By Alex Parrish
Many people, today, are either advocating or criticizing the socialistic direction of the current administration and its policies. Increasingly, we are being deluged with reports of new legislation which would give additional power to the federal government and remove much of the control traditionally held by the private sector. In a capitalistic society, the imposition of more federal authority into the governmental framework is being met with increasing skepticism and strong opposition.
But what is the problem with socialism, anyway? Is it really as bad as many make it out to be? Are there really so many negative attributes involved that it cannot possibly be considered as a viable infrastructure for our government? What are the positive aspects of socialism which appeal to those advocating it? Can socialism really solve all of this country’s problems; or the world’s? Let us investigate this volatile topic.
Socialism – Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
Statism – The practice or doctrine of giving a centralized government control over economic planning and policy.
Egalitarian – Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people.
Capitalism – An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.
Meritocracy – A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.
In order to answer these questions we have to know a bit more about the subject. Socialism was a term first employed by Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825), a French Utopian socialist thinker, to describe his ideas on the reconstruction of society. In his view, society needed to eradicate the motivating desire to gain a higher status in life, regardless of how small that status might be. His founding principle, which became the motto for his entire school of thought, was “The whole of society ought to strive towards the amelioration of the moral and physical existence of the poorest class; society ought to organize itself in the way best adapted for attaining this end.”
His theories ultimately influenced the thinking of Karl Marx (1818-1883), the German philosopher who founded communism, as well as Auguste Comte (1798-1857), the French philosopher credited for founding the fields of sociology, positivism, and altruism. Also making an impact on the prevalence of socialism in today’s society is Robert Owen (1771-1858), a Welsh businessman considered the father of the cooperative movement.
So, socialism is, in essence, control by the government for the benefit of the masses. Today, we have the Energy Bill (also called “Cap and Trade”) which imposes strict controls on private industry in order to provide a benefit to the country as a whole (i.e. reduction of CO2 emissions). We are also faced with Healthcare reform which would require everyone to be insured, all employers to provide insurance coverage to their employees, insurance companies to provide more coverage, and those individuals or businesses with high incomes to pay for it with increased taxes. This all sounds like control by the government for the benefit of the masses. This sounds like socialism.
In both cases, we are looking at policies which would put an undue financial burden on the private sector, and the population, for the supposed benefit of others. First, the “Cap and Trade” bill will cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket” for the questionable benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, namely CO2. Yet the United States’ effort to reduce CO2 emissions is irrelevant since China, India and many other countries refuse to be a part of the global CO2 reduction movement. And, since data appears to show that CO2 has a much smaller influence on “global warming” than other greenhouse gases, the final “benefit” will be a paltry 0.09°F decrease by the year 2100, buying us an extra two years of warming at a cost of trillions of dollars and millions of jobs. Does this sound like a beneficial thing?
Then we have Healthcare reform. Where do I start? The government plans on placing a 5.4% surtax on over 2 million high-income Americans in order to come up with some of the funds to pay for the Healthcare reform program. They plan on requiring all Americans to be enrolled in the program with those not enrolled facing stiff penalties if they do not comply. They plan on slowly pushing private insurance companies into oblivion as millions of people are moved into the “public option” when employers drop private plans in lieu of the “free” government run plan. I can go on and on, as there are many other reasons why the proposed healthcare reform legislation is wrong for America. Again, I ask you, does this sound like something that is in line with our founding principles?
These are just two examples of what the current administration is proposing to do to “the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”. The Constitution of the United States was based on the principles originally set forth by James Madison after extensive research into different government structures. He, and the other members of the Constitutional Convention, believed that a democratic republic held more freedom and better hope for a future for the citizens of this great nation. They believed that less governmental involvement and control would lead to greater freedom, more innovation, and increased prosperity for “We the People”. In their insight, they knew that “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” would be the ultimate byproducts of this successful national experiment we call the United States of America.
But those who want to have more governmental control and increased influence would rather see your lives dictated to you by a group of “experts” and elitists who know better than you how to live your life. These people would rather have you give up what you worked hard to earn so some “less fortunate” ones who lacked the ambition and commitment to achieve things on their own would be taken care of. They want to see our self-evident, unalienable rights endowed by our Creator, curtailed by policies that will bring “social justice” and “diversity” to the masses. Shortly before his election, then candidate Obama made this statement: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America”. It’s not as if we didn’t know what was coming…
As the saying goes, “If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it is a duck”. Well, that is what we have here; the quacking duck of socialism masquerading as the “hope” and “change” so many people voted for last November. Unfortunately, the “hope” turns out to be less freedom and the “change” ends up being more control by the federal government. And “We the People” end up getting all “fowled” up in the end.
1. “socialism.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 17 Jun 2009. [Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/socialism]
2. “statism.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 28 Jul 2009. [Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/statism]
3. “egalitarian.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 17 Jun 2009. [Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/egalitarian]
4. “capitalism.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 17 Jun 2009. [Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/capitalism]
5. “meritocracy.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 17 Jun 2009. [Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meritocracy]
6. “Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 21 Jun 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Claude_Henri_de_Rouvroy, comte_de_Saint-Simon&oldid=297806127
7. Beach, William W., et al. “The Economic Impact of Waxman–Markey.” The Heritage Foundation. N.p., 13 May 2009. Web. 03 Aug. 2009. http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2438.cfm
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9. Knappenberger, Chip. “Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain)” MasterResource. N.p., 06 May 2009. Web. 03 Aug 2009. http://masterresource.org/?p=2355
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12. Carroll, Conn. “Individual Mandate Faces Broad Opposition.” The Foundry. The Heritage Foundation, 22 July 2009. Web. 6 Aug. 2009. http://blog.heritage.org/2009/07/22/individual-mandate-faces-broad-opposition/
13. Owcharenko, Nina, and Greg D’Angelo. “Obamacare: You Will Lose Your Current Insurance. Period. End of Story.” The Foundry. The Heritage Foundation, 20 July 2009. Web. 6 Aug. 2009. http://blog.heritage.org/2009/07/20/obamacare-you-will-lose-your-current-insurance-period-end-of-story/
14. Cooper, Rory. “One Pill, Two Pill, Red Pill, Blue Pill: Top 10 Reasons Obamacare Is Wrong for America.” Fix Health Care Policy. The Heritage Foundation, 30 July 2009. Web. 6 Aug. 2009. http://fixhealthcarepolicy.com/research/obamacare-one-pill-two-pill-red-pill-blue-pill/
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