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Capitalism and Socialism Cannot Co-Exist
Capitalism and socialism cannot co-exist. Each system's underlying values are at odds to with one another, and they cannot be synthesized in a pragmatic manner. The result of blending capitalism and socialism is not a "mixed" or "balanced" economy, it is a fascist economy leading to totalitarianism. Why is this?
Because capitalism is not a system in the sense that socialists conceive of it. Capitalism can be summed as follows, "Assuming private property and sound money, capitalism is the freedom of the individual to expend one's life, liberty, and property in the pursuit of self-interest; assuming also that one's actions do not infringe on the individual rights of others."
Capitalism as such is a spontaneous order, a system without guiding controls and a limited set of rules. It assumes that people's lives are their own, and their fortunes are what they can make of them.
Socialism, in the form it has always manifested itself in the world, is the antithesis of the spontaneous order of capitalism. Socialists seek to establish controls, regulations, and rules that manipulate individuals and employ them in the service of numerous “causes” and eventually the state.
The socialist accomplishes his agenda in a capitalist country by employing the bait-and-switch. He claims that in order to free you, he must control your labor; in order to establish justice, he must violate private property; and in order for there to be peace, he must make the nation vulnerable. For the socialist, it is “compassionate” to enslave the people to the state, or to the majority, for the “public good.” Who determines the “public good” is the new aristocracy; the socialists who intend to run the system of redistribution of wealth.
Capitalism and socialism cannot be mixed in terms of labor because there are only three kinds of moral bases for economies that can sustain themselves in the real world: People pursue their own self-interest and trade for what they need and desire, which implies that the state exists to provide protection; people can force others to provide their wants and desires, which implies that the state is an enforcement apparatus; and people can have their wants and desires provided for voluntarily by others, a utopian view that underlies the many lies of socialism.
The need for human beings to work in order to provide for themselves is self-evident. The moral basis of individual freedom, the only kind of freedom, is self-determination; this reality is not altered by the industrial revolution. While socialists believe that the means of production can and should be seized for the “public good” and that this will result in economic plenty, which would be shared voluntarily by people, this point of view dismisses human nature and the reason we have a Constitutional republic to begin with. Human beings’ “greedy nature” has not been altered by the industrial revolution, and this applies to sweet-talking politicians as well.
The Constitution is thus not obsolete; it protects individuals from coercion by individuals who would seize the means of production and coerce others to labor on the terms of the state. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary,” Constitutional framer James Madison wrote. "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have,” President Gerald Ford would state two hundred years after the nation’s founding. A nation who trusts in its leaders instead of itself is destined to be abused by its government. It would be “forever destined to depend for (its) political constitution… on accident and force,” as Alexander Hamilton eloquently put it.
Nor can capitalism and socialism be mixed in terms of property. Private property, or the fruit of man’s labor, must be inviolable if it is to protect men from abuse by unofficial thieves, by the state, or by the majority. Once property is violated, there is no moral basis to claim “enough!” when the state collector comes to seize your property. As John Adams wrote, “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”
Capitalism and socialism also cannot be mixed because we, as a freedom-loving people, must not submit to other nations if we are to remain free. Socialism seeks the obliteration of the nation-state and a supposed “workers union” that encompasses the world. Socialists believe that capitalism is the cause of all wars, and frustrates their ambitions for world peace. Yet wars have raged long before capitalism was a driving force in the world, and for numerous reasons other than the love of money. Despite this obvious historical fact, a belief persists among many socialists that greed, their designated slur of self-interest, is the cause of all wars. On the contrary, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that when nations trade, the chance of war decreases.
The belief that the world would become peaceful if every person were to become a socialist ignores the very human nature that has made our world the way it is. Ronald Reagan correctly pointed out that, “Experience has taught us that preparedness deters aggression and that weakness invites it.” Socialism is no more compatible with world peace than capitalism, and the aggressive nature of many socialist regimes, including the former U.S.S.R. and China, confirms this reality.
So what are the implications for Americans if the United States were to become a nominally socialist country? To begin with, this is unlikely to happen without serious opposition. Since socialism and communism tend to be unpopular when the population has experience of freedom and a stable market economy, most socialists and communists come to power after severe, prolonged periods of corruption; the absence of the rule of law; economic depression; and/or war. While socialists will usually frame their power-grabs as "popular revolts," "revolutions," or "democratic" in nature, these technically entail a far greater base of mass support than is typically the case.
Barring a majority of supportive sentiment, the statists otherwise need operational control of the military, intelligence, and police forces and a largely unarmed populace to be successful in maintaining power. It is simplistic to think that superior military force can overwhelm a nation of 100 million armed Americans, for example. Overwhelming and suppressing a populace is not merely a matter of force, but the will to use that force.
