February 3, 2016

Bernie sets the terms: "you cannot be a moderate and a progressive."



Sad, if true, I think, but it's really just defining the terms. Progressive = immoderate. I note that's Bernie's definition. If I were personally attached to the word "progressive," I'd fight to define it, but I'm not, so I'll keep my distance.

Bernie's been tweeting a lot about these words. It's between him and Hillary. There's also this:



ADDED: Whatever happened to the word "socialist"? If Bernie has replaced "socialist" — in referring to his own politics — with "progressive," then he's appropriated "progressive" as a euphemism, and it's a slick move to say that other people can't use this euphemism for whatever it is they need to cover. If I remember correctly, Hillary adopted the word "progressive" in order to avoid "liberal," because somehow the fine word "liberal" had become pejorative in our supposedly center-left American political culture. "Liberal" connoted left-wing, and Hillary sought a more moderate image with the label "progressive."  I can see Bernie calling her on that, but she could turn around and pin "socialist" on him. That should be a powerful move.

AND: Meade dug up this Isthmus piece written by Madison's ex-mayor Dave Cieslewicz last December:
Americans cringe at the word “socialism,” and no mainstream politician except Sanders identifies himself as such. Sanders could have run from the label and tried to recast himself the way most liberals do these days as a “progressive.” Instead he essentially said, “Damn right I’m a socialist. I’m proud of it. Here’s what it means to me, and here’s why I believe my views are in keeping with mainstream American values going back to Franklin Roosevelt.”...

... I wish we would hear this kind of sterling defense from [Hillary Clinton] for a word that she should embrace: liberal. Sanders’ reason and courage is something liberal Democrats should take to heart....
Ha ha. Both of them have sought refuge in "progressive."

159 comments:

Michael K said...

As Bernie starts to get the fire in the belly that he can really win, the temptation to muss her up will get overwhelming.

Nonapod said...

Gotta hand it to Bernie, if nothing else, he's generally pretty honest.

Scott McGlasson said...

The gaping maw that has started this Ouroboros has been opened. Opened good and wide too.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Moderation in the pursuit of other people's money is no virtue. Extremism in the defense of free stuff is no vice.

dreams said...

I think he is saying that he isn't just a little bit of a communist.

Brando said...

He hit the nail on the head. She is neither moderate nor progressive, but simply a power hungry opportunist who will use any stance or ideology to get her the power and control she wants. She would be a Free Soil candidate if that was the popular thing these days.

Original Mike said...

You want the nomination or not, Bernie? Hillary's a crook. Say so.

David said...

Michael K said...
As Bernie starts to get the fire in the belly that he can really win, the temptation to muss her up will get overwhelming.


Yep. You can see it happening. And you can see that he always has disliked her. Now he has an incentive to express it.

Original Mike said...

So, if you're the Repub running against Hillary in the general, how do you craft the ad against her featuring Nixon's "I am not a crook" quote?

mccullough said...

Sounds like the saying there's no such thing as being a little pregnant.

Putting aside the label progressive, the differences I see between Bernie and Hillary are on the following major issues:

Bernie's for single payer, Hillary is for strengthening Obamacare (which is vague but at the least means private health insurance will still be around).

Bernie is for a much smaller military and against miltary intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria (and probably any military intervention that wasn't a direct response to an attack on the United States). Hillary would reduce defense spending a little but is willing to use military force much more often.

Bernie is for totally free college and Hillary is moving in that direction.

Bernie is for taxing the wealthy ($216,000 and up more, especially incomes above million a year) and taxing Wall Street speculation and a tax on all financial transactions. Hillary is willing to raise taxes more and is saying she will consider some type of tax on Wall St speculation.

David said...

Bernie is sure that he is completely right, and that everyone else is completely wrong. And not only are they wrong, most of them are corrupt and evil. This will make for an interesting presidency if he is elected.

Original Mike said...

I do hope Bernie lasts a long time. This line of attack could be very damaging to her.

David said...

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice . . . "

Barry Goldwater is having a good chuckle somewhere.

mccullough said...

Hillary really needs blacks and Latinos to vote for her in the primaries. Young white progressives and old white hippies are overwhelmingly in favor of Sanders. Hillary will also do better among upper income whites who are socially liberal and who have not left the Dem party after the Obama experiment.

Ken B said...

A moderate is just someone who thinks others might sometimes have a point.

SGT Ted said...

Scratch a progressive, find a fascist.

Limited blogger said...

Moderates will decide the election, so if Bernie is really running for president he shouldn't dismiss them.

SGT Ted said...

Modern progressives are absolutist and authoritarian.

eric said...

I've noticed Hillary attracts a lot more minorities than Sanders.

If Sanders beats Clinton, could he lose the minority vote to the Republican?

Even if its close, it'll be a disaster for Dems.

madAsHell said...

Bernie reminds me of the professor emeritus of sociology that lives down the street. He's become a hoarder, and his yard is strewn with debris. He has angry eyes like Bernie.

Nonapod said...

This is great. Bernie is just underscoring the differences between himself and Hillary.

There's two types of people who call themselves "Progressives": the honest ones and the crooks.

The honest ones really truly believe that somehow, someway (despite boatloads of both historical and contemporary evidence to the contrary) "progressivism" (which let's be honest here, is just a less threatening word for "socialism") is an economically viable system of governance. These are people who truly believe in that a $15 an hour minimum wage wouldn't be ruinous to employment. That higher education can be free and that you can truly have downright punitive levels of taxation on the ultra-wealthy without there being severely negative consequences economically.

Then there's the crooks. The crooks either know or don't care that socialism is ultimately destructive, they're in it completely for themselves.

One of these is Bernie, and the other is Hillary.

Hagar said...


"Progressives" are totalitarian, and I don't think Bernie Sanders is that; he is just a superannuated crackpot from the seventies.
Nor do I think he even knows what a socialist is.

Brando said...

At some point Hillary is likely to win her nomination and will need the Sanders supporters to not just back her but show up and vote. I have doubts that she can really do this--she is a painfully bad politician and it rings hollow when she tries to ape Bernie. She might motivate some of the most unthinking feminists (Marcotte, Valenti) simply because Woman + Democrat = Profit, but I don't see a lot of the young men and women who had their hearts set on breaking up banks and getting free college becoming motivated enough by Hillary to show up.

