The Capitalist Manifesto: Socialism Not Only Worsens People’s Plight, It Worsens Them Too

Matthew Lau: With greed and envy at the heart of socialism, the image socialists painted of their economic system as compassionate is a fraud

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Capitalism has created more prosperity and progress for more people than any other system in human history. On the 30th anniversary of the official end of the Soviet Union, join the National Post and the Financial Post in a series saluting the old-fashioned but awesome power of the free market system.

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By Matthieu Lau

The continued decline of economic freedom and the rise of socialism in Canada is a step towards absurdity. The definite results of this tendency are excessive poverty and moral decay. This last point is important because it is often thought that socialism “just makes” things worse for people. In fact, socialism also makes people worse: more envious, greedy, uncharitable, uncooperative, unfair, irresponsible, neglectful, wasteful, lazy, childish, myopic, intolerant, corrupt, controlling, dishonest and stupid. Of course, people are to some extent all of these things regardless of the economic system, but socialism makes them much more, and has no redeeming qualities.

Socialists often castigate capitalism for encouraging greed, when in reality greed and envy are at the heart of the socialist system. “I never understood,” Thomas Sowell wrote, “why he is greedy for wanting to keep the money you’ve earned but not greedy for wanting to take someone else’s money.” Socialists insist that they have a right to a “fair share” of other people’s money, but why any share greater than zero is fair, they do not explain. Socialists also usually don’t say what share they would consider fair, as it seems like whatever share they want more – even when the highest earners pay a marginal income tax rate of over $ 50. percent, as they currently do in all but two of the provinces. .

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In reality, greed and envy are at the heart of the socialist system

With greed and envy being at the heart of socialism, the image socialists painted of their economic system as compassionate is a fraud. It is no coincidence that, as government economic control expands, charitable giving decreases. In fact, it’s hard to pinpoint a time and place when charitable activity was more important than in the United States in the second half of the 19th century – the height of free market capitalism. Unfortunately, as the government increasingly forced “donations” through the tax system, it destroyed a significant amount of private charitable activity. The replacement of private charity with government spending, in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, has been disastrous.

With government “donations”, donors don’t donate out of love, but because they don’t want to go to jail. Many capitalists give voluntarily to private charities, but while a large number of socialists willingly hand over amounts to the government greater than they owe in taxes, this has not been widely noticed or reported. The replacement of private charity with a legal right also negatively affected the beneficiaries, who became ungrateful and demanding. The best example might be the heavily subsidized undergraduate students from upper-middle-class families who demand that all of their tuition bills be blamed on taxpayers, many of whom come from much less privileged backgrounds.

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In addition to making beneficiaries ungrateful, the ruinous “compassion” of government programs has also, by introducing moral hazard, provoked a wide range of destructive behaviors and attitudes. Public social assistance programs that qualify for grants if they are in unfortunate circumstances may make sense when limited and targeted to those in real hardship, but today these programs are so many and bloated that they actually subsidize people to be lazy, waste their time, take foolish risks, waste money, take their education seriously, neglect their health, become unproductive, behave like fools irresponsible and otherwise act in socially and economically destructive ways.

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The capitalist system favors cooperation: in order to make a profit, companies must make better offers, both to workers and to customers, than they receive elsewhere, or risk losing them to their competitors. People are free to choose, in the capitalist system, what to buy and what to sell, from where and at what price. On the other hand, the top-down control of socialism infallibly promotes disorder. The “man of systems,” as Adam Smith called the conceited central planner, “seems to imagine that he can arrange the various members of a large society as easily as the hand arranges the various pieces on a chess board.” But people are not chess pieces, and forcing them in a direction they haven’t chosen – for example, by dictating how they should spend their money or what industries they should work in – makes society miserable. and, as Smith said, “at all times in the highest degree of disorder. “

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In love with their descending economic and social conceptions and convinced of their righteousness, the socialists are extremely intolerant of diversity, hostile to individual choice and closed to ideas which are not theirs. In recent years, in part because the government’s blatant large-scale economic planning is unsavory in many quarters, socialism has become entangled with climate alarmism and the application of awakening – two ideologies which, like socialism, politicize business activity and rely on a privileged ruling class exercising oppressive top-down control. To turn away more and more from market capitalism to embark on this path is an absurd act. Socialism invariably leads to less freedom, more misery, and a society where people are not only worse off, but worse.

Financial post

Matthew Lau is a Toronto writer.

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