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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) Paperback – January 10, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Politically Incorrect Guides
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596986492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596986497
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #149,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


[This book will] ". . . sound the alarm to alert all patriots and arm them with the facts they need to fight the good fight."

\\ --Prudence Paine,

"Eviscerating. Williamson outlines the fine hashes socialism and Communism have made in the countries in which they have been imposed." --National Review

"Required reading." --Mark Levin Show

From the Inside Flap

What’s the central characteristic of socialism? That’s easy—it’s failure.

From North Korea to the American public education system, from Venezuelan oil companies to ObamaCare, the reports of socialism’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Although the Soviet Union collapsed in ignominy, the central planning impulse that guided it endures in countless industries and government policies throughout the world. As Kevin Williamson explains in this myth–busting book, socialism never works because it can’t work. It assumes the authorities have all–knowing planning abilities that human beings don’t possess—and can’t possess. This central flaw has resulted in crushing poverty, devastating famine, and even mass murder. And yet the socialist “dream” is spreading—including here in America.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

173 of 212 people found the following review helpful By Joshua A. Schaeffer on December 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading this book cover to cover... if you want THE best-packaged book that explains to you why socialism destroys civilizations, this is it. You cannot beat the price for knowledge and insight that government education fights hard to hide from you. A great complement to "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell, and loaded with logical and empirical firepower that will make you invincible in debates...if you can remember all of it!
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116 of 142 people found the following review helpful By Michele Frost on December 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Despite the treatise presented by the reviewer mianfei (who sounds like he has some dogma issues of his own), I wholeheartedly recommend this book. If you live in a world where your government delivers efficient, cost effective services with no unintended consequences you probably won't like this book, but if you live on planet Earth there is much insight to be gained from this book. Particularly for those of us who don't spend our lives studying political theory, this is a good primer that cuts through the clutter of the chattering heads on TV. It's easy to yell "Socialist!" at someone you view as too liberal, but it's not particularly useful, and most people don't understand what socialism really means. This book goes a long ways towards defining it, explaining its attraction to a certain class of people, and why socialism ultimately destroys those systems it seeks to perfect.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Crosslands on January 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mr. Williamson has written a very interesting book about socialism. Mr. Williamson defines socialism as the public provision of nonpublic goods, or goods that can be provided by a market economy, and government economic central planning. It is important to note that Mr. Williamson considers socialism to be a matter of degree that varies from country to country. Thus the United States has public education as a socialist sector, with most of the economy dominated by non socialist free enterprise. And there are some private free enterprise components in some socialist countries, as in the former Yugoslavia.

Mr. Williamson writes that the central fallacy of socialism is the lack of real market prices that reflect the desires of consumers and the buyers of producers goods. Flexible market prices provide economic information that is impossible for a socialist sector or socialist economy to obtain. Contrary to socialist theorists, prices are not objective in the sense of representing labor used or some other abstract concept of value, but innately subjective, representing the felt desires and need of consumers and producers. Mr. Williamson refers to Ludwig Von Mises' book SOCIALISM (Lib Works Ludwig Von Mises PB), as well as demonstrating how lack of real prices work in practice.

Mr. Williamson then demonstrates the failures of several socialist sectors and economies. He includes in his discussion the American public education system and the health care bill of 2010, as well as such almost totally socialist countries as North Korea and Cuba.

There is one criticism of the work of Mr. Williamson.
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102 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Rizzuto on January 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
In The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, Kevin Williamson goes beyond the typical critiques of socialism that often over emphisize the body counts that 20th century socialists managed to accrue. While the body count is still present, Williamson manages to strike the root of socialism by explaining the practical reasons why it is, in all of its incarnations, destined for the dustbin of history.

Looking at socialism from a decidedly Austrian perspective, Williamson tackles a range of issues from the inherent flaws of central planning to Labor Theory of Value, as well as socialist/progressive sacred cows like public schooling and universal healthcare.

Great for the casual reader as well as the seasoned political veteran. Another fine addition to an already great series of books.
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Format: Paperback
I think this is the best of the Politically Incorrect guides that I have read so far. Kevin Williamson is clear, informative, and has the perfect balance of light hearted teaching with a serious intent to inform people what Socialism was and has become. I especially enjoy his ability to describe the way the nice sounding socialist theories always crash against the granite hardness of reality.

He has a two part working definition of socialism that I really like: 1) the public provision of non-public goods and 2) economic central planning. So, if you want to know the degree of socialism in your economy look at the degree to which these things are taking place and you have a good working estimate of where your economy is.

I appreciate the way he explains what socialism is and is not. Too often terms are used carelessly and political point scoring often makes clear thinking hard by design. This author is focused on clarity of understanding and historical reality rather than fear mongering or telling monster stories through shadow puppetry.

Chapter 2 looks at where and why Marxism has failed and the problems with his Theory of Value. Chapter 3 exposes the impossibility of central planning. He begins by discussing the complexities of trying to centrally plan the supply of milk to the American population and compares it to how easily markets and prices make the kinds of milk people want available in the quantities they desire.

Chapter 4 discusses the relationship between India's social experimentation with socialism and why it has resulting only in a more equal spreading of poverty. Chapter 5 looks at the way our public school system was built on the Prussian socialist model and why it doesn't work.
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