The video title says, “the surprising moral case…” and that is a sad commentary on the state of education. This stuff should not be at all surprising. This video will be, though, the best thing you’ll watch all day. Enjoy!
One inescapable fact—yet somehow beyond the ken of almost all digital publishers—is that an enterprise based on a volume ad strategy by definition destroys and denies content and user-experience value, while excellent content and UX strategy is an effective ad strategy. Digital publishers, however, tend to be fully invested in the idea that their product has no value whatsoever beyond lending some inarticulate gravity to the actually important stuff on the page: the ads. Failure is the new black.
Tell me, where are the automobile dealerships where the cars and trucks are free for the taking, but in order to get one you must navigate a carnival midway maze of booths where hawkers from partnering jewelry companies, tax services, and sportswear brands ply you with offers along the way? There are none. Auto makers and their dealerships aren’t that stupid. Their profit model is based on selling their product. Oh, and what about the grocery stores where everything on the shelves is free for the taking, but the aisles are filled with shoe salesmen, credit consolidation service agents, and pharmaceutical reps who follow along with you, working to get you to purchase what they’re offering? There are none of these either. Grocery companies are smarter than that. They’re invested in their products.
Well, digital news and magazine content publishers are that stupid. They pay armies of skilled reporters, writers, editors, designers, programmers, artists, and researchers to produce their distinctive product…and then work to sell it according to an ethos that proclaims the product has no value.
As you might expect, there are consequences to this destructive approach. You see, when an industry profit model does not include the product, the industry and its market get rather turned inside out and upside down. It becomes a race to the bottom.
Online publishing is largely broken because media outlets are built to seek profit not from their product, but rather from the distractions and obstacles they conspire to place between the customer and the product. It’s a strategy that destroys quality, destroys confidence, and destroys the product consumption experience. It’s irrationality on parade: publications set up to destroy the very things they are supposed to deliver. It should come as no surprise that such a product tends to sell poorly.
This model is the ideal for digital publication success today. Expend enormous energy and capital in producing a product, and then devote nearly all of your strategic energies toward the advertising value model that will deface and obscure it.
Digital publishers don’t need a cleverer and more elaborate ad strategy. Digital publishers need a value and UX strategy for their product. But they’re oblivious and disinterested. This fact becomes clear when you ask a couple of very simple questions:
Q: Why not romance highly valuable content and create an excellent reading experience, and then put the ads at the end of articles where they’ll be seen with satisfaction?
A: If ads are at the bottom of the page, they’ll seldom be seen! (I’m not interested in content or experience quality)
Q: I see. Why must the end be “at the bottom of the page”?
A: Duh! That’s just where the end has to be! (I’m not interested in how clever and delightful experiences can be designed for digital environments and devices)
Q: Oh. And why won’t many people ever get there?
A: People don’t read whole articles very often. (I don’t know and don’t care how to improve my product)
Q: I see. Then why do you publish whole articles? And why don’t you work to improve the content and reading/user experience so that readers will read whole articles very often?
The real answer to the last is that content publishers do not, in the end, believe in the power of their product to command productive commercial activity. Yet to answer honestly would expose publishers for what they are. They’re professional demagogues; claiming to produce an important and viable product, but actively denying its value and investing no confidence where the metal meets the meat. Left to the results of the quality of their product, they know damn well they’d perish.
Here are a few questions I think are fairly interesting: Why do writers write whole articles? Why do publishers publish whole articles? Why would a publisher publish something that they don’t believe will be consumed fully? The answer is that digital publishers are merely going through the motions while their actual business is to throw lots of ads onto web pages. Avoidance of the substance and consequences of this activity compounds an irrational and destructive situation.
Publishers: There’s nothing wrong with fitting ad strategy and revenues into a publication profit model. But why rely solely on strategies that work to destroy and deny content quality? Why concentrate on strategies that, despite whatever success they generate, are 50% destructive? Why not work on strategies that are inherently 100% productive? Why so willingly concede your industry to advertisers at the expense of your own quality?
Publishers: Advertisers do not currently have your interests at heart, for they can currently succeed as you fail. As with everything else in the world, a strategy based on healthy self interest is the only one that can allow for mutual success. Why not build an enterprise founded in and dependent upon the quality of your own product and let the success of your partners flow from that?
The Answer: The Emperor Has No Content
If the content is valuable people should pay to read it. Modern publishers don’t care about content. They nearly all acknowledge they’re headed for a cliff, and they’re relying on a destructive and hypocritical strategy, which they do not control, to save them. That race to the bottom is gaining momentum and everyone but the publishers and their readers are profiting from it. And rightly so.
