Socialism is inherently evil. There is no way it can be put into practice that will make it good.
Professor Walter Williams clearly explains why.
Evil acts are given an aura of moral legitimacy by noble-sounding socialistic expressions, such as spreading the wealth, income redistribution, caring for the less fortunate, and the will of the majority. Let’s have a thought experiment to consider just how much Americans sanction evil.
Imagine there are several elderly widows in your neighborhood. They have neither the strength to mow their lawns, clean their windows and perform other household tasks nor the financial means to hire someone to help them. Here’s a question that I’m almost afraid to ask: Would you support a government mandate that forces you or one of your neighbors to mow these elderly widows’ lawns, clean their windows and perform other household tasks? Moreover, if the person so ordered failed to obey the government mandate, would you approve of some sort of sanction, such as fines, property confiscation or imprisonment? I’m hoping, and I believe, that most of my fellow Americans would condemn such a mandate. They’d agree that it would be a form of slavery — namely, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another.
Would there be the same condemnation if, instead of forcing you or your neighbor to actually perform weekly household tasks for the elderly widows, the government forced you or your neighbor to give one of the widows $50 of your weekly earnings? That way, she could hire someone to mow her lawn or clean her windows. Would such a mandate differ from one under which you are forced to actually perform the household task? I’d answer that there is little difference between the two mandates except the mechanism for the servitude. In either case, one person is being forcibly used to serve the purposes of another.
I’m guessing that most Americans would want to help these elderly ladies in need but they’d find anything that openly smacks of servitude or slavery deeply offensive. They might have a clearer conscience if all the neighbors were forced (taxed) to put money into a government pot. A government agency would then send the widows $50 to hire someone to mow their lawns and perform other household tasks. This collective mechanism makes the particular victim invisible, but it doesn’t change the fact that a person is being forcibly used to serve the purposes of others. Putting the money into a government pot simply conceals an act that would otherwise be deemed morally depraved.
This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, confiscation and intimidation, to accomplish what are often seen as noble goals — namely, helping one’s fellow man.
We rather think of that claimed objective as a pretext by which the imposers of socialism try to cover their real motivation – a lust for power.
Helping one’s fellow man in need by reaching into one’s own pockets to do so is [might be - ed] laudable and praiseworthy. Helping one’s fellow man through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets is evil and worthy of condemnation. Tragically, most teachings, from the church on down, support government use of one person to serve the purposes of another; the advocates cringe from calling it such and prefer to call it charity or duty.
The church began the idea. Christianity introduced the notion that charity is a duty and the highest form of morality.
… The bottom line is that we’ve betrayed much of the moral vision of our Founding Fathers. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees who had fled from insurrection in San Domingo to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison rose on the floor of the House of Representatives to object, saying, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Tragically, today’s Americans — Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative — would hold such a position in contempt and run a politician like Madison out of town on a rail.
As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, here’s Walter Williams on education fraud, from Front Page:
Philadelphia’s public school system has joined several other big-city school systems, such as those in Atlanta, Detroit and Washington, D.C., in widespread teacher-led cheating on standardized academic achievement tests.
So far, the city has fired three school principals, and The Wall Street Journal reports, “Nearly 140 teachers and administrators in Philadelphia public schools have been implicated in one of the nation’s largest cheating scandals.”
Investigators found that teachers got together after tests to erase the students’ incorrect answers and replace them with correct answers.
In some cases, they went as far as to give or show students answers during the test. …
While there’s widespread teacher test cheating to conceal education failure, most notably among black children, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress, published by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and sometimes referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, measures student performance in the fourth and eighth grades. In 2013, 46 percent of Philadelphia eighth-graders scored below basic, and 35 percent scored basic. Below basic is a score meaning that a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level.
Basic indicates only partial mastery. It’s a similar story in reading, with 42 percent below basic and 41 percent basic. With this kind of performance, no one should be surprised that of the state of Pennsylvania’s 27 most poorly performing schools on the SAT, 25 are in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia’s four-year high-school graduation rate in 2012 was 64 percent, well below the national rate of 78 percent. Even if a student graduates from high school, what does it mean?
