Posted by: JDM..... | March 6, 2016

A bombastic blowhard and a wolf in sheep’s clothing…

These are not the makings of a nice fairy tale….

Some have put Donald Rump and Bernie Sanders in the same bin for supposedly appealing to the disaffected and so called disenfranchised of the electorate, but this attempt at simplification goes astray from the reasonable trajectory, like a rifle shot in a stone quarry. These two men are quite different in virtually every way.

Trump, besides being a bit of a child in general, is the poster child for the popular caricature of Corporate Evil. He’s a bully, he’s bombastic, belligerent, and Narcissistic. If all of that is just his “stage presence”, his established track record as a liar will be proven to go character-deep; and those are his good points. Nobody knows what he wants or what he intends to do. I don’t think he does, either….with a foresight that doesn’t reach the end of his nose. He likes the game.

Bernie Sanders is another story. The man is sincere in what he represents and is not a feather in the wind. He is also very wrong about America and where it should be heading.

Sanders makes no apology about his socialist preferences and leanings, nor should he be. That’s who he is, and I appreciate him being honest about that.

Like Trump, Sen. Sanders appeals to the “disaffected”, but to a different aspect of that position. He seems to appeal to the younger crowd, and he seems to appeal to those of the “progressive” or “left” persuasion, though I wish it was possible to avoid such hackneyed labels. Such is the nature of language. Radical change tends to historically be the bailiwick of the college crowd, but I have to keep in mind that my own generation didn’t exactly create heaven on earth. A little bit of “real life” helps to temper some of that passion, often too much.

Central to my opposition to Sen. Sanders is the very thing that is central to his politic. I don’t like the basic assumptions and principles of “socialism”, and I’m not confusing that with conceptual extremes, nor am I reverting to fighting commies in my imagination like we did when playing Army around the neighborhood in the early fifties.

My understanding of Sanders’ “Democratic socialism” is rudimentary, but essentially I see the difference between that and my own position being I believe “private property” to be inviolate, whether that means my back yard, or a business.

I read a comment on line not long ago by a person who presented her take, rather condescendingly I might add, by bundling anybody utilizing or favoring “public schools, parks, police, and Social Security,” and umpteen other such entities as proof that we are all socialists anyway. I might agree to some extent on the Social Security argument, even though I am now largely dependent on it, but I have to insist that a private, market based system would be far better, far more lucrative, far more stable than the government model has been.

Such things as public services were conceived as extensions of government and have never been otherwise. A group of citizens deciding to usurp authority over private ownership in order to direct its use and purpose to their own interests, or to what they presume to be the best interests of everyone else, is a different matter altogether. Democratic socialism seems to acknowledge the hazy boundary between private and public interests, but exploits that by erring on the side of “as far as one can push Liberalism without blatantly violating the Constitution”.

Let’s be clear. I fully understand and accept that, when one lives in a “community”, there are certain concessions we have to make out of respect for the rights of others. Human beings are “social animals”, but we are also independent cusses. Some make a bit of a mess out of that by combining not wanting to be told what to do with telling everybody else what to do. Oddly enough, I don’t necessarily think that is a socialist franchise.

My personal position might be loosely described as “my rights end where yours begin.” The boundary between the two is the hazy one referred to above. It’s that way by design and by necessity. Efforts to quantify and neaten it up for convenience’ sake are the political rationalizations of one faction trying to achieve control over other factions. Such is the human need to engage in King of the Mountain. Such is the temptation to cheat.

But, back to the matter of Sen. Sanders.

I oppose Sanders and his politic because I strive for less government and less intrusiveness by that which out of necessity remains. I oppose government replacing parents, both in the literal sense up close and personal, and in the more figurative “global” sense as prescribers of the national persona and of our values and behavioral choices.

While domestic government missions may start out with a good idea and unimpeachable foretelling, they tend to go astray, because of the nature of the beast, evolving into self perpetuating government jobs programs. The ills acknowledged during the fifties and sixties have not been eradicated, although they have been significantly changed. Those changes have been largely positive, but like most paths of human progress, the footprints left are not. The horrible state of Americans of African heritage endured until the mid twentieth century has improved to the point that we have a President of African heritage, and more. Yet, there has been a sort of captive dependency created among those who, for whatever reasons, have not achieved personal and financial success. The concept of “equality” has been perverted from the idea of nobody being deprived life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, into a quantified credo of John living as well as Pete, and John enjoying his definition of happiness on someone else’s dime if he comes up a bit short there.

What do I owe my fellow citizens, and guests, of the USA? I owe them respect, not only as human beings, but as owners of personal space and personal property which are none of my concern. I owe them the rights associated with personal responsibility, the potential wisdom to be achieved through personal failure, and the self respect earned through earned success. I acknowledge those as rights that they have, and that I have, as “natural” rights, not temporary “rights” lent according to the permissions of others.

As a social animal, I have an innate awareness of the value of teamwork, and a tendency to be charitable. That quality is not by nature equal in all of us, but it exists, and has always been expressed in the context of the times. Only when government usurps the right to be charitable according to the dictates of one’s conscience and ability does that quality begin to fail. I remember reading of how a village community provided a widow with firewood, and people chipped in to help maintain her home, and so forth, back in mid-seventeenth century New England. Today, the picture would , of course, be quite different. Enabled and supported by an army of salaried bureaucrats and “private” contractors, she would enjoy a great deal more “benefits”, of greater quality, and in greater quantity. And that would be her legacy.

Charity is “big business”, and like any industry, it needs raw materials.

The raw materials of government charity are people in need as defined by government. No bag of rice and five pound block of cheese here. Today, although most respect the opportunity and act accordingly, “food stamp” day is steak and lobster day at the grocery store, and for those who know how to do it (it isn’t difficult), the available “charity” can be converted to cash for beer, cigarettes, and a few lottery tickets to boot.

When I donate a pair of shoes to the local charity that resells them, I help make work and earned income available for those who want it. When a program is developed to provide free shoes to children in the community whose families meet certain criteria, the only jobs and income provided are within the realm of those who administer and manage the program. Those shoes may turn out to be the most expensive shoes in the world….and may not even be manufactured in this country.

Socialism is bad for America, no matter how one redefines it or dresses it up. Neither I nor my neighbors have the moral right to decide how someone we have never met must operate a business that he or she created and built into a profitable enterprise. We have the right to purchase or to not purchase goods and services. We may have the right to purchase stock as well, and thereby earn a voice in the decision making process.

Sen. Sanders correctly identifies some very real problems and shortcomings in our society today, but I disagree with his ideas about how to respond to them. What is his long term vision for the country, for us?

I don’t know. But I do know that he visited Cuba back in 1985 and opined that Castro was doing a fine job of being the best thing since sliced bread. He also expressed fondness and admiration for the Sandinistas and the socialist transformation of Nicaragua. And as for the modification of the concept of “socialism,” adding the word “Democratic” to it doesn’t change the reality that under all of that lipstick is the same old pig….

…..For example, the “official” name of North Korea is the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea“.

 

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