Green Room

The Answer to Socialism

posted at 3:43 am on February 7, 2010 by

American socialism has long functioned under the principle that a strong central government, lavishly funded by the middle and upper classes, should influence the economy in the name of “social justice,” and provide benefits to the lower class. The power and cost of the government have steadily increased – surging under the previous two Presidents, and exploding under the current one. Its financing has shifted to deficit spending and direct control through mandates and regulation, since endless tax increases became politically painful.

I believe this system is very close to total collapse. If nothing else triggers it, the explosive bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare will. The half-life of American socialism may now be measured in years, rather than decades. If we let it run its course and crash, its death throes will be unspeakably painful.

I don’t think our fate is sealed. Several quarters of weak economic performance have not erased the incredible potential of American industry. Technological development will bring new markets. The populace may seem lethargic now, but I think we’ll be surprised how fast the private sector leaps to its feet, once the government boot has been taken off its neck. What can we do, to begin turning things around?

Our challenge is not merely to win a few elections, or pass a bill here and there. We have to change the direction of a culture that has trended leftward, toward collectivism, through several generations. We have to move the center back to the center. This will require leadership, which we should seek out in the elections to come… but it also demands our involvement as individuals. A recent poll showed 36% of Americans, and 53% of Democrats, had a positive opinion of socialism. Our task is to understand why. This moment demands more than a critique of socialism, which is nothing less than a challenge to freedom, and requires an answer. Only by expressing the philosophy of conservatism, in powerful and memorable terms, can we win the popular support necessary to implement concrete proposals. This is a foundation to be laid in countless conversations, both online and around water coolers.

The appeal of socialism comes from more than just using money taken from the wealthy to buy the votes of the poor. It is also an expression of rage, from those who believe capitalism has treated them unfairly. Too many people seem quite willing to put up with a reduction in their modest standard of living, as long as they believe some faceless “fat cats” are getting soaked. Those who follow the bitter politics of envy should understand that every system of ordering human affairs produces both the rich and the poor. In our current situation, what cats are fatter than the political elite? As of 2008, two-thirds of our Senators were millionaires, and all of them enjoy lavish perks, incredible benefits, and gold-plated retirements, including plush lobbying and consulting jobs… when they’re unlucky enough to fall through the few holes in a 90% incumbent re-election safety net. Many of our representatives, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, live like royalty by abusing their power. Every nickel of a politician’s fortune comes directly from your pocket, without your willing consent to purchase products or services.

The lens of socialist envy is rather selective about which targets to focus upon. Its political allies are never presented to the public as object of hatred. Neither are those with enough popularity to insulate them from criticism, such as entertainers and professional athletes. Anyone who supports the Left out of hatred for the evil rich would benefit from considering a list of the fabulously wealthy people they have not been instructed to hate.

If there will always be people who grow rich and powerful through their ambitions, it’s much more sensible to embrace a free-market system, where ambition produces value. Government pursues its ambitions at the expense of its duties. Look at the miserable performance of the Obama Administration on national defense. It has no energy to spare for thankless tasks which promise no rewards of increased power and control. The more our President and Congress pursue their desires, the worse they become at meeting the simple obligations required of them by the Constitution.

Socialism is an object of romance from its devotees. It invites them to join an epic tale of mighty statesmen solving the problems of society with noble laws, and encourages them to turn their back on the small-minded pursuit of filthy money. The Left loves to talk about the pursuit of dreams as the highest human aspiration… and since everything it proposes is presented as a dream, how can any high-minded person raise grubby practical objections? In matters affecting the millions of lives, and the disposition of trillions of dollars, we cannot afford romantic notions. Only hard, cold logic is acceptable.

The truth is that money is not an evil toxic sludge, whose stain the Left works to scour from our souls. Money is the mechanism that allows you to spend your time doing what you’re best at – which produces wealth, the same way a lever amplifies muscle to move great weights. You spend the money you earn each day on a range of products you couldn’t possibly create for yourself. You probably couldn’t create a decent pair of shoes in the hours it takes you to earn enough money to purchase them. You definitely couldn’t cobble a computer system together from nothing but raw materials, in the time it takes you to earn a thousand dollars and buy one. This is the genesis of wealth: the freedom enjoyed by people when the value of their time can be measured and traded through currency.

