Bernie Sanders is not the first person who believed that democracy could produce a kinder and gentler socialism.
Love, as much as it may guide us to greatness, can also blind us to the perilous paths we have chosen. And the perils of democracy are more bountiful than that of any femme fatale. Unfortunately, because democracy flatters the vast majority of the human race with the allure of its siren’s song—its chorus constantly promising “the people” that they are naturally fit to rule—many people today are still quite smitten despite the red flags.
These are not flaws of a know-nothing reactionary movement but features of democracy itself.
Yet, this may mean we are simply overdue for a massive heartbreak. As unpleasant facts would have it, 2016 appears destined to go down in history as the year when democracy’s scorned lovers finally call her a harsh mistress. Word is, democracy has found a new paramour, one Donald J. Trump, and much to her former lovers’ dismay, she insists on parading around with him in public.
Orwell understood the tendency of socialism to lead to tyranny, but he was an open avowed socialist. He thought democracy could lead to a less murderous form of socialism.
But democracy is turning its back on the Progressives who previously ran things: elites who control academia, the legacy media and certain parts of the US government (State yes, Pentagon no, Presidency sometimes, SCOTUS half and half). Academics get to use the tremendous prestige of “SCIENCE” to influence the public, the press gets to use distortions, omissions, and emotional visuals to influence the public, USG organs use their mantle of authority and expertise to forward their shared agenda.
The Progressive State has been winning all contests, taking over industry after industry with regulation (finance, health care, now, the internet).
[As an aside it is interesting that Progressives previously took over shipping, railroads, airlines and trucking through tariff regulation until it became clear that the USG was about to destroy all four industries. The Department of Transportation and Interstate Commerce Commission deregulated airlines
to save the industries, and competition supplied undreamed of inexpensive fares. US flag shipping is probably still moribund.]
The elite loved democracy as long as they could panic and guide the public to the results they desired. They loved democracy because they believed it would be a source of power for themselves. We got more and more democracy, direct election of Senators (reducing State power in the Federal government), arguments to replace the electoral college with popular vote, etc.
Unfortunately for the elite, several developments now undermine their influence on voters. The Internet gives every citizen the equivalent of a newspaper and a broadcast studio at trivial cost. Donald Trump can do an end run around the spin and filters of the legacy media with his twitter account. Academia is earning black eyes daily which undermines its authority. USG organs are having trouble keeping the public’s trust.