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Democratic socialism – Heaven or Hell?

February 15, 2016

Ask most  any rank-and-file Bernie supporter to define democratic socialism and the chances are they will tell you that it is about making things “fair” for everyone.

Much as Obama supporters did in 2008, Sanders supporters have defined his philosophy within their personal vision of utopia, without any understanding of the ultimate result if he should win.

It appears that many of Bernie Sanders followers have his philosophy mixed up with social democracy, which is essentially what we have now, in practice if not by name.

Given the similarity of the two names the confusion is understandable, particularly in the case of younger voters, since political theory doesn’t fit into a tweet very well.

What is the difference, and does it matter?  Plenty, on both counts.

One of the clearer explanations is explained in a 2010 book,  The Encyclopedia of Political Science Set. Page 401 of that work contains this concise explanation:

” Though some democratic socialists reject the revolutionary model and advocate a peaceful transformation to socialism carried out by democratic means, they also reject the social democratic view that capitalist societies can be successfully reformed through extensive state intervention within capitalism. In the view of democratic socialists, capitalism, based on the primacy of private property, generates inherent inequalities of wealth and power and a dominant egoism that are incompatible with the democratic values of freedom, equality, and solidarity. Only a socialist society can fully realize democratic practices. The internal conflicts within capitalism require a transition to socialism. Private property must be superseded by a form of collective ownership.Curian, Alt, Chambers, Garrett, Levi, McClain, George Thomas, James E., Simone, Geoffrey, Margaret, Paula D. (October 12, 2010). CQ Press. p. 401. ISBN 978-1933116440. (Emphasis added.)

[Writers note:  This title is currently listed as available on Amazon.]

The line about private property should be a warning of what’s to come under an unrestrained democratic socialist model. Make no mistake, this is about the eventuality of government ownership of select industries, wealth and property.

After spending decades preparing the electorate for a public vote legitimizing a peaceful switch to socialism (versus an armed revolution), it appears that 2016 will be the high mark of the efforts to date.

Even Senator Sanders’ worst critics don’t feel that he is advocating for an armed revolt, but they do believe that he is setting the stage for one to happen, should he lose at the ballot box.

It is doubtful that his most of his supporters understand what they will have instituted under a Sanders regime. They will tell you that he is supporting equality and a equal chance at achieving personal and financial success.

That’s the least likely outcome of a democratic socialist presidency.

Under this plan everything you own now or will ever acquire beyond a preset subsistence limit could be absorbed into the government via a system of confiscatory taxes, regulatory costs, fees and fines.

The degree to which that happens depends upon how far the people will be allowed to go to oppose it.

For an example of how effectively this works on the regulatory level, consider the current campaign against fossil fuels, and the path taken to effect the demise of the oil and coal industries.

First you demonize it, then you tax and regulate it out of existence. Pretty soon it just goes away with hardly a ripple.

Democratic socialism is about taking away not just the specter of extreme poverty, but the dream of great success.

Under the Sanders model, your free college education will not result in a path to wealth.

Whatever your personal yardstick of success may be, whether it is entrepreneurship or a bigger house or a Beemer instead of a Chevy in your driveway, it isn’t going to happen under democratic socialism.

For those familiar with the Catholic concept of the afterlife, you might say that democratic socialism is the real-life version of purgatory, a place where the fires of Hell merely singe your body forever, neither consuming you in fire or raising you to heaven.

For the secular, it is the equivalent of running in the middle of the pack for the rest of your life, but with plenty of free energy drinks to keep you going.

To many on the right, it is inconceivable that Bernie Sanders got ANY votes  in a state whose motto is “Live Free or Die.”

If you want to vote for Bernie Sanders, so be it. Just be sure you know what you are voting for as well as against.

From → op-ed

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