Bernie Sanders’s followers do not understand socialism, according to Thor Halvorssen. Halvorssen is a film maker who leads a group known as the Human Rights Foundation. Although he is politically liberal, he believes that socialist governments can be too easily abused by authoritarian despots.
Socialism is an economic system where the people own the means of production, and the Scandinavian governments of Northern Europe, like many other countries around the world, use a hybrid system that mixes elements of socialism and capitalism. Corporations and businesses are still privately owned, but high taxation rates support many social programs.
Halvorssen believes that countries with a long, stable tradition of democracy can benefit from socialist policies, but unstable countries, such as Venezuela, can be taken over by authoritarian despots. He believes that many Sanders supporters do not understand how easily socialism can be manipulated by unscrupulous leaders. Many dictators come into power promising to improve conditions for the people. Many of these leaders fail to live up to their promises after they win the president or the prime minister’s seat.
Despite his criticism of Sanders and his followers, he has no love for Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic front-runner. Clinton and her husband have a history of taking donations from foreign powers known for habitually violating human rights.
Halvorssen’s cousin currently resides in a Venezuelan jail, and he started the human rights foundation to raise awareness of human rights abuses. He made his comments on the Fox Business Network show The Intelligence Report early in March 2016. The host interrupted him briefly to insert her own definition of socialism, but Thor Halvorssen did not let her derail the conversation.