Socialism-loving millennials, look and take note: The clearing of store shelves, the closing of retail, the shuttering of restaurants and nightclubs and bars — these are the outcomes of mass response to the global pandemic called coronavirus.
But they’re also what befalls when socialism takes over.
The current store runs across America in the quest for toilet paper and bottled water aren’t symptoms of a free market. They’re panic buys, made in reaction to nonstop contextually devoid media coverage about the “deadly” coronavirus; to quarantines and quarantine requirements; to announcements of school closings and business shutdowns that keep stretching and expanding; to government advisements and press conferences that keep changing in tone and content; and, most importantly, to the overall unaccustomed atmosphere of fear that grows upon seeing store shelves in America cleared of items such as toilet paper and bottled water.
That last is an alarm that grows louder each day.
In America, land of the free and plenty — in America, land of the capitalist and free market, where stores bulge with supplies and purchases and overnight deliveries are but a computer click away — emptied grocery bins aren’t just curiosities. They’re frightening. They’re “what the heck is going on here” frightening.
And that drives the panic buying even more.
The empty shelves themselves become the reason for the panic buying.
We’re not used to this. We’ve never before seen this. Aside from some empty bread and bottled water aisles during hurricane seasons, and some difficulties finding shovels at Home Depot during snowstorm warnings, Americans by and large are a buy-what-we-want, when-we-want-it lot. And if it ain’t in the store, we’ll get it online, shipped overnight.
We get pizza delivery by drone, for crying out loud.
Now, Nike has shut doors. States have declared emergencies. Toilet paper is on backorder — tissue boxes, too. Meat bins are emptied; canned goods are dwindling; milk is a luxury that can’t be found for sale anywhere. In other words: It’s a good teaching moment for millennials. For Sen. Bernie Sanders’ fans. For Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s advocates.
If you like socialism — well, here’s socialism, upfront and personal.
“The first time I couldn’t buy food at the grocery store,” wrote Daniel Di Martino, in USA Today in February, 2019, “I was 15 years old. It was 2014 in Caracas, Venezuela, and I had spent more than an hour in line waiting. When I got to the register, I noticed I had forgotten my ID that day. Without the ID, the government rationing system would not let the supermarket sell my family the full quota of food we needed. It was four days until the government allowed me to buy more.”
Di Martino said that socialism, which he lived with until 2016, when he came to the United States as a student, destroyed his country.
The government, seeking to distribute necessary products in a fair and equitable manner, “imposed price controls,” “nationalized the most important private industries,” took over the free market and hampered the individual’s ability to create and produce. Shortages, predictably, were the result.
“And the shortages went far beyond the supermarket,” he went on. “My family and I suffered from blackouts and lack of water. The regime nationalized electricity … to make electricity ‘free.’ Unsurprisingly, this resulted in underinvestment in the electrical grid. By 2016, my home lost power roughly once a week.”
What’s most interesting is that the government never once said that its goal was to destroy the nation, or to shepherd power into the hands of the few, of the elite. Nope. The official message from Venezuela’s guiding geniuses was to help the downtrodden; open the doors of opportunity to all; ensure everybody got a fair share of the pie. The official message was one of equality and justice and fairness for all — not just the rich.
Socialism is a rot.
Socialism is an evil.
Socialism is a soul-killing, soul-sucking cancer that has no place in a free society — even if it comes under a name of democratic socialism, even if it comes under the umbrella of progressivism. Even if it comes by way of platforms and policies of the Democratic Party.
If you want to see socialism at work up close and personal, no need to travel to Venezuela. Or Cuba. Or elsewhere.
Just visit your local grocery. If the doors aren’t locked, that is.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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