I have been advocating in favor of free markets and against socialism since I was a teenager. Thankfully, it’s always been difficult for American students to grasp how destructive socialism truly is.
Because to make my argument, I have had to point to places like Venezuela, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union for examples. The perverse gift of the Chinese coronavirus is that it has given Americans an up close and personal look at the horrors of big government — and, by extension, socialism.
Now if I want to explain the inevitable tyranny of an all-powerful state, I just pull up a map of the good ole’ USA, and point to Greenville, MS; Louisville, KY; Harris County, TX; LA County, CA; and Kansas City, MO.
These encroachments on our liberties and way of life—some obvious and radical, some more subtle but equally insidious— are happening so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep track. But we have to try.
These draconian measures are simply not compatible with a people who inhabit the land of the free and home of the brave, and we risk becoming an oppressed and fearful people if we don’t call tyranny by name.
So, here are five ways in which the Chinese coronavirus pandemic has made America more socialist:
- We now have governments defining what businesses are “essential” and who should lose their job. Government now decides what goods can (like liquor where the surtaxes support the state) and can’t (like household paint and American flags) be sold. If you’re a restaurant and decide to serve customers so you don’t have to permanently shutter your business, they’ll pull your business license or throw you in jail for seven days to think about your disobedience.
- Government exerts arbitrary controls on the activities in which we can participate. For example, Michiganders can now go boating, but only if they don’t use gasoline. No paddleboarding alone in the ocean, and certainly no enjoying the beach; but, parks are open to walk through, just not to play in. By the way, for parks with walking trails, some have signs that force people to walk in the same direction. Citizens are expected to dutifully cooperate or else they’ll be handcuffed and arrested in front of their children.
- Government has removed the authority of private physicians to prescribe potential treatments for patients. As with any properly state-run healthcare the left so admires, it’s the government, not the doctor or the patient, who has the final say over what is and is not good for you. The government has also taken control of the acquisition and disbursements of everything from N95 masks to Hydroxychloroquine. And if a doctor dares speak out against the prevailing medical wisdom of the CDC, their ideas will be promptly censored and removed from the internet.
- The state has claim unprecedented authority over faith communities. Remember the first commandment of socialism: Thou shalt have no other god but the state. This perspective has led local authorities to block Christians from holding a church service at a church parking lot in Mississippi. The mayor of New York personally got involved to break up a memorial service held by Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. And a pastor in Thousand Oaks, California, was forced to resign from his position on the city council for defying his city’s stay-at-home orders to offer his congregants socially distanced communion. There are sadly countless more examples of this egregious overreach.
- The government is using propaganda to keep the citizenry in line. Socialism will inevitably be unpopular with large segments of the population, so the state must set the narrative to keep dissenting voices at bay. In America we call this an “ad campaign,” and bureaucrats craft “copy” asking citizens to “turn in your neighbor” if they fail to obey. Another strategy is to simply rely on a compliant media and promote your propaganda at a press conference. That way everyone in American’s second largest city is sure to get the message: snitching on your neighbors is not only encouraged, it’s rewarded!
Up until now, young people have been able to worship socialism in the abstract. Today they are getting to experience the consequences of it while under state mandated house arrest in their studio apartments or their parent’s basements.
Sadly, this means my job just got easier. Never again in the fight against socialism and big government do I have to say, “look at Venezuela.” I only have to say, “look around.”
Charlie Kirk is founder and president of Turning Point USA, the author of the New York Times bestseller The MAGA Doctrine: The Only Ideas That Will Win the Future, and host of The Charlie Kirk Show.