San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, February 19, 2016

Millennials and Socialism

A week or so ago a fellow by the name of Ross Kaminsky wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post in which he made the rather obvious argument that Millennials who believe in the religious tenets of socialism are ignorant fools.  He pointed out that anyone with half a brain knows that socialism is a destructive economic system that, if implemented, destroys the wealth of an entire society, including those it was intended to help.  As you might expect, socialists throughout the Denver metropolitan area rallied to the cause of their religion and wrote insightful letters to the editor of their own.  I would like to discuss two of those letters here today.
David Kelly of Northglenn proudly declares that millionaires and billionaires are "leeches" because "so many of those people have been stealing wages from their workers for the past 35 years."  Now that is an interesting idea.  I wonder how these immoral rich people have been able to "steal" the wages from those they employ without a single one of them ever having been found guilty of theft in a court of law?  It seems to me that if all of the millionaires and billionaires in the country who operate a business have really been stealing the wages of their employees somebody would have been found guilty of that crime after 35 years. But, as far as I know, that verdict has never been rendered against any rich fellow.
I am not so stupid as to believe that David actually believes that rich people are literally stealing the wages of the people they employ.  I realize that David is speaking metaphorically.  He actually means to say that, in his opinion, people who have made the rational and voluntary decision to enter into an employment contract with a rich fellow for a lower wage than David thinks they should be paid are having their wages metaphorically stolen from them.  David does not explain why his opinion should be considered when two people work out an employment contract.  Nor does he explain why he is qualified to determine what the market wage is for any particular job.  He simply asserts, quite unilaterally, that he knows best and, in his opinion, rich people always exploit the people they employ.  I beg to differ. David needs to take his high horse and go home.
David goes on to say that "Social Security, worker's compensation, unemployment insurance, the GI Bill, the interstate highway system and the Department of Veterans Affairs are all socialistic programs....think what our country would be like without those socialist entities."  Okay David, I will......hummm.....hummm..... well, by doggies, I believe our country would be a lot better off without any of those socialist entities.  Social Security is a disaster.  It is underfunded and bound for insolvency.  Worker's compensation and unemployment insurance have done precisely what all government programs do.  They have created more injured workers and more unemployment.  Need I comment on the VA?  Is there anyone in the world, besides David, who thinks the VA is an efficiently run bureau that actually fulfills the mandate for which it was created?  I am afraid that David's love of government has blinded him to what everyone else who is not a socialist is able to see quite clearly.  Socialist programs don't work.  They never have and they never will.
Truman Sager (I don't think he has his own television show) believes that socialists are the very cream of Amerikan society.  He writes, "Those who are liberal arrive at this approach to life from an inquisitive mind, from years and years of study of the sciences, history, philosophy and doing personal research."  Speaking of those who teach socialism he writes, "They do have an interest that their students do not end up being selfish, uncompromising, lacking in empathy, and ill-informed, an approach to life that gets us nowhere."  Let's deal with the two arguments that Truman makes, shall we?
I am no scholar but I have a hard time seeing how knowledge of biology, chemistry or physics would cause me to embrace the doctrines of socialism.  I reject Truman's assertion that a knowledge of the hard sciences can bring one to the heart of socialism outright.  History and philosophy, on the other hand, can tell us a lot about socialism.  Let me see....I seem to remember a couple of countries that adopted socialism as their economic model.  Russia and China under Mao come to mind.  How did those two economies work out?  Not so well, as I recall.  For a more recent example I am thinking of the worker's paradises found in Cuba and Venezuela.  Sure, everyone in those countries can get a free government education and, after waiting for a year or two, an appointment with a government doctor.  But what is the state of economic welfare for the poor people living in those tyrannical countries?  I just read that Venezuela is expected to have an inflation rate of 720% this year.  Way to go socialism!  You can't find a loaf of bread on a shelf in Venezuela.  You can find one loaf in Cuba, if you are first in line to get there.
Does philosophy teach the moral superiority of socialism?  One branch of philosophy is ethics and, last time I checked, most philosophers agreed that stealing is wrong.  Since socialism is grounded upon the bedrock principle of stealing from the rich minority and giving it to the poor majority, less 20% for government handling, I have a hard time seeing how the philosophical disciplines would lead one to conclude that socialism is just dandy.  Truman's main argument in favor of socialism seems to be his personal research into the matter. I suspect he has been on the receiving end of lots of government largess.  Do you think that could be coloring his take on things?
Although he does not come right out and say it, Truman believes that those who defend the free market are selfish, uncompromising, lacking in empathy and ill-informed.  These are standard criticisms from those who know nothing of the free market.  The free market forces each individual participant to bring something to it with which to serve others.  Anyone who does not come to the free market seeking to serve others never realizes a profit.  That is the antithesis of selfish.  Selfishness is experientially defined by those who go to career politicians and ask them to steal the money of people working in the free market and give it to them.
Empathy is the ability to think the thoughts or feel the feelings of others.  Only those who operate in the free market are able or motivated to truly empathize with their fellow human beings.  Anyone who comes to the free market with no empathy quickly realizes financial losses and is driven out of business.  Participants in the free market spend countless hours seeking to know what the other participants want, so they can then produce goods and services for them at a price they are willing to pay.  Meanwhile, participants in the government spend their time determining what they believe people should be allowed to have, and then they create laws to mandate their sovereign will on everyone, regardless of each individual's circumstances.  The free market is filled with empathy.  Civil government is void of empathy.  Ask yourself a simple question to illustrate my point. Would you rather have to pay a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles or Starbucks?  I rest my case.

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