The blatant fascism of Bernie Sanders

Ezra Klein, a Bruin and also a journalist, recently interviewed Bernie Sanders, an American Senator currently challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Sanders is an old, extremely rich white man who describes himself as a “democratic socialist.” Check this out:

Ezra Klein: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …

Bernie Sanders: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

Ezra Klein: Really?

Bernie Sanders: Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. …

Ezra Klein: But it would make …

Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …

Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

Bernie Sanders: It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

You know what youth unemployment is in the United States of America today? If you’re a white high school graduate, it’s 33 percent, Hispanic 36 percent, African American 51 percent. You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those kids?

I think from a moral responsibility we’ve got to work with the rest of the industrialized world to address the problems of international poverty, but you don’t do that by making people in this country even poorer.

There is much, much more stupidity here. The choice between Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders – who is supposedly the representative of a new Left – illustrates well why the American Right is currently the faction of Ideas. This is so stupid that I’m flabbergasted. I am literally flabbergasted.

There is no way this guy represents the future of the American Left. No. Way.

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “The blatant fascism of Bernie Sanders

  1. “There is no way this guy represents the future of the American Left. No. Way.”

    I think you’re right. Personally I think Elizabeth Warren represents the future of the American Left. As an aside think about what Sander’s relative success says about the candidacy of HRC.

    “The choice between Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders – who is supposedly the representative of a new Left – illustrates well why the American Right is currently the faction of Ideas.”

    An interesting hypothesis. In your opinion, what is the best idea being promoted by the American Right? Which of the 19(?) candidates for the Republican nomination is the most vigorous promoter of this idea?

    • A good point about HRC and popular trends.

      I’m on my phone so I’ll give you a better reply later, but open borders and free banking are two big ones (that could be bolstered by world federation).

    • Ok, first, a list of the five richest Senators from the 111th Congress via RollCall:

      • John Kerry $167.55 million (Democrat – Massachusetts)
      • Jay Rockefeller $80.45 million (Democrat – West Virginia)
      • Mark Warner $72.37 million (Democrat – Virginia)
      • Frank Lautenberg $48.38 million (Democrat – New Jersey)
      • Diane Feinstein $42.94 million (Democrat – California)

      Crazy, huh?

      The Warren wing of the Democrat Party may be the wave of the future for the Left, and there are correlations between it and the progressive wing of the Right. Both factions have identified monetary policy and “trade” as areas that are in dire need of improvement.

      Open borders and free banking (shameless plug for worldwide federation!) – and recognizing that the two will never happen as we’d like them to in our lifetimes – are the proposals currently being put forth by the American Right to tackle the issues raised by bad monetary and trade problems. The Warren wing seems to think that legislating a higher wage will fix trade problems (rather than eliminating barriers to freedom of movement, i.e. open borders) and burdening the financial sector with even more arbitrary regulation to fix monetary problems.

      The main reason why policy prescriptions are so different, even though both factions have identified the same problems, is because of the intellectual framework each side is using. Libertarians think ion terms of ‘public choice’ and how factions go about using the political system to capture rent, whereas the Left’s reformist policies are largely reactionary, and think in terms of an imagined equality of outcomes.

      As far as candidates go, I haven’t been paying much attention to the GOP field because it is so large at the moment, but the campaign to “End the Fed” is largely a campaign to introduce more currency competition into the economy by breaking down legislative barriers that have given the Federal Reserve system a monopoly on issuing money and credit, and many Hispanic and Asian politicians have been pushing for a better immigration system (Rubio, Jindal, etc.). There are Democrats who support these policies, but I don’t see much in the way of intellectual advancement by Leftist thinkers that can match the rigorousness of arguments like open borders or free banking.

      • Open borders is an idea generated and promoted by the American Right? Promise me that if we ever meet you’ll share whatever it is you’ve been smoking. For the less crazy portion of the American Right look at pages 25-26 of the 2012 Republican party platform, the portion devoted specifically to immigration. For the rest of the American Right I have two words: Donald Trump. Open borders indeed.

