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Death by Socialism

“Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better". That is the title of an article from the World Economic Forum in November of 2016. The title is essentially socialism in a nutshell: no private property, no self-ownership, and no privacy, but somehow, they contend, life will be better. 

This is the budding trend in America, away from freedom and capitalism in favor of government and socialism; and the data bear this out. Decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, socialism has reemerged as ungracefully as bellbottom jeans in the classroom and the collective conscience. 

According to a 2015 Reason-Rupe survey, 53 percent of Americans under 30 admit to having a favorable view of socialism. Likewise, a 2016 Gallup poll found that an astounding 69 percent of millennials say they’d be willing to vote for a “socialist” candidate for president. For comparison's sake, roughly a third of their parents' generation confess positive views toward socialism.

In 2016, national surveys and exit polls revealed that roughly 70 to 80 percent of young Democrats cast their ballots for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist.” No matter where you stand on today’s political, social, and economic issues, you have probably heard about this. And for those unaware of this trend, it’s time to heed this warning and learn of the risks. After all, as Dr. Ron Paul has said, "It's the prevailing attitudes of the people that determine the kind of government that we have." 

This trend is certain to continue, and, perhaps most frightening of all, it will continue with the benefit of the collective conscience. The risks of socialism are incalculable, but they are real. They measure not only in the risks posed to life, but in the risks posed to everything which brings meaning to it. There is simply no metric conceived by man that can even remotely account for all of the risks, but we know this for certain: if we should fail to defend the stake of liberty, these are the costs to be borne by our heirs.

It is therefore essential, in the interest of life, liberty and posterity, to guard against the unwarranted influence of tyranny by the collective conscience; we must never allow the weight of this combination to endanger our liberties and God-given rights. After all, socialism threatens liberty in the same way that Satan comes disguised as an angel.

In this essay, we are going to uncover the identity of socialism, its various disguises, and the continual threats posed to us and any free society. Finally, we'll embark to prescribe the antidote and the lifeblood to our freedom. First, let's talk about socialism. 

Socialism is traditionally defined as collective ownership over the means of production. Its admirers regard it as a form of compassion, moral by definition, virtuous by fiat. Yet this betrays the truth about socialism, a dynamic despotism that adapts to its environment and the technologies available to it. Whatever its motives, whatever its definition, it amounts to force, and ultimately oppression, in execution. At its core, socialism is truly whatever its defenders want it to be, tailored to suit any hot topic and conveniently aligned with anything perceived as kind, compassionate or sensitive to the plight of the citizenry and the so-called “general welfare”. Whether it is an ambitious plan to end poverty or world hunger, or to eliminate inequality in our midst, socialism is merely a specious device for social control and, invariably, social ruin.      

In vying for control, the socialist must pry the people from their scruples, their time-tested traditions and values, to bring them under control of the new dominion and social order. Indeed, the socialist must inoculate the public to reason, convincing some significant fraction of them that, as one Samuel Clemens may have put it, "what they know ain't so" or that, alternatively, they can't possibly "know" anything at all, that truth is rather a function of one's personal feelings or "lived experience". This kind of subjectivism effectively enables pundits and politicians to get away with the absurd; after all, as Voltaire once proclaimed, "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." In this, the socialists aim to create their own convenient "truths" and doctrines by which people are to be guided and governed, albeit with the popular support of people who've since come to accept this school of thought and, indeed, prefer it over the rigors of reality, logic and reason. As the old phrase goes, “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.”

One vital aspect of socialism, and broadly any form of Leftism, is the art of rendering the world confusing and unintuitive, such that the political elite assume authority as the final arbiter in political as well as social and moral issues. In this way, the constituents, in their attempt to conform or appear “educated”, will heed the instruction voiced from high atop the ivory tower, where judgments, pronouncements and gestures are made daily, weaving one falsehood, embellishment or contradiction into the next. This ultimately witnesses the last gasps of humanity, whereupon the masses, fighting desperately and perilously for their survival, and for the survival of their traditions, descend into social unrest, economic depression, total war and, ultimately, utter ruin in the wake of some fantastical dream.

Henry Grady Weaver eloquently articulated this point in his 1947 work The Mainspring of Human Progress

“The truth of the matter is that the American revolution for human freedom is the only thing that’s really new, and it did not end with the surrender of Cornwallis nor with the signing of the Constitution. It’s still going on, and the counterrevolutionists — the enemies of freedom — are on the march. Their major attack is not on the open battle field. It is in the fifth-column technique of skillfully boring from within — a program of infiltration and attrition. The principal secret weapon is traceable to Lenin, who allegedly instructed his followers to first confuse the vocabulary. Lenin was smart. He knew that thinking requires words of precise meaning. Confuse the vocabulary, and the unsuspecting majority is at a disadvantage when defending themselves against the small but highly disciplined minority which knows exactly what it wants and which deliberately promotes word-confusion as the first step in its efforts to divide and conquer.”

The advantages enjoyed by the tyrants through word-confusion are twofold: the confusion affords the tyrants exclusive authority as the final arbiters of truth, or rather their distorted form of it; and the wordplay enables the tyrants to continually manufacture their own convenient truths, to condemn their subjects to their alluring fantasies. Ironically, those fantasies enjoy the advantages bestowed upon them by the market economy, and in turn they form the basis for the assault upon it. In the United States, Hollywood and mainstream media are always eager to lead the charge and share in the spoils. As Samuel Adams once put it, "How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!"

In their assault on virtually everything American, Hollywood not only denounces capitalism and traditional family values, but it routinely blacklists people who stand in their way. Actor Kevin Sorbo is one such actor who met this fate as an outspoken conservative Christian. Referring to Hollywood, Sorbo has said that being a conservative Christian is "like being a double leper." In an interview on the subject, he went on to point out some of the blatant contradictions of the Left: 

"They're the ones who say, 'We need to be tolerant; we need to have love,' but they’re the most anti-tolerant people… Every movie, every TV show… there's always some point, someplace, where they'll pretty much degrade anybody who’s conservative or Republican."

This is because Hollywood doesn't really care about anything or anyone other than whatever sells. They don't care about "diversity" or "tolerance" or any number of political buzzwords that have come into vogue just as suddenly as they've been rendered meaningless. They care about selling their stories; and it just so happens that, in the world of cinema, pretending to care is just as good for sales as actually caring. Fortunately for Hollywood, pretending is quite akin to acting, so you might say they're fairly well-rehearsed in it. 

For Hollywood and the political Left, they're a marriage of convenience: they share a common vision, but only insofar as their ideas intersect with some measure of popularity and control; not just control over the space, but over the minds and matters of the people. They don't care about truth or righteousness, nor "diversity" or "tolerance". They might celebrate those terms, but only selectively whenever they serve their own specific interests. Indeed, they have no respect for diversity or tolerance where it actually counts, which is to say they have no respect for it at all. 

Diversity is entirely irrelevant in the context of gender and ethnicity, which are at front and center of every Leftist's application of the term. The only relevant forms of diversity are those of skill and character: not the manner in which one is born, but the manner in which one conducts himself and presents his opinions. Likewise, tolerance is just as irrelevant in the space of agreement. True tolerance is found in the face of dissent, and that is precisely where it is tested. 

However, the Left has no patience for this kind of diversity or tolerance, because it cannot rally unthinking political support around it. Indeed, wherever Leftists are found promoting diversity or tolerance, it's invariably a means to exploit the sensibilities of their opponents; to make them tolerant of forces opposed to truth, virtue, and liberty, and even their way of life; and to make them amenable to diversity insofar as it compels them to tolerate (then later accept and embrace) the ideas and allies of Leftism. 

True diversity and tolerance are anathema to Leftism, as they threaten its very foundation; they threaten to shatter the entire premise of the Left overnight, by guiding the people to the truth as Ayn Rand once put it: "The smallest minority on earth is the individual." Of course, the plight of the individual is a non-starter in politics, because the concept invariably reaches the conclusion that the best state is the state of liberty; that government is, as Thomas Paine rightly proclaimed, even in its best state, but a necessary evil; and in its worst state, an intolerable one.

Fortunately for Hollywood, the plight of the people is always at their disposal, and so are their minds as clay ready to be shaped and hardened; and wherever that plight fails to meet their ends, Hollywood is happy to embellish or to invent one out of thin air. As it turns out, in a society progressively stripped of its principles and any sense of personal responsibility, there are more willing victims all the more eager to entertain their message. By their designs, the people are left to dream and fantasize, paying little mind to the truth; after all, it's a costless exercise for those who haven't the gumption nor the liberty to afford much else. 

As Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov once put it, “Socialism will always be an alluring dream, even in the freest and richest countries in the world.” Of course, it's not the dream itself which is so dangerous and deadly, but rather the dastardly attempt to forge it into reality at all costs. As economist Thomas Sowell once wrote, “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” 

The task of economics is to understand complex systems, how they function, and what ends they serve; to assess the factors, the variables, and their relationships within those systems; and to, through that understanding, predict the effect of any changes. Applied to politics, among other functions economics uncovers the deceit in government, the clever means by which politicians and their cronies pilfer the public purse. In the realm of politics, there are no designs more pernicious than those of socialism. They are as clever as they are bold, becoming progressively bolder in time.

In its more nuanced forms, such as in the United States, socialism lays claim to some fraction of business or property, cleverly leaving the main of business in the hands of those who know better how to manage it. This, however, is not a benefit of socialism, but rather a clever disguise by which it cons its subjects into believing that they’re free, in effect exploiting some vestige of capitalism for the advantage of the bureaucracy and the furtherance of socialism, albeit in its modern incarnation. 

Make no mistake. Excusable usurpations of power have always sown the seeds of social destruction, the most heinous of atrocities through the most virulent of tyrannies. After all, tyranny descends not under clear skies, but discreetly through the fog of uncertainty and the dark of night. It appears invited until rebuked by those much too late in revoking their invitation. 

Always contemporary in their methods, leveraging the most fashionable language and relevant context of the time, the currents beat ceaselessly against liberty as the unthinking masses fail to recognize the parallels to the past. Instead, they term their measures progressive or responsible, as if their historical counterparts were any less convicted or compelling about theirs. Always cunning, they are sure to first get the camel's nose under the tent, to take their time in dismantling the people's values and traditions, and to maintain the pretense for as long as possible. Out of necessity, as with the American experience, this means that capitalism will fade away, that it will die in just the same manner as the public liberty, and even many of the people themselves: not necessarily by a blow to the head, but instead a death of a thousand cuts.

For its own purposes, therefore, the establishment preserves some semblance of private property, whereby the bureaucracy assumes authority in deciding how much belongs to it; only thereafter does the remainder stay in the hands of the so-called owners. Of course, under this arrangement, it is the bureaucracy that truly owns the business and the property, but it cleverly allows for the illusion of private ownership, whereby those so-called "owners" are left to manage the business for the benefit of the bureaucrats. After all, the bureaucrats will enjoy a much larger take with this arrangement, as there will be a greater pie for the politicians to enjoy so long as those businesses still believe that they are their rightful owners.

Suffice it to say, the sustainability of this system depends squarely on the maintenance of that illusion and the hope that the people never grow wary of it; as soon they’ve become aware of the system to truly appreciate their relationship with their government and their society, they will want nothing to do with it. They will have finally awakened to the truth about their enslavement, and they will invariably determine that the effort and the risk of their daily toil are inadequately offset by the limited advantages and future prospects, pecuniary or otherwise, inherent to this kind of arrangement. At this juncture, only force and coercion will stave off the mass exodus, and this can only slow the death of a system destined for its demise, but not before it spills some blood and drags its opponents, and even many of its supporters, down with it. This is precisely where socialism grows violent, either in response to or in anticipation of this exodus, because it cannot possibly endure without the subjects whom it enslaves. For this reason, the masters of deceit are always clever in their methods and their disguises, consistently keeping their subjects at bay as they claim an ever greater share of the pie for themselves.

Interestingly enough, through central banking and bills of credit, whereby government monopolizes the supply of money, or currency, that bureaucracy can get away with taking an even greater share of that pie without raising the official tax rate. This is truly the modern form of socialism, whereby ownership over the means of production has been replaced by ownership over the form of money. This is, by appearances, less invasive, but it is truly more pernicious than the forms which preceded it. As the outspoken legislative aide Harold Wallace Rosenthal stated in a 1976 interview, "Money power was essential in carrying out our master plan of international conquest through propaganda." 

Indeed, under this arrangement, the socialists get away with sounding charitable while convincing the public that their initiatives will impose no additional costs. Moreover, they claim that the additional money, which they merely print off the presses, makes us richer in the process. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. 

In fact, the printing of money only makes us poorer, transferring purchasing power and real goods and services from those "owners" into the hands of the bureaucrats, or those connected to them. Whereas the bureaucrats contend that society will be richer for it, the truth is that the bureaucrats will have successfully stolen more stuff while leaving society with more paper, or its equivalent. So, while people will predictably feel wealthier, and maybe even more "progressive" upon their government's imposition, they will all be worse off because of it. 

This is hardly accidental but rather another demand of Leftism, which, through a vicious cycle, breeds progressively more poverty and, in turn, broader support for its empty promises. This induces a kind of circling-the-drain effect, whereby poor people and their sycophants, through their approbation, encourage the implementation of countless welfare programs which, in turn, reinforce their further impoverishment; this consequently bolsters their ranks as more people are drawn into poverty and predictably call for more of the same. 

The political elite are fully aware of this phenomenon, which is why they rally to fill their constituencies with the dregs and the most gullible of society, among them refugees and immigrants; they are easy to deceive and to control, and they will scarcely put up a fight when met with the force of government. 

Desperate for their survival or otherwise seeking a steady paycheck, they will dispense with virtually any principle to pay their bills and satisfy their government; in their desperation, they will even collaborate with the government as it subverts the law and subjugates the people. The Leftists endeavor to fill their constituencies so that they will outnumber or drown out the others who remember the laws, traditions and principles which keep the government at bay; this population is the enemy of government, which seeks to dispense with them for further power, influence and control. 

In this way, the people who once fought for their liberty, who once framed their government, and the heirs who thereafter inherited it, are soon replaced by constituents who know nothing of it, who are instead concerned with their mere survival or their own enrichment. Soon enough, the ties are completely severed between the people and their forbears, as they are eventually brought under the spell of Leftism. In this particular case, it is the spell of diversity and multiculturalism, popular buzzwords used to conceal the government's primary objective: control.

Leftist politicians actively market their ideas as progressive, inclusive, and indispensable to any humane and civilized society. However, the truth is this: the Leftists in charge understand that this kind of policy drives social discord and instability, through which they are the chief beneficiaries. Ironically, this is yet another complication that is entirely incompatible with the theoretical workings of socialism. That is to say that, even insofar as theory can submit a functioning form of socialism, it cannot overcome this complication; as if socialism isn't already doomed from the start, this is yet another complication which preordains its failure and exacerbates its predictable consequences. Of course, the Leftist politicians welcome this instability, because they're not actually interested in socialism after all, but the power to be assumed along the way, especially where they claim to have still further solutions to the problems they've created.

Always eager for more control, and ready with a whole host of measures, their governments relentlessly pursue a policy of multiculturalism to ensure that the citizenry will cede progressively more power to them to resolve their disputes. Whereas a people sharing mutually in their culture might otherwise have fewer disputes and more reasonable ways to resolve them, multiculturalism introduces a myriad of challenges, stokes resentment, and keeps the people busy fighting each other, vying for control over government in an effort to solve their problems. It is especially useful in the erasure of any culture and civilization born of liberty and independence; from the government's point of view, any such culture or civilization stands in the way of government and serves as a reminder of its historical record. It is in just this way that chaos is in the interest of government; not too much chaos that the people will unite to overthrow their government, but just enough to keep them busy bickering amongst each other and ready to deploy their government against their enemies.

Multiculturalism is just one of many tricks employed by governments to subvert the public liberty; it is just one of the many devices used to subtly and inconspicuously control a populace, to keep them begging their government for answers while none the wiser to the ploy. Fortunately for government, they have an ally in democracy, which presents the illusion that the majority are winning, and that the minority stands a chance at reversing things if only they can rally enough support; but the Leftists are always ahead of them, tilting the scales in their own favor. 

