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

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Editorial Reviews

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

\\bit.ly/fXILVJ --Prudence Paine, prudencepaine.com

"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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Product Details

  • Series: Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback)
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (January 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596986492
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596986497
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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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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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 Sweden as the country whose government that we should follow. Kevin Williamson points out that "if Sweden were a U.S. state, then it would be the poorest state in the country." There are several other reasons that Sweden is not a good example, and he went over them in the interview.

To some extent this book is teaching to the choir when I read it. I was hoping to find more facts, statistics, and sources with which I could debate those who favor more government. I was disappointed to find that this book is poorly laid out and its facts are not sourced in a way that would make it easy for you to look at the sources for yourself.

Another complaint that I have with this book is that he wrote the first chapter with the idea of defining "socialism," just like I would have done, but he never really comes up with a definition. Even in chapter 5, ostensibly about India, he spends the first half of the chapter still trying to define "socialism."

I don't disagree with anything that is written in the book, but I was very unimpressed with it. I doubt that anyone who is pro-socialist would change their minds after reading it; even though they should.

This is not to say that all of the Politically Incorrect Guides are bad, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal" is very good and full of the stuff that I was hoping to see in the PIG to Socialism.
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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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