Imagine for a moment that you are a business owner. You run a flood insurance company and, like all business owners, you have to turn a profit or you have to close the doors. You work hard to meet your individual and family financial responsibilities and it’s your paycheck that allows for this. But you’re responsible and good at what you do. Therefore, you’re successful.
Your success allows for the success of others. Those whom you employ work just like you to meet their own responsibilities and the salaries you pay them facilitate their ability to do so. So long as you run your business smartly (and are allowed to do this), everybody wins. This includes your customers.
Like all insurance companies, yours allows people to invest in their own responsible preservation and perhaps even realize a sizable bonus return in times of crisis. Your customers enter into a voluntary agreement with you to pay a comparatively small amount each month, so that in the unlikely event of flood damage to their property you’ll pay to have it repaired or replaced. While few of your customers actually sustain flood damage, even when many at once do and you’re required to pay out enormous sums, those events are typically separated by many years. This allows for the accumulation of revenues used to meet your contractual obligations. In fact, your business is based on the idea that you stand a good chance to make a profit from your customers’ contractual payments. By the same token, your customers live with the peace of mind that their responsible, voluntary monthly payments buy them. Here again, everybody wins because of the mutually-profitable exchange.
The nice thing is that one need not have flood insurance in order to hire a contractor to perform home repairs or landscaping. Industry costs are reasonable for peoples’ common needs and insurance is required only for catastrophic circumstances. So each homeowner can choose to or choose not to purchase flood insurance. It’s all voluntary and workable.
Now imagine that in addition to insurance against unlikely, unforeseen events, people want “insurance” to cover the currently ongoing damage their property sustains due to the fact that they’re unlucky enough to live on a sandbar in a powerful river. The river rises and damages their homes on almost a weekly basis, requiring an equally sizeable river of cash to maintain their homes. Here, flood damage is not the unlikely and unforeseen event one might insure against, but rather a daily factor in the lives of these people. It’s simply an ongoing fact.
Given the circumstances, you can’t very well insure these peoples’ homes because the only possible arrangement is that you’d be continually paying out many times the sums you could possibly charge in premiums. What’s more, it’s not insurance if what you’d be insuring against is already a sustained, ongoing situation. In such a case, “insurance” is a non sequitur. Business, just like society, cannot work without a rational basis for relationships.
You’re assuming rationale. You assume too much.
Those who want to pay a small monthly premium in order to escape their own large and ongoing financial obligations are not looking for insurance; they’re looking for a subsidy. They just seemingly want to call it “insurance” while demanding that someone else take on their financial responsibilities. In other words they want a free handout, but insurance is not—cannot be—a handout. No responsible, intelligent, rational person believes that to be an appropriate arrangement.
Now imagine that in contravention of rationale and of the U.S. Constitution, the government proclaimed that your business must cover these peoples’ pre-existing and ongoing flooding. No, you don’t get any choice in the matter; the government has simply mandated that you must engage in unprofitable, illogical, unsustainable “business.” That’s not business at all, but rather slavery. Your rightful profits and property no longer matter. Morality no longer matters and neither does the fundamental basis for your industry. You are required to do as you’re told or you will be fined and/or imprisoned. In such a case, what you offer is no longer insurance, either. It’s just subsidy. You no longer own a business. Now you merely operate a doomed and unprofitable enterprise, the function of which is to destroy your property and wealth.
When your demise becomes a surety and your customers logically will be left in the lurch (but not due to your actions), the government may step in to shoulder your “responsibility,” …and all they require is that you become a wholly owned subsidiary of The State. At which point you become a mere conduit mechanism between the confiscatory State and the needy, enabling, and irrational public.
The way things will work from now on is that your financial sustenance will come from the process of The State stealing from citizens—whether they require your services or not—and then feeding that ill-gotten revenue through your office according to an incomprehensibly obtuse and complex set of regulations. You now have a new mandate: ensure that you pay out as little in claims as possible so that you may survive on the meager stipend your new overlords have conceded to you.
This means that many legitimate claims must go unpaid, and that in order to receive any payments from you, the contractors who invoice you must be diligent in properly filling out and processing claim forms and citing specific, arcane codes for repair procedures. This also means that they have to balloon their own staffs in order to meet the new paperwork, form processing, and code intelligence requirements (but don’t worry about this. They’ll simply pass that enormous cost increase to their customers and it’ll get washed in the tax/spend laundry cycle. Getting “permission” to raise taxes is a snap. Besides, that’s someone else’s problem, not yours).