Far from a philosophical treasure, democracy, which enjoys celebrity in theory and popularity by design, serves in practice merely to unite the dregs of urban society against the independents who'd rather think for themselves. As a form of mob rule, democracy, advantaged inherently by the scale and sophistication of the economies and populations it exploits, lulls its unsuspecting constituents into supporting the kinds of transgressions they would never independently dream of committing themselves. Ultimately, tyranny of any kind, regardless of the source from which it ostensibly derives its power, is still tyranny; and wherever democracy is said to have prevailed, it has succeeded merely in subjecting the public to the enterprising ambitions of those as cunning as they are thirsty for power. 

Always cunning in their craft, politicians stand everywhere at the ready to charge public opinion with their fine-tuned rhetoric and silver-tongued stanzas, compensating with enthusiasm wherever lacking in reason. They are not nearly as interested in solving problems, insofar as they can even be solved, as they are in creating them and pretending to have solutions.

As twentieth-century journalist H. L. Mencken observed in 1918, "Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary." 

Through the combination of urbanization and democracy, mankind has realized the single greatest threat to liberty: the political means by which to define its terms, uniquely accompanied by the manpower to enforce them, operating from the benefit of conscience, the perception of equitability, and the pretense of consensus. The noble intention behind any political process is the pursuit of limited government, through any means which reliably produces that result. The intended result is not, in and of itself, a democracy which empowers the political will of the majority; the desired result is rather that form of government which is most limited, which yields to liberty in the absence of conferred political authority. 

In this sense, where there is the pursuit of limited government, there too is the pursuit of maximal liberty. Where government seeks to substitute liberty with democracy, or to conflate the two, it can only be a false face for tyranny, albeit a face with an alluring disguise. Where the citizenry has already been thoroughly groomed to view the two interchangeably, they have prepared the fertile grounds for the seeds of their own destruction, albeit democratically. This is the paradox of democracy, whereby flawed government, which would otherwise be flogged in the public square and utterly banished for the foreseeable future, seduces the constituency into believing that they have assumed control, merely to witness a system progressively warped and brazenly empowered by the illusion of consensus. And in that land drifting ever from freedom, its tyrants need only to convince some number of the people of some agreeable political cause, appraised not for its accuracy but for its appeal, to continue its siege upon their neighbors and their own liberty. 

Without fail, democracy invariably finds its way to tyranny, for it doesn’t take long for polished politicians to convince their constituents to empower their government; it doesn't take long for them to realize that, with their votes, they can claim a greater share of the public purse. From there, they need only to turn their constituents against each other and brandish the establishment as their weapon. As the journalist H. L. Mencken once put it, at its core "Democracy is [nothing more than] the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

As the Leftists assume control over the establishment, they invariably set out to change the rules and stack the deck. As they reform the ranks of their constituencies, they enjoy the further benefit of the continued illusion of consensus, ensuring that a growing segment of society will approve of their agendas; in turn, their constituencies will predictably do their bidding, pressuring their peers into silence or conformity, and in most cases condemning their heritage while demanding that their peers do the same.  

It is in just this way that a civilization circles the drain. As opposed to gravity, however, it is the lure of Leftism which pulls the people down; and it will pull them down until it's emptied the tub. That is, of course, if the tub doesn't give out first. 

By the time Leftism gets a hold of the people and their imaginations, it turns the people and their lives into the instruments of their own enslavement; and by its own designs, the people are so busy keeping up, so distracted by cheap entertainment and propaganda, so preoccupied in their petty disagreements, and so fearful of bucking the conventions, that they live merely to survive. All the while, little did they know that, in their quest to survive, they were erecting or otherwise condoning the very institutions that would continue their own subjugation. Whatever the means, and whatever their disguise, their ends are always the same: the achievement of further control through the concealment of their motives. 

Gradually, through its clever and convoluted network, the bureaucracy will succeed in influencing every aspect of commerce and daily life, not merely at the hands of the state, but by private enterprise genuflecting to false idols, repeating their mantras and pressuring their own peers, customers and employees to comply. This is yet another disguise of socialism, a mutilated form of a market economy and an outgrowth of a government wielding too much power and influence. Of course, this is no coincidence. 

As Henry Grady Weaver wrote in 1947, in his Mainspring of Human Progress, “[Marx and his followers] believed industrial capitalism to be the natural forerunner of socialism; that to bring about the world millennium they must concentrate, first of all, on highly developed capitalistic countries — using the processes of attrition, boring from within, fomenting dissension and class hatred, and promoting collectivistic measures through existing governmental agencies.” Weaver continued, “This is something like jujitsu, which has been described as the technique of defeating an opponent by turning his own strength against him.” Weaver concluded, “In other words, it was a program of inducing capitalism to commit suicide, then stepping in and taking things over.” 

Capitalism, or any other social or economic system, once corrupted or devoid of virtue, continues in its mutilated form only to hasten the destruction of society. In order for any social or economic system to prosper in the long run, people must necessarily be guided by virtue, self-ownership, personal responsibility and family values. For this reason, Leftism is destined to fail on every occasion: it incentivizes the relinquishment of virtue and responsibility to the state, and it operates from premises diametrically opposed to the individual, the family, self-ownership, and personal responsibility. When any country abandons virtue in any semblance of a market economy, in jujitsu-like fashion the velocity of money will quickly correspond with the decay of that society. This is the ultimate and inexorable course of Leftism; and while one given example may survive longer than another, they ultimately end up in the same place: complete and utter ruin. 

This doesn't mean that it cannot flourish or endure for some period of time, but that its prosperity and shelf life are strictly limited; and that, while the establishment will surely benefit for some period of time, and while the "working class" may even see some benefits in the short run, namely entitlements and employment within the growing establishment, it will, on net and over time, ultimately come at the cost of society and posterity, their lives, their property and their liberty. Leftism of any variety, wherever it takes hold of a people, will, without fail, degrade that society, systematically pick it apart, and ultimately bring about its destruction, but not before filling its citizens with hope and exploiting the benefits and the resources afforded it by capitalists and some measure of capitalism. 

Socialism feeds on prosperous capitalist societies not only out of economic necessity — for it couldn’t possibly survive, let alone advance, for any meaningful period of time over any other — but for the advantage enjoyed over the kind of public which has grown comfortable and generally unwilling to risk that comfort by any effort which might cost them financially, a night’s rest, or some time behind bars. In becoming comfortable, they are more susceptible to any soft despotism, for they have more to lose, and they have long been spared the need to fight. Ironically, unbeknownst to them, they have everything to lose in their complacency and their unwillingness to take up the mantle in defense of liberty. In one of the great tragedies of the human experience, we find that comfort breeds a form of cowardice which leaves the people unwilling to defend the very principle which gave rise to those unrivaled comforts in the first place: liberty. As Fyodor Dostoevsky famously wrote in his 1866 novel Crime and Punishment, "Man has it all in his hands, and it all slips through his fingers from sheer cowardice."

This takeover happens gradually and surreptitiously, under the most clever of disguises, often advertised under the banners of equality, the common good and the the general welfare. Of course, the socialists are always clever enough to have their unwitting victims celebrating their own sacrifices; indeed, in many cases their victims encourage or join them as they chisel away at the foundations of their liberty. 

The socialists, at least the ones leading the charge, are often shrewd enough to pace themselves in their advance upon the public liberty, as they require the assent, or the acquiescence, of the people as they continue their siege. Conveniently for them, most of their victims are functionally illiterate or willing to comply; still others try to ignore the siege up until the point that it affects them directly. However, wherever the socialists are to encounter any resistance at all, their opponents are generally people of principles, standards, and sensibilities, qualities that the Leftists are sure to use against them.  

Unlike their opponents, the Leftists are willing to dispense with virtually every principle and every standard just to get their way. Whether it be the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the laws of physics, or the rules of logic, they don’t concern the Leftists. Their double standards let the Leftists off the hook, with the understanding that their opponents are law-abiding, respectful of authority, and religious in maintaining their own standards, namely truth and morality. Having already accepted that their ends justify the means, there is no trick that they will not play, no level to which they will not stoop, as they know that their opponents are called to love thy enemy

Through their efforts at vilifying and lampooning their opponents, they erect straw men representative of no one and defended by nobody; meanwhile, their followers are either compromised by their own personal interests or vendettas or otherwise none the wiser to the ploy. In any case, the species couldn't possibly conceive of a more convenient opponent.

So, whereas the Leftists expect the benefit of the doubt, indeed scolding those who don’t readily give it to them, their opponents aren’t afforded any leeway, and they don’t expect it. The Leftists eventually succeed in destroying their opposition by cunning or force. Whether by silencing, vilifying or lampooning them, by bringing them under their spell, or by threatening them with force, imprisonment or ostracism, the results are the same: fewer opponents and more subjects who've grown amenable to the program. 

Their most successful political strategy has been to equate their enemies with easier (often cartoonish) opponents, and to thereby frame the debate to their advantage. This has, time and again, been the case in their wars against fascism, through which they conveniently bury the truth (often literally) while concealing their ulterior motives. 

While the truth-seekers are, in fact, their true archenemies, the Left prefers to compete with fascism; and the Left does so almost exclusively. The reasons are obvious: relative to truth and liberty, fascism poses less of a threat to the power of the state; it portrays patriotism and national identity in a negative light; and, above all, the two agree politically where it counts. 

In truth, fascism is one of the many faces of Leftism, a form of authoritarian rule exploiting only a distinct set of public sensibilities. Ultimately, fascists and communists (Marxists, Leninists, Stalinists, socialists, et al) seek the same powers, only through slightly different means: the first through nationalism, the second through socialism. 

The two share mutually in their appetite for social control and regimentation, the subordination of the individual to the ill-defined “common good”, their silencing and forcible suppression of the opposition, and their histories with dictatorship and militarism “just to get things going”. The two campaign so mercilessly for power that, contrary to truth and liberty, it is the state that always wins. 

In this way, the two are merely different sides of the same sledge hammer. It is through this false dichotomy, between fascism and Leftism, that the people are left to accept (or even embrace) the lesser of evils. In this way, the state stacks the deck to ensure its victory while maintaining the pretense of legitimacy. 

Indeed, the Leftists are always cunning enough to mitigate the risks to the state. By pacing themselves and gradually laying siege upon the people and their liberty, the people hardly take notice of the forces enveloping them, and so the Leftists ultimately stand to encounter very little resistance. In most cases, the people simply get out of the way and keep their heads down to avoid being labeled fascists, bigots, or enemies of the state.

One of the advantages of this strategy, of course, is that it allows the people an opportunity to get out of the way, and it affords them time to adapt to their new circumstances; circumstances in which the socialists and their useful idiots, the korisne budale, celebrate a new form of liberty or freedom, enabling only further usurpations. As the Scottish philosopher David Hume once observed, "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once." 

For this reason, the people must contest every margin of government. They must remember that, where their political bands have been corrupted, they are the last stand for liberty; they must jealously defend it at all costs. 

This means that, in the face of absolute despotism, the public may be thrust into resistance for their own preservation and the preservation of liberty. After all, once a people have been brought under such a despotism, it will have been so corrupted that no mere political process would stand to dismantle it. 

The final check against this kind of despotism is the man who is willing to fight, who is ready to throw his body upon the gears in order to finally bring the machine to a halt. Unsurprisingly, tyrants don’t take kindly to resistance, and so they use clever language in their attempts to discredit their opposition. 

This comes in handy whenever they’re casting aspersions, launching ad hominem attacks, committing character assassination, erecting straw men, and committing any number of fallacies through their rhetoric. Indeed, this is standard operating procedure for the Left. For them, it’s not just a habit or a compulsion, but a lifestyle. In many ways, it’s a matter of ideological survival, a game between predator and prey. In the case of politics, the predators are always stalking the patriots and the messengers of truth; they are always distorting the facts, when they’re not avoiding them, and they are always on the prowl for the public and their liberty.

When they’re not specifically killing their prey, the Left sets out to smear the character and the reputation of their detractors, casually tossing around such terms as “racist” and “bigot” in hopes of invalidating their opposition; in hopes of calling the rest of the kingdom to feast on their enemies. However, these labels are nearly always at odds with the truth; indeed, they are a type of diversion that keeps people from assessing the facts and having important (albeit difficult) and honest conversations. 

This is why the Left goes to such great lengths to vilify the truth-seekers and to keep the public from even the remotest affiliation with them. Their campaign is against the truth-seekers and any who dares to even entertain their ideas. This is because the truth horrifies the Left: this is not only because it is inconvenient and difficult to combat, but because it serves to undermine their entire platform. 

The truth is that the racists and the bigots, as they are often erroneously described, are usually the ones bold enough to stand on principle and defend the truth: they are the ones who are most dangerous to the establishment. As the historian David Irving has put it, what the Left regards as “racism” is, in most cases, more accurately described as patriotism. And what is patriotism other than a profound love for the country we’ve inherited from our parents and grandparents, and a willingness to defend it? 

It comes as no surprise that the Left detests the patriots and the people who love their country. The Left views them as an unnecessary hindrance, one to be overcome or summarily eliminated; they view them as an inconvenient reminder of the country’s traditions, which threaten to derail the whole political agenda as soon as the public comes to its senses. For this reason, the Left sets out to discredit their former institutions, to spoil every fond memory attached to their ancestors and their heritage, and to redefine their history and their very thinking through a curriculum and a vocabulary of their own construction. 

Indeed, they use language as a Trojan Horse to corrupt minds and civilizations. They accomplish this end by inventing, removing or modifying words, or otherwise reforming their definitions. They tend to use loaded and ambiguous terms, oftentimes of their own construction, in order to confuse people into thinking the Leftists know something they (the people) don’t. In one particular case, this is actually true: propaganda. They know better than the ordinary citizen how to present their case: for the Leftists, it's a case always opposed to the public liberty, whereas, for the ordinary citizen, his case is rightly in defense of it. The ordinary citizen is in many cases naive or inarticulate, and in most cases not nearly as polished or compelling. This comes as no surprise, given that politicians specialize in talk, whereas workers specialize in labor; and the politicians are always busy inventing new terms to give themselves a leg up, to keep the laymen out of the loop, and to make their opposition appear uninformed. 

In the hands of the people, language is their recourse; in the hands of government, it is a weapon. That is why the freedom of speech is indispensable to freedom everywhere, and why it is duly enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This is not only a matter of justice and ethics, but a matter of good practice. Language is important not only so that one can articulate his points, but so that he can contemplate complex subjects. As Weaver put it, "Thinking requires words of precise meaning. Confuse the vocabulary, and the unsuspecting majority is at a disadvantage when defending themselves against the small but highly disciplined minority which knows exactly what it wants and which deliberately promotes word-confusion as the first step in its efforts to divide and conquer." 

Indeed, words and terms are often concocted to infect and control a society: to antagonize and to alienate, to selectively include or exclude groups and ideas. Words and terms are likewise censored to erase the opposition and, more importantly, to prevent the people from even thinking in those terms. This is true for the activist, the politician and the propagandist, and it is true for incompetents, illiterates and the dregs of society who, in their simplistic and reductive conceptions, use rhetoric and ambiguity to appeal to wider audiences; defame their enemies to restrict the bounds of allowable opinion; limit the use of words (and tools) to impede further contemplation and understanding; and disguise themselves as compassionate and unthreatening as they have their way. As the English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton put it in 1839, "The pen is mightier than the sword." However, the pen is merely a tool, impotent against the arbitrary forces deciding what can be written. In the hands of government, or under its direction, the pen is far more lethal than the sword. Whereas the sword can kill, the pen can destroy, and it can do so discreetly. It has the power to destroy life, civilizations, and, most critically, the ability of the people to think. This power tends to wind up in the hands of the people most likely to abuse it, namely pawns, politicians, and propagandists. They use their terms as weapons, and they can be effective in setting the agenda, framing the issues, or otherwise standing in for incomplete narratives and theories that don’t really hold any water.

For example, wherever the public poses any resistance, the tyrants term it insurrection. In the tyrants' view, insurrection is anything that threatens the establishment; and, conveniently for them, they claim that the establishment is founded upon democracy

In truth, democracy is merely their shield, their illusion, and the pressure relief valve which keeps most of the public at bay as the establishment grows more tyrannical. So long as it claims to be democratic, any other means of accountability, wherever the establishment has failed to effect it, is deemed insurrectionist by the establishment. 

