Fronts of Socialism

The title could equally well read “Fronts of Communism” or “Fronts of Government Intervention” or “Fronts of Totalitarianism” because socialism, communism, interventionism and totalitarianism stem from a common belief: Capitalism is a defective and unfair economic system. (See Ludwig von Mises’ “The Economic Policy of the Nazis”.) Other terms such as collectivism, democratic socialism, industrial policy and centralization take the same anti-capitalist stance. They all “substitute government control of business for the management of capitalists and entrepreneurs.” For simplicity, one term for these enemies of capitalism suffices: Socialism.

Socialism makes war on capitalism, and it does so by actual aggression. Governments literally invade people’s rights. Government interventions control people’s otherwise free and peaceful actions, thereby aggressing against people’s freedom of action.

Attacks on freedom occur in so many different ways and contexts that one can get lost in the terms used to describe them individually. That is where the concept of “fronts of socialism” comes in.

A front is the foremost or most forward part of something. In wars, fronts are the most advanced part of an armed force where it confronts the enemy by reaching the latter’s forward position.

Socialism opens new fronts that disguise the fact that its attacks stem from the same root: Anti-capitalism, anti-freedom, anti-free markets. The flip side is that socialism is pro-state, pro-control by government, pro-collectivism, pro-centralization, pro-central planning. pro-central control, and pro-centralized political power.

In recent years, a new front is Green Socialism. Lately, the phrase Green New Deal has popped up. Green doesn’t have to be socialist, but socialists use Green nonetheless and turn it into a front against capitalism. The program of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is Green Socialist:

“The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality.”

Her program is as interventionist, as totalitarian, as anti-capitalist, as aggressive, as centrally-planned, as government-controlled, as power-laden, as collectivist, as elitist, and as communist as any socialist plan is. Her favored front is Green Socialism. This looks different from other fronts of socialism in other contexts, other places and other times. The anti-freedom, anti-free markets and anti-capitalism in her plan are the same.

The faults endemic to any such plan and socialist front are the same. The most basic fault is the assumption that capitalism is a defective and unfair system. The flip side of this erroneous belief or presumption is the erroneous idea that socialism is a correct, workable and just system.

The U.S. government can be pictured as a mixture of socialist fronts. Each one is a battleground of capitalism vs. socialism. The resulting American economy and political makeup become complex, as a variety of forces determine the outcomes along the different fronts. In different fronts, unions win power, business wins power, the military-industrial complex wins power, deep-state bureaucrats win power, intellectuals win power, politicians win power, and so on. The forces of freedom are fighting many battles on many fronts simultaneously.

These fronts may be identified roughly by the official departments of the U.S. government, such as Defense, State, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs. That is not all, because there are also independent agencies, boards and committees.

What are the kinds of things that keep the country going and hold back the socialist forces from taking over completely? The inherent desire to be free, the work ethic, the desire to work to get ahead, love of one’s children, the heritage of freedom, the ethic of freedom, pride in oneself, devotion to family, pride in work, desire to be self-supporting, desire for self-expression, and so on. An important factor holding back socialism is that it doesn’t put bread on the table. Instead, it’s an impediment. Trial and error with the aims of survival and comfort alone are enough to prod people to value freedom vastly more than following the directives of socialists in power.

What factors work in favor of socialism’s side? An important one is that on every front, favored people and groups win privileges, get money and get power. They therefore favor and promote socialism. Socialism is unjust, not only in trampling on people’s rights, but in rewarding particular people with goodies that they don’t get through merit or work that supplies people’s wants through voluntary and peaceful exchanges. The rewards come through power and favoritism. Socialism has an Iron Law of Privilege.

Socialism pretends to attack the privileged, but it creates them. Socialism attacks wealth earned by capitalists and entrepreneurs who have earned what they have by supplying consumers with affordable goods. The battle lines tend to become unclear when we look at any given company or wealthy person, because the source of their wealth may be capitalism or socialism or both. Consequently, the clearest strategy in this war is to recognize and eliminate every source of government control that we can, while allowing markets to work. Keep making institutional changes at the margin that we know for sure are wiping government aggressions off the books.


7:26 am on January 5, 2019