Conclusion of yesterday’s column.
Elizabeth’s naivetis staggering and self-evident. She lives off her wealthy parents and demands that ‘society’ give away all its money, by force if necessary. She denies the right of the shoe storeowner to his private property. She denies him the right to dispose of his property as he sees fit.
One wonders if she denies the right of her socialist cohorts to do with their property as they see fit.
And what about her parents? She depends on their private wealth for her livelihood, and for her ability to be bailed out of jail for acting on her socialist principles.
How is this any different from the twenty-first century version of Elizabeth Bellamy, the Occupy Wall Street protestors who demand more and more freebies from the government, to be paid for (in taxes) by the despised villains on Wall Street, without whose profit-making abilities there would be no wealth to tax in the first place?
How much has really changed from the early days of socialist ‘intellectuals’ back in 1908 to today? The cast has changed, but the underlying idiocy and fraud have not.
In a sense, Barack Obama’s rise to power as the first unequivocally socialist President in American history, represents the culmination of the ideal of those early socialists.
When Obama became President, as a magazine cover declared at the time, ‘We are all socialists now.’
It’s not through persuasion that we have become socialists; it’s by force. That’s what socialism is: Brute force, plain and simple.
Barack Obama’s assumptions about government and morality are identical to those of the early socialists. Obama loves to talk about ‘change,’ and his supporters portray him as if he’s somehow ‘cool’ and different. In reality, he represents nothing more than the same old stale philosophy of socialism that has been with us for at least a century.
Let’s consider some of his quotes from the last several years and how they might be questioned by a voice of reason:
Obama: ‘This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many.’
A Voice of Reason: But who trades, and why do they trade? People trade because they want to make a profit. By giving something away, they hope to get something of greater value in return, usually in the form of money. It’s called profit. Profit-seeking is the very thing that Obama and other socialists want to outlaw or at least inhibit as much as they can.
They consider profit ‘favoring the few, not the many.’ But if the only credible incentive for making profit goes away, what happens to the world when production stops?
Obama: ‘We didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world just by rewarding greed and recklessness. We didn’t come this far by letting the special interests run wild. We didn’t do it just by gambling and chasing paper profits on Wall Street. We built this country by making things, by producing goods we could sell.’
A Voice of Reason: Capitalism and free trade do not reward greed and recklessness. In a private economy — one with no government regulations and, most of all, no government subsidies or bailouts —there is an ever-present moral hazard. Government cannot, for example, tell banks, ‘You must lend to certain people, whether it’s profitable or not.’ That’s exactly what government has been doing, for decades. In a free market, government cannot say, ‘If the banks make bad decisions, we’re going to bail them out.’ That’s not moral hazard, and that’s not capitalism. If banks know that nobody in government is ever going to bail them out, you had better believe they will act as cautiously, prudently and responsibly as they possibly can.
Obama is actually right that we should get rid of recklessness. But the only way to do that is to get government out of the private economy and to restore moral hazard to the practice of big business. Politicians will never permit this, especially not after the crash of 2008. Of all the people in the universe, politicians are the least concerned about moral hazard. Their sole reason for existence is to tell people what they want to hear, and to deliver unearned loot to people who give them power, at the expense of competing groups who refuse to support them in that quest.
If Obama really hated the things he says he hates, he should drop his ideology of socialism and government intervention in the marketplace. He should call for private property, freedom of competition, and the end to all government bailouts and controls.
In practice, this would mean full responsibility to businesses for taking care of themselves and their willing customers. Instead, he calls for more socialism and government intervention than has ever before existed in the United States. He’s taking the beleaguered private economy and beating it into the ground, calling for higher taxes and more regulation than ever. He has totally bankrupted the government, endangered our national defense, and is devaluing our currency by the hour.
Obama: ‘Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.’
A Voice of Reason: So money is an improper motive. OK, then, what’s the alternative? To work for free? If you do something without the motivation of profit — financial, or any other kind — then it’s somehow morally superior?
Did Obama work to become President only for the sake of others? Did he have no personal ambition whatsoever? I don’t think so. This is no less ridiculous than Elizabeth Bellamy’s tirade against the outraged shoe store owner.
Obama: ‘It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.’
A Voice of Reason: No, Barack, that isn’t true. You’re rewriting history again. If capitalism had not increased efficiency and lifted the standard of living for everybody, it wouldn’t be possible for government (rightly or wrongly) to pass these laws. There would be nothing to fund these programs in a third-world country who failed to embrace capitalism. There would be nothing to continue funding these programs without a country who failed to at least partially embrace capitalism.
Government imposes standards on the private market after the fact — and then claims credit for the advantages brought about not by government, but by the private market. Treating employees and customers better and better is to the advantage of the private market. If that happens to not be the case, and if government forces those advantages on employers anyway, then it only harms the market and means fewer jobs, less wealth and a lower standard of living for everybody.
In fact, that’s what happened in both Great Britain and America as government regulations, taxation and general ‘stewardship’ of the private economy became the norm rather than the exception.
And that’s where we are now. It’s all falling apart, and capitalism is getting the blame for the debacle socialism and the Baracks of the world have created.
No doubt, in 2012, Elizabeth Bellamy and her childish friends would celebrate the fall of capitalism by screeching, urinating and defecating on Wall Street along with their equally clueless political soul mates. And they’d vote to re-elect their hapless champion, no doubt.
‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ created by Sagitta Productions Ltd. in association with Jean Marsh and Eileen Atkins, Granada International, 1971.
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