Through the combination of progressive taxation and payroll withholding, socialism established the principle that government has the right to set the value of your time, along with first claim on it, taking your income before you even see it… and refunding the excess without interest, when it takes too much. Of course this reduces wealth and prosperity. Capitalism is the right to design your own dreams, and you’re much better at it than a gang of politicians scribbling incomprehensible legislation in a distant capitol. The behavioral freedoms socialists like to tout as indulgences are matters of the fleeting moment. The freedom to control your labor and property allow you to build your future. True prosperity is measured in things to come. Nothing is growing in a still photograph of a flower.

The orgy of deficit spending we’ve witnessed over the past year is an explicit judgment that America doesn’t have a future. Its unborn children will be handed the bill for the needs of today, plus a back-breaking load of interest. Allowing the national debt to equal our annual gross domestic product, as in President Obama’s staggering 2010 budget, means accepting the insult that America is too weak to stand without support from its grandchildren.

Follow the premise of socialism to its conclusion, and ask yourself why the government shouldn’t achieve 100% employment by conscripting every single citizen, and eliminate “social injustice” by providing for all of their needs. Why shouldn’t your income be paid in coupons, earmarked by the wise and benevolent State for food, medicine, housing, and leisure? The answer is that a command economy can’t produce value, allocate resources, or nourish the ambitions of its people with a fraction of capitalism’s vigor or efficiency. The value of government scrip could never equal the value of a dollar. Instead of helping its people realize their potential, a socialist government must invest an increasing amount of its energy into compelling their obedience. What capitalism hails as innovation, socialism punishes as impertinence.

To put this philosophy into action, we must return what government has taken to the private sector. We can begin by cracking down on outright fraud and waste. Citizens Against Government Waste has sniffed out over $19 billion in pure pork – money seized from some citizens to buy the votes of others. Medicare oozes $60 billion in fraud and waste. The Cato Institute recently created a web site dedicated to downsizing the government, which lists many more examples of redundant government programs and expensive incompetence. We should also insist, in a unified voice that shakes every seat in the House and Senate, that not one more dime of American taxpayer money will be sacrificed to the “climate change” fraud, and demand its domestic accomplices be prosecuted. The money recovered from cracking down on government waste should be immediately returned to the taxpayers, since it was seized under false pretenses.

We have to do more than just whip Big Government into fighting shape. We must begin devolving the functions of the federal government to the states. We don’t need rivers of tax money pouring into Washington, then trickling back to the states, polluted with frozen chunks of mandate. Let the states handle the financing for these functions… and let state politicians directly face those whose taxes pay for them. The national Congress places too much money in the hands of representatives most taxpayers will never have a chance to vote against.

Government-controlled industries should be privatized, beginning with education, which wastes a staggering amount of money on tragically poor performance… empowering a massive, politically-active union with interests hostile to most of the Americans who involuntarily supply its funding. Industries the government has painfully failed at running, such as Amtrak, should be handed off to private-sector businessmen who can make them work – or put them out of their misery. Ridiculous extravagances like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose services were already privatized years ago, should be eliminated at once. Sorry, liberals, but if we need to rack up a $14 trillion national debt, we certainly can’t afford to fund NPR and PBS any more. A government characterized by uncontrolled deficit spending has lost all moral and reasoned claims to run any business that could be tackled by the private sector. It shouldn’t be allowed to pour tax dollars into statist live-action role playing games like Americorps, either. Privatization is the only way to prevent the collapse of the unsustainable Social Security and Medicare entitlements.

Expensive corporate welfare programs should be eliminated, especially after the odious concept of tax-nourished companies becoming “too big to fail” has deformed our economy. An example of such a program is the $90 billion Advanced Technology Program, a sad attempt to emulate the Japanese model of government-sponsored corporate development, which already crashed and burned a decade ago. There’s no point in talking about privatizing industries when so many companies are stumbling around on the end of umbilical cords that lead back to the federal treasury.

In the longer term, we should scrap the bloated tax code shackling our productivity with thousands of incentives and penalties, and move to a flat tax – collected openly with regular tax statements, instead of allowing the IRS to pick workers’ pockets with payroll deductions. Taxing people at different rates based on their income level is immoral, as Constitutional rights should not dissipate with wealth. It also puts far too much money in the hands of politicians, and allows them to collect it with a club.

