Thursday, June 12, 2014
THE LIMBAUGH LETTER ARCHIVE [APRIL 1993] According to Me Archive [April 1993] We are witnessing, my friends, what can only be described as a national amnesia. Because our public educational system is so notoriously unreliable when it comes to basic economics and history, a large percentage of Americans are deprived of the information they need to properly analyze and evaluate the country’s direction. We are in real danger of drifting blind and rudderless into the political shoals. And so it is left to me to patiently serve as a hortatory navigator, holding aloft the light of truth to illuminate the purest course. Fortunately for America, I am up to the task. WHY SOCIALISM HAS NEVER WORKED Socialism is the most insidious political and economic doctrine in history… and unless we are very wise, it could well be coming soon to a government near you. Socialism originally arose in the late 18th century in response to the upheavals of the industrial revolution. In the last two hundred years it has metastasized around the world in various heinous forms, from Marxism to communism to so-called democratic socialism — all promising delivery from the “inequities” of competition and capitalistic profit. Socialism is nearly flawless in its seductive power. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” is a central statement of faith that sounds so reasonable it rivals the Golden Rule in its appeal. In theory, its attraction is to compassion, and its siren call for cooperation and social service connects with noble, humanitarian impulses. But therein lies the poison. The compassion is false, and wherever the theory has lived, socialism’s fundamental misunderstanding of human nature has been revealed in the utter destruction in its wake. Socialism has never, ever worked. Usually the failures are measured in economic terms relative to capitalistic societies — but the largest cost has been borne in its trampling of the human spirit. It is an ideology of bondage. Hatred of Ownership. Socialism means collective or government ownership, with central bureaucracies controlling economic planning — instead of the brilliance that results from free people making millions of daily decisions in a free market. The socialist distrust and hatred of private ownership is not just a fatal flaw. It is also a serious misunderstanding of that yearning for freedom with which all human beings are endowed. Something happens when an individual owns his home or business. He or she will always invest more sweat, longer hours, and greater creativity to develop and care for something he owns than he will for any government-inspired project supposedly engineered for the greater social good. This is unarguable. And it is nothing to be lamented. The desire to improve oneself and one’s family’s lot, to make life better for one’s children, to strive for a higher standard of living, is universal and God-given. It is honorable. It is not greed. And when given as an outlet in free society, this desire is the engine of economic growth and the means for a vast, society-wide creativity. Socialism steals this incentive, and with it the great human ability to innovate. Only in an atmosphere of freedom does the power of individual excellence flourish. And only in the atmosphere of freedom does entrepreneurship find root, which creates in people the desire for highest performance. Fear of the Individual. Socialism ultimately does not believe the individual can triumph over the obstacles of life without government help. And the result is that in socialist societies, individuals do not dare to triumph over the obstacles of government. Indeed, if socialism despises private property, and it does, it loathes and fears the power of the individual. And this is, at its core, a spiritual battle. There is nothing so compelling, so potent, as a rugged individual pursuing excellence. It is the force that has moved history. An individual with passion, conviction, drive, has always confounded and frightened those obsessed with making regulations for “fairness” — that is, mediocrity. And the reason is simple: such rugged individuals cannot, ultimately, be controlled or crushed. All you must do to understand this is recall one image: a lone Chinese citizen standing defiant in the path of a government tank. There is no better metaphor for the contest between the state and the individual. Anyone who witnessed that scene knew, immediately and instinctively, who possessed the greater power. It is irrational on its face, but you know it is true. The tank could have killed the man instantly. But yet the man was stronger. Clearly there is a spiritual element to this equation. And this is why socialism has never worked, and can never work. The human heart, and the human soul, is individual, singular, unique. Our identity, and value, is as individuals before God, not some vast collective leveled by a false bondage to fairness. Only a society that allows individual talents — gifts — to flourish will reap the benefits of human greatness. Throughout the history of socialism, and especially its most virulent forms, there have been places for those who refused to bow to state power. Prison. Labor camps. Mental hospitals. The gulag. But a society which fears and stifles individual achievement is destined for grim mediocrity, and, as we saw in the Soviet Union, dissolution. Just observe what happened when such people came to America in the last two centuries, their talents allowed to be unleashed. Every immigrant group has brought an explosion of energy. They have been, many of them, permitted to keep what they earned for the first time. And they ran restaurants, grocery stores, cleaners, shops, thousands of small businesses — working 14-, 18-, 20-hour days. Greater Inequities. One of the enormous ironies is that it is capitalism which provides “the greatest good for the greatest number.” In the promise to make life fair, and “distribute” the wealth equally, socialism produces ever greater inequities. The ruling elite, with the power to make economic and political decisions, are always pampered; those upon whose behalf the decisions are made are left at mere subsistence level. This is why, to paraphrase the brilliant economist Friedrich A. von Hayek, the only power worth having in a socialist state is the power to make those economic and social decisions, which by definition will be decisions that benefit and enrich themselves. Nothing — and no one — else. Socialism’s suspicion of wealth and achievement gives you the grim results of Eastern Europe, Cuba… and America’s inner cities. It is capitalism that creates the vast middle class, with dynamic social flexibility and upward mobility that prevents the fixed strata of Europe. In addition, it provides something intangible — national optimism, the sense of unlimited possibility that has been the hallmark of America for decades. Until, perhaps, now. That is, if we heed the pessimistic messages of the left. In that vein, my friends, I leave you with the words of that old Communist, Poland’s General Wojcieck Jaruzelski, who still likes socialism: “The values of the left are expressed in terms of social justice and an equal start for everyone, the necessity of providing social services for the people… Actually, in Clinton’s program I see elements I like a lot.” I rest my case.