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175 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is it.
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...
Published on December 30, 2010 by Joshua A. Schaeffer

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less than I'd Hoped For
I first became aware of Kevin Williamson and his book "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism" through an interview he did on CSPAN's Book TV.

During his interview he seemed very smart and knowledgeable about the subject of socialism. One point that caught my attention was his discussion of Sweden. The people who like more government often point to...
Published on October 8, 2012 by Tim


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175 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is it., December 30, 2010
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This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback)
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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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, January 16, 2011
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This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (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. Unlike many authors of the politically incorrect guide series Mr. Williamson does not recommend books for further reading, except the Von Mises work. I find this omission to be quite serious.

However this book is thought provoking and interesting. This work deserves to read.
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118 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and thought provoking, December 28, 2010
This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (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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103 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just Body Counts, January 3, 2011
This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (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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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please get a copy for yourself and another to use to teach your kids, neighbors, and friends., February 8, 2011
This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (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.

Chapter 6 looks at the problem socialism has in using other people's money to finance its equality and why that necessarily provides all the wrong incentives and ends up destroying value because the incentives are all wrong. For example, when the central planners count the number of nails your factory produces, you produce lots of small thin nails. But if they measure gross tonnage they you make huge thick nails. Neither nail meets that actual needs of the citizenry, but each meets the goals set by the planners. There are COUNTLESS real world examples of this in centrally planned economies.

I am so glad that Chapter 7 shines the light of truth on Sweden which is so often held up as the beacon of socialist wonder for humanity. They are now trying desperately to get back to a free market economy because, again, people respond to incentives. And the Swedish socialist incentives result in people calling in sick to work on Mondays, overusing a healthcare system they can no longer afford, and a large guest worker workforce that is causing strain in their social welfare system and making for serious cultural integration issues. Chapter 8 takes you on a dark tour of North Korea and its starving population. Chapter 9 looks at the disastrous track record of socialism in dealing with environmental issues.

Chapter 10 is a very useful look at what Hugo Chavez is doing in Venezuela and why his protestations of being a man of the people rings so false. Chapter 11 looks at the track record of how socialist leaders have used the excuse of socialism to treat their country as their private property and impoverished their people.

Chapters 11 through 14 look at socialist issues in America beginning with the central planning of our energy independence which has resulted in wasteful spending and subsidies with increasing dependence on foreign sources of energy. Woodrow Wilson's socialist Progressive agenda and the Labor Movement get a spotlight and their noxious fruits. Finally, ObamaCare is exposed as a socialist nightmare.

This is a terrific book and I hope you not only get a copy and read it for yourself, but you use it to educate your children, your neighbors, and co-workers. We need to wake up from this Progressive nightmare and this little book can help.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Saline, MI
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and very informative, June 6, 2011
By 
FischMan (SC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback)
This is a well-written book. It is written in a dispassionate, reasoned tone - which makes it even more hard-hitting. It is also written in an easy-to-read manner. I have not grown bored. He examines socialist apologists own works, and their (claimed) greatest success stories. Then he calmly, and devastatingly, picks them apart. He shows, with ample historical proof, how socialism has always fared, every time it has been tried.

This is a great way to learn more about socialism, how it works, and how well it has worked when tried.
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25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PIG Socialism should be on everybody's bookshelf, January 8, 2011
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This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback)
Kevin D. Williamson has written a work that should prove valuable to even those fairly knowledgeable about the subject matter. It is appropriate and challenging reading material for everybody ranging from young college students to somebody who is very familiar with the conventional arguments against socialism. The author understands that while those who advocate on behalf of its failed policies may claim to be altruistic---they ultimately seek to empower and enrich themselves. In other words, these individulas are minimally lying to themselves. The Swedish model may seem somewhat successful until it is looked at more closely. America is purportedly a capitalist country, but socialism is still a pervasive part of the overall total picture. Was Mahatma Gandhi a saint? The heck with his intentions. At the end of the day, the economically naïve religious leader ill served the people of India. The same is true of Jawaharlal Nehru and his foolish five year economic plans. President Woodrow Wilson is also taken to task. His vision was a socialist one even though he preferred the euphemistic label of Progressivism.

Williamson also has a keen sense of humor. He effectively employs his wit to assist the reader to clearly understand a subject that previously might have been considered difficult. You should own a copy. It will be very hard to put down. PIG Socialism easily earns five stars. I am more than willing to address any questions or concerns you might have in the comments section. Please feel free to fire away.
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33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Plan from Hell, February 18, 2011
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This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback)
Socialism had a nine-figure body count in the twentieth century, but vast multitudes still find it alluring. In this entry in the Politically Incorrect Guide line of books, Kevin Williamson asserts that people find this repugnant ideology attractive not for revolutionary reasons, but out of a desire to control and to avert risk.