What a high-school diploma means for white students is nothing to write home about, as suggested by the fact that every year, nearly 60 percent of first-year college students must take remedial courses in English or mathematics.
What a high-school diploma means for black students is nothing less than a disaster … When a student is given a high-school diploma, that attests that he can read, write and compute at a 12th-grade level, and when he can’t do so at the eighth-grade level, that diploma is fraudulent. What makes it so tragic is that neither the student nor his parents are aware that he has a fraudulent diploma. When a black person is not admitted to college, flunks out of college, can’t pass a civil service test or doesn’t get job promotions, he is likelier to blame racial discrimination than his poor education.
Politicians, civil rights organizations and the education establishment will do nothing about the fraud. In fact, they give their full allegiance to the perpetrators.
Walter Williams is one of the rare thinkers whose opinion needs to be taken seriously. What he recommends cannot be dismissed, even if it is startlingly radical.
He writes that a crisis has developed in the United States for which the only good remedy would be a break-up of the union.
I believe our nation is at a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. …
Our rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. These constitutional violations have increased independent of whether there’s been a Democrat-controlled Washington or a Republican-controlled Washington.
There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways. …
Let’s look at the magnitude of the violations.
Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution lists the activities for which Congress is authorized to tax and spend. Nowhere on that list is there authority for Congress to tax and spend for: Medicare, Social Security, public education, farm subsidies, bank and business bailouts, food stamps and thousands of other activities that account for roughly two-thirds of the federal budget. Neither is there authority for congressional mandates to citizens about what type of health insurance they must purchase, how states and people may use their land, the speed at which they can drive, whether a library has wheelchair ramps, and the gallons of water used per toilet flush. The list of congressional violations of both the letter and spirit of the Constitution is virtually without end. Our derelict Supreme Court has given Congress sanction to do just about anything for which they can muster a majority vote.
James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, explained in Federalist Paper No. 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.”
Our founder’s constitutional vision of limited federal government has been consigned to the dustbin of history.
Americans have several options.
We can like sheep submit to those who have contempt for liberty and our Constitution.
We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed and death in an attempt to force America’s tyrants to respect our liberties and Constitution.
A superior alternative is to find a way to peaceably separate into states whose citizens respect liberty and the Constitution.
My personal preference is a restoration of the constitutional values of limited government that made us a great nation.
We take his point. We agree with his analysis of the problem. But his last sentence, it seems to us, begs the question. How are those values to be restored?
If by secession, which states should secede? He does not say.
And if some do, what will be the consequences, within those states and in the nation as a whole?
Last time there was a movement to “peaceably separate the states”, there was a fight over that very issue, with much bloodshed and some 750,000 deaths.
The crisis may well be as severe as he says. A radical remedy may be necessary. But is there a mood in the country for it?
Of course we cannot be sure, but we guess Americans are far more likely now to “submit like sheep” to the growing tyranny of the federal government than risk life (such as it will be), and property (such as will be allowed), for the sake of regaining liberty.
Our Fragile Planet, Walter William calls it ironically, in an article demonstrating that it is nothing of the sort.
He writes at Townhall:
Let’s examine a few statements reflecting a vision thought to be beyond question.
“The world that we live in is beautiful but fragile.” …
Here are a couple of Earth Day quotes: “Remember that Earth needs to be saved every single day.” “Remember the importance of taking care of our planet. It’s the only home we have!”
Such statements, along with apocalyptic predictions, are stock in trade for environmental extremists and non-extremists alike. Worse yet is the fact that this fragile-earth indoctrination is fed to our youth from kindergarten through college.
Let’s examine just how fragile the earth is.
The 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, in present-day Indonesia, had the force of 200 megatons of TNT. That’s the equivalent of 13,300 15-kiloton atomic bombs, the kind that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Preceding that eruption was the 1815 Tambora eruption, also in present-day Indonesia, which holds the record as the largest known volcanic eruption. It spewed so much debris into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight, that 1816 became known as the “Year Without a Summer” or “Summer That Never Was.” It led to crop failures and livestock death in much of the Northern Hemisphere and caused the worst famine of the 19th century. The A.D. 535 Krakatoa eruption had such force that it blotted out much of the light and heat of the sun for 18 months … Geophysicists estimate that just three volcanic eruptions, Indonesia (1883), Alaska (1912) and Iceland (1947), spewed more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere than all of mankind’s activities in our entire history.
