We’ve all heard of “Death by Chocolate.” It’s a confection that’s’ so jam-packed full of rich, chocolatey goodness, that it’s supposed to taste really, really good. So good, in fact, that you’ll eat enough of it to die. It’s a joke, of course, and people often wryly continue, “But what a way to go.”
Government? Particularly Socialist government? Same thing.
In today’s America, the Democrat Party is infested with Socialists. Oh, they’ll call themselves “Democratic Socialists,” but they’re Socialists all the same. They call Socialism a whole bunch of really pretty things: fairness, justice, social justice, economic justice, equality — Just as it says in the Declaration of Independence! they say.
Nice, pretty things. Like chocolate. And like chocolate, or anything else for that matter, too much of it will kill you.
And that’s where our analogy ends. Because not too much of “Death by Chocolate” won’t kill you at all. In fact, all it’ll do is leave you saying, “Yum!” as you tip your waitress and head to the car.
Not so with Socialism. It’s at this point that we need to make another analogy: Socialism is like cyanide. Sure, a tiny dose won’t kill you, in fact, you might not even notice it. But it is still a deadly poison, and that tiny dose is still harming you — if only a little bit.
America’s “Democratic” Socialists are trying to dress up their cyanide and sell it to you as chocolate.
So, how much Death by Chocolate should we have? Oh, a moderate amount. A once weekly, or twice monthly outing to the local eatery where you down a rich dessert might even be beneficial, as it works its wonders on your morale.
Now, how much cyanide should you snarf down? Even if you know that a little bit won’t kill you? Are you still going to order up cyanide at the local eatery… even if they call it chocolate?
Of course not.
The great Jonah Goldberg in the great National Review Online said it well, if not completely (here). Goldberg is always a great read; a wonderful turner of phrases, and a prolific slinger of bons mots. I have excerpted some passages from his essay, but it’s always well worth your while to read everything Goldberg writes.
Anyway, Goldberg says of Socialism:
“…all socialist systems that do not work within the constraints of a liberal democratic framework of the rule of law inevitably descend into tyrannies. Give the state unbridled power, and the denizens of the state will use that power toward their own ends.”
Where the great Jonah Goldberg ever so slightly misses the mark here is that Socialism is by its very nature anti-democratic, and so even inside a “democratic framework of the rule of law” Socialism — really its adherents — must struggle against the very framework that keeps it from descending into tyranny. Why is this?
Democracy means: control of the one by the one. The same one.
Socialism means: control of the one by others.
A democratic societal structure dedicated to individual liberty, that hands significant power to people who believe in controlling others… is doomed. The ones who believe in controlling others will bend their every will to putting structures (laws, rules, regulations, taxes…) where there were none before. The lack of all those structures is… freedom. Here’s how the great Jonah Goldberg describes it:
“…we’d all share equally society’s wealth. But what this vision leaves out is the socialist with the clipboard that keeps track of who gets their “fair share” and the men with guns who protect the man with the clipboard from those who disagree with his decisions. The man who says “get in line for your share” is the new ruler of every would-be utopia. The clipboard becomes a totem of power no less ominous than the ball and scepter, the whip, the fasces, or the phone the person in power uses to make you disappear.“
The society where you don’t have “the man with the clipboard” surrounded by men with guns is a free society. Clipboard Man and his gun-toting goons are all socialists… they’re the structures, rules, regulations, laws, practices, taxes and procedures that Socialists put in place to control others.
This is where the great Jonah Goldberg got it slightly wrong. Or said it incompletely. As we’ve said many times in these pages: if you were to describe society today, that portrait would be only a snapshot of a society that’s moving in a direction. If nothing is done to change that direction, then the society will, one day, end up at the logical, extreme endpoint of that trajectory.(1)
This is why you can’t have anti-democratic forces — Socialists — within a democratic framework and expect the whole structure to remain… democratic. Or: You can’t have Socialists gaining power in a democratic country and expect that country to remain free.
Remember: Hitler arrived in power democratically. Stalin, Mao, the Kims in North Korea, Castro, all got to where they were by coming out on top in some kind of vote that they all called “elections.” They were sham elections, of course, but the very symbolism of popular legitimacy through elections holds powerful sway over the imaginations of both dictators and the people they control across the globe.
All these bloodthirsty, merciless dictators paid ritual homage to the notion that they were really beholden for their power to vast throngs of people whose will and wisdom actually controlled what they were doing. They were acknowledging that they, the dictators, at least had to respect the idea that power should belong to the people, even if they only paid lip service to the notion.
This is not to say that there’s no hope. In fact, the way to turn the trajectory of the country back in the proper direction, to the right, is simple: dismantle laws, rules, regulations… controls over the behavior of the people.
Why do you think that the Left goes absolutely bonkers when Republicans propose to dismantle regulations? It’s because: regulations = power. Getting rid of regulation means actually shifting power and freedom back to the people.
