In Jim Cook's Archive


Sad to say, I have friends and even relatives who vote for political candidates on the left. Generally, they have embraced liberalism because of one or more social issues that concern them. Unfortunately, they allow this narrow perspective to override the great historical struggle of our time between socialism and capitalism (free market vs. government control). They erroneously believe this conflict to be irrelevant or no longer germane. For this belief, they risk exchanging their prosperity and freedom for poverty and statism.

Many believe we have reached a compromise between socialism and capitalism. Not so. There is no middle ground. There is only transition from one to the other. In America that transition leads down the road to socialism and lower living standards.

When the Bolsheviks gained control of Russia, they seized the safe deposit boxes in the banks. Then they opened them at their leisure and stole the contents. They confiscated businesses, land, private property, gold, jewels and the nation’s wealth, all in the name of the state. In terms of economics, the liberals of today are the stepchildren of these revolutionaries. However, today’s proponents of big government are more subtle than their predecessors. They expropriate not through seizure, but through high taxes, lawsuits, judgments and penalties.

Liberals and socialists tend to dislike business and hate the profit motive. They hold people who run companies in contempt. They are an envious lot. They want more regulation, limits on compensation and an emphasis on social goals. They think success in business is more a matter of luck than diligence. They are quick to attack corporations in the media. Their politicians don’t hesitate to shake down companies like big tobacco. Their trial lawyers frequently sue hapless companies.

Our strong advocacy of capitalism does not endorse a system where corporations are handed government subsidies, government regulations protect large corporations from competition, trade protection favor certain industries and extravagant money and credit creation enable corporations to profit excessively through speculation and financial engineering. Nor does it sanction tip-offs to the carry-trade that enable hedge funds to profit obscenely on the direction of interest rates. Such government and business handholding is only more socialism.

Hostility towards business runs deep on the left. Their attacks cripple enterprise and imperil prosperity. Those who support liberalism and decry profits promote the impoverishment of the many. On college campuses professors pontificate about robber-barons and corporate crooks. Their heroes are never business pioneers or innovative entrepreneurs. They would rather enshrine a Che Guevara than a Ray Kroc or Tom Watson. Che, that hero of leftist lore once claimed, “the oppressor must be killed mercilessly.…the revolutionary must become an efficient and selective killing machine.” Contrast that with a capitalist hero of today, George Gilder, who said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and “Give and you will be given unto,” are the central rules of the life of enterprise.”

Support for the left means far more than promoting your personal social cause. It’s a vote for big government, overregulation, statism and less freedom. It’s a vote for the government to take more and more of what people earn. As much as anything, it’s a vote to put all commerce under the thumb of politicians and government to the point they die off like so many dinosaurs. Voting for a liberal may keep your social cause alive and well, but if the left gains enough influence, you are going to hate your low wages, empty shelves and old car.

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