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May 31, 2020

2/25/2020 7:30:00 AM
Capitalist liberty or socialist utopian equality

It is said that if you continue to sacrifice liberty to achieve individual equality, you will soon have little of either.1

Liberty is central to American capitalism, a system in which wealth and resources are based upon a free enterprise economy with governance that allows for property rights, private ownership of industry and trade, with outcomes determined by the principles of supply and demand in competitive markets; rather than state ownership and /or tight government control.

Typical characteristics under capitalism: Decentralized government, free competitive markets, freedom of speech, higher income per capita, individual liberty, through limited government,1 free pursuit of one's own objectives, with minimal state intervention,1 greater protections of individual human rights, equality under the law, greater opportunity for achievement of individual economic prosperity, freedom of the human mind1 and body, to inspire and encourage ingenuity, innovation and modernization, for personal and public good.

Free market capitalism created people like Henry Ford and Bill Gates. These people are not evil icons; nor are the folks of lesser means, innately virtuous. If one assumes they are, at what point on their economic rise, did the iconic capitalists become evil?2 They are people like all of us; but, individually found ways and means to provide something to enrich our lives; something that we wanted and for which, we were willing to draw from the proceeds of our own individual achievement. They didn't forcibly take money from you or wrench it from the grasp of someone else. That is an operation of socialism, not capitalism. Acting upon our liberty and our own volition, we chose to engage or consume, to benefit ourselves and our families, by securing the utility and innovation of the products these entrepreneurs served to provide. Henry Ford, once a Michigan farm boy, is actually credited with having elevated himself, then ultimately and willingly elevated the middle class of his time. Socialism is devoid of any such opportunity or outcome.

Essentially, socialism is government control and/or ownership of the means of production.1 A fundamental socialist mandate is redistribution of wealth, which involves forcing the fruits of labor of one person, to be given free (directly or indirectly) to another; which, ironically, is the functional definition of slavery.1 It is disguised and marketed in a surreptitious fashion, framed as an entitlement "for the people," in the pursuit of "utopian equality." This condition supplants ambition, self-reliance, individual/collective achievement and places "the people" under control, in a perpetual state of dependence; subject to the will of the educated administrative state. Control the resources and you control the people in line to receive them. What the state provides, it can take away!

Reasonable taxation is fundamental to a vibrant society and energetic economy. Any notion of genuine similarity to that of socialism, is a mirage within the philosophy and mechanics of socialism, which mirrors legalized government extortion, domination and control, under the guise of simply seeking the payment of one's "fair share". It is forcibly imposed upon people like Ford, Gates and you, to surrender your earnings and assets to someone else, who is not as prosperous, due to a lack of identical opportunity, bad judgment, lack of skill, will or ambition.

The "fair share" theory should make no one fair game, and is assuredly not fair play.

You need only to compare capitalist countries to the socialist and totalitarian countries in the world. What characteristics do you find among the latter pair?

• Iron-handed centralized government controls over individuals and the means of production.

• Restraint of liberty

• Abuse of power & human rights.

• Censorship of speech & literature, and isolation of independent thinking.

• Lower income per capita.

These conditions are realized, in part, through the initial exploitation of free speech, used as a means to lull and persuade the masses with the promise of equality, through free government compensation today, in subtle exchange for one's submission to centralized government control, dependence, oppression and censorship tomorrow. Nothing is truly free.

One would assume, that in America, there would be a fundamental aversion to socialism; however, as the image and effects of the Cold War have faded, the radical politically progressive left, in the quest for power, works to capture the attention of American millennials and the working class, with aggressive condemnation of capitalism and conservatism, pitched with the allure of debt relief, free college, free healthcare and other social giveaway programs. Regardless of the obvious danger posed by the attendant social and economic fallout in the long run, the drug-like systematic socialist indoctrination has its effects. One need only look toward the history of the University of California at Berkeley, to find it was once the nucleus of the 1960s freedom of speech movement.1 Now, it is anything but; having transformed, like much of academia, to an activist echo chamber of radical left socialist philosophy, identity politics, victim mentality, political correctness and the overt and covert censorship of opposing conservative and capitalist thought. It is reinforced by an intentional over-abundance of an educated managerial elite in the form of propagating progressive professors and administrators; enforced by academic retaliation, brash and unsupported allegations of racism, sexism, phobic labeling, mass intimidation/shout-down, aggression and violence, justified by a deliberately distorted interpretation of "self-defense" and preservation.

