Socialism, Sanders and (In)Sanity

With a hardcore socialist seeking to become President of the United States, and having just won the New Hampshire primary, it is worth looking briefly at both matters: Sanders and socialism. As to the former, the Vermont Senator is a self-declared socialist whose proposed policies are frightening in the extreme.

Nick Sanchez highlights the hardcore ideas of Sanders:

Bernie Sanders’ success in the Democratic primary is a sure sign that many liberal Americans have swung leftward to embrace a “socialist” label that even Barack Obama avoided during his own campaign just eight years ago. The Wall Street Journal reported that Sanders is “so liberal he resisted joining the Democratic Party for decades” and “hasn’t changed his views since his first election to office 35 years ago.”
Gathered below are 10 socialist ideas the Vermont senator is pushing in his race for the White House.
1. Free college
2. Single-payer healthcare
3. Scandinavian-style socialism
4. Massive wealth redistribution sanders b
5. Political revolution aimed at the wealthy
6. A big minimum wage increase
7. A hefty estate tax
8. Economic protectionism
9. Expand Social Security
10. Curtailing free speech

Or as Paul Sperry writes, Sanders

proposes completely nationalizing our health care system and putting private health insurance and drug companies “out of business.” He also wants to break up “big banks” and control the energy industry, while providing “free” college tuition, a “living wage” and guaranteed homeownership and jobs through massive public works projects. Price tag: $18 trillion. Who will pay for it all? You will. Sanders plans to not only soak the rich with a 90 percent-plus tax rate, while charging Wall Street a “speculation tax,” but hit every American with a “global-warming tax.” Of course, even that wouldn’t cover the cost of his communist schemes; a President Sanders would eventually soak the middle class he claims to champion. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need, right?…
What’s revolting is how this hardcore commie’s campaign has gotten this far. With his ascendancy in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders is no longer just a fool; he’s now a dangerous fool. While it may be hard to hate the old codger, it’s easy — and virtuous — to hate his un-American ideas. They should be swept into the dustbin with the rest of communist history.

For more background on this guy, read the entire article. But Sperry is right to say “he’s not even a socialist. He’s a communist.” But instead of focusing on Clinton’s main competition for the Democratic nomination, let me spend the rest of this piece reminding you what socialism is really all about.

With whole libraries already available on the topic, I cannot do too much here. Indeed, my own library of hundreds of books on this topic is safely sitting back at home, but I am on the other side of the country at the moment. So let me offer just a smattering of quotes – some of my favourite quotes on the dangers and delusions of socialism.

“The Communists. The Jacobins. The Communards. The Maoists. The Khmer Rouge. They all caused untold suffering in the phony and vain attempt to make everyone equal… phony because it was just a fig leaf for terrible people to seize power. We are not supposed to be all equal. Let’s just forget that. We are supposed to have equal rights under law. If we do that, we have done enough. If we try to engineer outcomes, if we overturn tradition to make everyone the same, we ruin society. If we upset tradition to allow for an equal shot at the starting gate, everyone wins, except for the charlatans and would be dictators. Yet another reason to be a Republican. Give everyone an equal shot — but do not require equal outcomes or even roughly equal outcomes by law. That way lies catastrophe. Every soul deserves a shot at a Cadillac, but not everyone should be guaranteed a Cadillac… that way lie the tumbrels and the guillotine.” Ben Stein

“How do you spot a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you spot an anti-communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” Ronald Reagan

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” Ronald Reagan

“Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process.” Ronald Reagan

“Socialism only works in two places: Heaven where they don’t need it and hell where they already have it.” Ronald Reagan

“Socialists ignore the side of man that is the spirit. They can provide you shelter, fill your belly with bacon and beans, treat you when you’re ill, all the things guaranteed to a prisoner or a slave. They don’t understand that we also dream.” Ronald Reagan

“Socialists have always spent much of their time seeking new titles for their beliefs, because the old versions so quickly become outdated and discredited.” Margaret Thatcher

“For the socialist, each new discovery revealed a ‘problem’ for which the repression of human activity by the state was the only ‘solution’.” Margaret Thatcher

“No theory of government was ever given a fairer test or more prolonged experiment in a democratic country than democratic socialism received in Britain. Yet it was a miserable failure in every aspect.” Margaret Thatcher

“To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukaemia with leeches.” Margaret Thatcher

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” Margaret Thatcher

“I went to the University of Chicago as a Marxist, after a year of studying under Milton Friedman I was still a Marxist, but one summer of working for the government was enough to turn me around. I realized that government was nowhere near capable of doing what the people on the Left wanted government to do, and we’d be lucky if they didn’t make matters worse.” Thomas Sowell

“If the preconceptions of the Left were correct, central planning by educated elites who had vast amounts of statistical data at their fingertips and expertise readily available, and were backed by the power of government, should have been more successful than market economies where millions of individuals pursued their own individual interests willy-nilly. But, by the end of the 20th century, even socialist and communist governments began abandoning central planning and allowing more market competition.” Thomas Sowell

“Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.” Thomas Sowell

“The strongest argument for socialism is that it sounds good. The strongest argument against socialism is that it doesn’t work. But those who live by words will always have a soft spot in their hearts for socialism because it sounds so good.” Thomas Sowell

“What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people – like themselves – need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.” Thomas Sowell

“In the Western world, countries that were once the crucible of freedom are slipping remorselessly into a thinly disguised serfdom in which an ever higher proportion of your assets are annexed by the state as superlandlord. Big government is where nations go to die – not in Keynes’ ‘long run,’ but sooner than you think.” Mark Steyn

