New Hampshire Primary Socialist Alarm



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New Hampshire Primary Socialist Alarm
By Edward Hudgins

February 11, 2016 -- Bernie Sanders’s big win in the New Hampshire primary should set off alarm bells for Republicans struggling against Donald Trump and for all who value liberty.

Sanders probably won’t become president, but the socialist ideology on which his movement rests is metastasizing. We must fight it with real-world philosophical medicine.
 

Sanders open about socialism

Sanders is an unabashed and full-throated socialist—he likes to add the adjective “democratic”—who beat Hillary Clinton handily by 60% to 39% in New Hampshire. He pretty much tied her in Iowa, too, and is pulling even with her in national polls. It’s true that most of Hillary’s policies and certainly those of President Obama fall into the same category. But most Democrats feel the need to call themselves “Progressives,” to deny they’re socialists, and to claim that they simply want to help people. This crypto-socialist pose goes back to President Franklin Roosevelt who insisted he wanted to “save” the capitalist system even as he constructed the modern welfare state.

Sanders makes no apologies. His central message is that inequality must be eliminated, that the “rich” are responsible for our economic ills, and that they must be made to pay their “fair share.” Never mind that the top 1% of earners whom he demonizes shoulder nearly 40% of the federal income tax burden and the top 10% cover 70% of the bill. Never mind that even expropriating all the taxable income of the 1% would not cover his proposed $19 trillion spending increase for one year. (Math isn’t Bernie’s specialty.) And like all who put equality of condition first, Sanders would have all people be poor and equal rather than have all be more prosperous if it meant that some would end up substantially more prosperous than others.
 

Socialist appeal

In New Hampshire over 80% of voters under 29 years old voted for Sanders. This should not have come as a total surprise. A 2011 Pew survey found that only 46% of young people under 29 years old had a positive reaction to the word “capitalism” while 47% found it cold and hard. By contrast, 49% got good vibes from the word “socialism” while only 43% found it hard to swallow. By the way, the word “progressive,” which Bernie also wears, garnered a 67% positive response.

Pointing out that Sanders or even Obama are socialists does little except to alert us to the need to fight on a different battlefield and with different weapons.
 

America’s deep divisions

America’s divisions today are deeper than in many decades. The mass protests over the Vietnam War had a specific target. It also was accompanied by challenges to the status quo that actually sought liberty for blacks, women, and gays. And the ‘60s offered excuses for sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But most Baby Boomers settled into a system of private property and something resembling a free market system, albeit with a growing welfare state.

The fact that Sanders gains such support as an open socialist points to a fundamental shift in the value base of the country. Let’s grant that some of Sanders’ support comes from an understandable revulsion toward Hillary Clinton, the Queen of Cronyism, who disingenuously claims to be tough on the “one percent” that she and Bill are a part of and on the Wall Street bankers who’ve bankrolled her operation.

But several generations since the 1960s have been indoctrinated with authoritarian, left-wing dogmas... (read further here)

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11 hours ago, Ed Hudgins said:

Never mind that even expropriating all the taxable income of the 1% would not cover his proposed $19 trillion spending increase for one year. 

The "for one year" is not needed and misleading. The $19 trillion spending increase BS proposes is over 10 years, or $1.9 trillion per year (assuming level to simplify).  But to elaborate Ed's claim, I use the 2013 income and tax data (the latest available) in Table 1 here.  The top 1% have AGI (adjusted gross income) of $1.72 trillion and an average tax rate of 27.08%. $1.72 * (1 - 0.2708) = $1.25 trillion, which is less than $1.9 trillion. On the other hand, expropriating all the taxable income of the top 5% would (naively) cover it. $3.11 * (1 - 0.232) = $2.4 trillion.  Incidentally, BS wants to raise taxes in more ways than individual income taxes.

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13 hours ago, Ed Hudgins said:

...SEIZING THE MORAL HIGH GROUND

What is desperately needed is a full frontal assault on Sanders’ socialism and on cronyism. Candidates should continue to point out that punishing real producers will simply kill production and job opportunities. Punishing honest bankers who don’t accept government bailouts will mean everyone will have a tougher time accessing credit.

They should point out that socialism and cronyism are simply two different versions of what many on the left and right really should loathe—a system in which raw political power determines who gets what, with the only question being whether Trump, Sanders, or Clinton holds the gun and picks the winners.

They should point out that the current battle is ultimately between two opposing philosophies: collectivism and individualism. Collectivism holds that we all must serve one another, giving up our individual aspirations and dreams for one another, with either all unhappy or one class of exploiters and another of suckers. Individualism holds that our lives are our own, not the government’s or our neighbor’s. It holds that we owe one another respect, not goods and services. It holds that we’re responsible adults and should refuse to be treated like children by paternalist politicians. And it holds that we should take pride in our achievements and never be guilt-tripped for our virtues...

Well said!

Additional suggestion:

The candidates, as well as organizations like TAS, should follow Ayn Rand's lead and SHOW the effects of envy and socialism that have happened in reality rather than merely "pointing out" philosophical differences. Otherwise it sounds to the average voter like unproven theorizing, especially to young voters who don't have the life experience or exposure to economic history to know of the actual effects of magic Santa Claus socialist economic theories which are presented as having no negative consequences.

Candidates, and TAS, should use their resources to make it real to uninformed voters by SHOWING the history of real world destruction and misery that has resulted from socialism, and they should do so in a variety of media: written, visuals, video, sound. Connect with people and make it real. Give them something that their senses can hold on to in addition to the intelligent, but mere, theorizing.

