Darwinism in Politics; Where Charles really belongs

I understand that this question really doesn’t concern most people as they go about their everyday routine of work, school, family, friends etc.  Most people simply do not stop and think about how a long deceased biologist affects their lives other than the fact that you have to learn about macro-evolution in freshman year biology class.  What people need to realize is that just because a theory is categorized into some discipline (like Darwinian evolution would be under biology) doesn’t mean that leading thinkers in other fields do not consider these ideas and their implications concerning the discipline they are in.  Darwinism is a great example of this borrowing and sharing of ideas across the intellectual spectrum.  Darwinism is an attempt to propose a mechanism explaining the causality of change in the organic sphere, namely, that organisms transform and change structures over long periods of time.  The deciding factor in this supposed change is the environment the organism finds itself in and its ability to adapt to it for self-preservation purposes.  This is called “natural selection”, that nature selects the fittest organisms in each specific environment to survive and sometimes even thrive. 

What some people don’t know is that Darwin picked up the idea of natural selection from a priest who proposed that humans have an innate predisposition to over breed while simultaneously not increasing the food supply to match the rate of breeding.  This was thought to lead to mass starvation and famine, wiping out those who don’t have the access or the technological means to grow the required amount of food to sustain their population and leaving only those who do with food to survive.  So as one can easily see Darwin just extrapolated this theory of “survival of those with the means to” to the biological world where only those organisms with the means or ability to, survive, while those not as efficient at either perish.  This is what is meant by the term, “survival of the fittest”; that only those with the superior means or abilities survive while those won’t lack them are quickly weeded out of the struggle for existence.  Just to cover all the bases we will mention, like so many fanatical apologists of Darwin constantly do, that Darwin himself did not coin the term “survival of the fittest” but a mid-nineteenth century thinker named Herbert Spencer did, even before Darwin ever published his Origins of Species, but that doesn’t mean Darwin rejected the term.  He added it in to the later editions of his book, presumably because he thought it explained some aspect of this theory more efficiently.  What I’m getting at is this; Darwin himself got his idea for attempting to explain the causality in a systematic manner of the organic realm from an idea explaining causality concerning human population movements, or in the social realm. Unfortunately, this process wasn’t to end there.        

Philosophers and political theorists began studying Darwinian evolution, its natural selection mechanism, and the “survival of the fittest” picture it painted.  They took the idea that organisms are locked in a deadly struggle over the limited resources that sustain life literally and applied it to the social realm, the place where Darwin originally got his idea of natural selection.  They read Darwinism into society like this; in society there are people who are naturally suited to survive and secure life’s essentials for themselves by either superior abilities or means (technology), and then there are those who can’t.  The people who are capable are the ones who naturally flourish and those who aren’t naturally perish or at least dwell in habitual poverty.  These academics and social theorists concluded that a faithful application of Darwinism to the social sphere told them that those who are the most “fit” to survive are the wealthy and powerful and those who aren’t are the poor and weak.  Since Darwinism basically posits that the world is a war of all against all for nature’s natural resources (survival of the fittest), this is necessarily true concerning humans, because, after all, we are biological entities with mammalian needs to satisfy just like other organisms.  They deduced that in this war of all against all the rich are winning because of their superior standard of living while the poor were losing because of their inability to “adapt”.  This spawned the monstrosity that is constantly leveled at the political Right as an indicator of their lack of empathy towards the poor and un-privileged, Social Darwinism.

Progressives, Fascists, statists, and totalitarians of all stripes interrupted this social theory of the survival of the fittest and concluded that the only way to “save” mankind is to be the one in control of the “natural selection” process (the irony that an omnipotent artificial institution should take on the role of the “natural selector” seemed lost on them).  If humans are going to habitually over breed we might as well try to get the ones we really want and “weed out” the undesirables.  This was important for these statists for two reasons; one was since they were all necessarily socialists, they wanted all the prospective offspring being born to be “socially productive” and to not be a “drain” on society so they could “do their part” for the collective, governed by these enlightened totalitarians of course.  To them this was a license to engage in eugenics, otherwise known as using the power of the state to “improve” the racial, genetic, or biological health of the community.  Now who would decide what “improving” meant and what constituted a “healthy” community? Only the sociopaths in the government bureaucracy writing and implementing these social programs according to their Utopian ideological agenda.  If this all sounds vaguely familiar that’s because it is, you’ve heard of it happening in Germany during the 1930’s and 40’s when the German state decided the “cancer” of the Jews was actively undermining the German community’s “health”. 