How has our fragile earth handled floods? China is probably the world capital of gigantic floods. The 1887 Yellow River flood cost between 900,000 and 2 million lives. China’s 1931 flood was worse, yielding an estimated death toll between 1 million and 4 million. …
What about the impact of earthquakes on our fragile earth? There’s Chile’s 1960 Valdivia earthquake, coming in at 9.5 on the Richter scale, a force equivalent to 1,000 atomic bombs going off at the same time. The deadly 1556 earthquake in China’s Shaanxi province devastated an area of 520 miles. There’s the more recent December 2004 magnitude-9.1 earthquake in the Indian Ocean that caused the deadly Boxing Day tsunami, and a deadly March 2011 magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck eastern Japan.
Our fragile earth faces outer space terror. Two billion years ago, an asteroid hit earth, creating the Vredefort crater in South Africa. It has a radius of 118 miles, making it the world’s largest impact crater. In Ontario, there’s the Sudbury Basin, resulting from a meteor strike 1.8 billion years ago, which has an 81-mile diameter, making it the second-largest impact structure on earth. Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay crater is a bit smaller, about 53 miles wide. …
I’ve pointed out only a tiny portion of the cataclysmic events that have struck the earth – ignoring whole categories, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning strikes, fires, blizzards, landslides and avalanches.
Despite these cataclysmic events, the earth survived.
My question is: Which of these powers of nature can be matched by mankind? For example, can mankind duplicate the polluting effects of the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption or the asteroid impact that wiped out dinosaurs?
It is the height of arrogance to think that mankind can make significant parametric changes in the earth or can match nature’s destructive forces.
Occasionally, environmentalists spill the beans and reveal their true agenda.
Barry Commoner said, “Capitalism is the earth’s number one enemy.”
Amherst College professor Leo Marx said, “On ecological grounds, the case for world government is beyond argument.”
With the decline of the USSR, communism has lost considerable respectability and is now repackaged as environmentalism and progressivism.
Soon after Independence Day two years ago, in a post titled What Americans should be taught about America, July 15, 2011, we wrote:
American children must be taught the values America traditionally stands for, and why they are the highest and the best. They must be taught that the United States of America was founded as a realization of the idea of liberty. They must be taught that only in freedom are individuals able to achieve the best they are capable of. They must be taught that the conditions necessary for a good life – prosperity, physical and mental well-being, the pursuit of individual aims – exist reliably only in a free society. They must be taught that only the rule of law, not rule by a person or group of potentates, assures liberty. Generations of American children have not been taught any of this. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades now the schools and academies have been teaching Americans to be ashamed of themselves. So millions of Americans believe that they are justly hated by other nations, and their country should change to become more like other countries.
And we quoted this, by Walter Williams:
The ignorance about our country is staggering. According to one survey, only 28 percent of students could identify the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Only 26 percent of students knew that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. Fewer than one-quarter of students knew that George Washington was the first president of the United States. … Ignorance and possibly contempt for American values, civics and history might help explain how someone like Barack Obama could become president of the United States. At no other time in our history could a person with longtime associations with people who hate our country become president. Obama spent 20 years attending the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s hate-filled sermons, which preached that “white folks’ greed runs a world in need,” called our country the “US of KKK-A” and asked [his] God to “damn America”. Obama’s other America-hating associates include Weather Underground Pentagon bomber William Ayers and Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn.
We – and others – make the same complaint this year.
This is from an article by Arnold Ahlert at Front Page:
The Fourth of July is over, and despite most of America taking great joy in celebrating our independence and freedom, many members of the American Left are glad that what they consider to be an unseemly spasm of over-hyped jingoism is finally over. For these oh-so-enlightened and morally superior souls, a racist and irredeemably imperialist America is something to be mourned, not celebrated. Independence Day is thus a time for commemorating their hatred of the country and waving it for all to see.
The late leftist historian Howard Zinn’s work was given a platform by The Progressive magazine in 2010, when they trotted out his 2006 screed, “Put Away the Flags”. Zinn wrote, “Is not nationalism – that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder – one of the great evils of our time …?”
