Now hear this!I heard something I really liked when listening to my podcast of Jim Quinn‘s radio show last night as I was walking home. This morning, as I was listening to the next day’s podcast, I heard Quinn repeat his comment from the day before. Quinn read something written by Walter Williams back in 1997 that is well worth rebroadcasting here:

Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. Capitalism made it possible to become wealthy by serving your fellow man.

Apparently this recently appeared on Rush Limbaugh’s show, too. And Rush does a great job of showing the difference between capitalism and socialism. Quinn, after quoting Williams above, further explained on his show the difference of capitalism and socialism this way:

The problem is that pleasing your fellow man requires creativity and hard work. Looting and enslaving can be done by any thug with political connections. So what’s the purpose of Socialism then? Well, Socialism allows these same elites and losers to return us to the days of looting and enslaving, but while presenting it as a moral imperative sanctioned by the government. So I guess we can say that Socialism is a system of economics that allows men to loot and enslave other men while claiming the moral high-ground.

But not everyone likes and agrees with this quote by Williams. Case in point, Williams has an entry in the Daily Kos wiki that engages is some typical libtard bashing. It quotes Williams and then finishes off with “What Williams cannot say is that the African slave trade operated as a global capitalist market for centuries.”

Attention Daily Kos mind-numbed robots: the African slave trade was not capitalism. Capitalism is the free exchange of goods and services from one to another. The African slave trade was part of the “looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man” that was and is so common in mankind’s existence. And it is what Socialism will bring us back to if we allow it.

Williams finishes up his article with this very true statement:

Despite the miracles of capitalism, it doesn’t do well in popularity polls. One of the reasons is that capitalism is always evaluated against the non-existent utopias of socialism or communism. Any earthly system pales in comparison to utopias. But for the ordinary person, capitalism, with all of its warts, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with our everyday needs and desires.

When it comes to economics, I’ll take reality over fantasy every day.

After getting home last night, I did a little link chasing until I stumbled across an article of leftist coveting posted by Les Leopold on the Huffington Post website titled “The Forbes 400 Shows Why Our Nation Is Falling Apart.”

It’s great to know that during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans, according to Forbes, actually increased by $30 billion. Well golly, that’s only a 2 percent increase, much less than the double digit returns the wealthy had grown accustomed to. But a 2 percent increase is a whole lot more than losing 40 percent of your 401k. And $30 billion is enough to provide 500,000 school teacher jobs at $60k per year.

Collectively, those 400 have $1.57 trillion in wealth. It’s hard to get your mind around a number like that. The way I do it is to imagine that we were still living during the great radical Eisenhower era of the 1950s when marginal income tax rates hit 91 percent. Taxes were high back in the 1950s because people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression. (Well, what did those old fogies know?)

Why use President Eisenhower as the benchmark? Leopold could have chosen the highest tax rate of 94% which fell 1944-1945, but that would be mentioning Democrat Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Instead, he chose a Republican. Gee, I wonder why he chose a Republican instead of the higher rate under two previous Democrats.

So, were taxes that high in 1944-1945 and again from 1951-1963 because “people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression”? Really? So the high taxes from 1932-1986 made the country stronger, so we didn’t get affected by the recessions of 1937, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960-61, 1969-70, 1973-75, 1980, and 1981-82? Golly, good thing the government was confiscating 50-94% of the wealthiest Americans’ incomes during that time, or we’d have really been up poop creek without an implement of movement!

Quite simply, a tax is a punishment, so a tax on income is a punishment for earning money. When the government punishes an action, like earning money, the people respond by doing less of it. So Leopold thinks a massive income tax makes the country stronger by encouraging people to work less, and that’s a good thing? And here I thought the whole depression/recession thing is what you get when there is a reduction in the productivity of the nation. Well, what does this old fogy know?

Had we kept those high progressive taxes in place, instead of removing them, especially during the Reagan era, the Forbes 400 might each be worth “only” $100 million instead of $3.9 billion each. So let’s imagine that the rest of their wealth, about $1.53 trillion, were available for the public good.

What does $1.53 trillion buy?

It’s more than enough to insure the uninsured for the next twenty years or more.

It’s more than enough to create a Manhattan Project to solve global warming by developing renewable energy and a green, sustainable manufacturing sector.