The establishment, in turn, plays victim and claims that the whole institution of democracy is under attack, when it’s actually the failure of their institutions which has impelled the resistance. 

It is worth noting that the practical value of democracy or democratic process, insofar as it possesses any value at all, is as a means; it is not the end in and of itself. Its value is in its results. From the establishment's point of view, it's a means to power; as for posterity, a means to liberty. Wherever it fails to secure the safety and happiness of the people, wherever it fails to protect life, liberty and property, and wherever it evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, as the Declaration of Independence states, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. 

Ultimately, the survival of liberty depends upon the people who are willing to stand in its defense. The people must remain vigilant, for, in the case of socialism, despotism comes to assume a wide variety of disguises.

Whether through non-profit organizations or non-governmental agencies, whether sponsored or subsidized by government, or whether a public school indoctrinating the youth or a private company promoting some political agenda or condemning its critics, the tentacles of socialism are upon us, manipulating nearly every aspect of our lives, even the very thoughts that occupy our minds. The pressures around us, sponsored or certified by the beast, evidence its pervasive influence, yet leave little trace of it. Instead, the unthinking and unsuspecting pay little mind to the building pressures, the trenches carved around them, and the masses preparing to lay siege. By taking over and controlling their media, they’ve controlled their minds, and by controlling their familiar businesses and their neighbors, they’ve limited all that they are permitted to do or say. In this way, socialism is not just about determining how to achieve control or justify corporal punishment, but how to limit access exclusively to those who might grow to accept it; in turn, whether for some business interest, self-preservation, or some sense of duty, those who have been granted access will do the bidding of the bureaucracy, whether by encouraging compliance, reporting violations, supporting further impositions, or even enforcing its edicts. While not expressly the work of government, the people and their businesses, succumbing to the pressures around them, do their bidding as agents on their behalf. All the while, of course, the beast keeps its hands clean, rejoicing in the decisions of the public, taking credit while assuming none of the blame. 

In this manner, socialism always emerges in clever ways, at first making life easier for those who acquiesce, yet excruciatingly difficult for those who wish only to continue living as freely as they once did. In this way, the scales predictably tilt in favor of socialism once the people figure out how to comply, intensifying the peer pressure upon the diminishing ranks of the few bold enough to stand on principle and defend their liberty. Once the scales have tipped, it’s almost impossible to recover. Once it’s become easier to comply than to defend liberty, the people mustn’t shrink in cowardice. They must stand together, shoulder to shoulder, decrying passionately and unequivocally every injustice upon their liberty. This is their final defense against tyranny of any form, and their highest obligation to their heirs and posterity: to stay vigilant to every threat, to unveil tyranny in its various forms, and to strip it to the bone in utter humiliation as a reminder of the cost of any threat posed to liberty. 

Unfortunately, this is an endless battle of vigilance, as it is in our nature to survive, not to be free. All too often, compliance makes it all too easy to survive, but we must remember that it’s liberty that makes life worth surviving. 

In its various disguises, socialism seeks to discredit liberty and erase it altogether from the collective memory. It is the duty of the people to remember the cost attending too little liberty, the countless hundreds of millions of lives lost in its absence, and the means by which it’s threatened today. 

Ironically, socialism is often praised for its provision of social services and its poetic promises of welfare and equality. However, these initiatives operate from the middle of the story, a fabricated premise which highlights the plight of individuals or demographics mired in some kind of adversity, and which predictably fails to evaluate, or even remotely acknowledge, the attending factors or plausible causes. Instead, the socialist flatly assumes and boldly asserts that each instance is merely another example of inequality and injustice. Of course, the socialist pays little mind to the fact that inequality is the rule, the organic state of all things in nature; instead, the socialist leverages that inequality to rally unthinking masses around the political cause, rooted inextricably in covetous greed and envy. 

What's more, the socialist insists that all differences in wealth are the result of exploitation, as if wealth were a zero-sum game; that wealthy people have succeeded only insofar as they have exploited or stolen from those among them who are purportedly struggling daily to survive, living paycheck to paycheck, or having a hard time making ends meet. Irony is hardly lost here, however, where we find the latter typically carrying an expensive cellphone and designer handbag, cruising around town in a brand new vehicle. Interestingly, despite the many clamoring about their struggle, despite their many acts of violence and looting, one scarcely finds any of them burglarizing grocery stores, or bookstores for that matter. 

In still other cases, we find those struggling actors joining in "protests" burglarizing designer clothiers and electronics stores; ironically — or perhaps not so ironically, given an adequate understanding of their worldview — it is the socialists who are found mugging people and robbing their stores; it is the socialists who seek equality, not under the law but for their own personal advantage, through theft, violence and intimidation. As proclaimed in Psalm 37 of the Old Testament, "The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them... The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken."

In any free market, however, it is the capitalist and the entrepreneur who must necessarily add value in any transaction to entice any person to willingly do business with them: they give generously while "the wicked borrow and do not repay." It is the capitalist and the entrepreneur who invest in plant and equipment to enable their workers to gain in their productivity; and it is this gain in productivity, benefits, stability, and often safety, which entices people to abandon their lives as individuals in order to accept the terms of their employment. 

Meanwhile, it is through savings, amassed through economic efficiencies and labor-saving devices, that capital increases and new enterprises are possible. Contrary to the socialist myths, insofar as the capitalist increases his absolute share of the total production, the absolute and proportional share of the total production going to the laborer will also increase. It turns out that the socialist is so confused that he has it entirely backwards. Indeed, it is the capitalist, not the laborer, who stands to benefit least in proportion to the increase in total production; ironically, it is in the opposite case, where capital is decreased, that the laborer stands to suffer most. 

It was the French economist Frédéric Bastiat who so neatly summarized this phenomenon: "In proportion as capital is accumulated, the absolute shares of the total production going to the capitalist increases, and the proportional share going to the capitalist decreases; both the absolute and proportional share of the total production going to the laborer increases. The reverse of this happens when capital is decreased."

It follows, then, that the case for the laborer is made in the case for capitalism, not socialism. Through this we have yet another in a long line of cases for freedom and free markets. As for free markets, the case is based not only on their practical effects, but on their moral and ethical constitution.

In any free market, people are free to use, or to not use, their property; they are free to offer their labor or services, just as they are free to withhold them. In a free market, no one sacrifices any of these rights upon launching a business. Just as every worker is entitled to his wage and the total terms of his employment, so too is the employer entitled to retain the right to his property, which includes the revenue generated by that property and by the contracts negotiated upon the use of that property. 

Socialists plainly have no interest in private property, which is to say that they have no interest in freedom. The right to private property is not just a benefit of freedom, but a necessary condition for it. Wherever this right is withheld, there is slavery. After all, wherever man is without the right to his property or the product of his labor, he is left without the right of self-ownership; and wherever man is said to not own himself, he is owned by someone else or, according to the socialist, by his society. The only difference here, as it turns out, is one between a conspicuous form and another which is more abstract.

At the very outset of America's republic, the Framers rightly anticipated the dangers inherent to any form of government which pits the rights of people against the rights of property. James Madison communicated his observations on this threat in October of 1788, stressing that "the bulk of the people" ought first to be sufficiently invested in property, or the prospects of the rights of property, with still a sufficient interest in the rights of persons. 

Madison sharply described the inevitable power to be suffered at the hands of those "not interested in the rights of property." In his observations he warned that "one of two things cannot fail to happen" in such a clash of interests: "either they will unite against the other description and become the dupes and instruments of ambition, or their poverty and independence will render them mercenary instruments of wealth." Madison then concluded that, "In either case liberty will be subverted; in the first by a despotism growing out of anarchy, in the second, by an oligarchy founded on corruption." 

As it turns out, Madison has proved rather prescient in his estimation of the risks attending such a conflict, as Americans have indeed come to suffer the power which slid into the hands not interested in the rights of property. It is in just this manner that government, not without cunning, turned homeownership into slavery. It turns out that Madison was precisely correct in declaring that, in the interest of the rights of property, "Liberty not less than justice pleads for the policy" which seeks to guard each interest against the unwarranted influence of the other. Government, on the other hand, seeks a policy of its own: whether through fiscal or monetary policy, subsidies, debt guarantees, quantitative easing, central banking, or tax policy, their policy is a war on liberty. It's therefore essential to guard against these pernicious influences because they are always changing in their forms, rarely in the interest of the rights of property, and rarely obvious.

One of the great misdeeds in contemporary politics has been the intentional cheapening of money to drive higher real estate prices. This has come not only at the expense of the currency and savings, but with added risk and higher costs in the form of higher purchase prices and higher taxes alike. Herein we find one of the single greatest misdeeds of our time: the conning of the public into accepting as their tax liability some arbitrary percentage of the appraised value of their home — or any other asset, for that matter. 

From an economics point of view, the cost of government is nowhere a function of the cost of real estate; nor does it stand to reason that any person or family, having been saddled already with the higher purchase price, should also stand to pay more in the way of taxes. 

Indeed, insofar as government is tenable in any form, no person or family ought to be saddled with any greater liability than that which is assumed by each of their neighbors; that is to say that the liability ought to be rightly apportioned. Contrary to the popular misconception, one’s ability to spend more on a property needn’t imply his ability to pay more in taxes. On the contrary, he is more often than not left with considerably less in the way of expendable income because of his inordinately expensive mortgage. Of course, let us not forget, he’s condemned to carry this mortgage in the first place because of the artificially low rates of interest which make it altogether impossible for the saver to keep up with the prices of real estate and other costs of living. 

Of course, this is no accident at all, as the government is squarely behind this initiative as well, which condemns the people to perpetual work, indebtedness and risk-taking in a viscous cycle which induces their enslavement. They are made to work more in order to pay those higher prices and to make up for the loss of purchasing power; they succumb to debt just to purchase essentials like property; and they accept risk in the form of stocks and bonds, as well as their own mortgages, as they seek to enjoy their lives and protect themselves from the scourge of inflation. 

As the government sees it, an indebted populace is far easier to control, and there is no better place to swindle the public into debt than homeownership: after all, homeownership is the most fundamental aspect of life and family, and one for which any people anywhere will suffer virtually any indignity just to keep it. For this reason, the property tax is a most cruel and insidious imposition, and one whose risks are often overlooked by so many who are easily confused by percentages and academic justifications, and others still who are otherwise hypnotized by the implied appreciation of their homes. 

Whereas newer homebuyers might appear wealthy for their ability to afford such expensive homes, they have merely committed themselves to stricter terms for homeownership: as opposed to prior generations who paid an average of four times annual household income, our contemporaries pay on average more than six times their annual household income, more than fifty percent higher than their predecessors; and this is a time when both parents are in the workforce, as opposed to the predominately single-income households of prior generations. 

Ironically, even despite this, the politicians still claim that women are better off having been “liberated” from their domestic duties: instead of laboring for the benefit of their own families, they now work for CEOs, stakeholders and conglomerates, and according to the politicians and political activists, they are all better off for it. According to them, this is progress.

This means that both parents are so busy working to subsist that their children are taken to daycare centers so that their parents can afford to shelter, clothe and feed them; or, in other cases, so that their parents can afford their vacation homes and the other luxuries of life. This means that their children are brought under the care of "professionals" instead of keeping them in the care of the ones who are biologically predisposed to love and nurture them. This means that, in addition to the financial burdens, the children bear the brunt of the consequences in the absence of their parents, who are seldom around to love, nurture and teach their children. Instead, by forces ill-understood and, as they see it, far beyond their control, the parents outsource all of these functions to people whom they don't even know and whom they can't possibly trust, so that their children may stand a chance to do the same. This is a vicious cycle that can only result in social ruin, or decadence. 

I posit that this vicious cycle is the direct consequence of taxation: whether upon income or property, or through debt or inflation, it implies taxation all the same. By whatever name and whatever channels, it has proven to destroy families and the very fabric of society. 

This, of course, is part and parcel of the Leftist agenda: to so encumber the economy as to effect its destruction from behind the scenes. Inflation is one of the invisible tools of despots, in whose hands it quickly becomes one of the deadliest weapons. Along with debt, inflation is the single greatest source of suffering the world has ever known: from war to economic collapse, countless lives have been lost or ruined under its thumb. 

Indeed, debt and inflation are a matter of routine for Leftist administrations: in creating more of it, the establishment succeeds in stealing from the public. It is taxation without legislation, and theft of epic proportions. The scale of the racket, however, is so enormous that scarcely anyone dares to challenge it. After all, there is virtually no limit on the power of this kind of administration; so, in the view of the many, it's a fool's errand to go up against it. 

By the time the establishment has seized this much control over the economy, there is precious little that can be done diplomatically. After squeezing the people through higher prices, the despots make things even worse through higher taxes, so that, according to the despots, they can cover their own rising operating costs. This is one dirty trick. 

Accounting for the fact that wages always lag behind inflation, this means that the people are left not only with higher prices, but with less money to spend; indeed, the people are, by the designs of their government, made to work more and more for the establishment as they struggle to make ends meet. 

This is when the despots start licking their chops. By then they know they've got the people right where they want them: struggling and ready to forfeit their liberty for some temporary relief. Indeed, it's not incidental, but by design, that their policies bring about economic destruction, as they know that the people will quickly become so desperate that they will come to accept the despots as their saviors. By the time their policies have crushed the economy, more and more of the people will have rejected the market in favor of the promises of government. This is precisely why the establishment is ultimately so successful: it is always there with new "solutions" to the problems they created, or, in other cases, the problems they'll never be able to solve. 

Indeed, the establishment isn't in the business of solving problems. It's in the business of creating, compounding, and imagining them, and keeping the public eternally hopeful for solutions or results that are never forthcoming. This is precisely why taxation, government debt and regulations are so dangerous: the establishment always insists that, with just a little more, they'll finally be able to meet their objectives. Of course, their ambitious ends are always accompanied by still more punitive means. After all, it's not the ends they're after, but the power that's theirs so long as they keep up the charade. Meanwhile, the ends keep the public on their witch-hunt and chasing ghosts, where the tyrants are always ready to point them in another direction. As it turns out, invisibility and witch-hunts are key themes for more than just science-fiction novels: they're the modus operandi for the Leftist agenda.

While inflation is the most invisible of taxes, there is no tax that is more fundamentally destructive than the one which seeks to fleece the public for merely owning a home. Under this arrangement, the homeowner is forever liable, as he cannot escape the penalty imposed by government, which threatens to seize his property in the event that he fails or refuses to pay. By definition, no one can truly own a home under this arrangement. 

This arrangement by government is one part of a web of lies, deception and coercion which enslaves the public wherever they go, whatever they elect to do, and however they intend to survive. Even where the people seek the humblest of occupations, a meager subsistence, and a tiny plot of their own, they are brought into the fold as servants to the status quo. 

The most basic of human ambitions is to build and to own one's own home, and to thereby raise one's own family. Politicians from time immemorial are aware of this ambition, and they have sought everywhere to exploit it. At no other time in the history of the world has any government ever been more successful in fleecing the people of so much with so precious few taking notice. Like a magic trick, the government has been busy fleecing the public while convincing some fraction of them that they are getting richer, and still another that they're entitled to some of the loot. 

In the case of homeownership, the renters are all too eager to see the homeowners assume the brunt of the taxes. As they see it, the homeowners are wealthy enough to pay them. Of course, the renters pay little mind to the fact that they might be homeowners one day, nor do they busy themselves with the fact that their landlords pay their taxes only upon collecting their rent; nor are they troubled by the fact that property taxes, those based on appraised market value, inherently discourage development and dampen the supply of housing units, thereby increasing rental prices. The renters aren't concerned with the future, nor the finer details, in keeping with the nature of people who have nothing invested in it. Of course, in the face of the consequences, they are just as incredulous to the results of their preferred policies: problems they have (through government) created, compounded, or condoned. When any policy or set of policies should fail, they are always ready to demand solutions from government, assumed to possess the means, the intelligence, and the incentive to oblige. Meanwhile, government is often just as clueless and almost always uninterested in solutions, especially to problems of its own creation or beneficial to its interests.

It is for this reason that government seeks to fill its constituency with desperation, hostility and the dregs of society. It is for this reason that government seeks to impoverish the people, to stoke division, and to keep them bickering amongst themselves. In this climate, the people will be ready to punish their enemies through their government, which stands ready to pummel them all. In this case, the government has laid siege to homeownership, where the soul of humanity and the principles of life, liberty and property are at stake. Meanwhile, the cheerleaders are ignorant to the consequences, or otherwise immune to them. 

