Friday, October 19, 2018

Tiffany Muller and Marie Henselder Kimmel Want You to Use Your Vote to Silence Your Own Voice. Don't Do It.

Citizens United was the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that liberated large organizations like corporations and unions to finance political campaigns The enemies of free speech, mainly on the Left, have been waging war against that victory for free speech ever since. In a 9/19/18 New Jersey Star-Ledger guest editorial (as of this writing, not available online), Tiffany Muller and Marie Henselder Kimmel* open:

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court made a disastrous decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission to allow corporations to pour vast amounts of money into the political system, and it’s breaking the foundation of American democracy.

We know the Constitution says “We the People,” but lately it seems like it’s “We the billionaires and corporations.”

The “foundation of American democracy” is that America is not a democracy. It is a republic based on the primacy of inalienable individual rights to life, liberty, earned property, and the pursuit of happiness, flourishing, and safety. Democracy has a severely limited role in that the vote cannot be used to vote away those rights, either one’s own or others’. Among these inalienable rights are freedom of speech and assembly. Yet, Muller and Kimmel want us to vote away those rights:

Remember, your vote is your voice, and you must use your vote at the polls this November to protect your voice. 
One bill in Congress that would help move our democracy back on track is the DISCLOSE Act. It would shine a light on “dark money” donations and require campaign ads to provide more information about who paid for the ad. A critical fix to the disastrous Citizens United decision is to amend the Constitution to regulate contributions and expenditures, so all citizens — regardless of their net worth — may have an equal voice in the political process. The Democracy for All Amendment Resolution proposes such an amendment and has been co-sponsored by New Jersey Reps. Norcross, Albio Sires, D-8th Dist., and Bill Pascrell, 9th-Dist.

Notice they speak of “an equal voice,” not equal rights.This means that as one’s net worth (economic success) rises, one’s right to free speech shrinks accordingly. But the right to freedom of speech is a guarantee that one may speak, and nothing more. Like other rights, such as right to property, trying to guarantee equality in any manner other than equal protection of the law necessitates the violation of the underlying right--in this case, the right to speak. Muller and Kimmel are calling for nothing less than the repeal of free speech as an inalienable right held equally, and protected equally, for all people at all times--meaning no governmental discrimination based on race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, or net worth—and replacing it with a privilege granted by government permission.

And why? For what critical, overriding reason would any American attack a right so fundamental to intellectual freedom as freedom of speech? “Take the failure of anti-gun violence measures to move in Congress,”, they write. Also, “When Trump and Republicans passed their tax bill last December, it helped special interests and billionaires save money”; “Republican leaders won’t even allow votes to raise wages for rank-and-file workers or to fix the broken pensions system. But they have moved to make health care more expensive and to give tax breaks to billionaires. What we have is a rigged system and it must be fixed.”

Gun control; taxes; minimum wage laws. Translation: We, the Left, lost some elections and legislative battles, so we must stop the opposition from exercising their sacred freedom of speech rights. We can't let something as trivial as free speech stand in the way of ending private gun ownership, increasing taxes, and raising minimum wages--and getting our side elected. I guess Muller and Kimmel are too philosophically challenged to realize that if the Left can stop the Right from speaking, so the Right (or any other faction) can stop the Left.


Billionaires and corporations can’t hurt you. All they can do is spend their own money supporting candidates and issues they agree with, in order to persuade voters. Voters get to choose the candidate and analyze the viewpoint.

The government, however, can coerce obedience to its edicts under threat of fines or jail. The politicians, through their lawmaking powers, are the real threat. Campaign finance and related election expenditures like issue ads, both forms of free speech, are a crucial means for “We the people” to keep politicians accountable.

Likewise, so-called “dark money” means anonymous speech, an inalienable right. Anonymous speech has a long history of use by those fearful of intimidation and violence or governmental reprisals. Courts have long defended anonymous speech rights.

Nobody operates in a vacuum. Wealthy donors speak not only for themselves but also for the millions who agree with their viewpoints or their candidates. Statists want to silence them precisely because they are persuasive and effective. And when government silences the most effective voices, they silence us all.

Don’t let statists define “public interest” according to candidates and legislation they agree with, to the exclusion of dissenting voices. The only true public interest is in protecting the free speech of every individual, including associations of individuals, each to the extent of his means, motivations, and interests. There can be no means test on free speech.

The real purpose of “campaign finance reform” is to empower politicians to control the political life of the country at the expense of the citizenry. Your vote is not your most important voice. Your freedom of speech is your voice. Don’t vote your voice away. “Democracy for All” et al will repeal the First Amendment.

Recognize the DISCLOSE Act, the Democracy for All Amendment, and other “campaign finance” restrictions for what they are, attacks on free speech, and defeat them.

* [Tiffany Muller is the president and executive director at End Citizens United, a political action committee funded by grass-roots donors that is dedicated to getting big money out of politics and reforming the campaign-finance system. Marie Henselder Kimmel represents TriCounty American Promise chapter of Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties. American Promise is a cross-partisan, nonprofit organization of citizen advocates for a constitutional amendment to restore authority to Congress to set reasonable campaign spending limits.]

Related Reading:

Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America by Steve Simpson

The Intimidation Game by Kimberley Strassel

Obama Urges Amendment to Overturn the First Amendment

"Citizens United" Liberates Unions, Too.

Who Really Has Something to Fear From Unrestricted Campaign Spending?

Yes, ‘Big Money’ in Politics Fosters Ideological Debate—and That’s a Good Thing

Are ‘Average Voters’ Hurt or Benefited by Unrestricted Campaign Spending?

Hillary's Pledge to Overturn the First Amendment—and Why it Should Be Defeated

"Corporatists" Are Individuals, Too

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

QUORA: "Is having an 'Anarcho-capitalist' society possible?"

QUORA* : “Is having an ‘Anarcho-capitalist’ society possible?

I posted this answer:

No. From the standpoint of a proper understanding of capitalism, “anarcho-capitalism” is a contradiction in terms.

Capitalism understood as a social system applied to a full society depends on a properly structured government of objective laws--that is, a government that protects equally for all persons individual rights to intellectual, political, and economic freedom—but which is constitutionally limited in its lawmaking powers so as not to become a rights violator—that is, a constitution that forbids government officials to legally engage in the very criminal activity that is legally forbidden to private citizens. A society without a government is “anarchy”--which in practice means a free-for-all of gangs. Since capitalism is the system of voluntary consent, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence, capitalism cannot exist under lawless gang rule and conflict. Capitalism requires a government empowered to remove from society those who employ overt or covert force as a means of dealing with others, don’t respect the rights of others to live by their own judgement, and refuse to leave others with whom one has differences in peace.