Progressive editor Matthew Rothschild wrote an equally obnoxious “me too” piece that same year, “Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4.” “You can call me unpatriotic if you’d like, but really I’m anti-patriotic,” he whines. He continues:
I’ve been studying fascism lately, and there is one inescapable fact about it: Nationalism is the egg that hatches fascism. And patriotism is but the father of nationalism. Patriotism is not something to play with. It’s highly toxic. When ingested, it corrodes the rational faculties. … We’ve got to get over patriotism, and we’ve got to cure the American superiority complex.
That American superiority complex, better known as American exceptionalism, has made this nation a beacon of liberty throughout the world. It is America’s patriots, many of whom have sacrificed their lives, who have preserved that liberty. That would be the same liberty that allows terminally ungrateful people like the late Zinn and Rothschild to spew their noxious nonsense without fear of imprisonment, or the kind of “reeducation” that occurs in genuinely fascistic societies. …
Many American leftists are a joyless bunch, terminally uncomfortable with anything resembling gratitude or balance. … The Fourth of July will forever be anathema to them. For that, they are to be pitied – and then ignored.
There’s a kind of America-hater who believes that America is no better and probably worse than most or even all of the others and should be humble, and at the same time believes that America (albeit in a blue beret) should be the policeman, doctor, nurse, savior and sugar-daddy to most or even all of them.
Of course only unintelligent persons could be of this self-contradictory opinion, and they should be – well no, not pitied, but yes – ignored.
When, however, one of them is nominated to be the US ambassador to the UN, she is no longer ignorable. She will be in a position to do much harm.
Samantha Power is of that opinion and has been so nominated by President Obama.
Frank Gaffney writes at the Center for Security Policy:
Should her nomination be confirmed, a clue to her likely approach in her new role at the UN can be found in the following quote from an article called “Full Force”, which appeared in the March 2003 issue of the New Republic. In the article, Power wrote:
Foreign policy is an explicitly amoral enterprise. . . . Embedding U.S. power in an international system and demonstrating humility would be painful, unnatural steps for any empire, never mind the most potent empire in the history of mankind. But more pain now will mean far less pain later.
Her view of the US as an “empire” is in itself disturbing and offensive. Her opinion that foreign policy is “amoral” and that “humility” is an appropriate quality for a world leader to project, shows her comprehensive ignorance of the dynamics of international diplomacy, and ignores the cultural differences between people that define effective cross cultural communication. Her lack of sensitivity to these issues alone makes her a poor candidate for the position.
The term “humanitarian interventionism”, as applied by Power, reveals a deep naiveté about the way the world really works. Embedded in the concept is a strong tendency to oversimplify the complexities involved in halting historically ingrained ethnic and religious conflicts. Included among the most serious of these issues is the apparent willingness to minimize or completely overlook the challenges of ending the conflict, and the unique requirements of post-conflict reconstruction in each inherently different situation. It disregards the real and perceived roadblocks imposed by international politics, public opinion, and local culture.
When President Obama led the United States into a coalition of forces against Libya, the person behind that decision was understood to be Samantha Power. The decision was strongly influenced by her doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) that purported to guide the American government on how to prevent genocide. The concept is being promoted to create a new international model based on “moral” criteria, that can be employed in situations where the safety of civilians is at risk.
Yet, on the very first night of the coalition’s enforcement of a “no-fly zone” over Libya, US forces rained 1,100 missiles down on Tripoli. It brought death and destruction to an unprecedented level for a “humanitarian” effort, in a nation in which the US had no strategic interest. …
It was Power’s concept of R2P and not any concern for our national security that influenced the decision. In other words, it was an experiment in “humanitarian interventionism” and not national concerns for America’s welfare.
It should be noted that this intervention was in response to Libyan leader Muammar Ghadaffi’s threat of revenge against dissidents. Although there was certainly fighting on the ground in Benghazi and other places, there was no wholesale genocide taking place in Libya at the time the decision to engage was taken. …
It led to the overthrow of Ghadaffi (less of a threat to the rest of the world since he had given up trying to make Libya a nuclear power), followed by anarchy in Libya, and so to the atrocity of Benghazi, when US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered.
