Garry Kasparov published a piece in the Daily Beast on Thursday in which he offered a follow-up to his Facebook status criticizing the socialism supported by Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that went viral last week.
Kasparov, a Russian chess grandmaster and chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation, garnered widespread social media attention after he published a Facebook post March 1 in which he stated that he was “enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means!”
“Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there,” he wrote in a Facebook post that went viral. “In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty. Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism.”
“Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely,” he added. “But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.”
The Soviet Union had been dissolved for seven years by the time the youngest voters in this year’s U.S. presidential election were born. Many Americans — particularly younger ones — no longer associate the word “socialism” with the barren grocery aisles, rampant corruption and concrete walls separating East from West. For them, “Democratic socialism” is the 2016 version of “hope and change.”