In driving higher real estate prices, the government and the central bank have selected the winners and the losers: they have committed to higher prices to protect the haves at the expense of the have-nots. This isn't to say that they haven't distributed some of the loot to the have-nots, but that they've distributed only enough to keep them asking for more, or to otherwise keep them quiet. Meanwhile, the ranks of the middle class shrink as the divide between the rich and the poor widens to the satisfaction of the political elite who prefer it that way. After all, this is precisely where the politicians want the middle class: weak and outnumbered. And this is why they keep pounding the table for democracy: not because they believe in it on principle, but because they know it'll keep the public divided and that they'll eventually have the numbers. 

The assault upon homeownership is just one of the many ways that government has secured its stranglehold over the people. In their control over property as well as income, combined with their control over the common currency, the politicians can virtually increase taxes at will. With the benefit of so much control, they can increase taxes without the people even noticing. They can, as in the case of homeownership, drive real estate prices higher to induce more debt, more speculation, and more tax revenues to boot.  

This essentially subjects homebuyers to prices driven by the government’s monetary policy, which thereafter stands to subject them to still another set of prices expressed as a percentage, of the government’s choosing of course, of the total purchase price. In this way, the government cheapens the currency, which negates the value of savings; it causes higher prices, namely in stocks, bonds, real estate, and consumer goods; and it stands ready to cash in upon their every sale. This is one of the greatest deceits of the modern era, and one so esoteric that scarcely any person will even dare to investigate, let alone question its legitimacy. 

For these reasons and more, taxes, wherever they are to be suffered and unopposed, ought only to be tolerated, not accepted; for tolerance may at least keep the people alert to further abuses, whereas their acceptance will invariably form the basis for more of the same, until such point is reached that the government asserts itself as the rightful owner of all property. By this time, any part left for the enjoyment of the taxpayer is regarded as a form of charity from the government. 

As this author has already illustrated, the most pernicious form of this kind of abuse is directed at property in the name of rights and entitlements, more aptly termed extortion. This kind of liability is lifelong and unavoidable; whether sick or otherwise unable to work, or whether one prefers to subsist on the product of his own land instead of seeking employment or engaging in commerce, he cannot elude the government which threatens to dispossess him of his property upon his failure to pay.

The distinction, then, between property tax and slavery is a matter of form, as they function just the same. The difference, of course, is the proximity of the slave to his master, the chances of his escape, and the opportunity to win his freedom. In either case, each is expected to work for his master, and it is at the master's pleasure only that the subjects enjoy any part of the product of their labor. Ultimately, for those in control, it's not a question of whether man ought to be in chains, but whether he ought to know who holds the keys. Ironically, through government the master has convinced the taxpayers that they own their land, whereas the slave is under no such illusions. 

A clever ruse, government has swiftly turned homeownership into an instrument for perpetual enslavement; and by its own designs, the people are so busy keeping up, so distracted by cheap entertainment and propaganda, so preoccupied in their petty disagreements, and so fearful of bucking the conventions, that they come to accept their enslavement. All the while, little did they know that they were erecting or otherwise condoning the very institutions that would continue their own subjugation. 

Of course, the socialists are ready to justify it all, and more, and they aren't satisfied until each subject is made to work exclusively for the state. By that time, they're ready to use force to get even more out of their subjects; that is until they realize that the state won't be sparing them either. By that time, the state will have assumed enough power to do without their cheerleaders, and the very socialists who erected or otherwise supported those institutions will join the ranks of the oppressed. However, this doesn't keep them from believing in their cherished ideology. On the contrary, they claim that, with just a few tweaks, it can be made to work in the future. However, those tweaks time and again prove inadequate, unable to overcome the fundamental shortcomings of their ideology: that the inescapable problem with Leftism resides in its scalability; that the model cannot possibly be scaled up without eventually compromising the factors that allowed it to function in any limited form, and to any limited extent, in the first place; and that the factors, in principle, maintaining their friendly intercourse are, at scale, replaced by force.

Indeed, the most incorrigible of socialists never admit defeat. Even in the face of social ruin, they claim that "it wasn't real socialism". Of course, the truth is that this is "real socialism", only its proponents are incredulous to the results. By any other measure or definition, "real socialism" is simply unachievable. Whatever the ends, they are always corrupted by the means. 

Socialism of any variety is ultimately doomed for failure, the power necessary to get things started inexorably condemning it to the same fate. It's only upon realizing this fate that it's regarded by its apologists as "not real socialism". 

History decrees, unfortunately, that the socialists never learn from the past. They show up time and again in only slightly different disguises, brimming with confidence and claiming that "this time is different". They make any number of excuses for the historical record, wherever they dare to even acknowledge it: whether it's bad weather, plunging export prices, or the plain stupidity of their predecessors, they'll blame anything but socialism itself. Whatever the case, they are always ready to try again, always ready to blame everyone else for every conceivable problem, and always readying for their next assault upon the public and their liberty. 

The socialists are everywhere armed with slogans and compassionate-sounding pleas, ranging from scaremongering, in the form of manmade climate change, to a false premise which contends that certain people are doomed to their stations in life, that there is no economic mobility, and that their only salvation can come in the form of government. Ironically — admittedly, the most clever of socialists understand this — these activities predictably result in only greater adversity, poverty and, in many cases, inequality. Conveniently for the socialists, this only bolsters their ranks as confusion and despondency leave them desperately searching for quick fixes and easy solutions. 

In truth, unfortunately, the socialist agenda destroys every aspect of human existence, beginning with its economic ramifications. In setting out to achieve nirvana, which proves everywhere elusive, the administration will invariably require prohibitively-high taxes and inflation which decelerate economic growth, which impair society’s ability to sustainably meet the proposed ends. In truth, as the author George Orwell once quipped, Leftists are motivated not by some love for the poor, but by their hatred for success. 

A twisted form of envy and greed, they seek to pillage and plunder, to tear down society and any among them who’ve enjoyed any measure of success, to foment revolution. Under the banners of socialism and equality, they are more appropriately termed agents of violence and coercion. In seeking “equality” over freedom, the socialist, unwittingly or otherwise, prioritizes a kind of “equality” at the expense of prosperity and liberty. 

Where society otherwise enjoys higher standards of living, the socialist, in most cases, insists that we dispense with it in favor of “equality”; in other cases, he even admits that equal suffering is preferable to the kind of prosperity that yields inequality. For the socialist, in this sense, it’s not important that the member of society have the opportunity to improve his lot in life, or that he enjoy a higher standard of living; on the contrary, the socialist prefers that every member of society be spared the agony of witnessing others with greater success. 

Even the egalitarian view, which seeks equality or, more correctly, which seeks to condense life into this context, serves either incidentally or intentionally to bring the proles into equal standing under the dominion of the state. Their equal standing, as characterized, breeds subservience to a vaunted state which has succeeded in bringing about an equality between the peoples, despite their progressive suffering which invariably finds its justification in the state they have all been made to serve. In this way, they are brought under the dominion of their state as fungible soldiers or slaves, not one of whom could possibly conquer their master; after all, they are all equals in dress, appearance, strength and competency, or so they’ve been conditioned to think. In this supposed state of equality, anyone who might dare to counter the convention is thus made a lunatic or a heretic. In this way, the subjects of the state are fooled into perpetual slavery under the banner of equality, which serves only to bring the people into a nearly equal form of misery. Meanwhile, the state basks in the bounty laid at its table by those who wouldn’t dare to suggest that they are anything more or less than equal. 

When any people are finally convinced of their equality, or otherwise made to submit to this fiction, by definition none is exceptional enough to challenge the authorities and overlords who determine the status quo, and with it the proposed purpose of life and human capital. 

In their purported equality, stripped of their identity and individuality as of their property, they are stripped ultimately of every last authority they retained over their governments, themselves and the property they once considered their own. 

In the achievement of this equality, they are swindled into a form of political equality whereby the masses are assumed equal in their submission to the new status quo and the regime which fleeces and commands the masses effortlessly and at will. 

In the achievement of this equality, indeed the only form achievable in the pursuit of equal outcome, they are made to be roughly equal only in misery, destitution and subordination to the regime which commands and rules over them; a destitution which affects a people spiritually, philosophically and economically. 

Any endeavor toward equality, then, not in the form of equality under the law, but in the form of outcome over opportunity, serves primarily to bring the people into equal subordination and to snuff out any leftover resistance guarding or representing the former traditions. In keeping with the Marxist playbook, so as to bring about their extermination, those former traditions are to be so thoroughly attacked as to leave only the most adamant, courageous, competent and fearless of men to defend them, ranks that are always few in number and declining all the time. 

The politicians and bureaucrats always have the advantage in this contest. They promote positive-sounding policies, winning the approval of the masses with little more than enthusiasm to support their visions, while leaving the sober and honest, and thus far less popular, academics to piece it all together and make sense of the mess in order to explain what eventually went wrong. Unfortunately, by the time any thorough study has been concluded and its findings have been published, too few will care to review it, and the politicians will have moved on to their next foolhardy policy bound to compound the very problems they created and never took the time to truly understand. Indeed, a great measure of our troubles, as peoples and individuals, would be swiftly averted by thinking more patiently and speaking more carefully, in most cases not speaking at all. There is scarcely any government possessing or promoting these qualities. Instead, the establishment sets out with haste to tilt the scales in its favor.

Make no mistake, every government initiative serves to test your tolerance for tyranny. With your support or in your silence, your acquiescence to the usurpations and unlawful commands of government confirms that the despots are completely in control of your rights; rights that were once deemed natural, derived from our Creator, are gradually redefined as privileges administered or permitted by that government formerly entrusted to defend those rights. Over time, in gaining the ill-placed trust of the public, the establishment fortifies its defenses and systematically strips the people of theirs, just before having its way with them and their rights.

Government pushes against liberty so long as it maintains a hold over some segment of the population; enough to support any campaign, politically or militarily, to affirm its institutions. The powers-that-be are always prepared to continue their conquests even so far as to provoke rebellion or assassination; the two representing the best of political outcomes, where, so long as they maintain enough of their constituency, they will be deified and remembered as martyrs for the rest of time. 

At such time as rebellion, it is not enough for the rebels to simply stand their ground. Indeed, their mettle will be tested. They will need to see it through to the very end, lest their cause be lost; lest the moment escape them; lest their former government tighten the noose around their necks, or otherwise shatter their spirits (and those of posterity). But rebellion scarcely comes. And government scarcely trembles, for it knows the will and the conviction of the people. It knows they are at their mercy, and that they require nothing short of a miracle to stand a chance of success. And government is always stacking the odds in their favor, and their subjects are seldom the wiser.

With the benefit of well-armed security and police, and with a powerful military at their disposal, the tyrants terrorize the public with virtual impunity. From the safety of their offices, they legislate their way to inducing the last of the resistance into firing their weapons in their last stand for liberty. 

Conveniently for the establishment, they also control the media, an asset indispensable to their agenda. Indeed, this is precisely how they infect the people with their ideology. Their monopoly on information is the single most insidious aspect of Leftism. Worse than any virus known to man, it is a contagion that controls what the people think and say; one that, not unlike an uncontrollable pandemic, infects each person ill-equipped to defend against it. With the incessant flow of mistruths, the immunodeficient public, intellectually speaking, succumbs to them without any knowledge of what or how it happened. Once the administration is established as the final arbiter on truth, the public not only fails to form their own opinions, but they eventually lose the ability to do so. As a matter of routine, whether out of fear or for having already bought into the propaganda, they instinctually look to the establishment and conventional thinking before adopting an opinion: once established, this is their new religion. 

Under this sort of tyranny, none dare think for himself, arrive at his own conclusions, or speak the truth; and so, especially where news is so abundant and media so quick to disseminate information and censor the opposition, the views of the public take the form of a hive mind, sharing collectively in both their views and their willingness to obey orders. As a result, this kind of society quickly dispenses with the truth, which comes to be regarded as hate speech, discrimination, or politically incorrect. Indeed, they even come to politicize the sciences themselves, even the very word science. However, in doing this they’re sure to straddle the fence, so as to interpret “the science” to their advantage or to otherwise emphatically reject “the science” wherever it calls their narratives into question. Fortunately for them, they keep the academics in their pockets, either directly on staff or through sponsored studies with predetermined conclusions. 

The academics, of course, are more than happy to oblige. After all, they are neither apolitical nor altruists who've forsaken self-interest. Where they are not expressly sponsored by government, they are, as humans, motivated by other powerful factors. Indeed, even the well-intentioned academics crave the attention and the credit that come along with a major theoretical discovery; this is true even among those in any way attached to the field, who, along with their disciples, enjoy the prestige that comes along with being members of the enlightened class.

Once they've anointed themselves the enlightened and final arbiters on truth, they decide what "the science" says and doesn't say. Wherever they deem “the science” inconvenient, they term it heterodoxy, pseudoscience, or, perhaps worst of all, conspiracy theory. Ultimately, whether they’re exploiting, manipulating, misinterpreting, or flatly rejecting “the science”, it’s in service to one particular end: establishing the administration as the final arbiter in all things, and the final word on the bounds of allowable opinion.

On top of all of this, there are the social and psychological factors that keep the power with the establishment: it is challenging enough to take on just one individual, to burst his bubble and shatter all of his illusions. It is a tall task to even broach the subject in most cases, let alone to successfully lead someone to the truth with facts, reason and evidence. Even assuming the cooperation of the other party, it is, in most cases, not enough to just represent the truth; it is just as essential, if not more so, to do so convincingly. Of course, this is even assuming that the other party is interested in the truth, that he is patient and intelligent enough to consider and comprehend facts, reason and evidence.

This is why Leftism succeeds in the first place: too few people satisfy these conditions. Amongst the general population there is too much emphasis on form over function, feelings over facts, promises over results, and confidence over competence; what's more, they're susceptible to the general over the specific. For these reasons, it is prohibitively difficult to have constructive and rational discussions about social or political issues. It is for the same reasons that the establishment tends to win by default, as the people often defer to the government as the final arbiter, and, of course, the establishment happily welcomes any excuse for more power.

While it is indeed a tall task to challenge any given individual, it is nothing short of heroic, á la David and Goliath, to question the entire establishment and actually hold it accountable; that is, if they can even find the people in charge, who are typically shielded by the bureaucracy, hiding behind staff members who are "just doing their jobs". For these reasons, precious few ever dare try; for these reasons, it's nothing short of a miracle any time it happens.

It is in this way that the resistance, the so-called rebels, are doomed by the establishment. Whereas tyranny in each case provokes the conflict, the resistance is saddled with the blame. Consequently, the ranks of the resistance dwindle over time, as the establishment ups the ante and forces them into submission. In many of these cases, especially in the modern context, some faction of the establishment  ups the ante by framing the conflict to their own advantage. One such example is the war for equality, more appropriately described as a power struggle between the old guard and the usurpers; in many cases the old guard taking the form of the rebels, with the usurpers taking the form of the establishment

Despite the propaganda, it's not that the old guard necessarily dislikes the usurpers, or that they deny their equal standing as human beings, but that they differ substantially in their fundamental values and preferred systems of government. Indeed, in the modern context this particular struggle is hardly ever based on some insistence that the usurpers are less human, or less important, than the members of the old guard. On the contrary, for the old guard the struggle is often one directed at the preservation of their traditions: institutions built and defended by them and their forefathers. For the usurpers, the struggle is often directed at dismantling those institutions, ordinarily by discrediting them and the very people who shed blood, sweat and tears in their defense. For this reason, the usurpers' war for equality is not just a political war, but a war against the old guard's customs, heritage, traditions, and lineage. In this sense, the usurpers' politics imply the destruction of the old guard's culture. In initiating these wars, whether domestic or abroad, the establishment always wins. While some of the people may stand to win some of the time, the establishment always comes out on top. These wars all have one thing in common: the elimination of the establishment's competition and the few brave souls comprising the resistance. 