In April 2002, Samantha suggested [in an interview with Henry Kissinger] that “external intervention” may be necessary to foster Middle Eastern peace. …
[She said] her advice to the President would be to “alienate” the American Jewish community, and indeed all Americans who support the state of Israel … because Israeli leaders are fully capable of “destroying the lives of their own people.” She would also advise the President to pour billions of dollars of American taxpayers’ money into “the new state of Palestine” and to stage what would amount to an American invasion of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The implications of her off-the-cuff remarks suggest that she believes 1) that either side was capable of genocide, 2) that there was a clear moral equivalence between the two leaders, 3) that US support for a Palestinian state should include massive US funding for a defense force, at the expense of funds now going to Israel for its own defense, and 4) that Israel was incapable of handling its own affairs vis à vis the Palestinians, and that the only solution, therefore, was international [but she implies American]intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state. … Altogether, Power’s statement was rambling, incoherent, and ignorant. That she should compare Israel’s well-ordered democratic state to the tribal chaos that existed in Rwanda during the time of the massacre is shocking. It demonstrated either a total lack of knowledge about Israel, or a total disregard for the truth, driven by an interventionist agenda that is willing to sacrifice truth for a perceived principle. (In either case, it should give the Senate serious pause as they consider her appointment.)
… because she is ignorant, sentimental, unintelligent – and hysterical:
Humbly proffering her apologies to 40 “Jewish leaders” convened to give her a hearing -
[Power] suddenly became deeply emotional and struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her. Tears streamed down her cheeks and I think it fair to say that there was no one in the room who wasn’t deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.”
And the gallant or gullible “Jewish leaders” forgave her!
Feeling sorry for people – including herself – seems to substitute for thinking in her case.
The UN is her palace on the hill. Representing the United States among its swirling mists of lies is likely to be the pinnacle of her ambition. No doubt she sees the UN as an embryo world government, as Obama does.
Which prompts us to quote from another of our posts, titled World government – the ultimate nightmare, August 2, 2009:
Barack Obama declared himself, in Berlin, to be a “citizen of the world”. It was not a mere rhetorical flourish. He has a globalist agenda under which the US will enter into a series of treaties that would subject America to foreign rule over its wealth (redistributing it world-wide), its trade, its laws, its use of energy, and even its defense.
The United Nations, that ghastly powerhouse of corruption, hypocrisy, and injustice, is envisaged as the nascent institution of world government.
Liberal left opinion tends to be against the nation state. It is the opinion of approximately half the voters in the Western world. Half the people of the free West apparently want to destroy their nations, and are literally doing so. They may explain their hatred of the nation state by reference to “colonialism”, as if in many cases colonies were not more prosperous, just, and free than the independent tyrannies they have become. Or they may say that the wars and massacres in the last century resulted from “nationalism” so the nation must go; but their thinking would not be right, because the wars and massacres were the work of dictators, not democratic states of which the strongest opposed and defeated the aggressors.
Whatever their explanations, they have launched a movement for the suicide of Western nations.
All over the Western world men and women in national and international assemblies, ministries, academies, councils and committees devote themselves to the business of putting an end to their national identities. Patriotism to them is utterly absurd. Any manifestation of pride in their nation’s history, culture, traditions, institutions, even law, embarrasses if it doesn’t outrage them. In all the countries of Europe, and now under Obama’s leadership in the United States, they work towards their goal.
The very idea of the nation state they consider to be an anachronism; a nasty thing of the past much to be regretted. The more powerful and glorious the past, the more regretful they are. Filled with remorse for what their forefathers achieved, they will apologize to any foreigner who’ll listen to them. However hard their independence as a nation was won, their system of government developed, their individual freedom wrested from the fist of tyranny, they count it all worth nothing. Obama, whose ignorance of history should but doesn’t embarrass him, routinely apologizes for America to appalling little despotisms, and to countries who have survived as comparatively free nations only because America saved them from conquest by tyrannical powers.
The rest of the article is a paean of praise to the (free) nation-state, and a eulogy to patriotism.
In support of the Second Amendment:
Alexander Hamilton: “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed,” adding later, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government.”
