SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Capitalism Magazine: Socialism is Evil by Walter Williams

Capitalism Magazine: Socialism is Evil by Walter Williams

Dr. Walter E. Williams is one of America's top economists. Too few seem to know of Dr. Williams, and there are two reasons for this. First, he is pro-CAPITALISM. If that weren't enough to keep him out of the media, consider the fact that he is black. In the dominant intellectual culture, including the media, blacks are supposed to be socialists, thus pro-Democrat Party. Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and growing numbers of highly accomplished, independent minded blacks show that "ain't" so, but the media are not listening. Dr. Williams appears regularly in Captalism Magazine, and he always has something to say, including today.

He opens his article:

What is socialism? We miss the boat if we say it's the agenda of left-wingers and Democrats.



Then, he drops the hammer:

It's not just left-wingers and Democrats who call for and admire socialism but right-wingers and Republicans as well.



Republicans and right-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to farmers, banks, airlines and other failing businesses. Democrats and left-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to poor people, cities and artists. Both agree on taking one American's earnings to give to another; they simply differ on the recipients. This kind of congressional activity constitutes at least two-thirds of the federal budget.



All of the terms such as liberal, conservative, left-wing, right-wing, Republican, Democrat have limited usefulness because they are so indistinct. "Socialism" versus "capitalism", now there is a distinction that sweeps everybody into one pile or another. Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, brilliantly wrote of this fundamental distinction. Under socialism, he put fascism, communism, and the many flavors of "socialism." His famous book, Socialism, published in the 1920s, had it been read and heeded, might well have spared a world war and heaps of statist inspired agony at home and abroad.



Dr. Williams, in his article, addresses the philosophical issues as well as the economic:

Regardless of the purpose, such behavior is immoral. It's a reduced form of slavery. After all, what is the essence of slavery? It's the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person. When Congress, through the tax code, takes the earnings of one person and turns around to give it to another person in the forms of prescription drugs, Social Security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts, it is forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another.

He takes the argument right to its ethical heart:

Can a moral case be made for taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? I think not. That's why socialism is evil. It uses evil means (coercion) to achieve what are seen as good ends (helping people). We might also note that an act that is inherently evil does not become moral simply because there's a majority consensus.


Finally, he deals with the moral confusion today over government taking from some to provide for others.

An argument against legalized theft should not be construed as an argument against helping one's fellow man in need. Charity is a noble instinct; theft, legal or illegal, is despicable. Or, put another way: Reaching into one's own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person's pocket to assist one's fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.

This article and its arguments remains eternally fresh as long as we have looters of the right and left buying off voters with your money and mine.





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