With the US Presidential election but a year away, it seems that barely a day goes by without seeing varied viewpoints on the current political spectrum within the United States. Following on my prior posts The Modern Philosophical, Political, Economic and Social Spectrum – United States of America and Fascism is NOT Far Right!, I address these varying takes on what should be something not up for debate. After all, philosophical, political, social and economic structures are so closely tied and connected that one cannot be separated from the others. They also cannot be separated from governments that link all of a society together.
Keep in mind that modern-day “Liberal”, “Progressive” and even “Conservative” political philosophies are all rooted in left-wing Socialist political theory. The socialist agenda was once relegated to the “left”, but slowly, at first, and now more rapidly the more centrist position of classical republicanism and the values held by the Founding Fathers of the United States have been eroded to a point where the very individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence would be considered domestic terrorists and sought out for torture and execution with no trial, opportunity for representation or defense of their beliefs.
What is socialism? The term is thrown around a lot, but how is it defined? I believe a commonly accepted definition might be; a social and economic system characterized by social ownership and control of the means of production as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment of such a system. In reality, “social ownership and control” has come to mean government ownership and control. So, government ownership and control of the means of production is Socialism. And, where do we find the “means of production”? In businesses. So taken one step further, government ownership and control of business is socialism.
Analyzing ownership and control separately:
Ownership: Who is entitled to the profits of a business? The owners. I am here to submit to you, that income taxation of business profits, no matter the legal structure, is the equivalent of a share of profits due to the owners. This is true from both a practical and literal sense. In fact, given the fact that government has the right define how profits are measured, audit a business for compliance with their standards, and adjust profits with very little recourse, one could easily make the point that government is not only a shareholder, but that it holds a controlling interest in every business.
Control: Have you ever run a business? Have you owned a business? Do you work for a large, or any size really, employer who has to deal with a multitude of federal, state and local regulatory authorities on a daily basis? Are you free to enter any business you want without government approval? Are you free to offer customers any product or service you like? Are you free to charge your customers whatever you would like? Are you free to set the hours your employees work? Are you free to hire who you want? Are you free to pay them what you want? Are you free to fire people as you please? I am just scratching the surface here, but no, you are not free to do any of these things. The fact is, businesses and employers in the United States, and many other countries as well, operate under suffocating regulation and constant threat of intrusion via fines, taxes, business interruption or termination.
If government can ensure your business never sees the light of day, can shut down your business for any number of “violations”, can interfere with nearly every aspect of your business and shares in a substantial take of the profits you earn from that business, government owns and controls your business. The fact that government does not take more than they do says more about leaving at least some small incentive than it does about their full and outright ownership and control of all business. And, that, my friends, is socialism.
Some modern-day liberals, progressives, conservatives and even some libertarians refer to “right-wing” populism and/or fascism as being a far right-wing ideology, communism on the left, and seek to sandwich classical libertarian principles in the middle. Often times you will see a diagram or graphic that looks like this:
While a modern-day liberal might be interested in smoking pot and supporting the rights of pedophiles and convicted murderers, they are in no way supportive of the right of individuals to make their own way in the world without destructive and over-arching government control. I personally support legalization of marijuana and other drugs, but “pass me a doobie and let’s kill the bankers”, is freedom for one and not for another, and has nothing to do with freedom as defined under a classical libertarian definition. The diagram above infers that someone like Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman or Ron Paul espouse beliefs that lie somewhere in between Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, and that is flat-out misleading and wrong!
The US Socialist Political Spectrum
The “General” Political Spectrum below is representative of how most people view modern US politics today with modern liberals (Democrats) on the left and conservatives (Republicans) on the right. Centrists, or “moderates” (Republicrats or RINOs), are in the middle (not libertarians). This General Political Spectrum is actually the US Socialist Political Spectrum and while it represents nearly the entirety of US politics, it represents a very narrow slice of an entire range of philosophical, political, social and economic theories.
The Basic Political Spectrum
As I have previously written, perpetuated by both parties, and for all intents and purposes to narrow the public choice to two parties, steps further right are labeled Fascist when, in fact, both major political parties are primarily Socialist and both Fascism and Communism are extreme left-wing socialist ideologies. Libertarian philosophy is to the right of Socialism and represents the true centrist position as established under classical Republicanism. Anarchy represents the true far right-wing position of no government.
The Modern Philosophical, Political, Economic and Social Spectrum (United States)
The American people need to break free from the failed experiment called Socialism by enforcing government accountability, requiring personal responsibility and embracing the principles of free market capitalism. It will not happen overnight, and I certainly do not expect this to occur in the current election cycle. It is simply not politically profitable for politicians to espouse free market principles. Just take a look at what the leading candidates, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, from both parties are saying:
- They both want “fair trade”, not free trade. Fair trade is code for protecting special interest groups at the expense of every citizen in the country. Restrictions on trade are highly destructive to an economy and are highly divisive in the international community. “Fair trade” is more likely to lead to war than an improvement in the economy.
- Libertarians want to reduce government and lower spending. Trump and Sanders want to soak “the rich”, reduce taxes on the “little guy” and figure out new ways for “the people” to get something for nothing via government. Major social programs, including Social Security and Medicare, are severely underfunded and there is no will or plan to roll back these highly regressive and destructive New Deal-era and Great Society programs.
- Both Trump and Sanders claim they will increase taxes on hedge fund managers, but there is certainly no talk about eliminating income taxes on business. For starters, if hedge fund managers are supposedly getting a break on taxes, why not propose giving everyone the same preferential treatment? Not a proposal I have seen.
- Libertarians want to eliminate all government mandated price-fixing including the minimum wage. Neither Trump or Sanders has proposed eliminating the minimum wage. Understandably, this is a political hot button in an age of wealth inequality. Unfortunately, programs like minimum wage contribute to wealth inequality and simply act to exacerbate the problem.
If you listen closely, the message is the same: “the Chinese and Mexicans are stealing your jobs and if I am elected President, government will finally get it right”. Sure, there are differences, but in the large scheme, again, it is simply not politically possible to get elected on a platform of rolling back the socialist state. The sad fact is; the United States is a socialist country because the majority of the electorate want a socialist country. It is said that change does not occur without a substantial amount of pain, and it appears that is the path we will continue to travel on. Without dismantling the leftist, faux left-right, apparatus the United States remains perilously close to a police state and full-blown dictatorial regime with limited to no freedom and a legacy of poor choices.