Americans Demand Socialism Without Knowing What It Is: Americans are blindly buying into the socialism concept without fully understanding what they are voting for. What do a large percentage of Americans think socialism is? Why do Americans want it so much? And will America adopt socialistic principles? Tune in now to find out.
Air Date: 04/09/2019
Guest: Lee Edwards
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
You’ve found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about the day’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and other areas of the culture; but always from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. You can find out more about our program at WallBuildersLive.com.
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Newfound Infatuation With Socialism
David, Tim, we’ve got a great interview coming up later, again, talking about today socialism this newfound infatuation with socialism that the young–not just young people–but a lot of people in the country and, unfortunately, a lot of members of Congress now have this infatuation with socialism. And, it’s interesting. I don’t think they necessarily know what it is; but, they’re ready telling us that that’s where they want to take our nation.
I’m looking at an article right now that was in Gallup at the end of last year, and it’s talking about socialism and if Americans really know what socialism means. It’s interesting; they identify that 23 percent of Americans–so, almost, basically, one-fourth of Americans think socialism is referring to equality.
And, by the way, before you get there, Tim, let me just point out that right now, Rick, you said that this new benge on socialism, you definitely have that. I think Barna told us 42 percent of Americans say they support socialism; 69 percent of millennials support it, and 75 percent of college students support it. So, there is massive, growing support for it.
Tim, back to what you were saying.
Embracing the Word “Socialism;” the Concept, Not So Much
Well, yes. So, knowing that America is largely embracing the word “socialism.” Now, the concept of socialism it’s different; because, most Americans can’t define socialism as this Gallup article indicates. Roughly one quarter of Americans think that socialism means equality, which if you look at Venezuela, there’s probably equality there, like they all had electricity, right?
Yeah, that’s right.
They all are eating their dogs, right? Like, there is a level of equality, but not the way that it’s being portrayed in America. What’s interesting is, if you back up–and they point this out in this Gallup article. If you go back roughly to the 1950s, 17 percent of Americans today think that socialism deals with government control of business and economy. Back up to the 1950s, 34 percent of Americans recognize that socialism deals with the government control of business and the economy.
Government Control of Business and the Economy.
By the way, socialism does deal with the government control of business and the economy.
There’s no doubt. It is where the government begins to take over private property and control the economy more. And government might use this notion of equality: We can make this more fair or more equal. We’ll make sure everybody’s balanced together.
So, they begin to take things and control it. Then, it’s very hard to be an entrepreneur or have a startup. It’s difficult to have your own business or property or to do what you want with your property.
Go down the list. It’s government coming in and controlling a lot of what individuals do and, really, taking away a lot of their choices. But, in the 1950s, 34 percent of Americans recognized that is socialism does. Today only 17 percent of Americans recognize that’s what socialism does.
So, the numbers weren’t really good in the 1950s, but it’s even worse today. In fact, more people think socialism means that we’re going to be treated fairly and equally than they think socialism actually is the government coming in to control things, which is the reality of what happens every time.
Well, it’s amazing because you take the high numbers, like that 75 percent number, who think socialism is great; but, only 17 percent recognize what it is. That means that four out of five of them don’t have a clue what it is.
And also, you’re saying that 75 percent–and that’s referring to college students–so, students that are in college that support socialism. But, the 17-percent number is all Americans. So, what if the 17 percent are all people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s?
That might mean that no college kid understands what this is. And, that’s probably an exaggeration. There’s probably a few that do. Rick, we’ve had summit at Patriot Academy that we’ve worked with.
College Kids: Moldable Minds
College kids come to our leadership training program and we will walk through some of these things, talking about the free market and capitalism. We discuss how the free market and capitalism have produced more wealth and brought more people out of poverty than any other system or form of economics. They are shown the biblical principles that are there, but–
I think that’s probably why we’re more optimistic than other people, because we get to see these kids in the next generation that that haven’t given themselves over to the socialism thing. But, it could be that the 500 or so we visit with each summer are the only 500 out of 5 million. I don’t know.
