Columnist Elizabeth Bruenig suggested Tuesday in The Washington Post that, “It’s time to give socialism a try.”
“Not to be confused for a totalitarian nostalgist, I would support a kind of socialism that would be democratic and aimed primarily at decommodifying labor, reducing the vast inequality brought about by capitalism, and breaking capital’s stranglehold over politics and culture,” she wrote.
Her piece appears to be based on the fundamental misconception that people in a capitalist society struggle to obtain their own individual piece of the economic pie.
While there may be but one “economic pie” in a socialist society, in capitalism, each person is given the freedom to create his own pie.
Turn of the century examples include Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, and Morgan — the giants who built America. But success stories aren’t limited to that era, where ruthlessness and cutthroat business practices were the norm.
Despite excessive taxation and crippling regulations, modern-day examples of American entrepreneurs abound.
Bill Gates envisioned a computer in every home and brought us Microsoft.
Steve Jobs came up with a better idea and created Apple.
Jeff Bezos believed books, and later other items, could be better sold online and founded Amazon.
And it’s not just the risk-takers who benefit — ordinary wage earners do also in the form of higher salaries and increased standards of living.
“The single greatest story of human achievement of the past 2,000 years is the dramatic rise in living standards of the past 200 years,” according to the American Enterprise Institute, “driven by innovative, entrepreneurial capitalism. Free enterprise. Economic freedom.”
Although Bruenig may bemoan the very notion of “commodifying labor,” like it or not, labor has always been a commodity.
Once that truth is accepted, one will realize that wage-earners can create and enlarge their own economic pies through experience, education, training, and work-ethic.
“Wall Street” character Gordon Gekko famously said in the 1987 film that “greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
Although greed may not be “good” or even attractive in a moral sense, any government that denies its existence does so at its own peril.
Witness California, which was considered an American Utopia during the 1960s, owing in large part to its own brand of socialism — a Robin Hood-like “take from the rich to give to the poor” mentality.
The Golden State’s goals sound much like what The Washington Post columnist had in mind when she wrote “... capitalism seems to be at odds with the harmonious, peaceful, stable liberalism of midcentury dreams.”
Sure, Californians pay excessive income, property and gasoline taxes, but it politicians argue that the benefits more than made up for them. Californians enjoyed low or no college tuition costs and liberal social service programs.
Life was good because everyone cared.
But instead of becoming an American Utopia, California achieved the worst quality of life of the 50 states, according to a U.S. News study.
Just within the last six years, homelessness skyrocketed 75 percent, and many lucky enough to have housing continue to struggle. One-third of Los Angeles’ renters pay half or more of their income on rent, according to a 2017 Harvard University report.
Income inequality, the very evil socialism is supposed to address, also spiked in California. Writing in a Newsweek opinion piece, Victor Davis Hanson observed that “in the Never-Never Land of Apple, Facebook, Google, Hollywood and the wine country, millions live in an idyllic paradise,” whereas those working the state’s interior mines, forests, oil and gas fields, and farms are strangled by state regulators.
The rules are typically codified by those “coastal utopians who have little idea where the gas for their imported cars comes from, or how the redwood is cut for their decks, or who grows the ingredients for their Mediterranean lunches of arugula, olive oil, and pasta.”
Socialism is nothing new in America. Upon their arrival in the New World, the Pilgrims reached the brink of extermination as a result dabbling in it. When an economy is based upon “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” human nature dictates that each will need more than they produce.
Then they switched to a free market system, where everyone was given a plot of land and told they could keep whatever they produced.
"This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious," Governor William Bradford reported. For example, "much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been" and production increased. "Women," for example, "went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn."
In response to then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, opined, “America is already great.”
Apart from the fact that America has unquestionably declined in the last half-century, her response illustrates the difference between a socialist and a capitalist.
A socialist would say, “leave it alone — it’s fine the way it is.”
A capitalist would say, “I can do it better.”
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.