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That the victory of Greece’s Syriza party in last Sunday’s referendum has fizzled quickly into dust will have surprised no-one. You cannot, after all, magic a debt away by refusing to pay it. Or at least you can’t do so and expect to retain the good favour of the creditor.

The nation of Greece is completely at the mercy of the German government. This was never inevitable. Rather it is the sad product of Greece’s over-reliance on state (public sector) employment and the financial incontinence of its state purse. Socialism, in other words.

And has socialism ever resulted in anything but slavery? No, not really. While socialist experiments might appear to work in the short-term in very rich nations like those of Scandinavia, the money eventually runs out and the citizenry ultimately sacrifice their financial liberties to replenish it.

Socialism leads directly to slavery. As the Austrian economist Von Hayek in his magisterial work ‘The Road to Serfdom’ put it: “The effect of the people’s agreeing that there must be central planning, without agreeing on the ends, will be rather as if a group of people were to commit themselves to take a journey together without agreeing where they want to go; with the result that they may all have to make a journey which most of them do not want at all.”

The problems with socialism are the same as with fascism. Both systems of government tie the population to a single mast, restricting dissent and innovation. Both forbid or make difficult the individuality so important to economic creativity. Socialism depresses the nervous system of a country, much in the same way as social security checks suppress the ambitions of the individual dependent on them.

And knowing this makes it all the more worrying that in America, a nation defined by its intolerance of socialistic ideas, Democrat voters are currently lionising the self-confessedly socialist candidate Bernie Sanders.

Given his airy populism, Mr Sanders is beloved by all the familiar faces – Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Michael Moore etc… – and will no doubt go into the nomination process having been heavily publicised on the liberal media circuit. Prepare yourselves for memes, modified ‘Hope’ posters, viral videos, celebrity endorsements and dumb references to the dumb concept of the ‘99%’.

As to who is preferable – Sanders or Hilary Clinton – this is like being asked to choose between hanging or the guillotine, the cyanide capsule or Romeo’s dagger.

Let there be no confusion, a socialist America would be a major turning point in world history; a tragic and lamentable collapse. The last bastion of resistance will have fallen, and the cause of liberty set back a hundred years.

For the sake of the world, America must retain its grit, its renegade spirit of self-reliance, freedom and personal responsibility. There must never, ever be a red flag over the White House.

A red flag can so easily transform into a white flag, and a white flag into a black one.