Bernie Sanders has a dream. One day, according to his dream, everything in America will become free, among them healthcare, education and etcetera, etcetera. It’s a grand and highly admirable dream, and those among us who are easily given to blue-sky optimism, are fervently hoping that Sanders’s dream will come to pass pretty soon because they believe his dream has substantive existence in reality. Among these believers are the fanatical faithful who range from 18 to 30 in age.
Poor Sanders. He lives in a country where he has to contend with just as many skeptics as he does enjoy a growing sea of faithful who are jumping giddily onto his bandwagon daily. One such skeptic is David Brooks of the New York Times. Looking out the window of his 620 8th Ave., New York office across the Atlantic, Brooks doesn’t like what he sees, so he lets his fingers descend on the keyboard of his computer.
Brooks comes out of that short exercise practically telling all those who are latching onto the crotchety septuagenarian’s dream to please stop drinking his kool-aid. Brooks’ argument, as I seem to understand it, is simply one word: America. This is America. Sanders’s blissful Eldorado is not going to happen. It is not suited to the American culture, the American collective dream.
Brooks began his column (“Living’ Bernie Sanders’s Danish Dream”) by drawing a comparison between American capitalism and European capitalism, noting what is peculiarly great in each case. The effort soon broadens out to what Sanders is offering the American electorate as he, Brooks, itemizes and dissects the septuagenarian’s promises. I should however note that Brooks is a conservative writer and never the darling of liberals — or socialists for that matter. But any fair-minded person reading his piece should find little or no problem with his realist argument.
Concluding, Brooks writes:
“The changes in the health care system would be along the same lines. Sanders would create a centralized and streamlined system. His approach would also, as in Europe, reduce the rate of medical progress, increase the rationing of care, increase the wait times for patients, induce many doctors to retire and centralize decision-making. He might reduce health care costsby $6 trillion over the next decade, but his proposal to do this gives new meaning to the word vagueness.
“There’s nothing wrong with living in northern Europe. I’ve lived there myself. It’s just not the homeland we’ve always known. Bernie Sanders’s America is starkly different from Alexander Hamilton’s or Alexis de Tocqueville’s America or even Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s America.
“It’s amazing that so many young people want to mimic a continent that has been sluggish for decades. It’s amazing that so many look to the future and want a country that would be a lot less vibrant.”
Brooks could have hell to pay for this piece. No, not from liberals or Sanders’s supporters as you might imagine, but from the Republicans and conservatives of another variety other than Brooks’s: They will be rooting for his scalp for being so audacious as to jump the gun to headline, however benignly, what indubitably could be the Republican philosophical argument against Sanders’s proposals in the Fall, should he land the Democratic Party’s nomination. They are going to tell Brooks that he should not have carried Hillary Clinton’s heavy cross for her; on the contrary, he should have aimed his guns on her and softened her up for Sanders’s temporary victory and later the Republican ultimate triumph.
Brooks’s piece is highly recommended for your reading.