Are these radical ideas? They’re far more consistent with Hope and Change than anything proposed by the man who has no ideas beyond giving us more of the same, at triple the price. It’s long past time to try something truly different from the wheezy old machine we’ve been fueling with tax money for the past hundred years. Liberty is a radical concept… but it’s also a very old and traditional one for Americans. It has also defeated collectivism every single time they have been matched against each other. The answer to socialism is that government cannot solve any of the problems our society faces. Only free people have the strength and creativity to find those solutions.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

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Comment pages: 1 2

ernesto on February 8, 2010 at 12:01 AM

I think you are the one that needs google. Try looking up “capitalism” first.

Then maybe you should go look up this quote from Lenin:

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.

Gee… why does that scenario seem so familiar.

bitsy on February 8, 2010 at 12:09 AM

Doc Zero. All great points, but the solution philosophy is not conservatism. It’s something that looks a lot more like objectivism. We don’t need a conservative morality to preach to us what is right any more than we need a collectivist morality to force it upon us. A philosophy, like freedom and capitalism, should be self-evident. Morality should be a choice. Freedom from both sides. To truly free out populace, people have to realize that they must make their own choices and live their own lives.

The one great thing about this Obama failure, is that it has exposed Progressivism a lot faster under his malt liquor approach than it would have been under McCain’s 55 calorie Progressive light.

JeffB. on February 8, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Sorry, Ernesto, but with a nick like ‘Ernesto’, along with your clearly pro-’social justice’ stance, I couldn’t help but make the assumption Che was one of your heroes. If the prevalence of the Che teeshirts is any indication, he’s a popular icon among the smart set nowadays.

To your point: the European socialist model, the one to which all American Progressives point, is unsustainable in the long-term. As someone has already pointed out, the United States has borne the greatest share of the burden in defense of Western Europe. What happens when the US is unable or unwilling to maintain that defense? Do the Europeans then rely upon the kindness and good intentions of the Russians or the Chinese not to take advantage? Good luck with that. Another thing: birth rates. For whatever reason, the Europeans have seemingly forgotten how to make babies, without whom there can be no one to pay for the ‘social justice’ of those about to retire. To make up for the lack, many of these socialist utopias have encouraged largely unhindered immigration, with immigrant populations largely from Muslim countries and cultures hostile to concepts such as democracy and women’s rights. Mark Steyn, among others, has written extensively about the possible and probable consequences of such policies, so I won’t rehash them here.

Socialism fails–will always, invariably fail–because it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of human nature. That’s the reality of it.

troyriser_gopftw on February 8, 2010 at 12:21 AM

That not all of the urban under 30’s that are aware of enlightenment philosophy and true liberalism are of the Lockean variety.

Are you talking about a “Rousseauean liberalism”? That’s just part of the socialists hijacking of liberalism! The under-30s have been brainwashed.

In the 19th century both liberals and socialists were leftwing, meaning they identified with the ideals of the French revolution.

But the American Founding Fathers and European liberals took those ideals and channeled them into more stable, rational structures.

Rousseau’s romantic Social Contract collectivism provided the justifications for the head chopping in the French Revolution and the horrors and oppression of all the subsequent socialist, communist, fascist and national socialist revolutions.

They are different traditions; Locke and Hobbes on one hand, Rousseau on the other.

modifiedcontent on February 8, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Doc Zero. All great points, but the solution philosophy is not conservatism. It’s something that looks a lot more like objectivism.

Objectivism is pretty much a reformulation of classic Hobbes/Locke liberalism.

modifiedcontent on February 8, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Socialism fails–will always, invariably fail–because it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of human nature. That’s the reality of it.

troyriser_gopftw on February 8, 2010 at 12:21 AM

I’m not arguing this…all im really getting at is that so often arguments made along these lines dive headfirst into all these democrat = stalin false equivalencies that amount to a scare tactic designed to frighten anyone not politically sophisticated enough into fearing a Hitler in our midst.

ernesto on February 8, 2010 at 12:42 AM

troyriser_gopftw on February 8, 2010 at 12:21 AM

And my handle’s Ernesto because that’s my name :-).

ernesto on February 8, 2010 at 12:42 AM

Objectivism is pretty much a reformulation of classic Hobbes/Locke liberalism.

modifiedcontent on February 8, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Though Hobbes and Locke were not without their disagreements.

ernesto on February 8, 2010 at 12:43 AM

Ludwig von Mises on Socialism

http://www.econlib.org/library/Mises/msSCover.html

rebuzz on February 7, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Mises’ “Socialism” is perhaps the greatest and most complete refutation of socialism ever written. It’s a wonder that socialists ever recovered from its publication, until of course you realize that objective reasoning is of no importance to them.

