Economic Freedom and Power

I don't think people understand how closely political economics is tied to freedom.

When taxes are raised and government is allowed to expand, individual Americans effectively cede a portion of their liberty. In certain situations, this is vital and unavoidable. A good example is our nationalized police force; no one wants public order to be maintained solely by private corporations.

Unfortunately, history has taught us that government constantly abuses and increases its power when given the chance. This trend is painfully obvious in the United States, where the national government now controls a great many things it was never originally intended to control.

In the past hundred years, the ideologies of socialism, communism, and fascism have advocated governmental dominion over the economy. Modern power does not exist in military might, but in economic strength; therefore, socialist, communist, and fascist governments who controlled their nations' economies have almost always been totalitarian. The great atrocities of modern times have been perpetrated by governments such as these. There are too many examples to list.

Conversely, in a true capitalist society, private individuals would have more power than they have ever had. (Note that an economy controlled by corporate conglomerates and monopolies is not at all capitalistic. It is oligarchic.) In a capitalist society, government cannot control the people; it can only defend and protect them. Power is diffused, rather than concentrated; it truly belongs to individuals. A capitalist society is not only stronger, but freer.

Americans are (understandably) wary of "Big Brother" when it comes to wiretaps and surveillance, but the much more real peril to our freedom lies in Uncle Sam's increasing control over the economy. We prostitute our economic power and freedom for governmental promises of comfort and welfare. The promises are rarely kept, and the power is rarely returned to the people. Does our government deserve the increasing power with which we are entrusting it?

Recently, Democrats in Congress advocated nationalizing the oil industry. (It'd be funny if it weren't true. And what does Maxine Waters, a former teacher, know about the economy?) Apparently, they haven't heard of Hugo Chávez.

Barack Obama, of course, is no different (and neither is McCain, essentially). According to the Wall Street Journal, "Sen. Obama cited new economic forces to explain what appears like a return to an older-style big-government Democratic platform skeptical of market forces. 'Globalization and technology and automation all weaken the position of workers,' he said, and a strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably. He spoke aboard his campaign bus, where a big-screen TV was tuned to the final holes of the U.S. Open golf tournament." (For the record, a strong government hand is not needed to "assure that wealth is distributed more equally." I think there are much better ways to do that.)

Consider this: any power given to the government is not only given to the "good" politicians, but also to the "bad" ones. Liberals, do you really want men like George Bush to run the economy? Conservatives, do you really want the Bill Clintons of the world in control of your economy? Wouldn't it make more sense to let the people control the economy?

Only 47% of Americans oppose nationalizing the oil industry. In my opinion, that Democrats (and some Republicans) would even suggest policies such as these under the guise of capitalism is completely duplicitous.

America, meet Socialism.


Spaceman Spiff said...

The one point where I can't follow your reasoning is this: you say that an economy run by corporate conglomerates is not capitalistic, but you are opposed to government intervention to restrain corporations. I am just not sure what options are left.

History seems to have shown us clearly that pure capitalism leads precisely and inevitably to an economy dominated by corporations. They are simply more efficient in the short term and that is all that is necessary. The ONLY way these have ever been reined in is through government intervention.

In a democracy, this distinction between the people and the government is not altogether clear. How would the *people* choose to restrain corporations? The most obvious way is through their representative government.

It is not clear that social democracy or a democratic socialist society would give people less power than a capitalist democracy. I think we can see in our own system, due in part to the size of our nation and in part to our capitalist tendencies, individuals have very little power to change anything. Personally I would prefer smaller, more local governments or either type.

But I would MOST prefer a small, local government that tended towards progressive social policies and took a relatively firm hand towards corporations.

Speaker for the Dead said...

I also would prefer more smaller governments, rather than one large one. In other words, I would rather expand the power of the state and local governments and decrease the power of the federal government? Why? First of all, I think there is a TINY bit less waste at the state level, because the problem solvers are more directly tied to the problems. Also, more power to state governments creates more competition; people can choose between states, and so states have to offer a good product. (This is another reason I would oppose global unification on any greater level than what we have today.)

But your main point:

Sorry I wasn't clear. Pure capitalism is essentially anarchy, which I don't support. I do support some form of government regulation of business; to be honest, I'm not exactly sure WHAT form. I listed a few examples on my Facebook note of this post.