Friday, August 24, 2018

Beware 'Democratic Socialists'

By Robert Wenzel

Recently I had dinner with two economics professors and a financial analyst. All three are libertarians.

During the dinner, the talk turned to the Democratic primary victory in New York City of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

All three seemed to think she was not a greater threat than your run-of-the-mill Democratic politicians because her platform views were not different from the majority of  Democratic party leaders such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

I was shocked. To be sure Pelosi and Schumer are giveaway artists and Ocasio-Cortez supports the
giveaways, but there is an important difference.

Pelosi and Schumer are crony capitalists who only favor giveaways to buy votes and keep themselves in power. They don't want to tear down the system.

Ocasio-Cortez is a completely different species. She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and they want to tear down the system.

From their website:
DSA made clear that Bernie's New Deal or social democratic program did not fulfill the socialist aim of establishing worker and social ownership of the economy. But in the context of 40 years of oligarchic rule, Sanders’ program proved sufficiently radical and inspiring. (Sanders made clear that he opposed state ownership of corporations, but no mainstream reporter was astute enough to know that the particular socialist tradition that Sanders came out of favored worker, not state ownership, of most firms.)
From their constitution:
We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit...
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning..
Bottom line, these are extreme anti-capitalists, anti-private property people. They are using Lenninst tactics to generally show to the general public only as much as they can get away with to advance the cause.

They admit as much deep in their website:
As democratic socialists, we enter coalition efforts with no preconditions that our allies embrace our socialist politics.
They are low key about their more radical views when in coalitions. They promote only what coalition members want to hear.

From a major Yahoo profile:
 Across the state, the Philadelphia chapter also had success, as first-time candidate Elizabeth Fiedler won a competitive Democratic primary. Both Fiedler and her campaign manager are members of the DSA, which was one of many progressive groups to endorse her candidacy. In Fiedler’s race, DSA helped out with her expansive door-knocking operation, which she said reached 55,000 homes.

“I think that health care and education and clean water and clean air, these things to me are obvious, they’re human rights and things we should all have access to regardless of how much money we have or where we live or the color of our skin or our gender,” said Fiedler. “I don’t apply labels to myself or to my politics, but I do share a lot of my vision of the world with them. I knew a lot of folks who were quite active in DSA and I was really fortunate to have their support. They were a piece of the puzzle for me, along with other groups like teachers and nurses unions.”...

Jacquelyn Smith, the Metro D.C. DSA member who helped lead Lee Carter’s insurgent campaign in Virginia said they focused on issues voters in the area cared about. She said  they didn’t make the “s-word” a loud part of their campaign and focused on issues, Carter didn’t hide his affiliation if asked about it.
Murray Rothbard understood this Leninist technique of  the ideological pyramid and the cadre and wrote about it in his unpublished paper on strategy in the context of libertarian strategy:
But what should be the proper relationship between cadre and noncadre? First, we might put forward the concept of the "pyramid of ideology." For while "cadre" and "noncadre" may be a first approximation to the real-world situation, the actual condition at any given time is akin to a pyramid, with the cadre at the top of the ideological pyramid as the consistent and uncompromising ideologists, and then with others at lower rungs, with varying degrees of approximation to a consistent and comprehensive libertarian vision. Since people usually become cadre by making their way up the various steps or stages of the pyramid — from totally nonlibertarian to completely libertarian — some rapidly, some slowly, this implies that the stages will assume a pyramid form, with a smaller number of people at each higher stage.
The major task of the cadre, then, is to try to get as many people as high up the pyramid as possible. From this task, there follows the importance of ideological coalitions, of working with allies on various ideological issues.
In this way, Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked within the Soviets with other Marxists, or with the peasants against the old regime, or with the broad masses of Russians who wished to leave the World War as quickly as possible. A coalition -- or what the Marxist-Leninists call a "united front" strategy -- accomplishes several things. In the first place, it maximizes the influence of the numerically small cadre on important social issues, and does so by allying oneself with people who agree on that particular issue, albeit on few others.
To think that Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and other establishment Democrats have such an ideological pyramid plan is absurd.

To not be aware that democratic socialists are operating with such a strategy is dangerous.

They will be more than happy to show everyone their demands for giveaways that the masses are fine with but they will discuss their more radical views only with those they deem ready to enter higher up the ideological pyramid.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of


  1. Why is it that people who are terrible at economics are so much better at marketing than austro-libertarians?

    Why is it that libertarians get dismissed with nonsensical accusations of supporting Hitler's crimes while accusations of supporting Stalin's crimes bounce of socialists like bullets off Superman?

    What are we doing wrong? Too often we blame the audience. Who cares what's wrong with them? We have no control over that. What's wrong with us? There's nothing wrong with our ideas. There's nothing wrong with our arguments. Why do we suck at this?

