Capitalism is Peaceful, Socialism is Force

January 26, 2011 06:49

In reality, it’s not the purpose of government to do anything — except to ensure that people are left alone. Anyone who values freedom, independence and life on earth wants only one thing: Protection … including from government itself.

by Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. at

Paul Krugman, the intellectual apostle of liberal-left socialism in the United States, recently wrote the following in The New York Times:

“One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state . . . morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate. The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.”

Note the choice Krugman gives us: Socialism with rich being forced to help the poor, or freedom where nobody ever helps anybody for any reason, whatsoever. Ridiculous!

Imagine you did a poll. The first question asks, “Is it good for the affluent to help the poor?” Most will answer yes. They’ll think of benevolent people with lots of money voluntarily giving some of that money to people who have little or nothing. What could be wrong with that? You’d end up with 95 to 99 percent saying, “Sure, it’s good for the affluent to help the poor.”

Now imagine this question: “Should affluent people be forced to give money to the poor, at gunpoint or the threat of jail?” Put that way, you’d have a lot fewer than 99 percent saying, “yes.” You’d have about a third of Americans, those who form the base of Obama’s socialist constituency, saying “yes” for sure. To people like this, it’s inconceivable that any one person should have more wealth than another, and it’s impossible to bring this about without the force of government. To another third, you’d have wishy washy or unsure responses, and with the final third you’d perhaps have a decisive, or even a reluctant, “No.” This is speculation on my part, although it’s based on the way most people tend to vote in the United States. By and large, a third are socialist/liberal, a third are not, and another third are undecided.

What’s certain is that you can hold the view that force is always bad. Why? Because it is. Government wealth redistribution is force, plain and simple. It’s not a power authorized by the United States Constitution, and it’s never moral. It’s the principle of the thing: Initiating force against another is always wrong. When you form an army, a police force and build jails to house people who don’t obey you, and you threaten this loss of freedom (including death, should you try to escape) for not giving up a portion of your money to others, then this is force. And it’s wrong.

Krugman goes on to say: “There’s no middle ground between these views. One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.”

This is correct, in that liberals and socialists are assuming that the imperative to serve others trumps civility and justice. They won’t put it this way, but this is what they’re implying and this is what ObamaCare, along with all welfare state policies, stand for in principle and practice. “You have more, therefore you must give up some of it.” What about the fact that you created it? What about the fact that it’s yours? And what happens when the object of your forced charity gets it; isn’t he obliged to give up his, as well? Clearly, there’s no objective or logical answer to any of these questions. What it all boils down to is legalized plunder. One group, with the guns and the prisons, forces the disadvantaged group to give up something that is theirs.

Liberals and socialists such as Krugman, Obama, and most of our political, academic and media Establishment have successfully brainwashed people into never asking or answering these questions. The unspoken reasoning: If you’re rich, it’s a bad thing, unless you give it all away. It’s only a good thing if government does it, because government is superior and can always be trusted in these matters.

The deeper issue, also unspoken but always implied: The extent to which you succeed and do well, you should feel guilty. You are obliged to give your success to others. End of story.

This is the exact opposite of an ethics based on individual achievement, individual responsibility, freedom, capitalism and private property. None of these things can survive if you operate on an ethics that undermines them. For a time, America had it both ways. It operated on a system of freedom, capitalism and private property, including profit. But the idea likewise spread that you should feel guilty for your achievements and accomplishments, at least when those accomplishments lead to material success (as accomplishments tend to do).

It’s ironic. Late twentieth and early twenty-first century America will go down in history, perhaps, as the Age of Oprah. “Who was Oprah?” future people will ask. She was the lady who preached personal fulfillment, made vast sums of money in a capitalist system, and then used that money and influence to help elect the most socialist President in American history. The Age of Oprah, rational historians will conclude, was the age of contradiction. Americans cheered the financial success of a woman under capitalism, a woman who helped ensure that system’s downfall.

Krugman also writes: “…the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.”

If only! I would love a political party that openly states all initiation of force against citizens is immoral, no matter what the circumstance. That’s not the G.O.P. I’ve ever seen, not even at its “Tea Party” best. The G.O.P. I see is one which sidesteps the issue, says we should cut spending, and claims that the purpose of government is to empower people rather than make them dependent on government handouts. In reality, it’s not the purpose of government to do anything — except to ensure that people are left alone. Anyone who values freedom, independence and life on earth wants only one thing: Protection … including from government itself.

Dr. Hurd has been in  Private Practice of Psychotherapy and Personal Life Coaching since 1988. He blogs at

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