Halvorssen Warns Against Socialism

Thor Halvorssen is the president and founder of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), which is a nonprofit nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights around the globe. HRF states that its mission is to preserve freedom internationally. As the president of HRF, Halvorssen was consulted on his views on socialist policies and their potential impact on human rights. This issue has come up in the context of the presidential race and especially through the policies being promoted by Democratic Party candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. Although Halvorssen conceded that he supports Senator Sanders to be the next president, he takes issues with the potential impact of some of the socialist policies promoted by Senator Sanders.

Halvorssen explains in a recent Fox News interview that one of the biggest concerns with a socialist government is that the central government starts controlling the important resources for the country. A socialist government fixes prices at whatever level it sees fit under the guise of protecting its citizens from unequal distribution of resources and the fallout from unnecessary price increases. Halvorssen cautions that this economic policy has the potential to harm the people it is probably intended to protect. When the government controls the prices and distribution of resources, this can lead to shortages and essentially government looting of resources and property. At this point, there will likely be a humanitarian disaster as the people are unable to access the resources they depend on for their survival. In this respect, there are massive human rights violations that can occur as people are deprived of their basic right to survival.

Halvorssen (  would much rather see private property rights protected and the government working to preserve the freedom of its citizens rather than their ability to provide for themselves. In this regard, Halvorssen prefers to allow the free market to do its job, with government intervention when necessary. Halvorssen softens his remarks by stating that there are certainly some governments, like Sweden, Norway and Denmark, where socialist policies have been adopted without violating human rights, but countries like Venezuela show the serious consequences of an authoritarian socialist regime at work.


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