The rhetoric surrounding what Bernie Sanders calls “socialism” is, at times, ridiculous. From people calling him a communist (apparently unaware that communism and socialism are two entirely different things), to not realizing that we already have several very popular socialist programs in this country, it’s amazing how one single word can ignite so much fear within so many – most of whom don’t even know what “socialism” actually means.
In fact, I’ve argued that Sanders isn’t really a socialist, or “democratic socialist” as he calls it. No more so than FDR, Eisenhower or LBJ were “socialists.” From those three men we got the socialist programs like Social Security, the interstate highways system and Medicare. Last time I checked, seniors were rather protective of their Social Security and Medicare benefits and no one was complaining too much about having highways to quickly travel around the country on.
As far as I’m concerned, Bernie Sanders is just a capitalist from the 50’s and 60’s when politicians made more sense. Back when investing in this country wasn’t seen as “fiscally irresponsible” and we based economic policies on helping the middle class, not making the rich even richer.
Be that as it may, Sanders has decided to call himself a democratic socialist, which means the only part Republicans typically care about or mention is the “socialist” part.
Well, in a rather ridiculous tangent, Rand Paul compared Sanders’ beliefs to Jim Crow laws and challenged the senator from Vermont to a one-on-one debate:
“We’ve been saying what a fun, dramatic, and informative debate it would be if Bernie Sanders and I could have an hour-long debate. Can you imagine? Debating over what rights are versus what obligations are and debating socialism versus capitalism.
See Bernie, he says, ‘Oh, I believe in a benign form of socialism, democratic socialism.’ But here’s the problem, if a majoritarian takes away your rights, it’s not any different or less bad than an authoritarian taking away your rights.
We had this debate over whether majorities were correct a long time ago when we had Jim Crow laws. In the south, legislatures, majorities passed laws saying segregation, separate-but-equal was O.K. So they discriminated against a whole group of people in America. But that was a majority. A majority is not always right, and I think that you have rights that come from your creator that precede government that can not, should not, and must not be taken away from you by a majority, and I really, really object to Bernie’s understanding of what rights are.”
I have to admit that I love the idea of a one-on-one debate between Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul; Sanders would tear him apart on virtually any issue. Meanwhile, practically everything else Paul said was pure nonsense.
Sanders is not talking about taking away anyone’s rights. When he talks about a free college education and universal health care, all he’s really doing is pushing for an expansion of two socialist programs we already have in this country that are very popular with most Americans – public education and Medicare.
Then again, Paul lives in the land of libertarianism where they tend to believe in the “survival of the fittest” mentality where little to no taxes, an almost non-existent government and an unregulated society will allow “the market” to sort everything out. You know, just like in… Somalia. I hear they’re big on guns there, too.
But for him to essentially compare Jim Crow laws with the policies that Sanders supports is disgusting. That’s nothing but pure fear-mongering, trying to link the progressive ideas of Sanders to a shameful era in American history because Paul knows conservatives are gullible enough to buy into his ridiculous rhetoric.
Paul’s comments about the days of segregation are also odd considering he once suggested that he might have voted against the Civil Rights Act – because he’s not a fan of telling private businesses what they can or cannot do. In his mind, “the market” would have sorted segregation out. I would like to ask him how long he thinks “the market” would have taken to provide African-Americans with civil rights considering it took nearly a century after the Civil War to get the Civil Rights Act passed – and another three years after that before the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was legal.
But I say let’s have this debate. I’m sure it could be arranged. Why not? I think it would make for incredibly riveting television to see Bernie Sanders obliterate Rand Paul’s libertarian nonsense in front of a national audience. I have no doubts that if these two squared off against each other, Sanders would leave Paul reeling with cold-hard facts.
Watch Paul’s comments below:
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