The enthusiasm among the expensively under-educated first-time voters for old-time socialist Bernie Sanders, is probably stoked by his (fingers-crossed-behind-his-back) promises to give them “free” college education. Among other goodies. All absolutely free, dropping from the heavens as it were. And as he calls himself a “democratic socialist”, and tells them that Denmark, Sweden and Norway are extremely happy democratic socialist countries with perfectly sound economies – why, what could go wrong if they put him in power and he has that wonderful system do for them what it’s done for those happy Scandinavians?
Margin note: Since politicians seldom if ever fulfill their promises, and never have to pay any price for not doing so, but know that promises always garner votes, we wonder why every ambitious candidate doesn’t offer free everything-he-can-think-of. Free college education for all of course – and free iPhones and free computers. That much goes without saying. But why not also: free houses, free cars (two for a family), free month-long vacations twice yearly … ? And … mmm … what else? Free yachts? No. Perhaps that would be going too far. Might raise a little twinge of doubt. But for the slightly older voter, what do you say to guaranteed paid paternal leave of say a month? Maternal leave of say six months? And who’s for a guaranteed income of [pause to think of a fairly preposterous figure] say $100,000 per annum? You see? That guy has your vote, hasn’t he? What fools we’d be not to vote for him. And if he doesn’t take everybody in, if some pause and wonder how the funding would actually be worked (absent bounty from the lord of the universe), his pitch will have the excellent result of getting the doubters at least to start asking the questions that lead men in desperate times to Real Economics.
But to return to Bernie Sanders and “democratic socialism”. It’s not what he would have them think it is.
Ray DiLorenzo writes at Canada Free Press:
Since democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and, to a lesser degree, Hillary Clinton, point to Sweden, Denmark and Norway as models of democratic socialism, let’s examine where they are today. …
Denmark has the highest level of private debt in the world. More than half of Danes use the black market to obtain goods and services. The number of people below the poverty line has doubled in the past 10 years. Denmark’s schools, according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) lag behind even the UK’s. If you need emergency medical service, you need to make an appointment. Cancer rates are among the highest in the world and [the Danes’] use of anti-depressants is the 2nd highest on the planet. Denmark has become a quasi police state. Police are not required to display their ID numbers or give you their names. Denmark has plenty of racists, pedophiles, crooks, drug addicts, you name it … and, the trains don’t run on time. Denmark, as of late, has tilted to the right. With welfare abuse, an eroding work ethic and social order, something had to be done.
Sweden had been poor for much of the 19th century until they turned to free-market capitalism around 1870. They became rich, and, in fact, between 1870 and 1936, they had the highest growth rate in the industrialized world. By the 1960s, Sweden made a hard left turn, raising taxes, welfare payments and discouraging entrepreneurship. In 1975, Sweden was the 4th wealthiest nation on earth; by 1993, it had dropped to 14th. In Sweden, the effective tax rate, in some circumstances, had reached 100%. IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, fled Sweden in 1973. Sweden came up with a scheme to confiscate corporate profits and give them to labor unions. The idea was to have a market economy without entrepreneurs and capitalists. Of course, job creation, wages and opportunity plummeted.
Until recently, Norway has resisted change to a market economy. In 1999, the former social democrat Minister of Business, Bjorn Rosengren, called Norway, “the last Soviet state”. But Norway now is gradually shifting from a full-boat welfare state to a system that rewards work and investment.
What Bernie Sanders has failed to mention, in his sales effort for democratic socialism, is that almost all European nations, including Scandinavia have seen a dramatic fall of support for socialism and now have adopted policies of free-market capitalism and individual responsibility. Sanders’ and Clinton’s idea of democratic socialism and its illusion of prosperity peaked about twenty years ago. The affluence, high levels of income equality, long life and good health, all pre-date the welfare state. Much of what Scandinavia had enjoyed is now at risk due to the welfare state, not because of it.
Generous welfare programs can stifle the work ethic, honesty, innovation and entrepreneurship of even the most ambitious among us. The Democratic Socialists, in essence, have run out of other people’s money, and ideas.
A Dane talks about the disaster that is Sweden, and warns that Denmark could be going the same way. We like the video, but do not agree with him that the answer to the catastrophe that the Muslim invasion and colonization of Scandinavia has caused is “assimilation”. Muslim immigration needs to be stopped. Deportation on a vast scale needs to become immediate policy and implemented pronto. None of that will happen. So what will? Either the total Islamization of – not just Scandinavia but – all Europe, or civil war.