Amnesty International and other human rights watch organizations reveal that on a linear progression from capitalism to socialism to totalitarianism, those countries closest in rule to the socialist and totalitarian models, are those with records of the most serious incidents of abuse of human rights, by historical American standards.

True socialism, according to Reisman is, by nature, totalitarian.3

Mao Tsetung (Zedong) of Communist China and Joseph Stalin of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were totalitarian heads of state, collectively responsible for the greatest destruction of humanity than any other two people in the history of the world, even dramatically more than Hitler, who was himself, fundamentally, "de-facto socialist."3 The illusion of his appearance to some as a capitalist, is exposed upon revelation that German business owners of the time, may well have been in a position to say they "own" their business; however, when it is understood that the Third Reich, at will, could dictate to those owners, the processes, products, prices, distribution and disposition of their merchandise, the illusion fades to black: de facto socialism. 3

Democratic socialists are, at least, initially, likened to "pickpockets," while communists are likened to "armed robbers," willing to kill if necessary, to accomplish their mission.3 True socialists fall in between, with a political agenda characterized by a fundamental deprivation of liberty and a "massive act of theft"3 via state seizure of the means of production, hijacked from the private, rightful owners.

While it is impractical to explore every facet and variation of socialism within this writing, it should probably be noted that people who refer to themselves and certain others as "social democrats," often simultaneously point for justification, to American Welfare, Social Security and Medicaid, as they laud certain Scandinavian countries (not officially socialist) as a shining example of how, as a start, sewing "soft socialism" into the fabric and economy of American society would be, de jure beneficial in the interest of equality.

In the 1990s, the economy of Sweden (in part, a constitutional monarchy) collapsed beneath a 3-decade experiment with socialism, that over time, triggered a drop in international market production, decline in private sector job availability and Swedish companies moving elsewhere to flee massive, debilitating tax burdens.7 Some workers left along with the companies, while others remained; but, out of work. According to Swedish economist Johan Norberg, socialism was an abject failure: "Free markets and small government [previously] made Sweden rich . . . . The experiment with socialism crashed us."7

Subsequent economic recovery has been attributed to a return to a greater emphasis upon a capitalist free market economy; deregulation, a vast reduction in taxes and a pull-back on redistribution. 7 Substantial taxation remains in existence there, to maintain some socialist initiatives, yet Swedes in America as of 2012 were 53% more wealthy than Swedes in Sweden.4

Surprisingly, 36% or more of Americans are sympathetic to socialism as opposed only 9% of Swedes in their homeland, according to Hoffman.7 The socialist government that is geographically closest to the U.S. is Cuba. In that country today, the government provides free education and has a relatively high level of literacy. At a glance, it would appear for example, that the country is fortunate to have among the educated, a high number of medical doctors. Sadly, free education has brought about a situation in which the number of doctors is dramatically greater than the number of such positions available to be filled; so much so, that it would not be uncommon for a doctor to be driving a cab, not only to have a job; but, to make more money than he or she might in the medical field. Of course, the trickle-down effect diminishes the availability of jobs for cab drivers, which in turn increases competition for other employment. Aside from this incentive-killing condition, whether one is a cabbie or a doctor, both rely (as do others) to some extent, on some minimal government stipend and are subject to the rationing of food and other products, the quality, quantity and regularity of which are not necessarily predictable. Fairly recently in Cuba, there was and probably still is, a dramatic shortage of soap, along with other common toiletries!

Ironically, while Cuban citizens find it hard to snag a bar of soap, healthcare is free to the indigent and free in part, to other citizens; however, overconsumption (high demand and comparatively short supply), coupled with the economic issues attendant with socialism, have resulted in an absence of free choice, vastly inadequate and delayed services, with overall medical care being described as substandard and actually "dehumanizing." Interestingly, it is a criminal act in Cuba to say so, since censorship abounds. Whether education, healthcare or some other vast social provision, when it's state controlled and provided free, there's a likely negative impact on economic equilibrium and social harmony. Imagine the impact if your local Walmart put a sign in the parking lot that said, "Everything Free! Come on in!"

The consequent stampede and the government efforts to deal with it, are a conceptual microcosm of the Cuban healthcare system specifically; and the distribution of free goods, services and financial welfare generally. In Cuba, economic and social instability are not subtle, they're obvious.

The only kind of equality that is consistent with liberty, is equality under the law.1 Any other kind of equality is not. It should be about "liberty and justice for all," not liberty and equality for all. The latter terms are not inter-dependent.

Communism and Socialism are manifest in government in a variety of ways around the world, as follows:

• Overt identification as communist or socialist.

