< Back To Blog

Russian chess master Garry Kasparov’s harsh critiques of Bernie Sanders and socialism | Washington Post

Pleased to see our viral Facebook discussion about Sanders and socialism go from a little polemic (https://www.facebook.com/GKKasparov/posts/10154026469573307) to an article (http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/garry-kasparov-hey-bernie-do…) to a real discussion in the news in this Washington Post article. Interesting that the Sanders campaign has declined to discuss my articles, but not surprising. Not because they are wrong and I am right, but because discussing the soul of America and the long-term impact of government intervention is a lot harder than promising free stuff you can’t pay for.

From what I see from many of Bernie’s defenders in the comments here, they want to have it both ways. Whatever is bad either isn’t socialism at all or wasn’t socialist enough! This tradition does go back to the USSR, where our constant hardship was blamed on not being pure enough in following the teachings of Lenin, for example. Corrupt officials, inefficient bureaucracies, external enemies and internal saboteurs—there are always plenty of scapegoats for why socialist regimes impoverish and imprison their citizens. Socialism is such an attractive theory that it’s far too easy to ignore that it always fails in practice.

I’m glad the Washington Post author wasn’t fooled by the attention-grabbing headline of my Daily Beast article and understood I wasn’t making up straw men arguments or comparing Sanders’ proposals directly with totalitarian Communism. The point is that the road to hell has often been paved with good socialist intentions. (Not in the case of the USSR, by the way. It was always about power.) When you believe that just a little more government intervention can help, then just a little more, a little more, you end up with a completely distorted system of incentives and control. Sanders’ lovely phrase “a government that works for everyone” soon becomes, in practice, “or else.”


via Washington Post 

When Bernie Sanders supporters hear the word “socialism,” they think about higher taxes for the rich, campaign finance reform and a single-payer health-care system rivaling those found in Scandinavia.

When Garry Kasparov, the legendary chess grandmaster from Russia, hears the same word, a very different thought comes to his mind.

“Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there,” he wrote in a Facebook post that went viral. “In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty. Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism.”


Garry’s Timeline

Follow Garry's extraordinary path through years of relentless activism.

View the full Biography