By Scott Lazarowitz
There are various definitions of capitalism and socialism. I will define capitalism as private ownership, transfer and control of the means of production, goods and services, and socialism as public or collective ownership, transfer and control of the means of production, goods and services. Socialism is much closer to fascism because it requires a big and powerful state to control and transfer production, goods and services. For the past century, our country has been a “mixed economy,” with some capitalist policies and some socialist policies. This is why it has degraded into the social and economic mess that it is now.
The concepts of self-ownership, private property rights and labor as property need to be discussed. Self-ownership is when an individual owns one’s own life. In a society, the most significant “means of production” is people, and “people” consists of individuals.When the individual doesn’t claim ownership of one’s own life, that leaves one vulnerable to the community or collective claiming such ownership, and vulnerable to the group force of the collective. The individual’s self-ownership is a “property right,” in that one’s life is one’s own property, and is included in the concept of private property rights. And the individual’s labor, physical or intellectual, is something that is derived from one’s “self,” and is initially owned by the individual as part of one’s private property right of self-ownership. The individual then establishes a voluntary contract with an employer or client to sell one’s intellectual or physical labor.
Capitalism protects those property rights. The Declaration of Independence refers to “Inalienable Rights” that we’re born with, among them the “Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Socialism assumes that labor and property are inherently owned by the collective, and the fruits of the individual’s labor are redistributed. This cancels out the ideas of self-ownership and any possible right of the individual to one’s own life, liberty or property, and is by its very nature “involuntary servitude,” and given that the state acts as the redistributor, it really becomes a “serfdom,” with the individual serving the state first, and with the state’s goal being to serve the collective.Capitalism protects voluntary relationships, contracts and trade among individuals, whereas socialism mandates and forces these relationships and actions for the purposes of redistribution of wealth or social planning. And, in a capitalist system, theft is illegal, while socialism literally institutionalizes theft.
But what happens as a result of this progressively enlarging state and denial of individual rights, as we have seen for many years now, is a society getting more and more dysfunctional and sick like a cancer. Unfortunately, the people in charge are only going to make things worse, whether it is with the outright fascism of government takeovers of the private sector, or with continual compromises between one political party and the other. The only real cure is freedom, and, logically, the only practical and moral system of society is one in which the rule of law protects the individual’s life, liberty, property and one’s pursuit of happiness, and can only happen within a capitalist system. Socialism in and of itself requires the forfeiture of those individual rights and is therefore immoral. For America to survive, it must get back to a capitalist system and back to the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.