One exchange in last night’s Democratic debates gave us a preview of what some of the more radically left-leaning candidates will face if they make it to the general election. The most famous socialist in the field, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, wound up having to try to explain why his brand of “democratic” socialism wasn’t the same as what they have in Venezuela. This forced Sanders to slam Venezuela’s tyrant, Nicolas Maduro, and assure everyone that he certainly wouldn’t wind up ruling like a dictator. (National Review)
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said during Thursday night’s primary debate that his brand of democratic socialism has nothing to do with Venezuela’s socialism, calling Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro a “vicious tyrant.”
“Anybody that does what Maduro does is a vicious tyrant,” Sanders said in response to ABC moderator Jorge Ramos. “What we need now is international and regional cooperation for free elections in Venezuela so that the people of that country can make, can create their own future.”
“In terms of democratic socialism, to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair,” the Vermont Independent said. “I agree with [what] goes on in Canada and Scandinavia, guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.”
Awww… Bernie thinks it’s unfair. If Sanders does somehow win the nomination (a prospect that’s looking less and less likely), he’s going to face this question at every turn. The history of socialism is rife with stories that eventually end in oppression, decay and death. Sanders pulled the usual move, referencing “socialist lite” countries like Canada and Scandanavia, but that doesn’t carry much weight.
The fact is that you can’t exercise the amount of government control over people’s lives that Sanders proposes without many of their fundamental freedoms being eroded or eliminated. Also, a “little bit of socialism” is like being a little bit pregnant. It tends to swell as it goes.
As far as his Medicare for All plan goes, when everyone supposedly gets “free” healthcare, as Sanders proposes, the quality and availability of such care go downhill. The average wait time to see a doctor in Canada last year was 19.8 weeks. That’s almost five months. And it varies from province to province. In New Brunswick, the average wait time was 45.1 weeks. Do you really think you can wait almost a year to see your doctor?
Also, some of the more successful socialist countries, like Norway, only get away with their current model by having the government control all of their natural resources, such as oil. And they impose massive taxes on any private companies that want to extract any resources. If you look at the list of nations that currently have a socialist party as their governing group, you will see many examples of faltering or ruined economies, though few are as bad as Venezuela right now.
Most socialist nations limit the basic rights of citizens and we’re talking about a lot more than just the Second Amendment. You can have your speech repressed in many countries if you dare to speak out against the government. And get ready for state-run news media. (Ours may be a mess at times, but it’s a lot worse when the government controls the newspapers and television stations.)
The point is, the road to socialism, much like Hell, is paved with good intentions. But the more power you take away from individual citizens and place in the hands of the government, the more the government will tend to exercise that power and limit your rights. Good luck explaining that in the general election, Bernie. You’re going to need it. This is still America, at least for the time being.