That leaves only one strategy--fear. If the GOP does its part and scares the hell out of them, a lot will show up not to vote for Hillary but to vote against Trump/Cruz. It may be enough.

campy said...

"Bernie is sure that he is completely right, and that everyone else is completely wrong. And not only are they wrong, most of them are corrupt and evil. This will make for an interesting presidency if he is elected."

Aren't we used to a president like that by now?

Brando said...

Sanders doesn't really seem to be your typical Euro-style socialist, as he's not talking about nationalizing industry (unless that's his idea with the single payer health plan). But he's certainly a collectivist who thinks aggressive state action in regulation and redistribution is going to help the poor and fix our country's problems. I don't think "progressive" is the right word for that, as the word implies "progress" and by definition any ideological group believes they're for "progress" (who says they're in favor of "regress", anyway?). And "liberal" doesn't cut it, as any ideology that wants to make markets less free and curtail individual liberty should not be calling itself "liberal."

Let's stick with "statist."

Brando said...

""Bernie is sure that he is completely right, and that everyone else is completely wrong. And not only are they wrong, most of them are corrupt and evil. This will make for an interesting presidency if he is elected."

Aren't we used to a president like that by now?"

Yes, but this time, faster.

mccullough said...

In a general election, Sanders needs blacks and Latinos to show up in big numbers and Hillary needs young people (and minorities) to show up in big numbers.

Either of them would have a very tough time against Rubio. Rubio is young, a minority, a good speaker, likeable, nice-looking with a nice-looking family. The optics alone would be horrible for Sanders or Hillary.

Joshua R. Poulson said...

Every day Bernie gets closer to directly quoting Mao's On the Correct Handling of Contradiction (1957).

Of course, we're already in Little Red Book territory with his latest tweets...

From the LRB in comparison: "We should support whatever our enemies oppose and oppose whatever our enemies support." and "Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of the first importance for the revolution."

Brando said...

"If Sanders beats Clinton, could he lose the minority vote to the Republican?"

That will simply never happen. The GOP hasn't won the minority vote since the 1920s. I don't see anything about Sanders or a possible GOP opponent that will reverse that.

Sanders might end up with less black and Hispanic turnout, though, unless he can scare them about the GOP. I think having the first black president on the ticket brought black turnout levels up in a way that nothing really could again.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Q. Do you think @HillaryClinton is a progressive?
A. Some days, yes. Other days she announces she is a moderate.


If Bernie believes that what Hillary says she is bears any relationship to what Hillary actually is then he lacks the judgement to be president.

Brando said...

"Either of them would have a very tough time against Rubio. Rubio is young, a minority, a good speaker, likeable, nice-looking with a nice-looking family. The optics alone would be horrible for Sanders or Hillary."

I think if Rubio can avoid getting "Romneyed" he could pull off a solid victory against either of them. It'll be hard for the Dems to convince minority groups that this young Hispanic guy is a secret white supremacist (though they will try).

Henry said...

The Great Oz has spoken!

Fabi said...

Paul Zrimsek wins the Internet!

tim in vermont said...

Remember that the luxury speedboat skeleton molders silently in his closet, to be sprung on him again two days before the election.

tim in vermont said...

Paul Zrimsek wins the Internet!

Again?

n.n said...

That's true. Progressive is a process characterized by monotonic change. Whereas moderation is a process notable for minor perturbations that conserve a state.

PB said...

The LAST words to accurately describe Democrats are "progressive" and "liberal"

Lyle Smith said...

Democrats are screwed.

Tom said...

With the progressives in charge, it's like a Bizarro Rage Against the Machine... Fuck you I'll do what you tell me!

Levi Starks said...

I'm more ready for the revolution than the people who are begging for it.
I say bring it on....

Michael said...

"Extremism in the pursuit of socialism is no vice." Yikes.

Tom said...

You know -- at least he's honest about what he is. He says he's a socialist and he's a socialist. We know what that is and we can chose to support it or not -- I will not. Obama and Hillary hide their positions as much as possible. They obfuscate at every turn. Unfortunately, I think the truth has a low ceiling in American politics for two reasons. First, most people prefer the lie. Second, even if many of appreciate his honesty, we adamantly disagree with his positions. So the equation to get elected is really quite simple. Tell the lie most people want to hear and wink at your base who really knows what you support. Then hope you have more people fooled than the other guy. That's probably going to be Hillary.

JaimeRoberto said...

So to the left of moderate is progressive and to the right of moderate is extremist.

Henry said...

It's almost painful to watch the Clinton social media activists circle the wagons. Suddenly, intra-party criticism is an affront to all that is good and the right. Clinton's fans have rediscovered Reagan's Eleventh Commandment, served with screeching accusations of misogyny against those who break it.

rehajm said...

Bernie Sets The Terms

Remember not so long ago when it was Hillary who decided what words we could use and how they were defined?

rehajm said...

What is time again?

AprilApple said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AprilApple said...

Can you be a felon and a democrat? Why yes!

Brando said...

"It's almost painful to watch the Clinton social media activists circle the wagons. Suddenly, intra-party criticism is an affront to all that is good and the right. Clinton's fans have rediscovered Reagan's Eleventh Commandment, served with screeching accusations of misogyny against those who break it."

I can't remember where I read it (might have been linked from this blog) but there was an article about how the latest Clinton-shill attack is on "Bernie Bros" who are infesting online comments and social media with sexist attacks on Hillary and her female staffers. But of course the article did some digging and it turned out that most of the cited attacks were not actually sexist at all (unless you consider "Hillary is a liar" to be sexist, which if so, Hi Amanda Marcotte!) or were actually just some Clinton shills citing references from other Clintonites, but no real example of "Bernie Bros" making the sexist comments.

Clearly, they're running scared that Bernie is about to do what Obama did, and because they really have nothing other than "it's her turn! She had to cover for the rapist!" as a slogan, they need instead to create enemies to fight.

Problem is, I don't think it's working. They're even losing Lena Dunham, for crying out loud, and to paraphrase (apocryphal) LBJ once you've lost her, you've lost unthinking feminist America.

She still is the favorite to win the election, but the fact she's having so much trouble with Bernie just shows how weak she is.

mccullough said...

