Bernie Sanders: “Socialist Surge”…or Last Gasp?

Bernie Sanders with megaphone on the streets

From 7/6/15, an article entitled, “The Socialist Surge”:

No one asked Bernie Sanders what he thought about the Greek referendum on Sunday, but he shared his thoughts anyway.

“I applaud the people of Greece for saying ‘no’ to more austerity for the poor, the children, the sick and the elderly,” Sanders said in welcoming Sunday’s vote, even as it rattled world markets and provoked predictions of economic doom. The statement didn’t just align Sanders with left-wing Europeans; it aligned him with lefter-wing Greek socialists who are too radical for some of those left-wing Europeans.

Amazing. Sanders speaks as if Greece were somehow the victim of external forces.

Who are those external forces?

Objectively speaking, Greece’s crisis is a debt crisis. Put simply, the Greek government has made way more promises to its citizens than it could ever possibly keep.

It’s easy for a government to promise unlimited security, benefits and insurance, for all eternity. It’s a lot harder to deliver. For one thing, it’s not the government or the politicians who deliver the loot; it’s the hated producers, the “rich,” along with anyone who’s productive and therefore pays taxes — these are the people footing the bill. There’s no infinite supply of producers and wealth creators to satisfy the bottomless pit of the entitlement welfare state. Which is why you eventually get Greece. There’s nothing distinctively Greek about it. It’s called economics; more fundamentally, it’s called reality. We all have to live there, no matter what Bernie Sanders or his tired old redistributionist ilk have to say about it.

When Sanders says, “How dare you impose austerity on Greece,” what he’s really saying is: There should be no limits on the welfare or entitlement state. That’s what he’s hoping for America. And — to the amazement of the article’s authors — tens of thousands of Americans are cheering him on.

But if you think about it, the policies of the United States today are more consistent with socialism than with capitalism. This has been particularly true since Obama; but Obama merely rode a wave that had been building since at least the New Deal. Social Security, Medicare, agricultural subsidies, unemployment insurance, SSI, Medicaid, even corporate subsidies — these are all the policies of interventionist governments, i.e. socialist governments.

Socialism means, quite literally, public ownership of the means of production. By that definition, most Americans, even today, are possibly not socialist. But what most Americans still seem unable, or unwilling, to understand is: You can’t have more and more government programs without government eventually owning more and more of the economy. You can’t have it both ways.

As for “austerity”: The dictionary definition of “austerity” that I found is “sternness or severity of manner or attitude.” Politically, in Greece and elsewhere, the term is now equated with sternness or severity in cutting budget deficits, or slowing the growth of government increases in social welfare and entitlement spending.

The word “austerity” is basically considered equivalent to meanness. In other words: “It’s mean to suggest that the poor must suffer. Either you keep expanding social welfare programs, or you’re mean.”

But all of these programs involve the forcible transfer of wealth from some to others. Isn’t that mean? What about forcing people to participate in government charity programs, losing discretion over 10 or 30 or 50 percent of their income? Isn’t that mean? What about fostering dependence and making health insurance, and other forms of insurance, subject to government monopoly, rather than the freedom and rationality only a free marketplace can offer? Isn’t that mean?

Imagine that you gave money to a friend, family member or stranger, to help him out (temporarily) with some sort of crisis. Imagine if that person blew the money (you’re not sure on what), and then asked for more. And then more. At a certain point, the person started not just asking for more, but demanding more. He tells you, “You’re rich, and you don’t need it.” Maybe you used to be rich, but now you’re taking out second mortgages and getting in to all kinds of debt in order to “help” out this person.

That’s the state of the welfare programs in Europe. Greece is leading the way, because it has been even less willing, for whatever reasons, to practice any form of “austerity” than other nations. America, whose spending on Social Security, Medicare along with Obama’s whole new set of programs, remains unchecked. (Republican leaders are, for the most part, worse than worthless; they’re liars.)

Back in the Reagan era, people fought over whether the rate of increase in government programs should be trimmed or not. Either way, those programs were going to grow. Nowadays, it’s assumed that there will always be more spending and more debt. New programs are proposed and likely to pass all the time — free college, free medical care, free everything. Like I said, promises are easy to make. Keeping them depends on the productive and the rational — not the people in Congress voting for them.

We’re headed into exactly the same territory as Greece. The only difference? When and if America gets there (we will, on our current course), there will be no America in the background to directly or indirectly bail us out. Now that will be a true calamity, not just for America, but for the whole world.

Bernie Sanders is making more explicit what his comrades Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are perhaps too insincere or shy to say: “Everybody has a right to the public wealth. It’s all yours, because I say so. How dare you suggest that anyone should have to cut back?” What a complete, moronic idiot. The almost funny thing? He — and his supporters — think he’s original, “progressive” and different.

When you pool everyone’s money, you take away the incentive, pride and feeling of ownership that comes with being allowed to keep what you earn. These are the qualities that Bernie Sanders openly condemns, with unflinching hostility. Yet he’s counting on these qualities of incentive, self-determination, self-interested pride and ownership (legal and psychological) in order to produce the wealth so that he may spread it around. Make no mistake about it. Bernie Sanders, like other socialists, loves loot. He just wants it to be created by some, for the sake of others. And he’d like to be in charge of spreading it around.

Friedrich Hayek (an economist) called socialism a “fatal conceit.” Exactly right. Socialists like Sanders are counting on the very qualities of capitalism they seek to destroy. In practice, this can only mean we will all go down … but at least we’ll go down together, right?

The only answer to stop Sanders in his tracks? It’s not your money, Senator Sanders. It belongs to those who earned it. I don’t care if it’s a penny, or a trillion dollars. It’s not your money. You’re fully entitled to orchestrate and lead a charity movement, and to use your influence, if you wish, to encourage people to voluntarily part with their money and property. But you have no right to force them.

This has never stopped a socialist, and it will not stop Sanders, either. Force and coercion are what they’re all about. But in the end, it always backfires in practice. Why? Because when you do something morally wrong, it never can work out in practice.

We saw that with Soviet Russia, whose socialist collectivism simply collapsed in to a fascist dictatorship. We’re now seeing it with Greece, only the first domino to fall in the Western European decades-long attempts to impose their own form of socialism.

To paraphrase Great Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, the socialists have finally run out of other people’s money. And moralistic screams to the contrary — such as Bernie Sanders’ rants against “austerity” — will never alter facts.

Socialist surge? Don’t flatter them. None of this is new. Western European countries, and even the United States, have been attempting to impose socialism for decades. The “surge” you’re seeing may be the last gasp of a desperately ill-informed and delusional part of the electorate who thinks economic wealth can be created at gunpoint and redistributed through the ugly spectacle of politics.

Bernie Sanders is right about one thing only: Sooner or later, it’s either capitalism or socialism. You have to choose.

Socialism may be winning a lot of elections these days. But can majority self-delusion trump reality? Not a chance.



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