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Apr 6, 2010

The Thesis of Capitalism by Ryan Sorba

Over the course of the last century, the government of the United States has been progressively abandoning the road of economic freedom, without which, personal and political freedom, have never existed in the past.

Though we have been warned by some of the greatest political thinkers of the 19th century, like De Tocqueville and Lord Acton, that socialism means slavery, and that the, "free market is the only mechanism that has ever been discovered for achieving participatory democracy," our President and Congress have failed to understand and to take this fact, upon which our liberty stands, into account.

A few months ago, the federal government owned or controlled businesses that generate about one-third of all U.S. economic activity…numerous banks, the largest insurance company in the United States—A.I.G., Freddie Mac and Fannie May. Today the Federal Government owns over 50 percent of all home mortgages and the entire direct student loan industry. They control General Motors.

Now, with the passage of the health care bill, which makes up about 18 percent of the total U.S. economy, the government’s total involvement in the private sector is more than 50 percent.

How gradually, and by almost imperceptible steps have we been desensitized to the process by which the government is seizing control of our lives? The water is boiling, and yet we, the frogs, are still unwilling to leap, and what, at every stage of this process has appeared to us a mere difference of degree has now in its cumulative effect brought about a substantial transformation in our national spirit.

This transformation is highlighted starkly by the indifferent attitude of so many today regarding government control. Many of our fellow Americans are now eager to exchange their own liberty for a government hand out, because they have never experienced what it is really like to be the successful master of their own destiny. How could they have? Government intrusion makes it so difficult and complex to be successful in business these days that it takes a practical entrepreneurial superman to hurdle their many road blocks and for a lifetime.

Nevertheless, the change that has occurred in those willing to trade their liberty for a handout amounts to a complete reversal and entire abandonment of the do-it-yourself tradition which has over the centuries led to the independence and even dominance of Western Civilization.

A specter is haunting the United States...the specter of socialism, the chief enemy of liberty in the world today.

The chief defender of liberty in the world today…is called representative democracy, properly defined.

As noted by Austrian economist F.A. Hayek, "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom. Socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man. Socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number." Democracy and socialism have nothing in common…except two words: equality and freedom.

But notice the differences!

While democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in servitude. The error of the socialist lays not in the fact that he values equality, but rather that he misunderstands it. He thinks socialistic equality will bring about a “new kind of freedom.” He thinks this because his predecessors have succeeded in subtly changing the meaning of the word, freedom. They did it because they know man’s craving for freedom, is the strongest of all his political motives. But the socialists “freedom” is a false prophet. A wolf, in sheep’s clothing.

To all the great apostles of true political freedom, the word has always meant freedom from coercion, freedom from the arbitrary power of other men, release from the ties that leave a man no choice but obedience to the orders of a superior to whom he was legally attached. The socialist’s freedom, however, in the words of Hayek, "was to be a 'freedom from necessity,' release from the compulsion of the circumstances which inevitably limit the range of choice for all of us. Freedom in this sense, of course, is merely another name for 'power,' or 'wealth.' The socialist confuses 'freedom' with 'power,' he confuses liberty for the 'effective power to do specific things.'” Today, there can be no doubt that the promise of greater freedom has become one of the most effective weapons of socialist propaganda, but the height of the tragedy lies in the fact that government programs mean a retreat from freedom, to a coercive organization of affairs, to collectivism, and a coercive classless society. Though the socialist promises himself a more abundant life, in practice he becomes a slave……and, indeed……right now we are seeing a new form of slavery, rising, gradually, and by almost imperceptible steps, before our very eyes.

What then, is our course?

Must liberty parish?

Is this how freedom dies, withering away, in a quiet, deadening accommodation with the weeds of totalitarian evil?

This great nation asks for action, and action now. Action is imperative if America is to survive as a free nation. F.A. Hayek once remarked that, “The battle for freedom must be won over and over again…” Pre-eminent conservative historian George H. Nash later added that, “each new struggle will be decided in the minds of the rising generation—and within that generation, substantially, by the minority who have the gift of reason, the groping, soon to be masters of society.”

From this perspective then, one path that leads to victory over socialism seems clear……and that path runs right through the hearts and minds of the rising generation…“The Reagan Generation!” those born roughly between 1976 and 1992.

Ronald Reagan defeated communism. Now it is up to “Reagan’s Children” to defeat communism’s ugly step son……socialism...

In the further words of Hayek, "The socialists in all parties……must now be either persuaded or defeated, if they and we are to remain free men."

If you are a member of the “Reagan Generation,” get active, and get extreme. Don't be afraid. Barry Goldwater once wrote that, “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice; and moderation in pursuit of justice…is no virtue.” In the words of Bill Buckley, “Stand athwart history,” all alone if you must, and in a room full of those who you may have once thought to be your closest allies, and yell, “Stop!” It is for their own good. Begin on your College Campus...and end in Congress. Push back the socialists and their allies wherever they exist, all the way there.

To some generations much is given. Of other generations, much is expected. The Reagan Generation has a rendezvous with destiny…and while our path is uncertain our final outcome has been made clear by history……

The fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism behind the Iron Curtain, and the changing character of China, are each a testament to what our final outcome too…shall be. Socialism, like communism, is a failure. Capitalism, a success.

Did West and East Germany not provide us with an almost perfectly controlled scientific experiment? In the Middle East, Israel and Egypt offer the same contrast. These are but a few of the remarkable and dramatic confirmations of the, Thesis of Capitalism.

234 years ago our fathers, by way of revolution, brought forth upon this continent a new nation…conceived in liberty… in the revolutionary belief that our liberty comes not from the generosity of the state……but from the hands of God……We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that revolution. In the words of J.F.K., "We dare not witness or permit the slow undoing of that liberty, to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today."