Since you guys have been a little slow in offering your much desired as guest bloggers, I’m going to take advantage of some of the gems you leave in the comments section. Today’s gem is from Charles Martel, which he wrote as a response to my “Good deal all around” post:
I think socialism may meet its Waterloo in the United States, and that Obama may be its Napoleon.
(Let me define socialism as an economic system where the government, through its power of coercion, expropriates wealth and redistributes it according to both stated (and unstated goals), such as equality and stability (and the maintenance of political power and wealth for the government elite via the power of the purse).
In Russia and China, socialism was imposed on desperately poor countries that were already used to privation, government theft and lack of freedom. With no traditions of wealth or liberty to guide them, the subjects of those sorry countries shrugged and assumed their masters’ yoke.
Once the administrative powers of socialism insured a true equality of misery for the overwhelming number of subjects at the bottom of the heap, there was a sense of resignation followed by a distorted sense of progress–“At least there is no more civil war.” “Now we’re all in the same boat. Chin Lee can no longer lord it over us just because he once owned 80 pigs.”
In Europe, which had a high standard of living but then destroyed it in two wars, socialism was a combination of idealism, pragmatism and opportunism. Idealism in the sense that perhaps the sharing of resources would prevent future wars; pragmatism because people whose cultures have always stressed the state over the individual could be more easily swayed to accept a regulated economy than the Americans’ wild and crazy free market economy; and opportunism because the same Americans were providing military protection that freed up billions and billions of dollars for investment and allowed Europe to remake itself as a giant theme park.
So far, socialism has had a good run—at least in the sense of acquiring power over all wealth, which is its goal.
But when you get to America, the soil for socialism is less fertile. Yes, there are hot-house experiments with it that seem to be working, such as San Francisco, or Berkeley, or Washington, DC. But like all hot-house flowers, they are very fragile. These ones depend on fools and outsiders for their sustenance: tourists in San Francisco; the American taxpayer in Washington, DC; and in Berkeley a self-hating, self-deluding professoriate on one hand and thousands of dependent, subsidized students on the other.
On a grander scale, large U.S. socialist experiments like New Jersey, Michigan and California are coming to an end. You cannot run an economy on a fantasy, namely that you can keep fisting the Golden Goose’s cloaca without at some point rupturing and destroying the poor thing. That so many people who should know better hold on to the fantasy that socialism can work is a result of the Europeanization of large parts of the U.S. population. Europeans have never had a firm grasp on how wealth is created. To them it’s either a matter of whoever is the strongest stealing somebody else’s wealth (eastern Europe) or a benign state redistributing wealth that comes from some mysterious source (France).
In America, though, where people have been free for several centuries to create their own wealth, there is a direct knowledge that a government printing press or power of taxation has nothing to do with generating it. There are tens of millions of people who understand that and who nod instinctively in agreement with Tea Party signs that say, “Honk if I’m paying your mortgage!”
Now add to that a tradition of healthy skepticism toward politicians and government. Although Obama would like to intimidate people, there are way too many of us who have not been beaten down or conditioned by Chicago-style politics to take his bait. Watching that cosseted nancy boy strut and act all hoody elicits laughter among us, not shivers.
Then add the tradition of a free press, now remanifesting itself in Internet blogs, and couple that with the technological savvy of millions of young men and women who have not sipped the Obama-Aid. They are marvelous tools for organizing political resistance, tax strikes and, if someday necessary, the disruption of an overreaching government.
Further, add the scores of millions of guns owned by Americans who are not statists, “progressives” or leftists. The wusses in Britain and Canada may lay down their arms just because the local or provincial dhimmi government says to, but that’s not going to wash with most Americans. For every gun that the nanny state confiscates, there will be 10 that go undetected and uncollected.
Top it off with the rising trend toward homeschooling, which creates truly educated—as opposed to schooled—citizens, and millions of magnificently disciplined and trained (and mostly conservative) veterans who will have something to say if The Narcissist suddenly decides he’s macho and wants to toy with martial law or a suspension of constitutional rights.
Finally, a law of limits. Just as you cannot exceed the speed of light, you cannot exceed the total amount of wealth the world has in your never-ceasing quest to pillage it under socialism. If the U.S. economy is dragged down by Obamaism, what is left to plunder? Once that realization hits all the droolers who think there’s such a thing as a free lunch, they will turn on Obama. Napoleon’s own soldiers will finally see through him.
(I’m not too worried that they’ll turn on us. We’ll be armed—both with weapons and with the most devastating four words in the English language: “We told you so.”)
UPDATE: Tom Elia is also sees optimism out there.