Rubio has less money and a smaller house than Obama did in 2008. He made most of his money off his book, just like Obama.

Maybe Sanders could take a few digs at Rubio, but Sanders net worth is probably about the same as Rubio's. And Rubio can say that Sanders bought a house in Vermont from money his Dad left him when he died while Rubio didn't have such luck.

Hillary can't say anything to Rubio about his finances.

J. Farmer said...

For a socialist, Sanders is quite moderate. As far as I know, he does not support the abolition of private property or the nationalization of major industries.

J. Farmer said...

p.s. What exactly is a "socialist?"

Fabi said...

Bernie screwed up when gave her a pass on her email scandal. He can't retract that statement because its his most famous of the campaign. If he had remained silent then be could have jumped on it after the most recent SAP revelation and been the nominee.

sostander said...

Presumptuous and pretentious that "Progressives" think they get to define progress.

Michael K said...

But of course the article did some digging and it turned out that most of the cited attacks were not actually sexist at all (unless you consider "Hillary is a liar" to be sexist,

The BernieBro stuff originated with an internet troll who used a fake Republican Congressman identity. Now it is everywhere.

Amusing to see the left eating its own.

dreams said...

"Can you be a felon and a democrat? Why yes!"

The more profound question is can you be a Democrat politician and not be a crook?

coupe said...

The more I see and read about the DNC, the more I wonder what went wrong. Where did the wheels fall off. Was it Carter or Mondale?

Michael K said...

An interesting view of Hillary's "win" is here from Jonah Goldberg.

But the real loser in all this is the Democratic Party.

The ghost of Eugene McCarthy has hovered over the Democratic race for a year. In 1968, the left-wing senator from Minnesota challenged President Johnson in the New Hampshire primary. McCarthy actually lost by a significant margin. But the mere fact that he got 42% of the vote against the sitting president was enough to ultimately knock Johnson out of the race and entice Robert F. Kennedy into it.


Hillary has a problem with the Bernie voters who are the future of the Democrats.

Marty Keller said...

J. Farmer: really?

Bob Ellison said...

A socialist is a leftist who does not believe in intrinsic rights or in the good that comes from recognizing those rights.

Lem said...

Progressives are liberals who've come out of the shadows.

mccullough said...

I would say a socialist is (1) someone who favors government control over business. Originally, socialism was an economic system in which the state owned the means of production. But it has evolved to mean that the government doesn't have to own private business but has control over it. How much regulation turns into control is arguable. Public utilities had been so heavily regulated that saying they were controlled by government is fair. They couldn't set their own rates and need the government's permission to build or add on, etc.

After Obamacare, It's fair to say that the federal and state governments control health insurance companies. This is why the health insurance companies hire former high level government officials (and not just as lobbyists).

The government controls the major defense contractors and oil companies and coal companies.

There are other parts of the economy the government doesn't control (professional sports and film industries).

A lot of the crony capitalism in this country makes it hard to tell if the industry controls part of the government or vice versa. I think it's probably a symbiotic relationship. So Wall Street and Washington is more of a partnership than a government controlled industry or a free market industry with regulations that don't rise to the level of control. I'd say the same about higher education and Washington. It's a partnership. The auto industry is a closer call. It was definitely a partnership during the bailouts but maybe has gone back more to a private industry that is regulated.

I'd say Sanders seems to propose the federal government control Wall Street and control higher education.

mccullough said...

Socialism used to just be an economic system. It restricted economic freedom but citizens has social freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of religious practice) and criminal rights (right to a jury trial, right to acquittal unless government proves guilt beyond reasonable doubt, right to jury) and rights to self defense and own and use firearms.

Communism, as opposed to socialism, not only an economic system but a total governs end system over all aspects of life.

Sanders, like Hillary and Obama, goes much farther than curtailing economic rights and redistributing more wealth.

Dan Hossley said...

Bernie fails to explain why you can't be a moderate progressive. I think it is because there are no limits to spending other peoples money.

J. Farmer said...

@Marty Keller:

"J. Farmer: really?"

I am not sure what exactly that is in reference to, but I feel confident in saying, "Yes, really!"

@McCullough:

"I would say a socialist is (1) someone who favors government control over business."

Wouldn't that make virtually every 20th century president a "socialist?"

tim in vermont said...

The wheels fell off in 2000 when they all went batshit after failing to steal the election.

Bob Ellison said...

What is it with Twitter failing to load fast? Are they running TRS-80 computers over there?

Peter said...

The progressive era came to and around 1930. Today many of its attributes (faith in science/ scientism, and a belief that even a big, big government could be mostly benign) seem dated, while some of its causes (e.g., eugenics) have been discredited.

Hillary Clinton's corruption defines what many progressive-era progressives fought against.

And Sanders would fit in better with Eugene Debs or the IWW than with progressive-era progressives.

So what does the label "progressive" mean in contemporary politics? Mostly it seems a mealy-mouthed euphemism for "supporters of left-wing causes" (such as redistribution of wealth and income, and identity politics) while lacking much in the way of specifics; a synonym for leftist orthodoxy.


Must the word "progressive" be taken literally, or could a progressive be regressive, (or even reactionary)?

Heatshield said...

Bernie's single payer is basically nationalizing the healthcare industry. The pharmaceutical companies are the obvious next target. Then the banks. Oil companies right after that. They're all evil and progressives are good - right? And it won't stop because to "progressives" there is never enough. Socialism always ends in disaster.

campy said...

"In a general election, Sanders needs blacks and Latinos to show up in big numbers and Hillary needs young people (and minorities) to show up in big numbers."

Not really. The fraud machine can count their votes even if the voters stay away.

Ambrose said...

Isn't this warmed over Goldwater? "Moderation in the defense of liberty is no virtue..." (writing from memory - may not be exact quote.)

J. Farmer said...

@Heatshield:

"Socialism always ends in disaster."

Not necessarily. Of course that all depends on how you define "socialist." Personally, I think the word has been so evacuated of meaning over the century, it's become all but useless.

Socialism in terms of a large welfare state can work fairly effective for small, homogenous communities with high levels of trust (.e.g Iceland, Denmark, Norway, etc.).

J. Farmer said...

@Ambrose:

The quote is: "Radicalism in the defense of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Bob Boyd said...

