To the editor: ‘Egalitarian utopia’ an expensive fantasy

In 1990, I was a financially struggling college student attending Lyndon State College in northern Vermont. I was an active member of the College Democrats, and an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders who was then running for the U.S. House of Representatives. Like his other supporters, I too found appeal in Bernie’s grand promise of economic prosperity and a fair share of American wealth that seemed to be going to everyone else but us. I was thrilled when he defeated Peter Smith, his Republican opponent of whom I knew nothing.

Thirty-four years later, I wish I could go back in time and have a blunt conversation with my younger self to explain how naive and uninformed I was. In 1990, Burlington was a clean and crime-free city with a strong economy. It was a tourist destination that every American would have been pleased to visit. It was also a city where working Vermonters could afford to live and raise a family. In fact, one could have said the same about the entire state of Vermont. The education system was good, the property taxes were tolerable, and representative democracy in town select boards and school boards was robust. Homelessness, drug abuse, crime, food insecurity and lack of access to healthcare were not societal epidemics.

Since then, the unseen social and moral factors that anchor a healthy society have been steadily eroded. Now, the above-mentioned social problems lead news stories every single day. No longer can Vermonters actively engage in the process of self-governance without the interference of left-wing progressive administrators and central planners in Montpelier and Washington, D.C. Our right to freedom of speech and expression, among other previously inalienable rights enshrined in the Vermont and U.S. constitutions, have been discarded in the endless pursuit of “progress” by unelected bureaucrats. “Progressive” career politicians do their bidding by stoking envy and manipulating vulnerable citizens with dishonest indictments of society. It’s not surprising that so many still fall for the false vision of an egalitarian utopia.

All these changes have been to the detriment of middle- and working-class Vermonters. This is not progress. How I wish I could go back and have that conversation with myself and put my efforts into preserving the Vermont in which I grew up. Those of us that haven’t yet been forced to leave Vermont can barely afford to live here. Bernie, in stunning contrast, has a $2 million property portfolio consisting of a house in Burlington, a lakefront cabin in North Hero Island, and another conveniently located residence in Washington, D.C., near the Capitol Building.

How I wish I had known what the “equality” revolution would cost Vermont and pay the likes of Bernie Sanders.

Stu Lindberg

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  1. Robert Nied says:

    A political philosophy is not a substitute for factual reality. The eight US states with the most residents living in poverty and the lowest life expectancy are all conservative, Republican run states. The list of the fifteen states with the most expensive housing does not include Vermont. More than half of the members of Congress are millionaires (many of whom amassed great wealth from the profits and dividends of corporations they have the responsibility to regulate, not from selling books like Senator Sanders). The two wealthiest members of Congress are Republicans. A list of the top ten richest members of Congress does not include Bernie Sanders. A progressive view that reasonable access to healthcare, regardless of gender, housing, and the right to vote is not “utopian,” it is a basic human right. Finally, equality should never be prioritized according to a profit and loss statement. It is a fundamental characteristic of a civilized and compassionate society. Equality is a moral imperative and not a monetized expense.

  2. Leo Graham says:

    Stu will be one of the three Republicans in attendance at their Windsor County shindig.
    Leo Graham

  3. Chris Walker says:

    Well written Stu.