This Too Shall Pass ...but we can certainly help it along

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Although no
one can accurately predict when socialism as a political and economic
philosophy will end, it must necessarily end. This is because socialism
employs unjust means — theft, coercion and the denial and/or circumscription
of private property rights — to achieve the impossible end of permanently
upsetting the natural human order. With the looming economic crisis
and resultant social crisis lying just ahead of us, good libertarians
stand in a position to expedite socialism's death and perhaps drive
a stake through the heart of a false philosophy that has spiritually
and economically impoverished the Western world for over a century.
Libertarians who spend the next several years sitting on the sidelines,
rubbing their gold and silver coins together, saying "I told
you so" or cleaning their handguns will do little to materially
advance the cause of liberty. Libertarians who understand socialism
and see the opportunity to use non-violent means to attack socialism
at its roots will hasten its demise.

To understand
how this is possible, it is first important to understand what socialism
is, what it seeks to achieve and the means it employs. Socialism
at its core is a system based on coercion and theft. Under threat
of violence or imprisonment, socialists take citizen A's property
and give it to citizen B. Left of center "liberal" socialism
generally seeks to achieve an unnatural and unachievable egalitarianism
— equal results from unequal inputs. Modern liberal socialists take
citizen A's property (primarily, but not exclusively, through taxes)
and falsely promise that the state can achieve "equality"
by giving A's property to citizen B. Right of center "conservative"
socialism generally employs the state as a means to maintain unnatural
control over national and/or international power and wealth. Modern
conservative socialists take citizen A's property (primarily, but
not exclusively, through inflation) and falsely promise that only
the state can provide A with security and can do so only by taking
A's property (by diluting the value of his dollars) and giving it
to citizen B (via newly created inflationary dollars) to wage foreign
wars and/or establish an internal police state.

Although liberal
and conservative socialists sometimes borrow each other's methods
and tactics, both subcategories of the socialist ideology are based
on utilitarian,
ends-justify-the-means, reasoning. Both left and right socialists
understand that their means, including but not limited to taxation
and surreptitious inflation, involve coercive and involuntary transfers
of property. They both understand that citizen A may not agree with
their wars or their involuntary transfer payments. They do not care,
however, because both left and right socialists believe that they
are possessed with greater wisdom than citizen A. In short, they
are willing to adopt unjust means to achieve their utopian ends.
Socialists believe that their idealistic ends are achievable if
only they break
enough eggs
. Non-socialists therefore correctly regard all modern
socialists as "unprincipled." Although both left and right
politicians may woo gullible voters by agreeing with them on one
discrete political principle (e.g. being opposed the Iraq War or
desiring "lower taxes"), no socialist really cares about
principles. All successful socialist politicians easily abandon
any principle if it does not serve their end — propertyless egalitarianism
or state control of wealth and production.

Taking a broader
view, although their methods differ slightly, in order for socialism
to ultimately succeed, socialists of both stripes must fundamentally
upset the natural human order. They must cause their citizens to
believe that only the tax-funded state, not family, friends, neighbors,
church and other voluntary institutions, can provide real comfort,
safety, security and protection. In order for socialism to succeed,
it must break down and destroy these natural human bonds and relationships.
This is what liberal and conservative socialists mean when they
proclaim a desire to achieve a "New World Order." Socialists
sincerely believe they can destroy the natural human order and replace
it with an unnatural, government-dictated, man-made order. If you
doubt this, just look at John McCain's campaign slogan: "Country
First." Not family, not faith, not God, but Country, with a
capital "C." Or look at Barack Obama's litany of nanny-state
promises, including his promise to usurp parents and provide all
young adults with a government-subsidized college education, provided
of course that they first "serve" the state for several
years.

As just one
detailed example of the corrosive effects of the socialist philosophy,
the liberal welfare state has been very successful at undermining
the fundamental building block of civilized society: the family.
It has achieved this by offering unwed mothers (and indirectly,
fathers) fiat money transfer payments as an easy substitute for
the often painful sacrifices involved in marriage. This causes unwed
parents to falsely believe that a single parent can raise a child
as effectively as two parents. Ultimately, socialism so thoroughly
erodes the institution of marriage that people living in a socialist
regime forget that marriage is a third-party beneficiary contract.
It is a third-party beneficiary contract because its primary
intent is not to directly benefit the parties to the contract.
Although good marriages and good partners do seek to provide direct
benefit to their partners, the marital contract is primarily intended
to benefit third parties — the children that result from the contract
and society as a whole through the order and security the contract
offers. That is why most religions properly regard marriage as a
sacrament — it is an agreement to sacrifice for the benefit of others.
Socialist transfer payments reject this principle and erode this
fundamental building block of civilized society.

