Bernie Sanders has always given a comically slippery definition of democratic socialism. For years he simply called himself a socialist, but given the dismal and bloody history of that word, he’s modified his label (and has repeatedly modified its definition).
Socialism has failed in the past because it’s been hijacked by ruthless dictators. . . but the socialism I want is “democratic,” so the people would be in control and not a dictator!
But Bernie… every socialist regime has defined itself as a “people’s movement.” Even today, socialist dictators come to power through democratic means… Venezuela is a modern example.
But I mean countries like Denmark and Sweden! They’ve figured out how to make it work! That’s the kind of socialism I want!
But Bernie… After several decades of economic decline, the Scandinavian countries have found it necessary to liberalize their economies… not make them more socialistic. Even the Prime Minister of Denmark says that his country is not socialist. He insists that Denmark is a market economy.
Well I don’t really mean Scandinavia. I mean something like FDR’s New Deal. Don’t you like Social Security and Medicare? Don’t you like government service?
But Bernie, Social Security and Medicare are insolvent and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. Every government service I can think of is plagued with inefficiency and corruption. Our welfare system has a decades long history of trapping people in poverty. Why would you want more of that?
Well, What I really mean is Scandinavian democratic socialism! They’ve figured out how to make it all work!
and round and round and round…
Of course, his core socialist beliefs have remained pretty consistent: capitalism must be opposed, wealth must be redistributed and the state must have more power to enforce these goals.
But he can’t simply say that out loud… because genuine socialism has some very serious problems…
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Merry-go-round photo by cbransto on Flickr