By Ben Noble
Dear Bernie Sanders Supporter,
I hope you are well. I do not support Bernie Sanders. I do not support any politician in the main political parties. I hope one day we will get past the idea that politicians and government can fix social issues. My goal here is not to change your mind in the span of one letter. I would only like to share my skepticism with you. I’m sure we both agree that people are being needlessly harmed in our society. In this we share the same goal.
Before deciding how we need to fix problems in society we need to think about the concept of “we”. The passionately divided political landscape proves that there is no “we”. Any policy enacted by the government will be opposed by a sizable portion of the population. Your policy preferences, should they be adopted, will be forced onto unwilling individuals. Are we to say that the ends justify the means? Does political might make right?
Bernie Sanders often talks about his policy stances as it relates to morality. Especially when he speaks about increasing access for people to healthcare, college education, or a number of other things. Lets assume that his ends are moral and good. What about his means? Is it moral to use the “democratic” in his “democratic socialism” to get his way? Democracy by its very nature is the majority forcing their will on the minority. It is just a nicer label for authoritarian. Is it more righteous to bring on volunteers to your cause or to conscript the unwilling? Do the ends justify the means? I think you and Bernie Sanders would find many willing allies in society if you chose to use persuasion and created organizations to help those you want to help. Is government mandate the only way to help others? No. In fact coerced charity by definition is not charity even if the ends appear similar.
Bernie Sanders is right to be angry at big business. The only problem is that his solution involves force and that rarely works. The government gives out too much money and special privileges. That should be reduced a great deal. I’m thinking to around zero. The ability of the government to grant special privileges and to regulate are opposite sides of the same coin. In order to remove the government’s ability to get in bed with big business you must get rid of the powers that draw Wall Street to Washington.
Leading up to the market crash in 2008 there were 100’s of government agencies watching over the financial industry. A few more would not have prevented the crash. The same laws, policies, and privileges would have been in existence no matter how many agencies were informing them. Perhaps the most damning thing to keep in mind is that, for a business, lobbying Congress gets them the largest return on their money. Not research and development. Not finding talented workers. Not even increasing their efficiency. That’s a shame. If Bernie truly wants money out of politics then he should push to remove the power that politicians sell to the highest bidder. All this without using force to get your way and returning the power to the consumer. After all, every dollar you spend is a vote. Vote for the good businesses.
There are no simple answers and there are many ways to improve our society. The problem with government is that it pretends that the problems are simple, it forces one solution on the whole population, and most of the time outlaws any competing efforts.
Dear Bernie Sanders supporter, I am skeptical. I am skeptical of politicians and their promises. I am skeptical of their knowledge and ability to manage over 300 million people. I am skeptical of a one size fits all solution to a complex social issue. Most of all, I am skeptical of government exerting force against peaceful people.
I can’t help but feel a strange kinship with you. In 2012 I supported Ron Paul for President. He was an old white dude political outsider with grand ideas, too. The GOP fought him the entire way and did some underhanded things to kill his campaign. I see this in your future as well as the DNC is no friend of Bernie’s. When the DNC crushes the Sander’s campaign so that they can nominate the former Secretary of State, war monger, and un-convicted felon Hilary Clinton, I invite you to embrace skepticism of the state and continue your movement for a better society by pursuing non-political solutions. I invite you to google Voluntarism and Argorism. These are a good place to start. Life is a journey, not a destination. The means are what matter, not the ends.
Thumbnail image source via [https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/19812916572/in/photolist-wbNnPS-wct8d2-wcsN2g-wcs1Kz-wcSWQg-waa7S1-FiVSdb-FmeosH-FcNfwX-ETEeJ7-FaxpKu-EoQLhZ-EoQaKT-ETBYPw-FauS9h-Fav9oS-vURpwf-wa9LM1-vUXAdK-wcTA6t-vfBGAM-vUSgMN-vUZuSv-vUQhqq-CStvRk-wcThgF-wcstJe-vUQFNN-vfsHNq-wa8t8A-vfquxb-vfrgT1-vfqpsG-vfAvnM-wa8knA-wctPt2-wcTpGT-wa9tAN-wcsGri-ENyitr-uZNbTA-whUS1L-HKH72-ADZQ5R-zG316g-zG75Dg-zG2dCn-ABMNSs-zFUNRY-zG2P6k/]