John Locke Foundation’s Roy Cordato writes for Real Clear Policy that Bernie Sanders and Democratic nominee for Congress in New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are not actually socialists as they describe themselves.

What is socialism? Merriam-Webster defines it as “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” If someone is going to call him or herself a socialist, then, at a minimum, he or she needs to advocate for government ownership of the means of production, i.e., industry. One is only a socialist to the extent that he or she does this.

Cordato writes that the foundation of every socialist economy is the nationalization of key industries, as seen in dictatorial regime like Cuba, Russia, Venezuela, and North Korea. But, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are not calling for the nationalization of industries that they open repudiate, such as coal or banking.

If the self-proclaimed socialists of the Democratic Party are not socialists, what are they? First and foremost, they are unshackled welfare statists, directed by a morality that values, above all, a form of outcome-based egalitarianism. As a result, they favor all-encompassing government programs thought to minimize income inequality and the outcomes that flow from such inequalities. As we have seen, this includes a steeply progressive income-tax system, government control of payments for health-care services, tuition-free higher education, guaranteed employment, etc. But note that none of their proposed programs seeks to nationalize any industries. What they do seek is to equalize the benefits these industries provide through one or another kind of government payment scheme.

In the area of economic policy, these self-proclaimed socialists embrace, not socialism, but what is called “dirigisme,” which Merriam-Webster defines as a system that embraces “economic planning and control by the state.”

Read more about dirigisme in Roy’s piece here.