Bernie's show trials

  • 5 March 2020
  • NormanL

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has already reaffirmed his fondness for aspects of the communist regimes of yesteryear. But there's much more to Sanders' troubling admiration for communist states -- including their show trials. In Bernie's case, it would be show trials for oil and gas companies:

Sanders has repeatedly sounded variations on the theme: “Fossil fuel executives should be criminally prosecuted for the destruction they have knowingly caused.”

He does not say what criminal law he thinks they have broken, despite the plain current legality under current law of operating refineries, at-pump gas sales and so forth. But note that Sanders’ language is not forward-looking—it’s retrospective. He’s not just talking about passing some new law and then arresting executives who proceed to violate it. He is talking about prosecuting past lawful behavior.

It’s a reminder that for all his talk of Denmark-this and Sweden-that, Bernie Sanders has never cut his ties to a branch of the socialist tradition in which the conviction gets settled first and the law is discovered afterward.

There are plenty of people who would readily agree with such prosecutions. Not because they would prevail in court (they very likely wouldn't). But because it would terrify other corporations who dare to pursue perfectly legal businesses that are out of fashion with the current regime. Such a destructive authoritarian mindset has no place in any government, regardless of party.