Proponents of democratic socialism like to argue that democratic socialism is the purest form of democracy. Everybody gets treated the same. But that can be true only in the abstract. What does it mean in practice? Does it mean that everyone gets the same allocation of food, regardless of their physical size or dietary requirements? Does it mean that everyone has the same home? The same attractive location? Can we ignore the greater scope for corruption when the government takes over making decisions for us? Won’t those making the decisions be tempted to care for themselves, family, and friends first?
More importantly, in considering the issues surrounding the choice of capitalism or socialism, it is important to keep in mind that it is a fool’s errand to think that we can separate political freedom from economic freedom. Socialism requires ceding to government choices that we routinely make, such as the kind of car you drive (if environmental considerations permit you to have a car), the type of place and location of where you live, and perhaps the kind of work you do. Moreover, under a socialist government, will there be only a single radio or TV station or newspaper. Wouldn’t this save resources by avoiding duplication and enable those resources to do good elsewhere? But if multiple stations and newspapers are permitted, who will decide on their content? What about decisions regarding who gets health care, because there will never be enough for every malady?
Americans today still agree with the statement in the Declaration of Independence that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (persons) are created (by their Creator) equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men (persons), deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,…” This states clearly that the government is to secure liberty for individuals, not take it away. It is worth noting that God grants us a considerable amount of freedom in our daily lives and expects us to make our own decisions, be they for minor things, such as whether we choose diet or regular soda, or the most important decision, whether we choose the gift of salvation.
It is also worth noting that our forebearers valued personal liberty and free choice very highly. Indeed, they valued it so highly that they coined slogans such as “… give me liberty or give me death!” and “Live free or die.” We have also spilled massive amounts of precious blood in defending those freedoms, suggesting that any steps down the path of surrendering freedoms should be taken with utmost care.
The clampdown during the Covid-19 crisis has given Americans a taste of what can happen when the government takes control and restricts personal freedom. Do you think that it went beyond what was needed to protect the general welfare of the public?