During a June 2016 speech focused mostly on the Orlando terror attack and the policies she would follow in combating Islamic terrorism, Hillary Clinton pivoted into “a larger point about the future of our country.” Starting at about the 34:00 minute mark, Clinton provided a peek through the collectivist prism with which she views America. Here are key passages followed by my commentary:
- [34:15] “America is strongest when we all believe that we have a stake in our country and our future. This vision has sustained us from the beginning—the belief that, yes, we are all created equal and the journey we have made to turn that into reality.”
Notice that Hillary stops short of the next key passage from the Declaration of Independence—“that [we] are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That passage puts “equality” in it’s proper, political context—equality of rights protected equally before the law. This omission is significant, as it turns out. Though she subsequently mentions the worthy fights to end slavery and expand the vote to women, she lumps them in with “throwing open the doors of education [government schooling]” and “building the strongest middle class the world has ever seen,” thus conflating two antipodes—political and economic equality. In her passage about “building the middle class,” the emphasis on “building” is hers, implying the standard Leftist line that the mid-20th Century regulatory welfare statism, not self-responsible free individuals living under the predominantly capitalist economy of America’s first 150 years, gave rise to the middle class.
- [34:40] “We are not a land of winners and losers”
This is an indication of how Hillary views life, particularly economics—as a game. If one person succeeds, another person necessarily loses. But, loses what? Loses how? She doesn’t say. It’s a straw man meant to frame the debate according to the egalitarian anti-inequality narrative.
- [34:45] “We should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential and we have the responsibility to help others do so as well.”
“Opportunity” in the American sense is in the freedom to act on our own behalf, unimpeded by artificial human barriers, and nothing else. The second part, about “responsibility,” shows that freedom is not what Hillary has in mind when she speaks of equality. This is another indication that ignoring the Declaration’s phrase about rights is deliberate. By “responsibility,” Hillary means government-imposed obligations through economic regulations and redistribution of wealth, not the responsibility to respect others’ rights to their freedom and earned property.
- [34:09] “As I look at American History, I see that this has always been a country of ‘We,’ not ‘Me.’ We stand together because we are stronger together. . . . ‘Out of many, one’ has seen us through the darkest chapters of our history. Ever since 13 squabbling colonies put aside their disagreements and united because they realized they were going to rise together or fall separately.”
“Unity” is a loaded term. You can understand that term in so many different ways. Unity in the American individualist sense means united by a certain set of ideas oriented around the principle of the sovereign individual free to live his own life for his own good unhindered by anyone else’s coercive interference. Early on, “we” were united by respect for each others’ individual rights to life, liberty, property, trade, and pursuit of personal happiness—and by the principle embodied in the next great passage in the Declaration of Independence; “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” That phrase, conveniently ignored by Hillary, puts government in its proper context.
The second, subservient sense is what Hillary means by unity: Unity in the socialistic, collectivist sense essentially means the individual as subservient—part of a chain gang directed by the state as representative of the collective good. You can easily see how a country can be united behind the idea that each of us owns and is responsible for his life and well-being, and neither seeks nor has any right the unearned nor is expected to grant it. But how does a country in which everyone expects others to fill his needs and desires, and whose own labors are expected to fill others’ needs, stay united. United by what? Universal predation? Hillary doesn’t say. But in a stunning historical reversal—especially given her earlier reference to the Declaration of Independence, Hillary goes on. . .
- [36:18]: “We are stronger when everyone can share in the rewards of our economy and contribute to our communities—when we bridge our divides and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.”
The “rewards of our economy” are really the sum of the rewards of productive individuals working and trading, which vary according to a whole host of personal attributes and circumstances, including intelligence, ability, ambition, values, goals, interests, moral character, and upbringing. But this human diversity, inherent in human nature, means nothing more to Hillary than some anonymous “the rewards of our economy,” as if “the economy” is an entity that exists separate from and independent of individual human beings, who must “share” equally in its “rewards.” Again we see why she stopped at “equal” in citing the Declaration of Independence—which, interestingly, she doesn’t even bother to name.
