The Damage to Free Men
Man cannot govern himself. This is the foundation of the socialist ideology, and from this one idea has sprung tyranny and subjugation. Some forms of socialism are relatively benign, doing subtle damage to the freedom of the individual by surrounding him with a wall of laws, regulations and stern advice. Others use violence, torture and murder to suppress the slightest hint of dissent or deviation. But make no mistake; all stand in opposition to the rule of law and individual liberty.
The simplest definition of the socialist ideology is that it advocates state ownership or control over the resources of a nation – the land, the people, and industry. A powerful central government creates and then disseminates imperious edicts, great and small, to the masses. Government knows best and will enforce its prerogatives with vigor.
Socialists use many different words to describe their intentions to use centralized political, economic and military power. Socialism, communism, fascism, liberalism, progressivism and variants of collectivism describe different approaches to a dominant central government, but all believe that man must be controlled rather than served and empowered. An individual’s freedom to live a life of personal choice is a threat to the state.
To sell what is essentially a set of ideas that suppress man’s natural inclinations for self-determination, socialists stress fairness, collective salvation, social justice, welfare, unionism, secularism, one-world governance, and ultimately revolution. What is most troubling is that socialists use the language of freedom knowing that people will misunderstand their intent.
When the word “democracy” is used by socialists it is intended to mean the freedom of a favored group to operate within a “politically correct” framework. Action outside that framework, even when legal, is treated with extreme hostility. Individual freedom, which is implicit in “democracy”, is meaningless in the socialist context.
Ludwig von Mises summed up the socialist in a single paragraph:
The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent on abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office.
Von Mises and Hayek, among many others, warned of the perils of socialism. Yet the battle for the freedom of man constantly rages. Individual freedom is difficult to embrace. It is filled with the vagaries of life. It must be maintained through constant vigilance. Individual freedom is not just about rights but also about responsibilities to God, country, and family. However, the truth is that mankind cannot prosper without it.
Unfortunately, not all men and women value their freedom. Many find comfort in the velvet chains of the welfare state or the iron fisted tyranny of a socialist inspired dictatorship.
Realities of the Socialist Ideology
It would be a mistake to disregard the determination of the socialist. He sees himself as a savior, a messiah who will perfect humanity. As such, he respects no national boundaries or religion. He ignores the evidence that socialism is without inspiration, and therefore must rely on repression and punishment to control the human spirit and soul. To the socialist, the ends justify whatever means are employed to achieve a noble social end. In this sense, the socialist stands in opposition to virtually every hard won victory of mankind.
The history of communism, socialism, and fascism is quite violent. From Stalin’s Ukrainian Holodomor (Death by Starvation) and multiple purges, through Hitler’s National Socialist genocide of the Jews, to Mao’s communist people’s experiments, some 150 to 200 million people died. Later socialist dictators were equally ruthless and their murderous brutality legendary as well.
The history of American progressivism is no less vicious. Social Darwinism, introduced by the progressive elites, advocated for a reduction in the birth rate of “less desirable” races as well as state controlled sterilization, abortion and euthanasia.
Socialism opposes the family. Throughout history, the family has been the fundamental unit of a prosperous society. Strong families with strong moral principles tend to operate independently of the state. As citizens rather than subjects, they do not need or want help from anyone let alone the state.
Significantly, the social welfare state with its poverty programs and non-judgmental philosophy is destroying the ancient and traditional concepts of marriage and family. The socialist state drives fathers out of the home, substituting itself as provider. Significantly, over four out of ten births are to single unmarried women.
Socialism opposes individual wealth creation. The socialist believes that the blood, sweat and tears of the free individual belong to the state. If someone comes up with a unique idea, works hard to perfect that idea, and then successfully enters the marketplace, the wealth created belongs to everyone as a state entitlement. Unfortunately, American and world history has shown that this discourages individual creativity and initiative.
Wealth creators are often treated with suspicion and demeaned by the government. Progressive politicians do not wish to be embarrassed by the success of the individual. As such, wealth creators are closely controlled by regulatory processes. However, when something goes wrong within the web of regulatory complexity, the socialist politicians shines the light of condemnation on the individual. This callous action hides the fact that the government creates the economic environment in which failure as well as success takes place.
Socialism opposes the rule of law. The US Constitution is the framework in which federal, state, and local jurisdictions work. It is designed to stand the test of time. Its uniqueness lies in its trust of individual Americans and its focus on the rule of law rather than the rule of leaders or changing cultural norms. The socialist, however, wants to replace the rule of law with “politically correct” laws that can be interpreted, and changed, at the whim and whimsy of the political class. Justice, therefore, is not “under the law” but can be perverted to meet the needs of those who control the state.
Socialism opposes lesser jurisdictions. The US Constitution limits the role of the federal government by enumerating its powers. Everything else is left to the states and the localities. This clearly frustrates socialists who believe that ever bigger government, even internationalization of all government, will perfect mankind.
