I have only one thing to say about Paul Krugman’s full-throated defense of Bernie Sanders in his New York Times column:
The thing is, Bernie Sanders isn’t actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn’t want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning; he has expressed admiration, not for Venezuela, but for Denmark. He’s basically what Europeans would call a social democrat — and social democracies like Denmark are, in fact, quite nice places to live, with societies that are, if anything, freer than our own.
He’s wrong. Nearly everything he said is wrong.
Back in the 70s Bernie Sanders advocated the nationalization of energy companies, factories, and banks. More recently his Medicare for All proposal effectively nationalizes health care insurance.
He has advocated public ownership of the means of production. Money is the most important means of production and that is already nationalized.
He’s actually a lot like the old Fabian socialists.
His identification of democracy with public ownership and his advocacy of worker ownership of companies are at odds. Public ownership means centralized planning. I’m more sympathetic with worker ownership but the reality is that workers don’t really want to own the companies they work for. If they wanted to they could.
Praise for Venezuela and Cuba
In 2011 Bernie Sanders spoke in praise of Venezuela, a position he has tried to walk back. Back in the 80s he praised Castro, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. Famously, he honeymooned in the Soviet Union.
Praise for Denmark
His praise for Denmark has been focused on the most socialistic aspects of Danish society not the most capitalistic. I think he’s mistaking “democratic socialism” for Scandinavian ethnic cohesion and Lutheran social doctrine. I agree that the Danes and Swedes are probably freer than we are. The Danes aren’t socialists; they’re Lutherans, at least culturally.
As far as I’m concerned Sen. Sanders is an old-fashioned parlor pink and Dr. Krugman’s column is yet another attempt at sanitizing the senator’s record, something I suspect we will be seeing a lot of from the media in days to come.