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My Point of View: Why do conservatives detest the ideas behind socialism?

My Point of View by Brad Kramer

Today, I filled up a five-gallon can and, after spilling far more fuel than necessary, was reminded exactly why government is not the answer to everything. They took a perfectly good gas can design and made some regulations from some unelected agency; now, instead of leaking fumes, every encounter with a gas can comes close to requiring a hazmat team to respond. Somebody had an idea to lower pollution and pushed it into law with consequences felt by everybody in the nation who has a boat, snowblower, lawn mower or teenager that runs out of gas. Now it will take a Herculean effort to reverse and get our simple gas cans back that worked.

Brad Kramer

This made me ponder further about socialism. Democrats believe the answer to almost every question is government. Health care? Government managed and paid. Job creation? Create government jobs. Government is not efficient. 

Democrats believe government is the answer to most of those challenges. Republicans typically want to leave the mechanism for improvement in the hands of the people through the free market. While there are certainly instances where government should be the referee, conservatives are leery of government control over too many aspects of our lives.

The solutions that Democrats often propose fall under the umbrella of socialism. Socialism has been the cause of untold misery in our world and has been tried and failed, all over the world. Democrats frequently repeat the mantra that conservatives simply don’t understand socialism, or that it’s a buzzword by conservatives, like a boogeyman that doesn’t really exist when we turn the lights on.

Why do conservatives detest socialism?

1. A government big enough to control that many aspects of our lives is big enough to control you. Governments do not last in the state that they are in. Only a handful of nations in world history have survived longer than 500 years, but at some point, every single government either fell from within, was physically destroyed or was conquered. In most cases, the fall was preceded by rampant corruption by those in power. Government is inherently powerful, and people who seek power gravitate toward control of government. Nobody in their right mind would argue that there is no corruption within the American government.

2. Socialism ignores human nature. Greed, corruption, individuality, desire to achieve big goals and other qualities are not considered.

3. Advocates of socialism are often people who have limited understanding of the means of production. Most strong socialism advocates have never owned a business. This is concerning because the economy is dependent on production. The entire question of socialism and capitalism is essentially who owns the means for production. When a segment of society that has never started a business tries to change the means of production ownership, it’s like a bunch of people, with no knowledge of piloting a ship, trying to demand the captain hand over the ship to let them steer it.

Business ownership is a very particular set of skills. Most of our great innovations never came from government-funded programs like NASA, but from the free market, where someone had an idea, that idea lit a fire in their belly and they built a company around it. They learned how to start a business and staked everything on it. When you don’t have the principles of capitalism driving innovation, you don’t end up with the same results. Even when the owner of that idea would still own it and depend on government approval or resources to move forward, that idea that might have changed the world could have languished on some bureaucrat’s desk awaiting an ignored request because that college-trained bureaucrat didn’t see the potential.

4. Social programs are not bad, in themselves, when properly managed and when they have sufficient oversight by the public. Having some socialist programs does not make us socialist, but at some point, you tip the scales and lose the efficiency and prosperity of a capitalist system. NASA, the Postal Service and many other government agencies do their jobs well (mostly). However, when devoid of an administrative agency that understands how to run a business, those agencies can become bloated, bureaucratic, ineffective and just plain frustrating for people forced to use them.

Conservatives typically don’t view social programs as bad but recognize the need for effective management because resources are very limited. It’s not just because conservatives don’t care, but the reason many business owners become conservatives is they recognize and understand the rules of money, which are rules the majority can’t just change because there are immutable natural laws that govern economics and business.

I’ll keep my capitalist economy, thank you very much. And if you have an old-fashioned, good working gas can for sale, I’m a buyer!

Brad Kramer is a member of the Freeborn County Republican Party.