Wherever the establishment is found sponsoring the war for equality, it is almost always a false face for the pursuit of power, in most cases the power to eliminate the very institutions defending the public liberty. Whether it's fear, political correctness, or effective propaganda, the people eventually forfeit their liberty and yield to the state. Because of this tendency, the cause of liberty is always waiting on a miracle; always waiting for the few brave souls to take up the mantle in its defense. These few brave souls are the men of character and conviction up against the remotest of odds; and yet, by providence, they prevail. In the long run, however, the cause is lost. The people forget and they once again fall prey to the establishment that is always changing hands and disguises, but always somewhere waging its war against liberty; waging its war against the old guard and the men who hold the line as the resistance. 

Over time, the establishment wins in the absence of these men, as they and their cause are altogether erased from the collective memory, and eventually the collective conscience, of the public. 

Indeed, in their defeat, any vestige of memory or conscience thereafter remaining of those traditions is squeezed out of existence by peer pressure, the relentless barrage of messaging and political propaganda, and by the discomfort of the lived contradiction: one’s betrayal of his forebears, his traditions, and the calling which presents too much risk, sacrifice and discomfort to justify the toil of even recalling, let alone defending, those precious principles. 

In the course of the new status quo, there arises even a significant opportunity cost in any attempt to defend the customs and principles of times past. Any attempt becomes costly not merely in the form of social and political disapproval, but in the form of commercial and professional prospects best served by going along with the status quo. 

In this way, the subjects, once threatened and intimidated, who first abandoned their cherished customs and principles, give way to subsequent generations willfully rejecting their history, denouncing their ancestors, and destroying their memory; at the same time, they are encouraged by social praise and pecuniary advantages which more than keep the populace from harboring any second thoughts, let alone any guilt. 

It is in this way that a society is reprogrammed and made to suffer the consequences of its own ignorance and selfishness, made to finally appreciate the value of those former values and traditions, for which life and limb were once sacrificed in their own right with hopes that their children and posterity might appreciate the costs attending the defense and survival of their traditions; that they might be spared the agony of ever losing them. 

Such is the plight of liberty in the light of spectacular promises. It is only under the darkest of skies, when that light has all but turned to ash, that the value of liberty is once more remembered, but not before it is nearly forgotten and the chances of restoring it all but lost. 

All of this is sure to raise the question: why do people still regard socialism as progressive? That’s the subject of the next point.

As Winston Churchill stated, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” 

Recent history demonstrates the ease with which clever politicians have successfully attached the label "socialism" to several causes. When considered seriously, they have virtually nothing to do with socialism. For example, the topics of human rights, welfare, environmentalism, and the end of poverty and racial prejudice, are initiatives often associated with socialism. These causes, as advertised, come to form the pretext by which the people are made to relinquish their freedoms; however, they are generally unrelated, or merely incidental to, socialism, a kind of specious humbug designed to conceal its greater desire for economic control. As the French author Albert Camus once wrote, “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.” 

When it comes to tyrants, they are generally, at first, held in the good graces of the people, who mistaken congeniality and good-sounding intentions for good character and sound judgment; likewise, the people commit the mistake of assuming good intentions while ascribing to the tyrants the kind of charitable qualities that apply in their own everyday lives to the company they keep, but hardly ever to the realm of politics. 

Ultimately, the kinds of people who thirst for political power have precious little in common with "ordinary" folk. They live entirely different lives with radically different motives and priorities. They are hardly comparable to our friends and family, or any of the company we keep for that matter. From the politician's point of view, virtue and principle are hurdles to overcome. They are, in the view of tyrants, expendable in their pursuit of power. For them, these values matter only insofar as they make the tyrants relatable enough to keep the people under their control. For these reasons, as a matter of practice, the people are well-advised to remain skeptical of politicians and governments, not too eager to give them the benefit of the doubt, and certainly not too eager to view them through rose-colored glasses. It is essential to remember their objectives: power, influence and control. With this in mind, the people are less likely to be fooled by their sleight of hand and the various tricks they have up their sleeves. And believe me, they have plenty. 

Whether a form of regulation, a series of subsidies, or the construction of forced labor camps, socialism ultimately seeks to broaden its control; of course, it has achieved this objective diplomatically and with pretense, scarcely admitting of its desired ends in its promise of various benefits and so-called "social safety nets" along the way. Timothy Mellon, businessman and grandson of former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, aptly characterized these "safety nets" as "Slavery Redux," whereby Americans have been made "slaves of a new Master, Uncle Sam." Writing in his 2015 autobiography, Mellon described this arrangement as an exchange of votes for "freebies," all at the expense of freedom and honest, hardworking Americans: 

"For delivering their votes in the Federal Elections, they are awarded with yet more and more freebies: food stamps, cell phones, WIC payments, Obamacare, and on, and on, and on. The largess is funded by the hardworking folks, fewer and fewer in number, who are too honest or too proud to allow themselves to sink into this morass." 

This is the modern form of slavery in the Western world: a kind which subjects the slave to not just one master, but to a faceless bureaucracy and heartless political machine. Whereas socialists often like to condemn particular forms of slavery from the past, or at least they like to bring them up for their own political ends, they seek in the present (and into the future) to bind slaves to their ever-changing concept of the common good

Conveniently for them, the socialists willfully ignore the historical record of the nineteenth century, which pinpoints Leftism as the single greatest threat to liberty the world has ever known. Ignoring the horrors of forced labor across socialist states, they also ignore the fact that slavery is still ongoing throughout the world, that they are complicit in afflicting their own communities. Conveniently for them, under their system they are no longer regarded as slaves or serfs; instead they are regarded as taxpayers.

Ironically enough, while lamenting the evils of slavery in the past, they've failed to account for the fact that, as a percentage of productivity, the average slave up through the nineteenth century actually kept considerably more than the average taxpayer today. Moreover, the average slave of the past actually reserved the option to eventually buy his own freedom: indeed, many slaves became freemen in just this fashion. In the modern context, however, it’s virtually impossible for the average taxpayer to ever reclaim his freedom. He is met everywhere with superficial justifications for his continued enslavement, bound indefinitely to the consensus, the common good and the tax collectors who enforce their will. 

Whether for the layman, the intellectual or the politician, slavery has never been a question of morality, but rather about how close the slave ought to be to his master, and what ends his work ought to serve. Whether at the behest of a planter or a government, the matter is hardly about whether man ought to be in chains, but whether he should know who holds the keys. 

From this particular point of view, virtually every argument ever waged against slavery has amounted to form over substance. Whereas the politicians and the propagandists decry the indignities of the past, they are generally nowhere to be found on its contemporary forms. Instead they are found blaming and harassing businesses and employers for "exploiting" their employees, who are there, mind you, of their own will. 

This is precisely how socialism becomes popular: by appealing to the masses of the laborers, who, through the rhetoric, begin to resent their employers, whom they, conveniently enough, vastly outnumber. In this way, socialism gains steam because the lay and intellectual classes alike misinterpret or mischaracterize their jobs and their employers as standing between them and their wants and needs, as opposed to viewing them more appropriately as the means by which they are made sufficiently productive to afford and enjoy those goods. 

Nevertheless, as opposed to being honest about the present and the economic reality of scarcity, the politicians and the propagandists find it much easier to focus selectively on the past at the exclusion of the present, unless they can find a way to frame the present to fit with their agenda. I suppose it’s all too convenient for them to denounce the past; after all, there’s nothing they can do to change it, they don’t need to burden themselves with any actual work, and yet they get to hold their heads high as champions of the righteous cause. 

In this way, they feel like heroes without ever having done anything; while ignoring the indignities of their time, which have merely assumed fresh disguises; and while even condoning the very same institutions which have, in historical context, met with their unqualified disapproval. This implores us to examine the following question: why is it that, in the estimation of self-described socialists, financial slavery is preferable to agrarian slavery? It’s certainly not because it is less violent: after all, no fewer than one-hundred million lives were sacrificed on the altar of Leftism over the course of the nineteenth century alone. As a fellow author once put it, this makes Leftism the greatest catastrophe in human history.

What's more, their own protests against police brutality, still ongoing, suggest that they at least appreciate the kind of force required by government just to make this all work; yet it's clear that, even where the Leftists are aware of the evils attending too much government, in their view the problem isn't that the government has too much power, but that the power is in the wrong hands. Alas, this is the perspective of the establishment, the ones seeking to justify the public's interminable enslavement. Desperate for any plausible excuse, they concoct story after story, narrative upon narrative, and yet they are unable to answer the question: why is their variety of slavery preferable to the agrarian kind, and what makes either one justified?

It’s certainly not because slavery by way of public debt, central banking and complicated tax laws is any better or more ethical. Is it because agrarian slavery is just a more conspicuous form of slavery, as opposed to the convoluted system which has since replaced it? Perhaps, but it may also be the case that the socialists don’t condemn slavery at all; on the contrary, they merely prefer the kind of slavery which best serves them and their personal interests, which best escapes scrutiny by the unsuspecting slaves. After all, if the socialists had any genuine ethical concerns about slavery, they would at minimum offer their slaves the option of buying their freedom back; but dare to ask them what it might cost, and you’ll invariably be met with the incredulous looks of crooks and thieves in disbelief that you would even pose such a preposterous question. 

As for the Leftists, they’re never prepared to answer that question, because it’s neither slavery nor any ethical dilemma which concerns them; their motivations extend to any issue only so far as it serves to expand their power and influence over the establishment. Their judgment is the product not of moral righteousness, but of their own personal insecurities. In this particular case, they’re too concerned with sparing themselves the agony of having to witness other people succeeding in life and enjoying their freedom, their property and the product of their own labor. They're too concerned with their own lives and how they'd get what they want if not for the slaves doing the work. 

Ultimately, even if you present the socialists with a blank check in return for your freedom, they’ll consider it nothing more than a downpayment on further subjugation, yet another excuse to fleece the public. After all, they’ll claim that their slaves were wealthy enough to make the offer, and therefore wealthy enough to suffer even more at the hands of the tax collector. 

Under socialism, there is only the elusive target of nirvana, the empty promises of better tomorrows; yet, in the pursuit of those promises, the people are conned into relinquishing the right to pursue those aspects of life which make it all worthwhile. 

The socialists will stop at nothing to deprive the people of every last right, every last freedom, and every last penny. They will continue their onslaught until every last smile is wiped off the faces of their subjects, who by then are measured not by their wealth, but by their audacity to find any pleasure or personal enjoyment in their lives: these will invariably become the “privileged” people who, as the socialists will describe them, are taking life too lightly in the face of so many social indignities. In their estimation, every living day ought to be hell for those who don’t sympathize with the agenda, who haven’t suffered enough already, or who dare to speak out. Neither their work nor their lives, nor those of their heirs, will ever suffice to end the siege upon the public and its liberty. 

Whether war, central banking, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, affirmative action, gun control, environmental or consumer protection, subsidies for business, housing or education, tariffs, price controls, taxes on income, property, wealth, capital gains, inheritance, or any transaction, the means are always justified by their higher ends; and those means, offset in theory by their motivations, invariably transform any civilization into one massive forced labor camp, where freedom goes virtually extinct as its subjects, one after another, lose their freedom to choose the form, frequency and purpose of their labor, shortly after they’ve conceded the product thereof. 

In this way, the people are made to work for the benefit of the administration, the elite and the institutions erected around them; of course, they're made to work for select "victims" as well, namely the elderly, the "underserved" and the "most vulnerable" among us, but only insofar as this arrangement continues to serve the true interests and ulterior motives of the administration and the elite. Without fail, their interests are secured by their control over the people, where personal freedom stands, as they see it, only to impede their "progress" and their enjoyment of the spoils. 

For this reason, they invariably exploit every imaginable excuse, every social weakness and sensibility, to diminish the public liberty. In this way, the Leftists wrest away every last freedom in their unending crusade against every last sorrow, hardship and inequity inherent to life on their planet. Whatever their cause, it is always fleeting, enduring only so long as it serves to accomplish their true objective, and always changing to keep the public dazed and confused. After all, in the chaos brought upon them, the people are all the more likely to bicker among themselves as the masters of deceit continue to realize their plans. As the journalist H. L. Mencken once quipped, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

Likewise, that sole objective, control, is always concealed by claims which purport to advance the “general welfare” or “common good” of the people. This is, perhaps, the most insidious aspect of socialism: it is all too often appraised for its purported intentions instead of its predictable results. 

Even the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines Leftism on the basis of its intentions, describing it, first and foremost, as "the range of ideologies... that seek to achieve social equality and egalitarianism." While these intentions are part and parcel of Leftist propaganda, if nothing else constituting part of its advertised ambitions, the definition fails to describe the distinct characteristics and practical methods of Leftism, how you'll know it when you see it. After all, it's one thing to describe something as it purports to be, as it views itself or otherwise aspires to be, but it's another to describe it precisely as it is. The latter is the only reasonable definition of any system, object, or idea. Regrettably, by equating Leftism with its intentions, the people are led down the primrose path to their own demise. Appraised at first for its intentions, the people are ultimately doomed to the power of the state, the power necessary just to get things going; the new status quo eventually becoming its own justification into the future. 

Socialism then, born at once from popular intentions, sets into stone as convention or tradition, taking on a life of its own. Beyond the intentions and the lives of those who once advocated for it, which inevitably perish, a new generation invariably inherits the tools of its forbears. In this way, socialism outlives the banners, the celebrants, the intentions and the designs from which it was born, leaving newfound power in the hands of fallible human beings progressively ignorant to the original intentions and singularly motivated by personal or political gain. 

Even in the wake of its most abject failures, the Leftists never admit that government has become too powerful. Even where government has committed such heinous atrocities as genocide and assassination, they claim that the wrong people were in charge or that the government wasn't powerful enough to prevent the atrocities. 

As they see it, government can never be powerful enough; even where it proves powerful enough to destroy, in their estimation it should be rendered even more powerful in order to mitigate that destruction. All the while, of course, government becomes progressively more powerful, more uncontrollable and destructive upon assuming an ever wider scope of control. After all, its justifications are just that: justifications for more power and control. 

From their point of view, freedom is never a plausible alternative. It is here that we find the primary objective of every Leftist, which is to pry away every last freedom, every last penny, and every last right from the grasp of the people. All the while, their clever disguises and noblest of intentions keep the public from ever taking notice.

The intentions and the designs of socialism serve merely to advertise on its behalf; upon the acceptance of socialism within any civilization, the people are brought indefinitely under the authority of the new regime, which can be made to work for any period of time only by the powers of force and coercion. The socialists claim that the dictatorship will eventually wither away, but history decrees that it never withers away; that, on the contrary, the force and coercion necessary to get things started become progressively necessary to support a system that simply cannot be made to work. This is precisely why Leftist states are constantly mobilizing for war. 

Of necessity, Leftist regimes must, for their own survival, mobilize for war; this is an endless state of existence, a necessary condition for Leftism and one of its many features. Their policies lacking the abundance and scalability of the free market, they must wage endless wars for resources, keep their citizens from fleeing, and force them to work for the establishment. This often results in internal conflict, between the oppressed and the oppressors, and international wars between despots fighting over resources to fuel their own empires and eliminate their competition. In many cases, warring nations might even share in their ideologies, but they fight nonetheless, not necessarily over ideological differences, but to secure resources and their alliances which guarantee them a share into the future. In mobilizing for war, the regime additionally succeeds in distracting the public, rallying support around some manufactured cause, and engendering a warped sense of loyalty to the state. In developing their armies for this endeavor, they enjoy still another crucial advantage: more power over the people, and thus the equipment, logistics and manpower to lay siege upon them, to bring them into conformity, and to quell even the faintest hint of resistance.

This is where progressivism and progressivists reveal their true colors. Indeed, they’re “progressive” only in the amount of force they will ultimately require to take their experiment to the very end, with regard for neither the costs nor the casualties left in their wake. 

As for the leaders of this cohort, they're conveniently immune to the results. This is intentional, as they consistently neglect to define their objectives. 

Instead of the ends, they're constantly preoccupied with the means: in this case, any method whereby government can punish, ostracize, silence and steal from their opponents. They're not even remotely interested in practical results, but in getting what they want and expanding their influence. 

Even where there is good news, or otherwise true progress, facts and evidence which contradict their narrative, they stand always at the ready to move the goalposts and keep their followers in the fight. They're impervious to any news, facts or evidence which threatens to undermine or distract from their agenda. Despite its packaging, their agenda is neither progressive nor beneficial to the common good; on the contrary, it's one toward endless destruction. As it turns out, from their point of view, true progress, facts and evidence aren't good for business, and so they keep their followers hypnotized and ready to do their bidding. 

