Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Must I argue against socialism? Really?

Well, I guess it has come to this. Once upon a time we argued our differences between big government and small government. Conservative vs Liberal. Now that the spendulus package has passed, we have crossed into a new debate, one of capitalism and free markets vs socialism. There was a time when we wouldn’t dream of ever entertaining the notion of socialism in America. Well here we are. Earlier this week, Mitch McConnell said that once the spending bill is fully implemented nearly 40% of our GDP will be consumed by the federal government. What else can we call it if not socialism? I can’t believe I actually have to devote a post to point out the dangers of this kind of economic system. I can’t believe I actually have to tell people that Marx was wrong. Here goes:

First, socialism is a failed system. The countries that have tried have either fallen (USSR), in the process of falling (western Europe, North Korea, Cuba) or are slowly migrating towards capitalism (China). Why? Because socialism does not create wealth and prosperity in the populous. Socialism only meets the basic needs of its citizens, and it doesn’t even do that very well. Remember the bread lines in the Soviet Union? From those who are most able to those who are most in need is a utopian idea based on the assumption that there are more who are able – and willing – than there are in need. Eventually, those who are able grow weary of working for the collective and the motivation for labor vanishes. Ask yourself: Why do we work? We work to make money so that we can support ourselves and our family, purchase goods and services and pursue our own individual happiness. In a socialist system they work to support society as a whole, other people and their families, many of whom do little to pull their own weight. That can only last so long.

Eventually the money dries up. As Margaret Thatcher once said, eventually we run out of the people’s money. Socialism deteriorates. It brings the collective down. The poor stay poor and the rich get poorer. If a worker labors hard and doesn’t profit from that labor, then how long can we expect him to continue laboring hard?

In ideal circumstances it creates a single economic class, but that class lives in substandard conditions. The only people who get wealthy from socialism are the politicians who raid and steal from the treasury, abusing their power to line their pockets. Can anyone name one non-politician who got wealthy in a socialist system?

Not only that, but socialism is incongruent with liberty. When people depend on the collective for basic needs, thus depending on the government to meet those needs, they are not free. The government can set the rules and change them at will. The government can dictate how people live their lives and the people have no say in the matter because the government controls the money, thus controlling food, housing, medical care, education, lending, and just about every other basic service we are currently free to enjoy. Even when socialist societies have elections those votes are useless because those who depend on the government are not going to vote against the politicians who provide their basic needs. This is the strategy of modern-day American progressives. The more people who depend on you for stuff, the more votes you effectively buy for the next election. This is not freedom. But it is an effective way to guarantee power. When I see people on welfare, medicare and food stamps; people who need the government for their education, their retirement, their jobs; when I see people like this I see people who are under the boot of politicians with little or no hope of controlling their own destiny. And there are more and more people like this every day.

Capitalism is not a perfect system. Indeed no such system exists. The freedom to pursue happiness comes at a cost, and that’s usually in the form of greed. And greed can create victims. Controlling greed is vital. It requires moral fiber and self-control, something that is becoming rare in America. If we can’t control our own greed we then seal our own fate.

There is suffering in capitalists systems, but it pales in comparison to the suffering we see when people have lost liberty. Because even when people are victimized by capitalism, they still are free to overcome their circumstances and re-ascend to prosperity. It’s a common tale of success. Despite the occasional victim, capitalism generates wealth and prosperity, it LIFTS the collective. America is the wealthiest nation on the planet. Even our poorest are very well off compared to the impoverished in foreign lands. And what’s even better is that those poor have the freedom to change their circumstances. That freedom does not exist in a socialistic society becomes the government has the power and will do everything it can to keep from relinquishing it.

Do you think for a second that the Democrats want people to get off of welfare? To handle their own retirement? To handle their own medical care? Of course not. If that were to happen then the party would lose votes. Their power depends on people who want handouts and they are more than willing to give the handouts at the expense of others.

