Weekend with Bernie

 

BernieBernie and Elizabeth came to Phoenix this weekend. A crowd, estimated between 2,000 and 2,000,000 filled the convention center. Imagine that! Insular as my existence is, I’m still surprised that an avowed Socialist and a faux Pocahontas populist statist could find so many enthusiastic supplicants in free-carry Arizona. Then again, the world is filled with government workers, teachers’ union members, students, and would-be artists, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

They all gathered in the whinefest I’ll call the “New Weekend with Bernie.” Sanders is markedly old and stiff, but filled with vituperous energy directed at “banks, big business and Republicans” — Satan’s trilogy of the free markets. Republicans blame the government. Socialists blame free markets. Elizabeth has obviously joined the Sanders entourage as the de facto VP candidate. Bernie, as we all can see, is one weekend away from being a recyclable mass in the mulch pile, so Elizabeth is the real heir apparent, challenging Hillary from behind. Interesting strategy.

But the really interesting thing about all this is that any pretense of free markets as a force for any good at all is condemned as vulgar, reflexively ignorant, and a kind of mass Stockholm Syndrome. To paraphase their muddled logic: We’ve all had to accept corporatism because we rely on it for everything, but this is a massive lie. Right wing corporatism, that is free markets, has no conscience. Those on the Right seek only one thing, money, and they use this money to control everything and to buy power, which gives them access to more money.

This is really the same conceit that spawned the Reign of Terror, the Russian and Cultural Revolutions and the rise of Marxist-Socialism around the world. It always begins this way, with the demonization of capitalism. It ends as the Socialists find it impossible to control economic reality. Productivity declines, resources diminish, and rationing follows. Since the government becomes the provider of everything, competing theologies with alternative messages must be throttled and eliminated. The end result is decline in everything – economic, social, political, artistic, religious. This always ends badly.

And yet the Bernies and Elizabeths of the world attract naive and economically challenged, well-meaning fellow travelers who are true believers. This time, they believe, we will get it right and we will crush the corporatists, the banks, the Republicans, and the Evangelicals, who stand between us and Valhalla. The power of human self-deception is epic. The message of Bernie Sanders is a mythical mixture of arrogance, covetousness, contempt and ignorance.

It’s the same philosophy that turned Russia into a vodka-sodden economic and environmental disaster. It’s the same philosophy that turned Cuba into a deteriorating time capsule filled with cowed and starving citizens. It’s the same philosophy that turned Venezuela, a country with vast oil resources, into a country of peasants facing shortages of everything. This is the philosophy that banned religions around the world, that murdered priests in Mexico, burned churches in Cuba and turned amazing Orthodox churches in Eastern Europe into crumbling hulks. And yet, as we face the rising threat of jihadist Islam throughout the world, the Bernie Sanders of the world say that our enemy is within, it is us, or those of us who believe in freedom, liberty, property, and the pursuit (not the guarantee) of happiness.

This is the message that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren spread in Phoenix this past weekend. And between 2,000 and 2,000,000 came to cheer them on.

There are 21 comments.

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  1. user_1065645 Podcaster
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    Doug Kimball: They all gathered in the bitchfest I’ll call the “New Weekend with Bernie.

    The original Weekend at Bernies’ Bernie looked more alive.

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Bernie Sanders alarms me more than any other American at the moment.

    As you’ve described, wow, does he have the Communist Party line down.

    Republicans need to recognize the true threat he represents.

    There’s a good reason communism and socialism swept entire nations up in their dogma.

    • #2
  3. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    I once pointed out to my professor friend that all socialist societies eventually fail, and at this point we have a lot of data to observe.  “When does the rational person move on from socialism?” I asked.   “We keep trying until we get it right”

    Ok.  Never give it up, despite those costly world wars and Cultural Revolutions . . . environmental degradation, etc.

    But what I asked him was, “What if someone actually constructed a proof that socialism is unworkable?”

    He was incredulous, but such a proof actually exists – The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek.  We need economic literacy very badly.  I’m surprised they still allow economics to be taught in public schools.

    • #3
  4. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Thomas Edison was the father of crony capitalism. He did more damage in exploiting government to suit his own ends than Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt combined.

    It is this damaged government policy relationship that Sanders and Warren are now capitalizing on.

