Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is out with a new book, The Case Against Socialism, and explained his case and vision in a lengthy exclusive interview on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday this weekend.
In the interview, Paul said that from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany to Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union to Mao Zedong’s China to Fidel Castro’s Cuba to Pol Pot’s Cambodia to Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela, socialism has worse than failed in every single country it has been attempted. And while he says that modern American socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) claim “they don’t want that kind of socialism” that results in “authoritarianism, genocide, and famine,” there is no case where socialism has ever worked and it always ends up there.
“I think that’s one of the questions that comes up very quickly is some people are incredulous you even have to make the case because history is replete with examples of socialism gone awry, socialism devolving into authoritarianism, genocide, and famine,” Paul said in a half-hour special that aired Sunday evening on Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel.
“The 20th century really is the history of the failure of socialism, from Hitler’s Nazi or nationalist socialism to Stalin’s Bolshevik socialism to Mao’s socialism to Pol Pot. Really, time and time again, millions of people have died at the hands of despotic rulers,” Paul said. “Some would say today’s socialists like AOC and Bernie don’t want that kind of socialism, but actually there was a time when Bernie was very sympathetic to Castro as well as Chávez. This seems to be the pattern for today’s socialists is that they’re very, very open to socialism until they find out that it’s replaced by authoritarianism and until they find out it’s been replaced by poverty.”
Paul points to Venezuela as a key recent historical example of socialism “gone awry.”
“This is true in Venezuela in particular,” Paul said. “All the American left was in love, even people who didn’t claim to be socialists, were in love Chávez and claimed he was reducing poverty, but in the end in Venezuela it’s become so desperate that the average person has lost 20 pounds not because they intended to but for lack of food. Venezuela was once one of the richest countries—probably the richest country—in South America. They still have more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, but there’s still shortages of food. The common people can’t eat. You see people like their leader, Maduro—their socialist leader—becoming more and more overweight; he’s probably added something like 50 pounds while the average person is losing 20 pounds. So I think you see example after example of socialism not working and devolving into state violence, but I think even more important though is we now—you think most people would know that, but what we have now is polls showing people today, especially youth, think socialism might be a good idea. You have some polls showing over 50 percent of young people thinking we ought to try socialism. So my wife and I got together and wrote this book thinking gosh, we have to remind them of the history of socialism, but we also have to remind them that socialism historically has also devolved into violence.”
Socialism, Paul argues, has taken over the Democrat Party, fueled by an angry presidential primary battle that has resulted in a “bidding war” of sorts between that party’s leaders attempting to outdo each other.
“I think it’s become a kind of a bidding war among the presidential candidates on the Democrat side,” Paul said. “One person will offer free college, and the other person will say, ‘No, free college and free benefits for paid leave,’ and then another one will say, ‘What about Medicare for All?’ So it just goes on and on and on, in sort of a bidding war on the left for who can offer more free stuff. But there needs to be an examination of who really pays for so-called ‘free stuff.’ This is one of the big lies we point out in The Case Against Socialism, is that Bernie and AOC say, ‘Oh the top one percent will pay for all this.’ But when you add it up, there’s just not enough money. What they have proposed on the top one percent would maybe bring in $50 billion, but their spending desires are closer to $60, $70, or even $80 trillion. So there’s definitely a mismatch and a math problem for these people.”
In addition to the mathematical and historical issues with socialism, Paul argues, current socialists using Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden to argue socialism works are false analogies.
“But even worse, they point to the so-called socialism of Scandinavia and say, ‘Oh yeah, we used to like Chávez, we used to like Castro, we used to like the Sandinistas, but now what we really like is Scandinavian socialism,’” Paul said. “So we examine that, my wife and I did a great deal of research and we examined Scandinavian socialism and what we came up with is interestingly they are not socialist. They have private property; most of the businesses are owned privately. They have a private stock exchange. In fact, the prime minister of Denmark when Bernie kept saying, ‘Denmark is this great socialist nation,’ the prime minister actually came out and said, ‘Bernie, you need to pipe down; we’re not a socialist country.’ In fact, he almost got alarm in his voice because he was worried people might not come there to do business anymore because they might think they were a socialist nation. Most of the indexes of freedom, trade, and capitalism actually rank the Scandinavian countries quite high. So really what Bernie is selling is a bill of goods here. They will then argue that the Scandinavian countries have a lot of free stuff—they do have a lot of free stuff, welfare, and state goodies that come with big government, but the interesting thing with Scandinavia is it’s much different than Bernie and AOC say. What happens in Scandinavia is the working class pay a huge amount of taxes. The working class pay a 25 percent sales tax on everything, including food, and the working class and middle class also pay income tax, whereas many in our country on the lower end are excluded from the income tax, whereas what you find over there is even at $60,000 you have a 60 percent income tax. So, really, I think it’s important that we explode the myths of American socialists that Scandinavia is socialist but also explode the myth that you can have all this free stuff and the only people that pay are the top one percent in America. There’s just not enough money, and it’s just not true.”
