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Reblogged:Don't Call Bernie Sanders a Capitalist

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The Foundation for Economic Education recently published an article about millionaire Bernie Sanders with the title, "Bernie Is a Capitalist, Whether He Likes It or Not."

Although this may be true of the first of the following dictionary definitions of the term, it is patently false about the second:

1. a person who has capital, especially extensive capital, invested in business enterprises.

2. an advocate of capitalism.

3. a very wealthy person.
I would emphatically add that it's debatable, to say the very least, that "he deserves that money." It is his property, under capitalism, and he did gain it by trade. To that extent, it is proper that he has the money. But he did so while advocating an immoral and impractical -- a vile and deadly -- ideology. In that sense, he "deserves" that money in the same sense that a chiropractor or a fortune teller deserve whatever they receive from others, and he should thank his lucky stars for the remnants of capitalism that are allowing him to get away with it.

I do, believe it or not, for reasons analogous to criminals sometimes walking free in our justice system: It's the price we pay for the protection of the rights of the individual being the default in our government. Or which, like private property ought to be default, but which Sanders and his ilk want to finish turning into "51 percent of people choos[ing] something, and the other 49 percent have to go along." This article, sadly and tellingly, does not convey outrage or even alarm that this is an increasingly accurate description.

The piece does contain other interesting information -- such as a link to the instructions Sanders could follow to volunteer for income equality, were he sincere about his advocacy of the same; and it does indicate that socialism calls for government coercion. But it misses a big opportunity to make a case against Sanders that would really hurt: a moral one.

As Ayn Rand once pointed out to FEE founder Leonard Read:
Bernie_Sanders.jpg
Image via Wikipedia, public domain.
The mistake is in the very name of the organization. You call it The Foundation for Economic Education. You state that economic education is to be your sole purpose. You imply that the cause of the world's troubles lies solely in people's ignorance of economics and that the way to cure the world is to teach it the proper economic knowledge. This is not true -- therefore your program will not work. You cannot hope to effect a cure by starting with a wrong diagnosis.

The root of the whole modern disaster is philosophical and moral. People are not embracing collectivism because they have accepted bad economics. They are accepting bad economics because they have embraced collectivism. You cannot reverse cause and effect. And you cannot destroy the cause by fighting the effect. That is as futile as trying to eliminate the symptoms of a disease without attacking its germs. [bold added] (Letters of Ayn Rand, pp. 256-257)
FEE would have done better to point out that Sanders, like many others who have become the first kind of capitalist -- including many who truly deserved their fortunes, like Bill Gates -- are far from being the second kind. More broadly, they could have noted that unless more of us become the second kind of capitalist, there won't be any of the first kind for much longer.

-- CAV

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