From the Leftist's point of view, it is essential not only to suppress the truth, but to inoculate the public to it; to make them as ignorant to the truth as fearful of it. As for the partisans, the novice is incredulous to reason, facts and evidence, whereas the expert is blind to them. This is out of necessity, as their political movement depends upon it. As economist and social theorist Thomas Sowell once put it, "The leaders of groups that are lagging are often themselves one of the biggest handicaps of those groups, because they have to depict the problems in ways that will allow them to play the role of rescuers." They have to keep the public convinced that they need rescuing, and that they can be rescued only by government. As opposed to rescuing the public, however, they, like Judas, lead them to slaughter.  

Conveniently for the socialists, by the time their experiment has irrevocably failed, they're either already dead or otherwise incredulous to the results and their part in all of it; in the latter case, they've already prepared their excuses ahead of time, readying their defense by blaming other factors that are, as it turns out, inseparable from any system careening toward socialism. 

As for its victims, they’re all too often more informed than educated; that is to say, under socialism they’re trained to know what to think instead of how to think. As it is, by the time all of this finally reaches a head, most of the people are simply too far removed from its origins to truly appreciate the sinister sequence of events which put all of this in motion. As such, in their failure to sound the alarm for all of posterity, they confess their ignorance in condemning their heirs to the same, and the cycle of statism continues unabated. 

Not only are their heirs unprepared to articulate the case for freedom, due to fear or incompetence, but they are wildly ill-equipped to physically defend themselves against the monster empowered by their parents to regiment every conceivable aspect of their lives. Whether in their silence, their acquiescence or their activism, the monster lays waste to their freedom, and that of their heirs, with the benefit of their approval, implied or otherwise. 

Under socialism, the individual is not only the single greatest threat to the establishment, but he’s a threat to himself if he lets his comrades in on his secret. Under socialism, the individual is best served by keeping his mouth shut or otherwise suppressing his own thoughts, lest he risk life or limb by suggesting that he might dare to think for himself. 

There is simply no place for an individual under socialism; as the socialist sees it, the individual stands only to threaten the new status quo. Under socialism he is met swiftly with force which reminds him of his place in society, and which keeps him from disturbing the gears of the great social machine.

Socialism is either a fantastic dream, a palatable lie, or a great deceit, but it is not and never will be progressive. Despite the compassionate packaging of socialism, it is effected and maintained only through force, democratic or otherwise. After all, the "democratic" means are just that: the means to sweeping social control. Once those means are secured, the administration remains democratic in name only, beyond reproach because of its stated intentions and the people who've come to depend on it, unconquerable due to its insurmountable power, unaccountable to the public whom it purports to represent, and yet unassailable for the assumed consensus which theoretically corroborates its very existence. 

Wherever "democracy" either dominates or condones oppression, it invariably prevails over a people devoid of principle, aptitude and ambition, or otherwise lacking the profound desire to truly live. Indeed, even in the presence of some semblance of the latter, it's ultimately in service to some ulterior motive. 

Oppression by consensus, implied or otherwise, is oppression all the same. Oppression by the designs of democracy is merely more insidious, serving to pit the public against each other instead of their rulers; serving to distribute the guilt such that no one person is accountable; serving to operate from the presumed approval of the masses, and to likewise enjoy the benefit of their conscience in continuing the oppression.  Ultimately, the risk of democracy is in the illusion of consensus, and in the legalization of plunder and suppression under its auspices. Indeed, this is one of the many advantages enjoyed by the rulers of any system stylized as a democracy: it keeps the public at bay and in their pockets, as they employ them to do their bidding and to fund every conceivable political agenda, even if that means suppressing the very people who seek to preserve the public liberty. 

Democracy destroys. It keeps the people busy fighting amongst each other, and it keeps them hopeful and believing that they're just one election away from redemption. As more and more people are seduced by the promises of democracy, the state wages every one of its efforts, however deplorable, with the help of its loyal benefactors who dutifully pay their tribute to escape the wrath of their rulers. 

As their rulers impose more obligations upon the public, and as they raise taxes and plunder the public treasury, they fortify their defenses against a public that might finally awaken to the con. Unfortunately, by this time the public's efforts to reclaim their liberty are met with an insurmountable force: not only a standing army more than prepared to quell any resistance, but their fellow man who is reluctant to join in the fight. 

By this time, that standing army will consist of familiar friends and family who've since developed a sense of duty to their rulers, and who are more interested in their jobs and their own personal welfare than that of the public, let alone posterity. What's more, unlike the resistance, that standing army will enjoy an endless supply of resources from taxpayers who will continue to fund their efforts, whether out of fear, loyalty, indifference, or acquiescence. 

This is the uphill battle faced by the resistance, the veritable Sons of Liberty who are left, on every occasion, to wage the desperate and often futile fight against tyranny. In the case of democracy, or any system so stylized, it is not only a fight against tyranny, but one against theory. This is precisely why Leftism is so insidious.

While it could plausibly be theorized that a democratic socialism might arise from the consensus of a well-intentioned constituency, their ranks predictably wane over time in favor of a constituency which prefers socialism not for its stated intentions, but for its expedience in fleecing their contemporaries and silencing their opponents. For these reasons and others, once this apparatus is sent in motion, it becomes virtually impossible to stop. As economist Milton Friedman warned in his 1984 work Tyranny of the Status Quo, "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."  

Ultimately, whatever the seemingly-virtuous or -noble ends, under socialism they are corrupted by the means. After all, the virtue of charity is found not in the regimentation of society, but in the voluntary will and compassion of individuals; the efficacy of charity is found there as well, as individuals are always better stewards of charity than any thoughtless system which seeks to replace them. As it turns out, through socialism, charity and compassion are gutted from society and replaced with the thoughtless and uncaring mechanics of tyranny, commonly corroborated on the surface by some agreeable "common good". 

As told in the fabled story of Horatio Bunce in his speech to Congressman David Crockett during the congressman’s reelection campaign: 


“It is not the amount that I complain of; it is the principle. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man. Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.”


As the story goes, Bunce then stressed the living contradiction of so many in Congress:


“Money with [Congressmen] is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”


It is in just this manner that a soft despotism envelops a people, and even elicits their acquiescence or applause in the process. Once the state has convinced enough people to tolerate, accept or even champion its initiatives, it comes to support itself and assume further control with the vote of the people, and then, by force of arms, it fills its treasury for its own benefit and, to a lesser extent, the benefit of its constituents.  


As Professor Alexander Tytler of the University of Edinburgh commented, in 1787, about the fall of the Athenian Republic some two thousand years earlier:


“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

In his 1947 work The Mainspring of Human Progress, Henry Grady Weaver described socialism in just this way, warning of the pernicious threat of dictatorship in the very designs of socialism: 

“In line with the teachings of Marx, the proponents admit the necessity but argue that it is merely a temporary measure — that the dictatorship will automatically ‘wither away’ just as soon as things get going. They contend that history decrees this withering away, but the facts do not bear out this theory. In all history, there is no evidence of any dictatorship ever withering away. Dictatorship always feeds on itself. The ruthless tactics necessary to get it started becoming increasingly ruthless in the efforts to conceal the errors and defects of a scheme that can’t be made to work.” 

Socialism can’t be made to work precisely because of three defects inherent to it. First is the incentive problem, the failure of socialism to incentivize production, saving and investment. This, in turn, stifles innovation and atrophies industry. This deficiency comes in the abandonment of private property and, just as importantly, the repurposing of labor and, above all, the meaning of life. In the face of these troubling themes, the French economist Frédéric Bastiat published his own criticisms in his 1850 treatise The Law

"And what part do persons play in all this? They are merely the machine that is set in motion. In fact, are they not merely considered to be the raw material of which the machine is made?"

Indeed, this begs of socialism an answer to these and other questions: What is the purpose of the individual? What is the meaning of life? Of course, these are questions that socialism universally fails to address; on the contrary, socialism hastens to assume that the individual and the family are unimportant, dispensable for the welfare of society or the utopia they can nearly imagine. In their lust for utopia, however, they fall short of approximating the very real risks and the predictable consequence of any such design which rejects the sovereignty of man. 

As Russian philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in his 1864 novel Notes from Underground, “Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in bliss so that nothing but bubbles would dance on the surface of his bliss, as on a sea... and even then every man, out of sheer ingratitude, sheer libel, would play you some loathsome trick. He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive rationality his fatal fantastic element... simply in order to prove to himself that men still are men and not piano keys.” 

After all, despite waxing poetic about designs for nirvana, all that man naturally desires is in his struggle for the benefit of himself and for that of his family. The socialist, or any collectivist by any other name, seeks to rewrite the human condition. In this, he seeks first to convince his unwitting subjects of another world order, something distinct from the natural course just described. Upon convincing his followers, he rearranges the ends they serve in their daily toil. Eventually, they turn on their newfound system, either for sport or upon finally recognizing the value of their former traditions. After all, once a civilization has compromised its values, there is precious little that can be done in the way of politics to reverse its decline without somehow compounding its problems.

As the German philosopher Frederic Nietzsche wrote in his 1901 work The Will to Power, “nihilism represents the ultimate logical conclusion of our great values and ideals — because we must experience nihilism before we can find out what value these ‘values’ really had.” 

Indeed, a disillusioned Marxist once wrote of his stint in Soviet Russia upon defecting from the United States in the fall of 1959. After nearly a year in the Soviet Union, he came to regard Russian Communism as yet another brand of slavery. He wrote the following in his diary near the end of summer in 1960:


“As my Russian improves, I become increasingly conscious of just what sort of society I live in. Mass gymnastics, compulsory after work meeting, usually political information meeting. Compulsory attendance at lectures and the sending of the entire shop collective (except me) to pick potatoes on a Sunday, at a state collective farm: A 'patriotic duty' to bring in the harvest. The opinions of the workers (unvoiced) are that it's a great pain in the neck.”


The same Marxist wrote in a letter dated January 4, 1961: 


“I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys. No places of recreation, except trade union dances. I have had enough.” 


Upon his return to the United States, he later delivered a speech on July 27, 1963, at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. In a speech before an audience of Jesuit priests and scholastics, he lamented the unspeakable crimes committed by the Soviets, "the imprisonment of their own peoples, the mass extermination so typical of Stalin, and the individual suppression and regimentation under Khrushchev." He continued further in lamenting "the deportations, the purposeful curtailment of diet in the consumer slighted population of Russia, the murder of history, the prostitution of art and culture." 


This is a familiar theme amongst those who've witnessed the depravity of Leftism. Indeed, a German soldier once wrote in his diary of his own experience on the Eastern Front during World War II: “The Soviet Russians live damned, miserable lives. Today I went inside the house of one of these collective farmers. There is no way to get rid of the stink one finds in these one-room shacks, not even with hours of ventilation.”


Regrettably, the Leftist, all too often consumed by designs of nirvana, can scarcely conceive of the harsher realities; incredulous to the misgivings of his opponents, he must first suffer the scourge of his own imaginings, but not before effecting the destruction of his country and their former traditions. After all, this destruction is an essential condition for the implementation of his wretched system. Whether through war or genocide, the socialist state must first endeavor through one or the other, or more likely both. Despite the impassioned talks of equality, the working class and the political elite never share equally in the suffering. As the aforementioned German soldier wrote in his diary, "the working population suffers most." The soldier continued with a question: "Am I too much of a materialist if I claim that the upper levels of the population can bear the loss of their ideational values much better than the working class can bear their material loss?" 

It is in just this way that the ideological struggle plays out, whereby the political elite manipulate the public like pawns in the most dangerous game; whereby the political elite, scarcely lacking any material need, enjoy the protection of the state, the spoils of war and the product of forced labor. 

The political elite have the distinct privilege of basking in the abstract, specifically because of the working class, who are left dealing in reality. Their ideological assertions, just as with the ideologies themselves, offer the ideologues a wide variety of benefits; not least among these benefits are camouflage, in the form of their stated intentions, and social capital by ingratiating themselves with the miserables, the dregs, or collectively the "victims" of society, the latter of whom are more than delighted to play along. After all, “victimhood” is the excuse for failure, the easy way to “win” the debate, to silence and blame their enemies; enemies of their own construction, mind you. It is an effort at justifying malice and violence in the stead of honest work. It is the glorification of misery, and the arming of the “victims” against the “evil-doers”. In other words, victimhood is power. 

As a result, the ideologues and the “victims” are validated through instant gratification in the form of praise, power and perceived righteousness; meanwhile, their followers enjoy the same in the form of splendid illusions. However, that instant gratification comes at a cost over the long run. In the short run, however, a confluence of factors sustain the illusions, not least of which — in view of the bigger picture — are cheap money and debt. 

As it turns out, cheap money and debt have the effect of making things appear more achievable. Whether jobs or goods or capital gains, it's an illusion whereby people are made to believe that they are easy to come by; in the splendor, they're inclined (by guilt or self-righteousness) to celebrate initiatives seeking to share the plenty. 

Little do they know how fleeting it is, and that such redistribution schemes encourage still more dependence while discouraging the very production that makes any of it possible (for any period of time). When the party is finally over and the bill comes due, they are quickly reminded of the cold, hard truth: as the author Robert Heinlein so famously put it in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch." As is always the case with public service, the cost is consistently higher than what's listed on the menu, and, in the case of deficit spending, it's a tab eventually paid with interest.

Indeed, the costs are ultimately borne out over years and generations, paid by those who knew little of the consequences; or, in the case of the unborn, those who never had any say in the matter. In any case, the costs are paid in various forms, economic and social, by those who can least afford them, who, in many cases are issued their own camouflage in war, either domestically or internationally, to keep the system going. In turn, their work serves to sustain their overlords, who, instead of social capital, turn to physical capital by any and all means, however vile or underhanded, never shying away from threats, imprisonment, or forced labor; rest assured, they're never short on excuses or empty promises. 

In the end, when their socialist experiment eventually implodes, it isn't the elite who suffer the most, but the people who did the fighting and labored tirelessly to keep the experiment going. Meanwhile, the wiser among us know to expect the disaster; to them it's not an experiment at all, but a performance with a predictable ending. Whether the historian or the social theorist who sounds the alarm, whether the propagandist or the aspiring despot in pursuit of absolute power, social destruction is a known and defining quality of Leftism; it is not only the ultimate end, but the means by which Leftism takes hold of a people. 

Socialism, or any collectivism for that matter, must first endeavor to denigrate and then destroy the existing power structure and every authority ruling over it. Whether a god or a set of traditions, the new order must abolish the old. For the purposes of socialism, this means the disintegration of the family and erasure of the individual. Karl Marx writes plainly of this in Fundamentals of a Critique of Political Economy: "Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand." 

According to Marx, the individual is nothing more than a member of an economic class, basically irrelevant without his society or the relations within which he stands. According to Marx, society is not a macrocosm of individuals nor the sum of individual decisions, but rather the expressed purpose of the individual, insofar as he is regarded as having any independent purpose or value at all. 

According to Marx, or broadly any collectivist, it is the interest of society, however defined, which ought to limit the purpose and thence the labors of the individual. After all, it is the individual who poses the greatest threat to this kind of system. As H. L. Mencken once wrote, “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”  

It is not by accident nor incident, but by deliberate design, that the individual and the family are marginalized under socialism. Contrary to the interests of the individual or the family, it is the society that decides what is just and good. 

This is precisely why the state seeks to preoccupy the people with endless work and designs of the common good. This is why the state seeks to undermine faith and family; to dumb the people down, and to bring them into conformity, through public schooling and political propaganda; to encourage them, through television sitcoms and sardonic rhetoric, to take their lives and their heirs less seriously. This is why the state seeks to maximize employment, celebrate equality and denounce greed; to busy parents with work as they condemn their children to "professionals" at daycare centers; to develop social welfare programs and entitlements to encourage individuals to live independent of their own families and their former traditions; and to, in turn, strip families of their inherent responsibilities and, thus, their influence over their own children. 