Sounds like a fundamentalist preacher or a radical Imam.
Every religion teaches that you must believe with your whole heart and follow all its teachings.

mccullough said...

Farmer,

It depends on the degree of government regulation. At a certain point regulation becomes control. Is a federal minimum wage of applicable to all businesses with more than $500,000 in annual revenue venue governs end control of a business? Most people would say no. OSHA regs on businesses? Probably not. But at a certain point the number of regulations and their scope means the governs end is controlling a certain industry.

Wage and price controls in the 1930s and the Agricultural Adjustment Act are a good example of socialism. The Supreme Court struck those down and thankfully the government has never gone that far again (though with a Depression or WW2 that kind of government the entire control might be necessary).

TARP was socialism (along with the auto bailouts) but those measures were temporary.

If we could agree on the number of industries in the US and determine their contribution to GDP and then figure out which ones it's fair to say the government controls we might be able to agree at which point the US is a socialist country. If more than 50% of GDP is generated throw by government controlled industries then it's fair to say we're pretty close to socialism/

J. Farmer said...

@McCullough:

Seems like a very slippery definition of socialism. Some government regulation of businesses isn't socialism but beyond some vague, undefined point point it is socialism? Are the various defense industries socialist since they rely so heavily on state purchasing? Does protectionism count as socialism?

Lem said...

Actually moderates and progressives are both liberals.

What I meant to say was, progressives are moderates who've come out of the shadows.

Bob Ellison said...

Give it time, J. Farmer.

Achilles said...

Levi Starks said...
"I'm more ready for the revolution than the people who are begging for it.
I say bring it on...."

ding! ding! ding! ding!

Alex said...

I felt a sudden disturbance in the Force. It's as if millions of moderates cried out and were silenced.

Bay Area Guy said...

Bernie is lost. The man has never held a job. Spouting socialist slogans which are totally alien to the millions of middle class workers and voters is not a recipe for winning.

We need Bernie to increase the hammering of Hillary

Sebastian said...

"Sad, if true" It is true, of course. For the left, there's no limit to state power or redistribution or confiscation (except when it comes to punishing criminals or preventing abortion). Never enough, is their motto. Nothing "sad" about it, as if it's a pity there are no moderate Progs: it's a fact of political life, celebrated by Progs, recognized as disastrous by the rest of us.

YoungHegelian said...

It's because Bernie says stuff like this that's he's got my support nailed down for November.

Let me tell you, I know far too many kulaks, wreckers, & social parasites, & I just can't wait to report them to the NKVD, I mean, the FBI.

Since Bernie's got Hollywood & Broadway in his pocket. when he has show trials, they can really "put on a show". While we're weeding out class enemies, let's have a half-time break & bring out Katy Perry! It'll be "Darkness at Noon" meets the Superbowl!

AllenS said...

A Socialist President would make sure there was only one brand of deodorant.

Laura said...

Re: Nixon advertisement

Cut to segment regarding service and sacrifice (around 8:00): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32GaowQnGRw.

Voiceover: Some crooks know when to leave the stage. Others don't.

Cut to Tammy Wynette clip.

Tagline: Our leaders should show remorse before America dies. Not our people.

Michael K said...

"Wouldn't that make virtually every 20th century president a "socialist?"

No, it would make most Democrats Socialists. Certainly Harding and Coolidge were not. Taft was not and that is why Teddy Roosevelt blew up the Republican Party in his rage.

Roosevelt was until he needed the aid of the hated capitalists in World War II. They delivered for him. Truman was a union guy but left business pretty well alone. Eisenhower was not a Socialist although he did not try to reverse the New Deal. Kennedy was edging toward it with his order allowing public employee unions. Nixon moved further left in domestic policy although the political left hated him with a passion because of Hiss.

Carter was actually not a Socialist as best I can figure out but he was unable to exert any control on the far left "Watergate Class" of Democrats. He learned some wisdom in foreign policy but was pretty passive on domestic matters.

Where Socialism got going big time was with Johnson.

Reagan inched back a bit but he was stuck with Tip I'Neill.

GHW Bush swung back toward Socialism and Clinton swung hard left until 1994 when he got slapped back. Gingrich could have done a lot but he got too interested in making money from his book and too much just poor judgement in his dealings with Clinton.

Gingrich was a better bomb thrower, a bit like Trump. Hastert came along and was a typical Illinois crook so nothing got done.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Bernie's severely progressive.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Nicholson said...

While I think she's a progressive, I don't think that word means what you think it means.

n.n said...

An example of a progressive process is the change from a culture of life to resumption of abortion rites and now clinical cannibalism. Progressive is an unqualified concept.

An example of a moderate process is construction of congruences for inclusion of a preferred class while arbitrarily excluding others. Moderate is an ambiguous concept.

I guess it depends on what you want to conserve. It seems that American is middle of the road which is tolerant to a fault.

Drago said...

Anything less than mass graves shows a lack of commitment to the leftist cause.

Prepare accordingly.

Laslo Spatula said...

A few moments with Mr. Jones, Diversity Seminar Instructor.

"Taylor?"

"Oh No, please No."

"Taylor, you have become a Friend of mine. Tell me: would you rather have a Progressive Male or a Moderate Female for President?"

"Are they both White?"

"Yes: yes they are."

"Then fuck both of them, they don't care about the Cause: Black Lives Matter."

"You've been studying for Extra Credit, haven't you, Taylor?"

"Mr. Jones, is there something wrong with that?"

"No, no: YOU have learned Lesson One. I am PROUD of you, Taylor."

"Progressive and Moderate don't mean SHIT when it's white people. Black People still don't get no slice."

"Taylor, that is OUTSTANDING! And what is the difference between 'progressive' and 'moderate'?

"The difference is which Rich White People fork over the Most Cash at the Fastest Rate."

"Taylor, you are Almost There..."

"Okay - Okay. The difference is which Rich White People fork over the Most Cash at the Fastest Rate to give to the Necessary Minorities."

"Taylor, you are SO close..."

"And by Minorities, I mean Blacks, not Hispanics or Asians but also Samoans."

"Samoans, Taylor?"

"Samoans, Mr. Jones."

"Extra Credit ON TOP of Extra Credit. I couldn't score you any higher, even if you were Black..."

