Richard Epstein on the intellectual poverty and intellectual self-denial of the ‘new socialists’

Takeaway: New Socialists = Old Socialists

From Richard Epstein’s article “The Intellectual Poverty Of The New Socialists“:

The New Socialists try of course to distance themselves from the glaring failures of the Old Socialists, who suffered from two incurable vices. First, they ran the economies of such places as Cuba, Venezuela, the Soviet Union, and virtually all of Eastern Europe into the ground. Second, they turned these states into one-party dictatorships governed by police brutality, forced imprisonment for political offenses, and other human rights abuses. When viewing the proposals of the New Socialists, one looks for any kind of explanation for how their proposals for the radical expansion of government control over the economy aimed at mitigating income inequality will protect both personal liberty and economic well-being.

The New Socialists in the United States live in a world of intellectual self-denial. They think that they can control the distribution of all the good things in life without undermining the economic and social institutions needed for the creation of that wealth in the first place.

Competition leaves people with choices. But under the New Socialism, people will really discover what it means to be unfree when they only have this choice: work for the state and spend your falling wages on government-supplied goods—or starve. And to whom does the unhappy citizen turn when there is only one healthcare provider, one landlord, and one education system? The state monopolies under socialism offer a kind of subjugation and submission far greater than that in competitive markets.

HT: AEI