By Chris Rossini
It is often said that our minds are the most powerful tool that we have at our disposal. Every human has one, and it is our own personal and private kingdom. It has no limits. At any time we can imagine whatever we please.
In a split second, we have the ability to see ourselves sitting atop a mountain, or flying into outer space. It can feel as though it's actually happening. There are no limits to mental creativity. No one can ban what goes on in our minds. No one can tax or shoot down what takes place in our private mental worlds.
But the moment that we gaze out of our two eyes, we see a physical world that is quite different. We see the Earth that we all live on, with its super-abundance of resources, but it carries with it one big catch: there are limits.
Our Earth and its resources are composed of a finite number of chemical elements -- 118. There's a finite amount of land, water, people, laborers, and resources of so many kinds.
This is very different then our mental world. Our mental world is boundless and unlimited. Our physical world has very distinct limits.
Since we live our human lives in a physical world, we have wants and desires. These wants and desires are purely mental. As such, they must be unlimited as well. Right this second, you and I can list all the material things that we want and desire. That list never has to end. We can always think of something else to add to it. We can always come up with just one more thing, even if that one thing doesn't even exist yet.
So we have an unlimited mental world, with unlimited wants and desires, and in order to satisfy those desires we must live in a physical world that has limits.
Quite an interesting setup, wouldn't you say?
If both mental and physical were unlimited, it would be possible for everyone to have everything. But that is not the setup. Everyone cannot equally have all of their desires fulfilled. Some can be fulfilled, while others must be discarded. We have to choose what we want, and at that same time we choose everything else that we must forego.
Since our wants are unlimited, how in the world are limited resources to be allocated? How do we know which things should be created, and which shouldn't? How do we know if a piece of land should be used for growing coffee beans, or if it should be used to house a baseball stadium?
Ideas on how resources should be allocated have challenged mankind from the very beginning. Because our minds are unlimited, the number of ideas that can be concocted to solve this problem has no limits either.
However, every idea cannot work. That we know for sure.
Our powerful minds are capable of creating and believing in falsehoods and untruths when they're actually applied to the physical world. We can create mental illusions, but those illusions cannot be applied to a physical world that unmercifully follows the law of cause and effect.
One illusion that throughout the ages has been believed and accepted by many people is the idea of socialism. It has enticed people (and still entices people today) despite being proven as a failure over and over again. Even hundreds of millions of deaths that have resulted from the idea's forceful implementation fails to sway those who continue to believe.
And that's fine. Their minds are their own personal kingdoms. They're free to choose what they want to believe.
But as those individuals hang onto their illusions, it's critically important for everyone else to understand why socialism is an illusion, and why it can never work in this world of ours.
Socialism is the idea that there is only one property owner - the government, which is just a very small group of people. This group of people is to own all the resources, and they are to decide how those resources are to be allocated.
Everyone outside of the government is to obey the orders of the government. Leon Trotsky summed it up perfectly: “In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.”
If you're outside of that small group called government, you obey, or you starve.
Think about what that means. Every person, with their unlimited minds, and unlimited wants is supposed to obey what a small group of people command to them. The people in government have their own minds and their own wants. How can they possibly allocate all resources for everyone else?
How can they possibly know what even one single individual wants, considering the fact that one single individual can change his mind at any moment?
When there is only one owner of all resources - the government - how can the government know where those resources are to be allocated? What does it have as a guide? How does it know that a piece of land, in a specific geographic area, would be better suited as a corn field instead of a factory for skateboards? How does it know if the person that it forces to work on a farm would not have made a better doctor? How can government possibly know?
Answer? It can't.
The great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, while intellectually battling the socialist utopias known as the Soviet Union, and Nazi (i.e., "National Socialist") Germany proved that without market prices, a socialist government "can't calculate".
In other words, without market prices, there can be no profit or loss. Without profits and losses, government has no clue as to whether or not they're allocating resources in the right areas.
In order to have market prices, there must exist private property owners, who own their own property and voluntarily trade it with other property owners. That's how prices are formed. This concept flew right into the face of the socialist planners. After all, they were to be the only property owners. Everyone else was to obey orders. Private property and socialism are mutually exclusive. You can't have both.
Ludwig von Mises was right, and unfortunately he perished before the implementation of socialism collapsed into a billion pieces. The socialists were completely in the dark, as Mises said they would be. They didn't know how to allocate resources. They had nothing to guide them.
The result (because people with power are stubborn and refuse to quit their illusions) was death on a scale that had never been seen before. It's quite remarkable how much human suffering and death can result from a bad idea. Socialism takes first place.
That's really all socialism is too, a bad idea. Even though it looks so good in the minds of people that believe in it, it is not practicable with the setup of our lives here on Earth.
We, as individuals with unlimited minds, our own individual desires, and our own unique talents are not made to obey dictates from other individuals. Rather, we are to live as we please, so long as we do not use aggressive force against others.
We are to voluntarily trade our labor, our creations, our time....whatever we own as private property. And we are to voluntarily trade these with our fellow man, who has his own private property. That is how we can all peacefully grow wealthy in our own unique ways. That is, for those who desire wealth. People can freely choose not to exchange, or satisfy other people's desires, and as long as they don't use aggressive force, they are no lesser of a human being for choosing that road.
But if we do desire the upward spiral, we are to use market signals as guides. If something is too expensive, it means that it is in short supply, and we should find other alternatives. If something is cheap, we can load up.
If we see something as expensive, but can figure out a way to provide it cheaper to others, we can purchase the necessary resources and give it a try. That's known as being entrepreneurial. If we're correct in our estimation, we'll drive down prices so that many others may enjoy what was once in short supply.
Profits and losses are to act as our guide. If we're earning huge profits, it means we're satisfying huge wants. If we're earning meager profits, it means we're satisfying meager wants. But profits simply mean that we're allocating resources rationally and efficiently.
On the flipside, if we are losing money, and incurring losses, it means that we are wasting resources away. People do not desire what we've created, no matter how wonderful and how great we believe our creations to be.
Socialism lacks these signals and that is its death knell.
Of course, a voluntary, peaceful and private property society is not what we have at this point in 2016. There are elements of it for sure, but governments and central banks are monoliths that stomp all over the world.
These institutions distort society. They wield violent force, they coerce, lie, cheat, steal, wage wars. They do not, as America's Founding Fathers had hoped, merely protect our life and liberty. They've sadly morphed into the greatest threat to our lives and liberty. That wasn't supposed to be the deal.
There's a long road ahead of us when it comes to embracing and implementing the right ideas. We are all completely unique individuals, with unlimited minds, and we are to live in a world with limited resources.
Liberty fits with that setup.
Socialism remains an illusion that never has, and never can, work.