      • Rubio’s campaign site says zero about immigration as an issue let alone open borders. Surely the issues section of Jindal’s campaign website will highlight his push for open borders….

        https://www.bobbyjindal.com/issues/

        So much for the Hispanic and Asian politicians in the American Right

      • The last two were immigration washouts. We need to check on a more libertarian politician if we’re gonna see proselytizing for open borders. I wonder if Rand Paul has anything on immigration in his website…he does!

        https://www.randpaul.com/issue/immigration

        “As President, I would secure our border immediately. Before issuing any visas or starting the legal immigration process, we must first ensure that our border is secure.”

        Yup, the American Right is a hotbed of open border proponents.

      • Wow, you totally destroyed that straw man Dr A! I’m so impressed!

        Just two things to think about as we sweep up your mess:

          1. The American Right and the GOP are two very different things
          2. Ideas, such as open borders, and policies, such as immigration reform, are two very different things

        I can’t argue with your righteous indignation, but I can ask you if you see – anywhere on the Left – an ongoing conversation about open borders, or even about honest immigration reform? I will tell you what I see from this meta-level. One, open borders is not something the Left approves of. Even those on the Left who join libertarian advocates in calling for less restrictions on the free movement of labor have trouble advocating the same thing for the free movement of capital. Two, Democrats’ (as opposed to the American Left in general) policy proposals for immigration reform are dishonest, as they seek merely to increase vastly the size of their Party rather than to build any coherent, long-lasting foundation for an open society. That is to say, their immigration policy proposals are at least as reactionary as the calls for a wall coming from the far Right.

      • “I can’t argue with your righteous indignation, but I can ask you if you see – anywhere on the Left – an ongoing conversation about open borders, or even about honest immigration reform?”

        In order No, and yes. However I didn’t propose the American Left as center of action regarding new ideas. You, on the other hand claimed that the “…American Right is currently the faction of Ideas.” and that open borders was one of those ideas.

        “The American Right and the GOP are two very different things”

        Ok. Clearly we need to be using terms that mean the same things to both of us. It’s your thread so tell me what constitutes ‘The American Right’ and what constitutes ‘The American Left’. Once we have a common understanding of terminology we can resume the discussion.

      • Ok. Clearly we need to be using terms that mean the same things to both of us. It’s your thread so tell me what constitutes ‘The American Right’ and what constitutes ‘The American Left’. Once we have a common understanding of terminology we can resume the discussion.

        I have been working on a post about this very topic, and this conversation is helping me immensely. Thanks.

        First, I think there is a distinction that has to be made between the ‘ideological’ and the ‘political’. The ideological rests atop a higher tier than does the political, like a pyramid. The ideological tier houses philosophical and moral insights, which are produced through the academy and in think tanks. The political tier houses organizations dedicated to parties (I think that factions and parties are two different components of a society, and that factions represent a tier below the ideological and above the political).

        The American Right is ideological. The GOP is political. (Factions would consist of actors like bureaucracies, trade unions, industrialists, banks, medical doctors, etc., but can also be used to describe intra-party, or coalitional, differences) The American Right is currently home to three broad ideologies: neo-conservatism (elite and moderate), libertarianism (elite and radical), and traditionalism (populist and radical). I emphasize ‘currently’ because neoconservatives and libertarians were at one point Leftist factions in US history, and could easily end up there again in the near future. In many post-colonial and post-socialist societies, for example, both of these ideologies are considered to be on the Left.

        The American Left is currently home to three broad ideologies: fascism, communism, and racism. Just kidding! The three ideologies are, I would argue: New Deal liberalism (elite and moderate), technocratic liberalism (elite and radical), and progressivism (populist and radical).

        New Deal liberals and neo-conservatives are only moderate because they are dominated by Baby Boomers and Baby Boomers dominate the population at the moment. Libertarians and the technocrats are broadly younger and more cerebral (hence the radicalism). Traditionalism and progressivism are ideologies for the vulgar mob, of course.