With the passage of this spending bill we have transformed our economy to a European socialist model. Soon to come: high inflation, high interest rates and, yes, massive taxation. The collective will descend from prosperity. The economy will become stagnant. Jimmy Carter tried this already and the people rejected it. Now Obama seems to want to give it another go. The question is: Can we reverse it? Or will we even be willing to?
Common sense tells us that all capitalist systems eventually collapse into socialism as a result of greed if the people fail to control their greed. The people discover they have the power to vote themselves rewards from the treasury, and they abuse that power, unknowingly transferring it to the government. Is this a lesson we can learn from history and avoid? Or will we have to endure our own failed socialism experiment?


allison said...

I'm interested to know which countries in Western Europe you deem as "in the process of failing" and why.

Auntyem said...

John -- Our situation here in America has been one of a blend of capitalism and socialsim, with capitalism having long had the upper ground for a long time. I don't know of any European Union country that has full blown socialism like Russia and China had. Even they have blended their systems into partly socialism, partly capitalism.

I am a Francophile like our friend Limbaugh. I like my French wines, and I dont think any of those wineries are under state ownership. European countries have private enterprises, like Mercedes, etc. no? We can name hundreds of others.

We got Social Security in 1936 and Medicare during the Johnson administration. If those entitlements are still with us, it is because Republicans receiving those benefits expect them too.

Yes, well-off Republicans that I know use their Social Security for their liquor bills and down payments on luxuries like cruises to the Mediterranean, etc. They support the Republican party, have good investments, and several properties, but they live partly off the government dole too, stating that they always worked hard, they deserve it, they paid into it, etc., and no one is telling them that they shouldn't have it because they don't really need it. What they don't like is outright welfare and food stamps, but I can't understand why they would begrudge those to our poorest citizens, many who through no fault of their own need some help because they are not able to work. There but for the grace of God go we.

You asked, "Must I argue against socialism? Really?" No American wants Socialsim for all the limitations of that system you outlined about it and the examples you gave. We don't want to ride bicycles or buses everywhere, and we love the freedom our personal vehicles give us. We don't have to wait years for permission to own a car or an apartment. Everybody looks forward to home ownership. We hate to pay high prices for gas, but we can find alternatives, like other countries have. Big oil is keeping us down because of their greed.

Under Bush, we were heading towards Socialism in the power he wrested for his office, his vice president and agencies to be Big Brother. He even jokingly once said, "It would just be easier if I was a dictator." Government contracts went to his supporters. Sounds like the "Dear Leader" in Communist countries, with all the power in his hands.

You know that he was under pressure too from private concerns to turn a blind eye to the hiring of illegal immigrants. Even now, the Republicans wanted that part of the stimulus bill thrown out that required businesses to use the E-Verify system to force employers to check all their hires on it to see if they are illegal. They don't put their illegals on the books, they pay them cash, they intimidate them into keeping quiet about where they work, etc. The only immigrants they have on their books are the ones who supplied them "documentation" stating they are legal, but those "documents" are forged. If they were to use the E-Verify system, they would have to fire most of their workers and go out of business because Americans won't do certain jobs.

An apple grower here in our state, on the Eastern side over the Cascades in apple country, has had no response for his ad requesting apple pickers. He will need 35 apple pickers. When word gets around to the Mayans from Guatemala and the Porepeches from Mexico, they will be here in droves, knowing that jobs are here that no American wants, and no E-Verify to worry about. The same goes for all the restaurants, hotels, nurseries, growers of beef, poultry, etc.

You know, China is not doing too bad now, and they say that it is because their leaders have degrees in engineering. We have had a leader with an MBA, now we have one with a Harvard Law degree, maybe we should get us an engineer. They know how to make plans, and they know how to make those plans work.

In the meantime, we have what we have. The middle class always have to take it in the shorts because of the greed of the rich and the laziness of some of the poor. To answer your question, no, you don't have to argue against Socialism. We get it, but there is an argument against runaway greed in capitalism.

Port Orchard, WA

Dan Trabue said...

What else can we call it if not socialism?


Socialism is "system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole." We don't have that here. Not at all.

What we have is a questionably huge influx of money into the system as hopefully a one/two time event before we get back down to more reasonable spending levels, you know, like under Carter and Clinton (but not under Reagan/Bush/Bush, who all expanded our national deficit greatly).

This simply isn't socialism, if the word "socialism" means anything.