Yes, yes, the homeowner-contractor relationship is destroyed; replaced by the government oversight committee-insurer relationship. True, those who have modest needs and simply want to pay a contractor to put in a new window are now beset by a dizzying array of regulatory requirements…and the costs for even the simplest of procedures is now so astronomical as to require a comprehensive insurance plan to even begin that conversation…and ANYONE who ever may want to have any landscaping or home improvement or repairs of any kind done must now purchase expensive flood insurance.
But this is a small price to pay for “allowing” anyone to claim anything from you in order to avoid financial inconvenience. You’re serving the greater good now. Take solace in that profound fact, but remember who you work for. Or else.
You Have a Pre-existing Condition
This has all been allegory (for now). What I really mean by all of this is, welcome to the world of modern medical care and medical insurance. Tyranny, to be concise. The doctor-patient relationship no longer matters and the medical professions have been destroyed in favor of bureaucracy. This is what you have allowed to happen. This is, in fact, what you’ve demanded happen.
See, if you’re an American you have a pre-existing condition. It’s called colossal stupidity. Oh, and your claim is denied. Good luck with that.
Here’s Obama’s impact on our nation, by the numbers.
Nice work by John E.
Click image for larger version
I’m giving away 9 copies of “The Morality of Capitalism” to interested readers.
I put it to you that in order to fully understand capitalism, all that is necessary is that you read and digest my essay from earlier this year. However, the words and ideas from some really smart people have been collected in an excellent survey from the Atlas Network entitled “The Morality of Capitalism.”
“The Morality of Capitalism” is a collection of essays and interviews from a wonderful bunch of folks, including a Nobel Laureate in Literature, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, and the Co-Founder of Whole Foods Market. The book works to make the appropriate, accurate arguments as counters to the many false arguments and baseless accusations leveled at capitalism. In a time when our sovereign individual liberties are being assailed on many fronts as at no time in U.S. history, this book is desperately needed and this vital information needs dissemination.
I’m going to give away nine of my copies of the book to folks who are interested in the idea of capitalism, but who are somewhat skeptical or ignorant of its values and not fully informed on its components and mechanisms. If you enjoy reading and the preceding describes you, and you would like to receive a free copy, please with your name, mailing address, and your reason for wanting to read this book and I’ll select nine to whom I’ll mail a copy.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Is being pro-business and pro-capitalism the same? Does capitalism generate an unfair distribution of income? Was capitalism responsible for the most recent financial crisis? Dr. Jeffrey Miron at Harvard answers these questions by exposing three common myths of capitalism.
a person holding a government office or job by election or appointment; person in public service. (Dictionary.com)
“Public servant” is an officer or employee of government or a quasi-public agency, as defined in section 1-120, elected or appointed, and any person participating as advisor, consultant or otherwise, paid or unpaid, in performing a governmental function. (Connecticut Criminal Jury Instructions)
* * *
The traditional and widely-recognized definition of “public servant” is no longer relevant or applicable. It is today an anachronism; corrupted and twisted in meaning. It is only ever employed now as demagoguery for its halo effect.
It used to be that those whom we elected were public servants. Being elected into a leadership position meant that you had been chosen to serve the people of your city, your district, your state, or your nation and with that service came great responsibility. When you observe the words and deeds of your “public servants” today, do they appear to be in service to you? More likely, they seem somehow like your boss and seldom do they actually answer for or even address their responsibilities. Most have, in fact, woven an intricate web of bureaucracy that ensures they are free from nearly all of their responsibilities. When confronted, they offer platitudes and continue to impose legislation that makes your decisions for you.
In short, they do not serve. They rule.
Public service is no longer the domain of elected people. Today, elected people assume not the mantle of responsibility and leadership, but the mantle of rulership. In the United States, elected bureaucrats, especially federal bureaucrats, now act independent of their bosses—us—those who employ them; private citizens. In fact they act and operate as though they consider private citizens to be their subjects. The idea that elected officials should rule and private citizens should be their subjects is anathema to our nation’s founding principles and to the Constitution of the United States. And yet, this tyranny-laden scenario is exactly what we have created.
Public service is no longer a calling for a few special leaders, but is now a conscription program for the 50% of citizens in the US who pay federal taxes. By virtue of being a taxpayer you are pressed into compulsory service where the fruits of your labor and genius are arbitrarily taken, divided up, and redistributed among the non-taxpaying citizens…and not even according to actual need, but according to the whim and purpose of bureaucrats. The ones who decide how much of your income and property gets taken away are the 50% of voters who pay no federal taxes; the ones who now require that “their servants” financially support them. This bureaucratically-inflamed need grows each year, far outstripping the intent of the income tax.
