Comrade Bernie: Private Property for Me, Socialism for You!

Barb Wire

By Stephen Crawford

As you may have heard, Bernie Sanders is a “self-described socialist.” The smart people tell me he’s not technically a socialist, he’s a “social democrat,” or a “democratic socialist” – just a really nice guy who objects to inequality.

Well, it’s nice to know that Bernie doesn’t believe in state ownership of the means of production, but I don’t find that very reassuring. When government controls prices and distribution, production becomes dependent upon government. At that point, property is private in name only.

But I don’t think his apologists are giving Bernie enough credit for his radicalism. Dig this recent tweet from Comrade Bernie:

“We must reject the foundations of this economy as immoral and unsustainable,” says Comrade Bernie.

Reject … the foundations … of this economy.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is something more than socialist – maybe Communist, fascist, totalitarian – you tell me.

The foundations of our economy are the free exchange of goods and services, something Democrats have impeded as best they can for years, impeded to the point of breaking. NOW they come and want to fix it by taking it over.

The free market is the foundation of Liberty. Without it, we’re serfs. It’s as simple as that. Rejecting the free market is tantamount to rejecting American Liberty. It’s anti-American.

I don’t think these Bernie supporters quite realize what they’d be in for with a guy like him. How many of them would be happy being told how much they can have and what they can do for the rest of their lives?

When you get right down to it though, not even Comrade Bernie really wants this – by whatever name you call it. He believes in private enterprise when it comes to himself.

The other day, he objected to his image being appropriated for profit by Liberty Maniacs, who were marketing their “Bernie is My Comrade” T-Shirts. His lawyer wrote:

 As an intellectual property owner, our client is obligated to take steps to protect its trademark and copyright rights and to protect the good will built up in its name and brand.

So, it would seem that Comrade Bernie believes in the basic concept of private ownership, at least when it comes to himself.

It would seem that Comrade Bernie believes that he, as an individual, can and should privately own intellectual property.

It would seem that Comrade Bernie believes that this private intellectual property that he owns has value, otherwise known as an asset or capital.

And it seems that Comrade Bernie believes that he is the one who should have control over his own capital.

Now, who should decide the value of Comrade Bernie’s capital? The government? How could it? Capital is only really worth what someone is willing to exchange for it. I’m sure Comrade Bernie would object to the government, or anyone else, telling him what his property is worth, confiscating most of the income from it, or just taking it and allocating him his “fair share” of any proceeds.

With competition, the value of Comrade Bernie’s property could be worth more or less than any amount anyone would fix at any one point in time. He might be rich one day and poor the next. How is the government supposed to do anything about that?

Shouldn’t everyone be able to have a Comrade Bernie T-Shirt? Shouldn’t everyone be able to own the equivalent of Comrade Bernie’s intellectual property?

Simply by owning something that is worth more than what someone else has, Comrade Bernie has introduced inequality into the economy.

You can see the problem here – inequality is inevitable.

As it turns out, even Comrade Bernie is a capitalist who creates inequality by his natural desire to control his own destiny by being free within a free market.

The free market is an institution born of our God-given free will. It is one of our unalienable rights. It is as instinctive to mankind as breathing. It’s what we do naturally when we’re not fighting. It is the vehicle of our liberty.

I congratulate Comrade Bernie on his belated discovery of Capitalism. I just hope that, in the future, he will stop being a demagogue on this issue, railing against something that he clearly supports.

But I know he won’t, because his brand depends on it.

First published at

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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