A highly essentialized description of the social conditions necessary to give rise to capitalism can be found in the most consequential passage in the Declaration of Independence--the first 55 words of the second paragraph:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . .

One of my favorite overall outlines of the basic principles and features of capitalism is The Capitalism Site, which draws on philosopher Ayn Rand’s observations of individuals acting and interacting in the absence of aggressive (initiatory) physical coercion--i.e., when they are left free. For a more comprehensive understanding of capitalism, I like The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire by Andrew Bernstein.

Related Reading:

The Dollar and the Gun—Harry Binswanger

Why Capitalism Needs a Moral Sanction

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal—Ayn Rand

Monday, October 15, 2018

New U.N. Study Shows Climate Catastrophists Getting More Open About their Totalitarian Designs

A new United Nations climate report declares that the end of the world is almost at hand--unless we all submit to “sweeping global intervention,” as the New Jersey Star-Ledger puts it in an editorial, GOP must get on board with climate crisis, or we'll all pay the price:

Twelve years. That's the time we have to make drastic reductions in our fossil fuel consumption or we will reach a tipping point in the fight against climate change, and if humanity blows this deadline, the results will be biblical.

A UN report released Monday said that without sweeping global intervention, we can expect more floods and rising sea levels. More food shortages and more poverty. More extreme weather, wildfires, and droughts. The endangerment of hundreds of millions of lives, and a global refugee crisis.

The only way it can be addressed, the climate scientists say, is with an unprecedented political will, which is why environmental stewardship should be a precondition for anyone seeking elected office in 27 days.

The problem is you cannot find a GOP House candidate from New Jersey who has shown much of that will lately: Their environmental records - on cap and trade, carbon tax, and President Trump's demolition of regulations on coal or auto emissions - are generally disqualifying with the livability of our planet at stake.

They have two choices: They can acknowledge the scope of this massive challenge, and admit that this UN report means changes to how we live, how we eat, how we develop cities and agricultural systems, and "unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society."

My emphasis. I left these comments:

“Unprecedented political will?” Wrong. We’ve seen this movie before. Marxian socialism (Soviet Russia, Communist China), National Socialism (Nazi Germany). They were ideologically-driven efforts to engineer, from the top down, "unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society."

The UN report is the latest in a decades-old line of apocalyptic predictions, all of which utterly failed. Instead, we’ve seen a steady improvement in human living standards around the world, driven by expanding freedom of markets and rising use of reliable, economical energy, mostly fossil fuels. More food, more clean water, better structures, innovative industries, better jobs. The list goes on. It adds up to a vast and steady improvement in “the livability of our planet,” which is the whole point of industrialization. A climate crisis has always dogged mankind. Far from being something new, we are less at risk from climate-related danger than ever. What we need is the freedom to choose the best energy source available for human benefit, including coal and nuclear.

12 years left? Give me a break. The UN report is not science. It is more politically motivated speculation. Everyone wants to be safer from climate dangers. But “climate science” has become political because it’s not about climate. It is about power and control. “Environmental stewardship” is the latest buzzword for totalitarianism. The Left wants it because it’s a path to democratic socialism, the latest incarnation of Marxism, which requires top-down government control.

For a balanced, pro-humanist view, one must go outside the politically motivated “establishment,” to people like Ronald Bailey and Alex Epstein. As for me, the Democratic Party’s embrace of climate catastrophism is one more reason not to vote Democratic.


If you doubt that climate catastrophism is tied to a socialist agenda, then consider the opening paragraphs of the summary for policymakers of the UN Report:

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C was approved by the IPCC on Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

"With more than 6,000 scientific references cited and the dedicated contribution of thousands of expert and government reviewers worldwide, this important report testifies to the breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC," said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

Ninety-one authors and review editors from 40 countries prepared the IPCC report in response to an invitation from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) when it adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The report's full name is Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

The italics are in the original. The red is my emphasis. These emphasized portions speak for themselves. But let me clarify. “Ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society” does not mean more free market capitalism, the only truly equitable system because it features a government that protects individual rights. It means more forced egalitarian government policies. “Efforts to eradicate poverty” means control of business and industry and massive redistribution of wealth. “The breadth and policy relevance of the IPCC” means the report’s agenda is more about furthering a statist political agenda than dealing with some sort of “climate crisis”. “Global response” means a massive transfer of wealth from the U.S. and other advanced countries to developing countries in order to keep those countries’ development “sustainable”--that is, at a low, energy-starved (non-fossil fuel) level.

At least that’s my take on this report. It's a call for global central planning over everyone's lives and property--especially prosperous people--by powerful elites. What other conclusion can one draw? After all, who generates the most greenhouse gas? Prosperous people. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

To Defeat Discrimination, Let them ‘Discriminate in the Open’

Pierre-Guy Veer, a self-described “gay libertarian,” posted a great article on the Foundation for Economic Education titled I Don't Want Anyone Forced to Bake Me a Cake. Here are some excerpts:

[M]any liberals stand by the ACLU’s faulty reasoning that businesses open to the public must serve everyone – it’s not “personal” property anymore. Faulty because it implies that, once you start selling a product or service, you automatically lose your right to freely and voluntarily interact with other people. It’s opened to the public, so it suddenly becomes public “property” and the business owner loses any say in who he or she does business with.

So anti-discrimination laws applied to the private sector violate individual rights, in this case rights to freedom of association and contract.

But Veer doesn’t stop there. He shows that legalizing discrimination is a very effective anti-discrimination tool:

So instead of having government force businesses to serve anyone, I want it to let them discriminate in the open. This way, I know exactly where not to do business.

With bigots exposed by their own actions, opponents can peacefully (non-coercively) fight back, for example, with boycotts. Veer cites several examples of successful boycotts.

And this is the crux of the matter. Freedom works both ways. The only sure way to weed bad behavior (or bad ideas like so-called “hate speech”) out of the culture is to leave bad actors free to broadcast their beliefs, and then defeat or marginalize them in the open air of freedom. Legal bans only end up driving it underground, allowing it to metastasize without scrutiny. Even if a boycott is unsuccessful at bankrupting or getting a business to change its behavior, each of us is free not to patronize the business. That is the civil way for people to deal with their differences.

Worse, legal bans threaten the freedom of all of us, by putting government in charge of dictating who we may associate with and what ideas we are allowed to express--a sure road to tyranny.

If you value freedom, you must be prepared to stand up for the rights of people who engage in unsavory behavior. This article makes a good case for why this truth is so. Read I Don't Want Anyone Forced to Bake Me a Cake by Pierre-Guy Veer and heed his advice.