    Things are screwed up, but communism is not the answer. I hope that the next Republican candidate is up to the task of refuting the Sanders-Warren dogma. Because even if they fade away, their ideas will persist if we do not argue effectively against them.

    • #4
  5. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    On Friday, I saw my first pro-Sanders car. The bumper stickers read, “Give ’em hell, Bernie” and “Vote Democrat! We may not be perfect, but the other guys are nuts.”

    • #5
  6. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    MarciN: Because even if they fade away, their ideas will persist if we do not argue effectively against them.

    It’s hard, if not impossible, to argue against selfishness.

    • #6
  7. user_385039 Member
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    In the picture Sanders reminded me of some of the pictures of Hitler, red of face, hard of gesture, finger pointing somewhere.  Yet I suspect that we’d be better off with Sanders than with the old scold.

    • #7
  8. user_966256 Member
    user_966256
    @BobThompson

    MarciN:Thomas Edison was the father of crony capitalism. He did more damage in exploiting government to suit his own ends than Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt combined.

    It is this damaged government policy relationship that Sanders and Warren are now capitalizing on.

    Things are screwed up, but communism is not the answer. I hope that the next Republican candidate is up to the task of refuting the Sanders-Warren dogma. Because even if they fade away, their ideas will persist if we do not argue effectively against them.

    I’m glad you pointed this out. Reading the OP, I actually began to feel like a ‘fellow traveler’ for crony capitalism, which I want to resist completely. If the current style democrats or the establishment republicans continue to run things, we have just two variations of liberal fascist markets. Wouldn’t free markets be a dream come true?

    • #8
  9. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Bob Thompson:

    MarciN:Thomas Edison was the father of crony capitalism. He did more damage in exploiting government to suit his own ends than Rockefeller, Carnegie, and Vanderbilt combined.

    It is this damaged government policy relationship that Sanders and Warren are now capitalizing on.

    Things are screwed up, but communism is not the answer. I hope that the next Republican candidate is up to the task of refuting the Sanders-Warren dogma. Because even if they fade away, their ideas will persist if we do not argue effectively against them.

    I’m glad you pointed this out. Reading the OP, I actually began to feel like a ‘fellow traveler’ for crony capitalism, which I want to resist completely. If the current style democrats or the establishment republicans continue to run things, we have just two variations of liberal fascist markets. Wouldn’t free markets be a dream come true?

    Yes. Well said.

    • #9
  10. FloppyDisk90 Member
    FloppyDisk90
    @FloppyDisk90

     Insular as my existence is, I’m still surprised that an avowed Socialist and a faux Pocahontas populist statist could find so many enthusiastic supplicants in free-carry Arizona.

    Everything the right thinks it knows about Sanders and Warren can be raised by several powers of 10 when the left looks at us and sees Trump.  And Warren/Sanders aren’t polling as front runners.

    • #10
  11. Howellis Member
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    I heard a liberal professor from NC State University being interviewed on the local NPR station today. He stated that we have the wherewithal to make the world a utopia if we could just free ourselves of all the impediments put in our way by vested interests. Moreover, the democratic process does not seem, to him, to be adequate to make the necessary changes, and what we need is our own version of the Arab Spring.

    I took his meaning to be that we need a dictatorship of the proletariat to be instituted by a violent popular revolt, the Occupy Movement on steroids. He sounded eminently reasonable and well-spoken, and the public radio type interviewing him did not seem to find his ideas crazy or evil.

    These are the people (some of them, anyway) who support Bernie Sanders even though they have enough education to know better.

    • #11
  12. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    You’re all giving the chowderhead too much credit.  He’s a failed liberal slob who speaks well to crowds interested in hearing garbage that reinforces their own failings and envy.

    I grew up in Vermont.  Bernie barely squeaked by a mayoral election, largely due to college student votes, and that demographic, along with a steady stream of people who enjoy being described as victims is what put him permanently into Congress.

    His economic policies, if implemented, would result in the deaths of tens of millions – but that doesn’t matter.  It’s always about him, Bernie, despite his spittle-flecked protestations to the contrary.  And about his wife, who managed to parachute out of a financially-failing Burlington College before it totally imploded, after she signed off on budgets and financing that the college could not possibly hope to cover – ever – but that doesn’t matter, either, because it’s not her problem anymore.

    That’s Bernie in a nutshell.  Runs his mouth, makes a mess, and someone else has to clean up afterwards.  Never has such a little man been elevated to such a high position, on the basis of quite literally nothing.

