Socialism is the philosophical belief that if designed well enough and run by people who are intelligent and benevolent enough that a strong central planning authority (Government) can make everyone equal in outcome. What it ends up doing is turning a society of individual humans into an ant farm where only the most rich and powerful have any freedom at all and the rest of us are just drones toiling away so that the political upper class can benefit. I have shown everyone what this looks like with my Profiles In Communist Tyranny series. It is what has happened each and every single time to varying degrees that Centralist Statist Policies have been tried.
Do you exist to live in servitude for someone else, or do you believe your life is your own? If we are merely subjects of the government, and are at their mercy for our food, housing, health, and well being, then they are our Masters and our Rulers. There is another way of looking at it, though. This position would be that we are Free, that our lives are our own, and that We create government to regulate how we deal with other free men and women. This is equality under the law, or Rule of Law and is opposite of the Rule of Kings, or Rule by Decree. What this would then mean is that you do not have a “right” to any of the “entitlements” that the government creates because the government cannot first give you anything without first taking something away from you (or your neighbor).
This is where the theory that “they Govern us with something that we have not consented to give them” comes into play. I refuse to turn my health and my life over to Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid, because they do not OWN me.
Liberty is the concept that an individual has the right to act according to his or her own free Will. Either you have Free Will and you are a Free Man or Woman or you are a Slave, born into servitude to serve your political masters. That is really the basis of the entire debate. The Stoics held that no one was a slave by their nature; slavery was an external condition in opposition to the internal freedom of the mind:
“It is a mistake to imagine that slavery pervades a man's whole being; the better part of him is exempt from it: the body indeed is subjected and in the power of a master, but the mind is independent, and indeed is so free and wild, that it cannot be restrained even by this prison of the body, wherein it is confined.”
Tyranny is the normal result of one group of people attempting to control another group of people. Only beginning in the United States at our founding was the modern experiment begun to see if free men acting in the best interests of themselves and their families could prosper and govern themselves without devolving into tyranny.
A man (or woman) has a right to ownership over his Life and also his Property, because he has invested time (i.e. finite part of his life) in it (his property) and thereby made it an extension of his life. For more on this concept read my “Time to Give Something Back” post.
A man or (woman) is entitled to Liberty by virtue that he is Free, Liberty at its most basic and easily understood definition in our modern language is: “leave me alone” or , “Let me do what it is that I want to do.” The other main component of liberty is to do whatever it is that you want to do and to be “Free from Coercion” Our Liberties should only be restrained when they begin to encroach on the Liberty or “rights” of others. In our society today we are “coerced” into doing all manner of ridiculous things that do not affect another person’s liberty in any direct or meaningful way.
There are two types of Liberty: positive liberty and negative liberty. A negative liberty is one in which an individual is protected from tyranny and the arbitrary exercise of authority. A positive Liberty refers to having the means or opportunity, rather than the lack of restraint, to do things. Positive liberties are, or SHOULD BE, given to individuals. Negative liberties are given to authorities to limit their power to inflict Tyranny on individuals.
Social-Commun-ists detest this concept. Their most common argument is that the preservation of negative liberty requires positive action on the part of the government or society to prevent some individuals from taking away the liberty of others. (preposterous)
“If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.”
This underscores modern politicians distorted view on what a negative liberty is. Most ancient legal codes saw negative liberty as protecting the less fortunate from harassment or imposition. Ancient legal codes, such as the Code of Hammurabi, forbade compulsion in economic matters, like the sale of land, and made it clear that when a rich man murders a poor one, it is still murder. The ancients understood that the natural state of government was Tyranny.
A socialist defines Liberty as being connected to the equitable distribution of wealth, in their view, without relatively equality and fairness of outcome, power and influence is concentrated into a small portion of the population which to them inevitably results in the the subjugation of the poor. Thus, Freedom and Material Equality are seen as inseparably connected. On the other hand, the Constitutional Libertarian argues that wealth cannot be evenly distributed without force being used against individuals which reduces individual liberty. Further, a Statist view such as above only stirs up envy and does little to motivate a free man or woman from striving to succeed and better their position in life. Lastly, as stated in my “C’mon Time to Give Something Back” post, the wealthy rarely get that way by treachery.
What makes a person Happy is different for every person. And note that we are not guaranteed happiness we are guaranteed the Pursuit of Happiness, the Pursuit. To pursue that which can make us happy. Now what creates happiness for one may not for another, but we can reach agreement on what we most fear, namely, ruination or violent death at the hands of another. So things that are in direct contradiction to our Freedom to Pursue Happiness are things that we are to be protected from. That is the legitimate function of Government. To remove roadblocks and protect us in our personal quest to PURSUE happiness. Not to give us that which makes us happy.