I am Laslo.

Smilin' Jack said...

You can be a moderate. You can be a progressive. But you cannot be a moderate and a progressive.

Obviously he's never heard of Schroedinger's candidate.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Socialism in terms of a large welfare state can work fairly effective for small, homogenous communities with high levels of trust (.e.g Iceland, Denmark, Norway, etc.)."

Cool. So it can't possibly work here.

Bob Ellison said...

You can be a corporatist, or a fascist, or a leftist, or a socialist, or a communist. You can be any of those things. But you cannot be any of those and believe in individual rights.

mccullough said...

Farmer,

It depends on the industry. As I said, we now have a socialized health insurance industry. But what we're seeing more is this big business big government partnership bullshit. The revolving door, the privatized gains and socialized losses, the regulations hurting smaller competitors and leading to more consolidation.

I would say that the defense industry is socialized but the government is the main customer and you need the government's permission to sell weapons to foreign countries. But IKE's characterization of the military-industrial complex is another way of talking about cronyism -- the partnership between big government and big business. We have a lot of that in this country. I'd prefer we had none of that but I don't know if Bernie's socialism would be any different from this cronyism partnership the US has a lot of.

Drago said...

Smilin' Jack: "You can be a moderate. You can be a progressive. But you cannot be a moderate and a progressive.

Obviously he's never heard of Schroedinger's candidate."

Well Smilin' Jack, that's what I call "out of the box" thinking.

Drago said...

Or is it "in the box" thinking?

Drago said...

I await Laslo's take on the things that might or might not happen "inside the box".

garage mahal said...

Bernie's single payer is basically nationalizing the healthcare industry. The pharmaceutical companies are the obvious next target. Then the banks. Oil companies right after that

You say that as if it's a bad thing.

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

What is a socialist? You said Nixon moved "further left," so was he a socialist or not?

@McCullough:

What you're describing, as you readily admit, is corporatism, not socialism. I stand by my original assertion. The word is built on gossamer at this point. It has no meaningful, concise definition.

Original Mike said...

It's hard to differentiate Inside vs outside the box.

Pettifogger said...

Moderation of one's progressivism is no virtue, and extremism in pursuit of progressivism is no vice.

walter said...

But one apparently can promote $15/hr min wage while paying "interns" $12.

Michael K said...

"What you're describing, as you readily admit, is corporatism, not socialism."

Corporatism is an integral part of Socialism in the modern world. Pure Socialists end up like Venezuela.

Hitler and Mussolini were corporatists. If Mussolini had stayed clear of Hitler, he might have died in bed.

Socialists love to insist that perfect Socialism is the only thing that fits the term. There is no example of pure Socialism outside of religious orders, which is why the Jesuits were OK with the Sandinistas.

AprilApple said...

Progressive means "progress on the road to socialism."

--the great Mike Rosen.

Roughcoat said...

Progressive is a process characterized by monotonic change. Whereas moderation is a process notable for minor perturbations that conserve a state.

That almost makes sense. But not quite.

AprilApple said...

Progress on the road to socialism - the visual

Guildofcannonballs said...

In terms of the concept with notions of "I got a hammer, so I look for nails unless I am enlightened, then I look for reasons to kill myself* per Iowahawk's designation as most appropriate for every New Yorker cartoon.

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/337972.php

Ha, you see how that works, I GOTS ME BACKUP TODAY YO!

Gots me some damn back up today.

But what I mean to say is this: give the man with a willing hammer reasons, perhaps/maybe even unusual/unique, to use the hammer if it's not, like, stupid, or something, to do so.

APPLAUD THE WILLING MAN WITH A HAMMER WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH WORKS BUT MAYBE JUST NOT KNOWING THE PROCESS BEHIND GETTING HAMMERING-STUFF DONE EXEUTIVE-WISE ONLY SPATIAL-REASONING beyond abstract for giggles but for profit shared via wage/bonus/benefits/etc.

This has worked before, is working for some, and will work again for others.

All I ask is for $777,000 to make my case for, ya know, the masses and such. I will give 4% to Althouse as the fabled "bird dog" most esteemed.

Or do the math if you think it ain't damn esteemed.

Anyway the Althouse legal guarantee extended to me has been, whilst lacking any existence, justifying of those hours listening to Martha Gibson's dropout TA.

The lack of existence was the existence, ya see?

AprilApple said...

weeeeeee!

"Here we go again. A major U.S. company merges with a foreign firm in part to avoid America’s punishing corporate tax code. And the politicians who refuse to reform said code denounce the company for trying to stay competitive. And then of course the gullible in the media dutifully play along. Sigh. "

Meade said...

Hillary is a PINO?

Milwaukie guy said...

Skipping 5 hours ahead...

Saw Cruz talking about the illegal immigration issue in terms of the effect it has had on the working class and the poor blokes without jobs. Most of the U.S. Hispanic population are native born citizens or naturalized. Current estimates of Mexican citizens living in America number 10 to 12 million, less than a third, who don't get to commit voter fraud in truly huge numbers. The vast majority of Blacks are descended from ancestors that have been here since 1808 when the legal importation of slaves ended.

Those who think the GOP cannot make a principled, tough stand on the illegal competition for U.S. jobs, even with touches of nativism, and gain inroads among the "black" and "brown" voters the Dems desperately need is kidding themselves.

If Te-Nehesi Coates [?] can con Sanders in supporting reparations, watch what happens to the Asian vote which is already getting sick of affirmative action which discriminates against their community.

Pass the fookin popcorn.

Milwaukie guy said...

Michael K. and Lazlo above. Perfect.

Bay Area Guy said...

Bernie is on CNN for a Democratic Town Hall meeting. He is ernest and honest - but he is so clueless about how the real world works that it is mind-numbing. He's a 74-year old man with the intellectual and experiential depth of a teenager.

pm317 said...

he is so clueless about how the real world works that it is mind-numbing

Yeah, this makes me angry and makes me more angry about all the clueless fuckers who are supporting him.

pm317 said...

labels! meh..

John said...

An income of $250,000 per year is not "wealthy", it is high income.

The farmer worth $2,000,000 may have an income of $50,000 per year is wealthy but not high income.

There seems to be a basic confusion or perhaps anobtuzeness about what"wealth" is.