And, you know, Rick, the reason that we often are so encouraged is because we see how winnable the next generation is.
That’s what I was going to say, because it’s not that they come in with that attitude. But, what we see is after two to three days–we have them two weeks. After two to three days, they’re open. At the end of a week, they’re starting to be supportive. By the end of two weeks, they’ll carry water.
It’s really good.
Leadership Training and Patriot Academy
Yes; so, the leadership training program we do WallBuilders is a two-week program. We do a couple of sessions during the summer. Patriot Academy happens all over the U.S. throughout the summer.
The bigger Patriot Academy is the one in Texas; that goes for a week. But, there are things happening that we’re a part of all summer long to help do training and equipping of young people. And, Rick, Dad, as you’re mentioning, the reason that we’re so optimistic is because we see kids that even though often they come with bad assumptions or faulty positions and starting places, it’s very easy to see them change.
And oftentimes, quickly they change. Now, some people you have to work on a little more than others to help them understand because it’s human nature that once we embrace an idea, if we’ve taken ownership of the idea–even if it’s a bad one and is wrong–if we like the idea, sometimes it takes us longer to realize that’s a bad idea.
And so, this is where sometimes it does take kids a little more to kind of get the hang of it. But, for example, at our leadership training program–which by the way, if you want to know more information, you can go to the WallBuilders website and find information on the leadership training program. It’s largely for college students and young professionals; so, it’s 18 to 25-year-olds.
There Must Be a Moral Foundation
And, for two weeks they’ll come in, and we’ll do an apologetic on faith, Christianity, and why it needs to be the foundation of the nation; because, in America we believe in freedom, and we want everybody to be free and to make choices. But, freedom only works if you have a moral structure upon which you build; because, if you give freedom to people who don’t believe in moral rights and wrongs, they’re going to do wrong things, violate you and your rights, steal, murder, rape, and all kinds of things we would all agree are detestable and shouldn’t be done. So, you have to have a moral foundation.
Well, the Founding Fathers acknowledged there is no greater moral teacher than Jesus. And now, those are the teachings of the Bible; therefore, the Bible needs to be the foundation of our nation if we’re gonna live in freedom. Or, we’re gonna have to have the government come in and have more controls and more operation.
But, we go through several days talking about the apologetics of faith, the Constitution, of the free market. And, we discuss why socialism is always a bad idea. And, for people to think socialism is a good idea, here’s your question.
If Socialism Is a Good Idea…
If socialism is a good idea, name one nation–and there’s been 5,500 years of recorded human history. So, if socialism is a good idea, name one nation that embraced socialism that increased an individual freedom and in economic prosperity or even remained a top world power throughout their term of socialism. And, you will never find a nation that did that.
But, this is where we start teaching kids to think through the apologetics. Well, we’ll do the apologetics of the Second Amendment and free speech. And so, it’s really learning to think through these things.
Learn How to Get Involved and Make a Difference
We do a lot of it by spending time in the original writings of the Founding Fathers; which, for those you that have listened to the WallBuilders radio program for a while, you know we spend a lot of time talking about what did the Founding Fathers want, think, and attend, and actually not just what do we think they want?
Well, let’s go read their writings and see what they actually said. This is the best way to know more about them; and, this is really what we do for those two weeks in a leadership training program. Patriot Academy is another phenomenal program where young people will–really there’s 15 to 25 year-old is kind of the young-person section; but, we have an adult track.
But, it’s learning how to be politically engaged and active, how you can get involved and make a difference. Instead of getting frustrated with what’s happening in Washington D.C. or what’s happening your state capitol or even on city council, what can you do to make a difference? And, we teach you exactly how to get engaged, how to think with the right biblical perspective and constitutional perspective, and go make a difference in your community.
How do you run for office? Once you get elected to office, what do you do? How do you do legislation? How does that process work?
