Wednesday, February 12, 2020

American Freedom Is Incompatible With Democratic Socialism

Bernie Sanders keeps trying to say “democratic socialism” is different from pure socialism.  
Is pure socialism so bad that it needs a clarifying adjective to make it sound more palatable as “democratic socialism”? 
Socialism has its roots in “The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848. Call it what you will, but nothing changes the fact that socialism elevates the collective over that of the individual wherever it has been implemented. Ultimate power resides with the bureaucrats in government and the very few at the top who run the country, not with the individual. 
Advocates of democratic socialism say it elevates and respects the rights of workers to help them live better lives. They will use the coercive power of government to tax wealthy people and corporations heavily to pay for all of their “free” promises to the populace.  
“Wealthy people shouldn’t be so wealthy regardless of how they got rich!” is a bedrock of modern socialist thought. 
It goes against human nature to ask any person with a dream to risk their money, max out credit cards, second mortgage their home, struggle to grow a business that hopefully will make a profit within five years, and then force them to share all of the profits they generate later equally with everyone else. 
Most businesses don’t survive past five years. Many never turn a profit. If socialists want everyone to share in the upside benefits of business success, shouldn’t socialism also demand everyone shares in the downside and pay business owners back for money they lose in a failed business? 
Pure socialism goes against any basic understanding of fairness to the individual who works hard and has natural-born talent. Imagine if Michael Jordan was paid the same amount of money as each teammate on the Chicago Bulls even though he was the main reason they won six championships. 
Should Jud Buechler, who averaged 3.8 points per game in the 1995-96 seasonhave been paid the same as Michael JordanWould that be fair to Michael Jordan?  What if President Bernie Sanders determined that Michael Jordan should be paid $100,000 instead of $100 million? What then? 
Democratic socialism is described in textbooks as “a political philosophy that advocates for political democracy alongside a socially owned economy with a particular emphasis on workers’ self-management and democratic control of economic institutions within market socialism.” 
Democratic socialists such as Sanders want total control of the economy even though hardly any of them have ever started, run or sold a business of any size or importance. They view free enterprise and wealth accumulation for successful rich people to be inherently “evil.” They don’t understand that free market capitalism has raised the living standards of hundreds of millions of people around the globe since 1900.  
Not government. 
Democratic freedom goes hand-in-hand with freedom in the marketplace.  Individual freedom allows people to start with nothing but an idea and sometimes turn it into a multibillion-dollar international corporation. 
Socialism does not allow such massive private business successes. There has not been one single company started in France since 1975 that has grown to be worth more than $1 billion. Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, all started in the U.S. since 1980, and are worth $1 trillion each in market capitalization, making plenty of employees and all early shareholders very wealthy people. 
Democrats have been courting socialism for the entirety of the 21st century. Democrats have an avowed socialist, not a declared Democrat, Bernie Sanders, leading the way for their presidential nomination. Elizabeth Warren can spout off socialist doctrine with the best of them. Pete Buttigieg’s father was an outspoken defender of a “modern version” of Marxism as a professor at Notre Dame. 
There is no “modern version” of Marxism that is tolerable to the freedoms we enjoy in our modern American Democratic Republic. Democratic socialism is incompatible with the foundational principles of American freedom that have empowered the individual over the state since 1789.   
This November is the time to end this dangerous and naïve flirtation with a very dangerous political philosophy once and for all. 
(first published in North State Journal 2/12/20)

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