Over the decades, progressive politicians have managed to suppress the rights of the states through political and financial mechanisms. Federal mandates have driven states into bankruptcy – or excessive taxation and regulation of their citizenry. America’s states and major cities have become captives of the central government rather than the “laboratories of democracy” envisioned by the founders.
International governance is one of the desired outcomes of the socialist. To achieve this objective, socialists first took control of unions, the media, education and entertainment. This was followed by the takeover of major international industries – energy, communications, transportation, healthcare, and infrastructure construction.
The problem that emerges is that while socialists can articulate a theory of international governance, they cannot articulate the practical aspects of its operation. Essentially, the socialists outcome could be “a worker’s paradise” or a “murderous people’s dictatorship”. If history is any teacher, the socialist cannot achieve perfection in anything let alone government. Essentially, no matter how noble the start, a socialist government will eventually degrade. Justice and liberty will be the victims.
Attacking the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is a powerful statement of individual rights and freedoms. It re-emphasizes the constraints on central government. Since socialists do not like such constraints, they have worked diligently to reduce and eliminate the freedoms articulated in the Bill of Rights.
Socialism is anti-free speech. Certain ideas and truths undermine the socialist ideology. Of necessity they must be suppressed, and this is done under the guise that such truths are dangerous, hurtful, unhelpful or out-of-touch with societal norms. “Political correctness” is the mechanism used to condemn anti-socialist ideas and create boundaries of acceptable language.
Tragically, many in academe have been persuaded to discourage rather than encourage diversity of thought and opinion. Students are failed for not accepting conventional socialistic wisdom. Professors who do not bow down to conventional socialistic wisdom are often fired or have their careers sidetracked.
Socialism is anti-religion. The socialist’s utilitarian concept of life directly competes with the idea that there is a God and that every human being has a living and eternal connection to that God. To synopsize Karl Marx, God is a threat to the state. As a result, many socialist leaders try to stamp out religion altogether. Others try to make it into a state function or use it to justify political decisions.
Christianity has come under withering socialist assault in the United States. These assaults have been so successful that separation of church and state, although not in the Bill of Rights, is the law of the land.
Socialism is anti-assembly. The socialist knows that when people assemble they become a powerful force for advocating or suppressing ideas, and for creating political change. The socialist knows that his ideas can’t win the competition for the hearts and minds of man. As a result, when any group arises that challenges the socialist ideology, it is treated as an enemy to be purged or destroyed, not just as intellectual or political opposition. Assembly is only honored when it supports socialist principles or actions.
It is no surprise that a grassroots uprising of non-violent pro-Constitution Americans is not appreciated. Known as the Tea Party movement, this diverse group stands in the way of the plans of the progressive power structure that intends to change America into a socialist state. Progressive politicians, with their media supporters, union thugs, and revolutionaries, demean, malign and vigorously suppress what is legitimate dissent under the Bill of Rights.
Socialism is anti-freedom of the press. The socialist knows that a free press can print or show things that are not flattering to the state and thus dispel the myth that the people are living in a socialist paradise. To insure compliant and favorable coverage, the press has to be directly controlled by the state or, secondarily, news reporting has to be done by people so beholden to the socialist power structure that there is little chance of a negative story.
The Internet, conservative talk radio, and certain opinion commentators are thorns in the side of the socialist movement because they are advocates of individual freedom. Action was taken to increase control over these “enemies” of the state under the guise that the free flow of information was being adversely affected and the messy nature of dissent was doing damage to the stability and order of the nation.
Socialism is anti-self defense. The socialist knows that free individuals exercising their right to self-defense can protect their property and their freedoms of speech, assembly and religion. This is a threat to the socialist because self-defense can be used to counter state excesses and reassert personal freedom under the Constitution. Progressives constantly scheme to take away this right.
It is noteworthy that police are increasingly ineffective in their response to felonies and often do not respond to property crimes where there is no violence. This has emboldened progressive activists to invade and illegally take the property even in the presence of the police.
Socialism is anti-property rights. The socialist knows that individual property ownership stands in direct opposition to state control of all of the resources and industries of the nation.
Individual property rights are constantly under attack by the progressive politicians who have expanded the use of eminent domain. “Property taking” rights have been liberalized by the courts under the guise that social and societal benefits outweigh individual rights and interests. America’s founders would be astounded at the destruction of the historic “Castle” doctrine.
The Destruction of Wisdom
Socialists are afraid of history that they cannot control. They know that history in books, video, and pictures is hidden away in libraries where it is seldom accessed by the general public. However, “living” history isn’t so easily dealt with – and that is one of the reasons why the socialist wants the elderly to die as early as can possibly be arranged.
Grandma and grandpa know the history of their own lives and recognize the shifts in government that have led to the current state of society. In essence, the elderly are the repository of a lifetime of practical learning that can expose socialism to scathing criticism.
In the socialist world, callow youth are extolled for their brilliance and insight while their parents and grandparents are ridiculed for their lack of modern thinking. This is the sign of just how much the socialist fears the wisdom of age.
