Religion & Liberty Online

Acton Commentary: Why Bernie Sanders can’t condemn Communist dictators

Bernie Sanders faced political crossfire during the debate in South Carolina on Tuesday night, some of it because he lavished praise on Communist dictators in Cuba, Russia, and Latin America. This week’s Acton Commentary, “The key to understanding Bernie Sanders,” details his history of moral equivalence between Marxist dictators and Western democracies – and explains the socialist reasoning that fuels it.

“This specious moral reasoning rings a deep, discordant bell among all those who encountered or are conversant with the Left during the Cold War,” the commentary states:

Western fellow travelers justified Stalin’s show trials, Castro’s persecutions, and Mao’s Cultural Revolution as, perhaps regretful, but necessary to defend the greater good of the socialist revolution. The noxious notion that the ends justify any means is as endemic among Marxism’s defenders as it is within socialism itself.

One by one, the socialists’ idols came crashing down. Secret speeches exposed their crimes. Dissidents smuggled out undeniable evidence. Socialists found themselves caught in a moral and practical conundrum. …

To cope, democratic socialists created an interpretive hermeneutic that is key to understanding Bernie Sanders’ moral equivalence. ….

Read the full commentary here.

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.