Well, I stayed out of it for a long time. I snapped at the phony feminist sisterhood only 2 or 3 times and tried to ignore the offensive, nonsensical, anti-American garbage pouring out of the Jacobin of Vermont. But he did not go away, and considering the mental state of the Union, I shouldn't have hoped for that. Now we are definitely on dangerous ground. At this point, no one who understands the historical, economic, and social impact of Mr. Sanders's candidacy should remain silent, no matter how small their voice.
Here is what History taught me about the seemingly far-out rabble-rousers like Bernie Sanders:
1. They are fanatics in the most literal definition of the word, i.e. they are possessed by overwhelming and unwavering zeal for their extreme causes, whatever they may be: class equality, ethnic or religious purity, condemnation of cultural traditions, intellectual ostracism, or expropriation of private wealth into the government's treasury. As fanatics they are dangerously immune to logic, critical reasoning, and morality. They are absolutely intolerant to the opinions and ideas of others, and will treat their opponents as mortal enemies - Qui non nobiscum, adversus nos est (Those who are not with us are against us).
2. Contrary to popular belief, they are not actually rebels with breakthrough ideas; they are nothing more than followers. They are not capable of independent thinking and invariably get fixated on the ideas of others, frequently misunderstanding, misinterpreting, and misappropriating the original thesis. Older siblings are often responsible for shaping their overly impressionable minds. They are prone to idolization of certain historical figures. And every one of them uses some preexisting model as a framework for their own system of beliefs: Roman Imperialism, the Reign of Terror, the Communist Manifesto, or "Danish Socialism," to name a few.
3. They usually have no regard for fundamental principles and cornerstone concepts. Private property and the creation of profit are the carrying pillars of the United States of America, as it was conceived by our founding fathers. Anyone who wants to topple them down is nothing if not anti-American. But the delusional rabble-rousers always believe that a structure can remain sound and functional even if its backbone is completely removed. Time and again throughout history they have found themselves on a pile of rubble, trying to put together a "brave new" world out of broken pieces. They are oblivious to the undeniable truth that it's easier to destroy than to create.
4. Of course, it is quite possible that they don't know and/or understand what these fundamental principles are. The truth is that most rabble-rousers don't know much about anything except the rabble-rousing itself. Many political figures start their agitating undertakings early on in their lives and simply don't have time for in-depth studies or any sort of self-growth. An overwhelming number of the most dangerous historical figures were expelled from schools and universities, (Note! This is very different from dropping out on your own volition, especially in pursuit of more adequate education. A student activist wants to stay a student activist as long as he can, and that has nothing to do with education), couldn't hold a job, or achieve any success in their desired calling.
The undergrad student Bernard Sanders, for example, was an avid member of several political organizations, including the Young People's Socialist League. There was no time to dig into books. A few odd jobs here and there, and by 27 he had snugly settled into the life of a political campaign operator in Vermont. Sadly, monetary matters, political economics, commercial entrepreneurship, medical and all other sciences, and especially historical analysis are the notorious blind spots of all politicians, but especially so of narrow-focused zealots.
5. Yet, a rabble-rousers' occupation, by definition, mandates not just simple talking, but actual orating and expressing opinions on some lofty and important subjects. And address big issues they do, but in absence of a solid theoretical foundation, they become surface-gliding fantasists. They spent most of their time in meetings, travels, conversations, briefings on various issues, etc. While doing that, they pick bits and pieces of information here and there, selectively squirreling those that fit their agenda. Oh, you have free health care?! That's neat! The government here pays for your education? Awesome, dude! All that childish excitement is based on quick glances at glossy surfaces. Of course, they fervently believe that they can simply will or force their dreams to come true. The unfortunate truth is that most of the time they don't even see the reality - they see what they want to see.
In September 2015 Bernard Sanders declared that he liked "Danish Socialism" because "he talked to a guy from Denmark" who told him that in Denmark “it is very hard to become very, very rich, but it’s pretty hard to be very, very poor.” This created quite an uproar in Denmark - the Prime-Minister had to go on record and explain that they are not a socialist country, but a hybrid of a market economy and a welfare state, which proved to be successful in Nordic (SPECIFICALLY!) countries. (Well, I personally find the Nordic governments' interference with private and personal property as well as citizens' individual rights nothing short of barbaric, but that's not the subject of this discussion).
6. What they lack in quality erudition and critical thinking, rabble-rousers make up for in tautology, sophism, and all other skills of demagoguery. As I said, they talk! Some of them even end up being listed as the greatest orators of all times, evil-doing notwithstanding. And with what fervor! I watch him and I am, like, he is a raven lunatic, like the others! And they twist every fact, every notion, and every quote to serve their cause! They will repeat the same gibberish this way and that way over and over again, claiming that their ideas and conclusions are irrefutably true and their schemes are solidly plausible without supplying A SINGLE SHRED of evidence or valid reasoning to support their bullshit. Everything they say is served up as "absolute truth;" no proof is required: like a politician from a state, where white folks compose 95% of the population, claims on record that race relations will "absolutely" be better if he is in the White House; not that he will try to do his best or that he has definite steps in mind, but just "absolutely better!"
