Can Historical Prosperity Compete with Free?

    After decades of flirting with and even sliding into socialism, Democrats are faced with actually voting for socialism.  Oddly enough, even Democrats are now reluctant to leap off the leftist cliff into the socialist abyss. After storming through Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, Bernie appeared somewhat unstoppable, but he hit a wall in South Carolina when Congressman Jim Clyburn and black Democrat voters resurrected Joe Biden’s flagging candidacy.  Not to mention, the DNC and establishment Democrats started sounding the alarm that socialist Bernie Sanders would sink the 2020 election and take down Pelosi’s House with him.

    It’s far from over and Sanders will win enough on Super Tuesday to stay competitive and perhaps reclaim the lead.  Biden will also remain and perhaps Mike Bloomberg will spend enough to hang on. With Democrats actually having misgivings about straight socialism, it’s still too early and chaotic to know who will win the Democrat presidential nomination, but Bernie has an intense substantial base committed to socialism.  They believe capitalism is evil and only socialism can deliver utopia. They will be heard or else.

    Born, growing up, and living in the most prosperous free country on earth, how did so many young people come to believe socialism is a better way?  We have had hippie Marxists trying to convince us of the virtues of socialism for decades with little affect, so why now is socialism breaking into the mainstream?  Bernie certainly has a following, but he has literally not ever accomplished anything in his almost 80 years. Has Bernie finally sold socialism?

    Socialism surely seduces with boundless promises of free stuff, but perhaps millennials have come to embrace socialism by their experiences.  Until Trump, millennials’ adult life has only endured an anemic economy and stagnant wages. Many believed they could never afford healthcare if the government did not give it to them.  Many also believed the American dream was no longer achievable. Independent living seemed unattainable, so they were attracted to dependence.

    Despite a roaring economy, too many millennials are still on the sidelines either burdened by college debt or failing to acquire any marketable skill of value.  While most Americans are thriving again, too many millennials are paralyzed with insecurity hoping some socialist champion will deliver them.

    It’s somewhat stunning in the United States of America where less than a century ago, we fought a world war to defeat socialism that now socialism is in vogue for so many.  Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev warned us that they would bury us without a shot because we would accept incremental liberal policies until we woke up in a socialist nation.

    America was founded as a democratic republic with free markets and free enterprise.  Powered by capitalism, America grew to be the most powerful prosperous nation on the planet with opportunity open to all.  We have the highest standards of living for the most people and freedom for everyone, but amazingly after more than two centuries, a growing segment of Americans want to abandon a proven record for the elusive promises of socialism.  Is it their experiences? Is Bernie leading a real revolution? Or, is it perhaps just human nature?

    The Israelites witnessed the Lord impose terrible plagues on Egypt, they watched the Lord part the Red Sea for their escape from Egypt, and they ate manna from heaven, but when Moses was gone too long on Mount Sinai, they demanded and created an inanimate golden calf to worship.  The Israelites saw the miracles of the Lord firsthand, but at the first adversity their faith wavered. We are no different. We live in miraculous affluence and liberty in the greatest country, but too often too many look for the easy way out.

    Freedom and prosperity are not won once; they must be secured again by each generation.  Our younger generations have been deprived of fully living the American experience, so we need to reach out to bring them along and share the greatness of America.

    “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’”  Exodus 32:1

Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at  Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit

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