If you had told the average American after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 that socialism would be back as political force to be reckoned with less than three decades later, you would have been scorned for being a paranoid ignoramus. And yet, socialism is back.
Why? Much of the answer is embodied in the case of 28-year old self-avowed democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat Joseph Crowley in New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Due to a low turnout, she managed to win with the support of merely 10% of eligible voters. As such, her victory should have been a curiosity, a yawn and a sign of lack of interest. However, she instantly became a darling of the press, which is an important clue for the rise of socialism: The mainstream media is biased towards the far left, giving it a permanent home team advantage.
In a recent PBS interview, Ocasio-Cortez made statements that left commentators almost speechless. First, she referred to Palestine as being occupied by Israel. When challenged by the interviewer by what she meant by that, she first stumbled along with an awkward attempt to cook up an explanation, but finally had to admit that she was ignorant about the topic.
Then she was confronted by the phenomenally low unemployment under President Donald Trump, to which she replied that this was “part of the problem:”
“Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs[.] Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.”
These are stunningly economically illiterate statements, exacerbated by the fact that she has a university degree in International Relations and Economics from Boston University.
Lesson in Economics
Critics have been all over her for not knowing that the unemployment rate is not influenced by how many jobs people have. It’s ignorant, and certainly something an Economics Major should know, but a far graver mistake is to believe that low unemployment somehow is a sign of poverty.
It has been nearly 250 years since Adam Smith first described the market mechanism of supply and demand. The idea is banal and at one point so ingrained in our culture that even the uneducated masses understood its mechanism: If the demand is higher than the supply, there will be shortages. People will then be willing to pay more to secure the goods they seek, which results in rising prices.
That same simple logic also applies to labor. When there is a shortage of workers, employers compete for the workers by raising wages. Thus, a low unemployment rate results in people having to work less because they earn more. Ocasio-Cortez got it exactly 180 degrees wrong.
Being ignorant is not a crime, but it sure is a symptom of something ominously wrong with the educational system when it comes from someone who the leader of the Democratic National Convention, Tom Perez, hails as the future of the Democratic Party.
The question is not why Ocasio-Cortez is so economically illiterate, but how a smart young woman can go through university ending up knowing less than when she started.
She is not alone. It is true throughout the West. The famous Swedish Hans Rösling documented that most people not only underestimate the improvements in the world, but are so wrong that you in most cases can find the correct answer by guessing the exact opposite of what they believe.
But while ordinary people are bad enough, journalists are generally worse. The more left-leaning journalists are, the more consistently they believe in things that are opposite of the truth.
This structural ignorance, particularly on the left, is not due to a lack of information. We live in an age where information no longer is hidden in obscure university libraries, but is available at the click of a button. What then is the reason?
Most academics in the humanities are left-wing, and while many of them know the truth, they don’t like it. They like socialism, and therefore they avoid telling the inconvenient facts that may interfere with their pet ideology. That’s why most people today know about the Holocaust but not the 100 million people murdered by communism.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a symptom of the rot that has taken place in the universities in the last fifty years. Truth and facts have been erased from the curriculum and replaced by lies and wishful thinking. It is easy to be hard on her, but the true culprits are educating your children in universities right now.
Fortunately, there is hope. Socialism has a snowball’s chance in Hell in a well-educated culture. Therefore, it can and must be combated through enlightenment. The internet and an army of knowledgeable people can make a world of difference.