So, it really is an incredible training ground, Patriot Academy. You can find out more. Actually, I think you can go to Rick Green’s website, and those all kinds of information there.
We have a link on the WallBuilders website. But, these are two programs that we really address this issue. But, we’re not the only ones that address it; which is why we’re having an interview on the program today.
Yes, in fact, you were talking about how there is a change and you see that shift in some of these students at the program. You remember, Tim, last year we did this new thing at Patriot Academy where we had this minimum-wage activity where they actually–I mean, we had people going into that minimum-wage activity for a minimum wage. They did not understand economics or know why socialism is not good. These young people came out of the activity, and just that two or three hours completely shifted their attitude.
The attendees totally saw firsthand how it affects businesses and the employees and affects the young people that are trying to work. So, those kinds of things happen day in and day out at the WallBuilder’s Leader Training Program and Patriot Academy. It’s all about educating this next generation to just find truth on these very important issues.
The Heritage Foundation
And, one of the groups that that puts out a lot of great material on these issues is the Heritage Foundation. Dr. Lee Edwards over there has great writings that we’d love to share with you today. And, we’ll have links today at WallBuildersLive.com for that as well.
But, he’s actually to be with us here on the program to talk about his latest articles. Stay with us. Dr. Lee Edwards, our special guest today on WallBuilders Live!
This Precarious Moment Book
This is David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now.
Issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us today. Dr. Lee Edwards is with us from the Heritage Foundation.
Dr. Edwards, always good to have you sir. Thank you for your time.
My pleasure to talk about this very important topic.
Well, I’d say it’s a timely topic. You’ve written on it much, and you know our nation needs to hear it. Our audience needs to hear.
These anti-socialism pro-free enterprise folks; but, man with free enterprise coming so much under attack and socialism becoming so popular, we need to hear from folks like you as to why this wonderful-sounding socialism that many congressmen are promoting is not such a good idea.
Right. It makes you despair for the intelligence of our Congress, doesn’t it?
Learn From the Nations
You know a couple of things, Rick. First of all, they don’t understand what socialism is. They’ve got this utopian dream-like idea that it’s all has to do with free education or automatic jobs or no-cost housing or whatever it might be. The reality of socialism is to be seen in places like Venezuela, which adopted it and is going down the tubes; or Nicaragua, which again, is now falling under Marxism.
Or, if you’re looking at a country which took a look at socialism, tried it, then disappeared, and let it go hand in hand, that’s India. India, for the first 40 years of its independence, followed this socialist line. They wound up a basket case, and they have since adopted a sort of neo capitalist path. And, they now have the largest middle class in the free world.
Well, you would think we would look around at these nations and learn these lessons. But, typically the argument is Oh, but look at these wonderful results in Nordic nations, and other examples that they give that are obviously skewed. But, I mean, even just the Venezuelan model.
The Venezuelan Model
Lets you take that one since it’s so obvious in the news right now. Some of the apologist out there saying, “Oh, it wasn’t socialism that tore them apart; it was corruption or whatever.” I mean, how what’s your argument?
It’s very simple. They had this wonderful economy, which was based in large part upon oil reserves there, which they had some of the most extensive in the world. And then, they turned it over to government.
And, as soon as they turned it over to government, they began to screw it up. I mean, there’s no other way to put it.
They began making the wrong decisions on exploration, on refining, on marketing. And, in just one decade, they have become this economic basket case where mothers–God bless them–are looking around in the garbage for food for their kids. All of that is under somebody who calls himself a socialist openly.
So, there you are with Hugo Chavez and Maduro, who are absolutely destroying their country through a socialist way of doing things.
Socialist Dictators or D.C. Bureaucrats
I got to get your take on this; because, I have said this many times, and it’s what I believe. But, you’re much more of an expert in this than I am. I’ve said, “Look; it doesn’t matter if it’s a socialist dictator from the top down telling the market what it should do, and what we should buy, and what the features on our things should be; or a bureaucrat in Washington D.C. that nobody even knows the name of, when you put that power in the hands of government, you’re still going to get the negative result.”
