‘Socialism isn’t progressive. It’s backwards:' Is former US UN Ambassador Nikki Haley right?


Fact Box

  • Socialism is a societal system where groups retain no private property and the means of production are owned and controlled by the state. Socialism transitions a capitalist society into a communist one.
  • On November 3, 2021, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley delivered the 2021 Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture criticizing the Biden administration for embracing socialism, stating, “Social isn’t progressive. It’s backwards. And it has no place in America - not now, not ever.”
  • Progressivism differs from socialism in that it’s a political philosophy seeking “to raise the standard of living of the average member of society in order to achieve a positive social change.” 
  • Since President Biden’s inauguration, he has issued the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, mask and vaccine mandates, revoked Trump’s “Remain-in-Mexico” policy, and many others.

Andrew (No)

More and more Americans are expressing outrage at the disparities between the lavish lifestyles of the extremely wealthy and the realities of the daily grind for those living paycheck to paycheck. Socialism is progressive because it would end decades of failed trickle-down economics and put power and wealth into the hands of the working class. These disparities have become even more acute during the pandemic as the number of billionaires increased. Yet, according to an Oxfam report, the pandemic has pushed more people into poverty, and it will take the working poor approximately fourteen times longer to recover financially. Socialism represents a progressive way to end years of gaslighting by wealthy elites who have sold the false promise of hard work and 'pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps.' 

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley is simply using one of the Republican party's favorite boogeymen in an attempt to stall the efforts of President Biden and Congressional Democrats. The reality is that many of the policies being put forward in President Biden's broad infrastructure spending package will really help working families. Massive investments in education, childcare, and assistance for low-income individuals have never really been attempted before. These novel investments are a progressive attempt at helping all Americans achieve the American dream. It's not surprising that Haley, whose party has a long history of defending the interests of billionaires, would try to conflate Democrat goals of having the 1% pay their fair share with some imagined failed socialism or a government takeover. The truth is, socialism offers ideas that would help all Americans and ensure equal access to prosperity, something that has long been lacking in America.


Curtice (Yes)

Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is right to warn against socialism. Far from being progressive, socialism is a failing ideology and form of government. Unlike capitalist systems, it leaves oppression and destruction in its wake. It's a feature, not a defect of an anti-American, Marxist form of government.

Socialism as a means of the government providing ever more for its citizens has been tried and has inevitably failed. Take the former Soviet Union, other eastern European countries, Brazil or Cuba—nobody outside of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looks to these countries as successful government models.  

Socialism requires two things—a high level of central planning and large transference of wealth from one group of citizens to another. Both are counterproductive if the intention is to have a free and economically prosperous society. As Margaret Thatcher famously said of socialism, 'Eventually, you run out of other people's money.'

Socialism disincentives productivity while making the individual ever-more reliant on an ever-expanding government for not just needs but wants. Government-subsidized child care, college tuition, and basic universal income are just three examples of proposed US government handouts that go beyond providing a social safety net. Rather, it's a cradle-to-grave reliance on the government. It has been said, 'The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen;” the greater the role of government in the lives of its citizens, the less freedom those citizens have. 

Socialism, like its end goal of communism, requires a heavy-handed and coercive government to enact its socialist policies and maintain the power to implement. Proponents of socialism love to say it has 'never failed because it has never been tried,' but one need only look at socialist countries like Venezuela to see there is nothing 'progressive' about it.

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