Abetting both
left and right socialists is the socialist
central bank
, which enjoys a legal monopoly over the money supply.
If the central bank approves of immoral
or unjust government actions
, it has the power to quell the
masses with the drug-like soma
of "easy money" and artificially low interest rates. Likewise,
an untethered central bank can, under the cover of attempting to
fight inflation, express its disapproval
of executive "peace" policies
by raising
interest rates and tightening the money supply
at politically
inopportune times with the intent to cause the natives discomfort
and compel them to remove an insufficiently militaristic, undesirable
executive
. This 20th century socialistic "check
and balance" was not one contemplated by the Founders.

In sum, through
violence, coercion and theft, socialism seeks to upset the natural
human order and attempts to cause its citizens to believe that they
do not need anyone or anything but the state. Socialism's ultimate
success therefore depends on the destruction of the natural bonds
of family, friendship, and faith. To earn his socialist stripes
in the presidential campaign process, Barack Obama was compelled
to renounce his pastor of over 20 years. John McCain needed to offer
no such proof, as he had a long track record of engaging in unjust
wars, denying property rights, denying free speech and employing
the government to protect monied interests.

That is socialism.

So how can
good libertarians use the impending crisis to expose false socialist
promises, advance the march against socialism and re-establish natural
human order? Libertarians must first recognize that they have a
weapon of mass destruction at their disposal. That weapon is private
charity in all its forms: money, labor, sweat, food, etc. Beating
back socialism will require that freedom lovers use the coming crisis
as an opportunity to re-build the natural bonds and relationships
that socialism has eroded.

Over the next
several years, as the world seeks to correct 20 years of massive
malinvestment and capital dislocation, there will be many people
in need. People will need food, clothing, shelter, medical care,
legal services, education, training, etc. Libertarians can and must
take this opportunity to step forward and donate their time, energy
and money to help feed the hungry, clothe the naked and employ the
unemployed. Libertarians must use this opportunity to outwork, outserve
and outhustle the socialist behemoths. The coming competition for
the hearts and minds of future generations will be between large,
centrally-planned, tax-funded socialist institutions and small,
nimble, privately funded, private individuals and organizations
that reject all government aid and interference. If you disbelieve
the existence of the latter category of people and institutions,
they are real
and they exist.

The
Minneapolis-based Sharing
and Caring Hands
is a libertarian's dream charitable organization.
Sharing and Caring Hands serves 240,000 meals a year, houses 500
people every night, pays to provide overnight shelter for another
19,000 people per year, provides eye exams and glasses for children
and adults and also provides shoes, clothing and emergency funds
to those in need. It does all of this without
accepting one dime of state, federal or United Way aid
. Sharing
and Caring Hands has operated for over 20 years. Its founder and
CEO, Mary
Jo Copeland
, was a libertarian before being a libertarian was
cool. In addition to rejecting all state and federal aid, Mary Jo
does not accept a salary. Mary Jo has heroically and successfully
fended off numerous attacks from Minnesota state authorities who
claim to dislike her accounting methods (she gives cash to the needy
and does not get receipts) but actually are more concerned about
what she really represents — perhaps the world's greatest threat
to the socialist Welfare State. Although I have been in the same
room with Mary Jo only once and have never spoken with her directly,
it is my impression that she is a living saint. As I have heard
the story, Mary was a severely abused child who has spent all of
her adult life in the service of the poor. Before starting her work
day, she wakes up at 5 am, goes to Mass and prays. Although she
also prays with and for those she serves, she does not proselytize
or demand dogmatic obeisance from them. She very simply and humbly
offers a living example of a faith-filled life and spends virtually
every minute of her working day in the service of others. It is
no wonder that she has little difficulty attracting uncoerced capital
to her endeavor. Last year Sharing and Caring Hands received $5.6
million in contributions.

November
1, 2008

Bill
Butler [send him
mail
] is a Minneapolis attorney and the owner of Butler
Liberty Law
.

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