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Arnold Ahlert / Feb. 27, 2020

'Berning' Down America

Democrats petrified by the rise of Bernie Sanders have only themselves to blame.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” —Ronald Reagan

“In many US states, a single high-school history class is the only civics instruction that future voters ever receive. Eight states don’t even make the study of American history a graduation requirement.” —from a column, “Public schools are teaching our children to hate America,” by Mary Kay Linge

Bernie Sanders is what you get when orchestrated ignorance, a cultivated contempt for America, and “an everyone gets a trophy just for showing up” sense of self-entitlement reaches critical mass. On Monday night, the leading Democrat candidate for president released a plan calling for a cornucopia of big-government “solutions” to the nation’s problems that demonstrates exactly that. It is a paean to the idea that there are sufficient numbers of intellectually challenged Americans who believe that massive giveaways are “free” or can be paid for by extracting large sums of money from “greedy” fellow Americans who have “more than their fair share.”

Why did Sanders release the plan? Perhaps it’s because he is as ignorant as many of his followers. Asked how he’d pay for his program, Sanders insists he “can’t rattle off to you every nickel and every dime.” Tuesday’s chaotic debate proved no better, as Sanders had difficulty answering a number of other questions as well.

Yet who’s kidding whom? For legions of “Bernie Bros,” who see the 78-year-old socialist/Marxist as more of a televangelist than a presidential candidate, details are largely irrelevant.

Even more irrelevant? These same followers — who support a plan that envisions raising money by precipitating lawsuits against the fossil-fuel industry, eviscerating the military, massively expanding the power of the IRS, and simply seizing wealth for the sake of “social justice” — somehow presume that behavior is static. In short, they think no matter how much money one extracts from the private sector, people will continue to work, take risks, create new businesses, and live their lives as if nothing has changed.

It doesn’t get more ignorant than that, yet that ignorance is hardly surprising. “Feel the Bern” is a triumph of emotionalism over intellectual curiosity.

And no one champions that useful-idiot dynamic more than Sanders himself. Sanders remains an apologist for one of the most repressive regimes on the planet. “We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but, you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad,” Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who had played a 1985 clip of Sanders extolling Castro’s virtues. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did?” Sanders continued. “He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

For older Americans, idiotic tradeoffs have a familiar ring, akin to the apologist assertions that murderous dictators like Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler were not all bad, because Mussolini made the trains run on time and Hitler restored the pride of a German populace devastated by WWI. In that vein, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) had the perfect response to Sanders’s assertion: “It really makes a difference when those you murder at the firing squad can read & write.”

Sanders’s affection for totalitarian societies isn’t limited to Cuba. The man who honeymooned in the Soviet Union also praised it for providing a “whole variety of programs for the young people, and cultural programs which go far beyond what we do in this country.” He added, “We went to a theater in Yaroslavl which was absolutely beautiful — had three separate stages.”

Columnist Katya Sedgwick, who grew up in the then-Soviet Socialist State of Ukraine, gave the proper context to such an assertion. “My generation of Soviets came of age knowing that the USSR was built on tyranny and lies,” she writes. “We are the most cynical generation in Russian history. Once the country crumbled, our lives spun out of control. As a result, Russian speakers my age suffered through high rates of substance abuse, low life expectancies, and through-the-floor birth rates. On the plus side, we grew up with gaudy chandeliers in public places.”

The same kind of cynicism is the life blood of Sanders’s campaign. Columnist Jake Novak illuminates a number of factors that drive it, all of which involve the alienation of younger Americans, besieged by student debt, even as they underwrite Social Security and Medicare skewed toward older Americans, and remain largely ignored by the establishment members of both parties.

Novak also explains that Democrats have brought Sanders’s popularity down upon themselves, courtesy of their assertions that President Trump is a white supremacist and an agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Think about it: if you really believe the president is a traitor and supporting violent plots against non-white Americans, is this really the time to support mainstream Democrat or Republican candidates?” he writes. “Sanders may be a career politician, but he’s never been a mainstream politician. His persona and political brand fits much better into the current Democratic narrative that we’re living in desperate times.”

Desperation is an emotion, and there is little doubt that emotionalism has transcended intellectual rigor in modern-day America. We are a nation where absurd concepts such as “triggering,” “microaggressions,” “intersectionalism,"and "my truth” have supplanted logic and reason as the common currency of younger generations so cynical, many believe the entire planet has only a dozen years left until climate apocalypse ends humanity itself.

Thus an entire reordering of society, a.k.a. “fundamental transformation” — with retribution as a possible part of the “social justice” mix — is the only way forward.

The searing irony is impossible to ignore. “Democrats have for decades (since JFK) admired godless socialism,” columnist Kevin McCullough explains, even as he further notes that the party “lied about what it all means — especially during election cycles — knowing that middle of the road Americans wouldn’t quite be able to stomach it.”

Enter Sanders, who has unmasked the subterfuge to the utter horror of establishment Democrats and their mainstream-media allies, who are appalled by Sanders’s honesty.

Why? By any reasonable standard, every Democrat still in the presidential race is a radical leftist in a party that has reached “peak progressivism,” as Victor Davis Hanson puts it. Thus it’s hardly surprising that a genuine socialist/Marxist would resonate more than his less honest competitors.

Yet Sanders represents something else as well. For decades, this nation has done a terrible job passing American exceptionalism down to the next generation, and at some point that failure reaches critical mass.

Can Sanders win the nomination? If Sanders maintains his front-runner status, Democrats will likely engender chaos — maybe even a brokered convention — in trying to prevent it. If Sanders still prevails? The 2020 election will be all about revolution or repudiation.

Here’s hoping for repudiation — on a massive scale. A constitutional republic is a terrible thing to waste.

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