This post is in response to David Pakman’s video, entitled, “Ben Shapiro is painfully ignorant about “socialism.” Funny enough, I responded directly to Pakman as a way of generating feedback and comments and it appears Pakman deleted that comment.
David Pakman’s major point is that Ben Shapiro confuses democratic socialism, socialism, social democracy, etc. The issue real issue here is that the Democratic party isn’t clear on what democratic socialism is. The democratic socialist party states it is “to meet public needs not to make profits for few” but this doesn’t actually explain much of anything. If anything, it is a clear cut slogan rather than an endearing and useful term. It is especially confusing when they state that “democratic socialism” isn’t “Government ownership of resources” whereas socialism is in fact “state ownership and control of all resources.” So if that is the case, why use the word socialism at all?
Secondly, he takes a snippet of Ben Shapiro discussing Norway, Venezuela and Cuba and presents a strawman. He believes Ben Shapiro’s argument is that the “Left” cherry picks when socialism works for them and ignores when it does not – implying that it worked in Norway but didn’t work in Venezuela and Cuba. That is not Ben Shapiro’s point. Norway isn’t socialist. It is a capitalistic country with heavy and broad social programs whereas the other two are largely socialist. In fact, Ben Shapiro makes that point on the same program. The snippet used by Pakman is rather poor because it doesn’t actually demonstrate Shapiro’s argument at all, nor does it provide context in any meaningful way whatsoever.
The next two clips he uses to further demonstrate that Ben Shapiro is confusing socialism with democratic socialism. This isn’t the point Ben Shapiro is making. Ben Shapiro is making the point that that these societies which are capitalistic in nature with heavy social programs are succeeding as a result of capitalism and not of their social tendencies.
To be overly redundant, Pakman believes Shapiro is framing the argument in a way that is misleading to the viewer by conflating democratic socialist countries and socialist countries. Once again, this is not Ben Shapiro’s point. The point Shapiro makes is these societies are failing because of their socialist tendencies and succeeding because of their capitalist tendencies.
Now, I don’t blame Pakman for misrepresenting Shapiro because I don’t think he understood the arguments being made. In my mind, this is someone who has very limited experience with arguments but is attempting to sound as if he does. I’ll end with the final note, making comparisons between Norway and the United States is utterly ridiculous when they are very different from each other:
(1) Norway is extremely ethnically and culturally homogeneous;
(2) Norway has no defense budget or a very minuscule defense budget; largely subsidized by other countries including the United States.