As for a closer to home example, the Progressives, then and now (more commonly called liberals today) engaged in this behavior, even before the Nazis had their infamous concentration camps.  The mentally retarded, chronically ill, and blacks were targeted by these arrogantly confident reformers in an effort to minimize the amount of offspring they had in order to build their precious socialist Utopia.  Blacks in particular were seen as “unfit” and not “selected” (by nature) to efficiently contribute to society.  Margret Sanger, a liberal icon for advocating women’s frequent use of birth control, hatched a plan called the Negro Project in which she enlisted black ministers and leaders to encourage lower reproduction rates in black communities, ultimately leading to their extinction in America (as she hoped).  Her project eventually lowered its ambitious aims but its impulse (population control of the undesirable blacks) went into an organization called Planned Parenthood, who receives federal funding and in which 85% of its locations are in or within close proximity to minority neighborhoods.             

Social Darwinism nowadays is a superfluous way for the Left to accuse the proponents of economic liberty of irrational animus towards the poor.  Their rationale goes something like this; since you don’t believe that people who make X amount of money should have their property confiscated against their will and “given” to those who do not have as much property in order to “give” them  a higher standard of living, you must hate the poor and don’t care if they die from lack of assistance.  This worldview stems from one, a complete ignorance of economics, and two, an application of Darwinian Theory to society, which can cause the former.  What is interesting is to see the change in the definition of Social Darwinism to the Left; it used to mean selection of the most “fit” by the all-powerful state through semi-violent means, now it means running roughshod over private property rights in order to transfer money from those who have more of it on average to those who do not.  It is a backdoor attack to implement Social Justice, a talking point to justify the welfare state, usually for political gain.   There are two major fallacies in Social Darwinism and the Left placing it on the side of the Right. The Conservative and Libertarian answer to this uninformed accusation would track closely along this line of reasoning.

People who believe in economic liberty and its modern manifestation, Capitalism, believe that the only means of achieving widespread prosperity for all who choose to engage in this economic system is the further pursuit of economic liberty in a peaceful, moral manner.  They disagree that forcefully taking property from someone or a group of people and transferring it to another group of people will benefit society in the long run. Here is why.  In order to increase one’s standard of living people apply labor to their surroundings to produce consumer goods, goods they can use in their lives like food, clothing, energy, housing etc.  It is a fact of nature that the more consumer goods one has at their disposal, the higher the standard of living they will enjoy, and the less hours of labor they will have to expend in the production process (at your job).  What defines the free market is that the only things that people spend time producing are the very same things demanded by other people on the market, the consumer is sovereign in the market.  People will engage in some productive activity (like selling your labor for a certain wage) and using the money they gained in purchasing consumer goods.  The money they then spent at a store goes back to the capitalists and the land owners of production, since the capitalist has already taken the personal risk of advancing everyone their paychecks with previously saved money.  If the capitalist didn’t do this, the workers, managers, and landowners would have to wait until the product was sold to collect their earnings, essentially working for “free” or no wage. 

What raises everyone’s standard of living is expanding this exchange and production process as far as it can go with the limited resources and labor available.  When more things are produced, the price of the good goes down because it is less scarce, making it available for a wider range of people to purchase.  If the division of labor is constantly expanded, we have access to more of people’s labor and goods they produce, adding more to the social product and lowering the price of goods.  This is in direct conflict with Social Darwinism because it implies that the smaller amount of people the better because they will be able to enjoy a higher living standard due to limited natural resources.  We say that the more productive people the merrier because we will be able to produce more goods and services that were previously unattainable for us to produce.  The thing that interrupts the division of labor and loosens what it is dependents upon, social cooperation, is violent activity.  Violent activity is the application of force or coercion against another individual against their will, usually for some material gain, this can range from inter-family feuds to national war.  When a war breaks out people have to forego their normal productive activities and focus on self-preservation and the destruction of the opponent through violent means.  Some examples would be the “scorched earth” policy opposing armies practiced against each other or rationing at the home front during a total war such as WWII.  This obviously lowers everyone’s standard of living and hurts the poor worse than anyone else.  Social cooperation though peaceful, free exchanges by an increasing amount of productive people is what raises society’s standard of living, not by euthanasia or discouraging the least among us to stop breeding.  Society is conscious peaceful cooperation, not a war of all against all.