In September 2015, Sanders’s presidential campaign received the support of the former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers, who wrote: “I believe that among the Sanders supporters there are thousands who are dissatisfied, who are disgruntled, but who do not have a coherent left analysis, who therefore are open to our ideas as they weren’t before they got involved in the Sanders surge. … So, why don’t we join a Sanders local campaign or go to a mass rally? … We could have lists of places and projects where anarchists and others are working with people in projects that are using anarchist and community participatory ideas and vision. Places where Bernie supporters might get involved once they knew about them.”
That paragraph and the following come from Discover the Networks:
In his first public speech as a presidential candidate in Burlington, Vermont, in May 2015, Bernie Sanders broadly laid out the major planks of his campaign’s agenda:
- He declared that financial inequality “is immoral, it is bad economics, it is unsustainable”.
- Vowing to send “a message to the billionaire class”, he said: “You can’t have huge tax breaks [for the rich] while children in this country go hungry … while there are massive unmet needs on every corner…. Your greed has got to end…. You cannot take advantage of all the benefits of America if you refuse to accept your responsibilities.”
- He pledged to enact “a tax system that is fair and progressive, which tells the wealthiest individuals and the largest corporations that they are going to begin to pay their fair share”.
- He claimed that “the current federal [hourly] minimum wage of $7.25 is a starvation wage and must be raised … to $15.00 an hour”.
- He described the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as a “modest” step in the direction of rightfully forcing the U.S. to “join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to all as a right”. “And we must do it through a Medicare-for-all, single payer health plan,” he explained.
- He called for “pay equity for women workers”, and “paid sick leave and guaranteed vacation time for every worker in this country”.
- Describing the rising costs of a college education as “insane”, he vowed to “fight to make tuition in public colleges and universities free, as well as substantially lower interest rates on student loans”.
- He pledged to “expand Social Security benefits” and mandate “a universal pre-K system for all the children of this country”.
- Asserting that “there is nothing more important” than fighting global warming, he said: “The debate is over. The scientific community has spoken in a virtually unanimous voice. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating problems in our country and throughout the world.” He elaborated that in the absence of government intervention, America would inevitably see “more drought, more famine, more rising sea level, more floods, more ocean acidification, [and] more extreme weather disturbances”, in the absence of government intervention.
- He called for the government to use taxpayer dollars to rebuild America’s “crumbling infrastructure” by repairing “our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our rail and airports”.
- He would begin this process by working to advance, in the Senate, a five-year, $1 trillion bill that he himself had proposed, claiming that it “would create and maintain 13 million good paying jobs”.
Bernie Sanders has an older brother, Larry, who says that Bernie is a “genuine socialist”.
We know about Larry from Nico Hines, who writes a quite sympathetic – even affectionate – profile of him at the Daily Beast:
[Larry Sanders is] a soft-spoken man, who has been calmly explaining his little brother’s sudden political success from his sun-drenched kitchen table in Oxford [England]. …
If Bernie is able to ride the recent surge in support all the way to the White House, Larry says he would go big — no matter what Congress, the usual conventions or even the majority of the Democratic Party might say.
“He’ll flex his muscles,” Larry said. “I mean this is not cowboy stuff, there are very intricate constitutional discussions, [but] he won’t hesitate, if he thinks he’s got the constitutional power to do something—he will do it.” …
If that’s a warning to those who think President Obama has been guilty of constitutional overreach, he also has one for Democrats who would try to moderate a Sanders presidency. … Bernie wants to revolutionize politics, but he also specifically wants to revolutionize the Democratic Party. …
There is no doubt that Larry was a formative influence on Bernie, who is six years his junior. When Larry was at college studying Marx and Hegel, Bernie was still at high school. “Sometimes I would tell Bernard about something I’d heard about or read about so I think he did get — at a much younger age than most people — an idea of political thought. So I think I did help him get started,” he said. “He has given me credit — not all the credit.”
As a radical member of the Young Democrats in the 1950s, Larry was already attracting political attention within the student body. “I do recall a Republican club paper called me ‘an obese socialist’, ” he said, laughing. “And I wasn’t even very fat then!”
Last week, Larry was appointed health spokesman for the left-wing Green Party in England. He had been an active member of the Labour Party in the 1980s, but he grew disillusioned once Tony Blair had taken the party into the center ground.
He is far more impressed with Jeremy Corbyn — the hard left campaigner who won a shock election to become the new leader of the Labour Party last year. Many have pointed out the similarities between the two men [Bernie, that is, and Jeremy], even though British politics is centered considerably to the left of the American mainstream — and Corbyn is way out to the left of that.
