The Democratic Socialists Amongst Us

The Washington Post reports that Colorado’s former governor and current presidential candidate John Hickenlooper, appearing at the California Democratic Party state convention this weekend, criticized socialism—imagine that!—and was promptly booed by the audience:

Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper found a way to stand out at a crowded gathering of California Democrats: He denounced “socialism,” and got booed.

“If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer,” Hickenlooper said at a Saturday afternoon session of the state party’s annual convention. As the jeering grew louder, Hickenlooper added: “You know, if we’re not careful, we’re going to end up reelecting the worst president in American history.”

I don’t think Democrats can help themselves. It is pretty clear that the heart of the party wants to do full socialist. Of course, what they claim is that they don’t mean full bolshevik—complete-ownership-of-the-means-of-production socialism, but a kinder and gentler “democratic” socialism.” And Hickenlooper says he merely wants to “reform” capitalism, but in practice I’m guessing his “reforms” would be hard to distinguish in essence from what the pure socialists now want.

Just to prove there’s nothing new under the socialist sun, here’s another helpful passage from Ludwig von Mises that I stumbled across over the weekend, written in 1944:

In defiance of economic science the very popular doctrine of modern interventionism asserts that there is a system of economic cooperation, feasible as a permanent form of economic organization, which is neither capitalism nor socialism. This third system is conceived as an order based on private ownership of the means of production in which, however, the government intervenes, by orders and prohibitions, in the exercise of ownership rights. It is claimed that this system of interventionism is as far from socialism as it is from capitalism; that it offers a third solution of the problem of social organization; that it stands midway between socialism and capitalism; and that while retaining the advantages of both it escapes the disadvantages inherent in each of them.

Well good luck with that. As Calvin Coolidge once remarked, “It is characteristic of the unlearned that they are forever proposing something which is old, and because it has recently come to their own attention, supposing it to be new.”

And perhaps we might say: “Democrats: Against interventionism overseas, but for interventionism here at home.” That might confuse a few of them for a little while.

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