“Democratic Socialism” and the Destruction of Liberty
By: Allan Wallace
When I was young, if anyone dared to ask my Father where he was going, he would answer, “Crazy, you want to go with me?” As I look at this presidential political season so far, I wonder if I am going crazy or if there is simply an abundance of Crazy this time around.
From “The Donald” Trump’s aggressive, alienating , self-aggrandizing bravado, to Hillary R. Clinton’s attitude that she is entitled to skirt the raw edges of the law without question or challenge, to Dr. Ben Carson’s sleepy irrationality in certain areas of science, and Bernie Sanders with his proud “Democratic Socialism.” They all seem to live in a dream-world of their own creation. And, all seem to be shocked and/or annoyed whenever someone fails to bow to their intellectual superiority. If I tried to address all the crazy in the 2016 elections, it would be overwhelming. so I will focus on
the “Democratic Socialism” of Bernie Sanders.
Socialism and the Slow, “Progressive” March Away from Liberty
Socialism according to Mirriam-Webster is “a way of organizing a society in which major industries and the means of production and distribution of goods are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies,” and it is also described as “a transitional stage between capitalism and communism.” So with its various flavors, socialism is not a single goal or utopian way of living, but is a range of progressively intrusive stages between capitalism and communism. While it could be argued that there are no such thing as flavors, only socialism being what it is, I will assume that the Democratic socialism of Sanders is a real thing and not just a device to sell socialism to the citizens of the U.S.
With government ownership of the means of production and distribution, there can be no profit motive. (I can hear my liberal friends screaming, “Yeaaa!”) But without the profit motive, innovation and work ethics suffer dramatically; production and quality drops as workers realize that working harder does not get them any reward, and new things are never produced because the system resists change of any kind. Without the motive power of being able to improve your own lot in life, all stages of socialism start or advance a vicious cycle of negative consequences that are cumulative over time.
Without personal ownership or having some other personal stake in your work, human dignity suffers, depression and malaise sets in, and addictive behaviors increase. Once people living under this kind of government understand the futility of striving for something better, people do only what they absolutely must do to get by. Socialism’s stated ideals are always high and noble, but every time it has been tried on a large scale, it always destroys all real incentive to strive toward something better, and it actually works against the realization of its own ideals.
Does the U.S. still have a Capitalist Economy?
One thing that needs to be established is that we in the U.S. no longer have an economic system that in reality can be called Free Market Capitalism. It was the system that naturally developed in the US, the freest population in recorded history. But the freedom of our system has been systematically degraded, our markets have been consistently more regulated and controlled through time, as has been the ability to work hard and accumulate wealth (capital) based on inflation-resistant hard money (gold, for example) and a currency the value of which has been eroded as the central bank, “The Fed” plays politics with our money.
Individual liberty in this country has also been consistently eroded by an ever growing and ever more intrusive system of government. We have been led down that path by socialists like F.D.R., Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders, and by their symbiotic relationship between republicans who trade intrusions with democrats. As they trade control of government, back and forth, failing to rescind the excesses of the other when in power, continue enacting intrusions of their own. In this see-saw manner,
step by step, they both take us ever farther away from our roots in liberty.
The U.S is now in a condition that is no longer
Free Market Capitalism, nor is it yet quite Socialism. The best term I
have heard to describe our economy is
Cronyism because politics are no longer driven by Free Market
forces but by the unholy and crony relationships between big business
and big government.
Democratic Socialism: shared poverty and oppression
From a speech by Bernie Sanders on “Democratic Socialism” as reported 11/19/15 by CNN Politics online: “Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy,“ Sanders said, according to prepared remarks provided before his speech at Georgetown University. “Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt.”
I agree with Sanders that our political and economic systems are largely corrupt these days. But fairness is an elusive concept that is wholly subjective. Two people can be on opposite sides of a dispute, both looking at the same set of data, and both having a valid claim that the situation is unfair to them.
Beside of the fact that Sanders has little or no acquaintance with real world economics, he completely ignores the fact that he and those like him are the ones that caused our systems to be grossly unfair and corrupt. He obviously believes that even more of a bad thing will fix the unintended consequences of their own policies.
We all need to remember that each and every time any kind of Socialism has been tried on a large scale (like Soviet Russia) it has failed miserably to even live up to its most modest goals. This is true in part because socialism is a transitional state with an inherent compulsion to move toward communism, it either must become communism or it must fail as it strives to get there. The attractiveness and high ideals of Socialism is the lure, the “gateway drug” if you will, to get more people onboard with a system bound for more oppressive stages of government; and as such, it has always resulted in equally shared poverty and oppression, except for those in power; and Socialism eventually brings down the government that embraces it.
Bernie Sanders embracing “democratic socialism” as something good and desirable is the same as if Donald Trump embraced “republican fascism.” By making such a claim, they prove their craziness and the fact that they are traitors to our foundation in Liberty.