What He Said

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 19, 2012

So Elle Macpherson decided to announce that she is a socialist. Stephen Bainbridge decided in turn to announce that Elle Macpherson shouldn’t be trusted with sharp objects:

It’s easy to be a socialist when you’re a multi-millionaire living in liberal democracies with capitalist economies. When your life is completely cosseted by entourages, private jets, limos, and all the rest of the perks of being at the top of the 1%, it’s easy to mock the system.

What MacPherson desperately needs is for the proto-angel from It’s a Wonderful Life to take her on a tour of what MacPherson’s life would have been like if she had been born in, say, East Germany or the Soviet Union in, say, 1955. Maybe they’d have time for a quick visit to the Gulag Archipelago. Or the angel could show her what her life would have been like if she had lived in Cambodia in the late 1970s.

Socialism failed. Miserably. Communism collapsed because it was unable to compete with democratic capitalism. Marxist-Leninist countries produced misery, inequality, poverty, and environmental degradation. Chinese communism has morphed into a fascist-like form of state capitalism. European social democracy is struggling to survive an era of austerity.

About the only people who haven’t figured out that saying “I’m a socialist” is the same as saying “I’m a massive idiot” are Western academics and zillionaire celebrities. But I guess that’s why MacPherson is known as “the Body” and not “the Brain.”

And with that, it’s Bainbridge by a TKO. About the only thing left for me to add is that it is remarkable that we are still debating whether socialism is a good idea.

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