From the Right: Laissez-Faire for America
Published: Monday, October 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013 23:10
I mean it when I say I commend my friend and colleague, Mr. Dan Fournier, for so passionately defending his beliefs and for calling on the need for socialism to become the prevailing economic thought in the American society.
His opinions are duly noted, but unfortunately I must passionately disagree with the content from Mr. Fournier’s latest column. It is not a cooperative economy or socialism that America needs; it is unabashed, unapologetic capitalism. Some might say “that is the current system in the country today.” In response to that comment, I would say it’s correct. We don’t have true capitalism, but rather an unhinged form of it known as crony capitalism. And that is what must change.
The experiment of socialism has been tried across the globe and each time the result is always the same; it’s a failure. If anything, the end of the Cold War signaled an end to the debate of socialism versus capitalism. The former lost and the latter won. Socialism thumbs its nose in the face of opportunity. It sneers at competition and is incompatible with freedom. Perhaps the best example or evidence I can offer is a quote by Ronald Reagan, “Socialists ignore the side of man that is the spirit. They can provide you shelter, fill your belly with bacon and beans, treat you when you’re ill, all the things guaranteed to a prisoner or a slave. They don’t understand that we also dream.”
At face value, socialism seems likes a gift from the heavens. The government is the friend, the spouse and caretaker, but it is a gift with strings attached. It zaps the very identity of what makes us human. Our drive, our individuality and our passions are squandered by the one we believe to be our best friend: our government.
So when Mr. Fournier writes that people fear socialism – for the reasons I have just espoused – absolutely we fear a system like that. Fortunately, we don’t have reason to fear because the system doesn’t work, and as further evidence, one needs only look back at history to see how it failed.
Now that I have dispelled any notions of socialism actually working, it is time to tackle capitalism. Capitalism in its purest form is laissez-faire, hands-off. The government stands in one corner and the free market in the other. In recent decades there has been a co-mingling of both government and business, which may be the reason people’s views are often conflicted when they hear the term ‘capitalism.’ In order for capitalism to work and for all people to enjoy the orchards of riches, government must be separated from the dealings of business, and vice-versa. Let business and government each perform their separate roles. The role of business and free markets is to work independently from the government. But what is the role of government?
At the core of capitalism is freedom. People are able to pursue their own desires and interests. It is the responsibility of government to protect our rights, not dictate what we can do, where we can earn a living and how much money we can make. In a true capitalist system, the government stands as a referee on guard to preserve and protect the rights of people, not to enter into the market. Once that happens, a free market is corrupted.
Of course, it is true that no 100 percent capitalistic society has ever existed. The American economy today is one of both private and public interaction, more of a mixture than free market economy. That is the crucible that may cause much anxiety in our country today over the term capitalism. Pure, unfettered, unabashed capitalism is something not to be feared, but encouraged. For it is not something strange and it is not something scary. The very center of it is what we as Americans take pride in – freedom. Freedom to choose. Freedom to prosper. Freedom to innovate. Freedom to aspire.
Now, some may decry this call for capitalism as unrealistic, a conservative’s dreamland for America. Well, it’s just the opposite; the capitalism I speak of is not a pipedream. A true laissez-faire can exist if we have the courage to believe in ourselves as individuals and in freedom. I believe the system can work and there is no better place to try it than in America.
The system today is imperfect, which may be the reason for the distrust in capitalism and the admiration of socialism. However, if our country is willing to live as Ayn Rand once said, “When I say ‘capitalism,’ I mean a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church,” then we’d all be richer, we’d all be freer. No longer would there be unneeded diatribes hurled at capitalism, and calls for socialism would fall on deaf ears.