        Ideology, using the pyramid analogy, trickles down from the top tier into the factional and political tiers. This is just how it works in societies governed by laws rather than by men. Libertarians have been dominating the ideological discussion for the last 30 years or so, and the technocrats have been playing defense, largely because they are politically aligned – wrongly, of course – with socialism’s failure, but also because technocrats are just libertarians who don’t have the chutzpah to become non-conformists.

        Successful politicians from the Democrat Party have been trying to balance their New Deal liberalism with the insights of their technocratic betters, but have been calling themselves ‘progressives’ because of the populist narrative and the fact that they need the votes of the vulgar mob to be successful.

      • The Heritage Foundation has tons of stuff on immigration. I only looked at reports, legal memoranda, et cetera and only for the last 3 years. They are ‘secure the border’ not open borders. When I get a chance I’ll see what they have on free banking.

        http://www.heritage.org/issues/immigration

      • Thanks. The Heritage Foundation would represent the ‘traditionalist’ (populist and radical) wing of the current American Right. (The ‘Ten-step plan for illegal immigration‘ is especially disturbing, i.e. assaults on freedom of movement, freedom of contract, and the checks-and-balances system.)

        Still, though, the American Right is the faction of Ideas. You won’t find anything on open borders or free banking at Heritage (I don’t think Jacques even reads Heritage, but don’t quote me on that!). You’ll find a watered-down version of those policies at neoconservative think tanks like AEI, and you’ll find the good stuff at libertarian think tanks.

        PS: Don’t forget about Rick’s old post on the Left-Right distinction, it should be considered superior to my own, earlier analysis.

    • Sure, and Milton Friedman – in a less extreme form of libertarianism – admitted that open migration policies and welfare states have a hard time co-existing. Yet freedom of movement surely trumps the political realities of our day.

      The idea, at least to me, is to advance a political reality where freedom of movement is an integral part of that reality.

  2. @Brandon
    “I can’t argue with your righteous indignation, but I can ask you if you see – anywhere on the Left – an ongoing conversation about open borders, or even about honest immigration reform?”

    When you say the American Left is bereft of new ideas I won’t argue. They have ideas that I like but they are hardly new or innovative.

    When you say the American Right is a locus of new and innovative ideas, I need to be convinced. Just because the Left doesn’t have new ideas does not mean that the Right does. So far I haven’t seen much evidence of the intellectual ferment you say is happening on the Right.

    “You’ll find a watered-down version of those policies at neoconservative think tanks like AEI, and you’ll find the good stuff at libertarian think tanks.”

    Hmm. I think I see where this is headed…..

    • That’s right baby!

      If you look for innovation in the worst possible places you can think of (Heritage, the GOP), you’ll find few examples of said innovation. Yet this doesn’t mean the American Right is not the faction of innovation. Libertarians are pushing the boundaries of what we can think about, and they are – for better or worse – currently on the American Right.

    • Hi John.

      To answer your question: “No.” But to ask the question is to answer it.

      Why the bad faith?

  3. I think there is some truth in what Sander’s is alluding to with open border’s and employment wages. Most specifically I would point to the decline of Union jobs (e.g., meatpacking – strike > decline of wages > fill those jobs with immigrant labor > legal or otherwise : http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/21/us/meatpackers-profits-hinge-on-pool-of-immigrant-labor.html ) that have ultimately led to wage depression that becomes more attractive for person’s coming from another country. They haven’t taken the jobs “from”, as much as taken jobs “left behind”.

    • Kevin,

      Thanks for chiming in. The “a decline of union jobs leads to the depression of wages which leads to demand for low-skilled immigration” hypothesis is an interesting one, and I would be open to reading some scholarly work on the topic, but as it stands it’s a bit too much of a streeeetch for me.

      That being said, I don’t think the hypothesis can be applied to Sanders’ knee-jerk conservatism on the subject; he’s saying open borders would lead to a depression of wages, not a decline of union jobs.

      All of this reminds of why I don’t think looking at wages to gauge the health and wealth of a society is worth the effort. GDP (PPP) per capita is still my go-to tool.

Please keep it civil

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s