Saturday, February 13, 2016

Democratic socialism is simply socialism via voting instead of revolution

Me, commenting on a Facebook post by Democratic Socialist, attempting to define socialism as benign and beneficial:

This fellow declares that people trading through voluntary cooperation and for mutual benefit (the free market) is not the right form of economic exchange, that some other form of economy is better.

He declares that socialism implemented through revolution (communism) is extreme, but that socialism imposed through voting is okay. Note that he does not examine the moral correctness of the end except through through the means. By that standard, slavery by military conflict is not okay, but slavery through the ballot box is just hunky dory.

He says the foundations of society must be provided through government force, ignoring that the very foundations he identifies did not simply pop into existence but were produced by the free minds he proposes to enslave.

He states he does not want to do away with free markets while he is bust advocating for an end to freedom. The system he is describing, where the pretense of freedom is maintained while the state dictates a million rules, is the form of collectivism known as fascism. In this he, clearly does not know how such democratic socialists as Hitler, Chavez and others came to power and what was the end result for citizens.

He asserts that people engaged in voluntary trade for mutual benefit are not working for the good of their community. He implies that working to further their own lives is not good for the community. What is? Sacrificing their lives for anyone except themselves and those they love.

He asserts that such services as firefighters, parks, medical care and the military would not exists without socialism, as if citizens left alone are not those who conceived of all these and would never think to value them and find ways to maintain them if left free to choose.

He thinks education is good and free if provided through the force of government but not good if people are allowed to choose and earn an education for their children; that it is somehow better if others are forced to pay for your children's education and if you are forced to pay for your own children's education through a state monopoly instead of having the freedom of choice.

In short, he is in favor of nothing less that a total dictatorship of the majority, which is simply pure democracy. This is not what the founding fathers envisioned. They saw a country of free individuals, with a constitution protecting them from exactly the kind of statist government he espouses, with police and objective laws protecting them from criminals and a military protecting them from aggressive countries. The country has lost the knowledge of the enlightenment-based founding fathers and has been in social decline almost from the start, as various forms of collectivism have eaten away at the principle of freedom from the state on which the country was founded. Very sad.

Commenter: Government programs come into existence when there is a lack or hole created by private endeavors or when privatization would be unethical, such as with law enforcement. In other words, every social program we have today came into existence because the free market was failing in that area.
My reply: Disagree. Aside from law enforcement, all other activities are better, more economically, and, most important of all, justly provided by free people acting without coercion. Socialization of services is most often justified on the basis of some people's wishes to get a better service without having to pay for it.

For example, so-called public transit is fantastically expensive and only survives on massive payments taken from some taxpayers and given to other taxpayers. No wealth is created in the process, only removed forcibly and given away, while extracting a high cost of operation to do so. A free market sees all the transportation options enough people want and can pay for springing forward as rational, profit-seeking entrepreneurs try to fill market demand.

If an activity is not profitable, that is to say it cannot be exchanged between a producer and consumer who both think it will improve their life and matches with their priorities, then it does not happen. Someone may look at the resulting situation and wish for a low priced bus to appear on the street, but wishes are not reality and coercing people's activities to accomplish the wishers' ends is not moral.

Further, once free choice is removed from the equation, then ever more coercion is required to maintain the illusion. Thus, in transit we have the creation of government monopoly, the prevention of competition, the political cronyism of contracts, the featherbedding by unions, the favoritism of routes, the lobbying for preferred price categories, the posturing for control of the system, the abrogation of negotiating rights through the declaration of essential services and it goes on and on, around and around. Never is the basic premise challenged, the premise that it is right for government to coerce citizens instead of protecting them from coercion.

Just because someone claims to need something cannot create a moral obligation on anyone else to produce it for them. For most of history, humanity needed to discover reason and the principles of a rational society but did not do so. Men needed food, clothes, shelter, health and security and no one gave it to them. They had to first discover the principles that make such a society possible an then tear their freedom from collectivists at a great price. Then they had to institute a society based on those principles and try to protect them. A great failure they made was to omit the moral case for freedom, recognize that human freedom and economic freedom are inseparable, and to separate government from economic actions. This is why the US has been in moral and political decline since its founding. Only a rediscovery of founding principles can save the country.

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