Now that we have a sense of who Sanders is by assessing his background, let’s look at what he proposes as a solution- Socialism.
Now, personally, I find it interesting that all of these young people who fawn over Sanders and look to him as their savior fumble around with electronic devices day and night to communicate with their world, so whole heartedly accept his Socialist proposals which condemn “capitalism”.
First of all, who do they think created all of those devices? Do they suppose they arose out of the mind of a socialist?
Hardly, the fact is, entrepreneurial capitalists created all of them. In fact, capitalism created everything they rely upon today for their convenience and well….existence.
What Does Socialism Contribute?
If all these Sanders supporters (Bernites) are going to support a candidate who calls himself a socialist, we should take a look at what Socialism has actually contributed to humanity?
If you look at nations based on socialism as the Chinese, North Korean, Russian and Cuban society’s are (as noted in their Constitutions), their track record for civil rights as well as innovation is not very attractive. All of these society’s have deeply stratified gaps between the wealthy and the poorer working classes with few in between as Marxism predicts. Civil rights are stringently controlled by the State and sparse for the most part while being violently enforced when you attempt to oppose the State. Innovation and invention are nearly absent.
In fact, without billions of dollars of aid from the West Soviet Marxism would have experienced an economic collapse much sooner. China has been given through U.S. Corporate transfers most of its manufacturing capacities from the United States as was Russia.
In truth, the Socialist model of government has never contributed anything of note innovative or invented anything of consequence. No, in fact if we are to intellectually honest, all Socialists seem to contribute is complaints. As far as innovation and invention goes, Socialists let the capitalists do all that stuff.
Like Bernie’s fruitless attempts at business, Socialists contribute nothing to the technological advancement of society. They simply claim that society can’t work unless they are in charge. Then they sweep in and arrogantly claim they know better than the market on how the wealth created by capitalists should be distributed, as long as they are in charge of the distribution.
So, in reality, the main contribution of Socialists is to complain about inequality and the claim that they have the idyllic answers to all of society’s ills. As Bastiat points out in his book The Law, Socialists practice legalized plunder. That is, they feel entitled to the wealth produced by others which they believe they best know how to divvy up. Or as Marx and Engels put it, from each according to his ability to each according to his needs. Don’t look too closely Bernites but that’s called Communism.
Free Market Capitalism– A Bane or Boon?
John Mackey, founder of the successful Whole Foods chain, didn’t start out as a free market capitalist. He was a member of a co-op and did not like the way it was run. He thought he could do better and decided to open Safer Way, a health food store in Austin, Texas, to sell healthy food to people, earn a decent living and have fun doing both.
At the time he was a vegetarian who described himself as having a “progressive political philosophy” which believed that both business and capitalism were fundamentally based on greed, selfishness and exploitation. (Sound like a familiar refrain Bernites?)
Well, along the way he came to realize that what he thought about business and capitalism was all wrong. As he puts it, “becoming an entrepreneur and starting a business completely changed my life. Almost everything I had believed about business was proven to be wrong.” Funny how reality tends to wake us up to our self-deceptions sometimes isn’t it?
He cites economist Deirdre McCloskey (author of Bourgeoisie Dignity) as arguing that
Their inventions have changed the world- cars, phones, gasoline, computers, antibiotics even the massive spread of the internet have all not been the result of government decree but “required massive amounts of innovation. Human creativity, partly individual but mostly collaborative and cumulative, is at the root of all economic progress.”
Mackey goes on to cite how the growth of free market capitalism completely revolutionized living standards for those nations who embraced it.
Just 200 years ago, 85% of humanity lived in extreme poverty (less than $1 a day). Now, it is only 16%.
In modern times, South Korea’s GDP has grown 260 fold since 1960.
How about its Northern neighbor under the tyranny of Communist Socialism? Of the two nations the South is a free market oriented economy and the North is based on Marxist socialism. Which one would you rather live in?
There is more of course which you can discover by picking up a copy of Mackey’s book Conscious Capitalism. The bottom line is that socialism is not responsible for the material progress of humanity, free market capitalism is.