Today, an elected bureaucrat’s most important purpose is to ensure a growing fiscal dependency among non-taxpaying citizens. By doing so, government grows in power and those who fuel the economy and produce the wealth diminish in power…allowing for the democratic voting process to hand bureaucrats an increasingly-overwhelming public mandate for taking even more of the property and wealth of the ever-diminishing taxpaying population. A self-sufficient population is a threat to bureaucratic power, you see.
We once fought a war to win our liberty back from the despotic, bureaucratic power of the state that denied it and now, without perhaps a single shot being fired, government has reestablished the means by which it will regain its absolute power over the citizens. Our forefathers even crafted a document that set down in plain language the inviolate limits to government so as to prevent this ever happening. Maybe you’ve heard of it. But our Constitution is simply ignored now, as our government has long escaped its Constitutional limits. Yes, we let that happen.
We all should fear an all-powerful government, but none so much as the poor. Think about it: if you live off of government “assistance” you live in the manner and to the extent that government bureaucrats say you can. You can’t buy your groceries, you can’t pay your bills, you can’t see your doctor without government say so…and they say how you do it, how much you can spend, where you have to do it, and…by the way…”jump through these 26 hoops before you do it. Why? Because I said so, dummy. We’re the government! Now get to it.” This ought to kind’a piss you off, right?
If you live off of the government, you’re not really even a slave to the state. You’re less than a slave. You’re cattle. The government doesn’t care about you in the least, except at election time…where you’d damn well better vote Democrat if you want to keep getting your rations and maintain your American Dream of suckling at the government tit. “All we need from you is your vote to help us take even more from those selfish rich people who insist on selfishly doing for themselves. We need more of their money so we can continue to dump it down the black hole of need. Cattle need feedin’! Why else would you let us do what we do?”
Public servants? Elected officials are not your servants. They’re your masters. They rule over poor and rich alike. The real public servants are those who get up every day, go to work, earn a living, pay their bills, build wealth, hire people, pay wages, pay taxes, and build the American dream for themselves and help countless others to do the same. These are the folks who made ours the greatest nation in human history. But the mechanism for how we achieved that is being systematically dismantled…by voters who vote for others to accomplish the theft they’re too cowardly to execute themselves.
Government cannot create. It can only destroy. Government cannot bestow rights, cannot create wealth, and cannot bestow liberty. All government can do is take these things away. All government has ever done is take and then redistribute according to what helps keep bureaucrats in power. The only difference is that each year they take more than the last. They take our property, they take our hard-earned income, they take our choices, they take our rights, and they take our dignity. Elected government bureaucrats are rightfully and legally our subordinates, but it seems we’ve ceded our responsibilities to them; apparently, on purpose.
When will American taxpayers stop allowing government to use them as slaves and conscripts? When will Americans choose to reassert their Constitutional, God-given rights? When will Americans choose to vote tyrants out of, instead of into, office? When will we, the public, compel our elected officials reassume their rightful places as our servants?
Until we do, American citizens have only one easy choice: do you want to be cattle or servant?
“Laissez-faire capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights and, therefore, the only system that bans force from social relationships. By the nature of its basic principles and interests, it is the only system fundamentally opposed to war.”
- Ayn Rand, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”
To speak of capitalism is to speak to individual liberty and fundamental human rights. In doing so one must also speak of the United States of America, for there as nowhere else in the world has capitalism, and therefore individual liberty, been allowed such expression.
Capitalism is an objective moral imperative. In order to best illustrate this it is effective to examine capitalism in contrast to the ideal that is antithetical to individual rights, to liberty, and to the objective morality that requires them. The antithetical ideal I’m referring to is altruism and its political expression, collectivism. We’ll get to that shortly.
I’m writing this essay because I find that few people have any significant grasp of what capitalism is, what it means, what it assumes and requires, and how it works. Many who hold capitalism in high esteem and often repeat the notion that capitalism is the best system will falter when asked to defend it or explain it. Unfortunately, few supporters of capitalism are able to recognize lies about and misrepresentations of capitalism. This, in part, explains why capitalism even in the U.S. has ever been corrupted by collectivist ideals. In this ongoing corruption, ignorance and outright malevolence play as equal partners. I’d like to help address the ignorance component here.