That is why in states that socialists cannot take over by force outright, as characterized above, the preparatory path to socialism is a long process that does not entail Marxist indoctrination of the masses, per se, but a demoralization process, which can take on many forms, including: political correctness, multiculturalism, diversity, and moral and cultural relativism. These tend to undermine the individual's sources of ideological resistance. Once the individual's mind is wiped clean of the ability to resist indoctrination or suggestion, then the statists' manipulation of his interpretation of reality can be truly effective.
The "change" in a nation's make-up usually appears to those not adequately versed in the socialists' strategy and tactics as a haphazard form of massive corruption, usually justified in pragmatic terms. The transformational state usually engages in "hit-and-run" assaults on the economy, society, and national security before its opposition can catch on and then organize to put up concerted resistance to a given cause. This is why it is very important for those interested in liberty to understand their enemy; only then will he be able to see the big picture and to understand the strategy of his opposition.
Socialists, when operating in states where their philosophy is largely unpopular with the masses, as they are able to recognize it, and where the socialists are unable to take over a nation using direct force, pervert the nation in several spheres: legal, governmental, educational, and cultural; until the free-market capitalist system is incrementally obliterated. This tactic can be broadly termed Fabian socialism, and includes the preferred form of statist economy, Keynesian economics.
Simply put, the series of events that government-introduced controls set off distorts the economy, which ostensibly justifies further economic intervention. After years of government meddling, the capitalist economy collapses from distortion. Most people, when put in a vulnerable position economically, trade their freedom for the fleeting economic security that the government promises to provide. The result is dependence on the government for the means of sustaining one's life; this can be assessed by an increase in government-funded, that is, taxpayer- or printing press-funded jobs; massive social welfare programs; and government grants and loans. A people dependent on the government cannot be free; this is the general principle underwriting much of socialist policy.
America indeed has enemies worldwide, and no sane and honest person can dismiss that fact. But the American government has used the threat of terrorism specifically to persuade Americans to accept infringements of their liberty that would otherwise be considered unacceptable. The Department of Homeland Security, domestic spying by such agencies as the NSA, and experimental technology like full-body scanners being employed by the Transportation Security Administration are piecemeal steps in the direction of a police state that patriotic Americans must not accept. Since these agencies and measures are introduced using the premise of "common sense" and pragmatism, most people see their installment as a necessary and proper defense of their lives and the lives of others. Yet it should be pointed out that the measures the government has introduced in the name of security in the United States is entirely disproportionate to the threat. The odds of being killed by a terrorist are negligible; and in general, terrorists should be fought using an offensive strategy that preserves liberty.
The socialist in a freedom-loving country proceeds by fits and starts; he pushes forth his agenda and retreats. Corruption of the capitalist system becomes embedded and systematized until accepted. Infringements on individual rights are justified as temporary pragmatic measures, and then permanently embodied in the system of laws. The military, intelligence, and police is expanded disproportionately to that needed to fend off the nation's adversaries, and then is turned against the people. The nation is pushed and pulled in the direction of totalitarianism, and the compromise of the current "conservative" opposition is but an inconsiderable anchor on the state's otherwise predetermined course. Not even stopping the state is sufficient to prevent the economic and social chaos impending in our nation, barring serious concerted action. Without a reverse of course, America will continue to be "transformed" into a socialist basketcase that will be the midwife of a totalitarian dictatorship. Capitalists must begin to take the political and ideological war to the socialists.
The proper course for the conservative who does not want to inspire economic and social chaos is to first liberate as much of the market as possible; to seek out and end corruption, including subsidies and regulations; to simplify the tax code and to lower it to a minimum as an interim course on the way to near eradication; to introduce alternative currencies until the Federal Reserve is stripped of its regulatory and fiscal power and then abolished (i.e., free banking); to reduce the size and scope of the security agencies, including the disbanding of the Department of Homeland Security and the elimination of several of its agencies; to end military Keynesianism; to free Interstate commerce; to liberate alternatives to public education, to end the Department of Education, and then to abolish "free" government-run education; to repeal national power and to promote state's rights in every conceivable manner; to begin privatizing social security, until it is the responsibility of each American to prepare for one's own retirement; to deregulate the insurance market, which would bring prices down through increasing competition; essentially, what is needed is a "Fabian capitalist," in other words, a systematic incremental approach. While simply revolting and overthrowing the state is appealing in theory to a small minority of Americans, in practice it would lead to the kind of chaos that ushers in tyrannies.
As a pro-freedom movement, the "tea party" activists need to seriously think about and debate a program that can be pitched to the citizenry as a long-term solution to restoring American greatness. It is my contention that such a program should be ideologically consistent and based on the philosophy of freedom. In this way, we will be able to conceive in our minds a systematic approach to defeating socialist objectives that can only end in totalitarianism.