Related Reading:

Private Sector Anti-Discrimination Laws are Rights-Violating and Destructive

How to Overcome Bigotry in a Free Society

Does rescinding laws banning private discrimination make a moral statement in support of bigotry?

Freedom, not Laws, is the Answer to Defeating Bigotry

Fighting Anti-Private Discrimination Laws: The Role of Principles in the Fight for Freedom

There is No ‘Right to Equal Treatment’; Only the Right to ‘Equal Protection of the Law’

Thursday, October 11, 2018

QUORA: ‘Do people with disabilities fall behind in capitalistic societies?’

QUORA* : ‘Do people with disabilities fall behind in capitalistic societies?

I posted this answer:

Looking at the issue from a “get ahead” versus “fall behind” perspective is the wrong way to think about it. Life is not a race, where everyone must “keep up.” Human society is not an ant colony or bee hive or herd of buffalo, but an association of individuals. In a capitalist society, the association is built on voluntarism rather than force.

The great danger of any society is restrictions on individual flourishing, not holding anyone back. “Capitalistic” means freedom based on individual rights. One of the great moral virtues of capitalism is that no one is stopped from flourishing according to her ability, ambition, personal values, and other individual factors.

As to disability, no social system has ever provided more opportunity for the disabled to survive and even flourish than capitalism. Capitalism—free minds, free markets, and economic success-through-trade—fosters technological and industrial progress, which requires less and less physical labor and more and more intellectual labor—a trend that definitely favors the physically disabled. The freedom of business and entrepreneurialism to turn scientific knowledge and inventive ideas into useful products and services leads to prosthetics, medications, and workplace tools that enable people of limited abilities to become productive. The prosperity that capitalistic society enables also leads to increasing amounts of investable savings in the hands of productive individuals, the very “surplus” wealth from which philanthropy and charity are built.

I can’t imagine a better society for people with disabilities, not to mention the elderly, than a free capitalist society.

Related Reading:

The Poor, Disabled, and Helpless Under Capitalism--Craig Biddle

Prosthetics Violinist--Thanks to Courage and Capitalism

Serviceman Who Lost Leg Carries Woman Across Finish Line—Thanks to Prosthetics Industry

Koni Dole: Loses a Leg, Shines in Football Anyway

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

QUORA *: 'How is capitalism good despite the fact that it creates higher and lower classes?'

QUORA *: 'How is capitalism good despite the fact that it creates higher and lower classes?'

I posted this answer:

Capitalism doesn’t create classes. It eliminates them, by establishing a government that equally protects every individual’s freedom based on individual rights.

Only statism/collectivism creates classes, or castes: e.g., legally enforced group status like aristocrats and peasants, masters and slaves, etc., from which no one can escape. Under capitalism, no one can stop any individual from rising or falling based on his own efforts, so long as his efforts involve only voluntary, non-rights violating agreement, association, and trade with others. (Economic inequality is not classism under capitalism. It is merely a reflection of the individuality and diversity of human nature.)

Today, capitalism doesn’t exist in unadulterated form. Only mixed economies exist--mixtures of statism and free enterprise. Observe that the modern regulatory welfare state increasingly locks people into stagnation—the poor through welfare dependency and reliance on government schools, big business into entrenched dominance over smaller upstarts via cronyism and regulation. Trade groups into quasi-monopoly status via occupational licensure laws and the like.

People can always be divided into statistical groups based on whatever criteria one chooses, and be labeled “classes”—even in a laissez-faire capitalist society. But only capitalism establishes a truly classless society, on principle: that is, a society that banishes rigid social stratification based on wealth, heredity, custom, religion, or other criteria sanctioned and enforced by law and regulation.

* [Quora is a social media website founded by two former Facebook employees. According to Wikipedia:

Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010.[3]Quora aggregates questions and answers to topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users' answers.[4]

You can also reply to other users’ answers.]

Related Reading:

What is Capitalism—Ayn Rand

The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire—Andrew Bernstein

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Great Achievement of Christopher Columbus

Columbus Day has become controversial. Critics, mostly on the Left, point to Christopher Columbus's brutal treatment of New World natives and support for slavery, which they claim override his exploratory achievements that set in motion the train of events that led to the Enlightenment and ultimately the birth of America. Which holds sway; Columbus's undeniable bad aspects or his positives, which led to the such monumental turning points such as the abolition of slavery throughout most of the world?

History is messy. There are very few total heroes or total villains. Historical context is crucial, and the ultimate evaluation of any achievement must be weighed against this context and the totality of the person. On balance, from a humanitarian perspective, was Columbus a positive or negative force in the overall sweep of history?

Count me on the positive side. As my tribute to Christopher Columbus on this, his day, I present selected excerpts from selected articles by other writers:

By Thomas Bowden

On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World.

We need not evade or excuse Columbus’s flaws--his religious zealotry, his enslavement and oppression of natives--to recognize that he made history by finding new territory for a civilization that would soon show mankind how to overcome the age-old scourges of slavery, war, and forced religious conversion.

On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose philosophers and mathematicians, men such as Aristotle, Archimedes, and Euclid, displaced otherworldly mysticism by discovering the laws of logic and mathematical relationships, demonstrating to mankind that reality is a single realm accessible to human understanding.

On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose scientists, men such as Galileo, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein, banished primitive superstitions by discovering natural laws through the scientific method, demonstrating to mankind that the universe is both knowable and predictable.

On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose political geniuses, men such as John Locke and the Founding Fathers, defined the principles by which bloody tribal warfare, religious strife, and, ultimately, slavery could be eradicated by constitutional republics devoted to protecting life, liberty, property, and the selfish pursuit of individual happiness.

On Columbus Day, we celebrate the civilization whose entrepreneurs, men such as Rockefeller, Ford, and Gates, transformed an inhospitable wilderness populated by frightened savages into a wealthy nation of self-confident producers served by highways, power plants, computers, and thousands of other life-enhancing products.

On Columbus Day, in sum, we celebrate Western civilization as history’s greatest cultural achievement. What better reason could there be for a holiday?

In another op-ed on Fox, Let's Take Back Columbus Day, Bowden said this:

We’ve been taught that Columbus opened the way for rapacious European settlers to unleash a stream of horrors on a virgin continent: slavery, racism, warfare, epidemic, and the cruel oppression of Indians.

This modern view of Columbus represents an unjust attack upon both our country and the civilization that made it possible. Western civilization did not originate slavery, racism, warfare, or disease--but with America as its exemplar, that civilization created the antidotes. How? By means of a set of core ideas that set Western civilization apart from all others: reason and individualism.