Would you agree with that statement?
Well, there’s a very famous Nobel laureate named Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. And, here’s how he put it. He couldn’t have put any more simply: “Planning leads to dictatorship.”
“Planning Leads to Dictatorship.”
And, he wrote that in The Road to Serfdom: “Planning leads to dictatorship.” And, that’s what happens when you put power in the hands of bureaucrats who are not linked up to any accounting. You’re going to get what you had in places like like Venezuela.
India woke up and changed their way. Great Britain, after World War II, adopted the British Labour Party, a socialist line. They nationalized industries and so forth.
Thirty years later they were called “the sick man of Europe.” Along came Margaret Thatcher who denationalized everything. And, all of a sudden, Britain found itself in the first rank once again, a prosperous a nation.
So, the examples are just over and over again, whether you’re talking about radical, if you will, communism or socialism like the Soviet Union, or out-in-out attempts at socialism in places like like like Venezuela. Also, we should keep in mind that–you talk about the Nordic countries. Yes, I hear this all the time.
The prime minister of Denmark was in Washington D.C. at the National Press Club and he said, “I want to make it very clear that we are not a socialist country. We are a free-market country.” And, the reporters in this audience fell over, dazed, but disbelieving. But, there it was from the lips of these so-called “socialist” prime minister saying, “No, we’re for the free market.”
That’s great. I wonder if you cheered as loudly as I did when President Trump made that statement in the state of the Union and hit this thing head on. To me, that was more than just words. That was a steak that needed to be put in the ground to say, “We’re not going to just go quietly as you guys try to rebrand socialism in this country.”
We Must Inform the Public
But, you know it’s so true, Rick. What we have to do is educate. This is where it comes down to.
And, we’ve done some polling among young people. And, what we have found is they just don’t know what socialism is all about. That would mean giving up private property, such things as their iPhone.
That’s the first thing they have to give up, would be their iPhone or their iPad. And, once they start realizing what socialism is, I think we’ll begin to see a change. But, it ain’t going to come simply or easily.
It has to be done through educating, starting, frankly, with the teachers. We are going to have to teach the teachers what socialism is all about.
Yes, so true. I know I’m bouncing around because I’m just glad I’ve got you for a few minutes.
A Move Towards Socialism At the Local Level
I feel like we’re seeing a lot of this this bureaucratic control and move towards socialism at the local level, especially with land controls and development controls and that sort of thing. What do you think about that? Are you seeing more in local-government, city councils and that sort of thing, a real growth of socialism?
Well, yeah. I think that–because, Rick, we have had an entitlement mentality going all the way back to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. And, it’s not surprising that after 90 years of entitlements, welfarism, and all the rest of it, that people would begin making the easy shift. I mean, people like Bernie Sanders, making the shift from welfare-ism to socialism.
So, yes there are there are signs of that. Things like eminent domain, seizing land and turning it over to a local government. And, that to me is really talking about stakes aimed at the heart; that is so dangerous because we’ve always been this decentralized country with elections, power, and government at the local level.
And, that is changing. That really seems, to me, as something that must be countered.
Well, before I let you go, you’ve had all kinds of great books: Reagan, Goldwater, Buckley, and other things. What’s your current project? You have one you’re working on right now?
As a matter of fact, I do, Rick. And, I’m looking for nominations from you. It’s called Unsung Heroes.
Right. So, if you know somebody who has done something marvelous who has not been properly recognized, or maybe who is forgotten, send me their name, and I’ll consider them. And, we’ll make him an unsung hero and put him in the book.
Oh, that’s great. Unsung Heroes, and we can look for it, what? Later this year, early next year?
I think probably next year.
Next year. Okay, sounds good. Well, thank you so much for your time.
Look forward to getting you back again soon. We’ll certainly have links today at our website for this article and other articles by Dr. Edward. Appreciate your time today, sir.
