Issues & Insights

What Sanders’ Success Tells Us: Authoritarians Are Alive In America

I&I Editorial

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders didn’t run away with the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries, as some thought he would, but the intemperate socialist is still a legitimate contender. While his ascent should be shocking to a nation founded on freedom, it has provided something of a public service, having drawn millions of closeted authoritarians into the open. There they can be identified, and hopefully politically marginalized.

Much of the Vermont socialist’s popularity is due to his promise of redistributing wealth, from those who have earned it to those he believes need it more than its rightful owners. It’s played well among Democrats, who have played the politics of jealousy for decades. As the Manhattan Contrarian has said, “if you’re the party of free stuff, why shouldn’t the guy who offers the most free stuff win?”

But Sanders also appeals to another base instinct: The desire to grind a boot on others’ necks and run their lives.

Socialism is a coercive system, with no real limits on raw power, an ideal arrangement for those who want to dictate to others. It is, says former congressman and retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Allen West, “the philosophy of the control freaks.”

“Everything about the socialist rhetoric is about controlling some aspect of your life. It is about disavowing you as an individual and making you part of a collective will. If there is anything abjectly anti-American, it is socialism.”

Sanders has railed against the wide selection of deodorants and sneakers available to consumers and would like to pare that down. But the authoritarian urges of socialists go much further than that, far deeper than NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s many restrictions on freedom, including outlawing big soft drinks. We have in this country, which was founded on the then-unimaginable-for-most principle of individual liberty, many who want our personal choices to be under the control of a power structure. They would tell us what sorts of automobiles we can and cannot drive; what types of homes we can and cannot live in; where our home thermostats must be set; and how much remains in our paychecks after government plunders our earnings.

Those examples are merely a start.

Forcing every American into a socialist health care system, whether it’s called Medicare for All, or anything else, is an authoritarian act. Such a regime requires the conscription of doctors, and nurses, as well as the forced participation through their taxes of all 330 million Americans. It’s the antithesis of freedom.

Socialists want to shut down free speech and dissent on college campuses, street corners and in restaurants, where wearing a MAGA hat can result in violence from those on the political left.

Further evidence that we have authoritarians inside the gate are the Sanders staffers who were taped by Project Veritas. Their appetite to riot when things don’t go their way, march political foes into re-education camps, guillotine the rich, and kill the enemies of the revolution is what we’d expect to hear in banana republics and unenlightened hellholes. Not in America. Yet there they are, lined up behind Sanders.

Sanders swears his version of socialism is really just a neighborly welfare state. But don’t assume that he missed Vladimir Lenin saying “the goal of socialism is communism.” His campaign has emboldened and enabled those who would follow that progression.

The inescapable fact is that socialism cannot be implemented without authoritarian action, even if it’s supposedly a “democratic socialism,” in which majorities decide how life is to be arranged. Even a “soft” authoritarianism, a “democratic” mob rule that rejects the views of his “revolutionary” staffers, will grow into a malignancy.

Sanders’ popularity shows us that more Americans than we had dared guess have authoritarian streaks. They are at the table next to ours at the Olive Garden or Applebee’s, in line behind us at the grocery store, waiting for a prescription at the pharmacy, and stopped beside us at a traffic light in that car overflowing with bumper stickers promoting leftist causes.

Of course the Sanders-Biden-Obama-Clinton side of the aisle, and its wing in the media and academia, have been shrieking that President Donald Trump’s supporters are the authoritarians. None, however, would institute any of the government invasions listed above. Most would prefer to simply be left alone to lead their lives without interference from the state and the elitists who dominate our current culture. The Tea Party and Antifa are worlds apart.

But the political left lacks self-awareness and is accomplished at projection, the “art” of “attributing one’s own unacceptable urges to another.” Not much longer though can it conceal its real intentions.

— Written by J. Frank Bullitt

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  • Some of today’s Bernie supporters will “evolve” as life provides hard, reality experience. Question is, will their maturation come in time to salvage what might otherwise be a life filled with envy, frustration and peril for the very freedoms that enabled the cosetting of their obligations?

    • Fashions change. Our fascists favor high-heeled pumps, or thongs (sandals), or rollerblades, or skis, according to taste.

  • Either way it works out for freedom loving people. Sanders gets nominated there is no way he wins the whole country and its an easy Trump victory. Should for some odd reason, sanders win, it will end in a civil war that would end then left in this country once and for all.. its a win win.

  • This is what happens when we forbid competition, give everyone a trophy, and don’t spank spoiled children. They never grow up.

  • The problems with socialism are numerous, the most obvious being that the non-productive will very soon run out of the productive’s money, especially as the productive simultaneously run away.

    Bernie Sanders however exhibits the primary desire of the typical socialist, that is to become the Orwellian “Pig”.

    Bernie is however already a “Pig”, it is his desire to become the “Super-Pig.”

    It’s the butcher or the glue factory for the rest of us.

  • The good news is that even the left most voters in the country don’t want Sanders. I haven’t done the math but it looks like his ceiling is around 30% even in that crowd.

    Sanders will complain about conspiracy against him but a relatively high turnout on Tuesday told us that he is not the choice of the majority of Democrats. The party establishment could not have done it – it was individual voters choosing slow Joe to stop his rise. I find this heartening.

  • Occupy Wall Street was organized under Democratic Socialist principles. This was done under near optimal situations: There was so much money contributed that they had to struggle to spend it. I wanted to see how it worked, so I read the minutes. They featured endless three hour meetings over the brand of trash containers to order. I was amazed at how much passion was exercised on topics a capitalist business would have resolved in five minutes or less. “Jane, order trash cans from the vendor you think is best.” “Sure boss.”

    Control mechanisms were eventually created to have a “spokes council”, a form of representative government, make those decisions on behalf of broader membership. The arrangement was so byzantine and confusing that it was hard to tell how it was supposed to work. It resulted in meetings with endless arguments, again very passionate, between the pragmatists who realized something needed to be done and passionate idealists who believed in Democratic Socialism.

    This happened literally to the point where the landlord and police threw the entire community in the dumpster because it was filthy, unsanitary and ridden with crime, including rapes.

    In other words, Democratic Socialist ideals could not even manage a community of a few hundred successfully, with plenty of money coming in. How anyone could possibly think Democratic Socialism could work has to be left as an exercise for the reader.

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