Is There Liberty In Socialism?


While talking to people on the opposite end of the political spectrum, I am constantly reminded that we think of “liberty” in two different ways. It is the reason that we seldom agree on public policy issues or initiatives before us. Here are a few examples. Where Christians view faith as liberation through surrender, restraint and discipline, others view it as bondage to a belief system keeping people from the benefits of secular humanism. You can see this conflict manifesting itself in policy issues from “the definition of marriage” to abortion. Where many Patriots believe an individual has a right to protect his life, property, and liberty — many view the “State” as having that sole responsibility, — forgetting governments are made up of people, and are perfectly capable of plundering their citizens. The heated arguments over the Second Amendment, and its intent, are evidence of the divide. Here is another example, — where many a small businessman view work and enterprise as liberating, others see the welfare state as liberating them from hardship and responsibility. Hence, Free Market Capitalism and Socialism exist in a constant tug-of-war over capital and resources.

I often ask the question of friends and acquaintances, “Can you describe the difference between Free Market Capitalism and Classic Socialism?” I use the term “Classic Socialism” because many people think of socialism only in terms of wealth redistribution. Most do not have a well thought out response. If one cannot define the difference, one is left making important decisions based solely on their own needs and desires. They become their own “special interest.”  What is lost is an understanding of the bigger picture, — that being “liberty.”  After all, if there were no consequences, it would be great if we could all vote ourselves free stuff. Problem is, — nothing is free!  Someone has to pay. The question becomes, “How will the distribution of capital and resources take place?” The question is critical when evaluating policies and candidates. A nation can vote itself into tyranny more easily than it can win its liberty.  The men who pledged their wealth and lives in 1776 can attest to that, as many gave both for the cause of liberty.

It was not surprising to discover in a recent poll by the American Action Network that nearly 60% of Democrats surveyed favored socialism over capitalism.  Here is a quote, “Democrat voters — every age-group, every gender, and every race — view socialism favorably, according to the poll.”  One respondent was quick to point out that we already have socialism — referring to Medicaid, Obamacare, and listed off other federal programs.  She liked socialism.  Why would she ever vote against it?  Please do not misunderstand.  I would prefer to talk about Americans as a whole, as I think many Republicans believe the same.  The difference is only a matter of how much socialism will be tolerated. For many politicians no matter what stripe, it is more about which group is in control, — not about “right” vs “left.”  Both desire the reins of power. It is the reason that government grows under both Republicans and Democrats.

The drift towards socialism (liberal fascism) has been consistent for over a century.  Changing the mindset of the average American has been gradual and intentional.  To quote Chuck Missler, “The only difference between a Communist and a Socialist is that the Communist is the one in a hurry!”  Most people do not know that many in America had a fascination with Socialism in the early 1900s. It was about that time that the Fabian Society was established in Great Britain, — a socialist organization. It is where we get the present day term “Fabian Socialist.”

“In contrast to the Communists who wanted to bring about socialism quickly through violence and revolution, the Fabians preferred to do it slowly through propaganda and legislation. The word socialism was not to be emphasized. Instead, they would speak of benefits for the people such as welfare, medical care, higher wages, and better working conditions.” (Reference: “The Creature From Jekyll Island” / Fifth Edition / copyright 2010 / by G. Edward Griffin / Page 87)

Of the two, the gradual shift towards socialism through legislation and propaganda is the most insidious. It is a process where traditional notions of freedom and liberty are steadily undermined.  It redefines ideas and traditions we hold as true, — casts aside the cultural values that made America great, — and undoes those things that bind us together as a nation. It tries to redefine “truth” itself. The idea of “rights” and “privileges” get mixed all together until “privileges” become mandated “rights” through legislation.  All the while, the progressive left attempts to redefine our “rights” — clearly laid out in or Constitution— as “privileges.”   The arguments against the Second Amendment are a prime example of this metamorphosis. Some Americans are even beginning to question our First Amendment right of freedom of religion, of free speech, and peaceable assembly. In other words, they are trying to convince us that our rights are not God given, but are bestowed by men. This is not liberty.

Arguing over the false choice of Democrat versus Republican is futile. Candidates (and legislation) need to be measured solely with the yard stick of liberty versus tyranny, — freedom versus control. Adherence to Constitutional constraints is most important. Here is an answer to the question asked earlier. I used quotations, but these are my thoughts with the strong influence of Adam Smith.

“Free Market Capitalism is the concept of shared abundance. In Free Market Capitalism, the individual owns the means of production and works in self-interest (not selfish interest, — there is a difference) to supply goods and/or services to the market place. It is the market place that determines the value (price) of goods and services provided through the “invisible hand” of innovation, supply, and demand. It is the pursuit of self-interest by individuals, and the free movement of goods and services that creates a harmony of interests, — resulting in the peaceful and equitable distribution of capital and resources.”

“In contrast, Socialism is the philosophy of rationed scarcity, where the State owns and/or controls the means of production. Crisis via scarcity is the rationale for central control and planning. The wants and needs of the “collective” become primary. There is no “invisible hand” of the free market, only the strong arm of the statist. Winners and losers are chosen, and incentives are destroyed. The result, — price discovery is lost, inefficiencies occur, distortions in the market result, and the peaceful and equitable distribution of goods and services disappears.”

In this current campaign season, it isn’t the “Goodness of America” that dominates debate, but one crisis after the other.  Are things really that bad?  Are the various crises real or manufactured? It is my contention that government loves crisis, — real or manufactured.  If they don’t have one, they will create it.  Crisis is that from which it feeds and grows, from global warming, healthcare, to the ultimate crisis — military conflict.  Will the American public continue to buy into the narrative?  How are you measuring the candidates?  There is a role for government, but it must be moral and constrained. For now, our Representatives still serve at the consent of the governed. That is you and I. It is up to us to send the message with our phone calls, letters, and votes. We will ultimately get the government we deserve. Will it be tyranny or liberty? The tide has been slowly shifting. I pray that those who are unaware of liberties being lost wake up, and cross the divide that separates us, — that we choose liberty.

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