Human Rights Foundation’s (HRF) founder and president, Thor Halvorssen, was recently featured on Fox Business Network’s show “The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan.” Halvorssen was specifically asked about his take on presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ support of socialist policies and desire to make America a socialist country if he were to be elected president. Halvorssen was clear in disclosing that Halvorssen actually made a campaign contribution to U.S. Sanders because he is Halvorssen’s preferred Democratic Party presidential candidate over the alternative option, Hillary Clinton.
Halvorssen was asked to provide a basic definition of socialism and explain how he thinks that it can violate the human rights of the citizens of a socialist government. Halvorssen (https://www.facebook.com/thorhalvorssen/) responded with ease that it is possible to have a socialist government that does not violate the human rights and civil liberties of its citizens, such as what we see in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. However, it is authoritarian countries, like Venezuela for example, where human rights violations and socialist policies seem to go hand in hand, according to Halvorssen. Rather than relying on a purely academic definition of socialism, Halvorssen explains that his major objection to socialism is the potential for the looting of personal property. In a socialist government, Thor Halvorssen explains, the government is able to set the prices of certain goods and resources to whatever amount it sees fit. This can contribute to major shortages of certain resources, which in turn, can lead to a massive humanitarian crisis. In this way, Halvorssen believes that socialist governments can readily violate many basic human rights. From Halvorssen’s perspective, it is much more preferable to allow the free market to guide the distribution of various vital resources, with some government protection to make sure that the poorest classes in society have access to what they need for survival. He is generally weary of government policies that strip the people of their rights to live as they see fit and does not think that socialism is the best solution for solving income inequality problems in society or protecting the poor against the dangers of poverty.