The fact is, Marxist socialism has caused far more damage to humanity than any other form of government. Look at the freedoms in nations like North Korea, China, Russia and Cuba. As noted previously, their track record of civil liberty is far from stellar. The masses in those nations live pretty much hand to mouth while those at the top live with massive excess.
China is Red- What About Them?
What about socialist nations like China? Where do you think they got their manufacturing equipment and systems from? Who is their biggest product consumer? In reality, before the West stepped in, Mao had starved more than 35 million of his own people to death under the failed socialist agricultural ideas of the 5 year planned economy Great Leap forward beginning in 1958. Took less than 5 years too. Not exactly a badge of honor for the planned economy socialist movement to say the least.
China is known for its slave labor which is highlighted in this documentary:
As noted in the Chinese Constitution:
Chapter I General Principles
Article 1 The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants.
The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. Disruption of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.
We learn a few basic facts in those initial principles:
- China is a socialist system.
- Hooked together with a democratic dictatorship
- Dissent is prohibited (aka Police State)
So Bernie recommends…what was it again? Oh yes, democratic socialism. Interesting parallels of philosophy one can note with the Chinese police state of oppression.
Sanders Claims Denmark is a Socialist Success- Another Leftist Myth
Sanders would like us to model ourselves after Denmark. The problem is his romanticized version of Denmark doesn’t exist.
While speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he was aware “that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism.”
Rasmussen acknowledged that “the Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens,” but he also noted that it is “a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.”
Additionally, as Michel Kelly-Gagnon- President of the Montreal Economic Institute notes:
British journalist Michael Booth, who has lived in Scandinavia for over a decade and written a book about his experience there, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia. He says that the quality of the free education and health care Danes receive is far from great. Their PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) educational rankings are just average, they have the lowest life expectancy in the EU aside from former communist countries, and the highest rates of death from cancer in the world.
Facts About the Scandinavian Socialist Miracle
And Then There’s Taxes
On top of this and more, guess which nation has the highest marginal tax rate in the world at 60.2%? Hint: It begins with a D and ends with a K and has the letter “enmar” in between.
Michael Booth also says there is a broad consensus that the Danish welfare state remains unsustainable, despite the many reforms of recent decades. “The Danes’ dirty secret is that its public sector has been propped up by–now dwindling–oil revenues.”
Bernie’s Never Been in Business
Bernie Sanders is typical example of the socialist who condemns capitalism never having worked as a part of it.
Unlike John Mackey who reverted from being a progressive because of his involvement in starting his own entrepreneurial business, Sanders background has no business to speak of. He’s never really owned a business or even run a business successfully or for any appreciable length of time.
Around 1976, Sanders left LUP and spent about two years as an amateur historian and film-maker, attempting to sell educational film strips to schools in New England. “His main project,” says the Guardian, “was a short documentary about his hero, Eugene Debs (who was inspired by Marx’s Das Kapital while in prison of course a hero for Bernie), an early 20th-century union leader who was a six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist party.”
After that, it was all public money jobs or politics.
Not a Model Family Man Either Apparently
In 1964 he married a young woman named Deborah Sanders; the marriage only lasted two years ending in divorce.
Over the next few years, Sanders worked variously as a psychiatric-hospital aide and a Head Start preschool teacher in New York; as a Department of Taxes employee in Vermont; and as a staffer for a nonprofit organization called the Bread and Law Task Force, where he registered people for food stamps.
In 1969 he fathered a child out-of-wedlock. Levi Noah Sanders had a mother named Susan Campbell Mott, according to his birth certificate. His resume for the Burlington Mayoral campaign simply read: Divorced, one child
So What Does Bernie Really Bring to the Table?
So, what actual expertise does Bernie actually bring to the bear? Certainly, not his success as a family man, nor a businessman.
All he really has to offer are the tired, idyllic, tyranny producing ideas of Karl Marx repackaged as Progressive or Democratic Socialism. (Democracy according to the Communist Manifesto is the first step to Communism btw.)