    What the Hell is going on?

    1. Re: Doxon,

      --- Why is it that people who are terrible at economics are so much better at marketing than austro-libertarians? ---

      The difference between selling reality and magic? People want to believe in magic, and they will buy magic. And socialism/Trumpism, it would seem.

    2. I woke this morning from a nightmare. In the dream I was at a gathering of friends. We started talking "politics" and as I talked, people (my friends) started staring at me as if I were becoming a monster and drifted off to avoid the contagion. The only person who stayed said, "I think you're completely wrong but I'll stick with you because I like you and I feel sorry for you". Yikes.

    3. In response to Donxon, you are falling into their narrative that Hitler was somehow a "evil conservative capitalist". To start, stop accepting their nonsense narratives and start pointing out their lies and errors such as how Hitler was actually a socialist and his views on capitalism as is outlined in Bob's recent article either here or on epj. In other words, stop being nice and agreeable and start pointing out how they are stupid, but in the nicest way possible.

    4. I don't accept their narrative that Hitler was a capitalist. He was a socialist who didn't like brown people. Leftist see a guy who doesn't like brown people and assume he's a capitalist. Why is it that the people who like that idea are so much better at communicating than we are?

      The image of libertarians that most leftists have is just plain inaccurate, just like their image of what communism is like is just plain inaccurate. It's not that they disagree with us, they just simply do not understand what we are saying. They never get past their presuppositions about us. So, where do the presuppositions come from? Why is it that the people who put those presuppositions in their minds are so much better at creating impressions in people's minds than we are? What do they know that we don't? Why do we suck at marketing?

      You still seem to think that what's missing is The Brilliant Argument. We have plenty of those. Our arguments are rock solid. Nobody gives a shit. Why?

      Did Barack Obama have The Brilliant Argument? Did George W. Bush have The Brilliant Argument?

      Libertarians think this is debate class and we get points for having logical arguments or something. It would be cute and endearing if not for the millions of innocent lives that are at stake.

      No one cares about our arguments. They are too busy thinking we hate poor people and might be Nazis. They didn't start thinking we might be Nazis because of rational arguments and they're not going to stop thinking we might be Nazis because of rational arguments.

      You're all still just talking to girls at the club then scratching your heads when they go home with the guys who DANCE with them.

      No one cares about our arguments. Why?

      People think we might be Nazis. Why?

      Libertarians suck at marketing. Why?

      " In other words, stop being nice and agreeable and start pointing out how they are stupid, but in the nicest way possible."

      Is that how all those kids became Democratic Socialists? Are you under the impression that people think of libertarians as "nice and agreeable"? Punching the tar baby harder is still punching the tar baby.

      The people in power know how to talk to people in language they understand. It's not just language they understand, it's language they can't resist. Libertarians write careful prose because they don't understand that they're in a poetry contest. We're all just swinging knives around at a gun fight.

    5. Donxon, I think you are absolutely right. I think I misunderstood your argument, and I didn't exactly mean what you got from mine, but that's sort of irrelevant. I agree with most of what you said. I think they control the narrative and conservatives/libertarians/capitalists/ ancaps etc. need to figure out how to change this and if we dont, it will be at our and everyone else's expense.

    6. Statists have gained control of the medium, not the narrative. When people only got their information from government schools, government-controlled colleges, broadcast news, and newspapers, statism seemed like the only narrative around. However, with the rise of the Internet, homeschooling, alternative news sources, alternative forms of learning and vocational education, and the Ron Paul example of using a presidential run as a high-visibility medium, other narratives have been given a real chance.

      I don't think that libertarians can gain control of those old media (or should waste their time, effort, and money trying); instead, we should ridicule and delegitimize them, and actively support new channels to get our narrative out.

      It's a long game, and there are no quick fixes.

  2. --- We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit. ---

    What they prefer, instead, is an economic order based on political expediency veneered with false compassion, with the consequences that such 'order' brings, but they're not going to tell you that.

  3. I'm from Detroit and I love to trash talk. It's takes great effort for me to not trash talk when commenting online. Libertarians seem congenitally unable or unskilled to ever engage in good trash talk leaving them basically defenseless against opponents who are universally vicious lying S.O.B.'s.

    I view this rise of the socialists a gift from God because libertarians COULD easily smear the entire "progressive" population and movement with the mass murders of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. But they will revert to their usual milquetoast manner in failing to properly address this socialist phenomenon which does indeed contain the potential for a catastrophic outcome.

  4. I can't help but wonder if the DSA's candidates will simply become cronyists like Pelosi and Schumer if they attain political power. It's easy -- perhaps helpful -- to spout socialism when you're trying to gain power, but once you have it and you realize that to maintain and exercise power you need support and favors from interest groups, then the cronyism probably sets in.