By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) In 2016, when Sen. Bernie Sanders ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, he was seldom asked about his proclivity for socialist and communist authoritarian economic models.
It could be due to the fact that the Democrat-allied media always knew the fix was in for Hillary Clinton to win the nod. But this time around, after Sanders leapt out in front of a pack of mostly unknown, unimpressive challengers and for a time it really looked like this political grifter could actually capture the nomination, the same media honed in on Sanders’ socialist and communist past like never before.
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It’s not as though theÂ real Democratic Party establishment isn’t every bit as into socialism and authoritarianism as Sanders is; they just don’t want to be so open about it (because it still doesn’t poll well) and Sanders, as the DemocraticÂ nominee, would become the new openly socialist face of the party.
Can’t have that. So the knives came out and now Bernie’s behind former VP Joe Biden, a mental invalid the party bosses are callously using as a figurehead, hoping he can limp into the White House so other ‘unseen’ forces — or a Vice President Hillary — can actually run things.
In any event, Sanders was pretty handily trounced during Tuesday’s primaries, putting the White House now further out of reach. But because he really does reflect who and what the Democratic Party is (Bernie didn’t choose the GOP or the Libertarian Party to mount a campaign, in 2016 or this year), it’s important to continue focusing on his economic and political philosophies.
During a Fox News-sponsored town hall event on Monday, Sanders was asked by a Russian immigrant and University of Michigan student to assure her thatÂ his brand of â€œdemocratic socialismâ€ wouldn’t result in the same kind of economic destruction and authoritarianism that socialism has always caused.
As David Harsanyi of National Review notes, BernieÂ gave a try, and unfortunately, he was unchallenged in is response. But nearly every syllable of it was intellectually and factually dishonest.
â€œWhat happened and existed in the Soviet Union was not socialism. It was authoritarian Communism,â€ Bernie replied, inducing a bunch of his historically illiterate fans to applaud.
â€œAnd Communism,â€ Bernie goes on, â€œwhether in Cuba, whether in the Soviet Union or whether in other countries was marked by totalitarianism, was marked by throwing millions of people into the Gulag.â€
Yes, of course there have been varied degrees of socialism, Harsanyi writes, adding that Israel tried it early on and it “merely kept many people poor, while Russia’s socialism kept many people starving. Neither worked.”
When asked to explain their understanding of the term “socialism,” 17% of Americans define it as government ownership of the means of production, half the numberÂ who defined it this way in 1949Â when Gallup first asked about Americans’ views of the term. Americans today are most likely to define socialism as connoting equality for everyone, while others understand the term as meaning the provision of benefits and social services, a modified form of communism, or a conception of socialism as people being social and getting along with one another.Â
The misunderstanding of socialism today — mostly by American youth — is purposeful. Socialists like Sanders and his co-hort, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the latter of whom actually has a degree inÂ economics, have changed the meaning of what the model actually advocates in order to make it more palatable (i.e. acceptable) to people who really have no understanding of socialism’s true historical meaning.
It is full ownership of all means of production. It’s also the revocation of private property rights and other liberties currently enjoyed under our Constitution and its promotion of the capitalist economic model.
Merriam-Webster’s definition of socialism is much more accurate: “[A]ny of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.”
Translation: Not only does the governmentÂ own the means of production, it also reserves to itself the ‘right’ to confiscate and distribute the fruits of said production to whomever it chooses — kind of like what Democrats doÂ nowÂ and would do on a national level if they ever grabbed complete power. And think for a moment: Which groups would be ‘cared for’ and which groups (think conservatives, Trump supporters, the God-fearing traditionalists, etc.) would be, um, ‘persecuted?’
Bernie, the lifelong student of socialism and communism, knows all of this. But he obviously can’t tell Americans these truths because he’d be rejected out of hand.
…[L]eftists like Bernie like to act as if socialist ideology is incompatible with totalitarianism, when the opposite is true. The nationalization of industry and dispensing with property rights â€” necessary for any genuine socialism to occur â€” canâ€™t be instituted without coercion and a centralized authoritarian effort. And even if the effort to redistribute property is first supported by the majority, as soon the state comes for your stuff â€” and it always does â€” the â€œdemocraticâ€ part of the equation starts to dissipate. …
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So I donâ€™t understand why anyone lets Bernie get away with describing the market economy of Denmark as â€œsocialistâ€ but places like the Soviet Union â€”Â Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to be more exact â€” as not real socialism. Socialists think they can take credit for a â€œliteracy programâ€ but ignore Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, Castroism, Baathism, Chavezism, the Khmer Rouge, etc. No one else gets to disregard the massive â€” sometimes genocidal â€” failures of their ideology by arguing that, actually, it had never been instituted correctly. Â No one should.
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