The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, February 04, 2016


Whenever I listen to the trained hamsters in the main stream media gush about the support and enthusiasm directed at Bernie Sanders by young people, I think back to the youthful enthusism directed at Barack Obama. My goodness—Obama was young, cool, hip, glib, African American, and so, so smart. He offered us all hope and change. He promised to unite, not divide. He ... well ... if you asked young people in 2008 what they liked about Barack Obama, a glow overtook their faces and they shouted, "Everything!"

How did all of that work out for those young people, the country, and the world?

I think it's fair to say that living in your parent's basement after graduating from college with tens of thousand of dollars of debt, working in a low paying service job (think: barista) because the economy remains in the tank, and being threatened with fines because you don't want and can't afford Obamacare is not what most expected.

Yet here we are, eight years later, and the same glow is in evidence when the young talk about grandpa Bernie. After all, college has taught these first time voters that socialism is cool, and besides, what could possibly be wrong with free medical care, free college, debt forgiveness for college loans and everything else that Bernie proposes? As wannabe socialists, there's no need to worry about where the money will come from because Bernie tells them that it'll come only from the rich, and nobody likes the rich. After all, they're the people who create or invest in companies that hire college graduates, that pay salaries, that allow those graduates to pay off their debt, that offer health care benefits, not to mention training and invaluable experience that can be parlayed into a career or maybe a business of one's own.

Yeah, the rich really, really don't pay their fair share—better to give the money to the big government, 'cause ... well ... the government never wastes money or does dishonest things. It never violates the privacy of its citizens or actively attacks those citizens who disagree with it politically. It never exhibits incompetence or allows massive fraud to occur. And heavens, it would never, ever suggest that social security and medicare might be in really, really serious financial trouble. Of course not, big intrusive government is a utopian idea that socialist Bernie just loves.

The sad reality is that young people, for all of their good qualities, are often bad judges of who might be a good leader, whose politics are workable in the real world, and who offers programs that will lead to a vibrant economy that will benefit them and their children. Most don't have a clue about the history of socialism, about the repeated failure of the ideology around the word, about the wreckage left behind when the people finally reject it, about the danger of big government, or about the the word "free."

In an effort to help, the conservative blog, Bookworm Room, offers an worthwhile tutorial on socialism, its sordid history over the past century and its supposed success throughout Europe (Bernie touts this as justification for his positions). It's well worth a read at the preceding link. It's also not something that a young person would generally encounter in Social Justice 101.

Bernie Sanders deserves credit for being honest about his politics, but that's all the credit he deserves. He suggests to the basement dwelling barista that the economic system is "rigged" against her, and looking around, she raises her fist and agrees with that lie. So do millions of other young people.

But here's the thing. Over the past 50 years, that "rigged" system somehow missed millions of lower middle class men and women (like yours truly) who went to subpar K-12 schools in mill towns across the country. Those men and women sweated entrance exams and went to B-list colleges, often working their way through. They took entry level jobs, worked very hard, paid taxes, and slowly moved from lower middle to middle, to upper middle, to "rich." They did this without Bernie's "free" stuff, without socialism. They did it on their own as individuals, and that's something that a socialist simply can't countenance.

Most pundits believe that Sanders will beat Clinton in the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday, but that will be his last hurrah. That's the conventional wisdom, but this is an unconventional election year. If Sanders has stronger pull than most people think over the coming months, his socialist roots deserve what progressives like to call "a national conversation." I just hope the conversation is an honest one.