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Sanders’ Seventies Socialist Positions, For Laughs (and Tears)

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Socialists would be funny if their ideas weren’t so destructive and contrary to the peaceful treatment of one’s neighbor.

Okay, on second thought, they’re not funny at all.

But climbing into the TARDIS to see just how monumentally wrong one of America’s most prominent socialists, Bernie Sanders, has been can be instructive, at least.

A trip back to Yesteryear -- a “tour” of Bernie’s old patchouli-scented, sandals-clad ideas -- allows one to view them as if they’re figures in a museum diorama. In fact, as Reason’s Matt Welch recently noted, some of Bernie’s ideas have been so bizarre, one might be tempted to think he’s been joking for four decades.

He hasn’t been joking.

For example, Americans in the ‘70s could feel the “Bern” if they noticed his declaration that highway on-ramps should be widened to accommodate hitchhikers – which would have been great for hitchhikers and public road crews, but perhaps not so great for most drivers and taxpayers.

There was, of course, video captured during his long-time hug-affair with the Soviet bear, praising its ethically and economically bankrupt system even as it danced on the bones of tens of millions and dictated everything from the kinds of fish that should be caught, to the kinds of art and literature people would “enjoy”.

He also appeared to have no trouble with the thousands murdered by Castro, tens of millions slaughtered and starved in communist China, the suppression of free speech in those countries, or the arrests and enslavement of dissidents. In 1976, Bernie gushed about them and their “youth”:

Contrast what the young people in China and Cuba are doing for themselves and for their country as compared to the young people in America…

That would be, those “young people” who survived starvation, deprivation, state terror, or arrest for dissent, or who didn’t flee the totalitarian nightmares their nations had become…

And, no surprise, he openly advocated socialism. In particular, Bernie wanted the public ownership of the means of production.

(Reminder, Bernie, we are all owners of our own means of production: ourselves, our skills, and our time, this is axiomatic. We merely trade with other owners to maximize our productivity and better our lives.)

Welsh observes that, of all networks, CNN actually dug up an ancient 1976 press release of Bernie’s in which he decried the flight of businesses from local areas. The answer? You foolish sod, don’t lift the regulatory and tax burden on the businesses so they can be competitive and attract customers to stay afloat and succeed. No-no… If businesses are fleeing to foreign lands, do what the Wicked Witch of the West ordered her minions to do to Dorothy and the gang: SEIZE THEM!

In the long run, the problem of the fleeing corporations must be dealt with on the national level by legislation which will bring about the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises.

Not like revolutionaries haven’t already pushed that idea, tried it, and seen the results, results that always raise tombstones and grave markers instead of crops, results that see the suppression of truth, destruction of the individual, and death of the market forces required to balance demand and supply.

The idea of ownership is inherent in the idea of the self. From that arises the ethical lesson of respect for the property and earnings of another. This respect is reciprocal and requires no effort from anyone to perform any task for another.

It seems some may have skipped that lesson.

 

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