Contrary to what you might have heard or might believe, capitalism is neither an economic system nor a political system. It is a social system that—according to its fundamental morality—defines the moral basis of social relationships (of all kinds, including economics and governance)…and the only system conceived by man that can preserve individual liberty and the singular human right of a man to his own life.
Capitalism is the direct expression of the moral absolute of human life.
What are Individual Rights?
“A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.”
- Ayn Rand, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal”
In order to understand the morality of capitalism, you have to understand individual rights. Despite the seeming simplicity and likely familiarity of the term, I find that few actually understand this term and the morality associated with it. Clear evidence of this fact is found in the way that so many who claim to be champions of rights routinely support efforts that destroy them (and later in this essay I’ll explain why this happens).
There is, in fact, only one fundamental right: the right of a man to his own life. This is the basis of capitalist morality. All other true rights flow from this singular right and all are mutually-supportive. The example rights cited in the U.S. Declaration of Independence—to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—require this fundamental right as their basis. What’s more, they require others not explicitly cited: an individual’s right to think, to work (no, not to be employed), and to keep and dispense with the product of his work and his genius as he sees fit, unencumbered by force or compulsion. This moral concept, as I will make clear in this essay, is one that only capitalism can uphold and protect.
A real right is one that places no obligation or limitation on anyone else’s rights. A “right” that places a limitation on another’s rights or compels an action from another person is tyranny and a violation of individual rights. Remember this, as every system and ideology other than capitalism will work to deceive you with a dizzying array of false rights as justification for the tyranny that they require.
The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness require that a government secure these rights…because a moral government is by its very definition beholden to the individuals it serves. This is, in fact, the only moral purpose of a government: to preserve and protect individual liberties from attacks; foreign and domestic. Remember this, too, as it will help you to recognize the many tyrannies that you and your fellow citizens have been subjected to your entire lives.
Tyranny directed toward individuals comes by way of one system: collectivism. Based on the morality of altruism, the ideological basis of collectivism is expressed in many variants, including communism, socialism, liberalism, fascism, progressivism, and other forms of statism. There are some significant differences and conflicting qualities among some of these variants, but these are all articulations of collectivism.
In order to better appreciate the moral imperatives of capitalism, we should examine how its morality differs from that of other social systems. As I mentioned earlier, the antithesis to capitalism is altruism, and its political expression is collectivism. Let’s get to know this deceptive philosophy and the ideology that forms its subjective morality.
In contrast to the capitalist morality of a man’s right to his own life (and all that flows from that), the morality of altruism is that of self-destruction. Altruism dictates that a man exists to sacrifice to others and has an immutable obligation to selflessness. That which he produces according to altruism morally belongs to someone other than himself. You might recognize this subjective morality as something given broad expression at one time in the United States and elsewhere around the world: slavery.
According to altruism, virtue is found only in self-sacrifice. Therefore, the individual has no virtue in and of himself: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good . Logically, virtue lies only in the utter destruction of one’s own life, as altruism’s morality allows for no other conclusion.
Many think of the term altruism and mistakenly imagine generosity. In fact there are many who routinely describe acts of kindness or generosity as “altruism.” This is a mistake that results only from either shallow thinking or malevolent activism toward the destruction of individual rights. If you have made this mistake in the past let us hope that it is because you once fell into the former category (as I certainly did at one time).
Altruism, in fact, renders impossible and negates generosity. Kindness and generosity are not acts of self-sacrifice, but of free will. Free will cannot coexist with altruism, where the individual has no right to himself, his thoughts, his work, or the property that it produces…any of which generosity would employ. Generosity is sharing; a voluntary act. Altruism demands the redistribution of possessions and as such is wholly involuntary.
The several political expressions of altruism all have one goal: the subordination and subjugation of the individual to the collective. “The collective” is what one has when slaves are bound together by externally-imposed purpose or when groups are said to have rights and thus impose demands upon individuals. Now, ask yourself: what is the logical result of a group having rights and what must be ignored or destroyed for this to happen?
For instance, the U.S. Constitution rightly describes only individual rights and makes no allowances for group rights. Its primary purpose, in fact, is to subordinate the group (government) to the individual. Group rights are wholly unconstitutional and yet every year that passes sees more and more groups given rights that supersede those of individuals. Collectivism grows every year in the United States while individual rights shrink. Is this something you morally agree with?
A violation of individual rights is easy to recognize in most cases, as it typically comes in the form of a requirement for serving “the common good.” In order for “the common good” to be served, individual liberty and rights must be destroyed along with the morality that supports them, else how can individuals logically be required to give up their property (earned income, land, interests, etc…)? “The common good” comes only with the death of objective morality and the destruction of the right of a man to his own life.
