Thursday, February 12, 2015
George Will's Potshots at Bernie Sanders Won't Deter Him From a Possible Presidential Run
Let me say that one courageous Senator - a member of neither party - has consistently and persistently fought the good fight against Neoliberal hegemony in our political system. That Senator, Bernie Sanders - has stood foursquare with the American people whether in fighting for stronger labor rights, or affordable healthcare or the excesses of the war-security state and its undermining of civil liberties.
What always impressed me about Sanders, from the time I supported him as a Vermont rep to the U.S. House is his ability to tell it like it is, with no euphemisms. On numerous media appearances, whether on Chris Hayes' 'All In', or Steve Kornacki's 'UP' or The Rachel Maddow show, he fearlessly spoke truth to power and also showed how we are all ensnared in a corporatocracy in which money is equated to speech - and has the power to buy lawmakers and laws.
Now that Bernie might be getting ready for a possible presidential run - as a real alternative to Hillary Clinton (another Neolib, like Obama) the snipers have crawled out from the media woodwork. We can expect the corporate -bought and paid for Dems to come out later as Hillary's hegemony over the election cycle is threatened - but right now it appears to be one conservative scribe named George Will..
In a recent Op-ed published 2 weeks ago, Will unloaded on Bernie even before he' officially declared a candidacy. But this shows how worried the keepers of the status quo are. Will wrote:
"Sanders calls himself an independent although he reliably votes and caucuses with the Democrats. He also calls himself a socialist - which is naughty without being informative."
In fact, Sen. Sanders was a socialist (a Democratic Socialist like I am) before he even arrived at the House of Representatives. It isn't as if he's being non-informative, because anyone with half a brain would know what a Democratic socialist is - if only via Googling.
Generically, socialism insists the resources of the planet (or a nation) not be rationed according to who can most cleverly exploit and abuse the monetary system - but for the betterment of the largest number of people. No one gets filthy rich - but NO one perishes in filthy, rat-infested shacks either, starved and homeless.
It means resources are not uniformly allocated only to those who have aggregated the most capital (usually via corrupt, nefarious means) to purchase them. Thus, we don't allow oil companies to frack under a home and pollute ground, air and water because they lay a unique claim on "mineral rights". We also do not disallow a sick person from access to health care because of pre-existing conditions - but we provide a uniformly accessible health system to all, without imposing costs that can bankrupt. We do this through the agency of higher taxes across the board, but especially for the richest. This is the heart of Democratic Socialism.
To do this is a societal choice.
The beauty of socialism is that it doesn't allow this rank structural unfairness to persist as a fait accompli. It corrects it systemically - say by using taxation from those who have the silver spoons (and need no more) to those who have basic, material needs.
Will tries to smear Sanders by writing:
"Time was socialism meant government ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange."
But that is more communism - which is actually an extreme form of socialism. By contrast, Democratic socialism is not centrally controlled via planning boards etc. but rather accentuates re-distribution of resources via the existing tax code. Thus, Will is correct when he informs us:
"Sanders says his idea of socialism exists in Europe's social democracies"
Which is correct. Thus, European states like Denmark, Sweden, Norway are socialist to the degree and extent their respective tax systems are used to re-distribute essential resources for all. But the commonality that underlies all of them is that none of them have a massive military -industrial complex which sucks up annually nearly 6.2 % of GDP.
Will mocks the "0.3 percent growth rate of these states" but is oblivious to the fact that there can be human growth independent of capital growth - which often acts in opposition to human betterment. No better example was recently shown than in the recent TIME in a piece on the Starbucks CEO who courageously kept his workers' health care benefits - even after being warned by Wall Street that "Starbucks share price will fall" if he did.
He thereby chose human welfare over greed. That is exactly what a President Sanders would be about - marking our best chance to turn back the growing inequality divide.
Never mind! For Will, like too many other nincompoops who have no clue what they write about, any Sanders campaign would be yet another experiment in "collectivism". (He reels off a number of historical examples of failed Socialist efforts to get into the political system)
But he shows his ignorance once more - and as I noted in a previous post (Aug. 12, 2014):
Collectivism, according to the definition given in the Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary, means "supporting or promoting the takeover of all means of production by the state". But no liberal I know supports any such thing, nor do the democratic socialist nations such as Norway, Sweden, and Denmark
So what we see here is Will pathetically trying to scare off potential voters from support of a Sanders' candidacy. He is counting on the bogeyman of communism-socialism to cloud most American brains and get them to vote once more for corporate-sponsored economic slavery and corporate socialism - using a massive, bloated military apparatus to continually invade and seize resources for markets.
Speaking for one potential voter - myself - I have no intention of being cowed and am likely as not to write Sanders name in the blank box as an alternative candidate. Better that than to knowingly endorse the extension and consolidation of Neoliberalism over another 4- year cycle - at least for me.