I have been criticized occasionally for my writing about socialism, sometimes by those who seem to go by mainstream dictionary definitions of socialism. But dictionaries are written generally by biased leftists. For a better understanding of economic terms such as socialism you would really need to read Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard. The Mises Institute, incidentally, has recently been mentioned as the 9th most influential “think tank,” even though it is not a think tank. The Mises Institute promotes Austrian economics. If there is any one particular general point of view of the Austrians, they tend to favor free markets and are critics of central planning. I agree with that point of view.
However, I try to concentrate on the overall concepts and I tend to think in abstractions, which may be a problem for some people. While many people are quite indoctrinated to a statist and collectivist way of thinking, I nevertheless believe there are a lot of open-minded ones out there. So I keep on trying.
I have tried to make references before to fascism, in which the government usurps and maintains intrusive control over privately owned industries and property via regulations, mandates, zoning, reporting requirements, etc. All such mandates and regulations are examples of fascism. And in my view, when government bureaucrats require any individual to involuntarily submit to such bureaucrats controls and intrusions over the individuals’ private contracts and property, such bureaucrats are criminally trespassing into the private matters and lives of the people. Like socialist mandates, requirements, and demands, in fascism such orders and intrusions on the people are not just trespasses but examples of criminal extortion.
But my latest conclusion is that there is no substantial difference between socialism and fascism. In either system, the people’s labor and their property are owned, in truth, by the government — by the centralized criminal racket that presumes to rule over their lives. If you do not have the ultimate control over your labor, your contracts and your property, control which the bureaucrats have usurped away from you, then you are not the real owner.
As Thomas DiLorenzo noted recently, socialism and welfare statism involve involuntary servitude. You are a slave if you must involuntarily do extra labor to serve government bureaucrats with your earnings or wealth.
So, because “fascism” sounds nasty while “socialism” doesn’t sound nasty to many people, I will refer to socialism/fascism as “socialism.”
One problem that I have is with people who say they are “against socialism” but support all the socialist policies which have gradually been destroying America throughout the past 200 years. Everything from Social Security, the income tax, the Federal Reserve System, and “protection” service rackets from socialized local government law enforcement to national security. And today’s “anti-socialists” support the U.S. government’s current central planning immigration controls. That is because their collectivist ideologies supersede their stated belief in moral society, private property and free markets.
What, do you think that the Social Security scheme is an example of free market capitalism? The coercive income tax, government confiscation of private wealth, that’s a free market?
Sorry, all these government schemes and rackets, which involve involuntary participation of and involuntary funding by the people, are entirely socialist, and there’s nothing free market about them, nothing of a “capitalist” nature (except for crony State capitalism, which is still socialism, because special interests and government-connected businesses are still profiting from wealth seized and redistributed from the theft victims).
Socialism is supposedly a public or government ownership of the means of production, of various industries or functions, and involves a centralized bureaucracy of clueless parasites to administer those schemes. Socialist bureaucracies historically have required being funded involuntarily by the people over whom such bureaucrats rule, in the form of taxation. Socialist schemes also involve redistribution of the stolen funds to recipients not approved by the involuntary subsidizers.
The truth is, socialism in the traditional sense is a criminal scheme, a racket, imposed on the people by bureaucrats and their enforcers who take the people’s wealth and siphon from their incomes involuntarily. Such bureaucrats are no different from a private criminal gang or the Mafia, in which threats are made against people unless they hand over the loot.
And that is what the income tax scheme is. A criminal scheme. But why do we never hear conservatives or those who claim to be “against socialism” criticize it? Because they approve of it! They are not opposed to robbery at all, when it is committed by the “authorities,” especially when it is being used to implement their socialist programs that they believe in. The self-proclaimed “anti-socialists” really don’t believe in the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as mentioned in the Declaration of Independence that many of the advocates profess to follow.
But the society will continue to decline economically and morally as long as these criminal rackets and schemes remain in place. In a civilized society, for contracts, associations, transactions and trades to be legitimate they must be voluntary. If there is coercion, compulsion based on threats made by “authorities,” if contracts are involuntary, then they are thoroughly illegitimate — and criminal, in my view.
And legitimate contracts can only be the business of the parties to those contracts. The terms of those legitimate contracts are voluntarily agreed to and are the business of only the parties to those contracts and no others. When third parties such as government bureaucrats come along and make those private contracts their business — whether the traders or associates like it or not — then those third parties are criminally violating, they are trespassing.
When the bureaucrats demand that the workers or traders reveal and report their own private personal matters such as income or bank accounts and the bureaucrats demand some of the earnings involuntarily, there is no more accurate term to describe these violators and extortionists as criminal.
The rule of law in a moral society would have to consider as criminal all theft, fraud, extortion, threats of violence, and trespass. To exempt members of this one artificial institution called the State or the government from those basic rules of civilized society invites institutionalized criminality. And that is what we live under presently.
