A a recent article that Charles Moore wrote, I think he put his finger on exactly what is going on today- the success and advance of the twin threats of fear and doubt. Moore, who is a British journalist and former editor of The Daily Telegraph, in an article about Margaret Thatcher, wrote that after the long boom and success of capitalism and free market economics that “the worm of doubt entered the system”:
You borrowed all the money needed for the price of a house. This made you, in your mind, though not in full fact, an owner. Because the value of the house was rising, it also made you, again in your mind, richer. The bank, which actually owned the house, found clever ways of mixing and selling on the loans it had granted so that it, too, felt richer. Governments, happy at rising revenues, thought it was their business to make sure that when the symptoms of high risk began to present themselves, they were suppressed…. (then) the roof fell in… (and now) when people now hear words like globalization or capitalism… they feel slightly sick.
Free market economics and capitalism did not lead our nation to failure- rather, during its wild success at making millions around the world more prosperous over the past centuries, communism and socialism and fascism latched on to it, sucking from its prosperity to feed its sick aims like parasites, and over time, many smart people began to become confused and unable to see the parasites from the concepts that they latched on.
Where free markets and capitalism created wealth and encouraged personal responsibility, governments and elites put in place rules and regulations which weakened the foundations of the system, subsidized risky behavior such as sub-prime mortgages and leveraging investments, and gave out handouts to favored industries and distorted the market by doing so. When banks, businesses, and corporations operated in a free market of capitalism, they could succeed or fail based on their own efforts and innovation; but in the new markets, which were no longer capitalistic or free, government subsidies and spending and lobbying and regulation and rules determined whether or not a business, corporation, or bank was successful or failed. And although this was no longer capitalism or free markets, but rather markets once free now twisted to the aims of elites and socialists and communists and fascists, many smart people became critical of the markets or capitalism because of the failures of the government bureaucrats who were twisting and corrupting the system.
And then the parasites of leftism began to weaken and kill the free market and capitalism, and the people cried out ‘capitalism and free markets are failing us’- when it wasn’t the free markets and capitalism that failed, but rather the people who failed the system.
They were led to this failure by fear and doubt- they did not believe in the hand of the God and the freedom of individuals and life, liberty, and the protection of private property.
The people (or The People, as leftists call them) feared that although they were becoming prosperous and their lives were rapidly improving, they were somehow falling behind others who were advancing more rapidly. Rather than looking at why they were successful in the free market capitalism- because of their hard work, innovation, and yes, luck- they instead demanded government policies to hold back others and help out themselves, corrupting the very system that had brought them so far. They doubted that if people were free and made free decisions, they would make ‘the right decisions’- that is, the decisions that they would make if they controlled the other people and had power over them (their definition of ‘right decisions’).
Rather than just letting go and trusting that the unseen hand of God, trusting to the thousands and millions of individual decisions, and working to ensure that private property rights are strengthened and respected, they doubted that this giant experiment of capitalism and a free market would work, and feared that they would somehow fall behind others in material wealth if they didn’t vote for and support people who promised to corrupt the system and abuse the system and circumvent the system. Many people trusted and believed in the power of men to control other men and redistribute property to other men, and in so doing rejected free markets and capitalism.
Fear and doubt came to the people’s mind every time there was a recession, or even during periods when great wealth was created but wasn’t immediately distributed evenly. The people reacted to the Great Depression by doubting that the free market would correct (as it had done in the 1920’s and dozens of times before in the 1800’s) and feared that he return to prosperity wouldn’t come fast enough- and so they worked to destroy the system, corrupt the system, and make the market less free- and the results were a slight recession during into a decade long destruction of wealth.
And today, government policies and regulations and taxes and laws which corrupted the free market and corroded private property rights have let the worm of doubt creep once more into the people’s minds, and in their fear that maybe they won’t get to loot the dying Republic of its wealth they vote for Democrats who promise to manage the downfall and distribute the ever-decreasing wealth in the system to their supporters and voters and friends.