And here’s my favorite: It’s more than enough to endow every public college and university in the country so that all of our children could gain access to higher education for free, forever!

Ah, the classic liberal dream of “I could spend your money better than you can.” Maybe, just maybe, Leopold could spend the money with far more wisdom than the 400 Forbes billionaires, but he misses one key point: their money is not his to spend. But Leopold has become successful in breaking the Tenth Commandment:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Exodus 20:17 [emphasis mine - CM]

Other people’s money most certainly falls under that part of not coveting anything that is our neighbor’s. Now it’s true we can play the game of imaging just how much better we could spend another person’s money, but at best it’s just so much mental masturbation since it gives us a nice feeling, but nothing productive actually happens. But playing this game has a bad side leading to feelings of jealousy, rage, and calls for the confiscation and outright theft of other people’s money “for the common good.” Walter E. Williams sums it up well in his book More Liberty Means Less Government on page 182 of my copy.

Liberals are about control. Jealousy is their powerful instrument for the politics of envy. By getting us to covet that which belongs to our neighbor, we in turn give them the power to confiscate what are perceived as ill-gotten gains of others and pass it around. In the process we all wind up being less free, less prosperous, and less moral and become a nation of thieves engaged in the attempt to live at each other’s expense.

Leopold waxes on about the warm and pleasant feeling his mental wankfest grants him as he contemplates the theft of other people’s money. He says that “please let’s not call it socialism,” and he’s right. There is a much better term for the progressive tax he lusts after, and that word is Marxism. After all, a progressive tax is the third of Marx’s Ten Planks proposed in his Communist Manifesto.

I always wear my seatbelt when I’m in the car. It’s as natural to me as pulling the keys out of my pocket to drive. But my darling wife is not as zealous as I am, so I often browbeat her into wearing hers. I tell her that I’m doing it because I love her, and every married couple has the natural right to nag each other. That’s to be expected, but it bothers me when the government is doing the nagging. I’m not married to the government, so it doesn’t get any nagging rights. And if you have been watching TV or watching movies that have commercials up front (grrr!) then you have seen the latest government nag: Click It or Ticket.

Click It or Ticket

Having just driven over 1,000 miles this week, I am very aware of this seatbelt campaign, but I disagree with it. As my friend Fen says, “Just because it’s a good idea doesn’t mean it needs to be a law.” And this is a perfect example. I share the sentiments expressed by Dr. Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, that he recently sent to the Virginia Secretary of Transportation.

Mr. Secretary: This is an example of the disgusting abuse of state power. Each of us owns himself, and it follows that we should have the liberty to take risks with our own lives but not that of others. That means it’s a legitimate use of state power to mandate that cars have working brakes because if my car has poorly functioning brakes, I risk the lives of others and I have no right to do so. If I don’t wear a seatbelt I risk my own life, which is well within my rights. As to your statement ‘Lack of safety belt use is a growing public health issue that . . . also costs us all billions of dollars every year,’ that’s not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism. No human should be coerced by the state to bear the medical expense, or any other expense, for his fellow man. In other words, the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another is morally offensive….

If we accept the notion that government ought to protect us from ourselves, we’re on a steep slippery slope. Obesity is a major contributor to hypertension, coronary disease and diabetes, and leads not only to many premature deaths but billions of dollars in health care costs. Should government enforce, depending on a person’s height, sex and age, a daily 1,400 to 2,000-calorie intake limit? There’s absolutely no dietary reason to add salt to our meals. High salt consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which can then lead to stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis and asthma. Should government outlaw adding salt to meals? While you might think that these government mandates would never happen, be advised that there are busybody groups currently pushing for government mandates on how much and what we can eat.

Government officials, if given power to control us, soon become zealots. Last year, Maryland state troopers were equipped with night vision goggles, similar to those used by our servicemen in Iraq, to catch night riders not wearing seatbelts. Maryland state troopers boasted that they bagged 44 drivers traveling unbuckled under the cover of darkness.

Professor Williams finishes up with a wonderful quote:

Philosopher John Stuart Mill, in his treatise “On Liberty,” said it best: “That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil, in case he do otherwise.”

So the next time you get nagged by the government to buckle up, remind them that you are not married to the government, and they don’t have the moral authority to compel you to do something good for yourself.

Not that lack of moral authority will ever stop the government.