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Reblogged:Don't Get Berned by This Quote

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In the process of researching a column, I discovered yesterday that I have -- on at least two occasions -- incorrectly attributed the following quote to Bernie Sanders:

These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?
Great useful idiot type of quote. Fits in well with Sanders's long record of touting socialism. Sounds like something he would say.

Except that he didn't.

The actual source of that quote, as I unexpectedly learned while looking for more of the same, is the final paragraph of an editorial Sanders endorsed as "must read" on his official web site.

But Gus, he endorsed the quote, so what's the big deal? some might ask. A Quillette piece on this subject titled "The Falsity of the Sanders Venezuela Meme" provides a clue:
sign.jpg
Image by NeONBRAND, via Unsplash, license.
The most irritating irony of all this is that Sanders's near-total silence on the subject of Venezuela presents ethical issues of its own, about which conservatives would find plenty to criticise if they'd only notice. Absent his belated co-sponsorship of the February resolution, Sanders has effectively ignored an important topic of US foreign relations, and now a major humanitarian crisis. He has not used his unique position as both a nationally popular politician with high public approval ratings, and a beloved figure on the American Left, to warn progressives away from the destructive delusions of the disastrous Bolivarian experiment...
This is true, but the misattribution also opens up his political opponents to charges of sloppiness. Worse, it sidetracks the conversation from What political system should we have? to irrelevant nit-picking, such as about what subspecies of socialist Sanders might be.

Whatever comfort I might have gleaned from knowing I am not alone in making this error is far outweighed by the knowledge that this widely-propagated error is harming the credibility of the good cause of liberty. We need to get off the defensive and, past a point, away from Sanders himself -- and go on offense. Capitalism is the system of freedom, opportunity, and prosperity. It's ridiculous that we're spending so much time on this man and others like him. We don't need his help in the form of this quote, and he doesn't deserve ours, in the form of this mistake.

Bernie Sanders at least pays lip service to an immoral and impractical political system based on violating individual rights. Regardless of whether he is a full-blown socialist, his starting point is massive theft and diminution of our freedom. Let's run with that and the enormous merits of capitalism -- rather than tripping over that quote, however much we (and probably Sanders himself at the time) might have wished he said it.

-- CAV

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