People accuse capitalism of promoting selfishness, but socialism is worse. Capitalism is a system of voluntary trade between and among individuals with respect for private property rights and freedom of association under the rule of law. The only reason for any government involvement is to settle disputes of contract, and to prosecute acts of theft, fraud, or physical violence. Also, in capitalism there is a “presumption of innocence” that socialism does not have, in which each individual, regardless of one’s wealth or poverty, is presumed innocent and otherwise left alone by the government unless and until the government suspects someone of actual theft or fraud, or of having violated someone else’s life, liberty or property. Throughout the 19th Century, the USA was mostly a capitalist society, but after implementing the income tax, the creation of the Federal Reserve and especially FDR’s “New Deal,” the USA has been a “mixed economy,” a combination of capitalist policies allowing some freedom and socialist or fascist policies with arbitrary state controls. Actual progress in human rights and prosperity occurred throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, but after the huge expansion of the Federal government (and growth of the states’ governments), there now seems to be a decline in human progress.
Those who say that capitalism caused the 1929 Stock Market Crash and The Great Depression do not know that these situations were the results of government interventions and interferences in private economic activities, particularly by President Hoover—the results of pathological control freaks needing to intrude in other people’s private lives and businesses. These kinds of ultra-authoritarian government policies that restrict freedom are actually much more out of the selfishness of socialism than are the policies of capitalism that respect the freedom to be creative and productive. The selfishness of the Left who use the official, legal police power of government to act out their fantasies of helping people, with policies that have done nothing but hurt people, is far worse than the achievements of private citizens acting in their own self-interests which more often result in serving the needs of others.
The entire financial system is in collapse now because of the abuse of power and influence of government officials and their politically connected pals and supporters. And now people call for not only more government controls over private business, but government seizures of private businesses for government bureaucrats to run these businesses. Some examples of such successful endeavors include government’s participation in the home ownership and mortgage industries, via “government sponsored enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and government-run schools. And now the Left will run the entire health care system—into the ground. If only the multi-billionaires of the left would set up their own privately-run research programs, schools or medical facilities, rather than wasting all the billions on political campaigns, expecting someone else with the officialdom of the state to do it.
All people have to do is study the old Soviet Union, which had been a complete state-owned economy that ended in total collapse. That’s because not only does socialism not respect the rights of individuals to life, liberty and property, but because, in practical terms, it just doesn’t work. Note how as the Soviet Union collapsed, its individual state members declared independence, with each becoming an independent state. Of course, they aren’t perfect, but their citizens are probably freer and more prosperous than they were under Soviet rule. (And note, too, how, as government expands we have seen calls for a merger with the other two North American countries to form a “North American Union” with a single state-issued currency, the “Amero.” It’s like people will never learn from history that the bigger the state the less free and less prosperous the people are. And this might say something also about whether the state of California, whose government is now on its knees begging for mercy, ought to split into two separate states, a “North California” and a “South California,” each with its own separate state capital and possibly more efficient state government.)
Unfortunately, the concept of “rights” as the American founders intended, that “the individual has a right to one’s own life, liberty and property,” has been reversed by the Left to mean not only does an individual not have a right to one’s own life, liberty and property, but has a right to someone else’s life, liberty and property: the right of some people to enslave others, via government force, to serve their own needs—which eventually develops, as we see now, into the needs of politicians, lobbyists, lawyers and Big Business to be served by everyone else. That’s not selfish? Now the Federal government’s current actions are adding trillions to the National Debt, which will further burden future generations of Americans and is literally stealing from our grandchildren’s piggy banks. Now that’s the selfishness of socialism.