Bono Admits Capitalism Is Better
After a lifetime of activism, the lead singer for rock band U2 finally sees the truth about poverty.
Socialism has long been leftists’ utopian vision for bringing about a more just world. In their naively idealistic minds, socialism will bring greater flourishing and fulfillment to all humanity as the problems associated with poverty and the evils associated with wealth are eliminated. It projects a view of a perfected society in which everyone lives without the burdens associated with physical needs and wants, and people are therefore free to spend their energy creating expressions of service and recreation. In short, the Left believes that socialism is the means to creating heaven on earth. The great irony is that socialism has never even come close to living up to its promises and instead almost always results in producing more social hell.
Yet despite all the evidence to the contrary, socialism in varying degrees is promoted by the elites as the most virtuous and ethical political position. Hollywood and pop culture generally are rife with this attitude, as are the halls of higher education. Whether or not adherents truly believe it, thanks to this era of woke cancel culture, those who dare to step outside the Left’s preferred views are targeted for cancellation.
Given this reality, it’s a big deal when one of the world’s leading rock and roll celebrities with a long record of humanitarian activism comes out admitting that capitalism has done what socialism never could. In a recent New York Times interview, Bono, lead singer of the band U2, expressed his change of mind regarding the vacuous “virtues” of socialism.
“I ended up as an activist in a very different place from where I started,” Bono said. “I thought that if we just redistributed resources, then we could solve every problem. I now know that’s not true.” He added, “There’s a funny moment when you realize that as an activist: The off-ramp out of extreme poverty is, ugh, commerce, it’s entrepreneurial capitalism.”
The “ugh” had to be a nod to how difficult this was for him and others to admit.
Bono further noted how, especially in developing countries, it has been capitalism and the global market developed from it — not do-gooder socialism — that has been responsible for lifting countless people out of poverty over the last 200 years. “I didn’t grow up to like the idea that we’ve made heroes out of businesspeople,” Bono added, “but if you’re bringing jobs to a community and treating people well, then you are a hero. That’s where I’ve ended up.”
It’s unfortunate that it took Bono so long to come around to the truth, but it’s good that he’s finally embraced it. As we have noted many times before, the biggest problem with socialism is the fact that it’s so wrong about the human condition and that which motivates individuals. In a corrupt and fallen world, the world in which we all live, people will be motivated foremost by self-interest. Projecting an idealized view of humanity through the lens of a socialist system does not change this fundamental fact about the state of humanity. Ironically, socialism has bred more envy and resentment of successful individuals than capitalism ever has.
Capitalism, as Bono notes, actually provides a real and practical system by which individuals can elevate themselves beyond their beginnings, especially when it comes to poverty. Capitalism offers people future hope, grounded in their own willingness to succeed, whereas socialism robs this instinctive motivation from people and replaces it with a victimization ethos that only breeds anger, jealousy, and resentment.
Finally, socialism eschews the individual as insignificant and therefore unimportant in favor of a broad-brushed societal vision where only the “big” problems matter. In a socialist world, only one-size-fits-all “solutions” are acceptable, and all individuals are expected to embrace them without question. Any objection is viewed as a threat to the collective “good,” and the individual is crushed in an effort to “protect” society. All this produces is societal hellholes like North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela.
As for Bono, maybe he finally has found what he’s looking for … in capitalism.
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