What Do Socialists Offer Anyway?
Socialism needs the very thing they blame for all the problems in the world- free market capitalism.
What new invention has been credited to a socialist? In reality, socialists produce nothing. Capitalism is the producer. Socialism is nothing more than a re-distributor.
What socialist actually do is take the products of labor others have produced and assume they know better than anyone else (including God) where it should be directed.
They don’t produce. They take the efforts of others and redistribute them. (Remember- From each according to his abilities….yada, yada, yada)
They appeal to a basic human flaw- getting the greatest benefit from the least amount of effort, aka being lazy. That sounds very appealing when you are struggling to make a living or to survive.
Then, socialists promote themselves by endorsing the theft of someone else’s labor and efforts. “We’re going to get all those exploitative, greedy capitalists. This is unfair and unequal.” they cry. However, as Frederic Bastiat put it in his book the Law, their solution does nothing more than perform immoral legalized plunder.
Young people are fooled by the labels and subsequent promises. They think they are being forward thinking. However, they ignore a Leviathan government gone wild which has distorted a free market with huge regulatory control and interference while producing massive debt with a welfare/warfare state- funded by taxes and Federal Reserve Notes. Politicians like Bernie and Obama (both socialist oriented) are happy to blame it all on “greedy rich capitalists”. After all, it gets them off the hook and keeps them in office. Parasitic politicians thrive off of this misdirection.
Nevertheless, if you take an objective look at the results in nations based on socialism ideas such as Russia, Red China, North Korea, Cuba, even Chavez’s Venezuela. In every case, redirecting the products of capitalism, all of these systems have ultimately only produced poverty and tyranny for the majority.
Misleading the Public- Blaming Capitalism
Bernie, like all good Marxists, rails against capitalism and the wealthy. He blames greed and wealth for all of our societies ills. He never mentions that capitalism is an economic system and socialism is a political system. Comparing the two is like comparing humans to trees. They are completely different entities operating under completely different laws.
Capitalism is subject to the laws of economics and wealth. It manages the flow of products and money. It is simply a cooperative means of producing wealth. Capitalism used accurately produces wealth and products which people desire. Capitalism is nothing more than the cooperative use of the means of production to meet needs people have for useful products (real wealth) or services.
Socialism on the other hand is a political animal. It is subject to political laws. It administrates services to the people who are participants in it, either by choice but oftentimes by force.
Socialism imposes the coercive force of government on all activities of people and arrogantly and forcibly redistributes wealth produced by the economic activity of capitalism.
Blaming capitalism for the problems of wealth distribution is like blaming the wood used to construct a house for the final product. The wood is the material needed by laborers to construct the house. However, the laborers who use the wood are responsible for how that material is used and its final product.
Blaming the wood for how the house turned out is what Bernie does when he, like most brain washed (Or is that brain damaged?) Marxist socialists, blames the tools of production for how capitalism has been used.
Capitalism can exist without socialism but socialism cannot exist without capitalism.
If there were no capitalism, there would be no wealth for socialists to redistribute.
(And please don’t make a fool of yourself and fall for the mislabeling of social services such fire and police et al as socialism. They are completely different factors. Fire and police are voluntary services taxpayers agree to fund. Socialism is a coercive political system that enforces itself (like the Chinese system) without tolerance for dissent. There is nothing voluntary about it, once it is in place, as the citizens of Nazi (National Socialism) Germany discovered.
It is therefore deceptive to blame the very thing which produces all of the wealth socialists need in order to have anything to base their system upon. Unless capitalism produces wealth, there would be no need for any political system, socialist or otherwise.
Socialism Promotes an Immoral Culture of Plunder
What socialism actually does is to take the products or services produced by capitalism and re-distributes them by force.
As all rational people agree, theft is an immoral activity. “Thou shalt not steal.” as the Bible puts it. In fact, if we take someone else’s property we can be prosecuted as a criminal.
This is so because we all know that if someone works for something by trading his labor for money, they are entitled to spend or save that money as they determine. It is, after all, the product of their efforts. How they spend what they have freely earned should be their own choice in a free society.