We proposed a way to maximize freedom, while ensuring there are adequate controls in place to protect people against those who would abuse them: Sunset every regulatory(2) law, and every tax. No regulatory law — no exceptions — may be in place more than ten years. If Congress really, really wants a law, then it will have to have a replacement law on the President’s desk for his signature the day the original law expires.
Furthermore, this will allow Congress to tweak laws that they didn’t get right the first time, and make them better.
If this simple law were in place (unsunsettable, of course 🙂 ), then Congress would devote its time to maintaining those laws and regulations that are the most important, and the frivolous crap on which they focus now wouldn’t even see the light of day.
ObamaCare? Fine. Let’s try it for ten years. Then if it’s crap — as it is — let it die a merciful death. Still love Dodd-Frank? Great! Replace it with a new 10-year law of identical wording. Otherwise let it die. Think the Voting Rights Act is still needed? Okay, put an identical law — through the usual process — on the President’s desk the day the original law expires. Or, change it a bit.
Oh, the frivolous crap wouldn’t go away… guess who’d take it on. Why, the states of course! Let them do the frivolous crap, and see whether it works. If it does work, great! Other states will copy it. If it doesn’t work… they’ll get rid of it. Let the states be, ummmm… the laboratories of democracy. Imagine that!
Want to see whether my idea would work or not? Propose it and see who squawks. First of all, it’d be a Republican proposal, and second: the Leftmost of the Democrats will squawk the first and the loudest, but all the Democrats will howl to the heavens. You’ll hear all the best slanders: It’s racist! Sexist! Homophobic! Misogynistic! and so on. That’s how you know it would be a good thing to do this.
At the top, we said that Socialism is really Death by Government. Why? Well, because it takes things from you. Things that are vital to your ability to live your life. Freedoms, income, resources. To do this, it must have a robust coercive apparatus in place to enforce its ability to confiscate your stuff.
The great Jonah Goldberg spoke above of Socialism functioning within a democratic framework, and when it doesn’t, he said, it “inevitably descends into tyranny.” We saw that in the late, unlamented Soviet Union, in Communist China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba and elsewhere. We’re seeing it play itself out in Venezuela. 120 million murdered around the world in the last century alone… and still counting.
But we see it also in countries that are, supposedly, not Socialist countries! These are countries where they’ve swallowed just a little bit of the Socialist cyanide — dressed up as chocolate — and are experiencing the inevitable effects of having ingested a potent poison. An example? Sure: the NHS — the National Health Service of Great Britain. Read up a bit on the “Liverpool Care Pathway.”
It should be called the “Liverpool Doesn’t Care Pathway.” It was supposed to be a protocol to administer palliative care to terminal patients, but what it really became was a way to deny people care, so as to accelerate their deaths, thus saving the NHS money.
It works too. People who are older, and whose health care would be “too expensive” for the country’s socialized medical system are abandoned to die. It’s called “rationing,” and everyone got all over Sarah Palin’s case when she called such horrors “Death Panels.” But she was right. It’s coming to us too. It’s called: “Medicare for all,” the Socialists all love it, and it means healthcare rationing. Or: Death by government.
(1) This notion is at the core of our now mildly famous xPraetorius Curve (not its real name) used in universities all across the country:
Explanation: Even though it appears that the country is in a consistent left-right-left-right cycle (the blue line), the nation’s actual trajectory is relentlessly leftward — around the center-red line that tilts left — and will leave America one day a far-left, totalitarian hellhole. If, that is, nothing is done to arrest and reverse that trajectory.
An important point: to do that is simple: abolish, eliminate, cut… regulation. Regulation is control over people. If you do that, then even if the xPraetorius curve were to point relentlessly rightward, that would mean that we would be headed toward a country with less regulation.
It’s often erroneously thought that going too far to the right would result in a extreme right-wing hellhole, filled with laws, rules, regulations, taxes, policies and procedures of the extreme right. But this is a misunderstanding of what Left and Right mean. Laws, rules, regulations… controls over people, are the things of the Left. To move to the Right is to remove those controls over human behavior. And, yes, you can go too far to the Right. At that point, you’d have an anarchy that would allow the worst, cruelest, strongest of the people to control others. Ironically, it would be in an extreme right-wing country that extreme left-wing behaviors would flourish to cause the most misery. The great Jonah Goldberg (via Peregrine Worsthorne) addresses this eventuality in his essay too:
“As Peregrine Worsthorne once noted, a doctrine of total freedom [Editor’s note: the actual definition of “extreme right.” We have no organized extreme rightists in America today.] pursued to its logical conclusion is a world where bullies are free to do their will. Ordered liberty is a different concept altogether because it balances the tension between the need for both order and liberty. We are free to do the things that do not harm others unjustifiably.”
Remember: the core tenet of the Right is: live and let live. That’s why we Conservatives believe in “Ordered Liberty.” It’s a system in which people are freest to control their own destinies, but with protections in place for when people choose to abuse others. For when people choose to act like, well, like leftists.
(2) A regulatory law is a law that doesn’t prohibit a behavior, but dictates how a person or entity may engage in that behavior.