As we are compelled to observe the spectacle of Bernie v. Hillary, an avowed socialist v. an un-avowed socialist, here is a helpful guide, a CliffNotes version of the distinction between socialism and its more-evolved cousin, communism. Lefty politics for dummies.
It would be hard to find a better comparison than the now-defunct Soviet Union (the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) versus Nazi Germany (led by Hitler’s National Socialist German Workers’ Party). While each nation’s stated political-objective was “socialism,” the USSR sought to embody the pure, Marxist principles of international communism, whereas Nazi Germany pursued state socialism but not communism. The primary similarity of the two systems is this: (i) each country was led by an autocratic leader; and (ii) each country pursued the socialist objectives of equality of incomes and wealth and a centrally-planned economy. The principal distinction between the two nations was that the Nazis stopped short of a complete takeover of the private sector and that they based all their planning upon aggressive nationalism, while the USSR pronounced itself internationalist and a pure communist state, with the private sector not just controlled by the government but eliminated, as all private property and other means of production were to be taken over by the workers. Socialism was considered the first step in the transition from capitalism to communism, the training-wheels version, but both socialism and communism were built around class warfare: the resentment or hatred of the rich by the poor – the “workers.” (Notice any similarity to the standard American Democrat’s favored term, “the hard-working people?”) Each was a reaction to centuries (actually, millenniums) of rule by kings and emperors and land-owners. Peel away all the zillions of scholarly analyses of socialism and you find that the core principle, the core motivation, is the revenge of the poor against the rich.
Senator Sanders is completely open about his belief in socialism, which was the political and economic foundation of both the USSR and Nazi Germany. It is impossible to read any Sanders speech, read any Sanders writing, and not grasp the seething anger and resentment of Sen. Sanders toward the elites of American society – the Wall Street bankers and other financial wizards, the CEOs of major corporations, and just about everybody else who makes more money than poor Bernie. Indeed, it is hard to avoid the sense that the senator is embarrassed by even the above-average salary he is paid as a U.S. senator. He virtually cries out for revenge, and it appears to be the foundation of just about every one of his policy objectives. Bernie is a socialist. Get it? Got it? Take the man at his word.
What about the former Secretary of State, the former First Female Person? You would no more catch Ms. Clinton acknowledging her belief in socialism than you would catch her downloading an app. And yet, and yet, try Googling her Wellesley commencement address (which seems like it could have been shouted from a student-union tabletop), try Googling her senior thesis – her ode to radical rabble-rouser Saul Alinsky, a pure socialist if there ever was one (despite his lifelong aversion to being identified as one). For that matter, check out her initial foray into lawmaking, as Mrs. Bill Clinton: her ill-fated attempt to foist nationalized healthcare upon America. For that matter, read the transcripts of her debates with Bernie, in which she out-Bernies Bernie in her enthusiasm for socking it to America’s high-earners, those dreadful examples of income-inequality in America. Can anyone identify even one substantive difference between the candidates’ respective economic policies? Can anyone explain how Ms. Clinton is not a socialist?
A socialist for America’s president? Really? It is not hard to imagine the horrified looks that would come across the face of just about every American president in history, other than President Obama, when confronted with that prospect.