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It is vital that children — including adolescents — know the truth about left-wing totalitarianism.

Even though the horrors of Venezuela have been unfolding before our eyes, young Westerners are in thrall — thanks to schooling — to socialism and communism.

I saw this tweet and read the woman’s story:

Carmen Alexe left Romania for the United States during the Cold War and has been a real estate lender for many years.

The Foundation for Economic Education — FEE — recently published her story, ‘I Grew Up in a Communist System. Here’s What Americans Don’t Understand About Freedom’. Please share it with the young people in your family.

It is so important that young people understand what leftism ultimately produces: poverty and endless restrictions.

Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

Socialism or Communism?

I was born and raised in communist Romania during the Cold War, a country in which the government owned all the resources and means of production. The state controlled almost every aspect of our lives: our education, our job placement, the time of day we could have hot water, and what we were allowed to say.

Like the rest of the Eastern European countries, Romania was often referred to as a communist country. In school, we were taught it was a socialist country. Its name prior to the 1989 Revolution to overthrow the Ceausescu regime was the Socialist Republic of Romania.

From an economic standpoint, a petty fraction of property was still privately owned. In a communist system, all property is owned by the state. So if it wasn’t a true communist economy, its heavy central planning and the application of a totalitarian control over the Romanian citizenry made this nation rightfully gain its title of a communist country.

Shortages — food and hot water

Despite the fact that Romania was a country rich in resources, there were shortages everywhere. Food, electricity, water, and just about every one of life’s necessities were in short supply. The apartment building in which we lived provided hot water for showers two hours in the morning and two hours at night. We had to be quick and on time so we didn’t miss the opportunity.

Bubblegum and chocolate bars were treasured treats. People had to make use of the black market for certain things:

Fruity lip gloss, French perfume, and jeans were but a few of the popular items available only on the black market and with the right connections. God bless our black-market entrepreneurs! They made our lives better. They gave us the opportunity to buy things we very much desired, things we couldn’t get from the government-owned retail stores which were either half-empty or full of products that were ugly and of poor quality.

The food situation was dire:

The grocery stores were not any better. I get it, maybe we didn’t need to be fashionable. But we needed to eat. So, the old Romanian adage “Conscience goes through the stomach” made a lot of sense.

During the late 1970s, life in Romania started to deteriorate even more. Meat was hardly a consumer staple for the average Romanian. Instead, our parents learned to become good at preparing the liver, the brain, the tongue, and other giblets that most people in the West would not even consider trying.

When milk, butter, eggs, and yogurt were temporarily available, my mom—like so many others of our neighbors—would wake up at 2:00 a.m. to go stand in line so she’d have the chance to get us these goodies. The store would open at 6:00 a.m., so if she wasn’t early enough in line she’d miss the opportunity.

In 1982, the state sent their disciples to people’s homes to do the census. Along with that, food rationing was implemented. For a family of four like us, our rationed quota was 1 kilogram of flour and 1 kilogram of sugar per month. That is, if they were available and if we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when they were being distributed.

There was one television channel. It showed programmes about poverty in the West notionally caused by capitalism:

The one television channel our government provided for us often focused on programs related to crime and poverty in the western world. After all, people were poor and suffering because of capitalism, so we were told, so we needed socialism and communism to solve the inequalities of humanity.

Schools pushed the same line:

When in school, we learned that private property makes people greedy and is considered detrimental to society. Private property was associated with capitalism, the system that our textbooks claimed failed.

Ultimately:

In a centrally-planned environment, the various government individuals who are assigned the task of planning the economy could not possibly know how to properly allocate the scarce resources of an entire nation, no matter how smart or educated they are. Shortages are one of the consequences of improper allocation of the scarce resources.

Consequently, there was no innovation, no injection of capital. Only the party higher-ups and black marketeers were doing well.

I was glad she mentioned Venezuela:

Similar to the old Soviet lifestyle, let’s remember what the typical Venezuelan family of our times worries about on a daily basis. Food to put on the table and the safety of their children. They wake up in the morning wondering how many meals they can afford that day, where to get them from, and how to pay for them.

That’s putting in mildly.

It’s a far cry from what Westerners experience:

We, the lucky ones to live in a relatively free-market system, don’t have these kinds of worries. We go to work, get leisure time to be on Facebook, watch TV, be with our families, read books, and enjoy a hobby or two. In short, we have the personal freedom to engage in and enjoy a variety of life events because of capitalism.

But there’s another important motive to desire to live in a capitalist society. We are free to create and come up with all kinds of business ideas, no matter how crazy some might be. Because we don’t have to worry about tomorrow, we have—or make—the time to read, explore, and innovate.

Capitalism makes it possible for us to challenge ourselves, to have goals, and to put forth the sweat to achieve them. It gives us the freedom to try new things and explore new opportunities. It gives us the chance to create more opportunities. It helps us build strong character because when we try, we also fail, and without failure, how do we know we’ve made mistakes? Without failure, how do we know we must make changes?

I agree with her conclusion:

Aside from better economic and legislative policies, what America needs is a more intense appreciation of individual freedom and capitalism. Such a crazy idea is not acquired through public schools or becoming a public servant. Young people don’t need more years of schooling with more worthless college degrees and student loans in default. America needs more entrepreneurs and businessmen. It needs more people with drive and ambition, more self-starters, more innovators, more people who are willing to take chances.

The same is true in other Western countries, too.

I am deeply concerned about our education systems, whether they be in the US, UK, France or elsewhere. Almost all educators are left-wing to varying degrees. They teach students that big government is the only means of survival for the ‘poor’.

Very few Europeans classified as ‘poor’ actually are, by the way. Most are on the dole and have modern conveniences in their council flats along with plenty of junk food.

I pray that none of our nations ends up like Venezuela, which, in the 1970s and 1980s was a thriving nation. Now the best and brightest have fled the chaos, understandably. How and when that country’s troubles end, no one knows.

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