With Bernie Sanders as the front runner to get the Democrat nomination, for the first time in American history, a self-avowed, unashamed, unabashed socialist has the real possibility of becoming a contender to be elected as president of the US.
Whether he makes it all the way I very much doubt it.
There have been others in the past that have been left of centre like George McGovern in 1972. Richard Nixon won that 49 states out of 50, but until Bernie Sanders, there has never been someone so open about his intentions to turn the existing system on its head.
Barrack Obama came close and coded his intentions, “..to fundamentally transform America..” and it was intended that Hillary Clinton would complete the Obama 3rd term mission, as it were in 2016.
Interestingly both Obama and Clinton are acolytes of Saul Alinsky, the author of Rules for Radicals.
So how did one of the two major political parties in the capitalist, capital of the world, the United States, become so untethered from economic reality and find itself in this situation? And so rapidly?
How did Bernie Sanders gain such traction and such a groundswell of support particularly amongst the young and seemingly in a matter of only the last few years?
He gave it a shake and looked like taking the nomination in 2016 until the Hillary mob rigged the primaries and changed the rules. As an aside, they’ve done similar this time to accommodate Mike Bloomberg. And it’s not over for Bernie yet either.
Bernie Sanders and what he represents is not new and it usually comes about when more and more people feel locked out of the existing system. Feel that they’re lives are meaningless and they’re just cogs in the machinery of capitalism.That the opportunities they were told were theirs to harvest turned out to be illusory. A chimera. A mirage.
All it needs is for someone like Sanders to come along and exploit and milk their sense of victim-hood.
But this didn’t just happen overnight. It has been a long time coming and a long time in the making. And it’s not just America either.
A survey in 2018 here in Australia by the Centre for Independent Studies indicated that 58 per cent of those born between 1980 and 1996 thought socialism was a damn fine idea whose time had come.
Apparently 63 per cent of university graduates share this view whilst a further 59 per cent considered that capitalism had failed society.
You want proof of the indoctrination and brainwashing?
Well, these numbers are all the more curious given that only 26 per cent of the respondents had any knowledge of Lenin and 34 per cent of Stalin.
Perhaps this is what Stalin meant when he referred to “the useful idiots”
How is it possible to arrive at an ideological destination and not be aware of these two characters?
I mean, it’s a bit like believing Nazism is a good idea but not being aware of Hitler. Or Christianity and being unaware of Jesus.
Right across the Western world, socialism is getting a second look, particularly by those that have no sense of history or that have been so thoroughly dumbed down, brainwashed and indoctrinated by tenured radicals embedded in the university and education system and the likes of GetUp and the Greens.
Along with everything else many people, old and young, feel that they’ve lost control, that they’ve got no skin in the game and that their futures have been mortgaged and their lives outsourced to the capricious whims and vicissitudes of market forces and a cabal of invisible Amazon type global elites.
Many who can’t get into the game believe that the game is rigged against them and so, despite all the glaring, direct, empirical evidence, staring them in the face from places like Venezuela, they believe socialism is the way forward without really understanding its history or that it simply involves as Winston Churchill described it, “..the equal distribution of misery..”
Make no mistake capitalism, competition and the markets do work, but also contains within it, the seeds of its own destruction if it is unbridled, let it rip, dog eat dog capitalism.
Always leave something in it for the other guy.
Socialism has been proven a disaster everywhere it’s been tried. With socialism you really do become a cog in the wheel destined for a life of drudgery.
A little bit of socialism for the sake of social cohesion is not a bad thing. Take healthcare for example. I don’t think many people would consider the Australian model as necessarily socialist so much as just fair and the right thing to do. We consider healthcare as a human right.
Everyone suffers from illness from time to time they didn’t plan it that way, it’s just the roll of the dice of life.
In America however, healthcare is seen as just another marketable commodity and not a right.
It’s just another product to be bought and sold. If you can’t afford what you need, tough..
The free market affords people the opportunity to take a risk, to float an idea to try their luck and succeed and fail but with that opportunity comes the responsibility to ensure that as you make it to the top, you don’t kick the ladder away so that others can’t also enjoy the fruits this life has to offer.
And many people more broadly, feel that that is exactly what’s happened. The ladder has been kicked away.
The markets, like justice, must not only be free but be seen to be free they must also be fair.
Take a look around. Many young people feel dudded. They feel exploited. They’ve got their university degrees, admittedly many in many bullshit subjects but there are limited to no career prospects as much as previous generations understood them.
Sure, a lot of it has to do with raised and unreasonable expectations that, like Veruca in Roald Dahl’s, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they’ve been led to believe that they’re entitled and deserving and can have it all. NOW.
After all that’s the instant gratification message their mentors and the ubiquitous 24/7 advertising and marketing has told them and led them to believe.
But the reality is that in this globalised world many of the jobs and career opportunities in many industries have simply vanished. As has the affordable housing previous generations took for granted and enjoyed. Now it’s out of reach for many as they seem doomed to a life of rental and uninspiring, life sapping mediocrity.
Manufacturing has gone to China. Your taxi licence which was once considered your superannuation has been totally devalued and undercut by Uber, and many small business like video stores, bookstores and news agencies and with the likes of Netflix, even movie theatres are in the process of being crushed under the boot heel in the march of digital technology.
People need to feel that they have a stake in this game of life and it needs to be fixed so that they do.
People like Bernie Sanders are peddling and titillating with economic porn. They’re peddling an economic magic pudding. It is snake oil and as we’ve seen in Venezuela and places like Zimbabwe it comes with its own ruling class and cabal of sneering bureaucratic elites who will tell you how to live.
But it was a mediocre unimpressive political class who tumbled into the idea of the untethered, unfettered and unfair free markets that we have today that have created a situation where socialism is getting a second look as a viable option by confused young people who have been totally dudded.
Often so as to convey a message it’s best to speak and write with imagery that people understand.
In the case of the flirtation with socialism particularly by young people, think of it as the perfect match Tinder date.
Everything lines up, the algorithms on your device, check out out in the privacy of your own home, but then you get to the bar or the restaurant and your date turns out to be the date from hell.
Welcome to socialism or as Churchill described it, the ‘philosophy of failure’..