Excerpts from an op-ed in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 10, 2008

By Dimitri Vassilaros

Christopher Columbus could not have discovered a better spokesman than Thomas A. Bowden.

The accomplishments of Columbus should speak for themselves. But thanks to political correctness, the moronic multicultural mob keeps talking them down. Mr. Bowden has been speaking passionately and forcefully about Columbus for years.

"My ancestors were savages," says Bowden matter-of-factly. Everyone can say the same, depending on how far back one is willing to look at lineage. "It's nothing racial or ethnic; it's historical fact."

"Columbus critics have a disguised criticism of Western civilization because Europeans replaced Stone Age Indians. They believe that this continent would have been better off without Europeans, that industrial civilization is an evil that is to be lamented and regretted.

"That is the real criticism of Columbus. I reject it completely."

Indians typically were widely scattered Stone Age tribes, he says. "They had little agriculture and lived in poverty, fear, ignorance and superstition. They had no concept of government, ownership or private property rights.

"Slavery was perfectly common.

Well, didn't Indians at least live in harmony with nature?

"No," says Bowden. "Man should not live in harmony with nature in the sense of simply keeping it pristine. We live by impacting the environment. The environment has no intrinsic value. Our civilization is more in harmony with nature by making it serve our ends."

Well, what about all the land supposedly stolen from the Indians by European settlers?

Indians did not own the vast reaches of land that they traveled on, Bowden says. Ownership of land is deserved, he says. By that, he means a settler can acquire property rights by making the land more valuable by, say, digging it up for farming. Or to build his homestead or business.

Columbus essentially was an explorer and discoverer bringing Western civilization's cures, science and technology, he says. The philosophical legal process was another gift the Europeans gave to the Indians, he says. "Indians got all that for free."

Columbus' critics should fall down on their knees and thank the Founding Fathers for creating a nation based on the moral principle of the individual's right to life, liberty and, Bowden stresses, the selfish pursuit of happiness.

"It's the only nation that came about in such a way. Anyone who has humanity's interest at heart should love America," he says.

Excerpts from Man's Best Came With Columbus—Michael S. Berliner

Did Columbus “discover” America? Yes, in every important respect. This does not mean that no human eye had been cast on America before Columbus arrived. It does mean that Columbus brought America to the attention of the civilized world, i.e., the developing scientific civilizations of Western Europe. The result, ultimately, was the United States of America. It was Columbus’s discovery for Western Europe that led to the influx of ideas and people on which this nation was founded and on which it still rests. The opening of America brought the ideas and achievements of Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, and the thousands of thinkers, writers, and inventors who followed. What they replaced was a way of life dominated by fatalism, passivity, superstition, and magic.

Happy Columbus Day

Related Viewing:

Columbus Day Without Guilt—Thomas A. Bowden

Related Reading:

Opposing Views:

On Christopher Columbus, the Far Left Is Correct—Bryan Caplan

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Save Humans from the Earth Savers

A recent Trump Administration report raised Leftist eyebrows by including a prediction of a 7-degree fahrenheit rise in global temperature above pre-industrial (1880) levels by the year 2100. The New Jersey Star-Ledger jumped on it. In Trump says the planet's screwed, so let's burn as much fossil fuel as we can, the Star-Ledger editorialized:

First the good news: Science may no longer be the greatest casualty in Donald Trump's war on truth, as his official position on climate change has made a tangible shift from "Chinese hoax" and "nonsense."
The bad news is that while his administration now acknowledges the reality of climate change, his policy is essentially this: The planet's screwed, so let's feel free to burn as much fossil fuel as we can.

That is the message contained within an environmental impact statement drafted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which was written to justify Trump's recent decision to freeze fuel efficiency standards on cars and light trucks.

The Washington Post found it buried on Page 191 of a 500-page report: At the current pace, the planet will warm by 4 degrees Celsius (7 Fahrenheit) by 2100, which scientists assert will be catastrophic, so the report concludes that there is no point in trying to prevent it.

"The emissions reductions necessary to keep global emissions within this carbon budget could not be achieved solely with drastic reductions in emissions from the U.S. car and light truck vehicle fleet," said the NHTSA, adding that the only significant change can come by a "move away from the use of fossil fuels," which is "not currently technologically feasible or economically practicable."

My emphasis. The rest of the column degenerates into an apocalyptic tirade urging us to “invest in life jackets and hazmat suits” for our grandkids, coupled with the usual cry of It’s Climate Change! In response to every unpleasant weather event.

I left these comments:

The best environmental protection humans have ever invented is industrial progress. That requires plentiful reliable, economical, clean energy; i.e. fossil fuels combined with advanced anti-pollution technologies, which we now have. The real threat to future generations is the drive by the climate catastrophists to cripple industrialization and prosperity by attacking the fossil fuel industry--the very energy needed to increase prosperity for future generations.

Trump’s energy and climate policy is exactly right: First, Do No Harm! Especially to Americans. Fossil fueled industrial progress has made us safer than ever from the danger-filled climate. Climate-related deaths have declined 98% over the past century. At the same time, our standard of living has skyrocketed. To this day, fossil fuels continue to drive Third World lives up from poverty. Reliable energy is CRITICAL to continued progress. Any policy to drive up energy prices and availability by FORCIBLY reducing fossil fuels in favor of technologically and economically unreliable “renewables” would cause a human catastrophe dwarfing the alleged harms (if any) we MAY see from climate change. Thank god the Earth savers didn’t get their way 100 years ago.

“Scientists assert” is really “Government scientists speculate.” The warming may come true, or more likely be another failed apocalyptic prediction. But the positives to human life of fossil fuels--and the other “dirty” reliables, nuclear and hydro--far outweigh the climate risks. We only get one side of the story from the Earth savers. Go outside the government (political) establishment to the “skeptics” for a balance view; Alex Epstein, Ronald Bailey, [Paul] Mulshine’s [Star-Ledger] columns, etc. You’ll find a wealth of knowledge to counter the anti-humanist climate catastrophism.

Related Reading:

Are Floods More Frequent, as Climate Alarmists Claim?  by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul Knappenberger

It is widely promulgated and believed that human-caused global warming comes with increases in both the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events. A survey of official weather sites and the scientific literature provides strong evidence that the first half of the 20th century had more extreme weather than the second half, when anthropogenic global warming is claimed to have been mainly responsible for observed climate change. The disconnect between real-world historical data on the 100 years’ time scale and the current predictions provides a real conundrum when any engineer tries to make a professional assessment of the real future value of any infrastructure project which aims to mitigate or adapt to climate change.