Larry isn’t so sure that his brother is more moderate, however. “Bernard is a genuine socialist in his sense of class warfare — that he thinks there is not a national interest so much as there is an interest with sectors of the population,” he said. “In that sense, his passion and the sense of conflict between the major owners and the rest of the population is very socialist — as socialist as Corbyn.”
Some of the Corbynistas have been helping Larry and the “London for Bernie” organization to raise awareness about the global primary, which allows Americans abroad to send delegates — and even some super delegates — to the Democratic convention. Larry said Corbyn supporters within the Labour Party had helped to arrange for UNITE, Britain’s largest union, to allow Bernie’s supporters to hold events in their buildings for free. The union confirmed that the group used its rooms without charge. The move might be a violation of U.S. campaign finance law depending on who was involved, according to the former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission.
Bernie has always told his brother that the cause of socialism, or social democracy, is more important than his own career.
Who put in “or social democracy”? It is extremely unlikely that Bernie has “always” told his brother that his is “the cause of social democracy”. That’s his claimed cause as he fights in the Democratic Party for the presidential nomination. His long career shows his cause to have been a deeper shade of red.
“What he said to me very clearly was: ‘I don’t mind running and making a fool of myself, I’ve been humiliated before — I’ll go back to doing the job I love[as Senator], no big sweat, but if I do badly then everyone will say: ‘See, I told you, nobody is interested in that crap.’ And for a generation those ideas and the millions of people he thinks need those ideas will be wiped out,” Larry said.
“He would not have run if he thought he would damage the cause — ‘I think I can make a respectable showing’ — that was his decision. I’m not sure that he thought he could win.”
Bernie Sanders has already surpassed the “respectable showing” stage, he has the Clinton camp on the hop, and the latest polling suggests that he has closed a 40-point deficit to come within the margin of error in Nevada.
Larry says he always had faith in his brother but he uses the word “astonishing” over and over again to describe the events of the last six months.
Bernie likes to praise the Scandinavian countries as “democratic socialist” models,
Here, in a 2013 video, Stefan Molyneaux talks about the Myth of Scandinavian Socialism.
We don’t agree with all his opinions, but find the facts he presents interesting:
I have sworn to Allah, that any dog who mocks the Sharia, or mocks Islam, or blames it, we will cut out his tongue. I say this without hesitation: We will cut out his tongue! That’s it. The time of transgressing against Islam, and speaking insolence, has passed — it is over. Today, the People of Lies defend their falsehoods with great zeal; so shall we defend Islam with all our might — no matter what it costs, no matter what it costs! Let the whole world burn, but Islam not be mocked.
So proclaimed Dr. Abdullah Badr, a professor of Islamic exegesis at Cairo’s pre-eminent Islamic university Al Azhar, on Egyptian television in October, 2012.
In November 2012, Raymond Ibrahim wrote about it at Gatestone:
None of this is figurative. Days after Dr. Badr made these pronouncements, on October 30, a roaming band of Salafis in Suez attacked, severely beat and tried to cut the hand off a young Egyptian grocery store worker because he prevented one of their gang from using the store bathroom without permission. The bearded Salafi had said: “I do not ask for permission.”
The assaulted youth’s brother, angered at what had happened, then “insulted the men”. Accordingly, Suez’s new roaming band of Sharia enforcers, who call themselves the “Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” after Saudi Arabia’s “morality police”, claimed that he had insulted Islam and ordered that the man’s tongue be cut out. …
The father of the two boys … [said that] one of the Salafis … “kept screaming at the top of his voice that his son has ‘insulted the religion! His tongue must be severed as soon as possible!'” With help from others, the youth managed to escape Sharia justice. …
On May 3, 2011, a poet in Yemen had his tongue cut out by “unknown assailants”, supposedly for writing a poem in praise of the Yemeni dictator Ali Abdallah Saleh, who opposes the Islamist uprising there. …
Also, in April 2011, in “moderate” Bahrain, a muezzin was attacked, beaten, tortured — including with boiling oil — and had his tongue cut, reportedly to Islam’s war cry, “Allahu Akbar!” in a wave of violence by Bahrain’s opposition forces.
In the non-Muslim world, Muslims are also hacking at tongues. In Australia a Muslim man was recently sentenced to eight-and-a-half years’ jail time “for severing a woman’s tongue“. …
Why so much violence against the tongue? For the same reason that Dr. Badr would rather see the whole world set on fire rather than Islam insulted: the tongue — which utters words and free speech — is fundamental to exposing and combating the things of Islam, whether formal Sharia law or the violent, supremacist culture born of it. As the Sheikh of Islam himself, Ibn Taymiyya, once wrote, “Waging war verbally against Islam may be worse than waging war physically.”
