“Not That Type of Socialist!” The Sophistry Behind The Branding Of Bernie Sanders

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There comes a moment when a rational person, while speaking with a Bernie Sanders supporter, elaborates on the extreme economic poverty that is so prevalent under socialist regimes around the world today, such as the collapsing state of Venezuela, that has been controlled by President Nicolas Maduro, a member of none other than the United Socialist Party. Maduro and company’s ever so wise economic central planning has managed to worsen an oil crisis and create massive food shortages in supermarkets for essential and basic goods such as milk and eggs. Venezuela also has a heavily censored media, which means that the people can’t even verbally voice their misery.

These were problems that unsurprisingly didn’t become prevalent until former socialist President Hugo Chavez took the reigns, according to the Human Rights Council. When you mention to the typical Sanders supporter the miseries experienced by the populations of China, North Korea, Vietnam, or Cuba (all of which are considered communist but really that’s nothing more than socialism administered under a lone political party) you are most likely to hear:

“BUT HES NOT THAT KIND OF SOCIALIST! HE’S A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST!”

They smugly blurt this line out like it is the ultimate political trump card (“believe me!”) that invalidates every point made against the repressive and economically defunct socialist states. They believe that somehow adding “Democratic” as a prefix to “socialist” separates their brand of socialism from the governing classes presiding over the living horrors, we call nations, listed above.

It does create something of a distinction: it changes the manner in which socialism is enacted but not the results of the socialist state. Well, isn’t that just great! Essentially, it’s the equivalent of dying by getting stoned to death instead of shot by a gun, different tools but the same result. DEATH.

Just because a socialist president is grandly ushered in by the vote of a people (instead of bloodily installed by a guerilla militia), does not mean the laws of economics will not apply to that country. Immunity from the basic laws of economics is not granted to a state out of respect for a democratic seizing of power rather than a violent one. The same results will shortly follow: economic depression and denial of personal liberties.

Yet this probably still won’t convince them of anything. More then likely they will then point to Europe, and say something along the lines of:

“Lots of Europe is run by democratic socialists! They aren’t impoverished dictatorships like you are trying to make out all socialist countries to be! This shows that democratic socialism isn’t the same as non-democratic socialism!”

This is partially true, but also very misleading. Yes, Western European nations are not the 3rd world economic, dictatorial, wastelands that other socialist nations are, but that is not thanks to their socialism being democratic in nature. Instead it is because of the lingering presence of classical liberal values of personal liberty and free market economics. Those values allowed European nations to grow into the thriving philosophical, economic, and cultural superpowers they were in their heyday, and still continue to be, albeit in a much more marginalized fashion.

The system that has lead to that marginalization of their power is none other than the current political philosophy they have embraced. This wonderful ideology of democratic socialism has lead to the creation of a megalithic, bureaucratic, barely-functioning, multinational, super government known as the European Union. A union in which nations like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have “hate speech” laws strong enough to land even the most prominent figures in hot water with the authorities for speaking their mind, as was demonstrated by the 2015 trial of president of the French Front National, Marine Le Pen, on charges of “anti-Muslim hate speech”. A union in which we see the average unemployment rate currently near 10%, with individual member states such as Portugal at 13%, Italy 12%, but also Spain clocking in at 22%, and Greece at 25%! One in four Greeks are out of a job, and while the people may not yet be running out of food like in Venezuela, their ATM’s are running out of cash, so it just may be a matter of time.

So, let us never forget that socialism, regardless of how it comes to take hold over a country, is a parasite that only destroys what Lockean Liberalism has created. We also must remain vigilant against this new means of infiltration. Socialism has demonstrated that taking power through brute force will ultimately lead to its own demise, as was seen with the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

Yet what about people choosing it at the ballot box? Doesn’t that seem so much more liberal and Western? On the surface, perhaps, though at its core it is not, which makes this path for the rise of socialism all the more powerful. The infamous Leftist Saul Alinsky once said,

“True revolutionaries do not flaunt their radicalism. They cut their hair, put on suits and infiltrate the system from within.”

Bernie Sanders is nothing more than an authoritarian socialist radical in a cheap suit. Don’t let his doddering old man, Grandpa-esque personality fool you. At the end of the day he’s ultimately prescribing you a system that will leave store shelves bare, your wallet empty, and your freedom eroded into dust.

This article was edited for grammar, style, and spelling, but not for content. The views expressed are that of the author, Bric Butler, exclusively, and do not reflect that of BeingLibertarian.com or Being Libertarian LLC

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