New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2019
373 pp. $28.99 (hardcover)
Socialism should need no further cases made against it. No books or essays penned in our time can stand as a starker warning of its perils than the blood and tragedy etched into the history of the 20th century. Yet time and again it enchants a new generation in another corner of the globe, and when it comes back in fashion, those charmed by it are largely impervious to its well-chronicled, catastrophic carnage.
Throughout its three hundred some pages, Rand Paul’s The Case against Socialism revisits some of those familiar catastrophes, from the USSR’s gulags to the killing fields of Cambodia. But recounting the grim and lethal paranoia of the Soviet police state or the murder of teachers and parents by students and children in Maoist China seems unlikely to sway those yearning for a Shangri-La of free health care, abolished student debt, and mandated economic equality. On social media, in opinion pieces, and on presidential debate stages, the disastrous results of socialist experiments are discounted and brushed aside with a few vague qualifiers, along the lines of: “Today’s socialism is nothing like that socialism. Today’s socialism is about equality. Today’s socialism is about fairness. Today’s socialism is about health care. And look at Finland!” . . .