First rule: don’t bother. It wastes your time, and annoys the pig.
Recently I had the opportunity to debate a Bernie Sanders supporter and democratic socialist on the radio. As the democratic socialists become more prominent, both nationally and at our dinner tables and parties, it’s very likely you will find yourself engaging in a similar debate.
Here are a few lessons I learned from my experience that can help you debate a democratic socialist.
Lesson 1. Be Prepared
My opponent came prepared. She knew that I immigrated from Communist China and have written a book on the horrors of socialist communism. Therefore, she quickly pointed out that democratic socialism is not the same thing as what I experienced in China.
She claimed that she didn’t want to get rid of capitalism, private property rights and personal responsibility. She said she hopes democratic socialism, with all the free handouts and government intervention and workers’ power, will make capitalism a better system. She treats capitalism like a puppy: cute but needing adult supervision to ensure it will behave.
Fortunately, I came prepared too. While a foot soldier of democratic socialism like her treats capitalism as a misbehaving puppy, my research reveals the leadership of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) view capitalism as their ultimate foe that ought to be destroyed. DSA’s Vice-Chair Jeff Stein, writing for Vox, declares that DSA believes in abolishing capitalism for an economy run either by “the workers” or the state.
He wrote, “In practice, that means DSA [members advocate] ending private ownership of a wide range of industries whose products are viewed as ‘necessities,’ which they say should not be left to those seeking to turn a profit…DSA also believes that the government should ‘Democraticize’ private businesses — i.e., force owners to give workers control of them — to the greatest extent possible.”
There is a clear disconnect between what socialists like my debate opponent claim about democratic socialism versus what the DSA leadership openly advocates.
And that’s also Lesson 1 in why you shouldn’t bother: they lie. Always, continually, shamelessly, without thought or care. It’s almost a reflex with them. Admittedly, though, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Lesson 2. Stress that Democratic Socialism Is Not New or Better
DSA leadership’s stated goals are the same goals declared by murderous communists Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, and many other socialists in the past , which shows democratic socialism is not that much different from what we’ve seen before.
Here is more proof. I read my opponent the following quote:
- “We demand profit sharing in big business.
- We demand a broad extension of care for the aged.
- We ask that the government undertake the obligation above all of providing citizens with adequate opportunity for employment and earning a living.
- In order to make possible to every capable and industrious citizen the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our entire system of public education. We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents.
- The government must undertake the improvement of public health-by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor, by the greatest possible support for all clubs concerned with the physical education of youth.”
I asked her if these statements sound similar to what democratic socialists stand for, and she nodded. Then I revealed that they were excerpts from the 1920 declaration of the National Socialist Workers Party of Germany, more commonly known as Nazis.
Heh. Good one. So yeah, if you’re debating them not in hopes of convincing or educating them but just to amuse yourself by batting them around like a cat toy for a bit, have at it. Otherwise, meh.
Despite my complete lack of patience for the premise—that seriously debating the smarmy, douchealicious polyps is or can ever possibly be a worthwhile use of anyone’s time—it’s a good, fact-filled article, I must say.