Lindy’s Blog: Where Mom is Always Right

October 8, 2008

Socialism, Capitalism, and Barack Obama: A Primer

Okay, everyone.  I’ve had enough.  I’ve had enough of all the bailouts.  I’ve had enough of zero accountability, among both Democrats and Republicans.  I’ve had enough of all the presidential rhetoric.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that we need an American Re-Revolution.  That’s right.  Our representatives have simply forgotten the principles and greatness upon which our nation was founded.  We need to look back in history, look at our founding, and understand again what it took to not only make America, but what it took to make America Great.

And I believe this discussion must begin with a short primer on the differences between socialism, communism, and capitalism.  One must have a crystal clear understanding of what these systems entail, why they work, and why they fail.  What does this have to do with the Re-Revolution?  Everything.  Our founding fathers championed FREEDOM and SELF-DETERMINATION.  Only one of the systems above allows for both of these.  And many of our elected officials and electorate seem to have forgotten the importance of them as well. 

I realize that many of us attended public school (including me), which accounts for our apparently abysmal understanding of history.  So, let us all brush up.

What is the difference between communism, socialism, and capitalism?  Here are a few short explanations.

Communism:  A political system where a “higher state” exists, an ideal where there are no classes, and the State ceases to have any meaning or relevance.  A society free from all forms of want and where humans are totally free to expand to higher areas of human development.  Put forth by Karl Marx, a communistic (“Marxist”) society would have no private property, and rights and goods produced in it would be distributed among the citizens–“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  It is, in short, the Mecca of human existence.   Communism is an unattainable ideal; in order for it to succeed, every human being must adhere to its tenets at all times.  Human nature is not conducive to communism, and history has shown its failure multiple times.  Societies which have attempted it end up totalitariansistic, with small groups of individuals in total power.  (the former USSR, China, and Cuba are fantastic examples of this.)  And it is important to remember, people cannot be forced into communism for it to work. 

Socialism:  Often incorrectly used interchangeably with communism, it is not a political system; it is a way of distributing goods and services.  It is described as the state between capitalism and communism.  It nationalizes the “means of production” (banks, corporations–sound familiar?).  It is seen as the necessary stepping stone from capitalism to communism.

Capitalism:  An economic system that utilizes the power of individuals–especially entrepeneurs–to stimulate economic activity.  It is based on the (accurate) human assumption that individuals operate based on self-interest.  By doing so, the individual not only helps himself, but also propels others to economic success.  Unlike communism, capitalism can work even if there are some who don’t want to pull their weight–they face the consequences of their action (or inaction.)

A key item in this discussion deals with incentive.  Without incentive, there is no motivation, a key component to economic growth.  To destroy incentive is to destroy innovation and motivation.  This is what socialist policies do:  they are an invitation to stagnation.  Right now, our economy does not need stagnation.  Socialism is arguably the antithesis of the freedom and self-determination upon which our great nation was founded.  (Freedom from governmental tyranny, remember?) 

The U.S. is now taking baby steps toward socialism.  Recall that socialism is the intermediate step between capitalism and communism.  Look at the countries that are run based on communistic principles.  Would anyone in their right mind wish to live in China, Cuba, or North Korea? 

Now, look at the many European countries that force socialist policies on their people.  An obvious display of socialism’s open invitation to economic stagnation.  “Socialism does not work because it is not consistent with fundamental principles of human behavior. The failure of socialism in countries around the world can be traced to one critical defect: it is a system that ignores incentives” (Perry, following article).  Why socialism fails:  http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/article.asp?aid=4014.

The author of the above link has this to say:

The Marxist [professor the author spoke with] admitted that many ‘socialist’ countries around the world were failing.  However, according to him, the reason for failure is not that socialism is deficient, but that the socialist economies are not practicing ‘pure’ socialism.  The perfect version of socialism would work; it is just the imperfect socialism that doesn’t work.  Marxists like to compare a theoretically perfect version of socialism with practical, imperfect capitalism which allows them to claim that socialism is superior to capitalism.If perfection really were an available option, the choice of economic and political systems would be irrelevant.  In a world with perfect beings and infinite abundance, any economic or political system–socialism, capitalism, fascism, or communism–would work perfectly.

However, the choice of economic and political institutions is crucial in an imperfect universe with imperfect beings and limited resources.  In a world of scarcity it is essential for an economic system to be based on a clear incentive structure to promote economic efficiency.  The real choice we face is between imperfect capitalism and imperfect socialism.  Given that choice, the evidence of history overwhelmingly favors capitalism as the greatest wealth-producing economic system available.”
 

 

 Now, look at Barack Obama.  If you can claim, with a straight face, that the policies he proposes do not reek of socialism, then you, my friend, are living in a dream world.  And remember, what he calls “fairness” is codespeak for policy that comes straight from the communist playbook.  Income redistribution, for instance, is an example of Obama’s socialist view of fairness.  In reality, to take from one to give to another is a form of tyranny; a form of tyranny from which our founding fathers were determined to separate

The following article is required reading, class.  It is a list of Obama’s socialist policies.  Freedom lovers, be afraid.  Be very afraid.  Freedom and self-determination will not only be seriously undermined, they will be wiped out completely by an Obama presidency.   http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=307665441951152

And now, as if that all weren’t enough by itself, I will emphasize again the alliance between Barack Obama and William Ayers.  The media and the Obama campaign should be terrified of this alliance being pursued and brought to light, because it is DAMNING. 

Read the following article:  http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=308271974461547  Obama’s Real Problem with Ayers

What the heck, I’ll just copy it right here:

“At an education forum in Venezuela, Bill Ayers showed the real issue is not his terrorist past. It’s the socialist revolutionary agenda that he and Barack Obama want to impose on the nation’s schools.

Still more evidence of how the media are in the tank for Obama was evident in Tom Brokaw’s description of Ayers on Sunday’s “Meet The Press.”

“School reformer” is how Brokaw identified the co-founder of the Weather Underground, the radical organization that, among other activities, bombed government buildings, banks, police departments and military bases in the early 1970s.

Yeah, right: Ayers is a school reformer in the same sense, as City Journal’s Sol Stern put it, as Joe Stalin was an agricultural reformer.

An idea of what Ayers has in mind for America’s schools was provided in his own words not 40 years ago when Obama was eight years old, but less than two years ago in November 2006 at the World Education Forum in Caracas hosted by dictator Hugo Chavez.

With Chavez at his side, Ayers voiced his support for “the political educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how . . . all of you continue to overcome the failures of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.”

Ayers told the great humanitarian Chavez: “Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions large and small. La educacion es revolucion.” It is that form of socialist revolution that Ayers, and Obama, have worked to bring to America.

Ayers, now a tenured Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois, Chicago, works to educate teachers in socialist revolutionary ideology, urging that it be passed on to impressionable students.

As Stern points out, “Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children in the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive.”

If Ayers was just another nutty professor, we’d be lucky. But he wields great influence in academic circles and has had Obama’s ear. He’s the author or editor of 15 books. Chicago’s current mayor, Richard M. Daley, has employed Ayers as a teacher trainer for Chicago’s public schools and consulted him on the city’s education-reform plans.

Just last month, Ayers was elected vice-president for curriculum for the 25,000-member American Educational Research Association. AERA is the nation’s largest organization of education-school professors and researchers.

In a recent interview on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” Obama upgraded Ayers’ status from “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” to “somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know.”

Actually, Obama knew him quite well, having worked together on a school “reform” project called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

In the 1990s, Ayers was instrumental in starting the Annenberg Challenge, securing a $50 million grant to reform the Chicago Public Schools, part of a national initiative funded by the late Ambassador Walter Annenberg.

Obama was given the Annenberg board chairmanship only months before his first run for office. He ran the fiscal arm that distributed grants to schools and raised matching funds.

Ayers participated in a second entity known as the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, the operational arm that worked with grant recipients.

During Obama’s tenure as Annenberg board chairman, Ayers’ own education projects received substantial funding.

One of Ayers’ descriptions for a course called “Improving Learning Environments” says a prospective K-12 teacher needs to “be aware of the social and moral universe we inhabit and . . . be a teacher capable of hope and struggle, outrage and action, teaching for social justice and liberation.”

John McCain needs to repeatedly point out the stealth socialism of Ayers’ education agenda and Obama’s complicity in it. Otherwise, we may one day see Ayers as Obama’s secretary of education.”

—————–

Educational indoctrination of young children.  The “Obama Youth movement.”  Consorting with terrorists and people who hate America and desire to re-create it according to communist principles.  It’s all terribly disturbing. 

I don’t consider myself an expert on anything, except, perhaps, changing diapers or breastfeeding babies.  But there once was a time in the United States where freedom and self-determination were revered and championed above all, and I consider them great things, worth upholding.  There once was a time in the United States when, in the simplest terms, one at least thought, “Communism, bad.  Democracy, good.”   I’m not so sure that this is the case anymore, if we elect Barack Obama as the next POTUS.  I fear that an Obama presidency will be the end of the United States as we know it.

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7 Comments »

  1. Pretty good stuff. As a graduate of the communist/socialist state of former Czechoslovakia,I am afraid I know exactly what are you talking about. “The U.S. is now taking baby steps toward socialism. Recall that socialism is the intermediate step between capitalism and communism.” May I add that the next step will be the gradual erosion of all our freedoms and the pursuit of happiness will be reduced to a bare survival.I am pretty much fed up by the everlasting I have a dream speeches of the “One”. Unfortunately most of this nation have no idea what is the premise of the Obama presidency. Been there, done that.

    Comment by milan — October 8, 2008 @ 9:37 pm |Reply

  2. I agree. Great post.

    Comment by JD Hart — October 9, 2008 @ 1:25 am |Reply

  3. I actually don’t believe that America is taking baby steps anymore. The government is daily jumping forward. This country is not the same country it was last month. The media and Obama campaign like to say that the Ayers stuff is smears and taking focus off of issues. Well, this IS an issue and the truth. Frankly, what most of the sleeping people in this country don’t realize is that without freedom who gives a crap what the economy is doing. I’d rather be free in a ditch then under Dictator Obama and the Marxist Congress and living comfortably the same as everyone around me living off the rich.

    Comment by dsgawrsh — October 9, 2008 @ 1:34 pm |Reply

  4. Ok, maybe I’m naive but hasn’t income redistribution been around for a while? I.e. federal taxes, which re-allocate my pay to the poor (Medicaid, welfare, etc), the sick and disabled (Medicare), different segments of the population (subsidies for farmers), and others that provide no local benefit to me (e.g. federal roadwork projects, etc in other states)?

    Why is Obama being portrayed as a socialist when these programs have existed long before he even came into politics?

    Comment by Will — October 17, 2008 @ 4:17 pm |Reply

  5. Will: You’re not naive. All the things you mentioned are socialist policies, based on the idea that the state has the right to take from one to give to another. I happen to believe that this is fundamentally wrong, and goes against what our founders visioned for this country. To me, stealing is stealing, and empowering the state to achieve what is privately wrong doesn’t excuse it.

    What is scary to me is that once these policies are enacted, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them. And there hasn’t been a great record of success for these types of programs.

    As for Obama’s socialist predilections, I fail to see how his response to Joe the plumber in Ohio, “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” is any different from Marx’s “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” It is based upon the fundamentally wrong (and anti-American) premise that the state can take your money and do whatever it wants with it. It negates the idea of free will and liberty. I think what is startling to many Americans is Obama’s very blatant and open espousals of these types of socialist policies, exacerbated by his associations with well-known socialists like William Ayers, Saul Alinsky, etc.

    I think what it boils down to is this: What is the purpose of the government? And people currently have two very different ideas of what that purpose is.

    Comment by lindyborer — October 17, 2008 @ 7:52 pm |Reply

  6. 1. Barack Obama is not proposing a new tax system. He is proposing a change to the current one, in place since the early 1900’s. Any tax system is income redistribution, period. Niether candidate wants to abolish the IRS. I am afraid that is the only way to avoid the socialistic nature of any tax system.

    So, you then have to look at the changes and see under who’s tax system will you, as a pure capitalist, pay in less to this boondoggle of a goverment. Under $250,000 a year in income, you need to vote Obama, over $250,000, McCain. Period.

    2. The bailout is made possible by the party in charge at the moment due to its lack of oversight in these financial, mortgage, and insurance markets. They allowed them to merge with one another unfettered. They allowed the mingleing of banks, insurance, and mortgage lending for the first time ever. They did not regulate lending practices of these lenders under the guise that less regulation is better for the businesses. They forgot entirely that the whole purpose of the regulations prohibiting and regulating certain activities is to protect the tax payer (all of us) from having to inject our money into private enterprise to keep it from failing. This is a house of cards that we strove to build. If these companies would have remained small, we could have allowed their failure. However, their size and scope required an action from the People in order to protect the People’s interest.

    Again, niether candidiate was in a position to do any other thing but support the bailout causing the People to buy a stake in private enterprise to protect themselves. Niether felt this was a good idea. One candidate would like to take another $300 billion of the People’s money and buy bad mortgages, at their current value, and refinance them to keep people in their homes. That guy is John McCain. Obama says this is wreckless because the mortgages are “bad” because the homes they are calateralized with are no longer worth the amount of the mortgages. The People shouldn’t buy something that is no longer worth that amount.

    The bottom line is, regulation by the People into certain areas of private enterprise, banking, food productions, drug production is needed to protect AGAINST socialism. It is the current policies that have placed us on the socialist stepping stone.

    3. Both candidates are socialist to a degree. A pure capitalist would have no part in any form of government that collected taxes, made laws that regulated private behavior (guns, environment, sexuality, abortion), would allow regulation of business, provide for welfare of its citzens, or had any type of “nationalized” institutions (military, corrections, intellegence, courts, parks, trasportation, education, homeland security, etc.). These institutions would all come from the private sector with profit as the motive.

    The author does piont out the “cons” of the communist/socialist economic systems and the criticism is valid. There were no critisism of the capitalist system however. Here are a couple real quick.

    With profit as the only motive behind all institutions some institutions would preform ok. Institutions like the Postal Service already pay for themselves. There is no good way to do the same for the Military, where a for-profit scheme would be counter to the purpose and perhaps dangerous. Not sure how private enterrise would collect foriegn intellegence. Would they gather and then sell it to the People, who, remember, pay no collective taxes, and there by would have no means to pay for it. Roads would be privately owned and would collect tolls. No regulation for your drugs and food means you will get only the most profitable treaments and nutrition. Health care would only be available for those who could pay the premiums, if then, beacuse there would be no regulation requiring coverage.

    The fantasy about pure capitalism is that it is also human nature to feel as though they will be the successful 1% of the population that, as this system progresses, will get the benefit. As everything is required to generate and profit, you will see the wealth travel up the chain to the top, a decemation of class quite the opposite of communism, where there will be the weaththy and a form of serfdom for everyone else. Where is the FREEDOM and SELF-DETERMINATION in that scenario?

    The truth is that society fuctions best as a “Capitalist Social Democracy”. There is value in society acting as a collective when it come to the “commons” of a society and to protect them against the un-regulated profit motive.

    By “commons”, I mean the things that relate to the “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” our founding fathers guarranteed us. Thing like health care, education, the military and the apparatus that surrounds it, regulation of business, food, and drugs. things that affect EVERY AMERICAN. And for that, you needs taxes.

    I think it can be argued that Government over reaches into individual liberty. It can also be said that a Government founded By, For, and Of the People should never be influenced by corportations, because they are not people, but leagal constructs.

    You can argue that there should be a fairer way to tax and you might have something there. Do you go to a national sales tax? A flat tax? There are a myriad of pros and cons and all of them take money from people and redistribute it as the People see fit. The current progressive tax system places a larger burden for maintaining the commons on those who have benefitted from them the most. In a capitalist society, “benefit” is measured by monetary wealth.

    Honestly, niether wants a socialist society. There is an honest disagreement as to what constitutes a “common” and how to provide for them. There is a lack of morals and humanity in a purely capitalistic system that everyone recognizes. What should be setting peoples hair on fire is the role of corporations in “We The People” and the influence they have over what, for purist capitalists, should be an eneity to administer the commons and nothing more. We would all be happy if we built roads and bridges for the greater of us and not “Bridges to Nowhere” for whom no one would benefit. We wouldn’t get bogged down in gay marriage, and abortion rights because Governement should stay out of our bedrooms and bodies. If your behavior does not impede anothers rights or freedom, Goverment should not be allowed to pass a law against it. It is an Administrative enity and nothing more. Niether of these guys will fix this. So, who gets us closer and would help you keep more of your money. Who will be a better steward of your tax dollars? Who is more likely to bring your job back or keep it here? Who will fund cancer research with your money before they fight terrorism because cancer kills dramatically more Americans every year than any type of terrorism. Who is more likely to spend your money on you and eleminate our debt to countries that have a communist or totalitarian structure?

    For me, I don’t care who his friends are, what color he is, what relegion he espouses. Who will is more likely to listen to me? Who will let me be the ONLY source of influence on his decisions?

    Comment by Michael Harwood — October 23, 2008 @ 12:38 pm |Reply

  7. Thank you. We clearly have major differences in opinion, esp. in your last paragraph, where you talk about morality and “lack of humanity.” Obama pretty much fails across the board there, just look at his radical abortion record and his BAIPA votes.

    I must not have been clear; taxes are necessary in many cases. I willingly pay my fair share. I am not a “pure” capitalist, and neither is the US.

    However, neither am I one to elect someone who, from all appearances, wants to lead us further down the road to socialism by taking from one to give to another, without the consent of either. That is a bit too socialistic for this voter.

    From an economic standpoint, the question I must ask myself is which candidate will take us farther into socialism, and vote accordingly.

    BTW, our founding fathers never “guaranteed” us the things of which you spoke. And BO most definitely isn’t protecting the major one of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” For that reason alone he is not getting my vote.

    Comment by lindyborer — October 23, 2008 @ 3:12 pm |Reply


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