Economic freedom against the negative effects of democratic socialism


Are you amazed at what your fellow human beings are designing and creating when it comes to technology – the iPhone, 5G, Tesla, rockets that land after being fired, artificial hearts, etc. etc. Are you also astonished by the willful ignorance of history and the economy which the political and media class demonstrate every day?

Engineers who ignore the laws of physics find themselves unemployed. Politicians who ignore basic historical and economic truths often step into leadership roles with the help of corrupt and / or ignorant members of the media.

When it comes to economic policy and political organization, it should be obvious to any sensitive human being that Switzerland has a much better model than Venezuela. Many left-wing media and some politicians (like Bernie Sanders) have spent years praising the Chavez revolution in Venezuela, even though the economic and human rights disaster the country has become was easily predicted by anyone with a basic knowledge of history.

There was good news from last week’s election that the UK will almost certainly regain its independence and most UK voters have rejected socialism. However, millions of Britons have always voted for socialists, despite the fact that socialism has been an absolute disaster everywhere and every time it has been tried.

The result is death and despair, poverty and oppression – but too many buy fraud rather than reality. It has now been four decades since Margaret Thatcher was elected and saved Britain from its earlier socialist experience. Those who voted socialist this time were probably either too young or too stupid to remember the misery that socialism has brought about.

Over the past three decades, the Fraser Institute in Canada (along with many economic policy organizations around the world) and the Heritage Foundation have each produced an annual report on the state of economic freedom by country. Economic freedom has increased despite many ups and downs, and as the world becomes more economically free, it also becomes more prosperous. Economic freedom is strongly correlated with economic well-being and increased lifespan and happiness.

In both indices, Hong Kong took first place for economic freedom. Unfortunately, this laudable distinction is probably about to end because the Chinese Communists, like their socialist brethren almost everywhere, fear freedom.

Socialism elevates the “collective” above the individual, which by definition requires the destruction of individual freedom. Under socialism, the individual is generally required to cede (by force if necessary) an ever increasing share of his labor product to the state or its agents. Individual action, including speech and belief, is restricted wherever it goes against state sanctioned collectives.

“Democratic” socialism implies that socialists can be eliminated, as happened in Britain with the election of Mrs Thatcher in 1979, and in a number of Scandinavian countries at the end of the last century. But this only happens when the existing institution of an independent judiciary is strong enough to resist attempts by the socialists to monopolize everything and stop future free elections, as they have done in many places.

Outside of Western Europe, the institutions of a civil society have often not been strong enough to remain independent from socialist movements and leaders, and change has therefore only come through violence or economic collapse. , as happened in the Communist bloc and in many places in Latin. America and Africa.

In the United States, the left has worked to undermine the civil institutions necessary for a prosperous society, including courts, schools, churches, and the free press. The current effort to impeach the president is another example of an attempt to undermine the Constitution.

Two articles of impeachment were brought to the attention of the House. One is the abuse of power. But without listing specific illegal activities, it only makes sense to say that you don’t like the president (being rude, rude and unpleasant is not an impeachment offense).

Democrats were going to include corruption, but their definition was so broad that they had to drop it because congressional “horse trading” and “newspaper rolling” would be included, as would most conditional foreign aid and other normal activities of members of government and elsewhere. .

The United States has a “mutual legal assistance” treaty with Ukraine, so it was entirely appropriate to ask for information on apparent trading in influence, whether it was a political opponent or not. . The other charge is to obstruct Congress. Disputes between Congress and the Executive are supposed to be settled by the courts as they have been for two centuries, not by impeachment. The Supreme Court (which is the appropriate institution, not Congress) has just announced that it will decide how many tax and other files the president has to hand over – so the charge of “obstruction” is now moot.

Technological progress tends to stop without the rule of law, due process and other characteristics and institutions of a free society. After the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Ben Franklin’s answer to a question about the type of government they created was “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Will we continue to take the test?

• Richard W. Rahn is president of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and Improbable Success Production.

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