After the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, it was discovered that the shooter was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Bernie Sanders was quick to repudiate the act of violence. And to be clear, just because the guy was a Sanders supporter, it in no way makes Sanders guilty of anything. Bernie Sanders, or anyone else, is not responsible for the actions of others, unless maybe you are talking about young children.
My issue here is that Bernie Sanders, in condemning the violence, was contradicting everything he stands for. Sanders has been better than the average politician on foreign policy, but even here he had no problem supporting the war hawk Hillary Clinton when it came time. But even more to the point, Sanders is a self-avowed socialist. Since he is using the state to employ his socialist means, he is endorsing violence.
In Sanders’ statement about the shooting, he stated the following: “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”
But the socialism that Sanders advocates is violence. There are many different definitions of socialism. There is the definition where it means the state has ownership over the means of production. In Sanders’ case, he is basically representing some form of more extreme Keynesianism and welfare. He believes in a massive government welfare system where the rich are forced to further subsidize the poor.
Regardless of what Sanders means when he refers to himself as a socialist, he wants to use the state to enforce his agenda. He is not advocating a socialist system that is voluntary. If a bunch of people want to get together and have their own socialist system that does not force anyone to take part, then there should be no objection, including from libertarians. Whether or not it is smart makes no difference, as long as it is voluntary.
But when you use the power of the state, as Sanders wants to do on an even bigger scale, you are using the threat of violence, and ultimately violence.
It is no coincidence that every hardcore socialist society ends up as a tyrannical society. This is where you see mass murder, massive injustice, violence, and political repression. The reason is because this is ultimately what socialism comes down to.
If you are trying to enforce state socialism, not everyone is going to go along, especially when living standards are low or declining. At some point, the socialists in charge have a decision to make. They either have to give up on their idea of socialism (or at least back off on the most extreme parts), or they have to employ severe violence.
Virtually every state action is backed up by violence or the threat of violence. But when state socialism is carried out, this violence becomes far more severe, and far more apparent.
When you point out Venezuela, or China under Mao, or the Soviet Union, the socialists will say that these are not examples of what they want. They will say that these socialist systems were not properly implemented, or were not true socialist societies. But these examples are socialism brought to the ultimate conclusion of mass murder and tyranny. This is what happens when socialism is enforced to the fullest.
When Sanders says that violence of any kinds is unacceptable, he really means that violence not committed by the state is unacceptable. In his view, it is perfectly acceptable for the state to use violence, or else there would be no way for him to implement his socialist vision, whatever that entails.
If Sanders really wants to condemn violence, he should start by abandoning his socialist views.