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Bill de Blasio shows why socialistic impulses are not made for America

The Hill logo The Hill 12/6/2018 Jim DeMint, opinion contributor
Bill de Blasio looking at the camera: Bill de Blasio shows why socialistic impulses are not made for America © Getty Images Bill de Blasio shows why socialistic impulses are not made for America

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Late last month, as you may have heard, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the biggest mistake any elite leftist can. He admitted what he really believes.

Lamenting the inability of his government to plan every aspect of real estate in New York - "to determine which building goes where, how high it will be, who gets to live in it, what the rent will be" - de Blasio identified the great obstacle to his ambitions: property rights. "What's been hardest," de Blasio said, "is the way our legal system is structured to favor private property." His comments have attracted a wide range of criticism.

First of all, a mayor of New York, the financial capital of the world, complaining about capitalism, is like the mayor of Los Angeles complaining the entertainment industry is holding his city back. If not for New York's centuries long embrace of private property rights, de Blasio would be mayor of an impoverished, English fishing village.

Second, de Blasio's indictment of private property seems to stop just short of trespassing his own. There is nothing stopping him from handing his multiple rental properties over to the New York City government, and yet they continue to net him thousands of dollars every month.

But as out of touch and hypocritical as his statement may have been, it serves as a valuable reminder of what's really behind the Democratic Party's current "socialist moment." The media has made cult heroes of left wing radicals like Bernie Sanders, and they are hard at work trying to create new generation of socialist extremists by extolling the virtues of failed Texas Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke and New York representative elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

De Blasio attributes this radical energy to a "socialistic impulse" in communities that people "would like things to be planned in accordance to their needs."

There is an impulse, but it's not socialistic. It's tyrannical. And it's not new.

This tyrannical impulse lives within all of us. The desire to set ourselves apart and write special rules for others is the dark side of human nature. It is that immutable impulse, which ever leads men and nations toward ruin, that our Founding Fathers set out to harness and neutralize with the Constitution. They knew no power on earth could turn people into angels. So they consciously devised a political system of divided government and dispersed powers, and cultivated an economic system of free market capitalism, anchored in equal, individual property rights.

De Blasio is absolutely right that the great threat to his ideological goals are private property and the rule of law that protects it. What really frustrates de Blasio is that in America, everyone else enjoys the same rights he does. That's the real story about de Blasio's lament, and the reason that boomlet socialism is enjoying these days on the left.

Despite what "fake news" tells you, there is nothing populist about socialism. It has never empowered the "little guy." In socialist systems, the little guy always ends up in bread lines or prison. Nor does it, as conservatives sometimes charge, mire everyone in equal misery. On the contrary, in socialistic countries, the wealthy and well-connected always make out like bandits. Literally.

That's why, throughout history, it is always elites like de Blasio, O'Rourke, Ocasio Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and their allies in the academy, entertainment industry, and mainstream media, who lead the charge for a disgraced ideology. If and when the revolution comes, they expect to be the ones calling the shots. They think they deserve to wield that power over the rest of us deplorables, bitterly clinging to the wrong side of history.

Such self-satisfied, power-hungry elites are exactly the kind of people our constitutional system was set up to thwart. Mayor de Blasio's frustration is a positive outcome of that system, one we should all be eager to protect.

Jim DeMint is chairman of the Conservative Partnership Institute. He served as senator and representative from South Carolina for 14 years.


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