The whole book can be downloaded as a pdf in all of its epic glory here:

http://mises.org/books/socialism.pdf

WELL worth a read.

Sharke on February 8, 2010 at 12:45 AM

Dr Zero, what is your goal with this article? I read it and was simultaneously impressed and yet unimpressed. It was enjoyable to read and brought cheer to my heart through its eloquent expression of ideas I too hold, yet it seemed to be contaminated with the fluff of unnecessary hyperbole and, it seems to me, a fair number of ’straw-men’.

For example, comments about a generic ‘left’ are understandable from regular blog-commentators in the context of briefly expressing their frustration but such remarks cannot withstand critical review because the generic ‘left’ doesn’t really exist; ‘left’ is a merely a label loosely attached by different people to different things. Furthermore the use and misuse of such labels is one of the ways that issues become obfuscated thereby multiplying the ignorance and confusion that favours the plans of evil people, and in which liberty and prosperity suffocate and perish. Can we really use that ‘weapon’ effectively or does obfuscation always work against us? I don’t know.

For me, this article is akin to a sword made of gold; a beautiful piece of craftsmanship that delights the eyes and attracts justified admiration, but in battle too soft and too easily blunted or sliced asunder and thus ultimately ineffective for the necessary work of decapitating the opposing ideas.

I sincerely hope we will be able to provide constructive and useful feedback against which you can both harden and sharpen your linguistic weapons.

YiZhangZhe on February 7, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Come on, who doesn’t think this guy works for the Chinese Government. Nice subtlety champ.

kilian73 on February 8, 2010 at 1:29 AM

Doc Zero has it straight. I could add some other thoughts about reinforcements and incentives. But, essentially, you have to stop the money from getting to Washington.

Do you think the people who benefit from this pipeline will willingly and peacefully give up their privileges?

I’m afraid, in the end, if America is to avoid economic and social disaster, those of us in the Doc’s camp are going to have to drag the bastards out.

mr1216 on February 8, 2010 at 2:22 AM

This is another case of careful what you wish for.

Liberals, marxists, communists have tried for a generation or two to implement policies to destroy capitalism.

this effort is best defined by the:

The Cloward/Piven Strategy is named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. Their goal is to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. The created crisis provides the impetus to bring about radical political change.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/02/the_clowardpiven_strategy_of_e.html

however as you and i know liberals/marxists are stupid. that makes their ideas open to willful ignorance. what the left has failed to understand is that if this strategy is brought to fruitation it will have the exact opposite effect. It will free capitalism from the chains of socialism because the people will see that it was socialism that brought about the problems in the first place.

socialism’s entire thought process rests on one clear and concise fundemental belief. It is the belief that the socialist is smarter than the capitalist. and it is this belief that dooms socialism to failure everytime. However since the socialist thinks he is the smarter man he never does the inner soul search to discover the problems with his worldview. Why would he? He already knows he is the smartest person in the room there is no need for questioning his decisions.

If Cloward/pivan succeeds it will mean the end to socialism in the USA. Yet for some reason the socialists look at it as the end to capitalism.

the recent housing and economic problems are a clear example of this. the socialist/progressives believed they could use the recession to move forward with their utopia socialist worldview by blaming capitalism and steering the political structure towards socialism to “save” the people from capitalism.

A funny thing happened on the way to utopia. the American people rose up in small towns and big cities and yelled in one voice NO. No to more government spending, no to more socialism.

Now the socialists have gotten their wish. They have implemented their Cloward/piven strategy and the country is broke. And in return the socialists have paved the way for the greatest revival of capitalism in the last 100 years.

