Reagan’s wisdom on socialism is going VIRAL

The problem with most liberal ideas is that they work in theory but not in practice (and perhaps some of the disdain for conservative policies among many intellectuals is because they work in practice but not in theory).

President Ronald Reagan said it best however in a meme that’s been going viral on Facebook, pictured below:

We could cite every example of where socialism has been tried to document its failure (though that would take quite a few more articles), so let’s look at just South America’s experiments with socialism. For whatever reason, the continent has largely embraced socialism.

There has just been one exception: Chile.

In the early 1970s, Chile was suffering annual inflation of 140% and declining GDP under socialist President Salvador Allende. Later that decade, Chile’s economic policy would be heavily influenced by the “Chicago Boys,” a band of libertarian and conservative economists from the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman.

What happened next has rightly been deemed the “Miracle of Chile,” as the country far outperformed the rest of the continent.

Chile’s economic performance contrasts most starkly with those nations that adopted socialism over liberated markets.

As the Dollar Vigilante summarizes it: After attempting a coup, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected president of Venezuela in 1998. In Chile, The Communist Revolution came shortly after the 1964 elections. The rise of communism ended the reputation of Chile as South America’s most stable state and one of the oldest democracies in the Americas alongside the United States, which had been a point of pride for the Chilean middle class.

Despite frustrations with the wealthy and the institutional elite during the early 1960s, by the middle of the 1970s the powerful Chilean middle class had grown even more sour on the Communist Party and the country’s poor economy, which had been strong prior to 1958.

Following a devastating famine in 1979, mass riots plagued Chile in the early 1980s and right-wing guerilla movements as well as mainstream opposition began to emerge. By the end of the Pinochet era in 1990, Chileans had had enough of communism and fascism and gravitated back to a more capitalist, free market system.

As history shows – the results are pretty clear on which system works. The only people who didn’t get the memo are those who are unaware that capitalism at its worst is still preferable to socialism at its “best.”

[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. He is a co-author of the new book A Paradoxical Alliance: Islam and the Left, and can be found on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]

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