The Islamic powers are ever more angrily and vociferously demanding that all criticism of their appalling religion and its barbarously cruel laws be suppressed under pain of punishment.
And the West is yielding to the demand.
These are among news reports assembled at The Clarion Project under the title What you can (and can’t) say in Europe today:
The editor of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo announced the magazine will no longer publish cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed. Six months earlier, [Muslim] gunmen slaughtered 12 people in the magazine’s offices, including the magazine’s editor, senior staff and cartoonists.
The magazine’s most prominent cartoonist, Rénald “Luz” Luzier, said earlier he would no longer draw the Prophet Mohammed since it “no longer interests me.” He quit the magazine altogether.
Unlike Norway and Iceland, Denmark decided not to cancel old laws against blasphemy, despite the fact the European Union published guidelines protecting freedom of religion and belief. The guidelines state “the right to freedom of religion or belief, as enshrined in relevant international standards, does not include the right to have a religion or a belief that is free from criticism or ridicule.”
A year after the February 14-15, 2015 shooting attacks in Copenhagen by Islamists – one at an event called Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression – the Danish government convicted and fined Danish citizen Flemming Nielsen, for a November 2013 Facebook post critical of Islam.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders is under investigation by Austrian authorities for a speech he made in Vienna recently that compared the Quran with Hitler’s Mein Kampf and suggesting the former be banned as is the later.
Wilders, whose party has been at the top or nearly at the top of the polls in Netherland for many years, made the comments in the context of arguing that members of parliaments of a nation that are accepting immigrants should have a say in the immigration policies.
In 2007, Wilders was acquitted [in the Netherlands] of an accusation of hate speech for remarks he made that were critical of Islam.
In Europe’s greatest extension, America, Robert Spencer wrote at Jihad Watch in December 2015:
December 17, 2015 ought henceforth to be a date which will live in infamy, as that was the day that some of the leading Democrats in the House of Representatives came out in favor of the destruction of the First Amendment. Sponsored by among others, Muslim Congressmen Keith Ellison and Andre Carson, as well as Eleanor Holmes Norton, Loretta Sanchez, Charles Rangel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Joe Kennedy, Al Green, Judy Chu, Debbie Dingell, Niki Tsongas, John Conyers, José Serrano, Hank Johnson, and many others, House Resolution 569condemns “violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States.” The Resolution has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Spencer commented bitterly:
The leaders of free societies are eagerly lining up to relinquish [their] freedoms. The glorious diversity of our multicultural future demands it. And that future will be grand indeed, a gorgeous mosaic, as everyone assures us, once those horrible “Islamophobes” are forcibly silenced. Everyone will applaud that. Most won’t even remember, once the jihad agenda becomes clear and undeniable to everyone in the U.S. on a daily basis and no one is able to say a single thing about it, that there used to be some people around who tried to warn them.
The first cause of the greatness of Europe and the West was Critical Examination.
As we have said before, one way or another, many times:
The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies. Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.”
Totally opposed to this intellectual openness were the churches with their dogma. It was the rediscovery of the Greek legacy in the Renaissance in the teeth of Christian dogmatism, and the new freedom from religious persecution exploited by the philosophers of the Enlightenment that re-launched the West on its intellectual progress, to become the world’s nursery of innovation and its chief factory of ideas.
Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: Socialism, Environmentalism, “political correctness” – and above all by Islam which absolutely forbids criticism.
Islam is backward because it does not permit criticism. It does not allow any questioning of its beliefs. It punishes doubt and dissent. If we give up criticism at the behest of our enemy, we will be abandoning the mainstay of our might and poisoning our civilization at its root.
If we silence our objections to Islam, we allow Muslims to claim that it is the Truth. Nothing is more important for our survival than freedom of thought. We cannot accept any restriction on our expression of ideas. None. Ever.
The sacredness in which a belief is held by its devotees cannot preserve it from doubt. Reason knows no blasphemy. If Islam appalls us, we must be free to say so in whatever terms we choose. If Muslims take offense, let them try winning us to their beliefs by arguing with us and not by killing us.
Violence is no argument. Murder persuades nobody. It might compel obedience, but never intellectual conviction.
Let us express our offense at being assailed by blunt ignorance, and at being ordered by foolish politicians to hold our tongues. And our implacable outrage at being threatened by Muslims with having our tongues cut out, both figuratively and literally.