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Milton Friedman

“A society based on the freedom to choose is better than a society based on the principles of socialism, communism and coercion.” Milton Friedman

“I reject as impracticable the insane Socialist idea that we could have a system whereby the whole national production of the country, with all its infinite ramifications, should be organized and directed by a permanent official, however able, from some central office. The idea is not only impossible, but unthinkable. If it was even attempted it would produce a most terrible shrinkage and destruction of productive energy.” Winston Churchill

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Winston Churchill

“Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.” Winston Churchill

“There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as ‘caring’ and ‘sensitive’ because he wants to expand the government’s charitable programs is merely saying that he’s willing to try to do good with other people’s money. Well, who isn’t? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he’ll do good with his own money – if a gun is held to his head.” P.J. O’Rourke

“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” Alexis de Tocqueville

“A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.” Ludwig von Mises

“Liberalism is really piecemeal socialism, and socialism always attacks three basic social institutions: religion, the family, and private property. Religion, because it offers a rival authority to the state; the family, because it means a rival loyalty to the state; and property, because it means material independence of the state.” Joseph Sobran

“Socialism is the religion people get when they lose their religion.” Richard John Neuhaus

[1648 words]

12 Replies to “Socialism, Sanders and (In)Sanity”

  1. Dear Bill,
    I loved the last three quotes. How very true. I’ll bet Mr. Sanders didn’t make his money or influence by the socialistic way in capitalistic America! How dedicated to evil or willfully blind are those who propagate a philosophy and praxis that is antagonistic to the one they lived by that gave them the prominence and blessing they currently enjoy.

  2. Well said Bill.

    The problem is that Western educational institutions, particularly the humanities, became dominated by Marxists decades ago. So too educational unions. Few dared to challenge the Marxists. In Australia, only people like Tony Abbott, Peter Costello and the ALP’s Michael Danby challenged them while at university. Most just wanted a quiet life.

    The historian Robert Conquest wrote long ago of the dumbing down of Western culture: “The striking thing is that this is not the emergence of what in Britain would be called a yob culture from some uneducated antisocial stratum so much as the conscious adoption—even invention—of such standards, and their imposition on the rest, by an alienated intelligentsia whose aim seems to be to make Mick Jagger look like Lord Chesterfield.”

    Almost a hundred years ago, the communist, Antonio Gramsci, proposed the “long march through the institutions” to infiltrate schools, media, Churches, etc. to promote socialism. And wasn’t it the communist propagandist, Willie Munzenberg, who promised to make Western culture so corrupt it would stink? They have succeeded because few opposed them. For the West to have any chance of reversing these disastrous trends, it must start with our educational institutions.

  3. Things are proceeding exactly as the scriptures say it should. The final world gov’t will be a socialist dictatorship. Rev.13.
    But, we don’t have to elect Bernie for that to be true of America. We have socialism now.
    Remember Newsweek magazine’s “We’re All Socialists Now” front page title?

  4. Yes, I think the country is ready for a Bernie Sanders. It has made itself ready by relegating God to an outer orbit beyond the ken of Pluto.

    It has brainwashed hundreds of thousands in what we kindly call universities. It has failed to teach history to its youth.

    The electorate that elected Obama, who is not even American, who thinks there are 57 states, who has said that Muslims have made many contributions to our country throughout history, and who said that when you spread the wealth, everyone benefits is certainly capable of electing a Bernie Sanders.

    President Sanders will take a failed political philosophy and force it down everyone’s throat, bankrupting the nation in the process and making everyone equally poor.

    Christians should prepare themselves for real persecution. It’s coming.

  5. Hi Bill. It is interesting that today Tim Costello is calling for the return of death duties, all in the name of redistribution of wealth, which is code for communism. Surely he must be familiar with the commandments Thou shalt not steal, and Thou shalt not covet.

  6. Bill makes several good points about Bernie Sanders and the historically proven unworkability of socialism. (Thank you, Bill, for some of those killer quotes you provide!).

    However, we must not be blind to some of the glaring shortcomings of capitalism of recent years.

    I am scandalised at how, only a year after the 2008 US government’s bail-out of Wall Street financial institutions (deemed ‘too big to fail) to the tune of US$700 billion, the banks which were beneficiaries of this largesse resumed awarding their executives multi-million-dollar bonuses.

    This sort of amoral and greedy behaviour on the part of the rich and powerful gravely undermines the case for capitalism and plays right into the hands of left-wing ideologues such as Bernie Sanders and the British Labour Party leader Jeremly Corbyn.

    A free enterprise economy is better by far than a socialist one micro-managed by government bureaucrats. However, a free enterprise economy is far more likely to prosper and endure if capitalists and workers alike have a moral compass.

  7. Hi Bill,

    Very educational as usual. I loved the quotes on socialism.
    I will take note of some new favourites found there.

    One I didn’t see was between Thatcher and Reagan I believe.
    Quite simply: “Socialism only works until you run out of spending other peoples money”.

    Being an ex US citizen in Australia, I am still amazed at how many foolish people there vote without thinking or looking into their candidates beliefs/platforms. I won’t venture to say Bernie hasn’t got a chance. I lost money betting Obummer didn’t either. Lord help them whoever they get !

  8. Socialism is the true opium of the people – they cannot think straight anymore, as they become cultic in their thinking pattern.
    Cultism is morally dictatorial at heart, therefore the logical move of socialism is eventually towards coercion in order to make every one equally ‘free’ not to decide for themselves.

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