J

 

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Jonathan - I'm looking at ways to do just that! That's my meaning of "real-world philosophical medicine"  There's a place for academic discussion, but in the real world, friends of freedom need to present an integrated and inspiring vision of the world as it can be and should be, and to offer particular examples that will make real the economic and social dysfunction as well as immorality of the current system as well as positive possibilities of the alternative. Rhetoric, broadly defined, is the the skill most needed in this pursuit!

None of the current GOP candidates meet our criteria as total friends of freedom. This is why I suggest a grassroots strategy. Politicians more often than not say what they think their audiences want to hear. Trump understands that his base of support want to hear that he will come in, kick asses and smash the current corrupt system. Trump is less of a friend of freedom than most of the other candidates. But while the others point out that he is not in sync with his supporters on many issues, he also knows that this doesn't matter too much. His supporters will overlook inconsistencies because they see all the other candidates as weak, programmed, or whatever.

If alternative audiences ask for a different message, there's a chance that the other candidates could pick up on this. Also, there is a greater chance of influencing local candidate in local elections.

The battle continues ...

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7 hours ago, Samson Corwell said:

Every standard except the lopsided American one.

You have a lot of difficulty giving a direct answer to a quality question, don't you?

A...

 

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Adam, try this article...

https://spfaust.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/socialism-vs-social-democracy-whats-the-difference/

There's a lot of "wishing" going on in that article, though.  I'd still like to hear what practical differences Samson can share.  For instance, how does a social democrat differ in his actions from a socialist by being reflective rather than emotional? 

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1 hour ago, dldelancey said:

Adam, try this article...

https://spfaust.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/socialism-vs-social-democracy-whats-the-difference/

There's a lot of "wishing" going on in that article, though.  I'd still like to hear what practical differences Samson can share.  For instance, how does a social democrat differ in his actions from a socialist by being reflective rather than emotional? 

Thank you. 

Confirms what I know about the distinction between the two.

A...

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Here and here try to distinguish between the two ideas. Democratic socialism favors social ownership of the means of production, whereas social democracy favors regulation of a capitalist economy. Who controls makes the distinction much fuzzier. Nominal private ownership and heavy control by the government is little different from social ownership by the government. The biggest difference is that the social democrat can blame capitalists and business people, whereas the democratic socialist can't.

I considered posting this earlier, but waited to see what Samson had to say.

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Despite saying she’s not a socialist, Hillary Clinton is unable to explain how Democrats and socialists are different in a recent MSNBC interview: https://youtu.be/xEDklZv3ZO8

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also couldn’t explain the difference between a Democrat and a socialist. https://youtu.be/JHpiMv3Sy8Q

 

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On 2/16/2016 at 0:07 PM, dldelancey said:

Adam, try this article...

https://spfaust.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/socialism-vs-social-democracy-whats-the-difference/

There's a lot of "wishing" going on in that article, though.  I'd still like to hear what practical differences Samson can share.  For instance, how does a social democrat differ in his actions from a socialist by being reflective rather than emotional? 

Social Democrats are just supportive of welfare and labor as far as I understand it. If the Scandinavian countries are social democracies, as is commonly held, then I don't see much resemblance to socialist countries that used to exist. (Cuba is probably the last socialist country. I don't know what to call the Hermit Kingdom, which looks like some bizarre hybrid of monarchism, military rule, and other things. It's a fascinating polity, in a morbid sort of way. North Korea certainly is not Marxist, since it holds man to be the shaper of history instead of the other way around.)

It's not that social democracy is anything of particular interest to me. I find all politics and forms of government interesting. One difference I can spot between social democracy is that it is comfortable with the existence of businesses and that socialism aims at worker-organized industry. Or something like that. Labels abound. I should note I have never felt comfortable with the oh so popular sliding scale of capitalism and socialism.

On 2/16/2016 at 1:39 PM, MereMortal said:

Samson, is being a social democrat a good thing?  What's the benefit?   

Never said being a social democracy is a good thing, Mortal, only that there is a difference between being one and being a socialist "republic". Sanders is wrong, I believe, to call himself a socialist. The general public doesn't seem keen on the details of certain labels. It's kind of like how free market capitalism and crony capitalism are another source of confusion, wouldn't you agree?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/16/2016 at 1:55 PM, merjet said:

Democratic socialism favors social ownership of the means of production, whereas social democracy favors regulation of a capitalist economy. Who controls makes the distinction much fuzzier. Nominal private ownership and heavy control by the government is little different from social ownership by the government. The biggest difference is that the social democrat can blame capitalists and business people, whereas the democratic socialist can't.

What I called  "social democracy" Ayn Rand called "fascism."

 

Quote

Both “socialism” and “fascism” involve the issue of property rights. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Observe the difference in those two theories: socialism negates private property rights altogether, and advocates “the vesting of ownership and control” in the community as a whole, i.e., in the state; fascism leaves ownership in the hands of private individuals, but transfers control of the property to the government.

Ownership without control is a contradiction in terms: it means “property,” without the right to use it or to dispose of it. It means that the citizens retain the responsibility of holding property, without any of its advantages, while the government acquires all the advantages without any of the responsibility.

In this respect, socialism is the more honest of the two theories. I say “more honest,” not “better”—because, in practice, there is no difference between them: both come from the same collectivist-statist principle, both negate individual rights and subordinate the individual to the collective, both deliver the livelihood and the lives of the citizens into the power of an omnipotent government—and the differences between them are only a matter of time, degree, and superficial detail, such as the choice of slogans by which the rulers delude their enslaved subjects. Link

 

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