Assume 6 Feet of Sea Level Rise: Predict Catastrophe—Useful science or worst case scaremongering? by Ronald Bailey

LINKS of Interest:

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Socialism vs. Welfare Statism: Why These Terms Matter

Recently, I shared Democrats Are the Party of Fatalism by Michael Hurd on Facebook. Hurd argues that the Democrats’ collectivist agenda undermines belief in free will. Since free will is fundamental to the case for individual rights, this undermining of free will leads to full-blown totalitarian socialism.

It was re-shared by my wife and triggered a conversation with two Leftist friends on her page. The essential point Hurd was making about the link between free will and liberty wasn’t really addressed. Instead, the conversation turned to Trump being the real totalitarian, not the Democrats or democratic socialism. One correspondent, who I will identify as “two”, wrote in part:

[W]e are currently headed towards totalitarianism with Trump's policies of "his way" or the highway. . . Democratic socialism is different than totalitarianism and works well in many countries. Everyone points to Venezuela as an example of what can happen but Germany, the Scandinavian countries, Canada etc have a great standard of living.

I left these comments regarding the emphasized portions:

Germany, England, the Scandinavian countries, Canada, et al are NOT socialist. Socialism is the political implementation of the principle that the interests of “society” as represented by government take precedence over individual interests. Therefore, socialism denies individual rights, including rights to property and free trade: He exists to serve the interests of society as determined by the state. Socialism, to be socialism, has to deny individual choice (individual rights). Unlike capitalism, which exists to the extent government refrains from interfering in people’s individual private decisions, socialism exists only to the extent government forcibly overrides people’s right to live by their own judgement and personal pursuits. Adding “democratic” in front of socialism changes essentially nothing. Why do democratic socialists turn to politics? “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”-- and so democratic socialists seek political power: Socialism grows out of the barrel of a gun. It is, of necessity, totalitarian. What else but the total state can be possible under a social system that subordinates the individual to a government endowed with the power to carry out the creed of societal supremacy? [See my reply to [correspondent one’s] dictionary comparison of Socialism vs. Totalitarianism posted below.]

These European countries are not socialist (although Germany WAS once socialist, under NAZI rule). They, like America, are mixed economy welfare states. Unlike totalitarian socialism, Western welfare states still have a healthy degree of free enterprise to facilitate continued prosperity and finance the burden of the welfare state, differing only in the balance between the two. Venezuela is a prime example, among many prime examples, of socialism properly instituted.

It’s important to get this understanding right, because most Democrats now view socialism more positively than capitalism, according to Gallup. Welfare statism is different in crucial respects from democratic socialism. The limited socialism of the welfare state requires the same statist powers as full socialism. But its goal, in theory, is a “safety net” for capitalism, not a replacement--i.e., a mixed economy; that is, a mixture, albeit a tense one, between socialism and capitalism. Under the Western style welfare state, individual rights and free enterprise is still fundamental, and socialism is limited in scope so much freedom remains. Democratic socialism implies no limits. The distinction is important. No longer content with the limits of the welfare state, and driven by hatred of freedom, capitalism, and achievement, the Democrats are now in the process of “graduating” to full blown totalitarian socialism, including massive central control and strict economic regimentation. It won’t be easy to bring about in America. But once we start down this road, the result will be the same as it always is--loss of economic, political, and intellectual freedom, growing economic paralisis and eventual collapse, massive human suffering, and the total state. What else can one expect when the individual is subordinated to the collective? Of what importance are hordes of suffering individuals next to whatever grand utopian collectivist ideal the state happens to want to impose “for the good of society?”

No doubt, Trump has an authoritarian streak--his antitrust threats against Amazon for Bezos’s WAPO editorial criticisms; his regulatory threats against Google for alleged search engine “bias”; his tax bullying of U.S. multinational corporations; his threat of stronger libel laws against reporters. But this is penny-ante statism next to democratic socialism. Totalitarian? Based on what ideology? Trump doesn’t even have one! Next to democratic socialism, Trump is a schoolyard bully. Democratic socialism is the Al Capone crime organization, rising out of the underworld to rule a nation. Democratic socialism is across the board a criminal enterprise, but with law as protector rather than adversary. It makes the Al Capones of history look like pickpockets.

If you like Germany, then stick with what Germany actually is, a Western-style mixed economy welfare state. We can at least debate the relative balance between capitalism and socialism. Freedom and prosperity, at least, has a chance. But be aware of what you’re advocating if you declare your allegiance to socialism, democratic or otherwise--the total subordination of individual to state.

As to Socialism vs. Totalitarianism, I analized it, summarizing as follows:

This confirms there is no essential difference. A government that owns and regulates the means of production, exchange, and distribution; that can distribute all of a country’s money equally; in which government rather than individual people owns all industry, is a government with total control over the economy. Economics is the field of activity by which people support their lives. A government that totally controls the economy has total control over people’s means of survival. A government with total control over people's means of survival is a government that has every individual by the throat. What freedom, what opposition, is possible under such conditions? Does it matter whether you have a single ruler or a politburo? Whether it is elected or not? A government, of whatever kind, that has every individual by the throat IS a totalitarian state. Logic confirms this truth. History has proven this time and again.

Correspondent one attempted to deflect the label “socialism” by linking to Bernie Sanders is not a socialist. Socialism is dead by Hunter Baker. Of course, I read the article and replied:

The key to understanding why Baker is wrong is this statement: “I am defining socialism by its true meaning, which is that the state owns the means of production and operates them on behalf of the people.” That definition is no longer valid.

Western socialists have long understood that they could never get away with seizing all ownership, given the deep Western respect for private enterprise. So they adopted a policy of total CONTROL, while leaving technical ownership in private hands. It’s called fascism. We are already getting a taste of the Democrats’ new totalitarian direction in the resurrection of an idea rejected by Democrats in the 1970s, Elizabeth Warren's proposed bill to federally charter corporations. This goes much further than regulations. Chartering would effectively require corporations with $1 billions in sales--not big by today’s standards--to get permission from government to operate and putting them under political control. That is pure fascism. That is socialism. Since we’re posting articles, I have 2 on this subject--one of them mine. The links are below.

As to Sanders, he understands this. His goal is to sanitize the concept, so as to lay the groundwork for totalitarian socialism down the road. Democratic socialism can be a cover for any government program to restrict liberty, and Sanders knows it. He is a deceitful snake. He is the most evil politician in America.

