Saturday, November 03, 2007

Barack Obama explains socialism

Four thousand supporters turned out for a rally with Senator Barack Obama in Durham, North Carolina, on Thursday. The Democratic presidential candidate said he would not take any questions, but he relented when a five-year-old girl named Hadassah Jones broke into tears. She was there as a correspondent for

According to the Associated Press story, Senator Obama gave the little girl a brief explanation of his plan for universal health insurance coverage and improved education. Then he explained his view that the wealthy should pay the expenses of people who are not wealthy:

"We've got to make sure that people who have more money help the people who have less money," Sen. Obama said. "If you had a whole pizza, and your friend had no pizza, would you give him a slice?"

Oh, my. He should have stuck to his plan to take no questions.

Senator Obama glossed right over the difference between a moral imperative to be kind to people and government force that throws people in jail if they refuse to pay up.

When a presidential candidate says "We've got to make sure," that is the language of government force.

Maybe the senator should have explained it to Hadassah this way:

"If you had a whole pizza, and your friend had no pizza, should you be expelled from school if you refuse to give him a slice?"

Or maybe he should have explained it this way:

"If your mommy and daddy worked very hard at their jobs and went to school at night so they could make enough money to give you everything you need, should they have to give that money to all the parents who dropped out of school and wasted their time, and to all the parents who spent their money on things that your parents passed up so they could support you?"

Or maybe he could have explained it this way:

"If you build a lemonade stand and buy lemons and sugar and pitchers and cups and stand out in the hot sun all day selling lemonade, and at the end of the day you have fifteen dollars, whose money is that? Is the answer the same if it's only two dollars? What if it's fifty dollars?"

This is not an argument over giving away a slice of pizza. This is an argument about the morality of collectivism. When Senator Obama, and almost all other politicians, make their arguments for fairness and compassion, they are advocating not voluntary charitable giving, but government confiscation of some people's property for the benefit of other people, chosen by the government on the basis of need, or perhaps voting record.

Do the fruits of your labor belong to you, or do they belong to the people who most need them?

And if they belong to the people who most need them, are you a slave to the needs of people you don't know and can't control?

Collectivism is not the opposite of capitalism. It's the opposite of freedom.

Even a five-year-old should know that.

Copyright 2007

Editor's note: You might be interested to read "The Tyranny of the Children" and "Defending Capitalism" at, and the recent post, "Barack Obama: 'We don't mind...'".