Some Ideas to Think About


Capitalism vs. Socialism
Some Ideas to Think About

USA – -( Poverty is no mystery, and it's easily avoidable. The poverty line that the Census Bureau used in 2016 for a single person was an income of $12,486 that year.

For a two-person household, it was $16,072, and for a four-person household, it was $24,755. To beat those poverty thresholds is fairly simple. Here's the road map: Complete high school; get a job, any kind of a job; get married before having children; and be a law-abiding citizen.

How about some numbers? A single person taking a minimum wage job would earn an annual income of $15,080. A married couple would earn $30,160. By the way, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 4 percent of hourly workers in 2016 were paid the minimum wage. That means that over 96 percent of workers earned more than the minimum wage. Not surprising is the fact that among both black and white married couples, the poverty rate is in the single digits. Most poverty is in female-headed households.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign garnered considerable appeal from millennials. These young people see socialism as superior to free market capitalism.

Capitalism doesn't do well in popularity polls, despite the fact that it has eliminated many of mankind's worst problems, such as pestilence and gross hunger and poverty.

One of the reasons is that capitalism is always evaluated against the nonexistent, non-realizable utopias of socialism or communism. Any earthly system, when compared with a utopia, will not fare well.

Indeed, socialism sounds good but, when practiced, leads to disaster. Those disasters have been experienced in countries such as the USSR, China, most African nations and, most recently, Venezuela. When these disasters are pointed out, the excuse is inadequacies of socialist leaders rather than socialism itself.

For the ordinary person, free market capitalism, with all of its warts, is superior to any system yet devised to deal with our everyday needs and desires.

Here are a couple of questions:

Does an act clearly immoral when done privately become moral when done collectively? Does legality or majority consensus establish morality? Before you answer, consider that slavery was legal; South African apartheid was legal; the horrendous Stalinist, Nazi and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality or a majority consensus cannot establish morality.

You might ask, “If you're so smart, Williams, what establishes morality?” That's easy, and you tell me when I make the wrong step. My initial premise is that we own ourselves. You are your private property, and I am mine. Self-ownership reveals what's moral and immoral. Rape is immoral because it violates private property. So is murder and any other initiation of violence. Most people probably agree with me that rape and murder are immoral, but what about theft? Some Americans would have a problem deciding whether theft is moral or immoral.

Let's first define what theft is. A fairly good working definition of theft is the taking by force of one person's property and the giving of it to another to whom it does not belong. Most Americans think that doing that is OK as long as it's done by government. We think that it is OK for Congress to take the earnings of one American to give to another American in the form of agricultural subsidies, business bailouts, aid for higher education, food stamps, welfare and other such activities that make up at least two-thirds of the federal budget. If I took some of your earnings to give to a poor person, I'd go to jail. If a congressman did the same thing, he'd be praised.

People tend to love a powerful government. Quite naturally, a big, powerful government tends to draw into it people with bloated egos, people who think they know more than everyone else and have little hesitance in coercing their fellow man. Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek explained why corruption is rife in government: “In government, the scum rises to the top.”

Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams

About Walter E.Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Williams is also the author of several books. Among these are The State Against Blacks, later made into a television documentary, America: A Minority Viewpoint, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa's War Against Capitalism, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty Versus The Tyranny of Socialism, and recently his autobiography, Up From The Projects.

  • 20 thoughts on “Some Ideas to Think About

    1. Norman Thomas, the six-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President, said the following in a 1944 speech: “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened…. I no longer need to run as a Presidential Candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.” And, today, the Republican Party RINOs have adopted it as well. It is no longer a situation of “enemy in the wire”. Today….and for several decades….the enemy sits in the Command Post. America has been overrun.
      As Nikita Krushshev said in 1954, “First, we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia, then we will encircle the United States which will be the last bastion of capitalism. We will not have to attack. It will fall like an overripe fruit into our hands.” In 1960, Krushchev stated, “We cannot expect Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.”
      The old Soviet Union may have fallen; but, Krushchev’s statements are ringing true as we look at the changes that have taken place and are taking place in the US today. No longer does Socialism or Communism hold a stigma to be hidden away. Politicians are now openly campaigning on that oppressive platform and winning in some areas.

