When classical liberalism gained momentum in the late 18th century, it sowed the seeds for the industrial revolution of the 19th century. Progressives continue to descry the period because it represents the growth of big business. Few of them recognize, or are willing to admit, that the poor grew into a middle class, benefiting from the products and services made available by efficiencies of industrialization. Instead they focus on what they term a lack of equality. In response, Lord Acton had this to say:
“The finest opportunity ever given to the world was thrown away because the passion for equality made vain the hope for freedom.”
Despite the obstacle of progressivism, people around the world have risen from poverty. The wars and communist experiments of the middle of the 20th century provide stark contrast to the benefits of voluntary exchange and the division of labor. Despite this, a significant portion of millennials believe that socialism and communism are not just viable but preferable to capitalism. While they espouse this position, they surf the web on their smart phones, laptops, and tablets, connect with their friends using GPS and Uber, as well as enjoy the greatest variety of organic, vegan, and locally grown foods, none of which would have been available in a centrally planned, socialist world where equality dictates needs over desires.