Dan Gilmore / September 16, 2015

So a Socialist Walks Into Liberty University…

Bernie Sanders demonstrates a quality rare in most politicians.

It was a unique moment. In an era in which politicians don’t interact with people who disagree with them, Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited Liberty University Monday to speak to an audience that is highly unlikely to give him votes.

The open socialist took the podium before a crowd of, in the words of Liberty, “North America’s largest weekly gathering of Christian students,” at an institution that is a bastion of the evangelical Right.

In March, Ted Cruz stood up before this same crowd — convocation at Liberty is mandatory — and announced his bid for presidency. It’s not exactly Bernie’s target audience.

Sanders tried to bridge the chasm by appealing to the values and morals held by Christian conservatives. “There is no justice,” Sanders told the students. But when it comes to family values and social justice, Sanders points to the lack of federally mandated paid maternity leave as “appalling.” A typical student at Liberty might say abortion or the defense of traditional marriage are more pressing issues.

“I understand that issues such as abortion and gay marriage are very important to you, and that we disagree on those issues,” Sanders’ prepared remarks said. “I get that. But let me respectfully suggest that there are other issues out there that are of enormous consequence to our country and the world and that maybe, just maybe, we don’t disagree on them. And maybe, just maybe, we can work together in trying to resolve them.”

For the Socialist Democrat (but we repeat ourselves), the question of justice boiled down to economic disparity. There are billions upon billions of dollars in the U.S. possessed by the richest of the rich, he told the students. Meanwhile, children go to bed hungry. To the Left, it’s up to the government to “rectify” this.

And in support for his populist ideas, Sanders cited the Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12 as evidence for massive redistribution of wealth. Of course, Jesus wasn’t preaching to the Romans, but rather to his own disciples — individuals, not government.

“Bernie is right about a lot,” first-year Liberty law student Eli McGowan wrote on Facebook. “He addresses a lot of the fatal flaws in the GOP and in our corporatistic nation. Unfortunately, his answers aren’t the ones we need. But beware GOP, because he’s touching a nerve you can’t, because you’ve lost your heart.”

In laying out his vision for a just, moral and good society, Sanders showed why he is dangerous for the country. While the Leftmedia have danced around the issue, Red State’s Dan Spencer notes, “Sanders is, you know, an unabashed and self-admitted Socialist.” His redistributionist policy proposals will cost the nation a staggering $18 trillion over the next 10 years, The Wall Street Journal estimates.

Sanders called the estimate “significantly exaggerated,” primarily because the Journal used another politicians’ single-payer health care bill as a substitute. But the price tag has to be in the ballpark of what it would take to institute his policies.

And where do you think that $18 trillion will come from? Sanders’ biggest campaign promise is to rob the rich to pay the poor. He’s just following the template laid out by noted socialist George Bernard Shaw: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”

While the candidate has progressive plans for the country, Sanders believes the country’s foundation is rotten. He told Liberty that our economy was “designed by the wealthiest people in this country to benefit the wealthiest people in this country at the expense of everyone else.” And during a Q&A session after his speech, Sanders declared America was built on “racist principles.” We trust Liberty students are able to see that for the barnyard excrement that it is.

Meanwhile, when does the next conservative politician make an argument for the value of Liberty before an audience hostile to his or her policy stances? Oh, that’s right — leftists who run colleges and universities often won’t let conservatives address their students. And when they do, the speaker is drowned out by obnoxious protesters. That’s because the Left despises the kind of free speech on display this week at Liberty.

Sanders demonstrated a kind of ethos in a politician that’s rare in this season’s political lineup — the willingness to approach the other side. Likewise, Liberty University deserves congratulations for offering the podium to the opposition. Conservatives should seek more opportunities to advocate for values held by people across the partisan divide, universal values of justice, peace and Liberty.

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