By Robert Knight -
Bernie Sanders' hard-left sympathies just keep bubbling up like an overheated pot of red stew.
He announced this past week his $1.5 trillion plan for "universal" free child care. Even the "rich" would qualify for it.
Would stay-at-home parents get any help? You are such a foolish child.
The Vermont socialist's plan goes beyond even Elizabeth Warren's and Pete Buttigieg's means-tested schemes, which would allegedly cost taxpayers "only" $700 billion.
Speaking of Mayor Pete, he welcomed a 9-year-old boy on stage to "come out" and identify as homosexual. Not every Marxist assault on our way of life involves tax-and-spend economics.
It's hard to calculate the potential cost of Bernie's Medicare for All, free college tuition, student loan "forgiveness" (i.e. you taxpayers cover it), and Green New Deal, but the City Journal took a stab last October.
"Sanders's current plans would cost as much as $97.5 trillion over the next decade, and total government spending at all levels would surge to as high as 70 percent of gross domestic product," wrote Brian Riedl. "Approximately half of the American workforce would be employed by the government."
That's just for starters. The government behemoth would eventually squash the economy, leaving the government itself as the only employer. Socialism is the last way station on the road to communism.
Speaking of reds, Bernie's fondness for the Castro regime was on display again during an interview last Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes." A video clip from a 1985 interview after he returned from bucking up Nicaragua's communist Sandinistas showed him saying this:
"In 1959 […] everybody was totally convinced that Castro was the worst guy in the world and all of the Cuban people were going to rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro. They forgot that he educated their kids, gave their kids healthcare, totally transformed the society." What a guy, that Castro.
He transformed Cuba all right, which is why thousands risked their lives in shark-infested waters in shaky crafts or hid in wheel wells of airplanes to flee the communist paradise.
Anderson Cooper, who hosted the "60 Minutes" segment, noted that Cuba's jailed dissidents probably would have a less positive attitude toward the regime, to which Bernie responded:
"We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?"
Ah, the atoning balm of literacy. It makes up for shooting all those dissidents and beating pesky nuns with batons. Likewise, Castro disciple Nicolas Maduro touts "literacy" in Venezuela while his communist policies reduce his people to eating garbage and zoo animals.
American liberals still swoon over literacy during their frequent pilgrimages to Havana. In fact, they swoon over Cuba, period. In 2015, pop singer Katy Perry visited Cuba and wrote that the country is "one of the COOLEST vibes alive." She called it a "Disneyland for creatives [sic] minds."
Even the whole literacy thing is overblown. Before Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, Cuba already had a high literacy rate – 77 percent. Castro did increase literacy, but mainly so the people could read communist propaganda. Honest journalists were shot or jailed and books are still banned.
Whenever he's reminded of his odes to communist achievements, Sen. Sanders throws in a line about favoring "democracy." Sorry, Bernie. This fig leaf won't hunt, to mix two wildly incongruous metaphors.
Extremely few American activists and politicians openly admit to having communist ties – not even New York's Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the left's poster girl. Yet, the truth is that the radicals who now control the Democratic Party are working toward the same goal that communists have pursued since the 19th century – public ownership of the means of production.
Karl Marx put it this way: "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property."
You never see socialists, progressives or even liberals working to reduce government. They increase it until they're stopped. Socialism is a step in an evolutionary theory that Marx called "historical materialism."
He believed that societies, like the species in Darwin's theory of evolution, evolve toward higher stages – without any divine direction. Capitalism, for example, replaced feudalism, but would give way to socialism, then communism.
Most of the world's communists still use the term socialist to describe their philosophy. The U.S.S.R., which broke up in 1991, was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
The Communist Party USA's website proclaims that "Socialism is a common-sense path to a fairer, more prosperous and more democratic USA."
Beyond the rhetoric is a more sinister agenda. In "The Communist Manifesto," Marx wrote that, "Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religions, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis."
The left has been working on this in America for decades. But now, the mask is off.
Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times, where this columna was first published. His latest book is "The Coming Communist Wave: What Happens If the Left Captures All Three Branches of Government"(djkm.org, 2020).