Friedrich Hayek in The Road to Serfdom warned us that the road to fascism and serfdom is paved with liberal (note: “liberal” here in the classical sense of the word – of and pertaining to freedom) rhetoric, just as the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
According to Hayek, it was De Tocqueville who succinctly put that “while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.” It was suspicions of socialism such as the ones expressed here by De Tocqueville which forced the rise of a new kind of socialism: “democratic socialism.” However, this socialism, according to Hayek, came wrapped in the language of freedom, and, in fact, promised a “new freedom.”
This new freedom was not “freedom” as we have come to understand it from the principles of the American Revolution: freedom from taxation without representation; freedom from a tyrannical government; freedom of the press; and any of the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. No, it was not this type of freedom, but, instead, an “economic freedom.” In essence, it was a promise of freedom from the toils of everyday life that are required to put a roof over your head and food in your belly. Democratic socialism promised freedom from economic hardship.
These promises of freedom from economic hardship ultimately lead to harsh fascist rule, where a person’s true freedoms (i.e. the freedoms guaranteed to us, as Americans, in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights) came to an end in pursuit of bringing about economic freedom. As anyone who has been educated in even the historical events of the last one or two generations of Americans should know, the fascist rules brought about by these promises of freedom from economic hardship brought about no such thing. In fact, poverty among the common people in the Soviet Union ran rampant. The Soviets were unable to afford enough to cover even the very most basic human needs, and this has been shown to be a direct result of communism, which everyone agrees does not work.
In the 1980s, the United States ended what had become a full fledged war against communism under the leadership of President Ronald Reagan, who, as Margaret Thatcher said, “…ended the Cold War without firing a shot.” Ronald Reagan took the reigns from Jimmy Carter, and quickly put an end to high taxation, government intervention, and the energy rationing of the 1970s which were thought to be a fact of American life that would exist into the foreseeable future. Reaganomics, which, as Reagan once humorously pointed out, the media stopped using as a moniker the program once it started working, was responsible for the tremendous growth in the United States throughout the 80s, and for igniting anew the flame of passion for individualism, freedom, and a nationalism rooted in pride for the principles of individualism and freedom in the United States.
Now, less than a generation later, we are again facing the battle of collectivism versus individualism, and the collectivists are represented by a revered man who speaks with great eloquence: Barrack Obama. Barrack Obama, much in the way that collectivists before him took control of liberal (note: again, classical liberal) economies throughout the world, has wrapped his package of socialism in the rhetoric of freedom.
On May 23, 2008, Barrack Obama said this on the campaign trail:
“What all of us strive for is freedom as FDR described it. Political freedom. Religious freedom. But also freedom from want, and freedom from fear.”
“Freedom from want” is precisely the kind of perversion of freedom that was used in the past to bring collectivism into individualistic societies – the collectivism that destroyed the true freedoms of the people who inhabited those societies.
On May 13, 2009, speaking to ASU graduates at Sun Devil Stadium, President Barrack Obama exposed his socialism for the world, if they were listening:
“In the face of these challenges, it may be tempting to fall back on the formulas for success that have dominated these recent years. Many of you have been taught to chase after the usual brass rings: being on this “who’s who” list or that top 100 list; how much money you make and how big your corner office is; whether you have a fancy enough title or a nice enough car.”
“The leaders we revere, the businesses that last – they are not the result of narrow pursuit of popularity or personal advancement, but of devotion to some bigger purpose….”
Later in his speech, Obama talks about setbacks and how we shouldn’t let setbacks stop us. After all, he points out, “look to history…. Colonel Sanders didn’t open up his first Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was in his sixties.”
There is no question about what Obama is saying here: forget about your own success, at least in the terms of success as a capitalist society like the United States would define success, and instead devote yourself to a “bigger purpose” or common good. He would prefer that people are devoted to the collective US population above themselves. This, by definition, is collectivism.
And what “great purpose” was Colonel Sanders after? Did he want to make sure everyone in America got to have some of his fried chicken? Did Sanders sell his chicken at cost, or even at a loss to help those in need? No. Colonel Sanders started KFC because he wanted to make money. He was chasing one of the “usual brass rings.” And he was successful. Rumor has it that KFC – after nothing more than profit – has lasted. Obama’s own example refutes his point.
This, my friends, is the face of socialism. Friendly and magnanimous as this face of socialism may seem, the belly of socialism would like nothing more than for this face of socialism to take you into its mouth, grind you up (stripping you of your freedom) and consume you in its bile.
It is said that “those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.” I, for one, do not want to be sitting in one of the gas lines of the 1970s, and don’t want to be ruled by a fascist government like we have seen around the world after this family-friendly face of socialism has reared its ugly head.
Beware of what is to come. Socialism may sound appealing, but we know where it ends.