With the exception of prperty taxes and perhaps a few others there are no wealth taxes in the US.


warren buffett famously pays very little in taxes because he has very little income. At least relative to his wealth. his $70bn in wealth at just 1% would generate $700 million in annual taxable income.

Instead he has an income of around $30 million a year and his wealth is untaxed.

He used to make much less, under $1,000,000 yr even when he had $40-50bn in wealth.

Perhaps we should be taxing wealth instead of income.

At the very least we should not be conflating the two things.

John Henry

J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

"Corporatism is an integral part of Socialism in the modern world. Pure Socialists end up like Venezuela."

First, I agree that Venezuela is closer to the truer meaning of "socialist" to anything in the Anglosphere. There the state really did seize the means of production, literally taking over factories or using armed forced to force retailers to sell products at predetermined product. This along with atrocious macroeconomic policy has had all the usual deleterious effects.

However. corporatism is not seen as some precursor to direct state control. In the corporatist model, private industries under private control for private interests have a symbiotic relationship with legislatures because of the regulatory mechanism. Every functioning state on earth regulates energy and heavy industry, mostly on the rationale of national security and strategic interests. All states also regulate major industries like agriculture, healthcare, etc. Some to varying degrees than others and with varying levels of competence and efficiency. Northern Europe and Northeastern Asia have proven rather effective at this, maintaining a high standard of living, low crime, with a relatively large state. Both also happen to be some of the most ethnically homogenous places on earth.

Non-socialist Taft was a protectionist and a trust buster. Reagan also instituted protectionist measures against Japan. And both of those presidents have the relatively same economic model as Bernie Sanders: private capital regulated by a democratically elected government. They may very in how much or in what manner to regulate, but they all agree with the basic corporatist model: state power exercised for the interests of private capital.

Bob Boyd said...

Reminds me of the High Sparrow and Cersei Lanister.

Drago said...

garage mahal: "You say that as if it's a bad thing."

With any kind of luck we could run out of toilet paper, milk and food as well as water just like all the other People's Paradises!

Just think, this dips*** sanders couldn't even swing a hammer, hold down a job or function at the idiot-level in society, so I guess he's the perfect candidate to run the economy!

eric said...

Blogger Drago said...
garage mahal: "You say that as if it's a bad thing."

With any kind of luck we could run out of toilet paper, milk and food as well as water just like all the other People's Paradises!


In the mind of someone like Garage though, this doesn't happen because of government policies, it happens because greed. And therefore, more government policies will be needed to control human greed. Which will result in more greed. Eventually, you have to take out your gun and start shooting some people, because they are just too damn greedy and children are starving!

Big Mike said...

Sad, if true

@Althouse, perfectly true. How can you doubt it? To be a Progressive is to glory in the neverending culture war, and not to stop until all are equal no matter how hard they work or their level of talent. Equally poverty-stricken, that is.

DanTheMan said...

I agree with Bernie. You can't be a moderate and a progressive.

You also can't be a "democratic socialist".

wendybar said...

So progressive = Democratic Socialist??

J. Farmer said...

@DanTheMan:

You also can't be a "democratic socialist".

If Bernie Sander's politics are socialist, then most of the countries in the western world. Are they not democratic by the same basic standard that we are democratic?

Drago said...

Meade: "Hillary is a PINO?"

It's worse than that.

She's also a GRIGIO.

Michael K said...

"What you're describing, as you readily admit, is corporatism, not socialism."

OK. I am just saying that pure Socialism doesn't exist in the wild. It can only be found in religious orders or faculty lounges, but I repeat myself.

"private industries under private control for private interests have a symbiotic relationship with legislatures because of the regulatory mechanism. "

Oh, I agree but it doesn't work. FDR had to back off his Socialism when he had a war to win. He knew that and acted appropriately, I'm not sure Obama can figure that out. Bill Knudson answered Roosevelt's call for help and won the war.

Roosevelt was smart enough to let Marshall run the Army and King run the Navy. He hated MacArthur but left him to run the war in the Pacific. Obama cannot leave the military alone and it may come back and bite him if Putin decides to take the Baltic countries.

Socialism doesn't work and only hothouse versions by impractical dreamers ever get out of the classroom.

mccullough said...

The US had been an entrepreneurial country but that has changed in the last decade. Social democracies as found in Europe have very little entrepreneurs/. Corporatism is hostile to small business. I don't see much difference between corporatism and European style socialism. Low fertility rates, high unemployment, low rates of entrepreneurship are not the hallmarks of a thriving society.

Under the guise of combating climate change, Hillary or Bernie would or try and regulate every aspect of Americans lives. Only one square of toilet paper to wipe your ass and only one flush of the toilet per day so we can save the planet.

It's about government control. The more regulations, the more control. And since everything will be a crime, the law will be enforced against the people disliked by those in power while the elect are exempted. That's Democratic socialism

Unknown said...

-----Bernie's single payer is basically nationalizing the healthcare industry. The pharmaceutical companies are the obvious next target. Then the banks. Oil companies right after that

You say that as if it's a bad thing.

==========

Its worked great in Venezuela.

Birkel said...

There is a reason to call all of the Marx-inspired organising strategies (communism, socialism, corporatism, etc) by the catch-all term "collectivist": to stop pedantic Leftists like J. Farmer from sidetracking a conversation. Quit playing his foolish game.

All collectivists diminish individuals for the sake of the collective. Individual rights are diminished. The value of individual humanity is diminished. The exercise of power for the good (always decided by animals who are equal, but more equal than the other animals) of the collective requires these essential outcomes.

Understood properly, therefore, it is easy to see why a few rapes of German women by Muslim gangs is tolerable to German leaders. Or Swedish newspapers must censor anti-immigrant speech. Or why gun running to Mexican cartels is necessary. Or why using the IRS to punish political enemies is acceptable.

Play smarter.

J. Farmer said...

@McCullough:

"Low fertility rates, high unemployment, low rates of entrepreneurship are not the hallmarks of a thriving society."

There are no perfect societies. You could make the same list at say that the Nordic countries have high standards of living, are relatively wealthy, are peaceful, and have low crime. Again, I don't this is the result of government policies, but I think in those types of societies social democracies work relatively well. Corporatism has been the basic economic model since about the time of Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson rejected Hamilton's commerce-based model in favor of his agrarian model. He was afraid that Hamilton's model would lead to rule by the rich. Jefferson was right, but so was Hamilton, I guess. Tricky stuff.

