Nutjob former congressman Allen West seems to have a new BFF, judging by the memes he has been sharing on Facebook recently. That BFF is Derrick Wilburn.
Wilburn is another RWNJ, who runs the website American Conservatives Of Color. West has posted a couple of memes on his Facebook page in recent days with quotes from Wilburn. One is just stupid and offensive. It says:
I’ve yet to hear of a young black man, wearing nice slacks, button down shirt, speaking proper English in respectful tones getting stopped, pulled out of his car, and beaten down by cops while on his way home from a bible study.
There’s plenty to rip in that statement, but it’s not the one that caught my interest. The one that piqued my curiosity is this one:
“Why Socialism NEVER Works Perfectly Summarized In One Meme” says the headline at The Federalist Papers, where West’s meme was shared.
Now, I love a challenge, so I decided to see what I could find on this subject. Sweden, of course, is often referred to as a “middle way” country, where elements of capitalism exist alongside an extensive social welfare state. Sweden and the other Scandinavian countries have some of the lowest poverty rates in the world. But Sweden has followed its current social welfare policies for years, and data showing what poverty was like before Sweden expanded its social welfare system isn’t easy to find.
Wilburn is a reasonably intelligent guy, for a conservative. Maybe he phrased that statement the way he did because he knew it would be difficult to find information about it. I know I couldn’t find anything.
But what I did find was something that suggests the opposite of what Wilburn is trying to say: it’s not socialism that causes poverty, it’s capitalism.
A 2003 study, titled “Poverty and Ethnicity In Six Post-Socialist Countries,” looked at the number of people who considered themselves “Poor,” “Very Poor,” or “Not Poor” in 1988, before the fall of communism, versus 2000. That study features the following table.
Notice that in all six of those former communist countries, the percentage of people who said that they had experienced poverty soared when the countries switched from communism to capitalism. Not exactly the point that Wilburn was trying to prove, was it?
Of course West, Wilburn, and others of their ilk are talking this nonsense because they are trying to paint the picture that socialism is terrible, and throws people into poverty. They’ve spent most of the presidency of Barack Obama claiming that he is a socialist, and they’re probably preparing to attack Bernie Sanders, who actually is a democratic socialist, along the same lines. But what they don’t want to tell you is that in many ways, America is already a socialist country.
So, there you have it, Derrick Wilburn. I can’t name a single socialist country that has less poverty under socialism than it did before. You got me there.
But I just named six that went from socialism to capitalism, and their poverty rates all grew.
The data that I found, from some of the countries that used to be as heavily invested in what you would call “socialism” as any in the world, says that you and your meme are wrong.
Featured image via YouTube