Are You a Socialist or Statist?
I’d like to borrow this wonderful piece posted on the Lewrockwell.com. Wilton D. Alston came up with a very interesting test that could help us identity individual’s political views. How do we know whether our friends, enemies or our politicians are statists or not? Alston listed a number of entries that could help identify whether a person is a statist or not. But first let us define statism. According to my computer dictionary, statism is “a political system in which the state has substantial centralized control over social and economic affairs.”
Many educated people, mostly from the University of the Philippines and other state universities and colleges, claim they’re not communists or leftists; they just want higher education subsidy and more taxpayers-funded services. In short, they simply love the state, most especially a state that provides almost everything they need and protects them against themselves. Yes, these educated people, both young and old, love big government. It may be true that some of them do not classify themselves as communists or socialists, but ‘labels’ are totally insignificant and the fact remains that they want more public welfare and more government services, which means they clamor for more government powers to rule our lives.
Now Ayn Rand, a renown American novelist and philosopher, provided a clearer and more exact definition of this term. Ayn Rand defined statism as follows:
“A statist system—whether of a communist, fascist, Nazi, socialist or “welfare” type—is based on the . . . government’s unlimited power, which means: on the rule of brute force. The differences among statist systems are only a matter of time and degree; the principle is the same. Under statism, the government is not a policeman, but a legalized criminal that holds the power to use physical force in any manner and for any purpose it pleases against legally disarmed, defenseless victims.”
Here’s Mr. Alston’s “statist” checklist. You Might Be A Statist If…?
- You vote in every election, but soon after your candidate takes office, you wonder aloud (or secretly) about his qualifications.
- You have voted for political candidates in your own party, expecting them to care more about you than the people who actually paid for them to be elected.
- You have voted for political candidates in different political parties than your own, expecting a different result than voting for a candidate in your own party.
- You believe some bureaucrat who doesn’t know you from Batman, actually cares about you.
- You complain to all who will listen about the terrible policies of The Other Guy, but somehow think Your Guy’s policies, demonstrably no different, are better.
- You think that a person who happens to show great skill in one narrow area, such as public speaking, is qualified to make decisions about the lives of others across many areas, as if the fastest runner in a tribe is automatically qualified to be Chief.
- You hate greedy corporations, but think an organization such as a government – itself beholden to (and factually a horribly-mutated form of) a greedy corporation – will protect you from (… wait for it …) greedy corporations.
- You think welfare only happens when the government gives money to poor people, or to rich people, or to people of another race, or to people of another socio-economic strata, or to corporations, versus whenever any organization takes money from one person via violence or coercion and gives it to another.
- You think it is possible for a government to change the laws of supply and demand or determine an appropriate response to scarcity.
- You’ve ever used the terminology “public option” and weren’t talking about making a Number 2 in the woods.
- You think the land mass – and the people inhabiting it – on one side of an imaginary line in the sand called a border, are objectively better than the land mass – and the people inhabiting it – on the other side of that imaginary line in the sand.
- You think some guy in a special uniform is objectively different from you in terms of morality and rights.
- You believe that rights are obtained by declaration, or via guns and violence, or by the application of all three.
- You think that rules written by members of the State can be used to control the State, as if consulting an old piece of parchment very closely and then yelling “Article 76!” was ever a reasonable response to a corrupt man holding a gun.
- You get squeamish about shooting someone yourself, but have no compunction with having a nameless, faceless representative of the State shoot someone on your behalf. (The further away this person lives, particularly if it’s someplace you cannot find on a map without help, the better.)
- You think it is morally justified to install an army base in the vicinity of a so-called foreign people, but would cry foul at the top of your lungs if the roles were reversed.
- You think it can be morally justified to withhold trade with the people of a country – called an embargo or imposing sanctions – in order to blackmail the ostensible ruler of that country to do your bidding, but do not understand that such an action is morally equivalent to holding an innocent person hostage in order to elicit a certain action from someone who knows them.
- You think your neighbor, or some guy on the other side of town, should be restricted from owning a firearm, since he might be psychopath, while simultaneously assuming that some other guy, who also might be a psychopath, can be armed because a third guy or group of people – none of whom you have ever met – authorizes it.
- You think that one person can morally make decisions about the appropriate use of the private property of another person.
- You think the moral nature of theft, murder, slavery, assault, and kidnapping change dependent upon the size of the group that authorizes these actions.
There are a lot of people who claim they’re not socialists, yet they uphold, support and espouse the very ideals of statism. Perhaps we now can say whether our friend, enemy or someone we met online is a statist or not.