Not only is the public saying NO to socialism it is saying no to crony capitalism, it is saying no to the government’s authority to borrow money, no to its authority to tax, no to its authority to order our economy. in short the Cloward/Piven strategy has caused the entire country to question the proper rule of government. and because it was their programs along with their close persoanl ties to “too big to fail” industries the people are thinking they were wrong about the entire concept of socialism and a social contract of economic justice.

careful what you wish for you may just get it socialists.

unseen on February 8, 2010 at 2:40 AM

Great ideas, but it will require at least 60 conservatives in the Senate because the Dems and some RINOs will fight this all the way.

mydh12 on February 8, 2010 at 2:50 AM

A large problem we face is that we as a country have been moving slowly to the left for around a hundred years now, maybe longer.
Little bits of socialism here and their innocently presented as a needed fix for some minor social ill that anyone with a heart would have to support, or risk being accused of hating children or some such nonsense.
At the point when the government has over extended itself in spending and intervening in our lives, those who championed the socialist policies that got us there publicly blame what conservative polices still exist, and, or, lack of socialist policies as the cause of our woes. And the people believe them.
When jobs are shipped overseas, it is the corporations who have been over taxed and over regulated who are blamed rather than the policies that forced them to look elsewhere for labor in order to remain competitive.
When deficits are breaching the stratosphere, it is greedy wall street brokers, greedy corporations, and fat cat bankers that are to blame rather than the government that overspent. Oh, and conservative policies.
Remember, to the left, G.W.Bush was an extreme right wing fanatic, and it was his conservative agenda that got us into the mess we are in. And Americans believe it. They have fallen hook, line, and sinker for it. Granted, his administration does take some blame.
But, it was not because of any conservative principle that was followed that did it. Rather, more the lack of. Democrats have successfully pinned the banking crisis on conservatives. The housing bubble was owned by the Bush administration, just like the tech bubble was owned by the Clinton administration. Rightfully or wrongly, that is how it is perceived by the American public. And that is what liberals are running with.
No matter how bad it gets, when we truly see the soup lines that they claim only conservatives cause, they will continue to blame conservatives rather than their own policies. And at the current rate, Americans will continue to fall for it until there is no one left from any generation that remembers what true individual freedom and responsibility mean, nor will they remember the lifestyle and the blessings they bestowed upon those that lived in this time.

And I have never in my life hoped more to be wrong about something than I am now.

MalkinFan on February 8, 2010 at 3:09 AM

“It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.”

Bastiat

shorebird on February 8, 2010 at 4:09 AM

Socialism is the opiate of the intellectuals.

I forget who said it.

sleepyhead on February 7, 2010 at 2:25 PM

This penniless quotations scholar checks in:

Clare Booth Luce (1903-1987) said in 1955: “Communism is the opiate of the intellectuals.” She didn’t invent the phrase.

Henry Aron (1905-1983) wrote L’Opium des intellectuels (1955)/The Opium of the Intellectuals (1957).

Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) wrote in 1943: “Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals.”

barrypopik on February 8, 2010 at 4:17 AM

Only by expressing the philosophy of conservatism, in powerful and memorable terms,
Why is conservatism the only other option? America has 300 million people, can’t we come up with more original solutions?

Norman Blizter on February 8, 2010 at 4:21 AM

The 16th and 17th Amendments started this. It’s no surprise they were conceived and ratified during this country’s first infatuation with Progressivism.

I am increasingly convinced that the income tax really is the root of all evil, as Mises said (Google it). That the state has a claim on the fruit of every man’s labor, and through tax withholding has the FIRST claim before even the wage earner himself, is increasingly incomprehensible to me as being consistent with the founding principles of our republic.

That so many of our “leaders” abuse this racket so egregiously, and that so many Americans just shrug and accept it as the regular course of life without any critical evaluation, is quite distressing to me.

johnmackeygreene on February 8, 2010 at 7:47 AM

We must begin devolving the functions of the federal government to the states. We don’t need rivers of tax money pouring into Washington, then trickling back to the states, polluted with frozen chunks of mandate. Let the states handle the financing for these functions… and let state politicians directly face those whose taxes pay for them. The national Congress places too much money in the hands of representatives most taxpayers will never have a chance to vote against.

Exactly! Federalism is the answer.

Browncoatone on February 8, 2010 at 7:49 AM

Norman Blizter on February 8, 2010 at 4:21 AM

Sharia, eh mr. mahomet?

daesleeper on February 8, 2010 at 8:46 AM

Bravo Zero! I have been saying we HAVE to start attacking in our schools. Take over the school boards by getting involved in the elections and get on them! Then we can start to rid the schools of the liberal education, and the re-writing of history that is being done to the books!

