Historical facts rarely make a dent in the bulwarks of prejudice, ideology and pomposity surrounding the elites in academia, Hollywood, and the mainstream media. A case in point is the battle between socialism and free market capitalism. Milton Friedman, in Capitalism and Freedom, explains the difference this way:
Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activity of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion … The other is voluntary cooperation of individuals.
Friedman’s simple truth must be repeated at every opportunity. The free market voice is small, but we must use every effort to get the truths of capitalism to our society.
Free market capitalism treats the consumer as an autonomous, reasoning, sentient being with the competency to make decisions affecting him, his family, and his business. Socialism views the citizenry as malleable, impersonal cogs acting for the good of the collective. Capitalism puts the power of the market in the hands of the consumer. Socialism concentrates power in the hands of an oligarchy of politicians and large business owners. In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek proposed that socialism tends toward totalitarianism. Writing soon after the defeat of Nazi Germany, Hayek observed:
[M]any who think themselves infinitely superior to the aberrations of naziism [sic], and sincerely hate all its manifestations, work at the same time for ideals whose realization would lead straight to the abhorred tyranny.
Capitalists must be willing to present the merits of capitalism in the public square, fully aware that socialists aren’t concerned with honesty when a good lie will further the cause. Professional deceivers like Michael Moore go to great lengths to tear down capitalism with half-truths and obfuscation, while amassing great wealth in the free market which they despise. Moore is the quintessential, hypocritical elitist.
Socialists transform economic conversations into ad hominem attacks meant to dilute opposing views. Political giants like Janeane Garafalo bemoan an imaginary lack of dialogue while simultaneously ridiculing anyone who brings to the table alternative solutions for the world’s ills. If the facts don’t fit the agenda, socialists lie.
When the housing market crashed in 2008, the free market was blamed. The reality is that the government was already firmly entrenched in almost all aspects of mortgage lending. Government involvement in the marketplace is socialism, not free market capitalism. The socialists in our government and media lied about the cause of the housing crisis in order to introduce even deeper levels of government control into the economy. Socialists blame the free market for socialism’s failures. But when the free market excels, socialists refuse to acknowledge the free market’s success.
Long-standing successes of the free market on a national scale are few. Milton Friedman pointed to India under Great Britain’s rule and Hong Kong during the latter half of 20th century. In the United States, there was movement toward a freer market economy in the decade following the devastation of President Carter’s experiment with socialism in the 1970’s. For each prosperous, free market economy, there are numerous examples of the inadequacy of socialism’s ability to induce prosperity.
Failed experiments with governmental control include fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Chavez’s Venezuela, and Castro’s Cuba. Socialists have become an army of Lady Macbeths, impotently washing their hands of the bloody history of socialism. Even with the inadequacy of socialism staring them in the face, the elites in Hollywood and Washington ignore the failures of the past and continue their Gadarene rush to destruction.
Socialism’s barren arguments and addle-headed proponents offer an opportunity for capitalists to espouse the free market. As countries around the world watch their economies tank as a result of failed socialist policies, the field is ripe for a new evangelization of economic freedom. Because leftists refuse to present either socialism or capitalism fairly, we must teach those closest to us about capitalism. Anglo-French writer-historian Hilaire Belloc wrote that “to control the production of wealth is to control human life itself.” Unless the greatness of the free market is proclaimed often by those who know the truth, the paternalistic elitists will control every aspect of our lives.