@Michael K:

" FDR had to back off his Socialism when he had a war to win."

Or you could say that he became more socialist, as the US economy transformed into a largely command economy for the war machine. The War Production Board was created in 1942 specifically to oversee this process.

@Birkel:

"All collectivists diminish individuals for the sake of the collective."

Are you an anarchist? If not, then you're a collectivist. The entire premise of a democratic system relies on the partial subjugation of individuals for the benefits of groups. That's collectivism. You may not be as collectivist as a radical communist, but you're a collectivist. In fact, it is you who are being "pedantic" and "sidetracking a conversation."

jr565 said...

Yes, he's an extremist. A socialist extremist. That should invalidate anyone voting for him.

mccullough said...

Farmer,

I agree the Nordic countries are nice places, but as you've mentioned they are racially and ethnically homogenous (until recent Muslim immigration) and relatively small population. So their tradeoff of freedom/Liberty for more economic security/equality seems to have worked about as well as one can expect (but the declining fertility rates make will make it difficult for coming generations to support the elderly as the ratio of worker to retired decreases).

I think the big difference between Hillary and Bernie is that she is mostly a corporatist and he is more for the government being the boss not the partner of businesses. Hillary and Bill have made big money cozying up to big business. She has no intention of changing this relationship that makes the politically connected get wealthy while ensuring that Wall Street and others still make enough of a profit to keep them happy. Bernie would rather the profits of big business not enrich politicians and their family and friends but go instead to the have nots.

But both Hillary and Bernie want to control the day to day lives of individual citizens. What they eat, what information is available to them, what they should not say, etc.

Terry said...

Sweden has a population of less than ten million. Norway about five million. Denmark about six million. All of these socialist paradises are much smaller than the US with very different histories. Perhaps the socialists would be more honest if they said that they wanted the US to look more like Brazil or Russia.

Largo said...

You can pick your friends.

You can pick your nose.

But you can't pick your friend's nose.

Chris N said...

Life under the Bern, 2020: After a group of Yo-gurts (Yoga instructors living in yurts) fails to qualify for group-status under the Free Education Funding Initiative, they keep-on teaching non-State approved breathing techniques anyways....

...After a National Guard crackdown at a National Yoga-Day rally, many are forced to flee into the mountains around Boulder.

...increasingly known for their power-posing, vegan-survivalism and red bandanas, the group comes to be charged with 'illegal use of The People's natural resources.'

By Earth Day, 'Red Dawn' is born.

Rusty said...

"private industries under private control for private interests have a symbiotic relationship with legislatures because of the regulatory mechanism. "

Not all industries are regulated. Traditionally regulations were written by an industry leader in order to monopolize that industry.

Brando said...

"There is a reason to call all of the Marx-inspired organising strategies (communism, socialism, corporatism, etc) by the catch-all term "collectivist": to stop pedantic Leftists like J. Farmer from sidetracking a conversation."

I prefer the term "collectivist" for such ideologies because it is neutral and accurate, and "libertarian" is its opposite. We all fall somewhere on the "collectivist to libertarian" scale on every issue--perhaps we think collective action makes more sense when dealing with the scourge of drugs ("illegalize things that are harmful in the aggregate"), or others prefer the more libertarian approach ("let each individual decide"). "Communist" has a specific connotation to an extreme form of collectivism and opens endless argument over what is "true communism" (the same could be said for "fascism" but not even dim college students want to call themselves fascist). "Socialism" has such broad application (from National Socialists to the USSR, to Fabian socialists of the Labour Party, to whatever Bernie Sanders thinks he is) and for many of us is a pejorative. But there's no doubt that if you prefer a statist or collective solution to something you are a collectivist, and no doubt that if you prefer individual liberty over that you are libertarian.

"Moderates" are just those who fit relatively in the middle of that.

Rob McLean said...

Bernie screwed up when gave her a pass on her email scandal.

Woodrow Wilson once said you don't have to kill (politically) someone who's already committing suicide. If the EMails bring Hillary down eventually, it'll be the media's (and the mean old Republicans') fault, not Bernie's. He can stay "above the fray" and only discuss "the real issues" (whatever they are this week).

Brando said...

"Woodrow Wilson once said you don't have to kill (politically) someone who's already committing suicide. If the EMails bring Hillary down eventually, it'll be the media's (and the mean old Republicans') fault, not Bernie's. He can stay "above the fray" and only discuss "the real issues" (whatever they are this week)."

Except by saying he didn't want to discuss the issue, he helped fuel the Clintonian fiction that it was a trumped up GOP-led scandal rather than something the public should care about. He missed a chance to let the issue grow.

n.n said...

Socialism doesn't work with a large and robust welfare population and growing class diversity or social divergence. The failure to reconcile moral axioms and natural imperatives, compounded by consolidation of capital and control, ensures that all Marxist religions progress to totalitarian states ruled by minority leaders and depressed by corruption and dysfunction. The debasement of human life and dignity under the State-established pro-choice doctrine has only served to exacerbate and accelerate this anthropogenic catastrophe.

Rusty said...

Blogger n.n said...
Socialism doesn't work with a large and robust welfare population and growing class diversity or social divergence.


But,but, roads!schools!Hospitals!, oh. wait. Roads!

Robert Cook said...

"Perhaps we should be taxing wealth instead of income."

Yes!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

John said... T he farmer worth $2,000,000 may have an income of $50,000 per year is wealthy but not high income. ...
Perhaps we should be taxing wealth instead of income.


Ok John and Robert Cook, in this hypothetical example, how do you propose the farmer pay your wealth tax? She doesn't have much income, and won't have the cash flow to pay for a tax on her wealth. I guess she'll have to sell what she owns to pay for a tax...on owing things? That seems fair, to you? Is the point just to prevent people from owning things, from "amassing capital stock?" Does that honestly seem like a good plan for growing an economy--ensuring that people are discouraged from building wealth?

Rusty said...

Robert Cook said...
"Perhaps we should be taxing wealth instead of income."

Yes!



And what happens when tax wealth. Class?

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

"Not all industries are regulated."