It is no wonder more people think socialism is a good thing, they have been teaching it to our kids for two generations now.

patriotparty1 on February 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM

I sincerely hope we will be able to provide constructive and useful feedback against which you can both harden and sharpen your linguistic weapons.

YiZhangZhe on February 7, 2010 at 11:34 PM

Come on, who doesn’t think this guy works for the Chinese Government. Nice subtlety champ.

kilian73 on February 8, 2010 at 1:29 AM

I’m thinking seminar blogger myself.

While the appeal to some kind of higher ground of sympathy and rejection of “labels” is nice, this whole argument is the DNA of Lefty (yes, I said it) thinking.

This is politics, friend. We must make larger, broader generalizations that consider the good of the entire people, without special exception. This is a nation under the rule of law, not men. And the law is no respecter of men.

You can’t go around making policy on anecdotal evidence or feel-good rationalizations to win fine-sounding arguments. You don’t decide to overhaul a health-care industry because John and Sally Housecoat from Hackensack, New Jersey can’t afford their butt surgery payments. You don’t tax the middle and upper classes into oblivion out of the rage of envy. And you don’t build law on person-by-person sympathy to ensure everyone gets their fair share.

And if you have to reference the Left as a recognizable ideology that is poisoning the system, then you do it. You cut out the sickness and heal the nation. We are calling things what they are.

somewhatconcerned on February 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Socialism is for people who fail at life.

Socmodfiscon on February 8, 2010 at 9:28 AM

Socialism is for people who fail at life.

Socmodfiscon on February 8, 2010 at 9:28 AM

It is a yearning for the unearned.

Sharke on February 8, 2010 at 9:35 AM

While I am no anti-capitalist, the rhetorical tactic of equating socialism with pol pot and Stalin is in fact hyperbolic. When you consider the political economies of Sweden or Germany, it becomes clear that social democracy is in fact feasible and implementable without the brutal totalitarianism of eastern Europe and southeast Asia. One can make a million decent arguments against social justice as policy, but none of them need be so outlandish as to equate income tax withholding with gulags.
ernesto on February 7, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Ah yes, the tried and true tactic of the left that says you cannot possibly compare what they are doing to Far-left National Socialists (and Fascists) of the past like Hitler, Lenin, Mao, etc.

The claim is that you can’t compare the brutality of these regimes as the ‘Progressed’ to what they left is doing here now.

Well the truth is that we are comparing what the left is doing now to the early days of these other failed Statist regimes of the past. The brutal regimes of NAZI Germany or the USSR didn’t arise overnight – they had to begin somewhere.

Chip on February 8, 2010 at 9:51 AM

If Mark Levin’s excellent book “Liberty and Tyranny” could top the NYT best seller list, a compendium of Doc Zero’s writings could blow it wide open. I wish I had the time to edit such a collection, but alas, Doc, get thee to a publisher!

College Prof on February 8, 2010 at 9:58 AM

Norman Blizter on February 8, 2010 at 4:21 AM

It isn’t just a matter of how things are described. It’s an essentialist argument about the mechanics of different social systems — whether they work or they don’t.

DrSteve on February 8, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Conservatives are clueless, because they help the socialists dig their grave. As long as the political debate is defined as conservative vs liberal, the socialists win. Do the math.
The way out: start using the forbidden s-word instead of “liberal”. The opposition to socialism needs to reclaim liberalism. That’s a difficult switch to achieve, so lets start by uniting under the banner of liberty and ditching the conservative label. Urban under-30s will never call themselves conservatives.
modifiedcontent on February 7, 2010 at 11:43 PM

Excellent point.

The regular tactics of the left are to change labels or the meaning of words to place their Statist philosophy in the best light.

One way they did this was to blatantly revise history to make Hitler and the Nazis to be “Right wing”

Just remember what the acronym ‘NAZI’ stood for:

Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei Translated: National Socialist German Workers Party

I wonder how many people who has a ‘Positive’ view of Socialism actually knew that Hitler was a Socialist?

Far-leftists should be labeled as what they truly are: Socialist or Statists.

They co-opted the term ‘Liberal’ to disguise what they truly are, that rewriting of history has to be fought at every turn.

Liberal of the past (what some call Classical Liberals) believed in individual freedom and liberty – clearly this isn’t the case these days.