    2. I agree with you repo, in my 47 years of working and in the military I never took any money from the government, except my paycheck. There were times when I could have used some help but I was too proud to ask relatives or “the system” for it. I turned out ok in the end without help, I just had to work a little harder and longer in the day. When you accept the freebees you become a subject and are no longer a citizen.
      Look at the illegals, they come here for the welfare, medicaid, snap, state welfare and in some cases, social security. Look how close we are getting to socialism while trying to avoid it. It is past time for the pendulum to swing back the other way and work for what you have, including stopping illegals.

    3. Walter, I agree with everything you say and am with you. But your idea of $30 for a couple with children is oversimplified. Childcare costs would reduce their income by a minimum of $12,000 a year leaving them with $18,000 a year to live on before taxes. I have a daughter in the same boat. There’s no easy answer to it except that she should have gone to college or trade school earlier in her life to get a better paying job but that doesn’t erase the childcare issue now. I don’t have an answer for this.
      Do you?

      1. i think hes saying that its not the responsibility of the govt and taxpayers to supplement the money people dont make on their own. hes not saying someone can raise a family in $30k a year just that its above the poverty line. it doesnt matter if its for childcare or housing,food, or a car. if you cant afford any of those things its not up to others to make up the difference for you. i understand things happen and people get pregnant unexpectedly but get a second job. in previous generations people didnt go to the govt to make up the difference of their income. i know people that worked 2 fulltime jobs to get buy until their kids went to school. others moved back home or got roomates.. the point is people have become too ok with accepting other peoples money. i know im sick of paying for other peoples bad decisions or poor work ethics. i could qualify for disability tommorow if i wanted but i refuse to do that if i can still find something i can do to make a living. im ok with helping people who thru no fault of their own cant support themselves. all others should either rely on family or private charity where people donated by choice and didnt have govt take 30% of their paycheck and give it to someone else.
        dont take this as an attack on you and your daughter its an attack on the system. i have know idea of yours or her situation. i just dont agree with forced contributions to other people income.

        1. Good insights. I agree with you. I worked 3 jobs while earning another Master’s Degree at 50 and then another 2 for licensing. But my kids were grown and gone then. Yet the facts are she’s now divorced and cannot work 2 jobs as the kids are under 5. I am in no position to help-no room and no more discretionary income myself s I am still having to work.. Her mother and I have helped in in the past. Without housing, her children will be removed. Then they go into government foster care. The sad thing is she’s not some lazy drugged up welfare recipient as she is working FT and it’s not enough. Child support is about 30% of what the father brought home before abandoning them. Part of the problem and you’ll think I am old fashioned, but after industrialization erased the agrarian part of our lives beginning after Reconstruction, families were split up. They no longer had their own land whereas before, they were mostly self sufficient and had their own land to live on and families were closer in proximity. People became dependent on corporations who are only in it for themselves and they would be left with nothing if the corporation went belly up or moved, leaving them to be dependent on another corporation to hire them often having to move themselves. Self employment is an alternative but not all services work this way and not everyone possesses that type of skill set. I too am tired of high taxes to pay for others’ irresponsibility which is why now at 67 I’m having to get a second job so I can work harder to pay my taxes that pay for other peoples’ stuff. The system is insane. This is the core of why Marxism/Socialism doesn’t work-a small part of the population can only over function so long to keep the majority afloat. I found it odd as a therapist seeing people on disability, the ones who weren’t all that disabled would have the time and money to take long trips while I couldn’t afford to having to stay home and work.

          1. i feel for your daughter it sounds like she is really doing everything she can.. it sounds like the cause of the problem is a deadbeat dad. we need to find away to force deadbeat dads or moms to be accountable in the supporting of their offspring. if they wont do it willingly they need to be forced to by whatever means needed. it should never become the taxpayers responsibility to support the children of 2 healthy adults. i know its not an answer for your daughters situation and until we decide the status quo isnt acceptable i dont know what is the answer…

      2. If they “can’t feed ’em; don’t breed ’em.” If one can’t figure out how to be a SUCCESSFUL CITIZEN, then they should not have kids to pass on those unsuccessful imprinting deficiencies. My parents were poorer that dirt, but figured out how to crawl out of poverty in the Southern Ozarks and become successful. They never took a dime from anyone……especially the government……except Dad’s paycheck when he was in WWII service. I’m tired of the whining. Life is tough. Learn to deal with it…..and pass THAT on to your off spring…..once you can feed them.

