Much like Hillary Clinton feeling the need to reintroduce herself to voters multiple times, Bernie Sanders has decided to tell us again exactly what democratic socialism is. Maybe the need for so much explaining indicates that voters know what DemSoc is and want no part of it.
Sanders, the nominally Democratic but realistically socialist senator from Vermont, made a speech Wednesday that the AP declared was “a strong defense of democratic socialism, the economic philosophy that has guided his political career.” It was “his most aggressive attempt yet to reframe the conversation about his political views.”
The big question that never gets addressed regarding these and other “explanations” of socialism is: Why do the self-identified “democratic socialists” feel it’s OK to force those who’d rather be free into their collective?
The system Sanders wants to force on this country of ostensibly free people requires more coercion than that which we are already under. Without force, both real and threatened, socialist systems cannot work. They require governments to take from some and give to others. Its subjects are obligated to participate.
National Review’s Kevin Williamson calls socialism “solidarity that is enforced at gunpoint, if necessary.”
British novelist Kingsley Amis, who was a young Marxist before he became a supporter of Margaret Thatcher and friend of the Adam Smith Institute, said that “if socialism is not about compulsion, it is about nothing.”
The Adam Smith Institute itself reminds us that “whenever socialism has been tried it has involved compulsion, as it attempts to make people behave in ways they would not freely choose to do.”
In the “Dostoevsky Encyclopedia,” author Kenneth Lantz explained that “lacking any spiritual basis for human brotherhood, the socialists must resort to compulsion to establish it.”
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul once asked if violence was inherent to socialism, to which he responded: “I think the answer is absolutely yes.”
And, finally, legendary economist Milton Friedman wraps up our argument.
“The essential notion of a socialist society is fundamentally force,” said Friedman. “If the government is the master, you ultimately have to order people what to do.”
America wasn’t built on coercive government. It was conceived and founded on liberty, and opportunity created by freedom, not artificially manufactured by the state. It has worked far better than any system implemented by man.
Of course the political left argues that without some degree of socialism, we’d have no roads, schools, parks, libraries, first responders, nor other “public” institutions and infrastructure. This argument is quite obviously nonsensical.
First, all of these “socialist” components can exist — and have existed throughout history — without government involvement. They might not be identical to what we see today, and in many cases would be an improvement. But they are not products unique only to socialism.
Second, we know, as economist Donald Boudreaux explains, that “government provision of public goods crowds out a sizeable portion of private investment in public goods.”
If Americans learn nothing else about socialism, they should at least know this. “The goal of socialists,” writes William L. Anderson, “is socialism — not prosperity.” In other words, the objective is to use promises of abundance and a better life to do nothing more than amass raw political power.
Also know: Both the hammer and the sickle have multiple purposes. They can be used as tools, and they can be used as weapons to force assent. The political left will say that’s a misinterpretation of their meaning. We can judge for ourselves if that’s true.
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