For what it’s worth:

We Need a Deeper Understanding of Socialism

Why Nazism Was Socialism and Why Socialism Is Totalitarian by George Reisman

Related Reading:

The Myth of Scandinavian Socialism

Elizabeth Warren’s Plan — We’ve Seen This Before--Stephen Hicks

Sunday, September 30, 2018

New Sneak Attack on Americanism: ‘Trumpism’

A New Jersey Star-Ledger article by John Farmer Jr. resurrected President Jimmy Carter’s so-called “malaise speech” as prophetically heralding the rise of Donald Trump. It has gotten significant national attention. And it definitely carries a warning, but not in the way Farmer intends.

Carter’s 1979 address to the nation has been dubbed his “malaise speech” because it infamously blamed the American people—their “self-indulgence,” “self-interest,” i.e., their selfishness—for the stagnant state of the U.S. economy. Farmer speaks approvingly of Carter’s premise, even to the point of regurgitating the Left’s favorite whipping boy for the 2009 financial crisis—greed, ignoring the government’s altruistic “affordable housing” crusade carried out through incentives and coercive regulations imposed on the mortgage industry.

Farmer is a former New Jersey attorney general and current Rutgers school of law professor and faculty associate at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. He is also the son of New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist John Farmer. His article is titled Jimmy Carter's prophetic 1979 warning of Trumpism.

In his speech, Carter maligned Americans’ “misplaced cultural values of ‘self-indulgence and consumption’." Carter attacks “self-interest” and “extreme” views. Farmer ties those Carter observations to what he calls Trumpism. He quotes from Carter’s pessimistic speech throughout the article, a speech that Ronald Reagan was able to counter with the positive vision of America that helped propel him to a landslide victory over Carter in 1980.

Put aside for a moment, however, whether the speech was wise politically; consider, in the perspective of history, whether it was right culturally.

President Carter warned the nation against following the "path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest," for "[d]own that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others."

Can there by [sic] any doubt that this "mistaken idea of freedom" as self-absorption has prevailed?

First, let me say that the attack on “self-indulgence” is a package deal lumping two opposing premises—the rational pursuit of self-interest within the context of voluntary association with and respect for the rights of others versus the predatory grabbing of immediate gratification by any means regardless of the effects on others or one’s own long-term happiness.

What’s interesting is that “the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others”—which Carter laments but is not actually a “right”—is precisely what you’d expect of the predatory view of self-interest. That’s exactly the kind of society you’d expect from the democratic, regulatory welfare state—the very goal of the policies of the Left. After all, what is democracy but controlled anarchy featuring electoral factions fighting for control of the governmental apparatus to gain legal—i.e., coercive—advantages over other factions? Welcome to the mixed economy.

Much else can be said about Carter’s speech and Farmer’s take on it. I want to focus on a dangerous premise sprung on the reader under the label of Trumpism. Buried among a seething caldron of criticism of American politics under President Trump is a dangerous sneak attack on Americanism. Drawing on Carter’s “mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others"—an observation with an element of truth, as we shall see—Farmer twists Carter’s statement to attack the opposite of Carter’s meaning, the right view of freedom.

Comments I left under Farmer’s article are embedded in the following analysis:

Beware people who attack self-interest. They’re about to take something from you. Carter was after a kind of materialism—a life full of “things” but without “confidence or purpose.” (There’s an element of truth here, although the devil is in the details, such as, how does one define “purpose.”) But Farmer is after much bigger fish. Consider how Farmer applies Carter’s message in the form of this sneak attack on the American concept of liberty:
We have lost our way, in short, because we have exalted "a mistaken idea of freedom"; our self-indulgence has led us to assert every right as absolute, every form of compromise or regulation as inimical to freedom, and to elevate the very avatar of self-absorption to the highest office in the land. [my emphasis]

The great achievement of the United States of America is that it recognized that rights are unalienable; i.e., cannot be taken arbitrarily from any individual by government. Unalienable means absolute: Rights are absolute, constitutionally protected from being compromised or regulated away. That is not "a mistaken idea of freedom." That is what unalienable means. It is the American concept of freedom. If not, then there are no restraints on government, only on the people.

Think of what a non-absolute right means. Take, for example, the right to life—which means to live and act for your own sake and benefit. The Killing Fields of Cambodia happened during Carter’s presidency. The right to Life? The Khmer Rouge would argue 1.5 million lives was the price of an egalitarian communist society. How can anyone object? On the basis that the right to life of the victims had been violated? But Farmer argues that rights are non-absolute. The Khmer Rouge would agree.

Too “extreme” an example, you say? That’s not what Farmer meant? What about the rights to property, association, and free speech?

Our equation of spending with speech, of consumption with expression, has led to a political arena in which a rich person's or corporation's "speech" is necessarily valued more highly than an average or poor person's speech.

Equal protection of the law does not distinguish between different levels of economic well-being. Farmer Jr. would disagree. The rights to spend your money as you see fit, which necessarily includes spending it on your own expression of ideas; your right to freedom of association in the expression of those ideas; your equality before the law, can be regulated away at the whim of government—the American government—according to Farmer. You’re rich? We’re going to restrict your spending on speech. You’re going to express yourself in cooperation with others—e.g., through a corporation? We’re going to restrict that expression. But all this violates your rights to property, free speech, and freedom of association, and discriminates based on economic status? Rights aren’t absolute, says Farmer. Try to defend your rights? Don’t be so self-absorbed, retorts Farmer.

To be sure, rights as absolute does not mean the “right” to do as you please, regardless of the consequences. Context is crucial to understanding the absolutism of individual rights; and that context is provided by the concept of unalienability. When the Founders described rights as “unalienable” in the Declaration of Independence, they knew what they were doing. Rights are political guarantees to freedom of action. But since rights are possessed equally and at all times by all people—that “all men are created equal”—no person’s actions in exercising his rights by definition cannot infringe on the same rights of another. Put another way, you have a right to act on your own judgement, so long as your actions don’t alienate others from their rights: “Your right to swing your arms,” so the saying goes, “ends where my nose begins.” Properly understood, the principle of rights defines both the scope and the limits of human action in a social context. Yes, rights are absolute, within the context of unalienability.

