(Note from Editor: This article was originally published in 2016.)
According to the latest survey, 84% of people under 35 want to vote for Sanders. Does this mean that 84% of young Americans want socialism? When I listen to Sanders, he has no concrete plan. All he wants is to “tax Wall Street speculation to pay for college” and increase taxes to 90% with respect to everyone else.
What “Wall Street speculation” actually means is Sanders wants to take any and all profit you may make as an investor purchasing and selling shares. He wants the government to be the final judge and arbiter as to which business should succeed and which fail. While most banks do not give any interest to those who want to save (mine gives 0.1%!), one can make 2-5% in investing in stocks and bonds. This will not be permissible under Sanders. What is more, Sanders completely abolishes all theories of the value of money (Locke, Adam Smith, Ricardo), as I explain below.
Socialism requires a centralized economy, not a competitive market but economy directed by the politi-bureau (DNC), which will take away money from oil companies in order to finance companies like Solyndra, etc. The next step is allowance of property. For example, no single family shall be permitted to own a house worth more than $1 million. Schools will be “free” but no matter how hard you study, you won’t be eligible for university unless both your parents are significant contributors to the DNC. Of course, if they are, you will be an Ivy League, no matter what your results. In the end, such a person may become a doctor, surgeon, lawyer… and kill your mother on the table or sentence an innocent man to death. Lawsuits? You cannot sue an honorable Party member – ever. At best, the judge will say,“What difference – at this point – does it make?” At worst, you will end in jail yourself. Why? Because you virtually tried to sue the Party itself.
I could go on and on, because as a former Czech that is the environment in which I grew up and still remember only too well. However, let me explain what underscores Sanders’ popularity and this repetitive rise of communism in our country (which we had in 1918 and then again during the McCarthy era).
First, Sanders is an old man who promises the young, naïve, gullible sheep the blue colors from the sky. The comparison Greg Guftfeld made to Santa Claus is arrogate. Young people who have not had to work or have not experienced the natural forces of the market mostly feel a craving to be satisfied. Such satisfaction must come from without – and who else should be the bearer of good news than an old sugar daddy with gray hair and a good-natured smile.
What is more important, we all know that Thomas Jefferson, well read and one of the chief sources of the Declaration of Independence, was John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government. Jefferson probably took more from George Mason’s Virginia Constitution, which incorporated a similarly worded Declaration of Rights, but he must have known that John Locke’s Treatises constituted a powerful rebuttal to the absolutist paternalism of Sir Robert Filmer and the benevolent surrender to totalitarianism in the skeptical Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes. Such works propounded and supported the absolute monarch as a patriarch and viewed the whole society as a family, status quo headed by the alpha male, descendant of Adam, at whose benevolent, merciful feet we should kowtow, pay our tithes and worship him till death.
No wonder modern socialists do not see Muslims as evil because Sharia is very much in accord with such views.
Our country is based on the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, derived from such magnificent thinkers as Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment: Francis Hutcheson, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Reid, Adam Ferguson and others. The pursuit of happiness was re-phrased by Mason. Originally, Locke spoke of the “pursuit of property” in the sense of following the acquired value. In other words, if I take possession of public land and irrigate it, improve it, use it for others’ (and my own) benefit (e.g. by growing wheat), such land acquired value through my labor, the excess of labor is mine and I am free to sell it, market it etc. By the same token, I have taken possession of the land, tilled it, and built upon it, so the land becomes mine through my actions. (Adam Smith’s theory of Invisible Hand of the market is based on this rationale.)
Of course, property is a word of far-reaching implications and connotations. Socialists would like us to think only of money, always money, in terms of the rich vs. the poor, the haves vs. the have-nots, and not in terms of those who work and those who idle. Paradoxically, it was Marx who pointed out that alienation of labor, introduced by Smith and Locke, is tantamount to “alienation of selfhood.” By adding value, one adds a part of one’s self, one’s own soul, to property (as Marx said in Das Kapital). So far, Locke and Marx would be in agreement–but it was the next sadomasochistic step that turned the tables on Locke. For Marx, everything in the world consists of an abstract “value” which is a part of some larger ideology, which has been misappropriated and abused by the “evil capitalist” who, in exploiting the concrete market value of a commodity, is in fact exploiting the abstract identity of the proletariat (workforce). While there may have been some justification for this rationale 150 years ago, it is hardly the case today.
Instead of taking Marx as a significant step forward in terms of spreading personal liberty, i.e. the world is more free, not less, when the market trades in goods that have acquired our rights and values (indeed our personal and national pride), the socialists took Marx’s criticism of capitalism as a guide to appropriating the power to rule over people. He did so by taking the value each person has added to commodity/property, abolishing free market, and creating a system of paternalistic hierarchy within ideology. Marx defined this ideology as” interests uniting a particular social class.” Thus, Railroad Labor Unions would be united by their interest in railroads because the workers have contributed their (personal) value to the product (rails, locomotives, upkeep, etc.). Since many of Sanders’ followers have little and produce little, they identify with the ideology of the evil “speculator,” some mythical “rich man” who has mafia-like lackeys on the stock exchange and vacations endlessly. What unites them is not their added value but the envy of someone else’s added value – which would be sad, but is in fact absurd, because such value is imaginary.
As Alinsky clearly delineates in the Rules for Radicals, people are not ruled by money but by their desires, wants and suffering. Marxist socialism stands market theory of value on its head: people must not freely trade in the added values but shall be ruled by them from above. Marx assumed this was what capitalists did to proletariat, so what it all comes down to is this: the time has come for revenge. It should also be noted that anyone could run a business or enterprise in England or the United States at the time. Napoleon scornfully declared that England was a “nation of small shopkeepers.” We all love to show off our value, the product of our work, which is more than some gadget, trinket or piece of writing; it is a product of our heart and soul and money is a byproduct of that.
Not so for a socialist. For a socialist, money is a means of manipulation of a social class. Every ideology is a half-truth (as Marx stated) because people are required to suspend their disbelief. Sanders says, “I’ll tax Wall Street speculation and I’ll pay for your college.” Thus, he unites the young under the false belief that their college will be paid for by someone else. Their parents are happy too, of course, unless they can see through the thin veneer of the word “speculation.”
All market is speculation. When I go shopping, I speculate whether turkey or chicken is better or if I should buy this type of milk rather than the other one. I look at price and contents. That is exactly what Wall Street “speculators” do. That is also what the store owner does when he is ordering the goods, looking at how much of what item has been sold. You cannot “tax speculation” without harming the market, which ultimately harms you, because this eliminates choice, bankrupts companies, drives people out of work. Such people will have one thing in common: suffering.
Marx famously said “religion is the opium of mankind.” Many people know this, but not many people realize the insight of his psychology. Marx spoke about ideology and gave religion as an example but what he meant to say is that people will suffer and long for absolution. However you cannot take away their suffering, because you would take away the absolution. Thus, religion is indispensable. Communists made the State indispensable by the same rationale.
All socialists are communists and all communists are sadists. They want you to suffer, not themselves. Every socialism develops a “privileged class” of Party members and more privileged Party members. In other words, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others…” That is what Sanders’ smile says; never mind his words. The psychology is too sophisticate to see through by a modern teenager brought up in the Land of Plenty. It took me years of suffering and self-education to be able to recognize this Evil – and I am probably inoculated to it only because I had to experience it first hand.