They talk this way about their ideological platforms and economic proposals; they throw brazen accusations at their opponents ("reactionary," "not progressive," "funded by Wall Street"); and they do it with such conviction that they are the first to believe it. If you challenge them, they will equal themselves with true innovators and brilliant visionaries of the past - those who worked hard and actually knew what they were doing. They will tell you that revolutionary ideas, such as theirs, have always been dismissed. They will try to shame you as a retrograde equal to Giordano Bruno's executioners!
7. Because their fantasies are so deliberately populist and because their agitating rhetoric is so stupefying, the likes of Bernie Sanders invariably attract a hysterical following of ignorant crowds. Rabble-rousers worth nothing in the absence of their rabid supporters. Together, though, they constitute the symbiosis of encyclopedic proportions - more profound than clownfish and sea anemones. This is where the power, and the evil of the provocateur lies. As history shows; because the majority of humans are more responsive to simplistic slogans than to complicated logic, and cannot see the truth behind the stage decorations, the inflammatory bugs coughed up by agitators usually spread over rather large portions of the population.
8. All rabble-rousers are faithful students of Machiavelli when it comes to his maxim that the end justifies the means. They are always very eager to argue that their actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome. This is why human rights are sooner or later violated by pretty much every rabble-rouser throughout history. This is why individual well-being becomes unimportant to these people, as they are in the pursuit of a "better future" for some abstract society as a whole. They will stubbornly sacrifice everything and everyone for their "ideals," including the lives of hundreds of American veterans, if you put them in charge of the Veterans' Affairs. (As a side note: Who the fuck decided to put this career anti-war protester in charge of the veterans' benefits?) And of course, if you don't believe that their ultimate purpose is moral, you become the "people's" enemy (see item 1).
9. This believe that they must do whatever it takes to see their ideas realized is precisely why the rabble-rousers will accept "help" from anybody who offers it, especially if it comes from people and entities with a lot of means and real power. Yet, they always fail to realize that they end up being puppets in the much bigger scheme of their benefactors. The entire bolshevik revolution was financed by the Germans, desperate to weaken Russia on the Eastern Front of World War I. In the spring of 1917, they had stuffed an ironclad railcar with money, Lenin, and 31 of his comrades and transported them from their comfortable exile in Switzerland to Russia, assuring the success of the October Revolution. In return, the new Russian government signed a peace treaty with the Germans only one month after usurping the power. At the end that wasn't enough to counteract the joint efforts of the British and French troops, but it definitely cost the allies a lot of extra blood.
And so, I keep wondering, how is it that, after 23 years of political failures and then (finally!) 16 years of a lackluster career in the House of Representatives, 65-year-old Bernard Sanders was all of a sudden elected to be one of the 100 people that constitute the upper echelon of our national Congress? And now he is in the presidential race? Doesn't it sound like someone's (not Bernie's) long con? I have 10 different endgame scenarios fully fledged in my head, but all of them are too "controversial" to discuss even in this tiny blog.
10. Oh, how I wish for Bernie's supporters to sober up (or smart up - same difference!) and see that at their very core all rabble-rousers are liars. They know that mass appeal is mandatory for their survival, and so they come at you with all sorts of impossible promises, false guarantees, and seemingly genuine care for the "real people." They say exactly what masses want to hear. "Free" is their favorite chant - land to peasants, factories to laborers; entire foreign countries with serving nations at citizens' disposal; free healthcare, free education! They are veritable Robin Hoods: expropriate and redistribute! And "real people" are just eating it all up! But it's all a lie, of course. The only thing that a fanatic cares about is the ideological victory. They have no regard for consequences, actual realization of pledges, the morality of the methods that will be employed in the name of their ideas, or how perverted the results will be. Open your history books, people, it's all there already!
11. Here is one of the most important lessons of History: It is a grave mistake to dismiss these rabble-rousers as a joke. Time and time again people have made this mistake in the past and paid with their lives for it. Right before someone, who in retrospect we define as a scary dictator, came to power, reasonable and intellectual people refused to take him seriously. Invariably the line of reasoning went something like this: "There is no way anyone with a bit of brain will buy into this cockamamie bullshit!" But the reality is, that precisely for the reasons listed above - their mass appeal, amoral flexibility, fanaticism, and willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of their idee fixe, these clowns can be propelled by the forces behind them to positions with the powers to do the utmost damage.
Resist! Resist! Resist!