Thursday, February 26, 2009

The price of a little socialism

If you still believe it's possible to have a limited amount of socialism without destroying freedom in the United States, check this out:

Fidelity Investments Chairman Edward C. "Ned" Johnson III criticized the Obama administration's "New Deal II" and the "make-work projects" the government plans to fund.

In his annual letter to shareholders, Johnson warned that too much government involvement in the economy might "further sicken the patient." He said Fidelity will beef up its governmental-affairs unit; that's a euphemism for hiring high-powered lobbyists to protect the company from the government's sledgehammer.

In the course of reporting this story, the Boston Herald called a few people for comments on Mr. Johnson's comments.

"Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute," reporter Jay Fitzerald wrote, "said Johnson’s remarks were on the 'right path,' though he said they might be 'kind of risky' if they anger government policymakers."

Did you catch that?

In the United States of America, it might be "risky" to anger government policymakers with public criticism of government policy.

Why might it be risky?

Because the government is taking control of private companies. If government officials get angry, they can destroy the companies and the net worth of the people who own them or work for them. The First Amendment is all well and good, but if you're smart, the thinking goes, you'll watch what you say.

Now you know what it's like to live in Iraq. Or China. Or Venezuela. Or Russia.

When the government controls your financial survival, your rights aren't worth the parchment they're printed on.

Private property is the foundation of freedom. In a free country, the government's power is limited, and its proper role is to protect private property, not seize it for the 'common good.'

If President Obama gets everything he's seeking from the Congress, Americans will have "smart meters" in their homes that tell the government how much electricity they're using and when. Doctors will use computers to report their procedures and outcomes to the government so bureaucrats can decide which treatments will be permitted and which will be deemed "wasteful." Productive companies will be forced to pay fees for running their engines and unproductive companies will be subsidized for making PowerPoint presentations about cars powered by cow poop.

It's not funny.

Collectivism is the opposite of freedom.

We can only have one at the expense of the other.

Which one do you want?

Maybe you should speak up. While you still can.

U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
The White House: 202-456-1414

Copyright 2009

Editor's note: You might be interested in the 2004 essay, "A Plan to Get Out of Iraq: Blackstone's Fundamental Rights and the Power of Property" as well as "Defending Capitalism," both at You might also be interested in the 2007 post, "Barack Obama explains socialism."