How Garry Kasparov misses the point about Bernie Sanders

Kasparov

Garry Kasparov spent almost 30 years as the #1-ranked chess player in the world. He’s considered by many to be the greatest of all-time.

Chess grandmaster and Russian dissident Garry Kasparov sees the failures of his homeland reflected in the policies of Bernie Sanders. Last week he took to Facebook and The Daily Beast to warn of the dangers of big government, writing, “I’m enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means.”

Kasparov grew up in the Soviet Union and ran a courageous presidential campaign against Russia’s oppressive Vladimir Putin. He doesn’t need a lecture, but his article needs counterpoints. Even with his unique political experience Kasparov states his case in overly black and white terms. He ignores the prominent role social programs have played throughout American history and writes as though private business ventures are the world’s best – maybe only – force for good. Continue reading

How the state religion of capitalism keeps Americans fearful of progressive solutions

Media personality Glenn Beck is a frequent preacher of capitalist and Constitutional dogmas.

Media personality Glenn Beck, here seen delivering a sermon, is a prominent preacher of capitalist dogmas.

The word “socialism” possesses the power in American political discourse to end debates, thwart policy proposals and tarnish reputations. All FOX News has to do is put a politician’s name and “socialist” in the same sentence and the message to their viewers is clear. For millions of Americans, socialism is regarded as an existential, heretical threat.

Part of what enables this is the corruption of our vocabulary to the point where words like “socialism,” “big government” and “fascism” have almost no meaning. It’s bad enough that the technical definitions vary from textbook to textbook and society to society, but many times they often simply stand in for, as George Orwell put it, “something not desirable.” So wildly misunderstood are these concepts that in 2009, anti-Obamacare activists carried signs demanding, “Keep government socialism away from my Medicare.” This is a bit like saying, “Keep the post office away from my mail.”

Now, with self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders entering the 2016 presidential race and drawing widespread popular support, the tide might be changing. But convincing Americans to violate capitalist dogma is tricky, even if it’s in their best interest. Here, capitalism is not so much an economic model as it is a national religion, with defenders as fanatical as any other. Continue reading