Senator Bernie Sanders’ high-flying campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president inched closer to putting the first major party socialist candidate on the ballot Monday night.
Sanders’ appeal is based in large measure on being the only real “message” candidate on the Democrats’ side this election cycle, with his message being “free stuff for all.” Erasing college loan debt, free medical care and maybe even free housing are all part of Bernie’s pitch.
The media, being intellectually lazy, if not completely ignorant of the tenets of socialism, has bought Sanders’ self-labeling that he is a “socialist.”
But is Bernie Sanders really a “socialist”?
If he is, he is a pretty poor example of a socialist leader, because his program always seems to skip over a key element of real socialism – everyone must work, to make socialism work.
Karl Marx, the father of socialism put it this way:
If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.
Sen. Sanders is an original co-sponsor The SAFE SEX Workers Study Act, a bill seen by its sponsor as a potential first step to decriminalizing sex work. Under socialism, legal proscription of prostitutes, beggars and tramps gives way to a broader understanding of social “parasites” as people who do not do “socially-useful work.”
Under socialism, having your student loan debt cancelled so you can sit around your Mom’s basement playing video games is not in the cards.
What’s more, while Marxist–Leninist ideology predicted that prostitution should disappear with the overthrow of capitalism, the reality is that socialist states, such as Czechoslovakia, were forced to try to suppress prostitution through criminal law, conceptualizing it as ‘parasitism.’ And when they did so, many of the State Socialist experts ultimately fell back on the extra-legal normative system of gender. Women in prostitution were condemned for their sexually promiscuous behavior and anti-prostitution laws became a vehicle for promoting and upholding traditional gender norms not only towards women in prostitution, but all women in society.
Hardly, what one would expect from Senator Sanders and his gender-obsessed supporters, such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Indeed, Lenin believed that new ideal socialist community could “only be maintained if the very nature of man can be changed to conform to the requirements of [his] new order.”
So, how does one create this new socialist man?
Leon Trotsky, one of the fathers of the Russian Revolution, proposed this plan: “In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.”
And Senator Sanders does seem to agree with the socialist orthodoxy that the state must control the food supply. As Mona Charen noted in a piece for National Review:
Sanders now calls for a revolution in this country, and we’re all expected to nod knowingly. Of course he means a peaceful, democratic revolution. It would be outrageous to suggest anything else. Well, it would not be possible for Bernie Sanders to usher in a revolution in the U.S., but his sympathy for the real thing is notable. As Michael Moynihan reported, in the case of the Sandinistas, he was willing to justify press censorship and even bread lines. The regime’s crackdown on the largest independent newspaper, La Prensa, “makes sense to me” Sanders explained, because the country was besieged by counterrevolutionary forces funded by the United States. As for bread lines, which soon appeared in Nicaragua as they would decades later in Venezuela, Sanders scoffed: “It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, that people are lining up for food. That is a good thing!”
On matters of compulsion and totalitarianism Senator Bernie Sanders is apparently a good socialist, but on the real core value of socialism – everyone performing socially useful work – Sanders is MIA.
Bernie may be rising after the Iowa caucuses, but like the locusts now plaguing Africa and the Middle East and the “looters” described in Ayn Rand’s masterwork Atlas Shrugged, Bernie Sanders’ version of socialism will serve only to catapult a small oligarchy to power, distribute misery among the masses and last only until the expropriated products of the labor and intellectual power of others is exhausted.
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Photo “Bernie Sanders” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Iowa State Fair” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0