NORMAN, Okla. – The popularity of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders with college students is evidence that the country’s education system is failing, according to University of Oklahoma arts and sciences professor David Deming.

Deming penned a recent editorial for The Oklahoman that explains exactly why the enthusiasm about Sanders is concerning, and points to several examples of what would happen if the country follows his socialist lead.daviddeming

“For hundreds of years, (socialism) has failed everywhere it’s been adopted,” Deming wrote. “The enthusiasm of our youth for the candidacy of Bernie Sanders in a symptom of our failure to educate the, not only in history, government and economics, but also basic morality.”

“You don’t have to be a student of ancient history to know socialism doesn’t work. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 was an unequivocal demonstration of the moral and economic superiority of capitalism,” he continued.

“The misery caused by socialism is unfolding today in Venezuela. Since Venezuela embraced socialism in 1999, poverty, crime and corruption have all increased. Grocery shelves are empty and the annual inflation rate is estimated to be as high as 200 percent.”

Deming explained how capitalism’s focuses on the natural rights of citizens – life, liberty, happiness and property possession – creates a system that forces folks to be friendly, while socialism accomplishes exactly the opposite.

“Our system of government was designed to secure the natural rights of its citizens. These rights include not only ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,’ but the right to acquire and maintain private property. The Founding Fathers considered property rights to be sacred and
paramount,” Deming wrote.

“Under capitalism, goods and services are distributed through private, voluntary exchanges. When people engage in volitional transactions, everyone benefits. If we believe a transaction is in our best interest, we have an incentive to maintain good relations with those with whom we’re trading. Thus a society based on freedom and trading promotes good will and civility. Our free-market system has produced the greatest prosperity in human history.”

The socialist perspective promoted by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders produces a different result, he said.

“There are no property rights under socialism. Goods and services are distributed by force through political means. Everything you possess is subject to confiscation and redistribution,” Deming continued. “Industrious and productive people are punished; parasites are rewarded. When people come to believe they have a right to goods and services produced by other people, society disintegrates into squabbling factions.

“If socialism is allowed to progress to its logical extreme, it culminates in a military dictatorship like North Korea,” Deming wrote.

Deming contends that “crony capitalism” is simply a different form of socialism that benefits a country’s rich and powerful and the only cure is to curb government power. The “chains placed on government by our Constitution” is the only thing holding back both socialism and crony capitalism, and educating students on the importance of understanding the country’s founding principles is key to maintaining America’s unprecedented prosperity, he said.

“Socialism isn’t so much a legitimate economic system as it is a moral failing. It will always exist because ignorant people will always want something for nothing,” he said. “If we want to retain our freedom and prosperity, then we must educate our children that the purpose of government is to secure liberty, not provide free lunches.”