Friday, July 10, 2009

Plain Talk About Socialism

Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, had this to say about imposition of socialism:
One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.

Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We had an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this.
Reagan is warning us not to trade our freedom for mediocrity. The left says we oppose socialism too, we are moderates we just want for the government to give regular people what they have a right to... like health care. Oh, yes, I see now.

What the left doesn't understand is why right thinking folks fear socialism and the loss of freedom, we fear collectivism, we fear government control of health care, government control of our lives. It is because surrendering power to the government begets fraud, waste and especially abuse. Abuse is a mild form of tyranny. We don't want abuse, tyranny, fraud or waste. We want to be free from those things.

Reagan the great communicator was a plain talker. Another plain talker, Vin Suprynowicz, is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, as well as the author of several books. Today we quote at length (it is an easy read) from his recent plain talk column on how Socialism begets tyranny.
Today, the socialists have taught most Americans to expect lots of things -- government schools, government fire and police protection -- are and should be "free." They're not. Everything has to be paid for. Is free health care "a right"? You can't have a right that imposes an obligation on anyone else... If I have a right to medical care, do I have a right to put a gun to the head of a doctor and threaten to shoot him if he won't treat me? Is it more moral for some third party do this for me?

A rich guy has more money than he needs and decides to spend $10,000 on cosmetic surgery he could easily live without. Across town we have a poor woman, a cripple (sorry: a "differently abled person") who could walk again if only that $10,000 were spent on her surgery instead.

Obviously, a wise and compassionate society would "encourage" the rich guy to forgo his elective cosmetic surgery and instead "contribute" the $10,000 toward medical care for the poor woman, whose life would be improved so much more if the allocation were shifted to benefit her instead of him.

But the darned greedy rich guy just won't go along with our plan, saying he's chosen to donate to other charities and has other plans for his wealth, like building some crummy factory that could supposedly "create some jobs." (Why, they're not even "green" jobs!) So of course we have to tax his $10,000 away from him to make a better use of it.

He then turns around and declares he won't pay any more taxes; he won't show any income from here on in, he'll just quit work and live off his investments.

Well, we can't have our wise and beneficent plan stymied by that kind of greedy hoarding and tax evasion, so we also tax the interest and dividends from his investments -- investments he made with after-tax dollars.

He tries to evade us again, by moving to Panama with all his money. Hold on there, bub. Can't have that. You're going to have to pay an "exit tax" and forfeit any assets you failed to "declare," assuming we let you leave at all. Gotta pay your fair share. Plan won't work if we allow folks to hoard scarce resources, to step out of line, to bribe doctors with cash payments. ...

But these wide-eyed "reformers" just can't imagine how Lenin's well-meaning socialism ever transformed into Stalin's massive slave camp, with people shot if they tried to escape over the barbed wire in the snow. It was all just a matter of bad personnel decisions, you see.

It's all set up with the best of intentions to allow us to ration scarce health care to benefit the poor woman who needs it most. How can it be fair to allow one person to grow rich enough to buy whatever he wants for himself and his family, while the unlucky poor person does without? It's not the unlucky poor person's fault she went to worthless government schools, bore children out of wedlock, lived in a crime-ridden project built by the government, raised young hoodlums without any male adult guidance, got into drugs ...

Have you no compassion? Can't you see the need to seize away the wealth from those who were simply lucky enough to land and hold jobs, to start businesses, to slave 70 hours a week to create new jobs for others while delaying gratification of many of their wants in order to save for their family's rainy days?

Why on earth should we assume that if we keep punishing hard work and frugality and savings, seizing money from the ever-smaller number of folks who exhibit those behaviors in order to hand it to those who keep blowing their welfare checks, this will somehow discourage hard work and savings and investment, while encouraging spend-it-now profligacy, with ever more hands out for another check come Monday?

People who suggest that just aren't being very nice.
Those who doubt that socialism begets tyranny -- see for example: Cuba, North Korea, the USSR, Angola, Poland, Germany, Vietnam, Laos, China, and well, pretty much every place it has been tried. Is it any wonder the list of formerly socialist nations is so much longer than the list of currently socialist nations?

Since we began with Reagan, let us finish with Reagan as well, on the subject of Capitalism instead:
All systems are capitalist. It's just a matter of who owns and controls the capital -- ancient king, dictator, or private individual. We should properly be looking at the contrast between a free market system where individuals have the right to live like kings if they have the ability to earn that right and government control of the market system such as we find today in socialist nations.

(H/T to the ubiquitous OBloodyHell on the Suprynowicz columns Check them all out here.)

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