Paul is troubled by a rising interest in socialism among America’s youth, as evidenced by some increased support for the radical and failed ideology in recent polling, and is concerned that American young people are not learning this history in school. While he thinks some of it is just a natural tradition of Americans being more leftist when they are young and becoming more conservative as they get older, he is concerned that some of what is happening is due to a lack of education on the historical failures of socialism and misconception about what socialism really entails—government control of the means of production.
“I think there’s always been a trend for young people to be more liberal—or more open to socialism—you know the old saying was ‘if you don’t believe in liberal policies before age 30 you don’t have a heart, but if you don’t believe in conservative polices after age 30 you don’t have a brain,’” Paul said. “There is some truth to it. When you’re younger, you live on your parents’ dole. In many ways, you are a dependent who has not necessarily seen the working world or seen what it’s like and seen that paying taxes is necessary. So I do think people become more conservative over time. It’s also true that the polls that show younger people and millennials leaning toward socialism, when they ask these young people ‘What is socialism?’ only 16 or 17 percent of them can actually answer what socialism is and socialism is traditionally defined as the state owning the means of production and you don’t have private property—there is collective ownership of things. For most young people, if they’re just reading one sentence on Twitter, I guess they’re not reading much history. Some of it is a misconception, but some of it also is a function of our schools in that I think there’s a sort of unified groupthink in schools that teaches kids that things are sort of unfair out there and that it’s a rotten world and the government is going to make things more equal and more fair. So I think some of them want to see government-enforced equality, but we make the case in The Case Against Socialism that if you want equality of outcomes you would have to have equality police.”
Paul further explains the left’s hypocrisy when it comes to a “fairness police” that he says would be necessary under a socialist system to ensure “equal outcome” by noting that it cuts against core American beliefs of “equal protection under the law.”
“You would have to have a fairness police that is going to show up with truncheons to make people fair again because any time you sort of advocate for equal outcome you basically push to make everyone equal all the time, the world is not that way,” Paul said. “You have unequal talents, some people work harder than others, some people are luckier, some people are taller, some people are smarter, some people are faster—there’s all kinds of reasons why there are not equal outcomes. But the irony is if you want to have equal outcomes the law and the government actually has to treat people unequally. You think the left would think this through, and they would realize that the whole idea of equal protection under the law—that everybody should be treated the same—is a principle that the left prided themselves in and almost everyone prides themselves in now and yet if you have equal outcomes you won’t have equal protection under the law. You actually will have to law that will treat people in an unequal way.”
Part of why Paul said there is a rush to socialism in America’s youth is a legitimate concern with political corruption in America, something grassroots movements on both the left and the right have felt for many years. There is, he said, a political, cultural, and financial elite that seems to ordinary Americans to be above the rest of society when it comes to the law and because of that corruption people challenge the system—on both sides of the political aisle. He is concerned, however, that the left’s pandering with socialism would only make the system worse because it would empower more cronyism and more corruption if ever implemented, whereas conservatives’ vision of less government cuts into the ability of bad actors to act badly.
“I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Both left and right, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movement, they’re all sort of unhappy about—myself included—about crony capitalism, about people who manipulate government and manipulate the law to have an unfair advantage,” Paul said. “It’s not just that they’re selling something that people want and have become successful like Sam Walton, it’s things like some of the big pharmaceutical companies and things that come to Washington and manipulate government to enrich themselves and then abuse the rules to enrich themselves more and more. So yes I think both sides—both right and left—see this. I remember when the bankers were bailed out in 2009, these very wealthy bankers and very wealthy banks that had made rotten decisions. In the end, the poor homeowner was kicked out of his house or her house but the banks were bailed out. So the Occupy Wall Street movement was offended by that and so was the Tea Party. The real difference is the answer. It’s one thing to be angry about crony capitalism. For those on the left, it’s because crony capitalism is a failure they think we should try socialism. For those of us on the right, or the Tea Party movement, we look at crony capitalism and say that’s too much government—that’s people abusing government.”
Paul added that the right’s vision is more effective in solving the problems of corruption because it takes the power away from that handful of people who would wield it dishonorably. And that is exactly the problem with socialism, he said, as evidenced by all its historical failures: Bad actors rise up and inevitably wield said power unfairly in what ends up benefitting the few at the top and screwing over the many throughout society.
