- - Thursday, February 7, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez insists she doesn’t want America to be like Venezuela.

No, the ubiquitous New York Democratic House freshman wants our country to be like Sweden.

We’ve written before about how Sweden has tacked back toward a more capitalist economy in the last decade, as politicians in Stockholm realized that the money didn’t grow on trees and economic growth was mandatory to pay for all the things they promised to the voters. However, even that realization didn’t stop the pro-open borders Swedish liberals from welcoming huge numbers of Islamic migrants, migrants who had no understanding of the local culture and no desire to assimilate.

Venezuela didn’t have the luxury of such “woke” leaders who could head off the socialist collapse by enacting pro-market reforms. Instead of thinking about the people, the Chavistas just stole anything that was left after the “socialist revolution” took power. In other words, they lied.

I used to travel to Venezuela often and traded with all the major Venezuelan banks in my time on Wall Street. My Venezuelan colleagues would always have their red shirts in their cars to don at a moment’s notice when the Chavista security forces were around.

Yes, there was inequality in Caracas, and crime was rampant (I always had a bodyguard), but the wealthy had businesses which employed the locals. They displayed at least a limited sense of responsibility to the country and the greater good.

That spirit is long gone. The businesses have been stolen by the socialist bosses, while the wealthy have spirited their fortunes out of the country — out of a sense of self-preservation — to safe havens in the Dominican Republic, Panama, Florida or a myriad of offshore banks.

In the end, socialism is not about helping the people; it is about control. President Trump got grief for calling out the socialists in his State of the Union speech, but I’m glad he did. The presidential bully pulpit should be use to make our younger generations hear some “inconvenient” truths, such as that socialism kills the prosperity it is supposed to foster and that it’s the poor, not the elites, who suffer the most.

Why do so many American millennials think that things would be different for them? Obviously, there’s a problem of a lack of education — or a wealth of the wrong kind of education. I have no doubt the charismatic AOC truly believes that she can replace airplanes in 12 years and rebuild every building in America during the same time period. It’s also blindingly clear she has no idea what she is talking about.

I’ve been to the monuments in Russia and elsewhere that memorialize the tens of millions killed in the drive to forge a socialist paradise. I’ve heard my friends in other former communist nations talk about that the rampant social distrust and the fear of a nighttime knock on the door from the secret police. I’ve read “The Gulag Archipelago” — a must-read for your budding social-justice warrior if there ever was one.

On economic matters, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez may be an idiot, but she is a dangerous idiot. Lenin was an idiot too, but the German war machine thought enough of him to send him back to Moscow in a sealed railroad car so he could stir up civil unrest in a (successful) attempt to bring down the czar.

It is no longer enough for conservatives to complain on Twitter. This communist cancer — even more advanced in Europe than here — has to be denounced loudly at every turn. Just the act of the president of the United States denouncing the philosophy of AOC and Bernie Sanders forcefully the other night did wonders for our children’s future. The same arguments have to be heard in school board meetings, town halls, classrooms, churches — wherever this threat raises its ugly head.

It’s getting late. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” famously said, “For us in Russia, communism is a dead dog, while, for many people in the West, it is still a living lion.”

It’s time to kill that beast.

L. Todd Wood is a former special operations helicopter pilot and Wall Street debt trader, and has contributed to Fox Business, The Moscow Times, National Review, the New York Post and many other publications. He can be reached through his website, LToddWood.com.

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