The second main error of Social Darwinism is its materialism. It explicitly ignores that fact that humans have wills of their own and that man cannot, with any sort of conclusive certainty, “plan”, through the coercive actions of the all-powerful state, a perfectly ordered society.  Just because a human is presented with a certain situation in a given environment, does not necessarily mean he is predestined to act a certain way.  Humans alone have the ability to reason, and allow thoughts to influence their actions instead of helplessly giving themselves over to fluctuating primitive impulses like the animals do.  Humans and animals are indeed organic creatures and have similar physiological needs because they exist in the same realm of reality, but that doesn’t mean they are identical.  It is fallacious to believe so like the animal fanatics would have us do.  Humans have minds that think thoughts and house ideas, these ideas then dictate what the human will do in reality.  But the important thing to remember is that the mind is immaterial while Darwinism is strictly a theory that tries to explain the material, one cannot cross-pollinate the two methodologies. 

Social Darwinism is, and always has been, predominately a phenomena of the Left used to justify deep state interfere into private social life for the purposes of engineering a new man that fits their definition of perfect to construct a society that will bring them meaning in their droll lives.  When we start realizing this and start accepting that we are all actually made in the image of God (we have a spirit/immaterial side) we can finally place these theories where they correctly belong, reject all the Utopian schemes that are rationalized by them, and begin living as a free people.                 

