This is a slight refinement from something son James and I discussed a few days ago.
When debating which is a better political system we can point to many instances where anti-freedom systems (communists/socialists/progressives/fascists/theocracies/kingdoms/dictatorships/etc.) have been implemented and review the outcomes of those experiments. A significant proportion of those experiments have resulted in a tragedies of epic proportions. A short list from the last 100 years includes USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Nazi Germany, and Romania.
So what are the worst examples of a freedom based political system and how do those compare to the worst of the anti-freedom? I don’t know what my political opponents would give for examples. Would it be the United States? If so, then that little debate would be settled in two minutes or less. Why risk those tragedies when the worst you can do with a freedom based system is so much better?
Taking that tactic a little further we can also ask the question, “What are the best outcomes of a particular type of political system?” For a freedom advocate the United States surely would be near the top of the list with the probable additions of Canada, and many of the countries of Western Europe. I suspect the anti-freedom advocate will include many of the socialist leaning, but generally free countries, of Western Europe.
Rate each of the various countries on some scale from good to bad. This can be used to create a chart with upper and lower bounds of the outcomes. It might look something like this:
So, which system is the better choice? The answer is obvious.
This technique can be use to compare just about anything. In general compare the upper and lower bounds of the two (or more) proposals being debated.
Comparing gun control utopias to gun owner utopias will be left as an exercise for the reader.
Good and bad need definitions and what is an outcome? Anybody that thinks Germany isn’t still dealing with ripples from Hitler hasn’t been there. USSR went almost full anarchy when it collapsed and that was just as scary as totalitarian rule. If your idea of ‘Good’ means neat an orderly, you might think that a totalitarian system is pretty awesome. If you just want to be left alone, you might be pretty happy under total anarchy. Sometimes I really wish the world was all about Good and Bad. Some days I can’t even define it.
If people try to escape from the country that is “bad”. If people try to escape to that country that is “good”.
Then there is the entirely separate issue of right and wrong, which would leave zero room for the slightest anti-freedom measure. That of course also means that there would be zero room for the ideologies of just about everyone, and there would be almost no government jobs, and no one would get to confiscate and spend anyone else’s money or feel super important and special sitting down and planning the next public works project, which is why freedom is so extremely rare in human history.
Obviously, the overall good or bad outcomes have nothing to do with why some people want power over others. I made that point very well, I thought, by pointing out how Chicago, where Progressives have gotten their way for decades, is a complete disaster, AND the Progressives only want more of the same progressive garbage that caused the problems.
I doubt that a single Nazi, looking around at his ruined city after an Allied bombing raid, smelling the stench of burning human flesh coming from the death camp nearby, thought to himself, “Oooooh, Kay…..NOW I get it– our IDEALOGY based on social engineering, Eugenics, coercive redistribution and top-down control is totally wrong after all. This evidence all around me proves it!”
Never gonna happen. Instead he’ll do what got him there in the first place. He’ll analyze the hell out of every little detail (’cause he’s smart, don’t you know, and smart people figure everything out). The A.A. batteries maybe should have been assigned differently, the fuel supply has been too short, if those boys on radar duty had only been more on the ball, and so on and on and on and on and on and on, ad infinitum, because that what superior people DO. If you can’t wake him up from his stupor, i.e. change his entire life’s programming, upon which he built everything he ever had, and by which he learned everything he ever knew, then you eventually have to put a bullet in his head.
In short; the only outcome that the lust for power requires is the acquisition of power. Anything else is a very distant second, if indeed it matters at all.
Last 100 years? Don’t leave out the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks, the Cambodian Killing Fields, and tribal genocide in Africa (Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, etc.)