• Constitutional references to a socialist ideology.

• Multi-party states with governance by communist or socialist parties.

Regardless of the manner in which socialism is manifested, Americans need only ask themselves, "In what countries that identify with socialism (or communism) in accordance with one of the aforementioned categories, are the people found to be better off than in American capitalism?" None! Redistribution of wealth under socialism in the long term, is "disingenuously generous." It is not sustainable, invariably results in major economic instability or collapse; and, massive poverty as a common condition. Meanwhile, the ideology is sustained by propaganda, censorship, and "human rights violations on a grand scale, as the normal state of affairs."1 It is administered by a managerial elite, that ultimately offers equality, only to the extent that people are uniformly oppressed.1 Berliners didn't risk their lives (by border-guard gunfire) and separation from family over a 28-year period, trying to traverse "The Wall" to escape from East Germany into West Germany for nothing. The wall was erected to stop the mass exodus of revenue, the workforce and East German intellectual capital. The people's objective was to flee the stark stagnation and oppression of a Soviet socialist slice of hell, for the prosperity and comparative liberty of a capitalist parliamentary democracy next door.

A component of the means by which the Soviet Union was able to maintain its iron grip on the population since it was established in 1922, was an historically effective form of suppression and oppression: gun control.

Implemented incrementally or by outright confiscation, it was and is, purportedly undertaken for public safety, but ultimately helping to ensure that armed resistance to the establishment doesn't occur, however futile the resistance may seem to be. Soviet gun control was eased somewhat in the post-Stalin period, particularly for strict purposes of rural livelihood; but, remained substantially restricted in urban areas.

The Weimar Republic that preceded Hitler's regime, initiated gun control registration. 6 When Hitler's National Socialist German Workers Party took over, they reportedly used existing gun registration information to facilitate targeted confiscation, perpetrated upon Jews and known dissidents. 6

Simultaneously, privileged access was granted to members of the party helping to perpetuate the status quo, prevent potential resistance and silence dissent.6 It should be noted that these conditions preceded the point at which the illegality of gun possession was rendered irrelevant concerning Jews and dissidents, since ultimately, it became unlawful to actually be either one; thus bound for a concentration camp for a status offense.

Any doubt about the purpose of gun control as a form of oppression in a socialist or totalitarian environment, runs counter to logic, given its prevalence; and, that it's backed up by other oppressive "equality measures," implemented to ensure public dependence; thus, weaponizing approval or denial in the distribution of state resources, including, but not limited to food, fuel, health care and electrical power.

Based upon such potential outcomes, you can be sure that our founding fathers did not guarantee the constitutional right to bear arms, simply to offer the opportunity to go duck and deer hunting..1 It was intended as a means by which to resist government tyranny, which doesn't necessarily pounce like a tiger all at once; rather, it can approach quietly, a bit at a time . . . . like a snake.

Circa 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev made three aggressive and prophetic assertions that reverberated through American society during the Cold War that unfortunately, to subsequent generations, remain unknown or forgotten:

"We cannot expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism; but, we can assist their elected officials in feeding them small doses of socialism, until they awake one day to find they have communism." 3

"We will take America without firing a shot. . . We will bury you!"3

"We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within." 3

On that note and profoundly apropos today, is an historical word of caution, attributed (with only slight variance) to philosopher George Santayana and later to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."6

If moral superiority is a worthy goal, it may be found in the liberty of capitalism, The American Dream; not the shiny object, the elusive "utopian equality," of an oppressive socialist regime.



Bud Corbett

Rhinelander

References:

Williams, Walter, Professor of Economics @ George Mason University; Fox News, LL&L TV broadcast interview 2-2-20.

Shapiro, Ben; podcast, specifics no longer available.

Reisman, George; "Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism is Totalitarian," 11-11-2005; Mises Daily Articles; accessed online 2-3-20.

Mitchell, Daniel J; "If Sweden's Big Welfare State is Superior. . ." Sept. 13, 2012; CATO Institute, CATO At Liberty; accessed online 2-4-20.

Davis, Carlton; "Letter: Khrushchev Prediction Slowly Coming True,"Amarillo Globe News, October 8, 2012; accessed online 2-8-20.

Holbrook, Stephen P. ; "How the Nazis Used Gun Control," National Review, Dec. 2, 2013; accessed online 2-4-20.

Hoffman, Susan; "Socialism Didn't Work in Sweden and It Won't Work in America," June 25, 2019; accessed online 2-16-20.





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