James Madison: “(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … (where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
Thomas Jefferson: “What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”
George Mason, author of the Virginia Bill of Rights, which inspired our Constitution’s Bill of Rights, said, “To disarm the people – that was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”
Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey: “Certainly, one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms. … The right of the citizen to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible.”
We took these quotations from an article by Walter Williams. In addition he reminds us:
Notice that the people who support gun control are the very people who want to control and dictate our lives.
And arbitrary government no longer “appears remote in America” under the Obama regime.
We found this text, extracted from a speech Mitt Romney is to make in Missouri today, at PowerLine, posted by John Hinderaker:
Along with the genius of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, is the equal genius of our economic system. Our Founding Fathers endeavored to create a moral and just society like no other in history, and out of that grew a moral and just economic system the likes of which the world had never seen. Our freedom, what it means to be an American, has been defined and sustained by the liberating power of the free enterprise system.
That same system has helped lift more people out of poverty across the globe than any government program or competing economic system. The success of America’s free enterprise system has been a bright beacon of freedom for the world. It has signaled to oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors, and given hope to the once hopeless.
It is called the Free Enterprise System because we are both free to engage in enterprises and through those enterprises we ensure our freedom.
But sadly, it has become clear that this President simply doesn’t understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our system. Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or simply disappeared from the work force. Record numbers of Americans are living in poverty today – over 46 million of our fellow Americans are living below the poverty line. …
This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportions. …
John Hinderaker comments:
Conservative economic policies don’t just create more wealth than socialism or liberalism, they are morally superior to socialism and liberalism. Let’s hope that today’s speech is just a small preview of what is to come from the Romney campaign.
Socialism creates no wealth at all. It’s a wealth and prosperity killer. Vide Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, France …
As to the morality of socialism, we often say that to take money from someone who has earned it and give it to someone who hasn’t is intensely immoral. And that is what socialist governments do.
Walter Williams writes at Townhall:
Benjamin Franklin, statesman and signer of our Declaration of Independence, said: “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” … Are today’s Americans virtuous and moral, or have we become corrupt and vicious? Let’s think it through with a few questions.
Suppose I saw an elderly woman painfully huddled on a heating grate in the dead of winter. She’s hungry and in need of shelter and medical attention. To help the woman, I walk up to you using intimidation and threats and demand that you give me $200. Having taken your money, I then purchase food, shelter and medical assistance for the woman. Would I be guilty of a crime? A moral person would answer in the affirmative. I’ve committed theft by taking the property of one person to give to another.
Most Americans would agree that it would be theft regardless of what I did with the money. Now comes the hard part. Would it still be theft if I were able to get three people to agree that I should take your money? What if I got 100 people to agree — 100,000 or 200 million people? What if instead of personally taking your money to assist the woman, I got together with other Americans and asked Congress to use Internal Revenue Service agents to take your money? In other words, does an act that’s clearly immoral and illegal when done privately become moral when it is done legally and collectively? Put another way, does legality establish morality? Before you answer, keep in mind that slavery was legal; apartheid was legal; the Nazi’s Nuremberg Laws were legal; and the Stalinist and Maoist purges were legal. Legality alone cannot be the guide for moral people.
The moral question is whether it’s right to take what belongs to one person to give to another to whom it does not belong.
Don’t get me wrong. I personally believe that assisting one’s fellow man in need by reaching into one’s own pockets is praiseworthy and laudable. Doing the same by reaching into another’s pockets is despicable, dishonest and worthy of condemnation. Some people call governmental handouts charity, but charity and legalized theft are entirely two different things. [And] as far as charity is concerned, James Madison, the acknowledged father of our Constitution, said, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” To my knowledge, the Constitution has not been amended to include charity as a legislative duty of Congress.
Our current economic crisis, as well as that of Europe, is a direct result of immoral conduct. Roughly two-thirds to three-quarters of our federal budget can be described as Congress’ taking the property of one American and giving it to another. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid account for nearly half of federal spending. Then there are corporate welfare and farm subsidies and thousands of other spending programs, such as food stamps, welfare and education. According to a 2009 Census Bureau report, nearly 139 million Americans — 46 percent — receive handouts from one or more federal programs …
Ayn Rand, in her novel “Atlas Shrugged,” reminded us that “when you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good.”
