Letter Re: A Clash of World Views–Socialism Versus the Libertarian Ethic

Mr. Rawles:

[Your frequent quotes from conservatives such as Thomas Sowell and Austrian School economists] blithely ignore the reality of corporatism, authoritarianism, predation, and entrenched elites. We’ve had our grand experiment in deregulation and the magic of the market, and it’s now perfectly clear where it got us. Why don’t you look up a good quote on the definition of an idealogue [sic] — someone who won’t let go of pretty delusions even when the real world proves the idealogy [sic] wrong. This is where the right wing is today. They want yet more of what has driven this country onto the rocks.

If you’re interested in applying thought, rather than [vulgar word deleted] right wing slogans, to our current economic problems, I’d recommend that you spend a little time on Nouriel Roubini’s web site in the spotlight area “Do We Need to Promote Localization to Save Globalization.” Inequality and the weakening of the safety net is hobbling, not freeing, the American economy. – David D.

JWR Replies: The context of the words “inequality” and “safety net” and the overall tone of your letter are indicative that you favor socialism. I am opposed to socialism, fascism, communism, and any any other other “-ism” that uses force to deny anyone else of their, life, liberty, or property. One of my dreaded “-isms” is socialism. (And, FWIW, I am opposed to it just a strongly as I am communism and fascism.) Red flags went up when I saw you use the terms “Inequality” and “safety net”. Those are are both popular buzzwords of socialism. You asked me to look at a web site. So it is only “fair” and “equitable” that you do likewise: See this animation that nicely sums up my libertarian philosophy.

Ponder what socialism does: In essence, in redistributes wealth, by force. Even if that force has a friendly American face, under the color of law, with a neat and orderly system of taxation, it is nonetheless still force. The bottom line is that under the socialist model, without my consent, some of my earnings are forcibly extracted from me and eventually put into the hands of another citizen that did not earn them. If I refuse to pay my taxes, then I will pay huge fines and/or go to prison. Period.

Whenever you see a Federal courthouse, just imagine that there a dungeon beneath it. (Of course, in reality, the “dungeon” is a sprawling prison, way off in some rural county.) The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the “free” world. One contributing factor for the high incarceration rate is our system of taxation.

All of the foregoing is not to say that I don’t believe in charity. Quite to the contrary, I’m part of the small Christian minority in this country that still gives a full tithe (one tenth of my gross earnings) to my church, as well as additional donations to other charities. I do so gladly, as a “cheerful giver.” (And it is noteworthy that I’m not alone. Conservatives are statistically far more generous givers than liberals.) To sum up my point: To extract taxes by force to fund a wretchedly inefficient socialist wealth redistribution plan is the worst sort if tyranny. It is slavery with almost invisible shackles.