Feel The Bern: Russian Chess Champion Opens Up About Bernie Sanders

Ex-Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov says that he likes and respects Bernie Sanders, but he disagrees with Sanders that socialism is as an effective means of addressing America’s economic issues.

Kasparov lived under a socialistic regime as a citizen of the Soviet Union before it broke apart.

“Sanders’s socialist policies would replace banks that are too big to fail with a government that is too big to succeed,” Kasparov claimed.

Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont and a self-described socialist, is running for president as a Democrat against Hillary Clinton. Although Clinton is still the odds-on favorite to win the nomination, especially since she has the so-called super delegates to this summer’s nominating convention already locked up, Sanders for one thing achieved an upset victory in the Michigan Primary on March 8.

Some big states are up for grabs by both Democrats and Republicans this week in what is being billed as Super Tuesday 3.

Sanders, 74, has been a Member of Congress since 1991. Prior to that, he served eight years as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

A foe of Vladimir Putin, Kasparov is a Russian chess grandmaster who became the world chess champion at the age of 22 and was ranked No. 1 in the world for almost 20 years. Now a political activist, some consider Kasparov the greatest chess player of all time.

Kasparov attempted to run for president of Russia in 2008, but was blocked by the Putin regime. In 2014, he became a Croatian citizen.

Bernie Sanders spent his honeymoon in the former Soviet Union as part of his official duties as mayor of Burlington.

In a Facebook post that went viral after the first Super Tuesday, Kasparov explained that he found it ironic that supporters of Bernie Sanders were lecturing him about “the glories” of socialism.

“Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there. 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. Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely. But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.”

Kasparov followed up the Facebook message with a longer explanation in The Daily Beast about what he was driving at, while praising Sanders for articulating sincerely held beliefs, in contrast to most of the other presidential candidates in the election 2016 cycle.

“My goal was to remind people that Americans talking about socialism in the 21st century was a luxury paid for by the successes of capitalism in the 20th. And that while inequality is a huge problem, the best way to increase everyone’s share of pie is to make the pie bigger, not to dismantle the bakery…”

Kasparov acknowledged that the Bernie Sanders proposed solutions to America’s economic woes have struck a chord with a certain segment of the electorate, but Sanders’ remedies are anything but, in his opinion.

“A society that relies too heavily on redistributing wealth eventually runs out of wealth to redistribute. The historical record is clear. It’s capitalism that brought billions of people out of poverty in the 20th century. It’s socialism that enslaved them and impoverished them. Of course Senator Sanders does not want to turn America into a totalitarian state like the one I grew up in. But it’s a valuable example of the inevitable failure of a state-run economy and distribution system. (Check in on Venezuela for a more recent example.) Once you give power to the government it is nearly impossible to get it back, and it will be used in ways you cannot expect…”

According to Investor’s Business Daily, Bernie Sanders entered middle age before he began earning a regular paycheck, upon his election as Burlington’s mayor.

When it comes to a discussion of the practical outcome of socialism, is it fair or unfair to assume that Bernie Sanders is playing checkers while Gary Kasparov is playing chess? Did either get “pwned,” as it were, in the analysis?

[Photo by Seth Perlman/AP]