Proving that there’s no idea so terrible that a politician cannot make it worse, today’s New York Post reports a nasty little nugget about BernieCare, Senator Bernie Sanders’ proposal to expand the government’s Medicare program to cover everyone. Apparently, it’s not enough that the government offer health insurance to all. That health insurance must be the only option for all. BernieCare outlaws private insurance.

Why would Sanders wish such a thing? I’m sure some pseudo-analytic legerdemain could be ginned up to advance an economic argument, but a quick glance at our primary education system tells us that, if everyone’s paying for the government service via taxes and some pay extra for private service out of pocket, the government service benefits because some won’t use it despite paying for it. So, why not allow that benefit?

The answer lies in the Left’s broader obsession with inequality.

Despite ample evidence to the contrary, the Left has successfully peddled a tale of rich getting richer and poor getting poorer. Envy sells, and envy-based promises buy votes. That tale is enough to explain redistributive desires, but it doesn’t tell us why Sanders would ban private insurance instead of merely forcing everyone to pay for public insurance. The shortfall lies in the cynicism (an admission that I, a cynic, am startled to make). Political calculus does not explain why BernieCare would be, as a political friend put it, “unnecessarily punitive.”

The balance of the answer is found if we conclude that selling envy is not mere political cynicism. If we consider that the mindset of Sanders and his ilk is one that actually hates success, that finds individual achievement distasteful, that embraces the zero-sum falsehood, we can start to understand. Studies that show people would rather not receive a benefit if it means that someone of greater means also receives that benefit also inform the conclusion. That conclusion, simply stated is that these people believe:

It is better to be equal in misery than unequal in prosperity.

They’d rather destroy than achieve. They’d rather tear down than build up. They need punish the successful more than they wish to help the genuinely needy. With the obvious exclusion of themselves and their cohorts – which is why they’ve no issue flying private jets around the world to attend global warming conferences.

I’ve long been a believer in Hanlon’s Razor, which states “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” While the evidence against socialism is overwhelming and irrefutable, I’ve accepted that many, perhaps most, advocates for socialism are merely foolish, ignorant, or stupid. However, Hanlon’s Razor doesn’t explain everyone. There are people who should know better, and whose support for socialism makes no sense when measured by what you and I might consider normal moral values. Understanding is found, though, in parsing that support for socialism through a different set of moral values, a set that pretends to like humanity in the abstract but hates it in reality. People, to such folks, are not actual humans, each living a life and pursuing happiness. They are an aggregate, a seething mass, and should be treated as such rather than as individuals. It’s a mindset that allows the compunctionless sacrificing of individuals to the collective, and that fosters especial hatred for those that don’t favor universal misery over individual happiness.

This isn’t stupid. It is evil, the sort of evil that created the horrors of 20th century socialism and communism, and the sort of evil that, if unchecked, will do so again and again and again. Think it can’t happen here? Think we can’t go the way of Venezuela? Open your eyes. The people of Venezuela didn’t think so either.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


Like this post?