Which industries in America are not regulated?

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Hoodlum,

First, I am not convinced that a wealth tax is the way to go. It has certain advantages over an income tax but disadvantaged as well. You also seem to be assuming that it would be in addition to an income tax. My assumption is that it would need to be instead of an income tax.

To answer your question of how would the farmer pay the wealth tax? Same way they do now. They pay property taxes which are based on the value of the farm. Death/Estate taxes are another wealth tax that can be problematic. Less so since they are one time rather than annual and can be covered by various insurance schemes.

It is a problem, as you say.

The point of my note was that people saying that someone making $250m (or whatever) is "wealthy" is not necessarily correct. Neither is saying that the farmer making $50m is not wealthy. In both cases we are talking about income rather than wealth and it screws up the conversation and thinking.

John Henry

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

If Bernie has replaced "socialist" — in referring to his own politics — with "progressive," then he's appropriated "progressive" as a euphemism,

Which practically every leftist since Woodrow Wilson has done, all wanting to simultaneously hide from the opprobrium of socialist/communist governance, and to appear to be on the 'right side of history'.

A slick and dishonest bit of political labeling.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

PuertoRicoSpaceport said...To answer your question of how would the farmer pay the wealth tax? Same way they do now. They pay property taxes which are based on the value of the farm.

Jean Henri: Yes, people pay property taxes now, but those taxes are generally quite small (as are other ad valorem taxes) in terms of the marginal rate applied--they're small precisely because most of the revenue the Gov. raises from citizens comes from income now. People saying "we should move from taxing income to taxing wealth" should be willing and able to explain the mechanics of that move while assuming that it will involve GREATLY increasing the marginal rate applied to wealth. I didn't bother mentioning that measuring "wealth" is at least an order of magnitude more difficult than measuring income--there any a large number of other problems with that method but I'm demanding all of them be worked out with precision just yet.
Moving to a wealth tax would mean much higher rates on wealth, though, and people who advocate such a move should address how making those payments will be possible. Looking at something like estate taxes (which are on accumulated wealth, of course) in place now is instructive--think about how often someone inheriting a family business or property has to sell it in order to pay the taxes due. That, of course, is with relatively high exclusions--going to a broad-based wealth tax would necessarily mean it will be assessed on much more modest amounts of wealth.

Rusty said...

J. Farmer said...
@Rusty:

"Not all industries are regulated."

Which industries in America are not regulated?


By who? It makes a difference.
I think the more important question should be; which industry leaders write the regulations.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

"By who? It makes a difference."

When we say regulation, it is generally understood to mean laws passed by the state. There are obviously other regulator authorities, such as professional organizations, but we are generally speaking about the state's police power. The Nordic countries have the same basic economic system as we do: private property and free markets with government regulation and oversight. They only differ in degree of regulation and the size of the state. But the basic premise is the same.

Qwinn said...

The only industry in the US I can think of that is largely unregulated is consumer electronics.

It is also the only industry showing continuous technological innovation AND continuous dropping prices. No overly regulated industry manages even one of those.

Socialists will continue to be unable to discern any lessons from this.

Qwinn said...

What socialists like Obama WILL do with the reality of consumer electronics is eliminate pretty much everything else (like food) from the inflation index so that they can cook the books to their political benefit. In other words, take complete credit for the one thing they haven't screwed up (yet) in order to hide all their colossal failures. In other words, just another Thursday.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

J. Farmer,

A lot of regulations are written by private organizations but enforced by the state. For example, the National Electrical Code is written and maintained by the National Fire Protection Association. NFPA is a non-profit organization owned by insurance companies.

Most (All?) municipalities incorporate it into their building code with language like "All electrical wiring and work shall be done in accordance with the National Electrical Code"

American Society of Mechanical Engineers certify pressure vessels such as boilers. Cities may require all boilers to have the ASME stamp. Even if the city does not, the insurer may require it.

IEE, ANSI, AWA, 3A, UL and the list of non-governmental certifying/"regulatory" agencies goes on and on. There are probably 10-20 times the number of non-govt regulations as there are govt.

I know, they are not really regulations since the NFPA et al have no power of enforcement. But you should generally comply. If you do not build to NEC standards, even if there is no law requiring it, you might not be able to get insurance.

If you are a dairy and do not use 3A piping etc, when you have a contamination problem, you might be found negligent for not following industry standards.

John Henry

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

Re regulation:

Back in the 80s when I was engineering manager in a pharma plant, I had to work with both state regulatory agencies (OSHA, DEA, FDA, Fire Department and so on) as well as insurance companies.

The state inspectors saw their job as catching us doing something wrong so they could issue a notice or fine.

The insurance inspectors saw their job as helping us run a safe plant to minimize insurance claims. They would see stuff and make recommendations. We could even ask them questions about best practices and they would help us meet them.

State inspectors were adversarial, private inspectors were just as, maybe even more, strict but cooperative.

John Henry

aritai said...



hmm. A tax on wealth is an additional tax on the least of us. Since it's us that made these folks rich. Without people being able to vote with their wallets we'd have no iPhones, or cures, including aids, Granted we could have done like Mr. Castro did which was lock up all the possible carriers. We'd have no miracle weapons that have largely ended wars that would have enslaved all of us. Depending on where the line for taxable wealth is drawn. That's the cut line for everything good in our lives. Granted it's probably not all that important. The Soviets taught us that billions could live their lives in bad shoes while eating spoiled food, Yum Yum. To say nothing of sweating all the time. Refrigeration has made many people very very rich. The DuPont's included. Granted those who believe in the perfectible Soviet man expect them to do all this good work for free and a 10x10 apartment with screaming children for the lack of toys to distract them.

Rusty said...


"When we say regulation, it is generally understood to mean laws passed by the state."

No. WE don't. Many of our state and federal regualtionare inposed by governmental bodies that aren't answerable to the electorate.


."private property and free markets with government regulation and oversight."

By definition regulated markets aren't free markets.

J. Farmer said...

@Qwinn:

Do you believe Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush was also a socialist? If not, what leads you to label one a socialist but not the other?

Sammy Finkelman said...

Althouse: but it's really just defining the terms. Progressive = immoderate

Or you could do it: Moderate = Not Progressive, and I think Bernie meant it that way.