The Ridiculous Outrage over Monopoly: Socialism
It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t mock the world’s most murderous political ideology without being attacked as a “hate-filled” fear monger, as the board game company Hasbro recently learned. In 2018, they released “Monopoly: Socialism,” a parody version of its popular game sporting the motto “winning is for capitalists.” The game is a tongue-in-cheek takedown of socialism that forces players to steal from a community fund and contribute “to projects such as a no-tip vegan restaurant, an all-winners school, or a museum of co-creation.”
In a normal world, people would laugh at the joke and move on, but sadly, we don’t live in a normal world. Though the game came out last year, news about it recently “surfaced,” which in this case means that one very bored university professor decided to manufacture outrage out of whole cloth.
Dr. Nick Kapur, assistant professor of history at Rutgers University, recently went viral after a Twitter rant. Kapur believes the game is “mean-spirited and woefully ill-informed,” and criticizes the game for saying that “Socialism is bad, it makes you poor, you gotta give your money away constantly.”
Anybody who thinks that socialism doesn’t “make you poor” or force you to “give your money away constantly” should probably not be teaching history to anyone, much less university students. You don’t need to have an advanced degree in history to know that socialism makes people dirt poor, like in the Soviet Union, where grinding poverty was endemic, or in Cuba today, where highly trained professionals are forced to serve as taxi drivers and waiters to make ends meet, or in Venezuela, where the average citizen lost over 24 pounds due to government mismanagement of the economy.
Socialism doesn’t only impoverish people, it also leads to the direct slaughter of entire populations. Socialist regimes have murdered over 100 million people, and have enslaved millions more, yet many today are under the delusion that socialism and communism are really two different things. “Communism” makes them think of Stalinism and Siberian labor camps, “socialism” makes them think of high pensions and “free” healthcare.
But there is no difference between these terms. Karl Marx used “communism” and “socialism” interchangeably, and there’s a reason why the main communist power in the past century called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Socialism doesn’t entail cozy living in the Nordic countries (which are instead large welfare states with capitalist economies); it leads to the Gulag archipelago, the Cambodian killing fields, and the Chinese Great Famine.
You don’t need to stretch your imagination to realize what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot. For example: when Wolfenstein: The New Order, a video game about fighting fascists in a Nazi-occupied America, came out in 2017, virtually no one had a problem with the game.
But where outrage doesn’t exist, it becomes necessary to invent it, at least according to The Guardian, Newsweek, GQ, and several other media outlets. A few users on YouTube and Twitter commented that Wolfenstein was “anti-Nazi” propaganda; next thing you know, these outlets were hyperventilating that Nazism is on the rise, that white supremacists rule society, and that Trump is to blame (of course). The Guardian saw the outrage of a few online users as emblematic of a larger “rise of white grievance across the world.”
Mind you, these statements came from comment sections on YouTube and Twitter, not from assistant professors at Rutgers University or from CNN. These media outlets had to toil to find a needle in a haystack, then hold up that needle as proof of the global rise of Hitlerism. Yet no one is mocking Kapur’s hysterical defense of socialism, aside from a few conservative leaning outlets. The fact that Hasbro’s mockery of socialism drew any outrage at all is an outrage in and of itself.