Justin Haskins: Comrade Bernie’s American Socialist Dream would be a nightmare

2020 Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders pitches socialism on the campaign trail

Sen. Bernie Sanders touts Democratic socialism during an address at George Washington University; reaction and analysis on ‘The Five.’

If you were thinking Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., might back away from his pledge to transform America into a socialist paradise now that he’s running for president, think again. Comrade Bernie’s proud to be what he calls a “democratic socialist” and he wants everyone to know it. 

On Wednesday, Sanders – one of the leading contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination – delivered a speech featuring so much socialist propaganda that it would have probably drawn a standing ovation and tears of joy from Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stain if those comrades were still with us.

Sanders spent much of his speech ranting about what he contends is an “oligarchy” of wealthy individuals and businesses that supposedly controls every aspect of American society. He could have called it “a vast right-wing conspiracy” if Hillary Clinton hadn’t already made the phrase her own.

SANDERS EMBRACES DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISM, CALLS FOR NEW DEAL REVIVAL IN CAMPAIGN ADDRESS

The democratic socialist senator also painted income inequality as the root of all evil, and he repeatedly (and laughably) compared our current era to Great Depression. Sanders ignored the fact that African-Americans, Hispanics, women and Americans without a four-year college degree are experiencing record-low or near-record-low unemployment.

But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good argument, comrade.

According to Sanders, the only solutions to the problems plaguing America is to “take the next step forward and guarantee every man, woman and child in our country basic economic rights – the right to quality health care, the right to as much education as one needs to succeed in our society, the right to a good job that pays a living wage, the right to affordable housing, the right to a secure retirement, and the right to live in a clean environment. … This is what I mean by democratic socialism.”

Somehow, Sanders forgot to mention the right to pay much, much higher taxes that socialism would give to us all.

Sanders is one of those who have grown wealthy while serving in government, using the fame he picked up running for president in 2016 to land a lucrative book deal that made him rich. He owns three expensive houses and has amassed a $2.5 million fortune.

In reality, the true ruling class in America isn’t made up of wealthy business owners like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. It’s made up of the army of bureaucrats in Washington, earning six-figure salaries and the members of Congress amassing millions of dollars in wealth while allegedly “serving” the people.

Sanders is one of those who have grown wealthy while serving in government, using the fame he picked up running for president in 2016 to land a lucrative book deal that made him rich. He owns three expensive houses and has amassed a $2.5 million fortune.

True to his socialist roots, Comrade Bernie also declared “economic rights are human rights.” But he neglected to mention that in the U.S., where individual liberty and economic freedom have always been emphasized, “economic rights” can’t exist if we are to keep our other freedoms in place.

If people have a “right” to health care, “as much education as one needs to succeed,” a “decent” job, and affordable housing, then that means individuals don’t have a right to their own property and a whole host of other rights.

That’s because in order to pay for all those “free” jobs, health services, education and more you have to seize people’s money and property, and you must control people’s businesses – or take them over – to manage those goods and services.

You can either have property rights or the “economic rights” laid out by Sanders – but you can’t have both.

Further, you can’t have “economic rights” and religious freedom and freedom of conscience under socialism, because the collective ownership and management of property required for all these massive welfare programs makes it virtually impossible for people to live without violating their deeply held beliefs.

For example, in an economy with a single-payer health care system, nuns would be required to pay for abortions and birth control pills. In an economy with a nationalized agricultural system, Hindus and members of PETA would be forced to pay for meat-packing plants and slaughterhouses.

It’s impossible to have a society in which there is individual freedom and government guarantees for every good and service known to man.  Comrade Bernie knows it.

The Soviet Union understood this principle, too. According to the Constitution of the Soviet Union, every Soviet citizen was promised all sorts of personal freedoms, including freedom of speech and religion.

But Soviet citizens were also guaranteed numerous “economic” rights, such as the “right” to free “health protection,” “the right to work,” “the right to maintenance in old age,” “the right to education,” “the right to housing,” and even “the right to rest and leisure.”

Sound familiar?

But all individual rights were also necessarily qualified by the Soviet Constitution, which stated” “Enjoyment by citizens of their rights and freedoms must not be to the detriment of the interests of society or the state.”

In other words, the Soviets promised individual rights – but only if they didn’t get in the way of what was considered to be for the good “of society or the state.” In socialism – whether it’s the socialism of Bernie Sanders or the socialism of the Soviet Union – the good of the collective always takes priority over the rights of individual people.

Sanders has said on countless occasions that it’s unfair to compare his brand of socialism to that of the disastrous systems of countries such as the Soviet Union and Venezuela. He claims the big difference is those nations were and are “authoritarian” systems, while his brand of socialism is warm, fuzzy, and, most importantly, “democratic.”

But the entire socialist system is built on taking property from those who legally own it so that others who want it can have the property – even if they’ve done nothing to earn it. Socialism is inherently tyrannical. It is Big Government on steroids – able to take away rights as well as extend them.

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Even if Bernie Sanders is right about the “oligarchs” pulling America’s economic strings, he would have us trade one group of tyrants for another, rather than embrace the United States’ founding principles: individual responsibility, liberty, and virtue.

Contrary to what Sanders often claims, socialism doesn’t work, has never worked, and will never work. If more than a century of failure hasn’t yet proven that to Sanders, I’m not sure what will.

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