Simeon Burns

Consuming Capital

The last few months’ news headlines are beginning to synch up with my thoughts. After hearing Mitt Romney make his “controversial”, “47%” statement (scandalous I’m sure) I decided I should consider to either stop thinking, or stop looking at the news so I don’t have to alert Morpheus that there’s a glitch in the Matrix and deal with all the dramatic repercussions Mouse had to. Is Mitt Romney right when he stated that since 47% of people are dependent on the government they won’t vote for him anyways? I’d put money on it, Obama will probably get 47% of this election’s vote. But that’s not the controversy. What is controversial is the deeper point Romney was implying, and to which the liberal (progressive, statist, fascist, pick your fancy) was reacting with such malice and faux shock. The reason for this manufactured outrage is to sooth the liberal’s conscious and avoid a rational examination of one of the mainstays of their ideology; if they can personally attach a negative emotion/connotation (the manufactured outrage) with what Romney said they must necessarily be right, therefore there is no need to take what he said seriously or examine it. It is a psychological defense mechanism employed against placing their arbitrary, normative ideology under rational scrutiny. I can see it now, t-shirts mocking what Romney said, bumper stickers that have stupid little quips about “just” wealth distribution. Anyways, the deeper political point that Romney was driving at when explaining the Obama voter mindset is this; why will these people never vote for him?
The popular philosophical justification employed for the welfare state is one of collective responsibility. This means that everyone in a political boundary is responsible for everyone else within that boundary, that if one person falls behind we all fall behind, that since you live in close proximity to one person, you are somehow financially responsible to them by under force of law. It is easy to see that this is not the case in reality but a vision the statist (liberal) only wishes the American people internalized. When someone works overtime to make more money than they would have by simply sticking to working their normal time allotment, while another quits a job just because they don’t like it, there is probably going to be a difference in monetary outcomes if they both earn roughly the same wage. But the point is this; one person made the free choice to work while the other made the free choice to quit, not everyone in the country worked or quit simultaneously because there are 310 million people here all with their individuality to account for. There can never be something as “the collective” in an individual entity sense, only in the sense that a group of people united and determined to work together to achieve a common end using similar means. After this is accomplished the collective is dissolved, people are never dissolved unless they are room temp. But if everyone is an individual who constantly acts as if you are your own person, how is this whole “collective responsibility” idea going to work? The only foreseeable, and historical, way it can work is if it is enforced by a government that has fundamentally no boundaries. The reason being is if you want everyone in society to be collectively responsible to each other, there is little to no room for an individual’s private interests to get in the way of this normative, political goal.
This belief in the collective was a reaction to the effects that laissez-faire capitalism had on the political and social environments of the time. Those who invented it did so as to retard the liberating effect the free market had on the commoner both politically with the rise of classical liberalism (now conservatism) and its two corollaries; equality before the law and representative democracy, and materially with a higher standard of living being more widely available. They sought to re-institute the power that was “lost” with the advent of representative democracy into an all-powerful institution that could control all the “wild” and “disordered” actions of individuals pursuing their own economic and occupational interests (a.k.a being free) and channel them to whatever goal those in charge deemed worthy. They settled on the god-state, the apparatus of coercion and compulsion in society. Whoever was in control of this institution should control the people who placed them there, for their own good of course. This is the weapon of choice the liberal employs against freedom and individual liberty.
Welfare nowadays is nothing more than massive wealth confiscation and “redistribution”, or whatever euphemistically contrived word one would use for transferring stolen property to someone else. It does not create wealth and it isn’t fair, hence the reason liberals named it as such. It isn’t fair because the government, which, again, is the social apparatus of coercion, forcibly takes property (mostly in the form of money) against many people’s volition. If your neighbor and his four big sons came to your house armed to the teeth (but their weapons aren’t drawn) and calmly asked for 25% of your annual income, you would probably call the police. Unfortunately in our case the police or military can easily be substituted into the above example. Don’t believe me, try not mowing your lawn or allowing the inevitable city lawnmower to mow your lawn for two months, see what happens. Welfare can only take place when the most powerful physical force in society, the government, forcefully takes from one group of people and “gives” it to another group. One interesting characteristic (and ultimately its fatal flaw) is that the welfare system in our country doesn’t fully take into account why people are asking for welfare, or how they got to the place they are in. It simply takes from someone who goes out and earns it and transfers (not gives) to another who didn’t earn it.
People respond to incentives. It would seem rational that if we are to “give” other people’s violently confiscated property (and therefore time because of the labor expended to earn it) away we should do so in a very cautious, guarded fashion. If someone feels that they need to have five kids before the age of 24 without bothering to secure the means to support them, why should someone else who did the morally (and economically) responsible thing be punished? Likewise regarding saving for Social Security. Why should those who work hard and constrict expenditure in the present (save) be punished for those who want to live solely in the moment by taxing them the same? If someone wants to save let them save, if they want to spend let them spend. If they want to act immorally and have five children out of wedlock without a job to boot let them. Just don’t make those who took school seriously, studied hard, work hard every day, are conservative with their money, and are overall productive members of society subsidize those who pissed their way through school, don’t want to earn their living yet feel entitled to our property, and spend like its December 21st. Individual responsibility is the only morally fair or “just” (if you’re a liberal) social ethic.
This fetish to continually implement the welfare state stems from the fact that liberals/progressives want equal economic outcomes, not opportunity. They see materialistic egalitarianism as “just” (think social justice) due to their ignorance of economics. The main fallacy they are caught on hook, line, and sinker is the ancient belief, inapplicable to the free market economy, that rich people are rich at someone else’s expense, that the fact that they are rich is proof that someone, somewhere out there is now poor. Also, the Marxist “immiseration of the Proletariat” myth influences them as well, which states that the wealthier the rich get, the poorer everyone else becomes. This is of course is self-evidently false, and has been proven so over and over for the last two hundred years by people way smarter than me. In a free market, the economy (all of its prices, goods supplied, and labor purchased by employers) is dictated by the common people placing their money votes (their purchases) towards the goods/services they want or desire. The wealthy, mostly land owners, investment capitalists, and entrepreneurs, are forced to prostrate themselves to the wishes and whims of the combined choice of the consumer, if, or course, they wish to remain wealthy. In the free market, the rich do not become so through the violent looting of the poor like they did in during the days of rampant despotism and autarkic economic systems (feudal society), the government is the institution which does a job of unsurpassed excellence in mimicking this social arrangement.
The only way the rich can loot from the poor in a free market is by using the strongest force in society, the government. This (looting) can only happen if the government actually has the power and legal credibility to perform such acts. But the only way it can perform such acts are if it is given a sophisticated and benign sounding rationalization to gain the popular support it needs to do so, something like “collective responsibility”. This is a longer way of saying the solution (more government interference or welfare) isn’t the solution to the problem, it’s the problem.
Does it work? The short answer is No. Economically this is why; people respond to incentives. Since people tend to have an aversion to getting their property violently confiscated (even those on welfare) because it lowers their standard of living, they take measures to minimize these occurrences and vacate those places that make it a habit, if they can. Inner cities, where welfare usage is rampant, are notorious for their high unemployment, decaying infrastructure, and high crime rates. This is because it takes the available capital (money) created through production and transfers it to people who did not earn it. Originally this capital is vital because capital goods (the machines or goods you use at work) need to be kept up because they cannot function indefinitely into the future, they need constant reinvestment by the firm in order to continue production, to produce consumer goods and pay their employees’ wages. When these are all taken from them they have to make a decision to stay in business, normally by firing some people or relocating so they can produce more efficiently. If taxes were lower or non-existent businesses would have a large surplus of capital available and an incentive to reinvest back into the economy, therefore creating jobs that were previously non-existent. Someone ultimately has to work these jobs, so someone who was previously unemployed is hired, raising his standard of living from whatever he was collecting on welfare or from charity, to his very own property in the form of a paycheck.
On a higher-minded note, welfare also robs people of their dignity by making them completely dependent upon other people like a child, and from “acting”, or employing specifically selected means to achieve definite ends. If a capable person is not allowed to exercise their reason, their “acting”, they become bored eventually engage in all sorts of mischievous acts in order to give meaning to their existence. This is an important faculty humans are endowed with, denying them the ability to exercise their reason creates a class of entitled, economically ignorant citizens who, since they receive money for “free”, believe the only reason they do not have more money is because the people who have it (although lower earners pay taxes as well) are withholding it from them. They are prone to use the government apparatus to loot those who they feel are responsible for their predicament and see the economy as a power-struggle between the rich and the poor, something that we have debunked above.
The only way the welfare state can continue is if the production (wealth generating activities) carried out by productive people outstrips the consumption carried out by the leaches of society. Once this is no longer the case the game is up. Now since the people who are used to collecting income without expending labor can no longer get it, they resort to the only means they know how to start collecting again, violence. This is the danger of the welfare state, turning citizen against citizen; these are the effects of consuming capital.