In many such cases, the people are pleased to finally be free of their obligations and the demands of their faith and former traditions; they come to regard those rigid rules and principles as the very source of their misery and perceived inequities. In still other cases, they pretend to take pleasure in this, in service to some political, business, or social interest. In whatever case, however, they are often blissfully unaware of the tradeoffs. After all, where the state has succeeded in convincing some segment of the population of its merits, or otherwise the soundness of its intentions, the people are made to believe that each person serves a particular role within society; that one's obligation is to neither faith nor family, but to nothing other than his society; and that there are "professionals" for every task, who are, in the case of family and childrearing, essentially interchangeable with the parents and grandparents, or otherwise assumed better qualified to raise and educate their children. 

In the planned disintegration of the family unit, women have even been conned into believing that they've been liberated from their domestic duties; yet, instead of laboring for the benefit of their own families, they now work for CEOs, stakeholders and conglomerates, and according to the politicians and political activists, they are all better off for it. According to them, this is progress.

This means that both parents are so busy working to subsist that their children are taken to daycare centers so that their parents can afford to shelter, clothe and feed them; this means that their children are brought under the care of "professionals" instead of keeping them in the care of the ones who are biologically predisposed to love and nurture them. It is a shame that so many parents have bought into this con, and that so many have been led to believe that they can both ignore nature and suppress their instincts without consequence. 

This is all by the designs of Leftism, which requires the dissolution of the family unit so that the people can be made to work for the common good, a clever euphemism for the political elites who define it.

This is not for the good of the people or the family, but for the benefit of the state as the people are made to serve, and even worship, its interests; and they are often left so busy and utterly desperate for assistance that they hardly think twice about their sacrifice. From the state's point of view, this has the further benefit of presenting government in a positive light as a savior for some and a benevolent influence for others; this, in turn, has the effect of gradually anointing the state as the unquestioned authority over nearly every aspect of life. 

Of course, by the time the government has succeeded in dismantling the family and convincing the public of their equality under the state, they will have already lost touch with the kind of love which might otherwise serve to defend their better interests; and they will have been left equally powerless against the state they've all come to support, condone, or to which they've even pledged their unconditional allegiance. 

In this way, where the state succeeds in dismantling the family, their faith and their traditions, it ultimately succeeds in replacing those institutions with its own; and in replacing those institutions, the state expects the full faith, love and devotion of the people. Once the state has achieved this end as the ultimate authority and the final arbiter on all things, tyranny is a foregone conclusion, and one that will be suffered to the bitter end. After all, where society has been stripped of love and family, there is nothing left to stand in the way of tyranny; and so the end will come only upon its disastrous collapse and some unspeakable suffering, not from the triumph of love, reason or sound judgment.

Indeed, where the state succeeds there is hardly even a whisper of dissension in their midst, where every individual fears social rejection or upsetting the establishment which claims to prioritize the common good. In this way, as Mencken put it, such a critic becomes "the most dangerous man to any government," the enemy of the state, and a convenient example for any other who might dare to raise any questions. 

From this and upon the dissolution of the family, the individual and the doctrine of their faith, Marx operates from the following premise: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Here, Marx makes no mention of free associations, ambitions, wants or desires; he makes no mention of any plausible method for determining ability or need; and he entirely omits the fact that one's abilities and needs are always subject to change as a consequence of circumstances and incentives. Above all, he neglects to describe the mechanism by which he seeks to realize his vision: force and coercion. In keeping with the countless other omissions, he avoids dealing with the question: why should any human being be held at gunpoint to perform any task at all just because he is believed to possess the ability? And why should anyone be entitled to hold another at gunpoint to meet a supposed needOf course, Marx pays no mind to any of this because an honest assessment, from his point of view, would merely undermine his cause. 

With this, and without any assessment of, or regard to, the purpose of life and the ambitions of man, Marx flatly surmises that society can be feasibly restructured in accordance with these subjective abilities and needs. In their rush to reject free enterprise and assume control over society, Marx and his fellow collectivists appoint themselves or their representatives to replace the knowledge of business and industry, as well as the calculated wisdom of the price system. This introduces the final two defects of socialism: the knowledge problem and the absence of prices. This brings us to the next and final point: the remedy. 

Finally, in freedom and capitalism we find the remedy to the contagion. By necessity we find our way toward progressively smaller and more local governance. 

One of the principal advantages of small and local governance is that it is more accountable to the people, by their ability to deter or snuff out even the slightest hint of tyranny. The people, not through government but through family and community, are the most dependable stewards and defenders of the public liberty. It is through their investment and sacrifice that liberty endures, and so it survives only where government is accountable; not to the whims of the public, but to the principles of limited government which, under the protection of the people, serve to defend them and their liberty against the temptations of tyrants. 

It is through honor, vigilance, and self-sacrifice for the sake of posterity, that we stand to enjoy freedom; and it is through freedom that we stand to enjoy the fruits of our land, labor and capital. This is the essence of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as it is the essence of capitalism. Ultimately, capitalism, the economic arrangement whereby people own their property and the product of their labor, resolves the defects suffered under socialism. 

Far from the alluring dream, socialism is a nightmare in theory and a living hell in practice. Contrary to liberty, the theories of socialism claim to give the power to the people; however, wherever it purports to give any power to the people, it is in theory, and it is in their theoretical power over government, not over their own lives. A far cry from liberty, it is an illusion imposed upon the public to convince them that they hold the power, that they can achieve fulfillment through government. 

Socialism, as a theoretical model, stands at odds not only against nature, reason and reality, but against the qualities that bring meaning and happiness to life. It is not only unethical and immoral, but ignorant to its record in history and practice. It is too often appraised for its intentions in theory, rather than its results in practice; but its results are all too predictable. 

Once understood, whether through critical thought or personal suffering, its defects invariably come to light. The key, however, is that the light keep shining on its failures, that the people never forget them, and that they reject every temptation to believe that this time is different. 

Far from progressive, socialism is a parasite, sucking all of the value and virtue out of any society it infects. While socialism systematically destroys a civilization, capitalism prescribes the antidote: it operates from the protections of life, liberty and property, and while its advantages are in these and their soundness in reason and abundance in practice, socialism defies them and advocates to place the means of production in the hands of the public. In this manner, property and capital tend to land in the hands of self-serving bureaucrats and politicians, and voters in theory, who personally stand to incur none of the direct costs and risks, instead defraying them collectively in such a manner which altogether conceals them from the public and the people assumed responsible for their management. 

Capitalism, on the other hand, advocates to place the means of production in the hands of their rightful owners. In this manner, property and capital tend to land in the hands of those who are most productive, who stand to personally incur the costs of their management, and mismanagement, who are thereby directly incentivized to proficiently manage their resources. As Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith, known colloquially as the father of modern economics, wrote in his 1776 magnum opus The Wealth of Nations, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect to eat our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." Wherever any society or movement seeks to disregard this veritable law of human action, wherever any such movement aims in futility to enforce equal economic outcomes, these incentives will assuredly vanish. While the socialists will have, by then, successfully obscured the costs attending their mismanagement, the people are sure to shoulder those costs and suffer those setbacks, while the elite, who rule over them and purportedly champion their cause, continue to enjoy the spoils of their political victory.  

Under capitalism, the individual and his liberty are restored, as well as his ownership over his land, labor and capital. In this, we find that self-ownership is also restored. After all, can one claim to truly own himself where he doesn’t even own his land or the product of his labor? 

Through the ownership of his land, labor and capital, incentive is also restored for the individual to work for himself and his family, precisely where that incentive naturally exists and belongs. As economist Milton Friedman put it, "Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property." 

Friedman also rightly described the market as a system guided not simply by the interests of individuals, but by those of families:

"The extent to which the market system has, in fact, encouraged people and enabled people to work hard and sacrifice, in what I must confess I often regard as an irrational way, [it is] for the benefit of their children."

Friedman continued:

"One of the most curious things to me... is that almost all people value the utility which their children will get from consumption higher than they value their own... and they scrimp and save in order to be able to leave something for their children."

This is precisely why it is essential that every civilization dignify the institution of family and the freedom for each to provide for itself. Any policy which seeks to reconfigure the system or redistribute the gains will invariably destroy that most powerful and "irrational" incentive to save and produce. Ultimately, the market system, as described, has the effect of maximizing incentives and thereby output, the latter benefitting not only the families themselves, but incidentally all of the people whose lives depend upon it. 

What's more, this system protects the rights of man while promoting a wider range of mobility. Indeed, in accordance with Say's law, that higher output means that opportunity is always on the rise. As the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say wrote in his 1803 work titled A Treatise of Political Economy, "A product is no sooner created, than it, from that instant, affords a market for other products to the full extent of its own value." Therefore, it may rightly be said that mobility and opportunity are symptomatic of capitalism, and that all three are synonymous with freedom.

Ultimately, the case for capitalism is found in ethics as well as utility. It is as efficient as it is honest. Capitalism not only accepts the forces which drive the individual to succeed, but it harnesses them. Unlike socialism, which intends to change the reasons that people work, capitalism accepts their nature and the wisdom of the market. Through this, capitalism resolves the knowledge and calculation problems, all through the price system, as well as the inputs and decisions of countless numbers of businessmen and industries that no politician could even dream of replacing. 

The beauty of capitalism is that the price system functions automatically, without any central authority requiring the knowledge or the wherewithal to coordinate land, labor and capital. Beyond the efficient coordination of resources, capitalism has expanded the reach and commerce of virtually all the countries of the world. Through prices and profits, it has succeeded in diminishing the influence of irrelevant factors and alerting business of failures in order to motivate change and redirect resources to more efficient and profitable uses. 

The purpose of the price system is not the elusive common good, but rather the coordination of resources at the consent of their owners; in this way, the price system advances the interests of the people while preserving their every right to their property and the product of their labor. While not its express objective, its fruits are plentiful in advancing what some might term the common good. The price system, however, achieves this end merely as a byproduct, not by express design, whereas the alternative system, predicated invariably on force, deception and coercion, achieves this end merely in theory, and at virtually unlimited expense. 

Whether it’s rising prices during an emergency or natural disaster, alerting industry of some desperate need, or it’s a failing, irrelevant or oversaturated industry, prices, profits and losses will afford workers and investors invaluable insight into the value and efficiency of their work. Under socialism, or any alternative system devoid of this benefit, the workers can only await judgment by the ruling class, who can’t possibly ever know enough about the changes that need to be made. 

On balance, the major differences between capitalism and socialism revolve around the role of the government and the nature of economics, which is to say the nature of man. Capitalism affords economic freedom, consumer choice, and economic growth. Socialism, anathema to freedom and irreverent to choice, advertises social welfare and strict controls over social, personal and business activity. 

The advantages of capitalism include consumer choice and economic mobility, which afford individuals choice in consumption and occupation, and this choice leads to more competition and better, more affordable products and services. Capitalism also affords workers the opportunity to save and invest, to hold a stake in life as in business, leaving them responsible for themselves and to enjoy the fruits and costs of their labor, as well as their risks. 

This contrasts with socialism, which dictates to subjects what will be produced and consumed, regardless of consumer wants and needs; with this, the regime dictates the very purpose of their existence. 

Of course, capitalism doesn’t singlehandedly solve all of the world’s problems; only individual people can aspire to do that. Capitalism is merely the most humane and practical means by which we can feasibly obtain the resources to solve as many of them as possible. What’s more, capitalism achieves this end while preserving the individual, his rights, and his choice in determining his own purpose in life.

The single greatest deficiency among the tenets of socialism is that which rejects the individual and presupposes an infinite and unbridled cooperation between people immune to their own self-interest. In this way, socialism seeks to achieve the most preposterous of outcomes, to radically transform the manner in which human beings work, exist and interact. 

In their haste to regiment society, the proponents of the collective predicate their world order on the cooperative nature of humans condemned, or otherwise expected, to work for the benefit of others whom they don’t even know. This ignores the true reason that people work, save and invest the fruits of their labor: not for the many, but for the few who comprise their homes, their families, and the other associations they elect to keep. Of course, whereas the people are first expected to work for the benefit of people whom they don't even know, under socialism they are ultimately condemned to this expectation.

Socialism, often concealed by grandiose designs of "equality" and the "general welfare", ignores that people within society are naturally competitive and focused on personal gain; indeed, the people are rightly focused on their own wants and needs, and those of their own families. They are the ones inherently responsible for those wants and needs, and they are the ones who can most effectively serve them. 

Contrary to the thinking of the socialist, the greater the scale, the greater the suffering. The greater the scale, the more force is required to keep the people quiet and working, and the less gratification there is in their labor. After all, they find gratification in their work by developing their own property, owning the product of their own labor, and in meeting the wants and needs of the people they knows and love. They cannot be made happy in service to the contrived wants or needs of society or any of the nebulous abstractions formulated atop the ivory tower. 

The truth is that socialism not only rejects reality, but at the same time denies the intangibles of love and happiness; it seeks to replace family and community with the dubious wants and needs of society. Through this arrangement, the state becomes not only the owner of all labor and capital, but the chief beneficiary; it thereby condemns its unfortunate subjects to share in a misery justified superficially by the "greater good" of society.

Capitalism, on the other hand, harnesses the greed inherent in all of us for the betterment of society, while socialism pretends it doesn't, or shouldn’t, exist. In rejecting greed, self-ownership, and self-determination, the socialist supports yet another form of oppression aptly termed slavery, granting the benefits of greed exclusively to a select elite. The modifying distinction between this form of slavery and the more familiar form is that socialism is shrouded by intellectual justifications and popular intentions. 

Regardless of intentions — the “common good” or otherwise — the effect of Leftism is to make people work for and dependent on the establishment. In many cases, even the people depending upon the establishment are working on its behalf, actively as ambassadors or passively as statistics, convincing some fraction of the true laborers that they’re morally obligated, and that there’s some good that comes of the scheme. In still other cases, some of the laborers and industrialists even come to depend on the establishment because of preferential treatment (i.e. subsidies, grants, protections, et cetera). Over time the number of people not benefitting, not on net but in some particular way, is eventually so small so as to be inconsequential; put another way, as the establishment grows larger and more powerful, there are fewer and fewer in the ranks of the honest and impartial, and progressively more who have been bought and paid for in one way or another. Let us not forget that this is the true nature of government: accountable in theory to the terms of its constitution, but in practice to interest groups, on the one hand, and, on the other, the people who aren't already compromised by a stake in the business of government. 

These forces wreak irrevocable havoc upon civilization, and their casualties are incalculable beyond the countless tens of millions sacrificed at the altar of Leftism over the course of the past century. In this way, socialism, at first a populist movement appealing to the trends and fashions of the hour, is tantamount to a series of childish rants taken too seriously; so seriously that they eventually come to rule the roost.

This has been the arc of civilization, from honor to outrage; from realism to whining; from the primitive and honest demands of reality to a state dominated by outrage and complaints, problems all too often manufactured and imagined in the abstract with the benefit of ample idle time, whether for the fruits of somebody else's labor or for the temporary comforts afforded them by debt; in any event, the costs are ultimately paid by their heirs who not only subsidize that idle time, but stand to suffer through that society they've inherited. As the economist Thomas Sowell once quipped, "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good." Unfortunately, much of this has been made possible by fiat currency and debt, tools used throughout history to fleece and manipulate the public. This is why the people are to remain always and everywhere alert to the impingements of government, however discreet and however well-intentioned. This is why it behooves the public to remain forever skeptical of democracy.

There’s a popular misconception around the developed world, and even, to a lesser extent, among undeveloped nations: the misconception is that there is virtue in democracy. Whether political or economic, there is this notion that democracy, or democratic process, provides a positive good in and of itself. However, when pressed to support their claims, if they’re even prepared to defend them, more often than not its proponents are full of trite, dogmatic, or euphemistic language. Of course, most of them believe that the merits of democracy are self-evident, but beneath the trite, dogmatic, and euphemistic language, we find the disturbing truth about democracy: between the lines of propaganda and deceit, the treasured myths and misconceptions, we find nothing more than another form of mob rule; every election serving, per Mencken, as "a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods." 

As a people, we are better off with whatever system succeeds in securing the jewel of the public liberty, not for a term or dynasty, but for all of posterity. For the proponents of democracy, they are hypnotized by empty promises, notions of equality, and so-called social justice. They often fancy themselves the will of the people, but in truth they are the angry mob laying siege to the towns and traditions of the silent majority; indoctrinating the youth and priming them to promote democracy for their own ends; hoping that their disease will metastasize to destroy every last cell of liberty, both at home and abroad. 