To concretize this principle, let’s turn to a classic example: You scream “FIRE” in a crowded theater. Criminalizing such “speech” is not that you said it, but that you caused physical harm to others—the theater operator, by disrupting his business, and theatergoers, by disrupting their enjoyment of the service they paid for and in a way that could result in injury and/or death resulting from the stampede to evacuate the theater. Prosecuting you the offender is not an infringement on your freedom of speech, because free speech does not extend to using your speech as a means of causing physical harm to others, which is a violation of their rights. There is no right to violate the rights of others. This is entirely different from legally restricting the rights of a rich man to spend his own money expressing himself in the political arena, which violates no one else’s rights.
But according to Farmer and his Leftist, statist cohorts, rights are not absolute and therefore are alienable. The whole purpose of his glorification of Carter’s attack on “self-indulgence” is a repudiation of America’s concept of rights. Why? Because Farmer is a statist, and if individual rights are absolute, then by logical extension the government is limited, as the Founders intended, “to secure these rights.” If individual rights are not absolute, then by logical extension the power of the state is absolute, free to violate rights at will. Historically, the concept of liberty has pitted two opposing views against one another, the wolf’s and the sheep’s. The wolf’s concept of liberty is the freedom to dominate the lives, efforts, and property of others, what Carter would call “a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others." The sheep’s concept of liberty is the freedom to control one’s own life, efforts, and property without coercive interference or impediments from others, what the Founding Fathers would call “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Either the government protects the sheep from the wolf, as the Founders intended— “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” Or the government becomes the wolf. Farmer sides with the wolfish, not limited, government. Then we no longer have a constitution that protects us from state power. We are not free to govern our own lives and make our own choices—not in the intellectual sphere, not in economics, not in personal morals, not in any matter concerning our lives and happiness, not as long as government has the power to compromise and regulate away our rights to govern our lives. We can only choose and act according to how the government permits, not by right. If rights are not absolute, there are no rights, only permissions. End of America, and regression back to obedience to authority, to the absolute state.

Constitutional republicanism, the original American system, represents the sheep’s version of freedom. It raises the protection of individual rights above democracy, thus limiting the power of factions by limiting the power of government. Another name for this is laissez-faire capitalism, the system of voluntary trade that rewards the peaceful, non-predatory pursuit of self-interest through win-win relationships--i.e., trade. This is the “unknown ideal” that the statists, particularly those on the Left like Carter and Farmer jr., doesn’t want you to know exists.

The regulatory welfare state represents the wolf’s version of freedom. It fosters predatory, greedy “self-interest”—the parasite and the power-luster, the very things Carter allegedly warns against. Notice that if we are approaching the nightmare scenario Carter warns against, it is against a backdrop of an ever-expanding welfare state—not capitalism, individual rights (including rights to property and free speech), and free unregulated markets, which have long been receding. It was the government’s regulatory apparatus and the politicians’ altruistic “affordable housing” crusade that gave us the Great Recession.

The danger should now be obvious. Freedom can only be guaranteed by the principle of individual rights. Principles, by definition, are absolute. A non-absolute principle is a fundamental contradiction. Principles can only be upheld in full—or not at all. A principle must, of necessity, be “extreme”—i.e., upheld consistently. Likewise, there is no such thing as a non-absolute right. If your “rights” can be compromised or regulated away, they are not rights, but privileges. Either the principle of rights, properly understood, is held as absolute. Or there are no rights, and there is no freedom. By failing to distinguish between proper (rights-respecting) and improper (rights-violating) actions, non-absolutes like Farmer and their political puppets undermine and ultimately destroy genuine rights, and thus freedom—not all at once, but over time, as and when they can get away with it, progressively, inexorably, compromise by compromise, regulation by regulation.

As I said at the outset, beware people who attack self-interest. They’re about to take something from you. That is the real lesson, and warning, to be drawn from this article. It is your freedom that Carter and Farmer are after. The Left has always hated that America stands for the primacy of individual freedom, guaranteed by unalienable individual rights, to pursue personal happiness. That stands in the way of their statist agenda. I’ll defend my rights selfishly, that is, rationally. Give me the Declaration of Independence and its promise of life, liberty, and the guiltless pursuit of happiness over Farmer’s mistaken idea of freedom. In other words, give me “every right as absolute,” not the state as absolute. Give me—not Trumpism; not Progressivism; not any substitute. Give me Americanism.

Related Reading:

MassMutual’s Vile Trivialization of Americanism

Democracy Fundamentalism vs. Americanism

The Declaration of Independence Is the Moral and Legal Foundation of America by Timothy Sandefur for The Objective Standard

The Choice is Clear: 'Unconstrained' Capitalism or Unconstrained Socialist Government

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Real Conflict Undergirding the Kavanaugh Fight: Democracism versus Republicanism

In answer to the QUORA question, What do you think of the Kavanaugh allegation, now that his accuser's identity has become public?, I posted this answer:

This Kavanaugh fight is not fundamentally about sexual misconduct. It’s not a referendum on the #MeToo Movement. We all know that in the reverse situation, the Democrats would be circling the wagons around their nominee, and discarding Ford as a political hack and a liar. They’ve proven that in buckets-full. Think the 1990s Clinton era.

Modern Supreme Court confirmation fights are fundamentally all about political philosophy; specifically, about how the U.S. Constitution should be construed. Is our constitution democratic or republican (speaking philosophically, not politically)? Does the constitution grant elected legislators a blank check on power over the governed, based on “the will of the people?” Or does the constitution check the power of legislators in order to protect the individual rights of the governed from legislative encroachments. Does the constitution guarantee majority rule, or individual self-governance? Is the Supreme Court a rubber stamp on political power, stepping in only when proper “democratic procedures” have not been followed? Or does the Supreme Court police legislation, overturning laws that violate the rights of individuals to life, liberty, and earned property? Are “rights” government grants of privilege? Or do rights precede government, whose job is to “secure these rights” as laid out in the Declaration of Independence? Is the ballot box a majoritarian assault weapon? Or are our individual liberties and properties safe from majoritarian tyranny?

This philosophical conflict dates back to the Founding era, and forms the basis for the two major political parties. The Democratic Party was formed to defend slavery, largely on the grounds that the U.S. Constitution authorizes voters and their representatives to decide whether to allow slavery. The Republican Party was formed to abolish slavery on the grounds that individual rights to life, liberty, and property are inalienable, apply to all, and cannot be voted or legislated away.

Viewing the Kavanaugh allegations in this political context, the 21 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are acting in accordance with their respective party’s philosophical foundations, which grew out of this constitutional divide. The political issues have obviously changed. But the basic philosophical divide remains, and its resolution has serious consequences for the future of a free America. The Democrats are backing Ford not because they care about her or her issues, but because they are hard core (though with exceptions) democratic constitutionalists and so want SCOTUS justices most likely to protect unlimited legislative powers. The Republicans are mostly giving Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt, at least for now, because they are generally (though far from consistently) republican constitutionalists who want justices more likely to defend individual rights against legislative encroachments.