Chip on February 8, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Well the truth is that we are comparing what the left is doing now to the early days of these other failed Statist regimes of the past. The brutal regimes of NAZI Germany or the USSR didn’t arise overnight – they had to begin somewhere.

Chip on February 8, 2010 at 9:51 AM

So what parallels, exactly, would you draw between Leninist Bolsheviks in Russia and the current Swedish welfare state? What early Lenin policy would you draw these parallels to?

ernesto on February 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM

The Progressive Wave Has Crested.

Rahm Emanuel was right.

Dr Evil on February 8, 2010 at 10:33 AM

An attempt to get some of your work published by a Newspaper could very well be rewarding, for you and for them.

uknowmorethanme on February 7, 2010 at 8:06 AM

Dr Z: I agree with unknownmorethanme.

All you need to do is develop a 300 word (max) condensed version of your essays for newspaper submission.

landlines on February 8, 2010 at 11:04 AM

So what parallels, exactly, would you draw between Leninist Bolsheviks in Russia and the current Swedish welfare state? What early Lenin policy would you draw these parallels to?
ernesto on February 8, 2010 at 10:24 AM

To use on of Obama’s favorite phrases, that’s a “False Choice” – the comparison I am making is between the early years of National Socialist Workers Party in Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (and other Statist regimes) and the US.

Consider the heavy “Progressive” income tax designed to redistribute the countries wealth.
Consider the Nationalizing of some industries, with continuing attempts at nationalizing others – healthcare for example.
Consider the attempt at controlling industry through Global Warming legislation.
Consider the attempts to suppress free speech flag@gov and attempts at suppressing the press with the attacks on Fox news.

While these early examples may seem innocuous, what would you consider to be the Threshold or tipping point going from a free society to a Statist society?

Chip on February 8, 2010 at 11:18 AM

The free market (Laissez-faire Capitalism) did not cause this crisis, the government (CRONY Capitalism/Socialism/Communism) did.

The free market did not create Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and Sallie Mae, the government did.

The free market did not pass laws that force banks to lend to those who do not qualify for a loan, the government did.

The free market did not take us off the gold standard, the government did.

The free market did not dump trillions of dollars of cheap money into the system causing the largest asset bubble in history, the government did.

The free market did not create multiple multi-trillion-dollar unfunded entitlement programs, the government did.

The free market did not write a 60,000+ page tax code that punishes work, rewards sloth and buys the votes of special interest groups, the government did.

The free market did not destroy our public school system and graduate (or fail to graduate) generations of civically and financially illiterate citizens, the government did.

The free market did not drive our jobs overseas and kill our entrepreneurial spirit with over-taxation, over-regulation and frivolous lawsuits, the government did.

The free market did not ban drilling for oil, vilify coal and block the building of nuclear power plants in the United States, thereby transferring hundred of billions of dollars of American wealth and many thousands of energy-industry jobs to foreign countries, the government did.

This crisis is the result of a giant social engineering experiment and vote-buying scheme gone tragically wrong.

The free market does not try to engineer society or buy votes, the government does.

The government caused this crisis, the free market did not.

The government cannot fix the crisis, the free market can.

painesright on February 8, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Doctor Zero, Why are you in favor of taxing income? Dose the government have a claim to the fruits of our labor? The more you make, the more the government takes. It penalizes productivity and success. In your flat tax scenario, (without withholding) what happens when people get lazy and decide not to pay their taxes? More deficits? Is the government going to go after the welfare class when they don’t send in their tax payments? I don’t see that happening.

The most conservative/libertarian means of collecting taxes is voluntary payments. The FairTax does this. The FairTax is only as progressive or regressive as an individual citizen chooses to make it. The FairTax has the added bonus of making it more politically unsavory to raise taxes in the future- it would mean higher prices of goods and services. 61 House members and 10 senators are co-sponsors of the FairTax legislation.

ceruleanblue on February 8, 2010 at 6:24 PM

The 16th and 17th Amendments started this. It’s no surprise they were conceived and ratified during this country’s first infatuation with Progressivism.

Yes, 1913 was a very bad year for our Republic. It was also around this time that the Federal Reserve came into existence. We’re coming up on the centennial of these horrors. Wouldn’t it be the perfect time to roll them back?

ceruleanblue on February 8, 2010 at 6:27 PM

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