When any group is said to have rights, the individual and all of his industry becomes the property of the group or the state; to be used and disposed of according to the whim of the collective’s needs. As an individual under a collectivist system, one is a slave. The only thing that has any moral virtue under such a system is the result of one’s effort as sacrifice to the black hole of need personified by some group or another, or to “society.”
Collectivism receives its mandate from the mere existence of need and the lack of comprehensive equality of results. Collectivism requires, therefore, that “until this need is sated, we all have to sacrifice.” Collectivism is prettified by the deceptively noble goal of “equality” among members of society. Yet even this seeming high ideal is bastardized to obtuse and evil purposes under a collectivist morality (altruism).
The idea of foundational equality among men is something that enlightened people and enlightened nations hold in high esteem. The relevant reference is found in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, with the recognition of the idea that all men are created equal. Collectivists in their many forms have corrupted this notion as a component of their effort to make tyranny palatable with the idea that everyone should remain or become equal, meaning no individual should exceed any other individual. Therefore, all activities that are not devoted to bringing all men into social and economic equality are evil.
Capitalism recognizes that though we are all created equal, we each aspire and will ourselves toward different levels of effort and thus each realize different levels of achievement. Only capitalism holds as inviolate the right of each individual to the results of his efforts and genius. According to the moral imperative of individual rights, there can never be any equality of result among individuals in a society.
Those who have any grasp of individual rights and free will understand that equality of result requires a corruption of morality and is impossible so long as rational men are free to live their lives as they choose.
Corruption of Capitalism
For those of us who do not live under an overt dictatorship or in a communist, fascist, or socialist country, such issues of state-mandated slavery and self-destructive morality might seem foreign or even unthinkable. While this idea might seem unthinkable for many, it exists in every nation on earth. In fact it has always been a significant component in the social mechanisms of the United States, ever expanding in scope and impact.
Surprised? You might think that this idea contravenes reason. How could such a destructive and evil system have a fastness in the capitalist bastion of the United States of America? In fact, your reason is one of the many things that collectivists of all stripes seek to destroy. They must, in fact. To do this, collectivists must destroy definitions of important concepts and redefine ideas toward their opposites while compelling you to act not upon reason, but emotion. In doing so, they render your reason useless.
In the end, he who controls the definitions of words controls ideas. He who controls ideas controls reality as perceived by that most-important thing collectivists must corrupt in order to succeed: your mind.
Reason and Capitalism
“From every aspect, the theory of collectivism points to the same conclusion: collectivism and the advocacy of reason are philosophically antithetical; it is one or the other.”
- Leonard Peikoff
Capitalism is founded in and requires man’s fundamental survival tool: rational cognition. With the foundational moral absolute being the right of a man to his own life, reason must be employed to uphold and defend that right. Therefore, every idea and action must be measured according to its rational consistency with this morality.
So long as reason prevails, the ideals of liberalism, socialism, progressivism, fascism, and communism cannot find a foothold in society. So long as reason prevails, capitalism is allowed full expression and individual liberty is absolutely defended. But capitalism has never been allowed unfettered expression, even in the United States. Why?
The quest for power requires that others be subjugated to that power. Totalitarianism aside, the only political system on earth that allows for this is collectivism. Collectivists have ever assailed the morality and ideals of capitalism with appeals toward emotion rather than reason. After continually working to destroy then redefine key words and core concepts, the resulting application of these redefined words and concepts very obviously contradicts reason and introduces a vertigo of rationality. Collectivists inject into that chaos the notion that emotion then is the most relevant tool of cognition. Since emotion is not a cognitive tool and with emotion being the antithesis of reason, you have your answer to the question posed above.
Lies and misrepresentations are the calling cards of anti-capitalist rhetoric. As a result, common references to capitalism paint a distorted picture. For instance, as Ayn Rand pointed out…
“Capitalism has been called a system of greed—yet it is the system that raised the standard of living of its poorest citizens to heights no collectivist system has ever begun to equal, and no tribal gang can conceive of.
“Capitalism has been called nationalistic—yet it is the only system that banished ethnicity, and made it possible, in the United States, for men of various, formerly antagonistic nationalities to live together in peace.
“Capitalism has been called cruel—yet it brought such hope, progress and general good will that the young people of today, who have not seen it, find it hard to believe.
“As to pride, dignity, self-confidence, self-esteem—these are characteristics that mark a man for martyrdom in a tribal society and under any social system except capitalism.” 