What they purchase with that earned income becomes their property in a civilized and orderly society.
Socialism distorts the cooperative order of society. In a socialist system you don’t get to keep what you work for. The more socialist the system, the less you get to keep. In a truly socialist system, there are no private property rights. The State owns everything allegedly cooperatively with the people, but that ideal is only permitted under the approval of the State. This is because Socialists basically don’t trust human beings (nor do those in charge want to give up their piece of the pie).
In fact, it is even questionable whether they even like them because the most brutal societies have come from socialist oriented leaders who have also promoted societies of extreme violence in order to achieve their idyllic goals. Think conscienceless psychopaths like Mao Tse Tung, Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Il Jung etc.
Socialists believe themselves to be Gods or gifts to human kind. The more power they get. The more they want for as Lord Acton noted:
They feel entitled to the authority they use to take wealth from those which they determine have too much of it through legalized theft and give it to those who never did anything to earn it. They justify this by claiming they are helping society to be more fair. Fair, of course, is completely defined according to their determinations. They decide who gets what and how much of it.
Consequently, the basis of socialism is actually the immoral theft of the products of the capitalist efforts of others which has become legalized through the force and threats of punishment from authority or government. Nevertheless, even if legalized, it still does not change the immoral basis of taking income rightfully earned and giving it to another who has done nothing to earn it. It still remains theft- legalized or not.
In short, socialists are thieves promoting an immoral system of theft made legal by force. Socialism therefore as its basis promotes immorality and aggression. In the extreme of its application comes violence as socialists like Mao, Hitler, Stalin and other socialists have demonstrated.
Now, let’s see how the immoral coercion of government using socialist principles has distorted the economic system of capitalism. In understanding this, we can therefore also understand how deceptive and misleading it is to blame capitalism for the disorder and maldistribution of wealth in our society.
In fact, it is too much government which is the problem not the economic system. Remember capitalism can exist without government but government cannot exist without capitalism. Economics necessitates government to protect people’s earned private property.
Socialism is Force
Whenever you try to do good with other people’s money, you are committed to force. If people don’t volunteer their earnings, the only way you can get it from them is to use some method of force, penalty of law; police or denial of earned income before they receive it (payroll deductions for example).
In the following video, the late well respected economist Milton Friedman, discusses Socialism as force. Friedman notes: “The most harm of all is done when power is in the hands of people who are absolutely persuaded of their intentions.”
This is because as Lord Acton pointed out, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
As Friedman notes,
Tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot were all persuaded that they were right and were willing to use any method at all to install their idea of the “ultimate good”. As history witnessed, all of their intentions resulted in devastation to the people and societies that were supposed to benefit from their good. All, by the way, subscribed to some form of a socialist government.
Types of Capitalism
There are different types of capitalism which are determined largely by the political system that the products of capitalism enter.
Free Market Capitalism
Free markets produce free market capitalism whereby innovation arises spontaneously to satisfy societal needs. Technology tends to develop more rapidly when the market is allowed to develop without interference as history has demonstrated.
And yes, the innovators or sometimes the best marketers rather than the inventors, do become rich. Risk in a free market can result in failure or bankruptcy or reward. That is life in the fast lane and those who appreciate challenges in life accept the consequences of their risk- like adults.
Capitalism transforms however, when government becomes overly involved in capitalist efforts through excessive regulatory efforts, or even worse ownership. The free market transforms from a risk/reward market to an authority driven/regulated market. It becomes a controlled market where risk is not necessarily rewarded accordingly but rather how much influence you have with the regulatory bodies so that their regulations can benefit your business. A once freely operating capitalist market place becomes distorted.
Now, free market capitalism becomes what is today referred to as crony capitalism.
The door has now been opened for “back room” deals so to speak. Deception has been introduced into what should be a freely operating market of exchange under free market capitalism. (Crony means a powerful friend.)
