What is the difference between a Socialist and a Democrat?


More and more Americans are asking this question during this election cycle. Most politicians refuse to really answer, and instead pivot to the talking points with which they are most comfortable. Those who attempt to answer usually mention that Socialists believe government should own the means of production.

These explanations miss the much larger delusion that lies at the foundation of Socialism. The idea that is gaining popular appeal in America now has the entire world in its grip. It has become so pervasive that it has crept into the policy proposals of almost all American politicians of all political parties since the beginning of the 20th century. The promise that putting the right people in power will bring paradise to earth has led us down a very dangerous path. Do you know how to spot the delusion? Do you know the better way?

Meet the Authors

The Late Clarence Carson

(1925–2003) was a native of Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and held a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt. Dr. Carson served in the U.S. Army, taught in high school and college at both the graduate and undergraduate level, and in later years devoted himself to independent research, writing and lecturing. In addition to fifteen books, he authored more than 500 articles and reviews which have appeared in such publications as Modern Age, The Freeman, Chronicles of Culture, The Review of the News, Texas Quarterly, and Colorado Quarterly.

Paul Cleveland

is a Professor of Economics and Finance at Birmingham–Southern College. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Texas A&M University. His principal academic research is focused on the study of free enterprise and political economy. In particular, he is interested in examining the proper role of government in society and the problems created when it enacts policies beyond its appropriate boundaries. He is the author of two books: Understanding the Modern Culture Wars and Unmasking the Sacred Lies and the co-author of the third edition of Basic Economics with Clarence B. Carson. In addition, his articles have been published in numerous places including the Journal of Private Enterprise, the Independent Review, The Journal of Markets & Morality, Religion and Liberty, Areopagus Journal, Mises Daily Articles, and The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. Beyond his writing, he has lectured on free enterprise in numerous places including universities in Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Peru, China, and Taiwan. Finally, he serves as an adjunct scholar for the Alabama Policy Institute, as a part time scholar for the Apologetics Resource Center, and as a Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics.

L. Dwayne Barney

is professor emeritus of finance at Boise State University. His undergraduate degree was from Weber State College and his Ph.D. in economics was earned at Texas A&M University. During his 28–year career at Boise State University he taught courses in the areas of economics and finance and was the recipient of a variety of teaching awards and recognitions. Administrative positions he held at the university included a stint as Chairman of the Department of Marketing and Finance and a four–year term as the university’s NCAA faculty athletic representative. He is the co-author with Brian McGrath of one book, Capital as Money. As a researcher he has published numerous articles in professional journals such as The Journal of Risk and Insurance, the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, and the Journal of Financial Research.

Articles of Interest

Government: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Our government is out of control. Could you explain why? Could you explain what the legitimate purpose for government is? This article by Dr. Paul Cleveland, originally written in 1997, explains the exact problem that we face, and lays out the case for returning to government’s legitimate limited purpose.

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The Minimum Wage: An Island Tale

Consider three individuals who are living on an island. Imaginatively, let’s call them Gus, Carl, and Hillary. Now, through a lot of risky hard work climbing trees and picking fruit, Gus has accumulated quite a stash of coconuts. However, since Gus has been busy... read more

On Tithing and Taxes

Hillary Clinton recently proposed changing the way long-term capital gains are taxed. This proposal prompted me to take a look back to see how capital gains have been taxed over the past 25 years. In doing this I discovered that the tax treatment of long-term capital... read more

Rule Makers Gone Wild

Each year for the past twenty years Clyde Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has updated his assessment of the federal regulatory government.[i] Over the course of that time span the various federal agencies have drafted over 81,000 final rules and... read more