Democratic socialism is enjoying a populist ride on the Bernie Sanders express this strange, yet revealing, political season. Voters are flocking to hear Uncle Bernie’s view of life in a truly wondrous world under socialized plans for all our daily needs. Not a want or a need shall be draped upon the shoulders of those who support his platform and the promise of delivering a first ever successful attempt to govern under democratic socialism.
History shows many attempts and, to date, socialism fails from human nature caving to temptation, leaders who crave the power, and the simple fact planning daily needs for any size country has proven impossible. Redistributing resources is much more complex than simply allowing a society to decide needs through supply and demand. The best plans have failed and when those plans fail death and destruction have followed. Despite history being filled with socialism’s consequences we, the citizens of the United States, are asked to cast our vote in favor of Bernie Sanders. We must ask but one question; do we trust human nature enough to risk the consequences suffered by millions of people before us?
Founded as the first, modern Federalist Republic, the U.S. now is facing rapid decline in a government by, for, and of the people. The final days of constitutional order are slipping away under thunderous applause. Bureaucrats, lobbyists, a strengthening political class, and special interest groups dominate an ever evolving centralized approach to governing. Liberty, a natural occurrence under American Federalism, wanes while freedom becomes less important than redistributed support. “A major source of objection to a free economy is precisely that it gives people what they want instead of what a particular group thinks they ought to want. Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.” (Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, 1962)
Many, especially among those proclaiming progressive stances, blame capitalism for our country’s woes. Capitalism is cast in the role of the strawman. Today’s challenges cannot logically be tied to capitalism since we have not lived in a truly capitalist society for nearly a century. Most of us have never lived under anything more than a growing adulteration of capitalism, sometimes referred to as crony capitalism, where government and big business align to suppress competition and grow rich. Politicians, lobbyists, and bureaucrats are really good at delivering the patter, misdirecting reality skillfully, and profiting wildly from our amazement at the tricks performed. Their audiences are mystified and convinced capitalism must truly be at fault, bad capitalism.
It is easy to understand Bernie 2016 bumper stickers in a country known for hunting down and exposing socialist sympathizers just 60 years ago. In the waning days of capitalism and liberty we can witness the division among people when national government takes on the role of fair distributor for daily goods and services. States and cities have devolved into servants of their national counterparts too addicted to the grants-in-aid coming from federal taxation and regulatory manipulation.
In its heyday liberty was governed under federalism’s rules. Many serving were true statesmen bringing some sanity to the halls of government. Bureaucracy was minimal, government was truly small enough daily life was only mildly impacted while citizens were fiercely independent. Depending on government was not an answer, there were plenty of better approaches to helping overcome challenges and these resources were shared closer to home. Politicians had a turnover rate of nearly 50% each election cycle, most wanting to go back to their private careers and get back to living. It was not a career path but a true public service carried out under an oath of office respected and honored more often than not compared to its perfunctory role today. There were always challenges and corruption yet it pales in comparison to what is accepted as a natural part of government today.
Never designed for efficiency, federalism (especially the enhancements of American Federalism) was geared for the efficient protection of individual liberty. It was a natural right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness driving men to form a constitution filled with stops along the legislative road to enacted laws, referred to as checks and balances for a reason.
Human nature was well known for the weakness when faced with the temptation of governing power and riches. The efficiency of centralized rule over the governed was also well known to be oppressive of the many by the few who held authority. Today’s socialist proposals are not as efficient as a monarch but they are able to produce far more regulation and law than anything true federalism would allow while quickly consolidating toward an oligarchy already visible under the tainted approach of the U.S. government today.
Law controls and anything that controls should not be rushed. It should be well considered, debated, discussed, and agreed upon. Socialists accelerate this process, streamlining into existence behemoth, incomprehensible regulations. Most will admit over regulation has helped create agencies that are inherently ineffective, corrupt, and wasteful while making daily life far more complex. 2600 pages of federal regulation were created by the 1930s. It has ballooned to more than 800,000 pages today with no end in sight and more socialist approaches looming no matter who wins or loses each election. It is bigger than we can reasonably read and comprehend. Yet too many are caught up in the capitalist blame game to consider a return to federalism. Beyond being simply ignored, the Constitution is scorned as an old, out dated document unfit for modern society.
Liberty is hard and it does have consequences of its own so socialism is given even more life, more chances, despite the death it has led to throughout history. American Federalism was only given a very small chance, in the timeline of history, and failed due to being ignored and altered. Success from liberty was rampant, the U.S. blossomed and life improved for all but those wanting to centralize control, power, and riches. With more than a century of efforts the progressive movement has succeeded in ignoring federalism and consolidating control.
Much of the draw toward candidates that lean closer to socialism (or are self-proclaimed socialists like Uncle Bernie) comes from their stump speeches and sound bites promising an easier life. We struggle in an unfair system where rich are scorned by those who’ve become rich playing their crony game, and we wonder why the rich get richer? Listen to the words, follow the hand, and understand you are being victimized but democratic socialism can deliver a fair living for citizens who demand their right to what those who are rich have. We deserve it, we want it, and those seeking enough votes to hold power promise to deliver. Feel the Bern.