Where there is capitalism there must be reason. Where there is collectivism, reason cannot exist.
Fundamental Comparisons and Conclusion
You may note that while the various collectivist ideologies demand that every individual sacrifice for the good of the collective, these systems exempt one special group: the elite rulers of the collective. Collectivist governments do not sacrifice, but instead collect. They are not subject to the same morality as the members of the collective, but exist above it. In fact the government of every system on earth exists, according to its laws, above the morality imposed by the system…all except for one built upon capitalism.
Individual rights are the means of subordinating society (a group or groups) to moral law.  This point is important, because until the Constitution of the United States was adopted, no nation in the history of the world had ever subordinated society to moral law. Before that, only individual citizens were subject to that morality. This subordination of the government and of groups to the individual, as Ayn Rand astutely points out, was the most profound revolutionary achievement of the United States of America.
As a morally-sound document, the U.S. Declaration of Independence deliberately recognizes the idea that individual rights come not from men or groups or government, but from our Creator—and thus cannot be taken or negated by men, groups, or government (this is one reason that many collectivist governments work to destroy the idea of God).
Finally, acknowledging the idea that most of us associate with capitalism, where individuals have supreme liberty, free men may pursue their dreams and realize the result and profit of their ingenuity without limits. This is otherwise known as The American Dream. Such men may then freely trade with other men according to mutual agreement and without interference or compulsion from any uninvolved entity. The result of this simple, logical, and moral exchange is the most powerful, wealth-creating system in the history of mankind: capitalism.
Capitalism created the highest standard of living on earth and has never been equaled or exceeded in any positive respect, measure, or manner by any other system. Capitalism is, in fact, the only system ever conceived of by man that creates wealth. Every other system cannibalizes and destroys wealth.
It should be no surprise that the only objectively-moral system known to mankind is also the most positive and powerful system known to mankind. I sincerely hope that you have learned something in this shallow examination of capitalism and are better able to recognize threats to your liberty, your rights, and your reason.
I want to tell you a story. The story is a real-life cautionary tale about taxes. Now, there are a couple of twists in the story and it is not a very happy story. What’s perhaps most interesting is that the ending is actually up to you. I hope that you make it to the end and craft a happy one.
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Martin Ramos is a farmer from a small village near Riecito in Venezuela. Until 4 months ago he ran his farm business with the help of his wife, Celia. However, his wife recently died of breast cancer and he is left to care for their 4-year-old daughter and to run his business alone. Martin has 16 employees and his company turns a modest profit selling the cantaloupes he grows on land that he leases from Hugo Chavez’s government.
Typical of Venezuelan farmers, Martin is taxed at a very high rate. After paying all of his business expenses he derives a modest income, of which the government takes almost 1/3 straight off the top…and his remaining income is taxed at a ridiculous 35% (can you imagine!?). This confiscatory taxation by the socialist Venezuelan government leaves Martin with less than half of the income that he has earned, honestly, by the sweat of his brow. Not the fairest of rewards for someone who is providing employment for a good portion of his village and income and sustenance for their families.
Because of the heavy tax burden Martin is, not surprisingly, planning to reduce the size of his farm and to lay-off six of his employees. It seems that he will be better off being not so profitable. He has realized that if he shrinks his business he’ll be able to hold onto more of what is rightfully his. He’s sick about it, but he has a young daughter to think about. Outrageous and sad, right? Aren’t you glad you’re an American?
Well, here’s the really sad part: Martin is not a Venezuelan farmer. He’s an American small business owner. The taxes I referred to are what a significant proportion of small businesses owners are subject to by the US government. Now, wait. Did you initially pity the poor guy in Venezuela, but then think it not so bad once you knew it was an American business owner being taxed so much? If so, why? The answer to this question is very important for you.
The Politics of Envy
Tax burdens for Americans are about to get even worse, as President Obama and the Democrats in Congress dig their claws into our small business owners—you know; those people who employ the majority of US citizens. Think about this carefully. This means that the majority of US citizens are about to have a large bite taken out of their backsides. Mr. Obama is quick to talk about his inappropriately-named tax cuts for so-called “working families” (now a meaningless term, thanks to the Democrats), but of course crap rolls downhill. Your so-called tax cut will seem a paltry reward when you and/or those you care for are laid-off by now embattled employers. Many happy returns.
All of this is the result of the single liberal core value. Yes, there’s only one core value to which liberalism is beholden:envy. Seemingly not satisfied with simple enforcement of their mistaken perception of “the separation of Church and State,” liberal lawmakers make a full break with Christian morals and have institutionalized the breaking of the 10th Commandment.
