Written by Rj Harris
Libertarian Presidential Candidate 2012
With so many key conservative world leaders reading Hayek, and with Hayek himself not being able to confront socialism’s most insidious back-door entry points, those being the foot in the door safety net arguments, it is no wonder that the legacies of Thatcher and Reagan have descended into neo-conservative compassionate conservitivism which is little more than a softer and slower form of socialism. What is needed then and has been missing is the ability of all Libertarians to articulate the message of economic freedom to the emerging Liberty conscious constituency sans any allowance for socialism at the federal level beyond what the Founders allowed in through the Constitution. Therefore I propose that we all learn these following three points in defense of economic Liberty against socialism and be prepared to speak them forcefully and consistently whenever and wherever we may be called upon to do so:
1. Taking from one person to give to another under the auspices of charity, while altruistic, IS STILL theft and that action by a government is only accomplished under the presupposition that the labor of We the People, and the fruits which are bestowed by that labor, belong first and foremost to the government to be redistributed at the whim of that government. Of course this entire scheme has at its heart the insidious notion that while people think they are free because they are allowed to keep a portion of what they produce and make some of their own choices, in reality their “first fruits” being appropriated by the government proclaims for good and all that they are in fact involuntary servants to the state which is in direct violation of the 13th Amendment.
2. Even if state sanctioned theft for the purpose of social/individual welfare was not a moral evil and unconstitutional, governments have proven time and again that they have neither the requisite knowledge nor the level or altruism to efficiently distribute the stolen resources to those in real need. Moreover, when the state fails to husband this forced charity (taxes) to its greatest potential those patrons from which it was appropriated, the taxpayers, have nothing other than the long slow slog of political or judicial recourse to rectify the waste or graft which expends even more of their money to ends other than the supposed charity. Contrastingly, were those same patrons able to choose private charity services which engaged in similar wasteful behaviors to those of the government, that waste and graft could be immediately rectified simply by selecting a more proven efficient charity by the patrons themselves. Try doing this with the government and one will end up in jail or worse.
3. And finally in response to the very predictable socialist retort that people are inherently greedy and must therefore be forced by the state to provide charity through taxation we must be prepared to present the empirical TRUTH that despite the gross over-taxation of We the People there are more charities which exist today, husbanding more resources in the United States alone, than have ever existed in the history of the world. Based off of the economic prosperity which existed under the last vestiges of economic freedom, and lingered on until the last few decades, it can only be concluded that were it not for the greater and greater levels of forced charity through government taxation to provide social welfare, that the free market of charitable services would be even more robust than it has been of late. For how is it even possible for the People to donate to causes of their choosing when they have been taxed directly, or indirectly through deficit spending and inflationary policies, to the point of their own near total impoverishment?!
Thus, unless we are willing to continue allowing socialism and the insidious practice of involuntary servitude which follows in its wake to continue robbing We the People to our complete and utter impoverishment on a generational scale, then we must remain resolute and unwilling to concede the necessity of any socialism beyond that which the Constitution allows.
Helpful rebuttals to predictable and weak socialist retorts:
Roads are not forms of socialism as it has always been possible for them to be funded purely by those who use them. Moreover, while the Constitution allows for the appropriation for post roads nowhere does it preclude Private Enterprise from funding and building private roads for profit nor the federal government from paying for its need of post roads through user fees rather than taxes. The exchange of a valuable good or service for a fee is not a tax, it is commerce.
Similarly, courts may also be provisioned through user fees charged to their customers, the litigants. So again we have no need for socialism in our civil courts. In fact our Founders only conceded the need for socialism in the provision for the common Defense of the Lives, Liberty and Property of We the People and if we are successful in restoring Freedom and re-binding socialism back to its Constitutionally limited state this generation would have done more for the cause of human Liberty than any since our Founding.
Natural disasters are often used by socialists as their trump card when all of their other arguments fail. However, arguments to the inability of private markets to provide relief and recovery assistance are easily overcome by reiterating point thee above, by pointing out that the Republic suffered many natural disasters prior to the invention of FEMA and recovered from all of them through the use of charity, insurance or private investment. Moreover, it is a completely legitimate use of the National Guard to protect and secure domestic aid shipments and relief workers enroute or on-scene without the aid itself or workers labor having been purchased by the government. It is also completely legitimate to use National Guard Airlift or ground transports to deliver initial aid to U.S. civilian populations under direct threat of loss of life in the immediate aftermath of disaster as this falls under the constitutional protection of Life and Property. However, once the immediate threats to lives and property are thwarted, Private Enterprise is best positioned to continue with rebuilding efforts; all the federal aid provided to LA has not rebuilt New Orleans any faster nor any better than was San Francisco rebuilt after its great quake/fire by charity, insurers and private investors.
Fellow Patriots, do not be afraid to defend the virtues of Liberty against the FALSE claims that statecraft and socialism are required to provide safety nets which are most certainly more adequately provided either through charity, insurance or private investment. Meet rhetorical steel with steel and never be ashamed of standing up for your Freedom and Liberty in the face of socialism’s seductive assertions of security and safety which have yet to materialize in our lifetimes despite nearly a century of its proselytization.
One thought on “The Constitutional Libertarian’s Defense Against Progressive Socialism”
Instead of “conceding the need for socialism”, providing for the common defense is simply enabling government to do its main duty, protect its citizens rights. And in doing so, wouldn’t you say, as you did when discussing roads, that the constitutional provision does not preclude private action for defense, including militias and self-defense?
Neither Libertarianism, nor Constitutionalism, agree with Anarchy. But by defining a limited role for government, I am loathe to call any of government’s constitutional functions socialist.