“We decided that what we wanted was less government, more of a government restrained and restricted and limited by the Constitution and less crony capitalism in a sense that what we wanted to inject was more of a free market and more voluntary transactions,” Paul said. “So it is sort of ironic that both right and left are both motivated by the same problem we see, and they come up with very different solutions and I think that’s why the book we have The Case Against Socialism is so important is because it’s about choices. It’s about voters in our country who get to think about what kind of economic system we want. And I guess our point in the book is we don’t think it’s an accident that throughout history every time socialism has been tried it has wound up in genocide and famine. The stories from Mao’s China, the stories from Pol Pot in Cambodia, the stories currently from Venezuela, I mean they are horrifying stories. People are eating their pets in Venezuela. People need to know this. The other side will complain and say that’s not real socialism, that’s a bunch of kleptocrats. And yet that’s the people who are elected, that’s their party label—they are from the socialist party—and again the apologists for socialism say ‘oh that’s not what we really want. These people now are just thugs.’ But why is it time and time again socialism devolves into thuggery? So, I think this is an important and timely book and I hope it will get the readership necessary to shape and influence some of the next generation.”
Paul added that he’s looked at experts and historical analysis to question whether socialism inevitably ends up in authoritarian regimes intent on genocide and famine, or if that just keeps happening accidentally. He argues that the experts like Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek have examined this very question and found that under socialism, ruthlessness prevails in leadership and violence becomes necessary for implementation.
“People keep getting back to this idea of whether it’s an inevitability to have this kind of authoritarianism and violence or whether it’s an accident,” Paul said. “Hayek and others looked at this and they said it shouldn’t be looked at as a one-off or accidental in history that socialism devolves into violence because if you ultimately want to collectivize the farms as Mao did or Stalin did, if you want to take property from people, there is a point at which they will resist. Really, the leader that exhibits that most ruthless character is the one who’s able to take the land because it ultimately does require as Lenin and others said you’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette. The thing is is ultimately this is what happens, you end up choosing a few leaders, they get selected by the rest of the socialists because they are the most ruthless and willing to actually use the violence necessary to take the property. But really, our kids need to learn this history and read about it. Pol Pot was not that long ago in Cambodia with the killing fields and just hundreds and hundreds if not thousands of bodies piled in mass graves. In a very short period of time they expelled virtually everybody from the cities and ultimately millions of people were killed. This is the kind of thing that people say ‘oh that’s not what I want.’”
But, Paul argues, if Americans vote for socialist leadership, what ultimately happens next is evident throughout history.
“But if you’re for socialism, if you’re for the collectivization of ownership, if you believe that the collective is more important than the individual, ultimately this is what happens,” Paul said. “If you don’t think the individual is important and you disdain individual rights, then it’s sort of like it’s okay to have drone-like slaves because then what you’re about is the hive and you’re not really concerned about the individual. Our country was founded on something completely different, individual liberty. Our bill of rights is directed toward individuals not toward classifications and these are important traditions but I think it’s not being taught in school. Today’s sort of Twitter society is short attention span and not reading. I think it’s important to have the ammunition out there and we’re hoping that The Case Against Socialism will be that ammunition to help people make an informed decision and hopefully prevent America, as President Trump said, from ever becoming a socialist nation.”
Before Paul’s interview with Breitbart News, he had appeared on The View opposite, among others, Ana Navarro—the frequent critic of President Donald Trump—who shut Paul down when he was explaining what socialism was and why it was bad and why it failed in Venezuela. Paul, when asked about Navarro’s silencing of him, told Breitbart News that exposing socialism does not fit Navarro’s “narrative” of hateful opposition to Trump—something shared by the other hosts of The View—so she would rather just not discuss these inconvenient truths at all.
“It doesn’t really fit their narrative,” Paul said. “People like Ana Navarro hate President Trump and they blame everything and they blame the poor dialogue and crassness in Washington and crass dialogue between right and left—they blame it all on the president, and yet really people like Ana Navarro and others on The View who shout and scream over everybody, really they’re adding to that poor dialogue. They’re setting a poor example for everyone with the sort of yelling and screaming, but the particular point we were trying to explain to her was the leaders in Venezuela are socialist. The leaders of their party identify as the socialist party. She was like, ‘No they’re thugs, they’re thugs. They’re not socialists.’ And I tried to calmly make the point to her that, well, they are socialists and they are thugs—and that’s precisely our point. When the government is controlled centrally by a few people, by one political party—the socialists—and you get central planning where you don’t have the freedom to decide what and how much to produce and consumers don’t get to choose, when a few people control things, you have much more of a susceptibility to kleptocracy, to thieves, to stealing and lying and enriching yourselves.”
Paul added that leftist anti-Trump personalities like Navarro “demean themselves” by opposing allowing “intelligent debate” on these issues.
