September 20, 2021

What Would Ronald Reagan Say About Bernie Sanders’ Socialism

What Would Ronald Reagan Say About Bernie Sanders' Socialism

This article was originally published by the Americans For Limited Government on 02/19/16.

“We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion that the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one.”

Ronald Reagan powerfully stated this truism in 1964 while campaigning for Barry Goldwater. Reagan had Bernie Sanders pegged while he was a school boy reading Eugene Debs. Bernie Sanders would tell you that the fat man ate the thin man out of house and home, and that’s why he’s fat. In reality, the fat man freely bought food and ate it, and the thin man apparently did the same, just less of it. The Sanders solution is to assure none of us ever get fat again.

Reagan continued in his famous “A Time for Choosing” speech, “If government planning and welfare had the answer, shouldn’t we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn’t they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? But the reverse is true. Each year, the need grows great, the program grows greater.”

Ronald Reagan believed in the opposite: a world where success would never be limited, but rather, the government that stifled it.

Government has worked so well, that the left campaigns every cycle like they’ve never failed the people. Bernie Sanders, like Barack Obama before him, pretend like they are at the dawn of the progressive era, when in fact, they’ve had all day.

Therein lies the rub: Bernie Sanders is nothing new, just the next installment in the series of steps to the workers’ paradise; progressivism was always socialism on layaway, and Bernie’s just here to make the final payment.

In this, Bernie Sanders is actually doing the right a favor. He shows the world that there’s no daylight between socialism and progressivism, to the point that the Democratic National Committee’s Chairwoman can’t articulate the difference.

So what of the morality of the much maligned capitalism? Bernie Sanders hides behind democracy. “If you read what Debs said about the goals of socialism, it’s no different from what I’ve been saying — that all socialism is about is democracy.”

A free market, if America actually had one, is the only democratic economic system, as prices are determined by what consumers-rich and poor-are willing to pay. Millions of people vote with their dollars every day, and resources allocate without the coordination of undemocratic central planners that distort prices through their intervention.

Capitalism, however imperfect, is the monetary expression of freedom. Engaging in legalized theft to correct disparities that can at best be narrowed, but never dispelled, is wholly undemocratic; you would think Bernie would have noticed that on his honeymoon to the USSR. Is the world so bad that we need to be reminded that stealing is still immoral?

Reagan again, answers the benevolent central planner, “This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Could the dichotomy be clearer? President Ronald Reagan believed in Americans, and trusted that they were best suited to organize their own affairs and thus, allocate their resources better than the government. Bernie Sanders thinks Americans are victims, who toil as pawns of the wealthy, and need him to create a life free of want, or choice, by making sure no one accumulates the level of wealth that can exploit them. In so doing, Sanders desires a world of mediocre ubiquity, with a government mandated glass ceiling of sameness assuring no one person can become too wealthy. In true Soviet fashion, the government of course is not held to this standard.

Ronald Reagan believed in the opposite: a world where success would never be limited, but rather, the government that stifled it. So the choice is simple: a limited government with unlimited risk, and unlimited opportunity- or an unlimited government, with limited opportunity and risk that we abdicate the joys and burdens of freedom forever. Both visions can be democratically enacted, but only one can in like manner be undone. If capitalism is immoral, then so is freedom.

Dustin Howard is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.

Source: Conservative Review

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