Some time ago, a rapper named “Killer Mike” sat down and had a fairly all-encompassing social, economic, and primarily political conversation with Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. I admit it is quite refreshing to see a relatively novel form of political discourse, and the interview has only enhanced my opinion that Sanders is a “true believer” to a greater degree than most politicians. (And it provides a convenient segmentation on which to outline a response.) That said, they say a great many things that may sound nice to the casual observer, but their ideals – while arguably admirable – are simply incompatible with reality.
To illustrate what I mean, I’ll say that every human has a right to life. However, our society must nonetheless deal with the realities of death in the form of burial arrangements, inheritance laws, and even the simple act of recording history. The human right to life does not obviate the need for various systems to deal with and account for failures to protect that right. We pay not only police officers, but also district attorneys, judges, and coroners because reality does not permit the ideal which we desire.
What I hope to accomplish here is to expose where the sentiments and statements of people like Mike and Bernie conflict with reality, and are therefore untenable. I am Christian, and that will likely have considerable bearing on my train of thought, but I believe these arguments will be apparently accurate to any honest seeker of truth, regardless of political or religious persuasion.
My goal in this series is not to assault Bernie Sanders intent or sincerity and perpetrate an ad hominem attack. I make no claims for or against these qualities; I wish only to discuss his goals and ideas on their own merits.
Killer Mike frequently refers to capitalism, which everyone is familiar with (to paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s definition of “status quo”) as the colloquial term for “America’s dysfunctional system.” I (both generally and in this specific argument) am not intending to defend America’s current system in many respects, and will therefore use the term “free market.” This system is more relevant in any case, as it constitutes the system most securely rooted in personal liberty (i.e. “freedom”), the actual ideological opposite to Sanders’ beloved (democratic) socialism (as opposed to the quasi-opposite system America represents in Killer Mike’s false dichotomy).
As always, I welcome any criticisms or disagreements in the form of comments, messages, emails, or smoke signals. But be advised that (a) I may ignore or remove profanity or ad hominem attacks, (b) the First Amendment does not prevent me from doing this, and (c) if you inform me via smoke signal that you are a socialist, I may – due to the inherent inaccuracies of the medium – wonder what a socialite is doing on a political blog.