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  • Dialogue on Liberty: The Threat of Socialism

    5/4/2012 4:50:33 PM Posted by Ron Meyer

    Dialogue on Liberty 200 pixels

    By Tim Ballard, YAF Activist 

    Special for YAF's Dialogue on Liberty 

    There has been a great deal of talk in the public policy and social realms lately about socialism. Many Americans hear the word and balk, which is good. But most aren’t sure why. Then there are those who agree with socialism and think it would be good for America, whom I fear aren’t looking at all of the facts.  

    Also known as a free market system, capitalism is socialism’s antithesis. Capitalism preaches that every citizen has the right to start and maintain whatever businesses he or she desires and buy and own whatever property he or she can afford. Socialism promotes state-ownership of property and business. What this boils down to is, instead of the people working and earning money under their own terms then having to pay taxes to the government, the people work and earn significantly less while the government takes the majority of its funding from the profits of business. All of the sudden, people we need (yes, need) like doctors or lawyers or business executives, would disappear under this system because there is no profit to be had for their hard work.

    There's no incentive to work hard in medical school and residency if you know you won't see any profit for it in the future when you're working 80+ hours a week and making the same money as the construction guy who doesn't go to work if it's raining outside. Speaking of doctors, my next topic is healthcare.

    The way our healthcare system is, if you need a heart transplant, you go on a list. Your placement on this list depends on the severity of your condition. If you’re going to die in the next few weeks without a new heart, you go to the top of the list. On the other hand, if you can make it on medicine and treatments for a year or so, you go a little further down on the list. The reason we can afford to keep the lights on in hospitals is because we charge money for these procedures and people’s insurance covers a great deal of expenses. Granted, there are some real jerks in insurance who happily turn people down every day just to make a buck, but we’re talking about the healthcare system as a whole, not those worthless pigs. With socialized healthcare, we would have the wealthy paying super high taxes so that the poor can have free healthcare. I’ll explain why this won’t work later on.

    Many hipsters and other various enlightened people will tell you that this stuff isn’t true or that I’m just parroting what “The Man” or “The System” has told me. However, ladies and gents, I assure you, this is the truth. Look at Russia during the Cold War, or maybe Europe right now. People, this. Stuff. Does. Not. Work. Look at our own government: They can’t agree on anything. Do we really want them telling us how to run our businesses or what property we may own?

    I know the capitalist system sometimes doesn’t seem fair, and the truth is there is no perfect system out there, but socialism takes what fairness there is in capitalism, and crushes it. Right now, if you want to go start a business, you’ll face high taxes and a serious job market crisis, but you could pull it off with some hard work. In a socialist society, you would be forced to run a government-owned business and only see profits for some of your hard work. You would walk into it knowing that you could never truly succeed or move up in the world. Capitalism at least affords you the chance to succeed.

    Yes, capitalism allows some unfairness; some people do have advantages over others. But, do you know what makes America so incredible? We say, “Screw you” to our disadvantages and we do our best to succeed in spite of them. That’s why we love movies like The Pursuit of Happiness, because we know that can happen to any of us in this great country. Socialism takes the advantages that some have away, and tries to level the playing field for everyone. What it does in the end is takes incentive away from those who would work hard by telling them that no matter how hard you work, you will never achieve more than everyone around you. 

    Under socialism, there is no motivation to invent, to innovate, to achieve.

    Tim is a sophomore studying political science and English. You may contact him at tballar8@utk.edu.

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