by Tom Rhodes, 7/7/2011
Capitalism is nothing more than a subcategory of freedom – the freedom to trade one's goods and services with others without interference from government. When somebody talks about the "evils of capitalism" they are saying that freedom is evil. The idea that people should not be allowed to trade their property (goods) and labor (services) to others without the government interfering is not freedom.
The government’s sole responsibility concerning commerce in a free society should be to protect individual’s rights. This has traditionally been done by the government providing impartial judges and courts that allow individuals to sue other individuals when they believe that individual has not honored the contracted terms of their free exchange of property and/or labor.
Self-rule and freedom is fleeting. Freedom is not the natural condition for man. History has shown that freedom has occasionally existed for short periods of time but has never lasted long. The natural condition is for a few powerful elite to live in relative ease with armies to back them up through force or threat of force to control the resources and people with the vast majority living in poverty. The conditions today of the people living in Zimbabwe, Somalia or Afghanistan are more in line with historic norms for all of mankind than the conditions seen by the average man in the USA over the past two hundred years. The Idea of freedom and liberty for all is not easy to keep, or implement. Even the first 87 years of US history with legal slavery, is proof enough of that. As the saying goes “Freedom is not Free.” It has many costs.
One of the costs of freedom is uncertainty, as people are free to trade or not trade, hire or not hire, purchase or not purchase, work or not work. When people are free, they can compete, when there is competition then some people win and some lose. That means your business and hard work may or may not succeed, and if it fails you may lose your livelihood and cost those who work for you their livelihoods. This cost of freedom, uncertainty, is a high cost that some are not willing to pay. Many people will trade their freedom for certainty. They may not be as well off as they could be free, but the certainty of food, shelter, etc. is worth more to them than their freedom.
Some people with "vision" use this as a means to undermine freedom and make themselves the ruling elite. They promise that if you give me control, I will take away the uncertainty and you will be taken care of no matter what happens in life. These same people when in power, actively work to limit competition. Granting favors to companies and individual that help them keep their power, and making it harder for new people to enter into competing business.
Our country was made great by having a government that protected the natural rights, including property rights of all individuals equally. This did not result in equal outcomes as some through timing, hard work, competition, and natural ability do better than others. Overall by protecting freedom we did produce the most prosperous and generous society the world has ever seen. The very nature of our country was a slap in the face to the ruling elite across the world. Over the past century, those who would rule and control who is wealthy and who isn’t have slowly corrupted our country and the freedom we had is ebbing away. For our first 140 or so years, as a free country, although some people gained great wealth the difference between the top and bottom in the USA was not so great. As we gave away our freedom and embraced socialist ideas such as “from each according to his ability, to each according to their need” we have seen a greater disparity between rich and poor. By using the idea of certainty in our needs instead of freedom to pursue our needs and desires, we have allowed once again a few to concentrate power and wealth amongst themselves.
Once the idea that people have a right to the goods and services of another that they need, not just the right to trade for those goods and services freely, and that some ruling elite has the right to use force to make it so, we accepted the end of freedom and are once again on the path to subjugation. The idea that charity is not charity but a right is perverted. Nobody has the right to the labor or justly acquired property of another. Ideas such as the ruling elite have the authority to “spread the wealth” are anti-freedom. Once we accept the fact that a few elites have the right to the product of all risk and labor of the people (as measured by income) and use it as they see fit (providing for themselves and others in society) we are once again serfs, not free men. Although they allow people to keep a portion of their labor, the idea is that the government owns all your labor and determines what portion you may keep for yourself. This is no different than feudal serfdom or slavery.
This is not to say that free men don’t have a duty to pay taxes. For most if its life our Government survived on tariffs, user fees, postage, and other taxes. Direct taxation of labor was unconstitutional. There are problems collecting these kinds of taxes. One is the people see the tax directly so are conscious of what the government is taking. Another is that if the people feel a tax is unjust or usurious, not only do they change their vote, but find a means to avoid the tax, again adding a layer of uncertainty to government revenue. Another is that that if people choose to live frugally then the government revenue is decreased, and so revenue was uncertain. Demonstrating again a cost of freedom is uncertainty. By taxing labor (income), regardless of how a person chooses to live, or what government services he chooses to use, the government not the people is in charge and has control. The aristocracy finds this much easier to manage than being at the will and whim of the people.
