ROGER KIMBALL: Big Government Benevolence: The union of abstract benevolence, which takes mankind as a whole for its object, with unbridled moralism is a toxic, misery-producing brew.

Anyone who doubts that those in charge of the operation of Providence have a sly sense of humor needs only to ponder the sweet declarations emitted by our more pampered celebrities and Democratic politicians on the subject of socialism. Consider, for example, the actor Jim Carrey, who back in 2018 told Bill Maher that “we have to say yes to socialism—to the word and everything. We have to stop apologizing.”

What a card! Were socialism to be instituted in the United States, one of the first things that would happen is that people like Jim Carrey—estimated net worth, $180 million—would be instantly pauperized. For what are the two fundamental pillars of socialism? 1) The abolition of private property and 2) the equalization of wealth. And the cherry on top of this fudge sundae is that Jim Carrey actually starred in a movie called “Dumb and Dumber,” which is about “two unintelligent but well-meaning friends from Providence, Rhode Island.” Talk about art imitating life.

Let’s leave the latest incarnation of really-existing-socialism—the country of Venezuela—to one side. That is a laboratory demonstration of what happens when you take a prosperous country and rigorously impose socialist policies on it. The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was partly right when he said that the Venezuela of Hugo Chavez showed that there was “another way” of doing politics and “it’s called socialism.”

Corbyn forgot to add: that way leads to universal immiseration and societal collapse, which is exactly what is happening in the once-rich country of Venezuela now.

The immiseration isn’t quite universal. The folks at the top do very well indeed. Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich.