"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Monday, October 27, 2008

Socialism is Not a Dirty Word

Socialism is an economic theory or system that calls for governmental or other collectivist ownership or control of the means of economic production and the distribution of the goods and services produced thereby. What goods and services are produced is determined not by private owners of property (factories, auto repair shops, hospital operating rooms, and so on) but by the Government. How those goods and services are distributed is determined not by private citizens bidding with their privately owned wealth, but by the Government. Individuals do not determine how valuable a CT scan is to them, and therefore how much of their wealth they are willing to pay for it, instead the Government decides how the limited number of CT scans available are to be distributed; who "really" needs one, based on criteria established by the Government.

It doesn't work. For two reasons: First, no central planning agency can have sufficient information to determine either the optimal level and mix of production, or the optimal distribution of goods and services. Second, it profoundly depresses both the level of production (i.e., the creation of wealth), and it stifles innovation and creativity, because it removes the incentive for individuals to produce more and new goods and services. Bureaucracy is inherently resistant to change. Creative individuals are not.

But it is my judgment that the economic damage is secondary. In a free economic system -- capitalism -- the parents of a child whose doctor deems expensive medical treatment necessary have options. If they are without the resources to pay, and if they have unwisely chosen not to have allocated part of their wealth to health insurance, they still have options: they can borrow, they can take second jobs, they can appeal to their church. But under Socialism, they have no options. The checkmark of a bureaucrat's pen next to "no" on a form precludes the treatment.

Such a system necessarily rests upon a base of force in order to ensure that the centralized, collectivist decisions are not ignored and evaded. Force is necessary to demand the surrender of wealth produced by individuals, and to make sure that that wealth is distributed in accordance with the central plan. Force: police and revenue officers armed with guns; judges with gavels; prisons with bars.

Socialism is inherently and fundamentally incompatible with even a profoundly degraded notion of individual rights and freedom. Individuals are not responsible and empowered to control their lives, the central command authority of Government does that -- makes those decisions.

Thus Socialism does not work, and requires the surrender of individual sovereignty. Because we still live in a moderately free country, you are entitled to disagree, and (against all evidence to the contrary) believe that Socialism is a good idea, and does work. You are entitled to judge that surrender of your individual autonomy is worth the benefits you imagine you will receive from the State, just as individuals in antiquity were able to sell themselves into slavery.

And I am entitled to decline to sell myself into slavery, and to do everything possible to resist it. As it happens, there is something I can do next week to resist.

Barack Obama, according to Barack Obama, is a Socialist:

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Comments on "Socialism is Not a Dirty Word"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:53 PM) : 

The president of Socialist Party USA, an actual socialist, disagrees that Obama is a socialist. Higher taxes on rich business does not equate to destroying the capitalist system and nationalizing the means of production. It's silly to describe him as such.

Your description of single payer healthcare is also as grossly oversimplified as the far left claiming that private care can only be characterized by greedy companies laughing as they take peoples money in the form of monthly payments and then deny them health coverage. My grandfather is a dual Canadian/American citizen, and has worked in the healthcare industry for 40 years. He has grown appalled at the greed and corruption, and BUREAUCRACY that run rampant in our current system. Hospitals must deal with hundreds of providers. A national system saves money on buying basic supplies in bulk, even paperwork costs obscene amounts in the private sector.


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