John Stossel Breaks Down 5 Myths of Socialism; Yet Young Americans Still Attracted To Failed, Deadly System

john stossel socialism
Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

On Stossel TV, political commentator John Stossel broke down various economic and political issues to debunk myths and clear up misconceptions about socialism.

For example, last year, he published a two-part video on five myths surrounding socialism in response to polling that showed the concept gaining popularity, particularly among millennials.

Technically, I’m considered a millennial, and in some ways, I think I fit the bill. I fully embrace technology as integral to my way of life; I desire a feeling of impact when it comes to my work, although I don’t require it.

For the life of me, I can’t wrap my brain around why my fellow millennials and Gen Z’s seem so enamored with the concept of socialism. Perhaps Mr. Stossel can shed some light on the subject.

5 Myths

Mr. Stossel’s two-part video debunks five commonly believed myths surrounding socialism. The myths, according to Stossel, are:

  1. Failed examples like the Soviet Union and Venezuela weren’t “real socialism”
  2. Venezuela’s failure isn’t about socialism but poor governance
  3. Socialism works if it’s ‘Democratic’
  4. It works in Scandinavian countries
  5. Socialism isn’t the same as fascism

Throughout the video series, Mr. Stossel consults economist Ben Powell on deconstructing these myths and tries to explain why they are so prevalent. Mr. Powell and Mr. Stossel deftly dismantle these myths one by one in the video series. Still, the most interesting myths they tore apart were #2 and #3. 

The idea that Venezuela’s descent into ruin was due to poor governance versus socialism is laughable to Mr. Powell. He explains how capitalism’s very nature allows for sound economic policy and flexibility. Socialism tries to argue for a one-size-fits-all financial framework that inevitably fails. 

One can look to the COVID pandemic as an example of how capitalism reigns supreme over other economic frameworks. As the two gentlemen explain, capitalism allowed businesses, restaurants, and corporations to adjust their business models to best suit the changing environment. Capitalism breeds innovation, where socialism produces stagnation.

RELATED: Whole Foods CEO And ‘Conscious Capitalist’ John Mackey Warns Socialists ‘Taking Over’ U.S.

The Great ‘Democratic Socialist’ Lie

The third myth is my favorite as it argues that socialism can work as long as it’s “democratic.” The idea behind this dressed-up version of socialism is that the economy is socialist, but the political system is democratic.


Too bad this theory never works. As Mr. Powell explains:

“They can start off democratically elected, once they centralize control over the economy it becomes impossible to ‘un-elect’ them.”

Perhaps most terrifying about this idea of “Democratic Socialism” is how many we have elected into office. 

  • Senator Bernie Sanders
  • Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib
  • Congresswoman Cori Bush
  • Congressman Jamaal Bowman

This brand of socialism sells the idea of a ‘living wage,’ universal programs such as child care and health care, and power placed on the workers, not the corporations. This leads to a catchphrase that makes this concept popular among the youth in this nation: “social justice.”

The Biggest Lie Of Them All

The idea of social justice is as oxymoronic as the phrase honest politician or military intelligence. Justice is rooted in fairness. Social justice removes the concept of fairness and replaces it with the idea of ‘distributive justice.’

Essentially the idea is to take resources away from some and distribute them to others who are deemed to have had a different societal outcome—a sort of ‘leveling’ of the playing field.

This is what seems so appealing to young Americans. The idea that those who have perceived greater societal obstacles than others get the same outcomes can appear alluring, especially to a generation that was raised in the ‘everyone gets a trophy’ dynamic.

However, the truth is that this doesn’t work in practice. The struggle of life is what makes the reward so sweet. Something is defining and great in overcoming an obstacle on your own to achieve your ideal state and success. 

But that’s not what the democratic socialists want you to believe. On the contrary, they want you to look down on the idea of self-interest and ambition.

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Doesn’t Anybody Read Atlas Shrugged Anymore?

I wasn’t required to read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in school but read it on my own, perhaps out of a sense of literary punishment. I’m not a huge fan of Rand’s writing style, but I recognize when a book is of cultural significance.

Perhaps Atlas Shrugged should be required reading, given the popularity of socialism among today’s young Americans. According to a 2019 YouGov poll, 70% of millennials say they would vote for a socialist.

If you think that poll is a fluke, open your ears and eyes to the growing buzz surrounding a potential heir apparent to Bernie Sanders: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Political Insider’s Rusty Weiss recently reported on the salivations of former Obama campaigner Michael Hopkins over the young ‘progressive’ Democratic Socialist running for President someday.

RELATED: Former Obama Campaign Vet: AOC Is Democrats’ Best Hope Of Beating Trump In 2024

If you don’t want to take my word for it that socialism is on the rise, then take Whole Food’s co-founder John Mackey’s recent warning to heart:

“My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over. Socialists have taken over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military. And it’s just continuing – so I’m deeply concerned.”

How ungranola and Birkenstock of him, but he is a ‘conscious capitalist’ and not a socialist.

There are 92,000 Americans that are card-carrying members of the Democratic Socialists of America. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, the fact that they’ve had meteoric growth over the last few years should alarm all of us. Two years ago there was about 66,000 members of the DSA.

What could be at the root of this increase in membership? Perhaps it was all that stimulus money during COVID, rent and student loan repayment moratoriums.

This surge in socialist interest has me asking, ‘who is John Galt?’ If you don’t get the reference, go to the library and check out Atlas Shrugged… if you can find it.

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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