Craig Shirley: Crazy Bernie, Rational Ron, and the Radical Chic of Socialism


Bernie Sanders was just the mayor of Burlington, Vt., in 1985, but this did not stop him from formulating his own foreign policy.

A video from that era is circulating among some Reaganites showing Bernie Sanders extolling the virtues of Fidel Castro, expressing empathy for the communists running Nicaragua, and castigating Ronald Reagan for all manner of things.

In the tape, Bernie also praised the radical Catholic priest, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, a high official in the communist government of Nicaragua and — hold your breath — winner of the Lenin Peace Prize.

Pope John Paul II, an ardent anti-communist, admonished Brockmann for his choice of politics. But Bernie called Brockmann a, “gentle, loving man.”

At least Bernie was somewhat ahead of his time; now all liberals embrace collectivism, rebuke Ronald Reagan, and run up the hammer and sickle while striking the Stars and Stripes.

Fidel Castro once closed down local hot dog stands in the name of state socialism. The pin up girl for American socialism, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wondered just the other day why Americans needed to have more than one hamburger a day. As if that was any of her business. Can you imagine the hue and cry if someone asked her how many designer eyeglasses she owned? Why, that’s nobody’s business!

In 1985, Bernie said: “If President Reagan thinks that any time a government comes along, which in its wisdom, rightly or wrongly, is doing the best for its people, he has the right to overthrow that government, you’re going to be at war not only with all of Latin America, but with the entire Third World.”

Of course, Mayor Sanders got this wrong as almost all of Latin America embraced the Monroe Doctrine and rejected Soviet advances. He said Reagan “disliked these people” but Reagan disliked oligarchical collectivism, not individuals.

Reagan once quipped that Harvard was not the answer to juvenile delinquency. Neither apparently is the state of Vermont, who keeps sending this wretch back to Congress although maybe that’s the only way to get rid of him.

Bernie has never been alone in hating America and loving the collectivists of Moscow. Alger Hiss, infamous aide to FDR and Harry Truman, was a covert Soviet agent. When a young Richard Nixon exposed Hiss cold and sent him to jail for perjury as an enemy of the American people, the left hated Nixon.

The left also rallied to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who stole the secrets to the Hydrogen Bomb and gave them to the Russians for money. They risked the lives of millions of Americans for 30 pieces of silver. Most Americans thought the electric chair was too good for these traitors.

Jane Fonda’s fondness for the North Vietnamese communists and loathing for America manifested itself in her touring the Hanoi Hilton prison during the Vietnam War, where an American POW slipped a note to her, but rather than giving the note to the American military, she instead gave it to his captors. They gave him extra rations of beatings for this infraction. The hottest place in hell has valet parking waiting for Jane Fonda.

In the 1980s, there was no shortage of Democrats willing to conspire with the thuggish Ortegas in Managua to defeat Ronald Reagan and his support for the freedom fighters, the Nicaraguan Contras. No less than Rep. Jim Wright, D-Texas, second in command of the U.S. House, was a willing lackey to the communists in Nicaragua. Bernie at the time called the communist Daniel Ortega an “impressive man.”

Of course, a recitation of traitorous liberals would be incomplete without citing the disgusting behavior of Ted Kennedy who made open appeals to the Kremlin to help them defeat Reagan for reelection in 1984.

Flash forward. Bernie just got a huge book advance with no plans to share it with the poor. Bernie is like other café socialists. They want you to share your wealth; they just don’t want to share theirs.

I, for one, am glad to see this dyspeptic old man running again for president. What greater recruiting tool do American conservatives have than Bernie? Really, his only constituencies are the charlatans at the Washington Post, liberal newsreaders on cable, the radical chic of Vermont, the Upper Side of Manhattan and the deep thinkers of Beverly Hills; these are the limousine liberals who love socialism in practice, just as long as they don’t have to soil their hands or empty their pockets.

Reagan versus Sanders? Give me a break. There is no choice. It’s like trading Babe Ruth for Bob Uecker. Not in the same league, man.

Besides, Reagan was fun, Reagan was an intellectual, Reagan was a winner, in everything he did and he believed that Americans could and should be winners too. And he won for America too, grinding the Soviets into the ground. Reagan believed in the privacy and dignity and freedom of the individual. Sanders and his ilk oppose all these things.

And that’s the real choice facing Americans. Who is going to take money out of your wallet and who is going to put money into your wallet? Who believes the American people are beholden to the state, and who believes the state is beholden of the American people?

For all his faults, Donald Trump’s conservative philosophy holds that freedom is for the autonomous. Bernie Sanders and his philosophy of socialism is for people to always be subjects of the state.

American conservatism is and always has been the intellectual philosophy. American liberalism is the anti-intellectual “irritable mental gesture.”

As the great conservative writer and philosopher Russell Kirk said, “From the moment I began to think, and the time I began to reason, I have always been a conservative.”

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