Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Moral Bankruptcy of Socialism

Walter Williams hits the nail on the head, and I suggest you read his entire (short) column. Here are some tidbits of wisdom from it that I genuinely enjoyed:

Socialist agendas have considerable appeal, but they produce disaster, and the more socialist they are, the greater the disaster.

Free markets, characterized by peaceable, voluntary exchange, with respect for property rights and the rule of law, are more moral than any other system of resource allocation.

Liberals love to talk about this or that human right, such as a right to health care, food or housing. That's a perverse usage of the term "right." A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference.

Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one's own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation.


Chanman said...

The day I learned that a "right" was something that required no obligation on the part of anyone else, was the day my mind was liberated. It is the perfect ammunition to use against the nitwits out there screaming about their rights, starting with the "right" to a "free and appropriate education", as I believe it is worded in our state laws.

Yes, I am a public school teacher, and I will be the first one to say that no one has the right to be provided with an education.

Darren said...

Since a free education is enshrined in Article IX, Section V of our state constitution, I guess it's an "obligation of the state" as opposed to a "right of the people".

Since the end result is the same, is this a distinction without a difference or is the difference important?

Mike said...


Spot on. Socialism isn't about meeting human needs, but about allocating political power to those who believe they, above all others, are fit to tell the great unwashed what they think, feel and need. In the pursuit of such power, socialists love to steal the language of "rights" from the Constitution, believing the public to be too foolish to understand their usurpation of the language of freedom.

That's why I found it so ironic when Sec. Spellings recently proclaimed NCLB a civil right, and in an op-ed in the Washington Post spoke of her great respect for local control over education. The world is indeed a strange old place.

allen said...

Since the end result is the same, is this a distinction without a difference or is the difference important?

I think there's a world of difference. The exercise of a right doesn't create an obligation. If I decide to stand up and start blabbing I'm exercising my right of freedom of speech. That creates no obligation on your part to listen or to pay for the milk crate I'm standing on.

As long as my exercise of my rights doesn't infringe on your rights then there's no problem. My right to peaceably assemble doesn't place an obligation on you to fund the building me and my like-minded fellows assemble in or the books we read from to learn about the whatever it is we want to learn. The First Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees that every citizen has the right to pursue and education by guaranteeing the right to peaceable assembly.

Another reason rights are distinguishable from entitlements is that rights are individual. The concept of "group rights" is inherently inimical to a democracy since it creates different classes of citizens, those who are part of the group that has certain rights not enjoyed by members of a different group or the balance of society.

As you quit correctly point out, it's an "obligation of the state" as opposed to a "right of the people" abuse of the language to the contrary notwithstanding.

But as a political ploy labeling an entitlement as a right works pretty well.

Darren said...

This is good. An obligation of the state, and entitlement, is not a right.