It used to be if you were a socialist in America you were to be avoided like the plague. Socialism was deemed anti-American.
Does the name Norman Thomas ring a bell? Probably not, because most Americans are ignorant of history, which is part of our problem today. He was the minister who was known as a socialist who ran for president - six times - under the Socialist Party of America banner. He preached against America's involvement in World War I and when he was drafted he became a conscientious objector and became a socialist.
Likewise, Eugene V. Debs turned from a Democrat to a socialist (surprise) and ran for president five times and lost in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. He denounced American participation in World War I and was arrested in 1918 and convicted of sedition and spent years behind bars. He died in 1926.
We now have a self-avowed socialist running for president with tons of young voters flocking to him. In fact, a recent poll suggests that 47 percent of Americans would vote for a socialist as president. Perhaps not surprising as Democrats have been socialists since FDR. After all, Roosevelt created Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration - all socialist programs. LBJ created the "Great Society" and expanded social spending on the poor.
Given that Bernie Sanders is a cranky 74-year-old grandfather type who has zero charm, why the support among young people? He's only been a U.S. Senator from the small state of Vermont since 2007. While Democrats made fun of Bob Dole's age of 73 when he ran for president in 1996, age suddenly isn't an issue (which just goes to show that people only make hay out of candidates they don't like and look the other way for candidates they do like).
JFK looks be damned, being an old curmudgeon is now cool.The appeal of Sanders - as it was with Obama in 2008 - is all the free crap he promises. Mitt Romney was correct when he said it's difficult to run and win against Santa Claus. Remember, though that Santa is not giving away his own stuff - he's taking from hard-working business men and women and middle-income Americans.
Aside from the fact that Hillary Clinton has a high unfavorability rating of 58 percent according to the Quinnipiac poll, Sanders greatly appeals to the Occupy Wall Street Movement crowd. This is the same movement that turned ugly in Oakland when occupiers damaged City Hall and police cars costing Oakland taxpayers $5 million; and then were rewarded with a $1.3 million settlement in a suit claiming police corralled them outside the downtown YMCA before being unfairly arrested and held in jail for hours. This after they pelted police with bottles, metal pipes, rocks, spray cans, and burning flares.
Sanders rails against rich people, large corporations and continually harps on the theme of righting the income inequality. He's in favor of tax increases, increasing the tax burden on the wealthy and "evil corporations" - which will drive up costs of services - supports amnesty for illegal aliens and promises "free" education. There is no such thing as free.
What exactly is socialism? Merriam-Webster defines socialism as "any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods."
Why is socialism bad? Socialism doesn't bring anyone upward economically. Capitalism does when left unmolested.
Consider a light-hearted video on Youtube (search for Reagan Vs. Obama - Social Economics 101) that shows Ronald Reagan lecturing Barack Obama on income redistribution. Reagan uses a classroom to show how nobody prospers under socialism. Obama suggests all will work hard and "share everything." Reagan then calls for all grades on a test to be averaged so all students get the same grade. Everyone gets a B grade which upsets the students who studied hard and pleases the ones who studied little. On the second test the students who studied little studied even less and the ones who had studied hard decided, since they couldn't make an ‘A' they wanted a free ride so they also studied less. The second test average was a D. By the third test, the average test score was an F. See where this is going? Why try hard if your hard work is going to be minimized? You don't get people on the bottom to rise to the top by tearing down the successful or vilify them. You get people upward by inspiring them with success stories.
Remember 50 years ago when LBJ waged war on poverty? Are we any closer to that goal? Americans on food stamps has risen from 30 million pre-Obama to 46.5 million today. Liberalism is a joke.
In "Equal Is Unfair: America's Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality," a book by Don Watkins and Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, the theory is espoused that what's stifling opportunity in America is not income inequality, but the government granting some people special privileges and shackling others with special burdens. Whether it's cronyism, the minimum wage, a growing tax burden, or an out-of-control regulatory-welfare state, anyone who aspires to improve his own life by his own productive effort is finding that America is less and less hospitable toward success. Those who innovate human progress are punished, which cripples the ability of those starting out at the bottom to rise to the top.
"The greater opportunities and outcomes enjoyed by some people don't hold others back - they make others' success easier," Brook states. "What actually restrains opportunity is the arbitrary power we have granted the government: to intervene in our affairs, to pick winners and losers, to put roadblocks in the way of success, to hand out wealth and other special favors to whatever pressure group can present itself as the face of ‘the public good.' A free market is a fair market."
So if Sanders is getting most of his support from the so-called millennials, consider the makeup of this group. Consider the psychological studies of this self-centered entitlement generation, commonly called "Generation Me." Members are:
• Less likely to volunteer;
• Less likely to recycle;
• Less likely to conserve energy;
• Lack ambition because their parents have done everything for them;
• Have narcissistic tendencies;
• Want nicer things but generally don't want to work for them, said Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University;
• Have more time to themselves than their parents did yet tend to be more depressed than other generations;
• Have cynicism of institutions like school and government;
• Tend to make lousy employees with a rotten work ethic;
• Have an "inflated sense of self" that leads to "unrealistic expectations" and, ultimately, "chronic disappointment," said University of New Hampshire management professor Paul Harvey. He also says they have an "automatic, knee-jerk reaction to criticism," and tend to dismiss it. In other words, they can become delusional in thinking they're great at doing a job when they fail miserably at it.
• They care about high salaries but not doing much to get them. They also think they are entitled to get lots of time off work, said Harvey.
Where did all this come from? Here's an idea from Harvey: Our schools and parents always telling kids "You're great, you're great." The answer, he thinks, can be found in a reworking of the children's song "Frere Jacques" that he once heard elementary-school students sing. Instead of singing the original French chorus, the American kids instead sang, "I am special/I am special." His thought is that the self-esteem movement is responsible for the sense of entitlement.
It may also come from parents who have dispensed with punishment, you know, the spanking-is-child-abuse mom or dad.
Emmy Award-winning KWWL-TV anchor woman Amanda Goodman relates that on her last job, a young female intern who showed up to work one day wearing extremely short shorts and a halter top. The news director told her: "You have two options... run home and get changed and come back...or you can just go home." Her response came quickly and loudly: "WHO THE F@#K ARE YOU TO TALK TO ME LIKE THAT? YOU CAN'T TELL ME TO GO HOME!!"
Goodman concludes it's because the young intern was never told no because the adults in her life wanted to be her friend, kind of like the "I'm not going to give you a grade on this test because I don't want you to think you're a failure, even though you don't study."
Maybe that's why politicians once caught in disgrace used to resign out of embarrassment rather than state, "by God, I'm not going to quit ever." Actions have no consequences, feel some.
I was spanked as a child. My rewards came if I deserved them. I had supportive parents but you betcha I was called out when I did something wrong. I was also exposed to Christian teachings which taught us to think less of ourselves and more highly of others, something millennials cannot grasp.
So again, ask yourself why Sanders is getting so much support? Remember, the sage words of George Bernard Shaw: "A government that robs Pete to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." Or in other words, "A government that robs the hard working and wealthy to pay the poor can always depend on support of the poor."
Try to take care of yourself, people. And don't be like the bear that relies on tourists to feed him because it's easier than foraging for wild berries on his own. Once the tourists go away, you'll starve to death.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org