Manny Montes: The unequivocal value of capitalism
If there is ever an ideology that can be labeled revenant, it is collectivism. After so many deaths, it continues to raise its ugly head. Make no mistake, liberty is the mouse rushing for the free cheese in the collectivist mouse trap.
Just as certain as what bears do in the woods, liberty dies in the collectivist trap; fiat accompli.
When you have politicians vying for power, promising how they will improve all aspects of our lives, the underlying premise of their promises is that they use the coercive power of government to direct us this way and that in their never ending quest to get it just right, all in the name of the “greater good.” This is the collectivist creed.
Communism, socialism, democratic socialism, are all collectivist and their differences are simply differences of degree. The degree of socialization is the degree of disaster. In collectivism, the individual is viewed as merely a part of a group or society. His life does not belong to him, but to society, his values and judgement must play second fiddle to the general welfare. The anointed know what’s best.
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We hear incessant cries of compassion for the poor, and how we need to redistribute wealth to alleviate the conditions of the poor. We’ve tried this. The collectivist approach has proved to be an abject failure, time and again. A comment in my last contribution stated, “Remember kindergarten? Sharing wasn’t viewed as a ‘burden.’ It was the first lesson in how to become a good citizen.” To make kindergarten analogous with government welfare, the kindergarten teacher would take from one student and give to another. Call this what you may, but it certainly isn’t “sharing.”
Private charities have all but vanished from our cultural landscape, replaced with the behemoth that is our welfare state. The essential difference is that private charities provide assistance with the expectation that the beneficiary will make the effort to become self-reliant. The welfare state inculcates indolence and dependence. Recipients make welfare a way of life.
Capitalism is the best antidote to poverty, and is, properly understood, the flip side of the individual liberty coin. However, what we have been taught about capitalism over the many decades has been filtered through the sieve of the Postmodern progressive intelligentsia. Some would describe the corruption associated with our mixed economy as evidence of the flaws of capitalism. The law of physics is at play here, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The extent of government intervention in the economy is met with an equal intervention in government by corporations. Another way of saying capitalism is to say government non-intervention, except in areas of fraud, and injury to individuals.
Just the other day, I came across a documentary on capitalism on Netflix, entitled “The Pursuit”, presented by Arthur C. Brooks, noted social scientist. It presents a view of capitalism contrary to the views expressed in academia. It is worth a view, highly recommended.
Another comment in my last column states, “The America of our Founding Fathers is long gone. We cannot live in the past.” Confused indeed, for the past, throughout human history, has always been some form of collectivism to one degree or another. Our founding was a dramatic break from that past. The politics of individualism is essentially what the American Founders had in mind when they created our United States, i.e., the individual is sovereign with inalienable rights, acting on his own judgment, pursuing the values of his choosing, and keeping the product of his effort. The idea that is America is individual liberty.
Collectivism contravenes all the principles of our founding. The progressive democratic candidates, without exception, want our government, big as it is, even bigger, inescapably meaning higher taxes in order for them to dictate how we will live our lives.
Noted Journalist, H.L. Mencken once observed, “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” To rule is to pronounce dictates. How does this fit into your conception of freedom? Politically imposed force through taxes and compulsory redistribution and regulation of all aspects of our lives is the antithesis of freedom. Progressives of course will sanction their usurpation of freedom on the premise of the “general welfare;” “step this way,” they’ll say, “to be fitted with the yoke of the “greater good.”
The unequivocal value of capitalism, i.e., individual rights has been so clearly demonstrated. History has slammed the gavel; capitalism serves all.
Manny Montes lives in Auburn.
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