I sometimes do a back-and-fourth with a self described centrist, or moderate (which is another name for a leftist in denial, something like a “moderate drinker” who can’t get through a day without alcohol) over at Say Uncle in the comments, but I thought it should be posted here too. Today we’re talking about the proposed (yet another) GM “bailout”. I explained how propping up failure is inviting more failure, while at the same time negatively influencing the way we make decisions, while at the same time freezing out some of the small, hungry, innovative businesses and potential businesses, to say nothing of unfairly punishing taxpayers for the bad decisions of others. He offered some of the regular arguments against pure capitalism;
“…the party with leverage will take advantage of that leverage, often to the level of exploitation..”
To which I replied;
I know that is the age-old argument, but what you describe has a simpler name. It’s called crime [or corruption]. That’s what government is for– to protect basic rights by punishing (retaliating against) crime.
And the reason why centrism is the superior stance;
“…pure capitalism and pure socialism are both bad…”
How so? Do you have any proof of that? Any evidence? Have we ever seen pure capitalism? If so, I’d like to know. Give me an example. I’ll bet you a case of beer that any example you attempt to give will in fact be an example of what happens when government get its nose into the market, creating some form of monopoly [either that or government has simply failed to do its job as protector of basic rights].
I’ve been all through this many times before. Please read the book, Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal or I’ll be forced to re-write the whole damned thing right here. Trouble is; that would take months and I’d go broke wasting my time writing. As I said, you haven’t seen this stuff [these ideas] before, and so you’re falling into all the old traps. You need some genuine de-programming. I know that sounds really insulting and condescending, but the same is true anytime you try to tell an alcoholic he’s an alcoholic. This is damned tough stuff. I’m saying here that you’re addicted to a belief in government-sponsored coercion. You’re convinced that it has a proper place in a free society. I’m saying that that is a contradiction in terms.
The coercion pushers have gotten to you and got you hooked. You’ve grown up with pushers and you’ve known nothing else. The same happened to me and it was a tough, slow, painful withdrawal. Even still it’s one day at a time. I have to go to regular meetings with other people struggling with the destructive effects of believing in socialist theories. Oh sure, I thought a little bit here and a little bit there would be fine. A lot of people do it just to get along in social situations. Lots of people think like that, but a little bit is never enough, is it? You always end up needing another fix, and there’s always another pusher ready and willing to sell it to you…
“Hello. My name is Lyle and I’m a recovering socialist…”
You have to first admit you have a problem before you can take the steps to solve it. Your original post is a good start– you’re asking questions. That’s good, but you’re fighting the answers because they go against everything you’ve ever known. If you really want the answers, it’s going to take a lot of effort on your part. It will be time-consuming and it will be painful. Some of the people you thought were your friends are going to chastise you [even disown you]. Stay strong. Only you can help you, but we can help point you in the right direction. You will have friends.
What the centrist doesn’t realize is that, though some people are bad and as a result sometimes people will get burned, when government shifts away from being the protector of rights and becomes the main perpetrator of coercion, we’re all screwed. This has been referred to as the equal distribution of misery.