John Washburn said...

Europe has unemployment near 9% and climbing, an "underutilized" workforce according to some economists, economic growth of only 1-2% per year, public expenditures of nearly 45% GDP in many countries, and a negative birth rate - thus an aging population. For them, it's only a matter of time.

John Washburn said...

"We got Social Security in 1936 and Medicare during the Johnson administration. If those entitlements are still with us, it is because Republicans receiving those benefits expect them too."

Em, we still have these programs because no politician has had the guts to take them on. Anytime you mention reducing entitlement spending you are subjected to fear-mongering from the other side. Just look what happened to Bush when he tried to reform Social Security. The people aren't going to vote for someone who is going to take away their "government money". Therein lies the problem in capitalism when we can't control greed.

As a conservative, I would surrender my social security if it meant eliminating the entire program. It's not like I will EVER see a dime of that money anyway. Medicare is running up $50 trillion of unobligated debt that we will NEVER be able to pay, yet no one has raised this as a concern. Instead, Obama wants to SPEND an additional $2 trillion on failed economic policy.

And the Chinese are doing well in part because industries are relocating there for their business-friendly laws, cheap labor and lack of labor unions. There are other reasons of course but things like this certainly help.

Dan, we may not have it now, but we're on our way. The Dems are looking to nationalize our banking system, nationalize our health care, organize every form of labor under intimidation, censor any public critics, give full control of the census to the White House, wrestle education away from the states, control our consumption of energy, limit or eliminate free trade and will eventually be imposing massive taxation on the people. Did I miss something?

Wry Mouth said...

California is again trying to be the bellweather state here, like Massachusetts, etc. In this case, we want another $0.12 PER GALLON gas tax, and hikes in sales tax, to revive a state economy that has screwed into the ground once already. I wonder if that'll help, or if it will just auger in deeper.

Watch California. We are bold/crazy enough to go where other states fear to tread!

Dan Trabue said...

John said:

The Dems are looking to nationalize our banking system, nationalize our health care, organize every form of labor under intimidation, censor any public critics, give full control of the census to the White House, wrestle education away from the states, control our consumption of energy, limit or eliminate free trade and will eventually be imposing massive taxation on the people. Did I miss something?

Just that you're overwrought. We had much more to fear from the Bush administration than we do from the Obama administration. I ALWAYS advocate keeping a close eye on gov't practices and beware of the corrupting nature of power and that remains true during the Obama administration.

Nonetheless, I suspect that conservatives who fear the end are WAY overwrought. The Dems are not trying to nationalize stuff. Health care remains in the hands of private doctors and facilities and insurance companies. The means of production remain in the hands of private corporations. Etc, etc.

I will remain vigilant along with you on keeping an eye on gov't AND corporations (I have more concerns about corporations than I do over the gov't), but I'd suggest that you can relax just a little.

Liberals don't want a state run everything or censorship anymore than conservatives and would not stand for such.


Yep, California is the financial bell-weather state alright. With Nancy Pelosi running earmarks from the House, the state is near bankrupt... and Governor Arnie is begging the Stimulus Plan for its share of the bail-out loot!

And, Harry Reid wants a high-speed Rail Line from Anaheim to Las Vegas!

There's trouble ahead with these inept clowns at the helm. reb


Another small item to rip off the tax-payer. California Repr Henry Waxman has been attacking to tobacco giants for years.

This Klutz tells me that I can't smoke on Public Beaches & Parks, and now wants me to stop smoking in my home, cuz my "second-hand" smoke might waft over the fence and into my neighbors open window!

On April 1st, our Democratic Leaders have succeeded in imposing a $6.00 per carton "Sin Tax" on my smokes. In WWII, the U.S. sent K-Rations and (Four) Free Lucky Strike Cigarettes to Overseas Troopers!

Also, if you watch an old Turner Classic Movie, most all of the great movie stars (men & ladies) then Smoked Cigarettes On Camera!

Next, these twits will force me to
travel to Harry Reid's "Sin City" Las Vegas to lite up!

Well, that punk Waxman can pry my final pack of smokes from my cold, dead hand. reb

~ The Times they are A-Changin' -