A Shot at What?
Over the last few weeks, the differences in social and economic policy between Governor Romney and President Obama have become clear. Romney has consistently promoted a more laissez-faire or freedom-driven society with reduced government control, while Obama has promoted a society based on a large government which redistributes resources on grounds of "justice", and "fairness." In hopes of differentiating his flavor of redistribution from garden-variety socialism, Obama claims he only wants just enough redistribution to "give everyone a fair shot." Obama has become infamous for using vague words without defining them (e.g. "hope", "change", "forward"), so we are left to wonder--who constitutes "everyone", what is "fair" and most importantly, under Obama's system, exactly what do we get a "shot" at?
To properly understand redistribution, one should start at the most extreme of redistributing societies: communism. Karl Marx called communism by a much more familiar adjective, "feudal." There are only two classes under communism, the rulers and the ruled; all other distinctions are removed. Marx assumed that the rulers and the ruled would be identical, but every implementation of communism has had the appearance of lords and serfs (slaves); a truly feudal society. Under communism, serfs are assigned land to farm and other jobs useful to the society, and their results are pooled and redistributed evenly.
Without exception, communism leads to a retrograde, tyrannical society which eventually fails; from the Dark Ages to Plymouth Colony to the Soviet Union. The only way to make every serf equal is to make every serf identical, and identically poor, while the ruling class lives surrounded by redistributed luxury, stolen from the hard work of the serfs. The serfs eventually learn that their individual productivity has little impact on their own lives, and so produce less and less. The society collapses into those who produce and those who consume, with too little produced.
Socialism is similar to communism, but rather than a classless society in which the serfs receive an equal share, socialism redistributes resources, fairness and justice according to a person's value to the society and other vague concepts; all interactively and fluidly defined and redefined by the ruling class. The end result is a massively multi-class society in which a person will be assigned by the government to more than one class, based on their genetic heritage, upbringing, health, lifestyle choices, education, employer, income and any other criteria which may serve to differentiate people. Ultimately, socialism breaks down into those who produce and those who consume, which is very similar to the endpoint of communism. Communism is a special case of socialism, in which the ruling class makes the determination that fairness and justice are defined by blind equality. Socialism requires a tyrannical government to define classes, steal the possessions of individuals and force or coerce people to do what they otherwise would not. Like communism, socialism is a system of lords and serfs.
Many socialists believe that government will be benevolent, and the definitions of class, fairness and justice will be made based on their personal "common sense" views, but in application, these things are defined based on the backgrounds, views, and power bases of the rulers. For example; if the rulers' power base consists of gay people, then gays may receive extra rights and privileges, while straight couples might be punished for their normalcy. This might not be the view of the majority of the people, but socialism is a top-down society, so the views of the leaders count for a lot more than the views of the people.
President Obama has consistently ruled with the highly fluid, novel, unfair and unjust definitions of "fairness" and "justice" as are commonly found in socialism. Obama instigated a hostile takeover of the American automobile industry, abusing his power to literally steal the companies from their rightful owners. Once seized, Obama canceled the pensions of nonunion workers while giving control of the company over to the union leadership. What about that was fair or just? Since then, General Motors has been bleeding money, producing automobiles that very few want to buy, all to satisfy the views of the President. Obama has appropriated tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on behalf of his major campaign donors, repaying them with ratios of 500 to 2000 times, all paid for by the investors in the Bank of Washington: you. The government (i.e. Obama) determined that the class of 'those who donate millions to Obama' was superior and more worthy of redistribution than 'those who donate less than millions to Obama'. President Obama made the determination that (nonunion) coal mining is detrimental to society, and has been abusing his executive power to shut down coal mines. Will it be just and fair when he determines that your (nonunion) profession is detrimental to society?
Barack Obama has a very strange definition of fairness and justice. The words may sound nice and reasonable, but coming from Obama's mouth, they are deceiving and dangerous. Socialism is a top-down society, in which the views of the rulers are forced on the populace, often with disastrous consequences. Under Obama, everyone may have an equal shot, but the only thing you will get to shoot for is what Obama lets you, which may only be raking dust in a subsistence farm. At the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama used his speech to define slavery, but he forgot to include socialism in that definition.
In contrast, Mitt Romney's government is a trickle-up society, in which the government lets the people decide for themselves what is "fair", and how to value their own work and the works of others. When the law and government are blind to class, there can never be a society of makers and takers. In his speech at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative, Romney pointed out that freedom creates a society which prospers and has little need for handouts, and that ending poverty would require the spread of freedom.
And like Obama, Romney has lived out the consequences of his beliefs. He made a successful career out of the same process that Obama botched so ignominiously with the auto industry-finding struggling companies with unrealized potential, investing large amounts, and overseeing their operations to the point of profitability. Not all these investments worked out. But nowhere in his resume does Romney have a disaster of the magnitude of that still unfolding in the American auto industry. But he had more successes than failures, enough to make himself a multimillionaire, along with providing decent careers and livings for tens of thousands across the country.
Contrasts don't come starker than this. This election's candidates represent truly polar positions on the economy. The coming weeks will reveal which pole--redistribution or freedom--has greater attraction for today's voters.