Simeon Burns

The Illness of Healthcare

Bittersweet would sum up my feelings about regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling for the “constitutionality” of the healthcare law, more popularly known as “Obamacare”.  Sweet because it was correctly challenged as unconstitutional by a majority of the states.  Bitter because of what this implies for America as a society and the prospective future we’re facing.  To put things in perspective; they are (progressives and “liberals”) now attempting to rationalize and constitutionalize the federal government making you, under threat of fine and force if necessary, purchase an arbitrary good from a private firm for the purpose to eliminate the number of medically uninsured people who cannot afford health insurance.  It was tyranny like this that has caused hundreds of thousands of Americans since the Founding of this country to give their lives to stave off, only to have the very people who’ve benefitted the most from their precious sacrifice unceremoniously throw it back in their faces in favor of the unlimited, totalitarian state.  To show how we got from “Give me Liberty or give me Death”, to dishonestly trying to prove a coercive federal healthcare mandate is constitutional would indeed take up many pages. Here we’ll try to boil it down to two main points plus explaining what the bill means and ultimately the logical conclusion it must play itself out to.  

            The first point we must cover is the how.  How did it all come to this?  Well first off the Supreme Court in this day and age tries to follow something they call precedent.  Precedent is basically using what former judges have ruled on in the past regarding a certain type of case they’re considering, and trying to apply the same legal reasoning and logic to a current case of the same type.  This is called the case method, and (allegedly) it brings uniformity to the legal cases considered because (allegedly) the same legal reasoning and rules are applied to all the cases of a given type.  So as one can see, what judges ruled on in the past (allegedly) has an effect on what the current judges do in the present.  When the Constitution was ratified these were the basic assumptions the conventions understood; that the Constitution only gave the federal government the explicitly enumerated powers actually written in the Constitution (woah there’s a thought), that those words meant what they actually said (very abstract I’m sure), and that the Constitution applied only to the federal government, not the states that composed and created it.  The main instrument the unconstitutionalist (liberals and progressives) use to implement their totalitarian vision are two clauses; the Due Process clause(s) found in the 14th and 5th amendment by means of “Incorporation” (see my other note), and the Commerce Clause found in Article One Section 8 of the Constitution.  This clause gives Congress the ambiguously defined power to “Regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”

Now how they get “forcing people under threat of monetary penalty or state coercion to buy a privately produced good” from the above stated Section is a study in intellectual dishonesty informed by a fanatical power-centric worldview (i.e liberalism/progressivism).  But the condensed version goes like this; over the last 150 years the federal government has methodically taken the Constitution, a devise created by the states to grant a central government limited enumerated powers to protect liberty, and turned it on its head using the above mentioned case-study method and hence explaining my generous usage of the word “allegedly”.  Court ruling after Court ruling went in favor of the federal government’s power grabs from overturning state laws, to regulating and eventually directing national economic activity, to social engineering projects the last 50 years until its inevitable logical conclusion; the federal government Constitutionally coercing you into buying an arbitrarily decided upon good.  Any casual study of history has shown the Supreme Court hasn’t been consistently right for a very long time.  For all you who are wondering how we can possibly know the answer to the constitutionality of a federal mandate on health insurance here’s a foolproof (hence why it’s lost on liberals) method of discovering the constitutionality of any proposed piece of legislation. 

