What It Means That Democrats Can’t Explain Difference Between Themselves and Socialists

What’s the difference between a modern Democrat and a socialist? If anyone would now, it should be the leading Democrat presidential candidate. Let’s ask her:

In a softball interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton vehemently denied she’s a socialist, but found herself unable to answer what the difference is between a Democrat and a socialist. …

Clinton joins Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in being unable to explain the difference between a Democrat and a socialist.

Bernie Sanders admits that he is a socialist, but Shrillary won’t because she is shrewd enough not to want to terrify voters.

What’s so scary about socialists? This time we’ll ask someone who will give us a straight answer — Philip Vander Elst at the Foundation for Economic Education:

According to The Black Book of Communism (1999), at least 94 million people were slaughtered by communist regimes during the twentieth century. This is a truly colossal figure, yet that’s the lowest estimate. Professor R. J. Rummel, in his landmark study, Death by Government (1996), puts the death toll from communism at over 105 million—and his detailed calculations do not include the human cost of communism in most of Eastern Europe or in Third World countries like Cuba and Mozambique. Even so, his figure is double the total number of casualties (military and civilian) killed on all sides during World War II.

As one of the Founding Fathers of oligarchical collectivism noted, “The goal of socialism is communism.”

The full horror of this totalitarian socialist holocaust cannot, of course, be adequately conveyed by these grim statistics. Behind them lies a desolate landscape of economic collapse, mass poverty, physical and mental torture, and broken lives and communities. In fact nothing illustrates the destructive impact of totalitarian socialism more vividly than the tsunami of refugees it has generated in every continent on which it has taken root. Between 1945 and 1990 over 29 million men, women, and children voted against communism with their feet in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America (For details and sources see my book Idealism Without Illusions: A Foreign Policy for Freedom, 1989). Had it not been for the land mines, border guards, and barbed wire lining their frontiers, the world’s communist states would have been emptied of their populations long before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Yes, but Bernie Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist.” That’s different. Or is it?

One-party rule, the secret police, the imprisonment and torture of dissidents, concentration camps, mass executions, the political indoctrination of the young, the persecution of religious minorities—all these horrors have been the inevitable result of that concentration and monopolization of power that invariably corrupts the ruling elites and bureaucracies of all full-blown socialist societies. As an eminent Russian-born political scientist, the late Tibor Szamuely, wrote a generation ago in a pamphlet that should be read by the citizens of every civilized democracy: “How could it be otherwise? . . . How can there be any freedom when one’s livelihood from cradle to grave depends totally upon the State, which can with one hand give and with the other take away?” (Socialism and Liberty, 1977).

Unfortunately, left-wing intellectuals and other critics of free enterprise have always been reluctant to acknowledge the totalitarian logic of socialism, wedded as they are to a benevolent vision of the State and the dream of using its power to create a more just society. Consequently, despite all the evidence to date, many of them still pursue the phantom of “democratic socialism,” believing that democratic institutions can be relied on to prevent socialism from degenerating into tyranny. The great classical-liberal thinkers of the nineteenth century, by contrast, harbored no such illusions. Every single one of them discerned the incompatibility of state socialism with the maintenance of free and democratic institutions. They did so, moreover, long before the advent of the socialist tyrannies of the twentieth century.

These classical liberals, or as they would be called now, right-wing extremists (John Stuart Mill, Joseph Mazzini, Frédéric Bastiat, et al.), predicted far in advance that socialism would result in poverty and tyranny. They even seemed to foresee that socialist governments would inflict unprecedented atrocities. For example, Herbert Spencer wrote this back in 1891:

The fanatical adherents of a social theory are capable of taking any measures, no matter how extreme, for carrying out their views: holding, like the merciless priesthoods of past times, that the end justifies the means. And when a general socialistic organization has been established, the vast, ramified, and consolidated body of those who direct its activities, using without check whatever coercion seems to them needful . . . [will exercise] a tyranny more gigantic and more terrible than any which the world has seen.

Our massive nuclear weapons arsenal was developed to protect us from socialism. But it cannot protect us from ignorance or foolishness, which is why the likes of Obama and Shrillary are permitted to push us by increments toward the communist goal.

On tips from Varla and Torcer. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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