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Saturday, October 20, 2018
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Socialism Humor

Ben Cohen, right, and Jerry Greenfield, left, at a rally for socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Exeter, N.H., February 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

I like to share examples of political/policy humor, including self-deprecating jokes that poke fun at libertarians (we may be dorky, but at least we don’t want to control your life!).

But I have a challenge. When sharing jokes that make mock leftist economics, I have to decide whether something is socialist humor, communist humor, or generic anti-leftist or anti-Democrat humor. And that’s sometimes not easy because the technical definition of socialism (government ownership of the means of production) makes it very similar to communism, but the man-on-the-street definition of socialism (a big welfare state) makes it very similar to Obamanomics or Clintonomics (Hillary, not Bill).

Well, whoever put this together wants us to believe that there’s no difference between Democrats and socialists, which is arguable (as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz will agree). But I think the part about the difference between socialism and communism is very clever.

 

Kudos to whoever created this. I wrote an entire column on the difference between liberal socialism and Marxist socialism, but this gets across the same point much more succinctly.

Moving on, I’m convinced that many of my leftist friends support bad policy because they have the mistaken view that the economy is a fixed pie. And when they start with that inaccurate assumption, they naturally think that a rich person’s wealth means poverty for others.

And that’s reflected in this comparison.

 

By the way, some people do get expensive houses under socialism, and you can probably guess which ones.

Our next image wins the prize for subtle humor.

 

Though I’m guessing Bernie didn’t laugh at this practical application of his philosophy.

Next, from Reddit’s libertarian page, here’s an image that mocks the endless failure of statist economics. Yes, I realize that Venezuelan statism and North Korean statism aren’t the same (and that Ukraine is a failed kleptocracy more than anything else), but the broad point about the failure of big government makes this meme worth sharing.

 

And since we’re on the topic of how big government fails everyplace where it’s tried, let’s conclude today with a video that was turned into humor by the addition of a five-word caption.

At the risk of injecting some serious discussion into today’s column, allow me to preemptively address the leftist argument that Scandinavian nations show that socialism can work.

  • In global ranking of economic liberty, Nordic nations score relatively high, with Denmark and Finland in the top 20.
  • Scandinavian nations have large welfare states, but otherwise have very laissez-faire economic policies.
  • Nordic nations got rich when government was small, but growth has slowed since welfare states were imposed.
Written by
Contributing Economist

Daniel J. Mitchell is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, and a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy. Mitchell’s articles can be found in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, and the Washington Times. He is the author of "The Flat Tax: Freedom, Fairness, Jobs, and Growth," and co-author of "Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It."

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