Thursday, August 07, 2008

Taking Socialism on the Road

I can't think of a singe word in common usage that refers to a socio-economic political philosophy that stands fully counter to socialism. Capitalism refers only to a system of economics that is relatively free in both the public and private domains. Democracy refers only to a political method of discerning public determination. Republicanism refers to a political philosophy of representative government. Conservatism varies by location and context and technically refers to the preservation of ideology no matter what the ideology is. Libertarianism refers to a philosophy of self-determination albeit limited by degree. Liberalism varies by location and context and refers to any unsettled desire to disturb the current ideology, no matter what the ideology is. Progressivism refers to the desire to change, no matter what the change is.

However, socialism stands monolithically as a comprehensive political philosophy of absolute government control over political methodology, public policy and economic system. It's also one of the worst ideas man has ever considered for self-governance.

Think about that busy road in the town where you live. It's the one where everyone hates to drive because the town planners have not planned the roads, intersections and infrastructure very well. Businesses have noted that it is a high-traffic location, have recognized that being where a lot of people are is good for business and have decided to increase the traffic problem by locating there. Given that people's need for the businesses along this road exceeds their dread of the burgeoning traffic there, they venture in to sit in long lines at the lights and risk being trapped at a business because there is no established way to get back out into the crowded traffic.

What do you do when you need to exit the place of business and get back into traffic and there is no government-established means for doing so? The only thing you can do is drive to the exit and hope someone lets you in front of them. Amazingly, plenty of people have it in their hearts to do this.

So, I sit in traffic and observe. Ahead is a traffic light and I'm in line waiting on it to change so that I can move forward a few feet, closer to the place where I can turn out of this mess and get on my way home. I ease forward and realize ahead that there is a line of cars trying to exit a gas station on my right. I decide to allow one or two out in front of me, Aren’t I nice. The car in front of me inches forward and I signal the driver of the first car exiting the gas station to move out in front of me. He inches forward and gets his nose into traffic and stops. He can't move because the person in front of me has stopped. The light is red up ahead. We're all waiting on the government to turn the light green so that we can go. Of course, a bajillion cars are piling through the intersection from the road this adjoins; gotta let them through.

I suppose if I hadn't let the person out, they could appeal to a nearby police officer who can come and direct traffic so the gas station that is now a parking lot can clear out. Meanwhile, the road behind me has gathered a line of cars that are backed up to somewhere in the Midwest and we are threatening good relations with Canada. Well, now we need a bill to go before the city planners to put a traffic light at the gas station. Of course it's way to close to the lights on either side of the gas station that are already too close to each other. That's why traffic is now backing up - when the light turns red, there are people sitting in the middle of the intersection waiting for the light at the next intersection to turn green, which doesn't matter much because there are cars in the middle of this intersection backed up waiting on me to let these people out of the gas station parking lot which may not happen because of the blockage at the next intersection.

No, a third light at the gas station isn't feasible. We need the occasional people smart enough not to go into the middle of the intersection if they can't drive through it so that people coming the other way can get through when the light turns. We also need people like me kind enough to let people out into traffic in short order.

Socialism looks at the people who already have their place in the road and says it's not fair that people in the gas station can't get out. Socialism would put a light at every entrance and exit to the road effectively reducing the capacity of the road ridiculously by turning it into one giant confusing intersection such that the only way to drive down the road is for all the lights to be green. This is fair for everyone. We are equally parked where we shouldn't be and the system fails. We all go home by breaking the traffic laws and all the businesses close because no one can get to them. Sound ridiculous? This is precisely what socialism does to the civil and economic landscape - every time, without exception.

The way the traffic works best is when enough people recognize the need to limit themselves and show grace. When we have people who are in dire straights and need help, there are still people on the US willing and able to help them privately. The way the economy works best is when some people of means are willing and able to occasionally help others who find themselves in unfortunate economic or civil circumstances. That's the way the US used to be and we're still like that to some degree. The more the government takes over, the less inclined people are to assume personal responsibility, not only for themselves, but for each other.

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