By Chris Rossini
Human life moves in the direction of the most dominant ideas. All external human events are preceded by thoughts and adopted beliefs. Ideas lead and actions follow.
The ideas that lead may be creative and constructive, producing a flourishing society. Or they may be destructive, producing poverty, degradation and pain.
Since we are all free thinking individuals, we can come up with an infinite number of different ideas. Variations will always exist, just as there are still individuals who believe that the Earth is flat. However, those ideas that dominate will inevitably rule the day. The masses of individuals will either rise or fall based on whether or not the ideas that they hold are true or false.
Since we live in an age where man-made institutions known as "governments" exist all over the world, it would be wise to put some thought into the ideas that power them. Since governments affect so many individuals, when false beliefs are adopted, they lead to disaster on a massive scale.
The following saying is attributed to George Washington: "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force." Since the idea still dominates that a group of men should be granted such a power, let's look at how it can be used to create widespread disaster.
The ideas of Socialism
Socialism simply means that The State (i.e., the few men who control it) are the sole property owners in their geographic region. The State decides what is to be produced, how it is to be produced, and how individuals will labor and be "employed". These few men fancy themselves to be the blueprint holders for all of society. The role of every other individual is to obey their commands.
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 The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.”
In order to pull off such an idea, the individuals who agree to obey have to be convinced that such a setup would produce "harmony," "equality," "abundance," "happiness"...etc...etc...
During the 20th century, these ideas dominated much of the Earth. The results were disaster on a massive scale. Hundreds of millions of people perished at the hands of the rulers that they believed in....Massive death, because of a bad idea.
Why is Socialism such a bad idea? Why is it doomed to failure every time?
Well, when you only have one property owner (The State) it necessarily means that you're lacking a market system. In order to have a marketplace, you must have market prices. In order to have prices, you must have multiple individual property owners. Each property owner then makes exchanges based on their own individual values and desires.
Prices are extremely important signals. They let everyone know of the supply & demand of a particular product or service.
Socialist rulers had none of this! As a result, they were completely perplexed as to what was to be produced. There were no profits & losses. How can anyone know what people desire most without profits? Profits signal to property owners: "Produce more of this. This is what people want!" Likewise, losses are also a signal to property owners: "Scale back, or stop producing this. People do not desire it."
The Socialists were completely in the dark. They were throwing darts into a pitch-black room. The results were catastrophic. Instead of "harmony," there was suspicion of everyone. The only "equality" was equality of impoverishment. Instead of "abundance," there were empty shelves. Only the rulers lived well (of course) until even they figured out that the jig was up.
The idea of The State being the sole owner of all property toppled like dominoes across the Earth. Do Socialist ideas still exist as gospel with some individuals? Of course they do. If these individuals find enough gullible believers, they can wreak havoc once again.
Do Socialist ideas dominate? At the present moment they do not, and it should forever stay that way.
The ideas of Fascism
Those who occupy the seats of government around the world moved on from Socialism to another idea that is destined to failure: Fascism.
The notorious fascist Benito Mussolini described the idea as such: "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." This is the idea that dominates today over much of the Earth.
Unlike under Socialism, The State would not be the sole owner of all property. That only spells quick disaster. After all, the Soviet Union barely lasted 72 years. So instead, private property would exist. Prices would exist, as would profits and losses.
However, The State would not let individuals freely and voluntarily interact with one another. The rulers would still seek to control as much of society as it possibly could. Rulers today still fancy themselves as holders of the blueprint of society. They've just "merged" themselves (as Mussolini described it) with corporate power. And so we have the idea of fascist cronyism running wild across the Earth.
Unlike Socialism, which ends in a quick disaster, Fascism is a process of slowly bleeding to death. The Fascist economy is correctly known as a "vampire" economy. Gradually, individuals who live under it degrade into ruin.
Why is Fascism doomed?
Well, when you have a merger of State and Corporate power, you have a marketplace guided by force instead of voluntary interactions. Much like when the Churches were merged with The State, you now have Corporations who use government force to achieve their ends.
Instead of Church & State, we have Banks & State, Pharma & State, "Defense" & State, and on and on. Corporations that should go out of business are instead bailed out and subsidized because of their relationship with politicians.
Government also "regulates" these relationships by creating licensing laws and high barriers of entry for non-crony businesses. Government's "regulations" keep politically favored businesses secure and protected from upstart competition. The ultimate and toughest regulator in the world is a free market, which does not exist. Both the government and its connected corporations fear a free market like the plague. It relinquishes their power and ability to manipulate society to their own advantage.
Government also favors its corporate friends with never-ending contracts. For example, weapons manufacturers in America are not afraid of unemployment. Government also grants its friends monopoly privileges. It actually starts to force citizens into buying a politically connected company's products or services.
Ultimately, the economic imbalances and back-scratching of a Fascist society becomes unbearable. Disaster on a massive scale becomes virtually unavoidable. The marriage of The State and its favored corporations is unsustainable.
It should be pointed out that there is no problem with corporations per se. They serve an extremely valuable function of satisfying our most urgent desires. Likewise, there is no problem with churches per se. The problem arises only when these groups enmesh themselves with government power. For it is then that their interactions with everyone move from being voluntary to coercive.
There is a great danger with the idea of Fascism. Many people will tend to think that "free markets" are the problem. Under Socialism, this was not an issue. There were no free markets and everyone knew it. But because private property and prices exist under Fascism, it's very easy to fall into the trap of thinking that "freedom" or "free markets" are the source of economic pain.
Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Free markets (sadly) barely exist at all. Government-managed markets rule the day at the present moment. Take note that politicians will always and forever blame "free markets" even though they barely exist. They never want to relinquish their control. Remember, they believe themselves to be the blueprint holders.
The ideas of Liberty
When the ideas of Fascism finally reach hospice care, some other ideas will have to replace them. It is here that the ideas of Liberty must come to dominate.
If people insist on clinging to the idea that some men should be granted a monopoly of force called "government," then such an institution should be extremely limited. America's founders tried to create some written rules for their government in order to chain it down, but it didn't pan out. They left far too many openings for government to expand. Today, the institution that they created has become the largest government on Earth. Give men in power an inch, and they will take the entire planet.
The ideas of Liberty simply consist of some very basic principles. Each individual owns him & herself. They also own the fruits of their labor. No one has the right to forcefully take anyone else's property from them for any reason.
This also means that no one has the right to use government to steal their neighbor's property either. No one is forced to send their neighbor to college, to pay for their doctor visit, or anything else that their neighbor may desire.
No stealing, even by majority vote!
No one is allowed to use aggressive force against another individual. Only the use of force in self-defense is permitted.
Government's job should be to make sure that these principles are upheld. That's it. Individuals may voluntarily and freely live their lives as they please otherwise.
Government should not be tasked with solving problems that it cannot possibly solve. It cannot "run the economy" so it should never be permitted to try. It cannot "re-make other countries" so it should never veer from defending the homeland.
Government blueprints for society are nothing but lies and delusions. Belief in those lies have led to a constant stream of suffering for the believers.
The ideas of Liberty are new to mankind. People are naturally afraid of new things, of change, and of ideas that they don't necessarily understand. But some ideas must dominate. That's just the way that it works. Belief in politicians has truly had its day in the sun.
Hopefully the time for the ideas of Liberty are not too far away.
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