Freedom in the USA is fleeting; the police no longer serve and protect the people, but are enforcers of arbitrary wishes of the ruling elite who pay them; no longer do judges serve as impartial arbiters of justice, both Actus Reus Versus Mens Rea are legal concepts our ruling elite no longer consider; Our government lays claim ownership of our real property and labor, you only rent your property and do not own it, and the government only allows you to keep that portion of your earnings they grant you. You are no longer free to trade your property and labor to others without government interference.
How are we now any different than feudal serfs, other than we vote for our aristocracy? A person no longer owns property, they rent it from the elected aristocracy, if the aristocracy thinks it can get more rent from somebody else, they will kick you out and give it to another. The aristocracy is your overseer and claims first right to your labor, they get your income first, and we serfs are allowed to keep that portion of our labor they allow. If they were truly taxing our income then you’d get a tax bill on a regular basis and pay your taxes. That doesn’t happen because the aristocracy doesn’t trust the people, as the people would revolt in mass if they had to actually pay taxes, so the aristocracy take our income before we ever see it and only allow us to keep a portion of it.
If the poor schlep making $24K working two jobs was forced to write a $1000 check every three months then file in April to get some of it back, we’d see a lot smaller government in a short time. If taxes weren’t reasonable the average citizen would non-violently revolt by simply not sending in his taxes. If a mere 5% of the people simply refused to pay taxes (that’s over 15 Million People) what could the government do? They couldn’t bring that many people up on charges, have a jury trial, and put them in jail. It would so overwhelm the government as to cripple it with both a loss of revenue and an overloaded court system. Knowing this the ruling elite slowly changed the system so that the average Joe only get’s what the government determines he should, and is none the wiser.
The aristocracy has declared that they have first right to all labor and by not taxing the least productive serfs they have purchased votes to maintain their aristocratic positions. They use the tried and true method of “Bread and Circuses” to keep a large part of the masses in compliance. Of course they keep rules in place that don’t allow for people without power to compete with those the aristocracy favors, and generously reward those whom support their power.
The normal condition for man is for a few ruling elite to wield power and force over the vast majority of people who live in poverty. The USA with its notions of freedom and self-rule will not last, freedom never has. The aristocracy will drive the country into financial ruin to gain power. Their goals are not prosperity, freedom, and independence for all, but the re-concentration of power into the hands of a few. We are seeing huge crushing attacks on freedom, like the patriot act and its renewal. I hope I’m wrong but if I’m right we will soon see more limits on free speech and assembly, watch for stricter controls of the internet, specifically YouTube, blogs, and who can report news. If I’m right we will see attacks on independent media, and attempts to control all news, and the exposure to the infringement of our freedoms. If I’m right we will see appeals to the UN or other International bodies to have greater authority than our Constitution. If I’m right we will see the aristocracy try to disarm the people as they have in Europe and other far less free societies. Project “Gunrunner” is just the tip if the iceberg for the aristocracy to try and find justification to disarm the serfs. Once disarmed the march back towards serfdom is inevitable. Already they have demonized weapons, and are trying to change the rationale behind the Second Amendment to exclude the idea that it was included not for hunting or self protection from criminals, but as a means for the people to be armed enough to stop a tyrannical government.
They have already convinced a significant portion of the population that they have a right to the goods and services of others without having to pay for them. In fact the aristocracy has convinced a significant portion of the population that their mere existence “entitles” them to the goods and services of others. Once the idea that individuals do not have rights to personal property and labor, and the idea that the aristocracy can take away the uncertainty that accompanies freedom and make everybody’s life secure by controlling the distributing all property and labor as they see fit, freedom is no longer valued. In fact freedom is considered selfish and evil, because if people are free and have individual rights, then the masses don’t have the right to property and services they haven’t earned.
Our founding fathers started with a Declaration of Independence, not the declaration to “spread the wealth.” They used words like Freedom, Independence and Liberty. Each of which refers to a dearth of undue restrictions and an opportunity to implement one's rights and powers. Freedom emphasizes the opportunity given for the implementation of one's rights, powers, desires, or the like: freedom of speech or conscience; freedom of movement. Independence implies not only lack of restrictions but also the ability to stand alone, unsustained by anything else: Independence of thought promotes invention and discovery. This of course carries the implication that others cannot be forced to sustain you should you fail. Capitalism is nothing more than a subcategory of freedom - the freedom to produce, trade, and consume any goods and services acquired without the use of force, fraud or theft. Freedom, Independence and Liberty are embodied in the rule of law, property rights and freedom of contract, and characterized by external and internal openness of the markets, the protection of property rights and freedom of economic initiative. The ruling elite in Washington are now compromising all that has embodied Freedom in the USA.