Thanks so much, Rick. All the best.
Stay with us, folks, will be right back with David and Tim Barton. Hey, fellow patriots.
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We’re back on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us. Back with David and Tim Barton.
And, special thanks to Lee Edwards, Dr. Lee Edwards from the Heritage Foundation, for joining us as well.
David, Tim, it seems like when you’re watching Venezuela collapse as a result of this failed socialist experiment, you would think that would be the worst time in the world for socialist in Congress to be you know spouting their ideas and pushing people towards it. But, man, it’s almost like–what’s that expression–cognitive dissonance. It’s like we can all look at Venezuela say, “We’re glad we’re not them;” but then, these people are still taking us down the road of Venezuela with their policies.
Well, the socialists don’t point to Venezuela, but they do point to Denmark. I mean, I’ve got the memes to prove it: “We want to be like Denmark, what a great, socialist nation.”
And then, you get the prime minister of Denmark who comes here; and, the first thing up says, “Hey, we’re not a socialist country; we’re a free market.”
That just blows those memes out of the water. But see, that’s where so much of socialism is based on: wrong assumptions and bad information, bad knowledge. And, by the way, it’s largely on memes, anyway.
I mean, the reason socialism works is because it’s all about sharing; who’s against sharing? So, I’m for socialism. It’s about all about equality; who’s against equality? I’m for socialism.
It is Progressive
It is so simplistic, and so they get it wrong. But, I really loved what Lee did in talking about the progressiveness of this thing, that one thing leads to another. It starts with welfare-ism; that’s kind of the FDR stuff.
And, from that you get entitlement-ism, and then you move to socialism. I thought, “That’s exactly right. That’s the way it goes in all the nations.”
You start with really generosity, and that turns into welfare. Then, I’m entitled to this; since I’m entitled to it, I want the government to give me all this. And, that becomes socialism.
I had not really thought about one of the greatest indicators of encroaching socialism is what you do with private property. Whether it’s eminent domain or seizing of lands or or all the zoning stuff that says what you can and can’t do with your own lands. I’ve always recognized that property taxes are really bad; because, if I owned the land and don’t pay my property taxes, then it turns out I don’t own the land because the government can take it from me.
If I’ve got land worth a million dollars and do not pay 50 dollars in property taxes, I can lose my land. That’s not right. But, I had not thought about that as an indicator of socialism, and it really is.
The regulation that goes over your land, whether it’s in housing divisions or whether it’s by by community groups, whatever it is. I mean, that really is part of that socialist mindset that is not good or healthy for freedom or prosperity either one.
Well, and like you said, it’s not just the eminent domain where you take the land, it’s where you control the land through regulation or taxes, to the point that people can’t really do what the market would respond to with their land or what the person wants to do with the land. That’s the same, I think, as a taking under the Fifth Amendment; they ought to be compensated. But, it definitely happens all over the country, especially with local governments.
Help Reveal Socialism is Power for the Elites
Especially local government. But, this is one of the things that the more you know about it, the less attractive socialism becomes. And so, in this age where adults and Millennials and Gen Z-ers are really drawn to it, it’s really because we failed in helping them know what that is.
And, that’s where Leadership Training with WallBuilders, Patriot Academy, and all those things helped that. So, if you have young people, look at doing something with them this summer to help. Get them to WallBuilders Leadership Training programs.
Help get them to Patriot Academy. This really is good equipping. And, we need leaders like that who will stand against the trend this currently go on in the nation to move us in the wrong direction.
There are a lot of people listening right now that as you heard those stories and listened to David and Tim talking about what we do with these programs, are thinking Oh, I know this kid, or it’s my kid, or someone at church, or whoever might be that would do well at this. Spread the word; get the information into their hands so they can do it.
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We play the videos, and we show you what those young people are doing after they go through these training programs. It’s phenomenal. It’ll encourage you. Make a donation today at WallBuildersLive.com.
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