Bernie Sanders: Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat? Why It Matters

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Bernie Sanders is not a democratic socialist — he’s a social democrat. So what is the difference?

(03-20-2016, updated 07-14-2018)  Democratic socialism is an oxymoron as is a democratic socialist. I don’t understand why he calls his ideas democratic socialism. It puts people off and it’s incorrect. Bernie Sanders is not a socialist and neither are his ideas. They are social democratic — democracy and capitalism, but benefiting everyone, not just the few who can afford anything. He is a social democrat.

This article by a Finn explains it perfectly. It’s not about paying for others, but getting the benefits yourself.

Take universal healthcare. Sure, if you’re in your twenties and you’re never sick, it might sound unfair that you would have to pay into a pot that you don’t directly get anything out of. But you do eventually. Everyone gets old and everyone gets sick sooner or later. By the time these twenty-somethings are older, their healthcare is free as well, because other twenty-somethings and everyone else is paying into the pot. And since not everyone is sick at the same time, the amount everyone pays can be a whole lot less than you pay as individuals in an everyone-for-themselves society like America. That’s what a social democrat like Bernie Sanders wants. So just remember, when he calls himself a democratic socialist, what he means is the opposite.

(This post was first published on the blog Resident Alien: Being Dutch in America, under the title: Democratic Socialism or Social Democracy? 03-20-2016)

Header image: Shutterstock.  March 14, 2016.

3 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders: Democratic Socialist or Social Democrat? Why It Matters

  1. I’m going to have to save that article as back-up for when my tour members don’t believe me when I say that all my European friends are happy paying their taxes (and that they pay about 20 euro a month for great healthcare).

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