Would a President Romney return America to virtue as well as to prosperity?
We know better than to hope that any government would shrink itself to the minimal size of the libertarian-conservative ideal. Or that entitlements such as Social Security will ever be entirely abolished.
But Romney respects the idea of individual liberty as the Founding Fathers did; and he knows that only the free enterprise system opens the way for every individual to become prosperous – by his own endeavors. So Romney would be likely to take steps to restore confidence in business, reduce the number of hampering regulations the Obama administration has imposed, encourage innovation, and generally reward self-reliance.
That would be a good start, and the expectation of it a good reason to support his bid for the presidency.
Greed is not a vice.
Envy is a vice. Envy is the besetting sin (in a secular sense) 0f the Left.
But greed is a virtue.
Walter Williams explains:
What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done? It’s really a silly question, because the answer is so simple. It turns out that it’s human greed that gets the most wonderful things done. When I say greed, I am not talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, lobbying for special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I’m talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves. Let’s look at it.
This winter, Texas ranchers may have to fight the cold of night, perhaps blizzards, to run down, feed and care for stray cattle. They make the personal sacrifice of caring for their animals to ensure that New Yorkers can enjoy beef. Last summer, Idaho potato farmers toiled in blazing sun, in dust and dirt, and maybe being bitten by insects to ensure that New Yorkers had potatoes to go with their beef.
Here’s my question: Do you think that Texas ranchers and Idaho potato farmers make these personal sacrifices because they love or care about the well-being of New Yorkers? The fact is whether they like New Yorkers or not, they make sure that New Yorkers are supplied with beef and potatoes every day of the week. Why? It’s because ranchers and farmers want more for themselves. In a free market system, in order for one to get more for himself, he must serve his fellow man. This is precisely what Adam Smith, the father of economics, meant when he said in his classic “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” (1776), “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” By the way, how much beef and potatoes do you think New Yorkers would enjoy if it all depended upon the politically correct notions of human love and kindness? Personally, I’d grieve for New Yorkers. Some have suggested that instead of greed, I use “enlightened self-interest.” That’s OK, but I prefer greed. …
Prior to the rise of capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving one’s fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and then produce it as efficiently as possible. …
Free market capitalism has … enemies — mostly among the intellectual elite and political tyrants. These are people who believe that they have superior wisdom to the masses and that God has ordained them to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. Of course, they have what they consider to be good reasons for restricting liberty, but every tyrant who has ever lived has had what he considered good reason for restricting liberty. A tyrant’s agenda calls for the attenuation or the elimination of the market and what is implied by it — voluntary exchange. Tyrants do not trust that people acting voluntarily will do what the tyrant thinks they should do. They want to replace the market with economic planning and regulation.
The Wall Street occupiers and their media and political allies are not against the principle of crony capitalism, bailouts and government special privileges and intervention. They share the same hostility to free market capitalism and peaceable voluntary exchange as tyrants. What they really want is congressional permission to share in the booty from looting their fellow man.
Communism: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. A central authority with a monopoly of force – which is to say the state – must gather and distribute resources. Condition of the nation: serfdom and poverty.
Capitalism: “From each according to his need, to each according to his ability”. You decide what you need and work for it by providing others with what they’ll buy. The amount you get will be the measure of your ability. Condition of the nation: freedom and prosperity.
Collectivism: Economic equality achieved at the cost of liberty.
Individualism: The only desirable equality is an equality of liberty. My liberty should be limited by nothing except everyone else’s.
Walter Williams writes at Front Page:
Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb, the phonograph, the DC motor and other items in everyday use and became wealthy by doing so. Thomas Watson founded IBM and became rich through his company’s contribution to the computation revolution. Lloyd Conover, while in the employ of Pfizer, created the antibiotic tetracycline. Though Edison, Watson, Conover and Pfizer became wealthy, whatever wealth they received pales in comparison with the extraordinary benefits received by ordinary people. Billions of people benefited from safe and efficient lighting. Billions more were the ultimate beneficiaries of the computer, and untold billions benefited from healthier lives gained from access to tetracycline.
