Left/Liberalism/Socialism: The individual exists to serve society. The agent of society is the government. People must do whatever the government says, all in the interest of serving society. We all owe one another.
Right/Conservatism/Moralism: The individual exists to serve God. The agent of God on earth is church, and organized religion. People must do what organized religion says. Government is good, when it tells people to do what religion tells them. Government is bad, when it tells people to do things contrary to religion. Supernaturalism rules. People must submit to it–not to government.
Why Liberalism Won: Conservatism and Liberalism share the same premise. This premise is that the individual is subservient, that a person’s life is not an end in itself, and that an individual must live for the sake of something other than him- or herself. On that premise, liberals make more sense. Government is real, it exists, and at least it can claim to do good for people’s lives on earth–even while it strips individuals of their rights. Conservatives oppose Big Government because it gets in the way of Big Religion. But Big Government operates with dollars, cents, tax collectors, jails and guns. Religion is based on faith. In the end, reality must trump faith, every time. Why? Because it’s real.
Unfortunately, the victory of liberalism is not a benefit for the rights of the individual. At first, under socialism, some individuals suffer while others prosper. This is because the rights of some are sacrificed for the benefit of others. Eventually, this morally bankrupt approach will result in literal bankruptcy. It’s well on its way now, accelerating as never before–just in a few short months! There’s probably no stopping this train. The sad fact is: Those of us now alive got to live to see America become socialist. It finally happened.
America’s experience with socialism will be different. America’s experiment with socialism will be the opposite of, say, Soviet Russia’s. Russia was a largely impoverished country. The government found that there wasn’t much to expropriate, and it learned, of course, that government cannot create wealth–only seize and redistribute it. In America, it will look–at first–like any progress that’s made is the government’s doing. This is because there’s still a heck of a lot of wealth out there. Voters have given government the green light to “spread it around” which means to redistribute it from those who earned and produced it to those who feel they don’t have enough of it (which is a lot of people). The Soviets, and other socialist governments, had no such option. Even Western European governments did not have this much wealth to play with. As the socialist spectacle unfolds in the United States, most will evade, or simply not understand, the fact that government cannot create wealth. As government seizes more and more private wealth–eventually from the middle class as well as “the rich”–it will eventually become apparent that, wow, gee, government doesn’t create wealth–does it? This could result in a lot of things. We could endure disaster and even a break-up of the government and society. People might see what’s happening, evade it anyway and scream for more and more socialism until the well runs dry.
It could also go the other way, however. Once people realize the nature and causes of the disaster–and enough might, with some intellectual leadership–massive decontrol of the economy could take place. Nobody would attempt such a thing now, because it feels too risky, to most people. “Tax cuts? Privatization? You’ve got to be kidding!” But by the time socialism does the damage it inevitably must do, more will be open to change–the real kind. Americans, unlike the poor Russians and Chinese and the other victims of socialism, haven’t lived under poverty. They think poverty is having to cut back on dinners out or vacations. They have no concept of what poverty is. Nor do the parents and grandparents of most Americans. While I’m sick over the stupidity and mental dullness of most Americans politically these days, I’m also counting on self-interest to force them to reverse course. Once they see what’s happening, that is. And now that socialism has sped up from the 25 mph of the Republicans to the 100 mph of the Obama Democrats–well, the pace at which all this plays out will be faster than anyone realizes.
I know that in one sense, capitalism is over in America. I am a therapist, and I know what grief and loss are. I have been grieving the end of capitalism for awhile. You saw what was going on even before Mr. Obama came into power. It was George W. Bush who brought America to the edge of the cliff, and it’s Mr. Obama and company who pushed us over.
But I still honestly believe–and know–that America is a nation without precedent. Will America go into total collapse from its socialism? Or, once socialism finally starts to get the blame for all the ill that befalls us, will there be a course reversal like never before seen in human history?
If there is such a course reversal, I know it will be the first in human history. Most governments throughout history have been statist or socialist in one form or another. America came the closest to genuine freedom, meaning: individual rights. But, objectively speaking–America was a land of firsts. America was the first to defend individual rights–at first, in principle and practice, and later only (fleetingly) in principle. Any nation on earth can return to that concept, and stick to it for all time. I’m counting on America to be the first to do it.
I’m also counting on freedom of speech, the press and the media to remain strong in America. This is far from guaranteed. Governments that control the economy don’t like people to be free to talk about the disastrous consequences of their policies. If there’s a battle to come–one worth fighting for, and one that can still be won–that’s it. Without free speech, capitalism and individual rights may never return. With free speech, it’s only a matter of time before they rise again, perhaps this time for good.
Fasten your seat belts. Like it or not, you’re living in interesting times. Perhaps the most interesting ones yet.