What has always distinguished real socialism from other ideologies that advocate for state dominated economic decision making like progressivism and fascism, is that under socialism the government actually owns the means of production. This is why in order for any political platform to be truly socialist it must call for the nationalization of industry–or at least most industries. And yet, as far as I know, the “socialist” Bernie Sanders is not advocating the nationalization of any industry.  Heck, even Ted Kennedy when he ran for President in 1980 wanted to nationalize oil.  [As an aside, a single payer health care plan, which Sanders advocates, is not nationalization.]

Bernie Sanders is not a socialist. Nothing that he is proposing is outside of the standard mold of progressivism that dominates the Democratic Party. I think that he has gone as far as he has with the base of the Democratic Party not because he is a true socialist bust because he is a consistent progressive. If he were truly  a socialist and was calling for the nationalization of the computer industry, or the cell phone industry, or the auto-industry, or even the banks he would be getting no traction at all. Ask any 20-something Bernie supporter if he or she thinks the government should take ownership of Apple Computers or Google and YouTube or if they would like their checking account to be held by the treasury department instead of the local bank where they have it now.

I am not implying that Bernie Sanders’ policies would not be as bad for the economy as his socialist label would suggest. Economic progressivism, which is a form of fascism, is in fact no better than socialism. In their most consistent form they both entail total government control of economic decision making and the use of property. The only difference is that progressivism and fascism maintain the facade of private ownership while socialism is more honest.