes hand-in-hand with innovation and exploration within the free market system, Kasparov sees it eroding and a free people turning more and more to the government for help.
"And the siren song of socialism grows louder," he says.
And though Kasparov views Sanders as a charismatic speaker and passionate about his beliefs, he "vehemently" disagrees with "nearly everything he says about policy." That's why he is warning young Americans to learn a little something about history:
A society that relies too heavily on redistributing wealth eventually runs out of wealth to redistribute. The historical record is clear. It’s capitalism that brought billions of people out of poverty in the 20th century. It’s socialism that enslaved them and impoverished them…
Once you give power to the government it is nearly impossible to get it back, and it will be used in ways you cannot expect.
Kasparov also responds to those like Sanders, or Michael Moore, who continue to point to other socialist countries in Europe and wish America were just like them. He says there is no way to compare the "relatively small, homogenous populations to the churning, ocean-spanning American giant." Plus, he adds, any socialist country is only capable of redistribution AFTER capitalism makes them rich.
It's America, Kasparov says, that is the bright spot in the world that attracts entrepreneurs, not other countries:
[N]one is equipped to lead the world in innovation the way the United States has since Thomas Edison’s day. None possesses the combination of political and economic freedoms and the human and natural resources required.
As long as Europe had America taking risks, investing ambitiously, attracting the world’s dreamers and entrepreneurs, and yes, being unequal, it could benefit from the results without making the same sacrifices. Add to that the incalculable windfall of not having to spend on national defense thanks to America’s massive investment in a global security umbrella. America doesn’t have the same luxury of coasting on the ambition and sacrifice of another country.
"Who will be America’s America?" Kasparov asks, rhetorically.
In closing, Kasparov views Sanders' idea to break up the big banks from controlling everything as one that may be noble, but whose solution is highly flawed: "Sanders’s socialist policies would replace banks that are too big to fail with a government that is too big to succeed."
So, he points to former Republican President William Taft's State of the Union speech from 1911, in which he warned against such an idea:
Busting the trusts was to free the market, not to insert the government into it. It was necessary to break up Standard Oil and American Tobacco in order to preserve capitalism, not to institute socialism. Taft said, “The anti-trust act is the expression of the effort of a freedom-loving people to preserve equality of opportunity. It is the result of the confident determination of such a people to maintain their future growth by preserving uncontrolled and unrestricted the enterprise of the individual, his industry, his ingenuity, his intelligence, and his independent courage.”
But as Kasparov rightly concludes, "[T]oday’s progressive solution would instead be to raise Standard Oil’s taxes and those of its wealthiest shareholders in order to pay for more services, like free college and health care. It would have been an acceptable choice for many, but the American 20th century would never have happened."
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