    4. The dumbing down of America has been insidiously going on for many years chiefly in our schools! It began in the colleges, then the HSs, now the elementary level is fully engaged. They, as in the leftists/progressives/socialist, used to be satisfied with taking just a piece at a time. Now they feel there is enough indoctrinated people to come out and bluntly proclaim they are socialist and the country needs to change- albeit in my opinion. The choice we face is stark! Vote democrat and let the collective society begin, because after all the people voted them in. You want to see elitism at it’s finest and strongest look at ALL the socialist countries throughout history. The only retort I hear from them is “well they just didn’t do it right- we will”. The true American people need to wake up smell the roses, and effect change or we will be the United Socialist States of America!! At the current pace far sooner than later.

    5. Venezuela is a current example of socialism. These young morons don’t even have to look back in history and none of them have an answer of where the money will come from to support their lazy habits and lack of personal direction.
      A very good article about a very bad subject.

    6. I continue to be astonished by the wealth of information we can lear, for free, on and with the internet. Who would have though such clarity could be gained not only through such simplicity but find it within the Ammoland web site. I have wondered and thought about the origins of morality for quite a while. As a Christian for most it is enough to say that that which is moral comes from or through God’s laws. Where challenges come is when dealing with people or audiences that are not Christian or blindly acceptant of God’s laws. What then can morality be based on? Dr. Williams succinctly and eloquently states the basis of morality that I’ve tried to understand or articulate. Thank you sir.

    7. I think that it can be accurately argued that free market capitalism is perhaps the best working economic system in history. The largest issue with capitalism is that, without some “reasonable” regulation, capital tents to concentrate.

      That is where the “robber barons” of the Industrial Revolution, monopolies such as Standard Oil and others, the “too big to fail financial institutions, and worker exploitation can flourish.

      The devil is in the details. What is “reasonable regulation”? There are almost always unintended consequences to sometimes well intended legislation. Take the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, for example. I sought to end discrimination in Mortgage lending, which we can all agree was a just and noble cause. But the Clinton era reformation of the act directly led to the Housing Financial Crisis.

      Since this is on a site in support of the 2nd amendment, I think we all have that sick feeling when a lawmaker talks about “common sense” gun regulation.

    8. Time to change our schooling and the people running the show. It seems they teach a lot about Socialism and how great it is and very little about what makes AMERICA great.

    9. We have decades if not a century of socialist indoctrination in our colleges, trickling down through the public schools. Look closely at those who actually run the academic institutions and their absolute resistance to granting tenure to any professor who is not a “true believer” in the socialist cause, yet granting that incumbency to those who most vocally advocate the destruction of our nation, its economic system, and our identity. What we are witnessing in the national discourse and public “activism” is the old communist game plan of exacerbating schisms in our society or inventing whole new classifications of “victims” and excusing their violence as the result of long term suppression.
      It is the old divide and conquer strategy revised by the alinsky game plan.

    10. I suspect that there are a great many people of voting age that think government taxing to support welfare, etc. is immoral theft. The problem is, government is much bigger and stronger than groups opposed to illegals, higher and higher taxes/theft rates to support the Nair-do-wells including the politicians. Once elected, they do what they want, not what their working constituents want. Refuse to pay some or all of your taxes and see what it gets you. Notice all the welfare going to illegals – why is that?

      1. “Notice all the welfare going to illegals…” That’s not true. However, these sanctuary cities that support illegals are getting general fund and other tax-funded monies which are going into homelessness, food pantries, drug rehab, additional police patrols in these high crime areas where the homeless congregate. And sadly many refugees get many more benefits than we have available for our Disabled Veterans. Organizations are building them affordable housing, tax exemptions for ten years, free business loans, Medicare, TANF, SNAP, etc. Many of our disabled veterans are not eligible for many of these programs that they need. Additionally, organizations like Habitat for Humanity are building affordable housing for immigrants, while disabled veterans are at risk and homeless, cannot afford housing because their pensions are sub-living standard. I have nothing against helping refugees and immigrants, but we need to help our veterans and other American citizens first. So yes your perspective is not far from the truth, and sadly it’s far more sinister than you think.

        1. i recently read an article that did alot of research into the cost of illegal immigration and all related costs from all related costs involving illegals. it looked at enforcement,deportation,legal costs, and lots more i cant remember at the moment. the point is it broke it down to how much each taxpayer was responsible for if you divided it equally among the entire population it was like $10,000 per taxpayer if i remember correctly.. that is crazy and needs to be stopped.

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