Envy-driven government policy is responsible for our entire current economic fiasco in the US. In fact, all liberal governing policy is derived from this single core value. It’s an easy one to sell to people. It goes like this:
“There are people in this country who are better-off than you are. That fact, by itself, reveals a crime being perpetrated on you. It’s not your fault. I’m here to help and I’m going to make those better-off people pay for what they’re doing to you—and then you’ll be better off because of it…if you’ll only vote for me.”
Any intelligent and rational person can perceive the several lies and non sequiturs in that pitch; one being is that it is just and fair to punish success. Punishing success only damages economies and makes everyone miserable. No one gets better because of this sort of Socialist class war except those selling the weapons. Now, it is bad enough that liberal ideologues derive their life’s purpose from the core value of envy, but they are compelled to legally mandate that everyone invest in envy and cultivate its rewards to the fullest extent. Envy-driven values make clear the path to follow, but it’s a path that leads only toward tyranny.
It does not have to be this way.
Thanks for Your State-Mandated Generosity
It is a simple fact that every modern society contains people representing the full spectrum of economic achievement; very poor to very rich. In every society it is a measurable matter of the character of the society that those economically better-off choose to lend assistance and bestow charity upon those who are poor and/or needy. Because responsible and caring people are involved in this process, those who are truly needy (not merely the pretenders or the lazy) receive the bulk of the benefits of charity. According to the results, the character of the society is made clear.
It is also a simple fact that the United States is the most generous nation in the history of humankind. No other nation in human history has freely given more financial assistance to people. No other nation in human history has shed more of its own blood in service to people of other nations than the United States. Not surprisingly, no other “poor” people in the world are as affluent as the poor in the United States.
Adherents to liberal ideology are made blind to these ever-present and compelling facts. Faced with the issue of poor and needy members of society, liberal ideology cannot stomach the idea of free people giving freely of themselves according to their character. Instead liberals choose an outrageous and unthinkable response: to destroy the society.
Instead of merely facilitating public participation in tending to our needy, liberal lawmakers have created a culture and policy of purposefully damaging everything in our society in an effort to somehow “level the playing field.” Of course, the only constant and sure level achievable with little-to-no effort from all involved is the lowest level. Success is demonized and penalized, wealth is reviled, and achievement is endlessly criticized. Thus, our society—along with common sense—is turned on its head. The result is that we now have many distinct categories of “the needy” and institutionalized, public-subsidized poverty. Oh, and suffering for those who need not suffer in a just and rational society. Thank you, Liberalism.
Liberal lawmakers do not care how responsible or caring you are. Your generosity must die on the altar of an irrational and forced “equality.” Liberalism mandates that in addition to the necessary taxation for Constitutional government needs, everyone is required to pay a further percentage of his or her hard-earned income to The State so that it can decide how best to distribute these funds. We don’t get a choice in the matter. And the results are nothing short of a tragedy.
In the liberal worldview, success among some people is not really success, but tyranny. According to liberalism, success is tyranny because there remain people who have not achieved equal success. It is bad enough that some are so ridiculously obtuse as to hold with this outrageous idea, but worse because they have power and they insist on imposing this ideal upon all US citizens. That, my friends, is tyranny.
Our nation has many laws, regulations, restrictions, ordinances, and policies that ensure that all Americans are allowed equal opportunity in a host of specific endeavors and circumstances. This is only right. However, equal opportunity in no way refers to, indicates, or ensures equal result. Liberalism sees this fact as irrelevant. In fact, liberalism sees this as a crime that demands recourse. Since everyone knows that there is no way to force everyone to achieve and excel, especially those being financially rewarded for laxitude and sloth, everyone else must be made to suffer if equality is to be achieved.
Tax the very rich for more than 60% of their income, tax most of the rest in slightly less ridiculous proportions, and leave almost 35% of wage earners free from taxation. This is the current tax model in the United States. This model is perplexingly unfair, un-democratic, and un-American. It means, among other things, that more than 30% of Americans can vote and drive policy in this country without suffering directly in any way (that they’re aware of). Of course, they will always vote to tax others more. What do they care!? They’re immune to the effects of taxation (or so they believe).
With this sort of tax model it is easy to sell Socialism to envious masses. When those masses grow large enough they will become a burden on our economy too great to bear. Even the healthiest economy cannot survive a voting mob of needy, entitled, envy-driven, tax-immune people demanding sustenance from few successful members of society. The ending to that tale is predictable and quite sad.
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