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Amy Schley:On Friday, I saw my first pro-Sanders car. The bumper stickers read, “Give ‘em hell, Bernie” and “Vote Democrat! We may not be perfect, but the other guys are nuts.”

    “Annoy the media. Re-Elect Bush!”

    • #13
  14. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @MattBalzer

    Amy Schley:On Friday, I saw my first pro-Sanders car. The bumper stickers read, “Give ‘em hell, Bernie” and “Vote Democrat! We may not be perfect, but the other guys are nuts.”

    Second-strangest bumper stickers I’ve ever heard of, the first being a pro-UN sticker spotted driving outside of Madison.

    • #14
  15. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Even the guy behind Bernie looks a little stunned.

    • #15
  16. user_385039 Member
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Man With the Axe:I heard a liberal professor from NC State University being interviewed on the local NPR station today. He stated that we have the wherewithal to make the world a utopia if we could just free ourselves of all the impediments put in our way by vested interests. Moreover, the democratic process does not seem, to him, to be adequate to make the necessary changes, and what we need is our own version of the Arab Spring.

    A liberal professor with no sense of reality and no recognition of history involving human beings thinks we could make the world utopia (eg, nowhere) if we could free ourselves of vested interests.

    If the professor could free himself of his lack of understanding perhaps he’d stop being liberal.

    • #16
  17. Howellis Member
    Howellis
    @ManWiththeAxe

    donald todd: If the professor could free himself of his lack of understanding perhaps he’d stop being liberal.

    He doesn’t have to free himself from his lack of understanding. He has tenure.

    • #17
  18. Gödel's Ghost Member
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Doug Kimball:Corporatism, that is free markets…

    Wait, whoa, hold the phone. “Corporatism” does not mean “free markets,” and the so-called “fiscally conservative” had better learn this, understand this, internalize this, get it tattooed on your forehead in reverse so you can read it in the mirror in the morning, whatever it takes, because if you don’t, you will get steamrolled by the populist left, who do conflate corporatism with free markets when the big corporations aren’t selected by the government. It’s just that their solution is for the government to do the selecting. Give Bernie Sanders this: he’s at least honest about it.

    We need to break through the fiction that the current system is free-market capitalism. It’s not. It’s highly-regulated neo-mercantilism, and to the extent our trade relations depend on our military strength, it’s fascism. If you want to dig into the details, I recommend:

    Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy

    International Financial Markets, 3rd Ed.

    The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America

    The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression

    The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

    Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles

    • #18
  19. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    Great Ghost of Gödel

    Doug Kimball:Corporatism, that is free markets…

    Wait, whoa, hold the phone. “Corporatism” does not mean “free markets,” and the so-called “fiscally conservative” had better learn this, understand this, internalize this, get it tattooed on your forehead in reverse so you can read it in the mirror in the morning, whatever it takes, because if you don’t, you will get steamrolled by the populist left, who do conflate corporatism with free markets when the big corporations aren’t selected by the government. It’s just that their solution is for the government to do the selecting. Give Bernie Sanders this: he’s at least honest about it.

    G3 – If you read my essay more closely, you will note that I’m echoing the opposition here, a bit of a rhetorical twist, so I conflate these terms on purpose.  So of course, I agree with you completely.  Sorry if you readi it otherwise, but my purpose was the old third person head jump, to reflect the muddled thinking of the left.

    • #19
  20. user_966256 Member
    user_966256
    @BobThompson

    Doug Kimball: G3 – If you read my essay more closely, you will note that I’m echoing the opposition here, a bit of a rhetorical twist, so I conflate these terms on purpose.  So of course, I agree with you completely.  Sorry if you readi it otherwise, but my purpose was the old third person head jump, to reflect the muddled thinking of the left.

    But our republican establishment helps Bernie’s people to sound really reasonable to those whose thinking is shallow in these matters.

    • #20
  21. Gödel's Ghost Member
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Bob Thompson:

    But our republican establishment helps Bernie’s people to sound really reasonable to those whose thinking is shallow in these matters.

    This is the soul of my criticism. My apologies to Doug if it seemed personal. I meant “you” to refer to fiscal conservatives who let the left define the terminology. Frankly, even “crony capitalism” lets the camel’s nose too far into the tent for me.

    • #21

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