Step 1; Take the end or purpose of the proposed legislation in Congress by reading the bill’s printed words.

Step 2; Open up a free copy of “the Constitution” and flip to Article One, Section Eight, “Powers granted to Congress” should assault your unsuspecting eyes, unless you have one of those “blank” or “living” Constitutions like the liberals seem to have.  If so, disregard entire note and check yourself in to the nearest asylum for treatment.  After treatment return to Step 1.

Step 3; Try to match the words in Step 1 with a clause in Step 2.  If there are no matches, then the answer to your question is, “No, Congress does not have the legal power to perform such an act”, therefore making it unconstitutional.

Anyone with functioning mental capacities (again, this excludes certain people) should be able to take this method and replicate it as many times as they see fit to ensure the actions their government is taking are constitutional (legal). 

The last topic we need to cover is the why.  Why would a certain contingent of the population think it is conducive to a free and prosperous society to pass a law giving the central government the power to issue arbitrary orders to the citizens to buy economic goods?  The answer is because we are dealing with people who believe in a totalitarian idea of the role of government.  They envision a god-state in control of all the material goods within a country that can distribute and redistribute them as they see fit, therefore ending all pain, suffering etc. and creating a more equal (they call it just) society.  This isn’t a new idea and has been tried before last century under different labels; the Fascist in Italy, the Kemalist in Turkey, the Bolsheviks in Russia, and the Nazis in Germany.  In America we have what is commonly called “modern liberalism” or more vulgarly, “liberals” who carry this torch of totalitarianism that emphasizes the importance of the collective instead of the sacredness of the individual and his liberties.  They do not care about individual liberty or freedom; instead they have placed their trust in egalitarianism of outcomes of the masses accomplished by the hand of the god-state, with them at the helm in the positions of power of course. 

Specifically, they know that this healthcare bill will eventually drive private insurers out of business because of the incentives for companies to drop their employees off their health insurance roles, leading to a single payer system for everyone where they control the strings on the who, what, when, where, and how much healthcare you get.  Ultimately this is all about power, not affordable healthcare.  They know it and most Americans are now becoming cognizant of this.  The power over someone’s healthcare backed by the force of the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion in society (i.e the state) basically equates to power over one’s life, the ultimate earthly power.  I believe we all know what was said about power and ultimate power so long ago….            



Simeon Burns

A Downward Spiral

What is the proper role of the government within society?  What should the government do in the economy?  All these are normative questions that one must sort through some time in order to make informed decisions in the voting booth.  Ultimately, these questions will be answered by what people think, or feel they know, a.k.a their opinion.  Opinions are subjective and are usually not open to debate because the person has an emotional attachment to them; people do not like to be proven wrong because then they would have to deal with the psychological effects of recognizing their intellectual shortcomings pertaining to a certain topic.  They would have to admit they were wrong and uninformed, a thing most people aren’t willing to do because of the prospect of negative psychological fallout.  We are not going to examine the nature and end of government in this column, mostly because I’ve already attempted elsewhere (see “The End of Government”).  In this column we are going to examine the effects of government intervention into the private sphere of the economy.  Intervention also goes by the more euphemistically positive name “regulation”, so as not to evoke a negative reaction among commoner who is unfamiliar with economics.  If we can know and understand the effects of government intervention into the economy, we can come to the correct conclusion about the proper role of the government within the economic sphere.

If we are going to examine the effects of government intervention (“regulation”, same thing) into the economy it would first be a good idea to define and sketch a rough outline of what the economy actually is, and how it really works.  Unlike the quasi-socialist narrative most people are spoon-fed and led to believe from T.V and school in which the economy is where people just “get” jobs to make a living and rich fat cats use their position of “power” to “exploit” the common worker, the economy and its workings are almost the complete opposite of this simpleton economic interpretation. 

