Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Economic Liberty IS the Foundation for ALL Other Freedoms...

Most Leftists don’t understand freedom and that’s why they don’t respect it.

Anyone who mistakes LICENSE (“the right to do whatever we’d like, so long as we don’t harm anyone else”) for LIBERTY (“self-ownership and the grinding responsibilities that come with that ownership”) does not understand freedom.

Anyone who fails to realize that “EQUALITY” is, always and everywhere, the enemy of LIBERTY, does not understand freedom.

And those who don’t understand that economic freedom/LIBERTY is the foundation for ALL other freedoms, does not understand freedom.

People who fail to realize that economic LIBERTY is the foundation for all other freedoms, tend to be the same kinds of people who routinely mix up economic and political terms.

ALL dictatorships are, in fact, politically totalitarian. That’s true whether the tyrant or despot is a Monarch, came to power through a coup, like Sukarno or Pinochet, OR was originally “democratically elected,” as in the case of Hitler and Chavez.

There really are only three possible political systems; (1) authoritarian totalitarian rule (that sees the people as “subjects” or “owned by” the state or government, (2) Constitutional Republics that see the rule of law above ALL men and institutions, including government, in fact, the Constitutional Republic is predicated upon the view of the government as subservient to the people – not “the will of the people” (as in pure democracy) but the innate individual rights of the people, as defined in a Constitution and (3) pure democracy, rightly derided by Ben Franklin as “Four wolves and sheep deciding on what’s for dinner.” Pure democracy unleashes the WORST possible abuse – the unbridled tyranny of the majority.

The ONLY system that could be potentially worse than that of the most miserable tyrannical despot is a pure democracy. It was pure democracy that brought down the Roman Empire.

Saying all that, without question, some dictatorships, some totalitarian regimes are better (at least in terms of the overall quality of life of the people) than others. Those tend to be those that respect individual property rights AND economic freedom/Liberty. Of course, those also tend to be few and far between, for exactly that reason. So, market-based totalitarianism, like that under Pinochet, Suharto and to a lesser, but still viable extent, Mussolini and Franco have proven preferable in terms of LESS overall deprivation and suffering and less violence toward the people (even dissenters, than have Leftist or Marxist totalitarian regimes such as Hitler’s, Mao’s, Pol Pot’s and Stalin’s.

Economic freedom doesn’t only LEAD to other freedoms, ALL other freedoms evolve FROM economic liberty, for without the right to OWN property, the people become property – “the property of the state.”

Freedom is NOT “the right or ability to do what we like” – THAT is license.

Freedom is individual Liberty, which is self-ownership – which carries with it the DUTY of self-defense, the right to own and the duty to upkeep and better one’s property and to be self responsible for making one’s own way in the world.

Economic freedom is, in essence, the right to CREATE (art, businesses, professional skills, etc.) and to market those creations for “what the market will bear.” ALL other freedoms evolve from the foundation that is economic freedom.

Freedom/Liberty is innately disproportionate and “unfair” because life is unfair.

Life is unfair because all people are born into this world with differing and varying talents, abilities and ambitions, BUT history has shown us that those societies that allow for the unfettered interplay between individuals, between the strong and the weak, the creative and non-creative, do far better, in terms of both overall quality of life and faster and more widespread economic and social development.

As for China, many Americans seem to still hold onto a 1980s mindset on that nation.
Mark Leonard, the Executive Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations has said, “The [1989 Tiananmen Square uprising] was an absolutely seminal time in China's political and intellectual development. In the west what we saw was a group of students longing to join the west and overthrow the socialist economic and political system.

"What is very interesting about the Chinese intellectuals now, is the revisionist account of what was happening in 1989. In many ways it was the moment when the reformist camp split in two.

“One group, mainly students, wanted to join the west, looking for political and economic reforms and another group [was] workers, trade unionists whose reasons for coming to the square were very different. They were protesting the economic reforms that had taken place within China that had caused hyper-inflation, that had made their lives a lot tougher.

“After the protest, when the government cracked down on the protesters, people went into exile, into prison, and you saw the reformist camp split. On the one hand you had a group of people who wanted to continue the economic reform and saw that as the absolute priority for China. They were mainly economists and people who had been very influential in the decade before Tiananmen Square. Many people talk about the ‘80s and ‘90s as 'The Dictatorship of the Economist'.

“[The other] group [was] quite aware of the social damage and environmental destruction that this economic growth was causing in China. They wanted a different kind of capitalism, one that was gentler, better able to deliver to the people at the bottom and less disrespectful of the environment.

“While the new right - sort of the Chinese equivalent of the aficionados of Reaganomics - have been willing to make political compromise in order to drive economic reform, the new left - who look more like social democrats - tend to be less willing, partly because they think the only way the state will be able to take on the vested interest of capital, is [with] greater political liberalization. If not, the interest of corrupted leaders will always win out over the interest of the mass of people.

How do you treat society as a whole and open it up in steps towards democracy?

“This debate about what model of capitalism China should have -- an embrace of the market [or] charting a more distinctive Chinese cause -- is mirrored in the political realm as well.

“A famous political scientist, who is supposed to be close to the Chinese president, has gathered all sorts of experiments in grass roots democracy; elections on the local level, villages, townships, even experiments within the Communist party.

“In China I went to a township in Sichuan Province where all of the township party sections were elected by their members. The group says elections have nothing going for them, from the Chinese perspective; they won't solve any of the problems that China faces. They believe China would be much better going for greater rule of law and supplementing that with different ways of finding out what the public wants. They talk about using focus groups, using opinion polls, using public consultations.”

See also: Ted Koppel’s The People’s Republic of Capitalism

The irony here is that while China is moving toward MORE economic Liberty and more political freedoms, the U.S. and Western Europe are moving away from that legacy.

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