Of course capitalism, being the system of trade, is precisely a system in which people “lift each other up.” Trade is the exchange of value for value, leaving both traders better off. In order to get, one must give—win-win, but, importantly, the right not to engage in any exchange that, by the individual’s own judgement, does not entail a selfish personal gain. But Hillary is not a capitalist. The purpose for which Hillary believes “We should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential” and to “share in the rewards of our economy” is . . . what? The pursuit of personal happiness? No; to “contribute to our communities.” Under collectivism, the individual’s only moral purpose is to serve the “common good,” not his own good. Hillary is an undeclared socialist, the system that tears people down in proportion to their accomplishments, in order to lift others with the unearned—which, of course, ends up tearing every achiever down. Except, of course, for the dictatorial rulers, who enjoy unlimited power, wealth, and “prestige” as guardians of our collective good, which is never defined. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
- [36:55] “[We have] too much inequality and too little upward mobility”
Upward mobility—or more precisely, the freedom “to live up to our God-given potential”—is definitely hindered artificially by bad government schools, minimum wage, paid family leave and other labor laws, occupational licensure and other regulations, and a massive tax-and-spend apparatus. That can be fixed with pro-liberty, pro-free market policies. But inequality—by which she means economic inequality—is a glorious consequence of the convergence of two conditions—freedom and diversity; specifically, of the natural diversity of the human condition that I cited above, liberated by a society based on the individual freedom to rise as far as your personal context will carry you. It’s interesting that while the Left’s “celebration” of diversity fixates on race, they ignore diversity where it really matters. If Hillary, Barack Obama, and their ilk really valued diversity, they’d value diversity’s consequences and social requirements: They’d celebrate economic inequality and maximize individual liberty.
There is no correlation between “too much inequality and too little upward mobility.” Just the opposite, in fact. Maximum economic inequality is a consequence of unfettered upward mobility. To quash economic inequality, one must by definition quash upward mobility.
- [36:20] “We’re going to get an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. We’re going to forge a new sense of connection and shared responsibility to each other and our nation.”
There you have it. Collectivism. Socialistic statism.
It is critical to understand that what we refer to as “the economy” is really the sum of the contributions of every individual who produces some level of economic value shared through trade with others. How the rewards of work are “distributed” can only be determined by “the market”; the sum of the voluntary choices of producers in their capacity as consumers. An “economy that works for everyone,” therefor, is one in which each person is secure in his property and liberty—where “connections” are voluntary and there are no unchosen responsibilities imposed by government.
But that is not how Hillary understands “the economy.” She is not reality-oriented. She is an economic statist. She is a collectivist—i.e., a mystic: Her view is a secular religion that substitutes the collective (the “public,” “society,” the “economy”) for God as the supreme master and final authority on all truth, with the state as the supreme master’s enforcer of that truth. Hillary, in simple terms, is a neo-communist. Her vision of “connection” is the connecting links of an economic chain gang, not of trade; of coerced “responsibility” to provide the unearned, not self-responsibility to gain the earned. Get ready for another lurch toward Cuban-style equalitarian economics, rather than American style political equality of rights under a rights-protecting government—a nation of increasing economic equality of poverty rather than an unequal economy of generally rising prosperity.
Socialism, the term that best describes the modern Democratic Party, is based on aggressive force. It is government force used to mold society into whatever the political faction in charge wishes. It is perpetual war by government against its own people, and nothing else. Far from forging “a new sense of connection,” Hillary’s vision would break the country apart into warring factions—we’re already part way there—each seeking control of the political apparatus, either in defense or to impose its views, or a combination of both. Democratic socialism, the Dem’s modern incarnation of this ancient evil, is war of all against all, with the government as the “hired gun” of the most recent electorally victorious faction. No wonder elections have taken on such urgency. It can be no other way when the individual lacks protection of his rights. In a rights-protecting society, where the right not to be “connected” is protected, neither the government nor one’s neighbor is a threat.
This is what we are up against in this election, which we face without a Republican candidate willing or capable of offering an individualist, capitalist opposing vision.
Economic Equality vs. Political Equality: Which is Your America?