Fox News recently interviewed Halvorssen regarding his take on U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ widely discussed views on democratic socialist principles. Halvorssen conveyed his personal concerns about the potential pitfalls of democratic socialist policies based on his personal experience with the fallout of this political philosophy as well as his professional experience as president and founder of the Human Rights Foundation.
Halvorssen actually made the largest individual contribution allowable under U.S. campaign finance law to the campaign of Bernie Sanders, despite his cautionary words about embracing democratic socialist policies. Halvorssen understands that while these types of policies may be appealing to the especially poorer classes in society, they can pave the way for grave human rights violations by a national government. Halvorssen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwYmcbRYi1w) states that the likelihood of human rights violations is greater in countries where there are not enough checks on the national government from encroaching upon individual liberties. He also warns that once the national government begins reigning in private property rights and starts setting prices and controlling the supply of certain goods, this can be a slippery slope towards complete nationalization of the economy. Halvorssen does not think that this is the best way to protect human rights or encourage the prosperity of the nation as a whole.
Halvorssen’s family has been the victim of human rights abuses at the hands of the Venezuelan government, which Halvorssen points to as an example of an authoritarian socialist regime, for decades. His father was wrongfully imprisoned by the Venezuelan government for purely political reasons. His mother was shot during a peaceful political protest in Venezuela. Finally, his first cousin is now currently being held as a political prisoner in Venezuela. Halvorssen offers his family’s experiences as a cautionary tale of what can happen when the national government begins to exercise too much power and citizens hand over too many of their basic rights. Halvorssen continues to stand as a strong opponent of human rights abuses and is a widely respected advocated for civil liberties and human rights on an international scale. He is frequently consulted for his views on international affairs.