An Example of Government Regulation
While we may have never have had a market totally free of government influence since the advent of our Constitution, markets with less regulation operate more freely. However, as regulation grows, so too does market congestion. Markets tend to stagnate under heavy regulatory burdens and artificial government stimulus. Stagnated markets and artificially stimulated markets also reflect stagnation in profits and employment. Of course, government officials always suggest more government controls once they get their hands in the pot ignoring the fact that they know little to nothing about how real markets actually work.
The media credits FDR’s New Deal with ending the depression. What they fail to report is the reality. Despite three New Deals during the decade of the 1930’s, according to the Bureau of Labor and Management figures, unemployment averaged 18.23%. Instead of declining, it rose from 14.3% in 1937 to 19% in 1938. It dropped to 4.7% in 1942 only after we entered WWII in December of 1941.
All told, FDR’s government intervention had no lasting impact on the economy. Yet politicians worship him as a hero even though his legacy social security program is one of our largest government debts today. I don’t think it is hard to figure out why.
Maybe government intervention is not all it is cracked up to be. Maybe all it really helps are politicians who use it to buy votes so they can return to their cushy, highly paid jobs.
The Take Away
What is important to understand is that crony capitalism is not free market capitalism. Crony capitalism is the marriage of government and Corporations through regulatory controls. The government is directing what should operate as a free cooperative agreement between employers/employers and producers/consumers. Government regulation imposes an artificial interference which distorts a free market of cooperative exchange creating more fascist and socialist oriented forms of government in its wake.
In our nation, we presently have a Federal Register of over 77,687 pages of regulations which forcibly directs the market under penalty of law. Businesses are forced to operated between regulations. Decisions are made based on regulatory controls to avoid penalties. The assumption of the State, of course, is that Big Brother knows what is best.
The impact of this coercive force is estimated to by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in their Ten Thousand Commandment Report of 2015 to be $1.88 Trillion for businesses and consumers or $14,000 annual impact on the average family budget in additional costs.
This regulatory interference on the free market , in fact, is what Communism, Nazism, Facism and all socialist based systems produce which they call a “planned economy”. It doesn’t work as has been demonstrated repeatedly in socialist based systems as in Russia, China (who exploits the heck out of its workers) and North Korea.
Comparisons Already Exist – Side by Side In Fact
Entrepreneurship dies out as regulations grow and a shared monopoly between business and the State takes its place.
For example, compare the systems of North Korea which is Marxist based socialism versus South Korea which is more of free market based capitalist system. South Korea’s GDP has grown 260 times the size of what it was in 1960. North Korea is basically dying on the vine.
One can also go back and compare Marxist East Germany vs. free market West Germany. Which of the two pairs nations would you rather live in?
Of course, Sanders points to the results of our system of heavily regulated crony capitalism and places the blame on the economic system rather than the political system which has become increasingly socialist with its immoral theft and redistribution of capitalist produced wealth creating a malformed capitalism simply and misleadingly lumping into all into the label of capitalism.
He ignores the impact of socialist interference in what used to be a free market and the distortions and massive debts that government interference and growth have caused.
His proposed solution is to impose even more regulatory interference and steal more wealth from producers that he arbitrarily decides have too much money. He arrogantly assumes (even though he has no real experience in the realm of business and economics) he knows what is best for all of us. He fashions himself as God who as a politician is able to determine what is best for our economy which is already collapsing under the weight of debt caused primarily by government.
The Sanders Solution
In short, the Sanders solution is more government theft of people’s earned incomes. And if the rich don’t provide enough (which they will not) then he will take more from others (the bourgeoisie or middle class) until we are all equally poor and there is no middle class- the way of Karl Marx.
Now isn’t that just like a politician? They create the problem by distorting the economic marketplace with with over regulation and debt stimulus creating an artificially stifled marketplace. Then, they propose more government to resolve the problems which they created in the first place.
As David Horowitz puts it in Vol. 2- Progressives:
In short, socialists like Sanders take what others create through the force of government and play God. You feeling the burn yet? I hope so, for your families sake.
Next we’ll take a look at some present day examples of Sanders proposals and see how they work in reality.
Missed part 1? Read it here
Go on to Part 3