Let’s start from the beginning; people, since they are mortal (they have human bodies), need certain materials to survive or else they and their families will quickly die of starvation, thirst, or exposure to the elements.  This being said, people, in order to survive, take it upon themselves to provide the goods they need by using some of their time to produce consumer goods.  This is called labor.  It is using some of the limited amount of time you have here on this earth and delegating it aside as a means to continue existing, usually at the highest standard achievable.  People’s time here is limited, they cannot plan to live and work for eternity because they will not live for eternity here.  Since one’s time here is limited, man cannot produce all the goods he needs or wishes to have by himself because man’s needs and wants are seemingly infinite whereas his means to acquiring them (time/labor, natural resources) are finite, they’re limited.  In order to meet as many needs and wants as possible in the shortest amount of time man devised what is called the division of labor; where one person or group of people specialize in making a certain good while another person or group specializes in making another good.  These two sides then meet and exchange the surplus they produced for the each other’s goods at a given rate of exchange (price).  For example; Group A produces corn and Group B produces axes.  After production each group meets and exchanges corn for axes at a price, say 10 pounds of corn per axe.  The modern exchange economy was began by two people exchanging something they had for something they valued more in terms of each other (price). 

Generally speaking, in our semi-free market economy, the prices of everything we see at the store and online are set by the aggregated demand schedules of all the individuals participating in exchange for that specific good, which in turn dictates the supply producers will make.  People have it in their heads how much they will be willing to pay (exchange) for a certain item, so if a store were to sell an item for well over a reasonable price, it would not sell a lot of these items and would have to lower the price in order to make some money on it or else the item just sits there and collects dust and not money.  Likewise with goods that are priced too low in the opinions of most people.  If a store were to sell a good for well below the price that most people are willing to exchange for then they would sell out of the item and not be able to sell anymore of these.  So, in order to make money, the store raises the price until those people who really want the good are the only ones buying it and those who don’t value the good as highly leave that market.  This intersection between supply and demand is called the equilibrium price or market price; it is the price you see at the store.  It matches the demands of the consumer with the capability of the producer to make the demanded good at just the right amount so no goods sit idly on the shelves or are habitually sold out all the time.  The main point to take away from this is that is it you, the private consumer, and all other private consumers, who dictate the price of a certain good by signaling to a producer through your demand schedules (money votes) what he should and shouldn’t produce. 

The free market is in essence an arena where private individuals come together for the sake of peaceful, and therefore free or voluntary exchange.  If there is someone or some force physically making you act against your will regarding economic exchange then there is an absence of freedom from that sector and it is therefore not free.  This is where our discussion about the government comes in.  Up until now we have assumed that there is no government and that people are free to enter into or not enter into economic exchanges with other people.  There is an absence of violence from the economy since no one is being made to act contrary to their own volition with the property they have used their own time to produce.  The government is, more or less, legalized violence.  It is a necessary evil that man has had to live with for thousands of years due to man’s flawed and sinful nature.  Unfortunately, not everyone will be virtuous and allow peaceful and free exchange to flourish in a free market.  There are those who will, since they are short-sighted, desperate, greedy, or just evil people, want to acquire everything they need and want in as short of time as possible.  They will resort to violence by robbing, extorting, assault, and even murder to gain what they personally want.  So man, to continue to be able to exchange peacefully so they can attempt to raise their standard of living to as high a level as possible, created an institution whose sole purpose was to use violence against those who would disrupt the free market and people’s livelihoods.  The government’s sole role was to be the force that protects peaceful people by subduing violent people through the use of force or violence.  At its very nature, government is a violent institution, nothing else.

What happens when the people who instituted the government in order to ensure peaceful exchange request it to interfere into (or “regulate”) the exchange sphere (or economy)?  Since we know that the government is more or less institutionalized and regulated violence, we know that its actions within the economy can be no different due to its nature.  It will not engage in the economy as private individuals do (peacefully and freely), it will exhibit violent and coercive actions against whatever individuals or groups of individuals it chooses to.  Private individuals engage in the free market by exchanging one good or service (most of us sell our labor, which is a service, for a certain rate) for another good or service (a T.V, a meal, gas etc).  The government does not do this.  To be able to exchange it first has to acquire a good of value being used in the market to exchange for the task it has been commanded to complete.  The most valuable good in the economy is the good that facilitates exchanges, also known as money.  Money is used in our modern economy in every exchange; it is one of the two goods exchanged in every economic transaction.  We exchange money for gas, clothes, food, homes, phones etc. Since this is a valuable means of exchange the government will set out to get as much of this good as it can from the private individuals who generate it through their exchange actions.  The most popular method of acquiring money is called taxation and is fundamentally structured as so; “we are the government, and since we have a lot of force at our disposal we can take from you whatever we please regardless of whether the property is yours or what your wishes are.  If you don’t comply with us we will use force on you to make sure we get what we seek after.”, talk about being a bully.  This is how the government acquires its revenue; by force or threat of force.

More specifically, economically speaking, these are the effects of government interference into the economy.  Since it is a fundamentally violent institution, its actions into the economic sphere will be of a similar nature.  After the government confiscates private property from the private citizen through taxation (force), it comes to the table as a consumer in the sense that it now has money to exchange with producers for their goods and services.  It then exchanges the money it has expropriated from the private individual with a producer for their good or service.  Is that the end of the story?  No.  What happens is this.  We know that the supply of goods and services in the free market are dictated by individual’s personal demand schedules, but now, in place of those individual demand schedules, we have the government now dominating the data producers are receiving to plan their supply.  The thing about government supply curves is that they tend to be inelastic; they’re very hard to change once they’ve been set.  It is no secret that some people will benefit (in the short run) through government intervention and these people will tend to support this action through means of voting.  Once a certain good or service has been demanded by some voters, expropriated by the government, and supplied to people (all through means of taxation), it is very hard to take this good or service away because those who benefit become used to getting something for what they believe is nothing, or relatively little cost. 

Producers know this, they know that once the government demands something it is usually obligated to continue providing it or else it may offend a large constituent of voters and risk losing some political power.  Taking this into account, producers raise the price on their good or service because they know the government will have to raise taxes, borrow money, or inflate the money supply in order to meet their requested price.  This of course incenses the people, how dare these companies raise their prices when everyone wants their goods or services?  This leads the people to think that more of the problem is the solution, they vote in more people who claim that the only way to fix this problem is to impose price controls on these profiteers through force of government.  Only then will we be able to have low prices and abundant goods simultaneously.  This only makes matters worse.  If a maximum price is imposed on a producer telling him he cannot sell his good over X amount of dollars, he will only hold most of this good off the market and wait for the price control to be removed because the cost of storing the good to wait is less than the loss he would take if he were to sell his good for the government determined price.  This results in a shortage of the good or service which leads to rationing or people simply going without it, even if they have the money to buy it. 

Then the final nail in the coffin is struck.  The people are frustrated that the private owners and producers of all these goods and services they want for free or a low price would react in such a manner, even though they are just protecting their property and livelihood.  They demand that the government use force and take the over permanent production of the specific good and service in order to have it for a cheap price and in abundance.  The government agrees to and passes a law saying that they now have the monopoly to produce X good and anyone who acts or thinks otherwise will be arrested at gunpoint and jailed for lawbreaking.  Now the government produces the good or service, but remember, the government doesn’t produce anything on its own, it only consumes.  The only way it can “produce” is if it forcefully takes more from the people that actually produce and use this revenue to “produce. 

When the government owns the means of production in the society of a certain good, or all of them, it is called socialism.  And socialism has one fatal error that ultimately results in the ruin of the economy if its idea is pursued to it conclusion, it can’t rationally plan because it doesn’t have a way to allow prices to arise; there are no supply and demand schedules.  The only thing that is produced is what the government says should be produced, and what the government says should be produced is usually determined by the amount of revenue they have at their disposal.  If the people at the top making decisions don’t know how much they should produce for the rest of the “incapable” masses, resources aren’t allocated efficiently and are used to make things no one has a demand for, they sit and collect dust or are worth less than it took to produce them.  If this misallocation continues, people’s standard of living declines slowly until the government wastes so much resources and does not produce things of value the people decide to take things into their own hands and revert back to rudimentary production methods in order to produce the things they really want, and then barter for those they can’t produce.  This causes the final breakdown of the monetary exchange economy, the price system, and the division of labor, all of which greatly facilitate prosperity and high living standards.  All this, just because the government, the social manifestation of force, decided to interfere into the economy.  This is the downward spiral.

Most calls for government interference are put forth with good intentions; some people honestly believe the government can bring about prosperity through brute show of force over the private individual(s).  But they are of course wrong, violence is almost never an efficient means of achieving long term economic prosperity, only the freely agreed upon, moral, and peaceful decisions and actions of everyone participating in the division of labor working towards achieving a higher living standard can bring about prosperity.  We, and everyone around us, need to either learn this lesson or practice the speech we will have to give to our children about why things deteriorated the way they did, about why they don’t have as high of a living standard we did, when we’re older.       

Simeon Burns