You’ll probably want to watch a moment or two of the Sanders-Clinton town hall meeting in New Hampshire, aired by CNN on Wednesday, to set this post up.
The video is below, and we’re interested in the question posed by Marjorie Smith starting at the 3:35 mark. The questioner served a number of terms in the New Hampshire legislature.
Her overall question is about whether Bernie Sanders will be able to get things done, given his reputation for being uncompromising – for insisting, as she says, that it’s his way or the highway.
But it’s the set-up for the question that I found arresting. I’ve tried to inflect the words properly in the transcript, but watch for yourself.
Smith: Senator, many of us see how deeply held your philosophy [sic], and that matters, a lot, to us. We share those goals. At the same time, you have worked for many years to say, it’s my way, or the highway. You talked tonight about wanting to have a revolution in the House and Senate, in order to get people there who share your views.
There might be some new members of the House and Senate, but there’re not going to be all that many. How are you going to be able to work with a Congress that might not share our deeply held goals in order to achieve a more perfect union?
Sanders’ response isn’t what I want to focus on. It’s the emphasis by Smith – who comes across as very typical of older Sanders supporters – on deeply held philosophy and goals, intoned with an air of sanctified solemnity.
And what is the basic philosophy or goal of Sanders’ supporters? It’s theft from their fellow men, using government as the contract thief.
That’s not what they would say, to be sure. But that’s what reality is.
If your big goal in life is to take from other people, on principle, your goal is theft. You can dress it up however you want in high-sounding purposes, but the bottom line is that you want to steal what other people have.
It’s very important for Americans to get back to understanding this. If the first words out of your mouth are things like “inequality” and “social justice,” and if your remedy for whatever you dislike is always to take money from a third party, then you don’t care about what happens to your fellow men. You’re not exercising compassion at all. You’re not trying to make the world better. You’re merely justifying theft.
The person who actually cares about his fellow men sees the guy in distress right in front of him, and goes to help. If he can’t always be on the spot to extend his hand, he gives out of his own resources to organizations set up by people who are committed to helping others as a way of life.
That’s compassion. What Sanders and his supporters want to do doesn’t even qualify as an attempt at public-welfare “compassion”; i.e., help from the taxpayer for people in distress. There’s reason for the latter, although it should be handled as locally as possible and should not be offered to the hale and able-bodied as a way of life.
But it isn’t public-welfare compassion that the Bernie Brigades have in mind. They aren’t focused on helping people who need help. They’re focused on coercively rearranging the affairs of all their fellow men, on a statistical and not a human basis, starting first by taking money from target groups.
That’s theft – the same as it’s theft when you rob a bank because that’s where the money is.
In debating whether to compose this post today, I ran across a wonderful article at American Thinker by William Sullivan. The title is “How John Adams Predicted Bernie Sanders and His Acolytes.”
In it, Sullivan follows John Adams through parts of his 1787 work, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America.
The whole thing is must-reading, but one particular passage completes the circle of my post. Adams is addressing the penchant of unchecked majorities for thieving from their fellows using the tools of government. Here is Sullivan:
Here, Adams responds to seventeenth-century journalist Marchamont Nedham, who makes the contention that a legislative body, enacting the will of a majority, is a suitable means of governance, because people, in general, “never think of usurping over other men’s rights, but mind which way to preserve their own.”
“[I]f the people never, jointly nor severally, think of usurping the rights of others, what occasion can there be for any government at all?” Adams asks. “Are there no robberies, burglaries, murders, adulteries, thefts, nor cheats…. Is not a great part, I will not say the greatest part, of men detected every day in some disposition or other, stronger or weaker, more or less, to usurp over other men’s rights?”
Indeed. We have governments precisely to prevent what the Sanders wrecking crew wants to do: eye what other people have, and find more and more ways to take it from them.
It is interesting to me, given the ample evidence in recent history, that the proponents of limited government must still mount an intellectual defense against the obvious fiction that man, in his natural state, is some benevolent being who would gladly take a pittance, regardless of his skill in industry and productivity which might suggest that he be afforded more, to ensure that all around him get an equal pittance. It is because the exact opposite is true, and because mankind naturally resists coercion and theft, that collectivist governments of the twentieth century, in the guise of acting as benevolent representatives of the people, have forcibly seized and redistributed property — and the results have been disastrous, to put it mildly. Communism alone, for example, has more than 100 million murders to its name in the past 100 years.
Collectivism steals, and too often murders. It has never done anything else.
We’re already struggling, in America, to breathe and live under multiple forms of collectivism-in-all-but-name. We do need a revolution in this country: a political revolution against the lie that collectivist policies are about compassion. They aren’t. Their deeply held goal is theft.