How Socialism Persists
If socialism is so bad, then how does it continue to be so influential? The most obvious explanation is that people are willing to trade freedom for comfort, safety and security. Accordingly, the socialist extols the wonders and benefits of a central power and control structure.
Among the most compelling of the arguments is that there can be a fairer distribution or “spreading” of wealth. Essentially, nobody is required to earn anything because an all-powerful government will give the people what they need – a house, food, transportation, clothing and even money. What is left unsaid is that the state cannot create wealth, and that the quality of human life will have to be sacrificed.
Anti-poverty programs are really socialist wealth transfer initiatives. Essentially, the middle class is taxed and the dollars thus extracted go to those below some arbitrary poverty line. Those enslaved by this welfare charade in turn vote for politicians who will ensure that more transfers take place. The middle class becomes “hollowed” out without knowing what has happened.
Some middle class folks are even convinced that it is their duty to pay more to support the government run welfare state rather than giving to charities of their own choosing. Even the highest income earners are shamed into believing that they “are their brother’s keepers” and the government is the best mechanism for doing the “keeping.”
This is how the progressives get ever increasing control of the financial health of a nation. It is also how the entire progressive “house of cards” collapses when the spider web of overwhelming and complex regulatory controls, political favors, and oppressive taxes destroy what little wealth remains in the hands of individuals.
Another socialist wealth transfer program is social security. Originally a very limited program intended to help a very few older Americans at a very low cost, it has become the darling of the progressives. Ignoring financial and social costs, progressive politicians radically expanded social security benefits. As a result, a sizeable majority of senior citizens have come to depend on it for their living expenses in retirement. The social security program is a massive transfer of wealth from the wage earning younger generation to the retired generation.
Cracks in social security solvency are developing. Young people are marrying later and having fewer children, and social security depends on an expanding worker base to sustain what is essentially a Ponzi scheme. To compound the solvency problem, baby boomers often retire early and long-term unemployment rates appear to be an intractable problem.
The only way to handle the social security annual deficit and monstrous accumulating debt is by changing the program’s benefits, borrowing from the treasury, inflating the currency, or seeing to it that illegal immigrants are major players in the national employment picture.
As human beings age, they are beset by increasingly serious and expensive medical problems. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a plethora of debilitating diseases appear. To help people in their later years, the progressive politicians have created another set of programs that underwrite the personal costs of health and medical care. These programs, like the social security and poverty programs, are administered by a large, expensive and impersonal bureaucracy.
Instead of individuals having their own private insurance underwritten by government guarantees, the socialist solution is to shuttle the elderly into a relatively poor quality universal health and wellness structure. Not surprisingly, the result is that the cost of centralized national health care is the largest item in the American budget – exceeding both social security and defense. Again, there is another massive transfer of wealth from the working middle class to anyone with a serious or chronic health problem.
What the progressive politicians have done is create a “cradle to grave” welfare system that takes the wealth from businesses and middle class working people and transfers it to less productive segments of society. It is no surprise that this is precipitating a national economic crisis as well as cultural decline.
Many successful businesses have responded to the increasing costs and draconian regulations of the progressive’s “Nanny State” by moving out of the country. This accelerates the loss of national wealth and wealth creation opportunities.
Many well-educated and hard working young people have responded by becoming international citizens living wherever the jobs can be found. In a final insult to this overbearing state control, many retirees have left high cost progressive states and even fled out of the country to lower cost nations.
The Final Straw and the Loss of the Nation
Greece, the cradle of democracy, is the first modern European “social democracy” to fall into the chaos brought by socialism. When recession hit, Greece had no money to pay its bills and no wealth creation future. Greek politicians had for decades robbed their businesses and successful individuals to give political favors to the voting masses. And, as might be expected, there were more voters willing to vote themselves “goodies” from the Greek treasury than there were people standing on the side of fiscal discipline and restraint.
The United States is following a similar path to disaster. The poverty programs have transferred at least $20 to $30 Trillion dollars from the working middle class to the welfare class, and will likely add another $10 Trillion within the current decade. Far worse, however, is the potential obligations associated with social security and health related programs. Estimates range to over $200 Trillion dollars just to cover them.
This economic situation was allowed to evolve in the face of a stark reality – the entire Gross Domestic Product of the United States of America is only about $15 Trillion dollars per year. This means that there is no way to payoff the national debt and certainly no way to meet the national obligations. Worst of all, the progressive politicians are in charge and have gone on an additional spending and borrowing spree. America is broke or, more accurately, it is being driven into bankruptcy and servitude to the international forces of socialism.
Can Man be Saved from Socialism?
It would be nice to think that man can be saved from socialist folly, but the reality is that even in the face of warnings by the founders of America, the people and the politicians simply want something for nothing.
Alexis de Tocqueville noted in his historic comments:
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
There is little question that the American people and politicians have ignored this warning, and have done so at their peril. But de Tocqueville has also issued one other warning.
“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”