In recent weeks, Senator Bernie Sanders has seen a serge in the polls as he’s moved ahead of Hillary Clinton in a few key states. His fervent loathe for corporate greed and corrupt politicians has captivated crowds and convinced the nation that once fiercely opposed the Soviet Union that socialism is a good idea. However his supporters have helped prove quite the opposite.
If you have donated to the Bernie Sanders campaign because you so ardently despise greed and capital gains, I want to thank you for proving why capitalism does indeed work. According to USA Today, Bernie Sanders has raised $16.4 million for his presidential campaign. What makes this so entrancing is that Bernie collected this wealth voluntarily and not through coercive force, which him and his followers support.
By donating $16.4 million to the Bernie Sanders campaign, the very people who so passionately oppose the free market because they believe people will not freely cede their wealth have proven that if there is a cause worth supporting, people will have no problem voluntarily relinquishing their earnings. This is exactly what the free exchange of goods and services, as well as voluntary charities, are all about.
If any other man collected this kind of wealth voluntarily, Bernie Sanders and his supporters would likely call them greedy and ask the state to point guns at them to forcibly redistribute it to the poor. What makes this even more hypocritical is that while Bernie Sanders supporters want to point guns at people to feed the poor, they could have just fed the poor themselves with this $16.4 million.
According to the Feed My Starving Children Foundation, a small donation of just 22 cents is enough to purchase a single meal for a starving child. Simple mathematics will show us that $16.4 million is enough to purchase 74,545,454 meals for starving children. That is enough to feed 68,078 starving children three meals a day for an entire year.
If Bernie and his supporters care about the poor as much as they claim, they should ask Bernie to donate all of this $16.4 million to the Feed My Starving Children Foundation so that these 68,078 children won’t go hungry. If Bernie chooses not to lead by example, will his supporters call him greedy the same way they would call any other man that holds onto his wealth greedy? Will they call on the state to force Bernie to give it to the poor if he chooses not to?
However, it is safe to assume that Bernie Sanders is not principled enough to do such a thing and will instead greedily spend this money on himself in an attempt to become the most powerful man in the world. Nor would his supporters want him to donate this money to the poor because they would prefer to have Bernie rise to power and force others to give to the poor instead. Like the hypocrites they are, they could care less about their own money going to the poor and would rather have others foot the bill. Perhaps it’s more likely that Bernie supporters care more about reaping the benefits of this wealth themselves than they do about providing for those in genuine need of assistance. As Austrian economist Murray Rothbard once said, “It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.”
I will keep this article shorter than most of my writings, that way it gives Bernie Sanders supporters a little extra time to perhaps pick up an economics book, or visit Mises.org. If Bernie supporters truly cared for the less fortunate, they would call on Bernie to use that $16.4 million productively. If Bernie started a charity, myself and many other libertarians would happily donate. If he is already able to raise $16.4 million on the platform of helping the poor, imagine how many non-socialists would willingly contribute to this great, voluntary cause. There are clearly enough passionate voices that care about the issue, so why don’t we pursue it peacefully and voluntarily? Altruism is wonderful, but once you enter force into the equation, it diminishes the virtue of the act and turns charity into crime.
UPDATE: As of October 16th, 2015, Bernie Sanders has raised $26 million in voluntary donations. This would be enough to feed 107,928 starving children.