Jeremiah Keenan explains in a Federalist column how lessons he learned in communist China apply to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ prescription of “jobs for all.”

Now, nobody really thinks herself morally obligated to give every poor person she meets half the value of their difference in income. This argument assumes morality is intrinsically a personal matter, and leftists do not believe this—at least, in China they don’t. In China it is generally understood that income inequality is wrong not because God or conscience declares you must give to those with less, but because utopia cannot be achieved when one person owns what another does not.

American leftist elites express things a little differently. They like the term “social justice” instead of “social morality,” but they adhere to the same premise that individual morals are the product of social organization, not the other way around. In other words, people do not do right or wrong things with respect to their income; they simply reflect the rightness or wrongness of the social structures that control them. Therefore, the path to being better people is to organize and vote for a better system. …

… [T]he problem is that leftists aren’t just stingy. Leftism does not simply negate personal morals, it replaces them with socialized ones. Income inequality, remember, is immoral. Since socialized morality is intrinsically, well, social, it cannot simply live and let live.

The Christian can give his own money to the poor, but the socialist must have the wealth of the rich. The Christian can preach in his own church, but the socialist must decide whether it is appropriate for anyone to maintain so extravagant a thing as a house to worship God. The Christian thinks it a duty and a right to school his own children, but the socialist must prepare every child to think and act in the interests of society as he understands them.

In China, this is frankly understood, and the consequences frankly implemented.