[This essay is part of an extended debate with David Horowitz found here.]
Z MAGAZINE is the Chomsky left the left you see tearing up Genoa and Seattle over the mythical monster “globalization,” the left you see at Mumia rallies, and at events like the Inauguration attacking a president who has appointed a more diverse administration including Asians, blacks, Hispanics, women and gays as “racist, sexist, anti-gay.” Michael Albert is a “theoretician” of these anarcho-know-nothings and this text is his pontification on the idea of socialism.
I won’t insult the intelligence of the readers of FrontPage by providing a point-by-point analysis. But to measure the colossal ignorance of this movement, as a way of understanding that it is a religious and not a political phenomenon, I do want to draw attention to Albert’s belief that Soviet Socialism “worked,” economically that is. In fact, after seven decades of Five-Year Plans and other socialist disasters, the meat intake of the average Soviet citizen was less than the average meat intake of a subject of the Czar in 1913. Albert says that it is inappropriate to compare the Soviet economy circa 1985 with the U.S. economy circa 1985 (forgetting Khrushchev’s boast in 1960 that in 20 years the Soviet Union would achieve “full communism” and “bury” the United States). Fair enough. Compare South Korea then. In 1950, the per capita income of South Korea was $250, not that much better than Russia in 1917, perhaps worse. But by 1985 capitalist South Korea was an industrial power, outperforming the Soviet Union by far. You don’t really need statistics to appreciate this. Consider that during the entire reign of the Soviet “superpower” you never bought anything Russian besides Vodka and caviar. On the other hand, Korean TVs and VCRs were commonplace. However, I invite readers to supply statistics and other examples.
David Horowitz is editor-in-chief of FrontPageMagazine.com and president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture