Envy is the New Greed

-- Every once in awhile, you’ll come across someone who considers him- or herself above capitalism.

He is obviously so godly and intellectually or morally superior (or both) that he doesn’t need to drag himself down with petty things like… let’s say… reality.

And due to her head being so far up her a-… ahem… I mean, in the heavenly clouds, she says some pretty unbelievable [expletive deleted] like…

[The following is adapted from an actual Youtube video we came across over the weekend. Picture a 20-something girl holding a sign that says “Vote for the Greater Good Instead of the Lesser Evil. VoteSocialism.com”… a man named Vladimir Jaffe approaches the girl with a camera. Comedy ensues…]

--“We’re from the Freedom Socialist Party,” the girl says with a proud look.

“Capitalism,” she says, “is a root cause of sexism, homophobia, racism, classism, and we hope that by changing away from an economic system that causes these things… to one that… ummm…”

“Wait,” Jaffe says, “was Che Guevara socialist?”

“Huh… what?”

“Che Guevara. He was socialist?”

“Oh… I feel like I can’t comment on that. There have definitely been things done in the name of socialism that have not been good… but…”

“So… Che Guevara was not socialist?”

“Well, uh…”

“He was homophobic, he was racist…”

“Right, right. Like I said, there have been things that have been done in the past…”

“OK,” Jaffe says. “Look… I came from Russia. I’ll tell you up front.”

“OK.”

“So, that’s why when I see, you know, ‘Vote Socialism’ stuff… I’m… honestly… shocked.

“Shocked?” she said.

“Because that’s the system I escaped from. We all know how it ends up.”

[Girl says something baffling about Soviet Russia’s socialism lacking international support. Cannot compute… cannot compute…]

“I’m sorry,” she stops. “Uhh… are you filming this? I would actually prefer if you didn’t film right now. I am comfortable talking about this with you, but I’d rather not have it on film.”

Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink. Blink.

That’s our brain. Trying to understand…

Stretching… reaching…

Nope. Don’t get it.

Yes, in America we are allowed to believe whatever we want. And we’re allowed to express those beliefs.

To paraphrase Voltaire… though I disapprove of what this girl says, I defend her right to waste her time standing in the street talking in circles and defending totalitarianism.

It’s absolutely her right. And she should be out there every single day if she wants to be, getting nods and high-fives from other dummies who’ve never used those precious neurons before.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with this inalienable right.

Take, for example, the police officer you see in the picture below.

He recently told a few college students at an Illinois university that they’re not allowed to “solicit their opinion”on college campus without a permit. And if they didn’t stop? He would lock them up.

Their crime? Handing out copies of the Constitution and fliers that read “America is a free speech zone.”

Freedom of speech video

Watch the video

Yay for freedom.

--Tomorrow, we’re going to discuss something that’s threatening to take away many of the things we hold dear… including our freedom of speech.

That thing is the TPP.

If you haven’t heard, the full text of the TPP has been released. And it’s even worse than we thought.

While we sift through the incomprehensible language to try to suss out what it’s actually saying…

Let’s first tackle something that’s been bothering us recently. That is, the recent interest in what’s being called “democratic socialism.”

What is democratic socialism? Let’s let a cute placard tell you about Utopia…

Democratic Socialism

Democratic Socialism: The Rose Without Thorns

We love the part where it says “We wouldn’t allow monopolies” just before it says “We’d reverse privatization.”

Rich. Very rich.

And terrifying.

The democratic socialist believes, in sum, that our ills are created by rich people who hoard wealth. (The presupposition being, of course, that wealth is a fixed pie… which isn’t true.)

None of the problems we face, according to the democratic socialist, are caused by the Fed… or big government in general.

It’s the rich man or woman’s fault that everyone doesn’t have a living wage (not true)… or that education is outrageously expensive (not true)… or that we’re waging wars in “foreign parts” (laughable)… or that we don’t aid wounded vets and opt instead to pay war profiteers (idiotic)… or that we’re outsourcing jobs to Third World countries (misplaced blame)… or that cops wage war on the poor (what? seriously?)… or that monopolies exist (Pffft)… or that prisons are used as for-profit slave labor camps (can anyone say “lock-up quota”?)…

Every single one of these problems (not speaking of privatization, because it’s not a problem) can be traced back not to the private wealthy individual… but to a government that’s gotten too big for its britches.

But the democratic socialist, deep down, isn’t actually worried about any of these issues. The socialist’s motivation doesn’t come from the individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Oh, no.

Instead, what really drives the socialist, says libertarian megaphone Eric July, is… wait for it…

Envy.

He explains…

I wonder where people get off thinking they are entitled to the product of other people’s labor.

For example, you have people claiming that healthcare is a right. Now check this out…

Healthcare is a result of somebody else’s labor. That’s just what it is. You go to the doctor’s or something of that nature, you break your arm… somebody has to work on you, therefore, labor is involved. And you are not entitled to that simply because you exist. That’s not how it works. That’s not how it has ever worked.

Well… no… I take that back. It worked like that at one point. It was slave owners. They thought that they were entitled to the fruits of other people’s labor.

Now… we don’t have a greed problem in America. We have an envy problem that’s going on right now.

It’s funny that people want to call other people greedy, yet they feel entitled to the result of other people’s labor.  Or entitled to people’s labor in general.  Or money. Or private property. Or things like that.

And you want to call somebody else greedy for wanting to keep what they have? And you want what they have?

--Envy, dear LFT reader, is the new greed.

The socialist is not interested in all the sacrifices many entrepreneurs have to make in order to obtain wealth and monetary freedom. He or she just wants his or her “fair share”.

Rather than maneuvering through the marketplace, fully expanded by the Internet and the ability to learn almost all skills online for FREE…

The socialist would rather have the government punish productive people for being too efficient and competitive (Uber and Airbnb are two GREAT examples).

But we digress.

The big bad wolf isn’t democratic socialism. We wouldn’t want to give you that impression. We’re simply venting.

Democratic socialism is nothing to be afraid of because… simply… it’s a fantasy. It’s a myth. It’s an oxymoron.

And fortunately, according to several studies from all around the world, it’s not what the majority of people want. Most people around the world would rather move through a market system than sludge through a socialist one.

Let’s let the people from Being Classically Liberal on Liberty.me prove it.

Read on…

The Fantasy of ‘Democratic Socialism’

By Being Classically Liberal

Democratic socialism is political ideology advocating a democratic political system alongside a socialist economic system.

The socialist party of the United States’ website declares, “We believe socialism and democracy are one and indivisible.”

Similarly, the Democratic Socialists of America states:

“Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives. Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well — everywhere but in the United States.”

Is it really true that socialism and democracy are inseparable? No. It’s actually a nonsensical assertion.

In fact, the whole concept of ‘Democratic Socialism’ is utterly oxymoronic. In reality, the majority of people across the world support the free market, not central planning.

Consider that a 2014 Pew Research poll of 25 advanced, emerging, and developing countries, found that “in 21 of the 25 countries surveyed agree that most people are better off in a free market system even if there is some inequality…

A global median of 66%say most people are better off under capitalism, even if some people are rich and some are poor.” 70% of the US correspondents agreed. Another Pew poll regarding free trade, which is generally opposed by Democratic Socialists as they are more often than not also protectionists, found that an average of 58% of people in 28 European countries support a free trade agreement with the United States.

Similarly, using data from a 2006 survey of citizens in 28 formerly socialist countries, economists from UC Berkeley and the Paris School of Economics found that “[there is] a positive and significant effect of democracy on support for a market economy.”

The authors go on to note that “there is no historical evidence of a democratic society without a market economy.”

Indeed, this is a point even the Democratic Socialists of America have conceded.

In a Q&A section on their website they admit that “no country has fully instituted democratic socialism.” Central planning simply isn’t democratic, even if socialists would like it to be.

Here are the conclusions of a few studies on the relationship between democracy and globalization and economic liberalization (which are both generally opposed by Democratic Socialists):

  • The authors of a highly cited paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) state: “Our findings support the existence of positive relationships between democracy and globalization.”
  • Another highly cited NBER paper states: “most economic liberalizations [free market reforms] tend to be preceded by political reforms, perhaps imposed by a struggling population on an unwilling leader.”
  • A highly cited paper authored by Princeton’s website states: “Regime change toward democracy is associated with trade liberalization, controlling for many factors. Conventional explanations of economic reform, such as economic crises and external pressures, seem less salient. Democratization may have fostered globalization in this period.”
  • A highly cited paper published in the European Journal of Political Economy states that in post-socialist countries: “[Economic] Liberalization has a strong positive effect on growth during transition (also when controlling for endogeneity of liberalization in growth). Democracy facilitates economic liberalization. Because of its effect on liberalization, democracy has a positive overall effect on growth.”
  • A paper published by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research states: “This paper investigates empirically the interaction between economic growth performance and political institutions in producing free-market reform… Democracies not only carry out more liberal economic policies in general [than autocracies], but they are also more responsive to economic growth crises. Democratic rule seems to be favorable for policy liberalization, but a very good growth performance weakens liberalization incentives considerably.”

Ultimately, it seems safe to conclude that democracy promotes market capitalism, not ‘democratic socialism’.

If Democratic Socialists actually care about democracy than they should accept the people’s decision to support free markets.

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Until tomorrow,

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell

Written By Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell is the Managing editor of Laissez Faire Today. Before joining Agora Financial, he was a researcher and contributor to SilverDoctors.com.