With the apparent next Republican candidate being Mitt Romney, many are saying that he is the ideal candidate for democrats to successfully attack and defeat. They'll dub him a vulture capitalist and put capitalism on trial as a ruthless system that panders to the 1% at the expense of the rest. Capitalism, with Romney as its poster boy, will be portrayed as a system that has failed.
This election will be more about capitalism than about any one candidate. And perhaps that is just as it should be. For if we cannot defend capitalism now, we will surely lose it. Capitalism is the natural result of freedom. It sanctions and defends self-interest. It allows individuals to be as kind or as ruthless as they chose so long as they don't use force, fraud, or coercion to accomplish their goals. Free people can be rational or be jerks. They can be kind or they can be cruel. They can be generous or stingy. They can do anything they want as long as they do it peacefully. And if they can't--handcuffs await them.
This nation was established as a Constitutional Republic. As such it provided unlimited freedom to individuals and limited power to government. It established laws against force and the derivatives of force--fraud, coercion, and blackmail. Those laws have been with us since America was formed and although they're not always enforced, they are there as part of our judicial system to protect individuals from harm.
At its very core, this election is about whether individuals need to be taken care of by government, or whether they should take care of themselves. Our founding fathers insisted the latter was the better form of government. No one is questioning whether there should be safety nets or not; the question is whether the safety nets be public or private.
For ages emperors and kings decided for individuals what was good for them, what was "right" and "wrong," and who should share in the wealth. In modern times there have been experiments with communism, socialism and fascism. Dictators ruled people's lives. Capitalism has been the one exception. Only capitalism put the individual in charge of his own destiny.
Today capitalism is on trial. In this election we will not be voting for a President as much as a system of government. The choices offered are clear: move toward more government rule and decision making power, or toward more individual freedom and responsibility. Much has been made of the 1% who, rich beyond belief, should be "asked" (forced) to pay more taxes to provide for those with less. But it isn't about one percent--it's about one individual. Either we have a free country where there is freedom and justice for all or we don't. If the government has the right to confiscate the wealth of one, they have the "right" to confiscate the wealth of all.
Does 99% of the country have the right to enslave 1% of it? We fought a war as a nation over such a question and answered, "No!" We abolished slavery as inconsistent with the principles of a free society. The notion that we take from others when we think they have more money than they should is a throwback to the thinking of kings and dictators who took from others as they pleased.
We need to move to a smaller, less intrusive government, that protects the individual. Not one that attacks him. In every aspect of the economy we find the strong hand of government and we need to say, "No more!" If we can't draw the line here and now it will likely never be drawn.
Now is the time to put up or shut up.
July 4, 2012