Another answer posted by Nikki Primrose is very sympathetic to Christine Blasey Ford. Primrose drew on an issue that we're hearing a lot about during the Kavanaugh saga when she wrote: 

I believe in the presumption of innocence, but there are exceptions. When we are appointing someone to a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court, when we are selecting someone who will literally have the power to decide the future of our country, we have to err on the side of caution. We do not have to declare him guilty, but he is not entitled to this privilege. When his character and integrity is in question, we have to put the interest of our democracy first. Is it really too much to ask for SCOTUS appointees who haven’t been accused of sexual assault?
My emphasis. I commented:

“I believe in the presumption of innocence, but there are exceptions.”

I sympathize with much of this post. But personal opinion about the credibility of Ford vs. Kavanaugh should not be used as a pretext to undermine a core moral principle of justice. Once you start making exceptions to “innocent until proven guilty,” then no one is safe from being the next “exception.” It’s an opening wedge of prosecutorial and political tyranny.

SCOTUS confirmations are a political process, not a criminal trial. It is not and should not be a referendum on the “presumption of innocence” principle.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

QUORA *: ‘What makes someone a socialist?'

QUORA *: ‘What makes someone a socialist? Please don't provide tautological answers saying "they belong to the Socialist Party”. If you can't refrain, then explain what makes a party a "socialist" party.

I posted this answer:

I think this question needs rephrasing. Nothing “makes” someone a socialist. People have free will, and choose their political principles according to their values. A more proper framing of the question would be something like “What draws someone to socialism?” or “Why do people choose socialism?” To answer that, we must first define socialism in its essentials.

Socialism is an outgrowth of collectivism. Collectivism is the doctrine that the good of the group is the standard of morality. Since socialism is a political manifestation of collectivism, socialism embodies the principle that the good of society takes precedence over the individual pursuing his own good. “Society,” however, is an abstraction. Society is not a conscious entity separate from the individuals that comprise it. It is not an entity capable of acting in its own interests, or even choosing its own interests. Only individuals are capable of acting and choosing. Individuals can collaborate voluntarily to cooperatively advance interests they have in common. But only individuals can act and choose. Society is comprised of individuals. Yet socialism claims that society has interests that supersede the interests of the individuals that comprise it. Since society cannot act on its own--that is, independent of individual thought and initiative--who, then, assumes the authority to represent society’s interests? A ruling political elite, acting through the mechanism of the state.

Since socialism holds that the interests of society morally supercede the interests of the individual, the socialist government, to fulfill its function as representative of society, must hold full power over all individuals’ lives—their property, their goals, the proceeds of their productive work, what they may say or write, and so on—which it can dispose of for whatever it deems to be “in the public interest” or to further “the good of society.” Therefore, socialism denies individual rights, including rights to property and free trade. Of necessity, the individual has no rights to his life, political liberty, earned property, or pursuit of personal happiness: He exists to serve society as determined by the state.

Socialism has many forms. It can be total, as with national socialism (fascist) or communism. It can be partial, as with the welfare state. But whatever its manifestation, the basics of socialism remain the same. Every socialist initiative begins with armed aggression by the state against private individuals, based on the premise that the individual’s life is not his own to live, but belongs to society.

What type of person does such a system appeal to? Since socialism forcibly redistributes wealth from those who earned it to those who don’t, it appeals to greed. Since socialism requires totalitarian powers for government officials, it appeals to powerlust. Since socialism systematically punishes and ultimately destroys productive individuals, it appeals to envy and hatred of achievement. Add to that a craving for unearned prestige; i.e., the desire to be seen as “caring about the welfare of others,” without actually having do do anything for the welfare of others--socialism is a cover to force others to pay for craver’s pseudo-compassion, with the government as his hired gun. So socialism has appeal to the phony. Greed, powerlust, envy, hatred, and phoniness, or some combination thereof, are what draws people to socialism. Why these vices and nothing better? Because virtuous motivations belong to the self-responsible people who simply want to live in peaceful coexistence with others, neither being controlled by others nor controlling others, and who respect the same rights of others to live by their own judgement. Self-responsible, respectful people who fully understand what socialism actually is simply are not attracted to socialism.**

There is, however, a more innocent (or less guilty) group of socialism supporters. As I observed at the outset, socialism is rooted in collectivism. Going deeper, collectivism is rooted in the morality of altruism. Altruism holds that self-sacrificial service to others is the standard of moral action. Because they accept the conventional altruist morality, they see socialism as altruistic because it subordinates individuals to live for others (the collective) rather than themselves. So they logically jump to the conclusion that socialism therefore must be good. This last group may not really understand socialism. Or they may rationalize away socialism’s horrific record as “socialism not done right.” For this group, the draw of socialism is their concept of the moral. In this regard, I’ll defer to Craig Biddle’s article, The Passion of Socialists, for his important observations on the moral motivation behind socialism’s draw.

Of course, in a certain sense, socialists are “made.” Ignorance plays a major role. The strongest support for socialism in America is among the young, who are in, or just left the grip of, an educational establishment that whitewashes socialism’s true inhumane nature and obliterates capitalism’s historic benevolence. Many, though by no means all, of these young people are thus unwitting accomplices in paving the road for a socialist America, which would be akin to organized crime rising up from the underworld to rule Americans.

“What makes someone a socialist?” Greed, powerlust, envy, phoniness, and a false sense of moral righteousness, aided and abetted by the deliberate campaign of ignorance of the Leftist educational inteligencia, all of it camouflaged behind high-minded collectivist slogans like “social welfare” or “the common good.”

Related Reading:

QUORA: ‘Can you start a purely communist society in the US?’

QUORA *: ‘Why do people find communism so terrifying as an idea?’

A is A, and Socialism by any Other Name...

Sorry If You're Offended, but Socialism Leads to Misery and Destitution: “Socialism is the leading man-made cause of death and misery in human existence.”--David Harsanyi

* [Quora is a social media website founded by two former Facebook employees. According to Wikipedia:
Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users. The company was founded in June 2009, and the website was made available to the public on June 21, 2010.[3]Quora aggregates questions and answers to topics. Users can collaborate by editing questions and suggesting edits to other users' answers.[4]
You can also reply to other users’ answers.]

** [Unfortunately, too many people are ignorant of socialism’s true nature, and are thus falling for its latest incarnation, democratic socialism--which simply replaces the socialist dictatorship-by-coup d’état, the communist version, with a socialist dictatorship created by constitutional/democratic means. Put bluntly, democratic socialism simply replaces the Stalin, Mao, or Castro with the Mussolini, the Hitler, or the Chavez.]