Williamson defines socialism as central planning, including the public provision of non-public goods. He includes an incredible quote by Mikhail Gorbachev that proves beyond doubt that behind all of the happy talk about helping the poor and equality of result, what really animates many, though not all, Leftists is control (think of John Dingell's infamous quote from last March). When the poor go up against what Williamson refers to as The Plan, The Plan always wins, which explains why socialism ends up benefiting not the poor, but the central planners.

These "Plans" are always impervious to evidence in the form of market forces and honest prices, which means that they always fail--and when they do fail, the Left always looks for scapegoats on which they can blame socialism's failure. Williamson, however, lists the reasons why socialist initiatives fail and convincingly describes the difference between what socialists want to accomplish and what they do (not) accomplish in the real world.

Sweden is held up by the Left as a country where socialism functions well, but the author provides statistics to debunk that notion; Williamson notes that if Sweden was a state in the United States, it would be the poorest, and that black Americans enjoy a higher standard of living than do Swedes. Williamson describes how socialism is harming the Swedish social fabric and relates that Sweden's per capita GDP was 20 percent higher than that of the U.S. in 1980, but that our per capita GDP was 56 percent higher than Sweden's by the dawn of this century.

The author also shows how socialism has been detrimental in India, North Korea, and Venezuela, and examines socialism's pernicious effects on energy policy, education, health care, and the environment. He also looks at the link between socialism and nationalism and the Wilson/Debs era in socialist history.

Most believe that socialists seek equality and justice, but as Pascal Bruckner asserted in his outstanding The Tyranny of Guilt, they really seek slavery in the name of justice. Williamson has done a great service with this book, and I hope that it gets a very wide readership before we head to the polls late next year.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Libs hate it bc the truth hurts. History hasn't been kind. See FRG vs GDR; ROK vs PRK; ROC vs PRC, February 5, 2011
This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback)
The most disturbing trend on this thread is that liberals don't disavow accusations of their being Socialists. During the 1980s, they would have. Instead, liberals defend socialism and the murderous regimes that employed it in the USSR, the Cambodian killing fields, Mao's Cultural Rev, etc.

Even with perfect laboratories like Germany split down the middle, Korea split across the 48th parallel and the failure of the socialist sides contrasted to the booming economies of their more market based counterparts, libs can't bare concession. Thomas Sowell writes about this freedom from the consequences of being on the wrong side of history in Intellectuals and Society.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new direction for the Politically Incorrect Guides?, January 22, 2011
By 
Geoff Puterbaugh (Chiang Mai, T. Suthep, A. Muang Thailand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Paperback)
I have previously owned, and thrown away, a few of these "PIG" guides, in all cases because the books insisted (way too much) on Christianity. The "P.I. Guide to English Literature" was a perfect example. I bought the book to learn about English Lit, not about Christianity, but didn't get what I wanted.

Well, it seems that the PIG editorial board has reconsidered -- or that the excellent book under review persuaded them to alter their policy for once.

Good for them! Following sound economic rules is a bit like brushing your teeth: religion has nothing to do with it.

This book is a brilliant explanation of economics, and a particularly brilliant take-down of socialism in all its variants. It has a lot of wonderful "take-away" thoughts which will serve you well, long after you've finished reading it.

For those readers thinking wistfully, "But What About Sweden?" I can only say that the chapter entitled "Why Sweden Stinks" is must reading. Apparently, the "socialist miracle" in Sweden has actually managed to destroy the Swedish work-ethic and the Swedish national trust in other Swedes: by now, in the "healthiest nation in the world," 20% of the able-bodied workforce phones in sick every single day (!), and the Swedes are turning into a nation of chiselers. Good job, Socialism!

Two other chapters not to be missed are "Socialism is Dirty" and "Yes, ObamaCare is Socialism." The first of these chapters details the horrible environmental record of socialist countries and socialist enterprises, most notably the gigantic eco-disaster where central planning deliberately destroyed the Aral Sea and rendered one-sixth of the USSR uninhabitable, and the filthy history of the Mexican state-owned oil giant, PeMex.

The chapter on ObamaCare carefully spells out what most people already understand: that, from the beginning, "health-care reform" has been an Orwellian code-word for "socialized medicine." As P. J. O'Rourke pointed out, "If you think health-care is expensive now, just you wait until it's free."

You might want to follow with Basic Economics 4th Ed: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy. After that, maybe Stealing from Each Other: How the Welfare State Robs Americans of Money and Spirit would be a useful, practical guide.

Hayek and von Mises await you, down the road. How far you go is up to you. :-)
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The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides)
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (Politically Incorrect Guides) by Kevin Williamson (Paperback - January 10, 2011)
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