And another example: Social Security. Just how moral and legitimate could it be when the government orders you to involuntarily participate in its own government-run and monopolized retirement scheme, and orders your employer to pay certain amounts, involuntarily, to support it?
Another socialist aspect of Social Security is its redistribution of wealth scheme in which the current workers and producers are involuntarily subsidizing the elderly and retired people and the disabled. And it’s all involuntary, thus criminal, and a racket.
But the conservatives, the moralists, the promoters of the Declaration of Independence and its principles of the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, never criticize Social Security for the fraud and the racket it is.
I’m really getting tired of hearing those talk radio people and various others referring to “socialism” when they themselves are socialists. For example, take Donald Trump. (Please.) I’ve mentioned this here before but I’m going to reiterate this. There are all those so-called conservatives out there who say they oppose socialism but are nevertheless drawn to Trump whose rhetoric elicits their primal emotions.
Trump makes the sheeple feel good in the same way that Bernie Sanders’s rhetoric of envy and class warfare makes the Left feel good. But Trump has for many years been a liberal Democrat. He favors nationalized medical care, single payer and so on. So I guess you can fool a lot of the people much of the time, or something like that.
And as I have mentioned before, Trump loves eminent domain. What is eminent domain? It is exactly what socialism is: government theft of private property. Socialism is all about theft. Taxation is government theft of wealth and income. It is theft because it does not involve voluntary contracts, voluntary transactions. Taxation is involuntary. The government-run programs in which the people are compelled by law to fund and participate are involuntary. Eminent domain is when bureaucrats tell you that you must agree to give them your property and for a price determined by them, the bureaucrats. If you don’t get out of the property then you will be arrested or otherwise removed by force. The government now owns your property in the same way a thief “owns” what he has stolen from his victims.
Donald Trump says he loves eminent domain because the property that the government steals on his and other developers’ behalf will be used to “provide jobs,” etc. and the community will benefit. Therefore the initial criminal act of theft is “justified.” But that’s based on a promise or a prediction of benefits. Even Trump has admitted that at least one occasion when a property owner wouldn’t give up the property, it turned out that in that case such promises wouldn’t have panned out. Just like Social Security, by the way, in which the government implicitly cons people into thinking that their livelihoods will be taken care of when they retire, but the truth is that’s also a lie and a fraud. But Trump nevertheless has benefited from eminent domain.
Speaking of government theft of the people’s wealth and property, “conservatives” such as Rush Limbaugh are rightly criticizing the new $1 trillion omnibus boondoggle as “caving” by Republicans. But they are crying because the spending bill doesn’t fund their government wall or fence on the southern border, one of the biggest examples of socialism if there ever was one.
I know that a lot of people are in denial and will try to rationalize their socialism in today’s America as “capitalism.” Hmm, the government wall they want to seal the border is an example of “free market capitalism.” Only in Soviet Amerika, of course.
The problem with them is their ingrained collectivist mindset. They want to keep certain groups of people out of an entire country. They don’t believe in private property rights, contracts rights and free markets.
But the anti-immigration stuff coming from these people, jeepers. This is the biggest issue, I believe, in which they completely trash their alleged belief in those “unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Their collectivist sentiments take over, and they support socialism and central planning big time, begging Big Daddy Government to centrally plan the movements of millions, erecting a police state to intrude in the employment matters of private American businesses — and such socialist utopian grandiosity ends up screwing things up even more than they were before.
I guess foreigners don’t have “unalienable rights” to life, liberty and property. The Declaration of Independence only applies to “Americans,” is what the anti-immigration socialists seem to be saying. Which is not consistent with the idea of “unalienable rights” which preexist the formation of any government. Contrary to what the collectivists think, those rights are individual rights, and they really are unalienable. There are no group rights, which the collectivist-minded anti-immigration people seem to think there are, only individual rights.
But such rights of self-ownership and freedom from aggression apply to everyone, including the right to self-defense and self-sustenance and the right to seek opportunities to trade one’s labor with willing traders. As long as one does not trespass others’ persons or private property.
But look at Donald Trump’s government wall, which is a huge example of socialism. What, do you think that’s a capitalist wall? A free market capitalist wall? It’s a government wall, to block markets, to block labor and transactions and commerce. It violates the principles of free markets, in which if a businessman in Texas wants to employ a worker from Mexico the government wants to block that. That’s socialism.
Unfortunately, the collectivists don’t believe in private property because they are … collectivists. They really believe that individuals are not the ultimate owners of their own persons and labor, their own property, their capital and wealth, their businesses, their lives. The collectivists and socialists believe the government is the people’s ultimate owner. They totally reject free markets and prefer government-controlled markets.
In other words, there is no big difference between the Bernie Sanders-Hillary socialists and the conservative statist socialists, except for having different social agendas.
Both sides support the criminal rackets and intrusions of the State, and oppose the principles of non-aggression, self-ownership, private property, and free markets upon which America was founded.