Through a swelling population spanning an increasingly vast area, and with so many of them abandoning their hometowns and routinely relocating, they devolve into a society of transients whereby precious few among them maintain any spiritual ties to the lands on which they reside. Unlike a tribe honoring its land and its ancestors, and establishing its roots ever deeper with every subsequent generation, the socialists come to treat the land like a public restroom or roadway. Always littered with trash or falling into disrepair, it’s the tragedy of the commons: overused and under-appreciated, their society gets stuck in a constant state of decay, which degrades their relationships, their quality of life, and the values that once brought peace, joy and meaning to their lives. Of course, all of this is quite predictable. After all, the people are just passing through, and so, as they see it, there’s nothing worth defending.


Fortunately, the antidote is near, not through democracy or society, but through virtue, family, liberty and the free market. While democracy claims to promote the public interest, the latter four are proven in both theory and practice; they are as good as a means as they are in producing outcomes. In fact, the record shows that, while free markets do not independently solve every problem, they tend to solve important ones over time; while they do not guarantee a standard of living, they afford the greatest good for the greatest number. Oddly enough, this is specifically because free markets and families are not democracies.


Contrary to the myths and misconceptions, free markets are not as much a democracy as they are a meritocracy. Indeed, this is an invaluable feature for any productive and sustainable economic system. After all, one of the failings of democracy is that it operates from talk and the consensus of unaccountable actors; a free market, on the other hand, functions through actual productivity and the inputs of accountable owners, managers, stakeholders and investors. As the old adage goes, in the short run the markets are a voting machine; in the long run they’re a weighing machine. As for talk, it doesn’t even show up on the scale. 

Apart from the good feelings often associated with the very mention of democracy, it’s no match for a free market. A free market operates from and incentivizes the productive use of land, labor, and capital, and no form of unbridled democratic process will ever match the efficiency of a sound monetary system and a market economy that together coordinate those resources between owners accountable to profits and losses; who, in assuming the risk, have every natural incentive to properly assess the risk and the prospects of any venture; and who, in managing that risk, stand, on aggregate and over time, to do the most good with those resources. The latter is an incidental byproduct of the free market, a positive utilitarian outcome which operates from a more important premise: respect for life, liberty, and property.

On the subject of free markets, they are not a panacea, but merely represent the most natural, honest and desirable of options, considering the alternatives. All economic and political affairs are a matter of tradeoffs; there are no solutions. The principal utilitarian advantage of a free market is that it inherently vets and regulates independent of any government body; it is regulated continuously in real time by countless inputs and eclectic economic preferences as expressed by the second. 


Human action is interminable, happening all the time and all around us. The free market is constantly being shaped and reshaped by it, minute by minute, moment to moment, not by a defined interval of some arbitrary term of office, and not through a limited number of options at a ballot box; the latter kept so secret that it is less than credible. So long as life, liberty, and property are protected under rule of law, a free market is self-regulating, and so long as the people share common values, among them faith, goodwill and respect for life, liberty, and property, the free market will generally, on aggregate and over time, produce the most optimal of outcomes: indeed, it will yield the most good for the most people. 


For this reason, multiculturalism and so-called social justice, combined with legislation demanding equal opportunity, has compromised many of the essential features of the free market. In a true free market where values are as important as prices, people are left free to associate and transact with any person of their choosing. Where they are forced to serve people and accommodate ideas of which they disapprove, or which are incompatible with their values, they are forced to serve people and advance ideas that are threatening to or incompatible with their tribe, community, society, etc. This is just one of the many ways that societies are reshaped, and certain people and cultures are targeted by the political machine, albeit discreetly. Indeed, this is just one of the many ways that cultures and customs are targeted for extermination: a subtle form of cultural genocide, becoming less subtle and more brazen over time.


A prime example of this is in housing, where landlords have declined applicants on the basis of credit and rental history, lifestyle preferences, and cultural incompatibility. Whether a member of the LGBTQIA+ cohort in a primarily-Christian community or even a white person in a primarily-black neighborhood — a noted experience in Greensboro, North Carolina — smart businessmen make decisions based on more than just price alone. However, in modern America, only certain people are afforded protections against this sort of discrimination: they are called the protected class


Contrary to its politicization, it's worth noting that discrimination is not inherently a bad word; while it can be exercised nefariously, people discriminate in virtually every decision they make, as it is not only a matter of preferences, but essential to survival. 


Now, the privileges enjoyed by the protected class may not appear to conflict with the price system, and yet they do. Now, this system whereby one particular class is protected at the exclusion of the others is just one means to the destruction of those other classes — and that destruction will come through the vestiges of a free market in a form of jujitsu that leverages the strength of the market against the protected class’s political enemies, in this case the heirs of the very people who built it and sacrificed to defend it. 


So, just as businessmen and consumers respond to prices, it is just as important that they promote virtue all the while. As George Washington once wrote, “Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people. The general government… can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy, or any despotic or oppressive form so long as there is any virtue in the body of the people.” Now, in addition to human rights, I would add the free market, the first being indispensable to the second. A free market can yield positive results, on aggregate and over time, only among a virtuous people. 


Now, this doesn’t mean that a free and virtuous people will not fail. Indeed, just as free people are free to commit mistakes or err in judgment, so too can any businessman, property owner, employee, or consumer. From a utilitarian perspective, the most important aspect of the free market is that it not only vets participants (or voters) on the basis of their value-add, but it automatically signals to business owners whether they are efficiently using and allocating resources. Industries and businesses will flourish and fail on this basis, yet, as odd as it may sound, that is an advantage of the free market. After all, if a business or industry is not efficiently using resources, or if, all else equal, a competitor has discovered or invented a better mousetrap, we are all better off in reallocating those resources where they are best utilized. 


This is a feature of the free market, not just because it is right and just, but because it frees up resources to be used where they can offer the most value. This means that, as opposed to governments and managed economies determining who gets what, free markets empower the people to make that determination on their own merits. It is in this way that free markets are the purest form of opportunity: they are dynamic and adaptable, meaning that power is limited, decentralized and impermanent, and they are therefore always subject to new buyers and sellers. 


Indeed, the power of the market is strictly limited, reshaped time and again by the people who comprise it. In this way, accountability is supersonic, whereas government moves at a snail's pace to remedy its failures, if it even gets around to doing it at all. One of the overlooked advantages of the free market is that its power is not of the coercive variety; it is more aptly termed influence or pricing power, as opposed to the case of government, whose powers are absolute. Just as essential, a free market respects private property, which, in the investment of one's labor and capital, is the entire essence of life and self-ownership. Indeed, insofar as any business fails to deliver value, the right to private property protects the individual's last resort and his ability to meet his needs and work for himself. 


Ultimately, in a free market we haven't a universal panacea, but rather the least threatening arrangement, and the most bountiful one to boot. After all, the most dangerous arrangement is that which confers power permanently and without question, or, in the more practical view, which systematically threatens life, liberty, property, and every last resort of the people in the defense and exercise of their rights.


Contrary to the characterization of a free market as a democracy or an unregulated free-for-all, it is the price system whereby votes are expressed and the system is kept accountable. Whereas votes are expressed per capita in a democracy, they are expressed by stake in a free market; whereas government regulations are tied to political interests, market regulations are tied to the the protections on private property and the daily decisions of the people. The latter is a far more reliable and efficient mechanism. 


Indeed, the price system is the single most efficient mechanism by which to coordinate land, labor, and capital, and it accomplishes this end without necessarily imposing upon the public liberty. Of course, this doesn’t mean that businessmen won’t make mistakes, but that they will personally suffer those losses and, all else equal, they will continue to accrue losses until they eventually run out of capital; the latter is especially prompt in an economy of market interest rates, as opposed to rates artificially set by a governing body assuming a monopoly over the money supply, as well as the instruments of force and coercion. 


This also does not mean that businessmen won’t engage in fraud, but that the free market, through improved vetting and information technology, will generally, over time, expose it. Ultimately, whether fraud, inferior goods or services, unethical business practices, or an inefficient allocation of resources, the price system will expose it. As the 1974 Nobel laureate Friedrich von Hayek put it, “The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.”  That task is accomplished through the price system, and through the aggregation of data through a decentralized web of inputs by individual actors pursuing their own interest; in this way, the free market has the brains of countless innovators and entrepreneurs, whereas government has the brains of the select few who couldn't cut it, who prefer to exercise their power instead of creating value.


Hayek put it best: 


“To the naive of mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.”


Indeed, it sounds almost paradoxical to conceive of order absent deliberate arrangement, but this is the case in nature through homeostasis, just as it is in the free market through prices. Indeed, this is supported not only by theoretical conjecture but by real results. Free markets are always changing and adapting to new information — new inputs, technologies, and incentives — and they consistently introduce innovations and efficiencies that, absent the price system, would be neither feasible nor sustainable. It is only because of the price system that the modern world enjoys such sophisticated economies of scale, and that the most consequential of business investments are even possible. 


Now, the free market is viable over the long run only through the continued vigilance of the people, who must stay wary of the interference of government: because of this inherent weakness, and because people have the tendency to get comfortable and complacent, the price system has not kept governments from exploiting, manipulating, or interfering in the market. Indeed, the price system has often been employed by governments to cleverly conceal their influence, but wherever the government imposes upon or interferes in the free market, it causes distortions in both prices and incentives; and so, wherever government interferes in this way, we have progressively less of a free market and more of a controlled economy, the latter benefiting initially from the extant product of a beleaguered free market. 


For example, the United States is, by virtually all accounts, less of a free market today than ever: it is driven not by capitalism, but by corporatism; so, if one measures the principles and the value of the free market, in theory, against the outcomes of the United States in practice, then he is sorely mistaken in this comparison. 


It is important to note that, in the United States, the most important price in the economy is set unilaterally by one committee: the single most important price in any economy is the rate of interest, the prime rate. Every price, and virtually every business and consumer decision, is based on or influenced by the price of capital. For this reason alone, the whole economic structure of the United States, as it currently exists, is strictly incompatible with a free market. It is through the means of control, whether through public debt, monetary or fiscal policy, tariffs, taxes, sanctions, prohibitions, embargoes, price controls, affirmative action, artificial barriers to entry, or a managed economy, that political forces threaten the free market; so, whether democracy or any other despotism, it is opposed to liberty. 


Only a state of liberty can sustain the life worth living, and only the free market can do the greatest good for the greatest number. Ultimately, a free market is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for liberty; and liberty is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a free market. It is not democracy which shapes the free market, but rather, as Adam Smith once famously put it, one's regard for his own self-interest, and that of his family. It is not through a vote at the ballot box, but through one's own productivity that he shapes the free market and provides for his family. Democracy, on the other hand, is all talk and no action, a death sentence for liberty and any free market as soon as voters discover that they can, as one Alexander Fraser Tytler put it, vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. 


So, while the free market functions from the premise that we need to produce before we consume, democracy operates from the premise that we can enjoy the same benefits by casting a vote. While we all seek to bring meaning to our lives, and to meet our wants and needs with as little work as possible, the free market enables the people to pursue that end through their work, whereas the proponents of democracy claim we can do this with a pen, or worse the sword. In still other cases, they use monetary policy, or debt.


In all courses of life, debt is a curious yet dangerous instrument: it can serve a person well, but it can just as easily ruin him. Whereas personal debt serves a vital function to meet needs in times of great exigency, the public debt is a scourge to be avoided everywhere and at all costs. 

Obscured by empty promises and delusions of grandeur, the public debt, as exercised historically and today, is little more than perpetual slavery: it is a debt-financed government powered exclusively by the exploits of theft, force and coercion. Where its promises are plenty, the costs to the public liberty are indefinite. 

Debt-financed government is insidious not only because it creates the illusion that the public can have something for nothing, but because it distorts the relationship between the public and their government; in this way, the government funded through debt is more disconnected from the public which it purports to represent, and it is thereby less sensitive to the limitations imposed by the people as their government imposes untold suffering on a public neither present in the negotiations nor represented by their government. 

In this way, a government becomes progressively more audacious and undeterred, seemingly unstoppable because of the creditors who temporarily let them off the hook. It is in this way that government is rendered beholden not to the public and their compact, but to the lenders who expect their compensation. Little do the people know that the outside investment and the issuance of debt are secured by their future labor, pledged by the coercive forces of government which stand to swoop in and steal from them, whether directly or discreetly, in order to repay its creditors or justify more of the same. 

It’s in this way that government, through its issuance of debt, seeks to expand its powers over the people, to subjugate the masses to maintain “full faith and credit” in their unit of account, a currency they’ve been thoroughly conditioned or outright forced to use in all of their economic affairs. 

Regrettably, in the course of ensuring repayment, government expands its powers to collect from the public, as well as its powers to intimidate them and quell any objections. So, in the course of carrying the public debt, government grows evermore tyrannical in order to service and repay it; and where it meets the faintest of objections against further debt, the institution is thoroughly prepared to overcome them. 

And so the public debt rises alongside the powers of government, hand in hand as a necessary complement to one another, forming a vicious cycle of perpetual debt slavery. Just as insidious, the debt-financed society leverages future generations to support itself and humor their delusions, condemning their heirs to honor their debts. In this way, the debt-financed society willfully surrenders its freedoms for some temporary enjoyment, leaving its heirs to suffer the costs; leaving its principled and disapproving heirs as enemies of the state. 

Those not privy to the mechanics of this exchange are untroubled by the implications; meanwhile, those who understand the mechanics are sufficiently encouraged to play along. It’s in this way that generations are broadly bought and paid for, paving the road to serfdom for their heirs as they bask in the glory of their unearned riches. 

By the time the public has been made abundantly aware of the scam, they’ve forfeited virtually all of the means to self-sufficiency and self-preservation. By this time, they too have become dependent on the structures built upon the precarious debt pyramid; they can hardly wait to forfeit every last measure of their freedom to even stand a chance of survival. After all, by this time their freedom will be all they’ve got left to sell, lest they journey into almost certain death in the remotest hopes of revolution. 

It is for these reasons, and still others, that the public debt is an abomination, a scourge to be avoided everywhere and at all costs, which in every case irrevocably plagues a people into utter ruin. Wherever any people are to allow for any measure of it, they ought to hasten to safely rid themselves of it in their time, so that their heirs may know peace, sovereignty and freedom in theirs. It is essential that they never forget the sanctity of liberty, that they reject every proposal and proclamation which seeks to impinge upon it and alter the nature of our associations. Far from social, socialism has nothing to do with the "greater good" of society, yet everything to do with the power of the state. Its stated intentions always belie the truth, but this has hardly ever been an obstacle for them, as they've been just as apathetic to the record of history. Indeed, for those at the controls, the latter serves only to remind them of just how effective their scheme can be; that is, just how effectively they can bring the people under their control.

Through any number of means, socialism ultimately enslaves the public to the “common good”; it eliminates choice, and with it quality; it fails to reward people for being entrepreneurial; and it denies people the unalienable rights with which Americans have long asserted that they are endowed. It struggles to innovate, as its subjects soon discover as they, like their counterparts of East Germany, inevitably flee to enjoy the enviable fruits of the freer and more innovative capitalistic society. 

Simply put, the freest society will always be the most desirable, and the capitalist economy is not merely the only form compatible with that society, but they are mutual preconditions to one another: freedom is a necessary condition to capitalism, just as capitalism is a necessary condition to freedom. 

As Henry Grady Weaver wrote in The Mainspring of Human Progress, “It is important to notice that trade — the exchange of material goods — is always an exercise of individual freedom. Production and trade are possible only to the extent that restraints upon personal freedom are absent.” 

Incidentally, the problem isn't just that socialism seeks to limit freedom, but that it must succeed in limiting freedom in order to endure; capitalism, on the other hand, operates exclusively from the protections of freedom, where one is free to enjoy freedom or otherwise free to leave. History shows that socialism, on the other hand, is a roach motel: once you've checked in, there's no checking out. 

In this, the risk of socialism is found not only in the threats posed to freedom, but in the risk of having no alternative. The debate, then, is hardly academic, but rather one about whether any people anywhere should be free on this earth; not free from want or need, as the sophists might frame it, but free from government and oppression, free to choose, to associate, to enjoy the fruits of one’s own labor, and to define the terms of one’s own life.

Comments

  1. Blisteringly frank and unemotional account of the slippery slope we are on. The promise to be free from the agony of someone else’s success is a wonderful description of why so many fall under this spell. It gives total relief from responsibility.

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