“That’s what keeps happening [socialism failing] over and over again, and that’s what she doesn’t understand and so many on the left refuse to understand is that there is a tendency or maybe even something that is inherent to socialism that leads to thuggery,” Paul said. “People like her don’t want to see the lessons of Mao, the lessons of Stalin, the lessons of Hitler—they weren’t accidents of history, they were the natural conclusion of socialism. Maduro and Chávez are the natural conclusion to socialism. Then she was like, ‘Oh, President Trump is misusing this and saying that if the Democrats win you’ll get socialism.’ Then I said, and I don’t think she liked it, I said, ‘You know, if you vote for a socialist you might get socialism.’ And it’s like really? That sounds obvious to me. Bernie says he is a socialist—I think we’d get socialism [if he wins]. AOC says she’s a socialist. I would think we might socialism if these people ever get in charge of the government. So it’s sort of a bizarre situation, but they sort of demean themselves by being intolerant of allowing intelligent debate.”
While much of the interview focused on the issues of socialism and Sanders in particular, Paul added that the new Democrat frontrunner Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is really no different than Sanders when it comes to socialist ideology—just that she’s better at hiding it from the public than Sanders which is why she’s ascendant in the polls.
“I think there’s really not a dime’s worth of difference between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren,” Paul said. “They stand for the same policies and ultimately hers is a socialist platform also. You’re right, though, she’s like most liberals of the last several decades where they were always smart to try to hide their socialism from the public. And I think in the end, most of the major policies that have come out—Elizabeth Warren has rushed to support. So I don’t know that you can claim, maintain, or support that there’s much of a difference in policies between Bernie Sanders’ socialism and Elizabeth Warren.”
What’s particularly troubling, though, Paul said, is the evidence that socialism has won the day inside the Democrat Party as a whole. Ocasio-Cortez is now calling the shots and really running the House of Representatives now, not Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as evidenced by the Democrats’ lunging towards impeachment of President Trump. How the media and political class have gone after President Trump, versus the kid glove treatment of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, is exactly the kind of unfair double standard that Paul argues leads people to question the fairness political and economic system in America.
“I think they’re off the reservation now as far as impeachment goes,” Paul said. “[Pelosi] announced she was for it before she saw any transcripts of the phone call. And, the way I see it is I don’t think there’s anybody from either party who hasn’t threatened Ukraine’s aid and told them they have to investigate corruption. [Former Vice President Joe] Biden was there threatening it years ago, if they didn’t quit investigating his son’s company—the company that was paying him $50,000 a month—I think most Americans, when they hear that, just on the face of it, that some 30-year-old kid is on the board of an international company getting $50,000 a month, and his dad is traveling to Ukraine all the time, and his dad sort of tells them, ‘Guess what, you get no more money unless you fire this prosecutor.’ The prosecutor has actually now testified that he was investigating the company that was paying Hunter Biden. It just doesn’t pass the smell test. People are going to wonder and say, ‘Well, Pelosi is going to impeach the president over accusations he did something like this even though it doesn’t sound like he was willing to trade or do anything.’ But even if the accusations were accurate, they sound very similar to what Biden’s been accused of but yet nobody blinked an eye or accused Biden of doing something untoward that he should be impeached for. But I think the American people ultimately do want fairness, and they’re going to balk at treating Trump differently than Biden is treated. So if the American people perceive the actions of both to be similar, but that the Democrats are only willing to go after a Republican, I think it ends up becoming a partisan thing that I think people in the end are going to think was motivated by politics not by principle or justice.”
Paul added that this double standard is exactly why Americans on both sides of the aisle are “disturbed” by America’s political, financial, and cultural elites. He also explained that the ultimate irony of all this kleptocracy by the Bidens is that it has cleared the way for the rise of Warren, a socialist herself, and the question is whether she will be able to sufficiently hide her socialism.
“People get disturbed by it on both sides,” Paul said. “Really, they get disturbed by what’s going on. But, I think really that ultimately it’s going to be very, very hard and the irony is that while they thought this was going to bring Trump down, the irony is this is bringing Biden down. His numbers were already falling because he doesn’t seem to be on the ball as much as he used to, he doesn’t seem to have maybe what it takes to intellectually get through the questions of the day during the debates, and so I think that was already bringing him down but the association with the scandal and his son and all the money that went to his son, I think that’s what’s bringing him down. I agree with you that Elizabeth Warren is surging to the top, and the question will be: Will she run away from all the stuff she supports with Bernie, ultimately, or will the tag of socialism and the stain of socialism stick to her as well? We plan on being out there and talking about socialism over the next year and making the actual positions of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are well known and that the disaster of socialism is something our kids will hopefully know enough about to resist it.”
LISTEN TO RAND PAUL ON BREITBART NEWS SUNDAY: