To understand why Bernie Sanders’ ideas are immoral, imagine if parents raised their child based on his principles.
One of the hardest things to teach children is that wanting something doesn’t give them the right to take it. Selfishness comes naturally, after all. As a father of two toddlers, I know this firsthand. My older toddler’s favorite toy is whatever his younger brother is playing with. My wife and I have to correct and discipline him over this. We want him to learn that it’s wrong to take things that don’t belong to you.
That’s very different than Sanders’ view of private property. Sanders promises his supporters that he can give them the things they want — college loan forgiveness, housing and universal child care — by taking money from the wealthy.
Imagine how you’d feel if you met a family at the park whose parents raised their son with Sanders’ values. Those parents tell their son to push another kid off the swing set when he wants a turn. They urge their child to take another boy’s bag of chips when he wants a snack. You’d be furious and correctly view those parents with disdain for raising their son to be a bully.
As kids get older, a new form of selfishness emerges — envy. No matter how much they have, someone else will have something they want. Parents strive to teach their children contentment: You can either be grateful for what you have or upset for what you don’t have. No matter how much stuff you have — or how much more someone else has — your satisfaction is ultimately dependent on which option you choose.
A parenting philosophy that reflects the Sanders campaign embraces envy. Sanders rails against “the outrageous level of inequality that exists in America today.” “There should be no billionaires,” Sanders tweeted last September. His message is that you can’t be happy when someone else has more stuff than you. Teach your kids this if you want to make them miserable.
To make it worse, Sanders is also a hypocrite on this. He used to decry “millionaires and billionaires.” After he became a millionaire by writing a book, he’s decided that only billionaires deserve his vitriol.
Imaginary friends are a normal part of being young. As children get older, parents help them distinguish between reality and fiction. But not if you follow the Sanders’ parenting model. His signature campaign promise is “Medicare for All.” Analysts across the political spectrum have estimated the 10-year cost will be more than $30 trillion. His plan to pay for it would raise only $17.5 trillion in new revenue. This is like telling your children that “planting” a dollar in the backyard will grow a money tree to pay for the new toy they want.
As children grow older, parents worry about the character of their child’s friends. Hanging around with the wrong crowd increases the likelihood that your son or daughter will engage in risky behavior.
Not parents who follow Sanders’ example. They’d be fine with their teenage daughter dating a 25-year-old drug dealer who physically abused her just as long as he picked up litter once a week. That’s the parenting equivalent of Sanders praising Fidel Castro for implementing a literacy program. Raising literacy rates doesn’t require killing tens of thousands of people.
Sanders’ ideas aren’t just economically destructive and dangerous. As is made obvious when they’re applied to children, his values are morally wrong.
Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen to him discuss his columns each Monday at 10 a.m. with Kevin Wall on 790 Talk Now. Contact him at email@example.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.