To return to success and advance again as a nation in wealth and happiness, we must reject doubt of the free market system and capitalism and trust the people- we need to trust and believe again that the thousands of decisions of free people will create more wealth and make more people happy, and reject those who suggest that having a smaller number of elites make those decisions for us is better. We need to let go of our fear that if we don’t control the market and the system that you’ll lose out, and instead work hard, innovate, save your money, and invest wisely.
UPDATE 12/7/11: President Obama delivered a major speech today on the economy, in which he expressed his doubt that the capitalist system could continue to provide wealth and prosperity for many and work to make society more equal, and from this place of fear he instead wants to trust himself and his fellow men to run a better system that will somehow do a better job of creating wealth and distributing it than having free people make free decisions.
Via memeorandum, in his Remarks by the President on the Economy in Osawatomie, Kansas, we read the following fear and doubt from US President Barack Obama, one-term Democrat. These are selections from the speech- (you can read the whole thing yourself here if you want):
My grandparents served during World War II. He was a soldier in Patton’s Army; she was a worker on a bomber assembly line. And together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over theGreat Depression and over fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, and responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried — no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out.
And these values gave rise to the largest middle class and the strongest economy that the world has ever known. It was here in America that the most productive workers, the most innovative companies turned out the best products on Earth. And you know what? Every American shared in that pride and in that success — from those in the executive suites to those in middle management to those on the factory floor.
In this passage, Obama communicates to us that his parents believed in capitalism and free markets and personal responsibility and liberty and protection of property. And furthermore, Obama knows that this system worked. But yet, he has this nagging doubt and fear…
But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments — wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t — and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.
He doesn’t BELIEVE in capitalism. He has no faith in people, freedom, liberty, and rights. It’s clear he doesn’t have any hope that people will make the ‘right decisions’ (the decisions he would make) and he wants to therefore control other people. He continues:
But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can. (Applause.) He understood the free market only works when there are rules of the road that ensure competition is fair and open and honest. And so he busted up monopolies, forcing those companies to compete for consumers with better services and better prices. And today, they still must. He fought to make sure businesses couldn’t profit by exploiting children or selling food or medicine that wasn’t safe. And today, they still can’t.
We simply cannot return to this brand of “you’re on your own” economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country.
And it is around here that we get to the heart of the matter- in the last quarter of his speech, after ripping on capitalism and freedom for 3/4’s of the speech, that we finally here what he wants to do…
So what does that mean for restoring middle-class security in today’s economy? Well, it starts by making sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success. The truth is we’ll never be able to compete with other countries when it comes to who’s best at letting their businesses pay the lowest wages, who’s best at busting unions, who’s best at letting companies pollute as much as they want.
We need to remember that we can only do that together. It starts by making education a national mission — a national mission. (Applause.) Government and businesses, parents and citizens. We need to remember that we can only do that together. It starts by making education a national mission — a national mission. (Applause.) Government and businesses, parents and citizens. They should be rebuilding our roads and our bridges, laying down faster railroads and broadband, modernizing our schools. Of course, those productive investments cost money. They’re not free. And so we’ve also paid for these investments by asking everybody to do their fair share. And so we have to set priorities. If we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values. We have to make choices.
So, in summary, here is Obama’s alternative to free markets and capitalism- give him more power. Give him the power and authority to tell employers what to pay their employees, give him the power and authority to combine big government with big business and big labor (ie, fascism), give him and his cronies the power to give money to favored constituent groups to fund pet projects of vanity (palaces, statues, etc), and the power to demand that all of these decisions are paid for by someone else who does not want to pay for it- to use the power of guns to the head to make people give up cash to Obama and his people to feed their wrong ideas about the power of men to control others for their benefit.
Obama is wrong. He needs to be defeated- not just politically, but his ideas and beliefs need to be rejected by all good people and good citizens and patriots and he and his policies need to be forever rejected in decent society. We must instead look to capitalism and freedom and liberty and property protection to our future, and not look backward to the sort of tyranny that Obama is proposing.
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher