Friday, June 4, 2010

On the Claim that Socialism is "More Just"


Obama and the collectivists of this world do not support socialism or communism because it is practical, efficient, or yields more net wealth to "society."  They support collectivism because they believe it is a moral system, it is a system that is "more just" than a capitalist system.

You may argue until you are blue in the face that capitalism is more practical; their argument is always socialism is "more just," and the moral claims of justice will always trump practicality or efficiency.

Part of the problem rests with the fact that you perhaps unwittingly share the moral premises of your collectivist opponents.

For example, you say the following:  "Capitalism is a society based on the principle that everybody contributes to society’s profits and gets a share according to his/her contribution . . . ."  Wealth produced by individuals in combination or individually is not wealth that belongs to "society."  To say such a thing is to accept the premise of communism, that wealth is "created by society".

While it is obviously true to claim that individuals in society greatly enhance their wealth-creating potential through cooperation, that is, through specialization of labor, and the free exchange of goods and services, what creates the wealth is the voluntary choices of individuals each aiming to enhance his own long-range interest. 

The tailor, as Adam Smith liked to say, does not make you clothes because he wants to see you well turned out; on the contrary, he provides the clothes in order to feed his own family and to enhance his own wealth by providing you with the goods and services you are willing and able to pay for.

What we call "capitalism" is simply the economic arrangements men create when force and the threat of force is eliminated from their relationships with each other. 

All forms of collectivism introduce into such relationships the initiation of force, or the threat of force, to compel individuals to act against their own welfare. 

The moral argument for capitalism rests on this premise:  that capitalism is the only social system founded on the defense and protection of man's rights.  The concept of man's rights is the moral principle that subordinates society to the rights of individuals, which is why societies founded on the individual rights are the only moral societies on the face of the earth.

To effectively oppose collectivism you must oppose the moral argument that collectivists use to advance their cause.  Collectivism is not "more just".  How can taking by force what does not belong to you be just?  Or moral?

Always we must ask the question, by what standard?

Wealth cannot be created by abstractions, and the term "society" is nothing but an abstraction denoting individual human beings in their social relationship with each other.

The fundamental moral claim is this:  Man has the right to live his life for his own sake. 

Either he does, or he does not.  If he does, then he is a free moral agent with a life; if he does not, then he is a slave to others.

No comments: