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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Sacred Words

George Orwell told us that if you could corrupt language, you could control the way people think. Over the past 100 years, socialism has used this strategy with overwhelming success. It has changed the meaning of our most sacred words. Few people remember, but the “liberals” of 1908 were advocates of laissez faire capitalism and limited government. Today “liberalism” means something quite different. Socialism demonized “Capitalism,” - the word became synonymous with “greed.” However, capitalism is really nothing more than all transactions between people occurring by mutual, voluntary consent. The only alternative is force. Socialism has trained us to forget that government is nothing more than collective force – that taxes are collected by force. And socialism has changed the meaning of our most sacred word: freedom.

Freedom seems to mean different things to different people. It certainly means something quite different to George Bush than it does to me. However, Hillary Clinton’s definition of freedom is just as bizarre. At the end of the day, these two apparent opposites have something very startling in common: they both believe freedom is achieved through the use of force.

So, what did freedom mean to our founding fathers? For practical purposes, freedom to the founders was economic freedom. Freedom is ownership of the fruits of your labor. Socialism has trained us to forget that. Our concept of slavery has also been redefined, as “captivity,” but captivity is not slavery. Slavery is the opposite of freedom. Slavery is not owning the fruits of your labor. That is why our founders prohibited an income tax. We’ve been trained to forget that, too. Every tyrant that ever lived imposed his tyranny for the same reason: to gather wealth that he did not earn.

Our federal government’s budget receives a lot of press – and usually that press is extremely deceiving. Most Americans believe that our chief financial burden is the military. They don’t realize that we spend more on Medicare and Medicaid than we do on defense. Together with welfare and social security, we spend almost 3 times as much money on entitlement programs as we do on defense, even with the Iraq war. That is not meant as a defense of the Iraq war. The war is wrong and expensive. However, entitlement programs are wrong and much, much more expensive.

Some defend entitlement programs as Christian. I find that quite remarkable. I’ve read the New Testament hundreds of times, and it never occurred to me that Simon of Cyrene was the hero. Yet, we have all become Simons of Cyrene in our time, giving aid and comfort to the needy with the point of the sword at our back. And it doesn’t work. Government programs destroy markets, setting artificial prices and rewarding the corporations with the strongest lobbies rather than the best products at the lowest prices. The result has been more poor people receiving less.

True capitalism defeats all evils. When there is demand for goods or services and the price is too high, new firms enter the market and find a way to meet price demands, acting in their own self interest but benefitting society as a whole. Socialism tells us that without Medicare and Medicaid, the poor and elderly would not have medical care, when in reality they would have more care and higher quality.

Capitalism defeats racism and discrimination. Socialism misleads us to think the opposite. I have interviewed thousands of people for jobs over the course of my life. The candidates were black, white, Hispanic, male, female, young, and old. I chose the same way every time. I picked the candidate that I believed would make me the most money. Had I discriminated, capitalism would have punished me by rewarding my competitor with a more talented employee and an advantage in the market. Capitalism rewards nothing but merit.

Socialism divides us into groups, whether it be age, race, income, or sex. It sets one group voting against another, competing for public money. “What will you do for urban blacks,” or “What will you do for seniors?” The strategy is “divide and conquer,” and it results in less freedom for everyone. Capitalism tells us that we are individuals, and that our freedom cannot be voted on. Our Constitution was written to protect the individual from the majority. We’ve been trained to forget that. We’ve lost the meaning. All of this can change, but make no mistake: all of the Democrats and most of the Republicans are advocating more socialism. When deciding how, remember the meaning of our sacred words, and demand freedom. Socialism has led us to where it always leads – to the verge of economic collapse. We’re closer than you think. Freedom can still save us, but time is running out.

Tom Mullen

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