President Barack Obama, in stoking up class warfare, said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” This is lunacy. Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire produced the raw materials that built the physical infrastructure of the United States. Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft and produced software products that aided the computer revolution. But Carnegie had amassed quite a fortune long before he built Carnegie Steel Co., and Gates had quite a fortune by 1990. Had they the mind of our president, we would have lost much of their contributions, because they had already “made enough money.”
Class warfare thrives on ignorance about the sources of income. Listening to some of the talk about income differences, one would think that there’s a pile of money meant to be shared equally among Americans. Rich people got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. Justice requires that they “give back.” Or, some people talk about unequal income distribution as if there were a dealer of dollars. The reason some people have millions or billions of dollars while others have very few is the dollar dealer is a racist, sexist, a multinationalist or just plain mean. Economic justice requires a re-dealing of the dollars, income redistribution or spreading the wealth, where the ill-gotten gains of the few are returned to their rightful owners.
In a free society, for the most part, people with high incomes have demonstrated extraordinary ability to produce valuable services for — and therefore please — their fellow man.
People voluntarily took money out of their pockets to purchase the products of Gates, Pfizer or IBM. High incomes reflect the democracy of the marketplace. The reason Gates is very wealthy is millions upon millions of people voluntarily reached into their pockets and handed over $300 or $400 for a Microsoft product. Those who think he has too much money are really registering disagreement with decisions made by millions of their fellow men.
In a free society, in a significant way income inequality reflects differences in productive capacity, namely one’s ability to please his fellow man. …
Stubborn ignorance sees capitalism as benefiting only the rich, but the evidence refutes that. The rich have always been able to afford entertainment; it was the development and marketing of radio and television that made entertainment accessible to the common man. The rich have never had the drudgery of washing and ironing clothing, beating out carpets or waxing floors. The mass production of washing machines, wash-and-wear clothing, vacuum cleaners and no-wax floors spared the common man this drudgery. At one time, only the rich could afford automobiles, telephones and computers. Now all but a small percentage of Americans enjoy these goods.
In a free country, the rich are not rich because the poor are poor; nor are the poor poor because the rich are rich.
Those are richest who serve others best. (In general, that is. There are of course exceptions, like George Soros.)
They create wealth.
So that, among free countries, where the rich are richest the poor are least poor.
As in the United States of America.
We quote from a column by Walter Williams at Townhall, which can be read in full here.
I believe that there’s little prospect for Arabs ever being free and that Western encouragement and hopes for democracy are doomed to failure and disappointment. Most nations in the Middle East do not share the philosophical foundations of the West. It’s not likely liberty-oriented values will ever emerge in cultures that have disdain for the rule of law and private property rights and that sanction barbaric practices such as the stoning of women for adultery, the severing of hands or beheading as a form of punishment, and imprisonment for criticizing or speaking ill of the government.
What should the West do about the gross violations of human rights so prevalent in North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere? My short answer is to mind our own business. The only case in which we should interfere with Middle Eastern affairs is when our national defense or economic interests are directly threatened. That is, for example, if Iran were to meddle with Middle Eastern oil shipments or if we discovered good evidence of its building nuclear weapons, then we should militarily intervene. What they want to do to one another is none of our business.
We agree with him. Certainly the West should not be so culturally insensitive as to interfere with the Arabs’ colorful customs, such as oppressing and mutilating women, stoning adulterers, hanging homosexuals, amputating the limbs of thieves, routinely torturing prisoners, keeping and trafficking slaves, using children as living bombs and training them to saw people’s heads off.
But we shouldn’t hesitate to act when our national defense or economic interests are under threat. If an Arab tyrant blows up an American plane in flight, he should be punished. Arab states that train terrorists pose a threat to every nation, with the US top of their wish list, so they should be promptly discouraged by fleets of well-aimed drones. And as the West needs the oil that lies under Arab feet, the despots must not be allowed to price it at extortionist levels. (To prevent that, the oil fields of the Middle East should have been taken under American control decades ago.) The best policy would be to keep them in constant fear that America might strike them without warning at any moment. Only an occasional salutary demonstration of American wrath would be necessary. Bring back that old Shock-and-Awe. Judiciously but zealously inflicted, it could obviate the need for long and costly wars.
And the UN must be destroyed.