Sen. Marco Rubio: Socialism is entirely incompatible with America and its unique, entrepreneurial spirit

At the beginning of the last century, America’s Greatest Generation fought the evils of communism and socialism. Yet today, surveys show Americans’ interest in socialism is rising.

One reason for the shift is simple: Americans growing up today are not familiar with the horrors of communism and the tens of millions killed by reckless state planning in China, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere.

For others, it’s a matter of political efficacy. Racing each other to the left in a crowded primary environment, Democratic presidential candidates know all too well that they can score progressive kudos for invoking socialism. The results have been predictably unhinged. Last week, Bernie Sanders tweeted that “[b]illionaires should not exist.”

Socialism is wholly incompatible with America. Our unique, entrepreneurial spirit thrives in defiance of the notion of state control of markets. Americans have spent centuries prospering in this tradition of free enterprise, starting businesses to support their families and communities. Nationalizing our most productive industries would be a disaster to both individual freedom and economic outcomes of the country in general.

Socialists have no meaningful response when asked to explain the multiple international failures of their ideology and fail to provide a single instance where socialism has been successful. Here’s a hint: there isn’t one. 

Of course, the politicians currently exploiting the “socialism” label are unwilling to acknowledge the tremendous costs of their proposals, even as they one-up each other on who can provide the most free stuff. While they proudly announce new wealth taxes for upper tax brackets, they shy away from noting the financial realities, such as enormous tax hikes on middle-class Americans, that plans like single-payer health care would inflict on the rest of the country.

Ironically, they also condemn American companies that provide good wages and lead the world in innovation. While we must continue to push these firms to invest more in their own capital development here at home, the socialist critique is short-sighted and would undermine the ability of American companies to provide dignified work in a competitive global economy.

The movement has been further captured by elite class interests -- in particular, wealthy white progressives, whose attitudes on social issues have outpaced all others in their recent leftward lurch. Today’s socialists indulge in far more than economics. They also package their fiscal policies with other radical ideas like pro-choice extremism, as well as plans that would fundamentally transform Americans’ daily lives like the Green New Deal.

The disproportionate power wielded by this group also exposes areas of clear incoherence in the socialist movement. Their politicians favor open borders, a move that would only serve to depress wages for the American working class. They also push policies like student loan forgiveness, which would require working Americans without college degrees to subsidize the education of upper-middle-class professionals.

Socialists have no meaningful response when asked to explain the multiple international failures of their ideology and fail to provide a single instance where socialism has been successful. Here’s a hint: there isn’t one.

When we point to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, in which millions of Venezuelans starve because of President Nicolas Maduro’s failures, they have no serious answer. When we point to the brutality of Cuba’s regime, which jails dissidents for the simple crime of speaking out against human rights abuses, they are silent.

If they do respond, we hear that there was some failure of implementation. Real socialism has not yet been tried, they say. Such claims would be merely tiresome, if not for the destruction socialism has wrought around the globe over the last century.

In the end, Americans will reject socialism because it fundamentally runs counter to our way of life. We know you cannot simply dictate strategies top-down to improve a nation’s welfare. Coming together to achieve a common good is a necessarily bottom-up process, one that has withstood the test of time in America and will continue to do so long after the radical left’s obsession with socialism goes out of style.