Did you know that in present-day America, there exist many, many isolated pockets of Utopia?
These are places wherein healthcare is 100 percent free.
Where housing is fully provided by money that pours freely in.
And food as well is provided.
In these Utopias, everyone has access to education, and education, too, is 100 percent free.
There is no such thing here as bourgeois property — also known as private property.
Property is instead shared and held in trust by a benevolent bureaucracy which oversees everything, and which grants more money to these places than to any other single place in the United States.
Do you know these Utopian pockets I’m referring to?
Informally, they’re called Indian Country. Formally they’re known as Native American Indian Reservations.
Here the leading cause of death among young men is suicide.
These Utopias also have the highest rate of poverty among ANY racial group in the country – more than twice the national average — and are often environmentally dirty and unsanitary, all of which is quite strange, when you think about it, considering their Utopian nature and the sheer amounts of money they receive.
They also have the highest unemployment rates in the country, and perhaps there is a clue there:
In 2016, the last year for which the census data is available, the average household income on reservations was approximately 70 percent below the national average of $57,617. Just over 20 percent of those households earned less than $5,000 a year. More the 25 percent of the reservation populations live below the official poverty level, compared with 13 percent of the United States as a whole.
This, reader, is socialism.
Quoting history professor Dr. Andrei Znamenski:
In the 1990s, I had a chance to travel through several reservations. Each time when I crossed their borders I was stunned by the contrast between the human landscapes outside and those within Indian reservations. As soon as I found myself within a reservation, I frequently had a taste of a world that, in appearance, reminded me of the countryside in Russia, my former homeland: the same bumpy and poorly maintained roads, worn-out shacks, rotting fences, furniture, and car carcasses, the same grim suspicious looks directed at an intruder, and frequently intoxicated individuals hanging around. So I guess my assessment of the reservation system will be a biased view from a former Soviet citizen who feels that he enters his past when crossing into Native America.
I am going to make a brief excursion into the intellectual sources of this “socialist archipelago.” Since the 1960s, the whole theme of Native America had been hijacked by Marxist scholarship and by so-called identity studies, which shaped a mainstream perception that you should treat Native Americans not as individuals but as a collection of cultural groups, eternal victims of capitalist oppression. I want to challenge this view and address this topic from a standpoint of methodological individualism. In my view, the enduring poverty on reservations is an effect of the “heavy blanket” of collectivism and state paternalism. Endorsed by the federal government in the 1930s, collectivism and state paternalism were eventually internalized by both local Native American elites and by federal bureaucrats who administer the Indians. The historical outcome of this situation was the emergence of “culture of poverty” that looks down on individual enterprise and private property. Moreover, such an attitude is frequently glorified as some ancient Indian wisdom — a life-style that is morally superior to the so-called Euro-American tradition.
Before we proceed, I will give you some statistics. Native Americans receive more federal subsides than anybody else in the United States. This includes subsidized housing, health, education, and direct food aid. Yet, despite the uninterrupted flow of federal funds, they are the poorest group in the country. The poverty level on many reservations ranges between 38 and 63 percent (up to 82 percent on some reservations),4 and half of all the jobs are usually in the public sector.5 This is before the crisis of 2008! You don’t have to have a Ph.D. in economics to figure out that one of the major sources of this situation is a systemic failure of the federal Indian policies.
These policies were set in motion during the New Deal by John Collier, a Columbia-educated social worker, community organizer, and utopian dreamer who was in charge of the Native American administration during FDR’s entire administration. English Fabian socialism, the anarchism of Peter Kropotkin, communal village reforms conducted by the Mexican socialist government, and the romantic vision of Indian cultures were the chief sources of his intellectual inspiration. Collier dreamed about building up what he called Red Atlantis, an idyllic Native American commonwealth that would bring together modernization and tribal collectivism. He expected that this experiment in collective living would not only benefit the Native Americans but would also become a social laboratory for the rest of the world. The backbone of his experiment was setting up so-called tribal governments on reservations, which received the status of public corporations. Collier envisioned them as Indian autonomies that would distribute funds, sponsor public works, and set up cooperatives. In reality, financed by the BIA, these local governments began to act as local extensions of its bureaucracy.
If you believe — and I mean even vaguely, because politics isn’t really your bag, and you don’t particularly like thinking about boring economics (and I’m with you, I truly am) — if you believe even vaguely in “free” healthcare and education for all and other things of this nature, or if you believe bureaucracy is okay and probably good for health, safety, the environment, and so on, I vehemently urge you to spend a little time traveling through Indian Country: “Socialist Archipelagos,” as Dr. Znamenski termed them, and what I call pockets of American Utopia.