Former news anchor John Stossel has partnered with ReasonTV (a project of Atlas Network partner Reason Foundation) and renowned Guatemalan libertarian radio host and author Gloria Álvarez to create a new video explaining democratic socialism and separating truth from fiction. With clever graphics, well-placed interviews, and high quality visuals, Álvarez, Stossel, and his team convey their message in an informative and compelling way. Throughout the video Álvarez explains that — contrary to the popular opinion among many Americans today — socialist policies always reduce human dignity and prosperity wherever they’re implemented and that doesn’t change when the word “democratic” is put in front of it.
People who fled Cuba and Venezuela warn Americans not to embrace socialism.
Álvarez begins with clips and quotes from celebrities lauding the benefits of democratic socialism before explaining her own history with the term.
“I’m from Guatemala, I’ve seen the impact of socialism,” Álvarez explains. “My father escaped Cuba. My grandfather suffered under communists in Hungary before escaping. As a child I was taught socialism was wrong. I grew up mocking it, but democratic socialism sounded okay. It made sense to me that government should take care of the economy. But then I watched socialism fail in Latin America. I learned every time a country started down the socialist path, it failed.”
The video goes on to trace the recent histories of Latin American countries like Cuba and Venezuela that implemented socialism and the heartbreaking stories from the citizens that lived under those regimes.
Álvarez went to Florida to interview people who fled Cuba after the revolution of Hugo Chavez. "My father [a doctor] had to sell illegal meats out of his ambulance ... because Cuban doctors earn less than 1 percent of American doctors,” one resident recalled. Álvarez also spoke with several people from Venezuela that came to America to escape the consequences of socialist policies. “Why did you leave your country?” Álvarez asked one man. “It's like the apocalypse [in Venezuela] ... no food, no medicine," he explained.
When both countries began down the path of socialism it was portrayed as a movement about equality, social justice, peace, and prosperity; the same sort of language that advocates of democratic socialism use to promote their ideas. Through testimonials and concise economic examples, Álvarez explained that the intentions always seem to be noble but the results are always the same.
A final misconception dispelled in the video is the idea that nations like Sweden and Denmark are examples of successful democratic socialist countries.
“Scandinavia is now called a socialist success,” Álvarez says, before pointing out that “in Scandinavia private business is largely left alone. Governments don’t even set a minimum wage. Freedom rankings score Scandinavian countries high on property rights and business freedom ... Yes, there’s a big welfare state but it’s funded by thriving free enterprise.”
Álvarez ends the video with a message for Americans: don’t fall for the rhetoric, socialism only destroys. “Socialism wrecks economies, wrecks lives. And in addition, it kills.” This is the first in a series of videos Stossel and Álvarez are creating together. The next installment will explain why violence is unavoidable in socialist countries and will premiere on the ReasonTV YouTube channel soon.