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Why Socialist Democrats and the Intelligentsia Hate Free Markets
I’m going to tell you a secret most politicians, journalists, professors, and other members of the so-called ‘Intelligentsia’ do not want you to hear. Once I tell you, you will never look at news, education, or politics the same way again.
There is a very good reason why politicians, professors, journalists, and other members of the so-called ‘Intelligentsia’ hate free markets. It has absolutely nothing to do with being ‘fair,’ with helping the poor, with ’empowering’ supposedly oppressed groups, nor with any of the other euphemisms, such people constantly spout.
The real reason the so-called ‘Intelligentsia’ hate free markets (and freedom in general) is that where people are free, the rich and powerful tend to produce the goods and services other people want. The ‘Intelligentsia’ see themselves as being the ‘best and brightest’ society has to offer. Sometimes they speak of themselves as a ‘moral and intellectual elite.’ In the minds of such people, any system in which they are not the richest and most powerful in society is inherently unfair.
Furthermore, as much as such people will claim to embrace ‘democracy,’ they view the general public with disdain, and have no faith in the abilities of ‘commoners’ to manage their own affairs, much less the affairs of the state.
The so-called ‘Intelligentsia’ dream of a society in which the people are given the appearance of choosing elected officials, but they want that ‘choice’ to be in appearance only. The Intelligentsia genuinely believe that power should be absolute, and that it should be absolutely concentrated in their hands.
During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army would often engage the British Army, using sharpshooters to systematically take out British officers. Cornwallis was so distraught with this tactic that he sent an envoy to General Washington, with a message that said, “This tactic of systemically aiming munitions at officers must end. Imagine an army devoid of officers, in which the men are free to roam as they naturally do, without officers of noble birth to restrain them. Surely you agree that the common man must at all times be controlled.”
Unfortunately for Cornwallis, General Washington was fighting a revolution not only against English tyranny, but also against the notion that an Intelligentsia representing a moral and intellectual elite (the ‘nobility’ in his day) needed to control everyone else.
Our Intelligentsia wants to go back to the world Cornwallis envisioned, where those who are not of noble birth are at all times controlled.
The prevailing economic system of Cornwallis’ time was one in which government, through a king and noble lords, owned and operated the means of production. The people, being a part of the means of production, were likewise controlled, with the noble Lords owning everything on their lands, including the people. The noble lords then took everything their people produced, on the promise that enough would trickle back down to the people who produced it for them to survive. In the late 1700s, 90% of the population of England lived in conditions not materially different from those of a Roman slave, and England was the richest nation on Earth. Life at this time was brutal and short, with 90% of the public always but one bad harvest from starvation. Thomas Malthus, the first full-time economist, noted that populations always grew faster than food supplies, and that the misery of poverty and hunger would continue forever. Looking backward, Thomas Malthus was right.
But then something changed.
Suddenly the notion that the commoner needed to be ruled by a moral and intellectual elite came into question. For the first time in human history, the king was told he did not own his subjects, the feudal lord did not own the people who lived on his property, and the people were free to do as they wished with their productive capacities.
The people began to sell their labor to the highest bidder, and for the first time in human history, the lives of the commoner started to improve.
This shift to looking at regular people as being in charge of their own lives, with a government whose primary role was to ensure that all exchanges are voluntary, led to the greatest expansion in living and working conditions, especially for the lowest skilled workers, at that time in human history.
The United States followed suit shortly thereafter, and growth in the United States was even more dramatic than in England, owed largely to our lack of a caste system. Ours was a libertarian society, founded with the Constitution. However, Ours was an imperfect libertarian society, allowing Southern states to maintain an anti-libertarian system of slavery for another 80 years.
Interestingly, all of the per capita GDP growth for that first 80 years was in the North. All of it. The South stayed as poor, per capita, as it had been in 1789, until slavery ended after the Civil War.
There is a reason the North exploded into an economic power during the pre-civil war era, and the South did not: the South still used a system of lords and laborers, while in the North, everyone was free to sell their labor to the highest bidder.
After the end of slavery, the South expanded too, and though the South still has not caught up to the North (even today), we became, by the start of World War One, the largest, richest, most powerful country the world had ever seen, with the highest standards of living ever imagined
Had you told General Cornwallis that the United States would be, in just over 100 years, stronger economically than not only England, but all of Europe combined, he would have had a good laugh. And yet it happened.
The Intelligentsia, sadly, were unimpressed…
Just as the United States emerged as the world’s preeminent economic power, progressivism emerged with the idea that if we could only create a moral and intellectual elite, and give them control over the people, we could do even better. Government spending has since grown from less than 3% of GDP to more than 40% (including federal, state, and local spending). With Covid, spending is even higher – the Democrats want to spend more than $4.5 trillion next year on top of what we always spend, for a total of over $8 trillion, which would be 40% of our economy at the federal level alone. The notion has been that if we just give government more of what we earn, then after government is done spending, including on its own wages and benefits, enough of it will trickle back down to the rest of us, for us to have better lives than if we simply kept what we earned.
The more government has taken, the more growth has slowed, and the more growth slows, the more progressives blame free markets for the slowdown, telling us that the problem is not that we give so much of everything we make to government, but that we do not yet give enough.
To make matters worse, when World War Two ended, we had tax rates as high as 92%, and, being the only industrial power in the world not bombed into oblivion, our economy had robust growth anyway. Progressives point to this post-war boom as proof that their policies (which failed miserably until after the war and then began to fail again in the 1970s and 1980s) work. The fact that these policies are failing today does not faze the liberal: as always, the solution to government failure is for government to do more.
How well do progressive policies work? Consider that the last Republican Mayor of Detroit was in 1960, and that in 1960, Detroit was the wealthiest city on Earth. Look at Detroit now, after 60 years of unbroken Democratic control. Look at California, Illinois, and New York. Progressive policies fail everywhere they are tried.
How much ‘more’ is enough, anyway? I have never heard an answer to that. Historically, economies collapse before the progressive reaches’ enough’.
To the progressive, you are either a lord or a serf, and there can be only so many lords.
Remember that come 2022.
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