Howard Dean, former Chairman of the Democratic National Convention, an active liberal pundit and politician, has just proven that you don’t have to be an Einstein to graduate from Albert Einstein College. A recent video of him reveals the Left’s plans for European-style Socialism in the U.S.—no surprise here. But the justification he gives for it is anemic, logically speaking. His intellectual argument is so weak, one is left with the impression that Liberalism has little to commend it beyond emotional sappery and government force. Due to Socialism’s tendency to cloak itself in intellectual prestige as well as religious piety, I have written for Christians the expose, God versus Socialism: A Biblical Critique of the New Social Gospel. Much of this comes into play here.
Dean, perhaps best remembered as Howard "yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhh" Dean from the yell that cost him a 2004 Democrat nomination, has now surfaced in a hidden-camera video clip from a town-hall forum he recently gave in Paris, France. To a European Socialist audience—far from American soil and, perhaps he thought, from American earshot, too—Dean courageously affirmed the virtues of European Socialism and the belief that capitalism must simply give way. God bless those little advances of unbridled capitalistic technology called cell-phone cameras.
There’s not so much of a debate on the Left anymore about capitalism, whether we should have it or not. There’s a debate about how to have it. I think capitalism is always going to be with us because capitalism represents part of human nature. But the other part of human nature is communitarianism. There’s a natural tendency in human beings—in addition to wanting to do things for themselves—they feel a great responsibility in wanting to be part of a community. And so I think the debate for the new generation is instead of capitalism or socialism, is we’re going to have both, and then which proportion of each should we have in order to make this all work. It’s a much more sensible debate.
Thankfully, he’s only talking about a debate “on the Left.” He’s not saying that the debate in general is over. And who in the world thinks there ever was a debate about capitalism on the Left? (At least not in the last century.) Dean is simply appealing to the image his French Socialist Party audience still holds of America—an image in which even the Leftist party believes in capitalism. Ha. So much for the idea that Europeans are so much more enlightened about politics and history than Americans. “Capitalism is always gong to be with us…” but don’t worry, “It will be tempered by as much socialism as we see necessary.”
But what of Dean’s argument—that capitalism and socialism are both justified since they both grow out of human nature? The idea is fallacious on two major counts: first, just because human beings have a “natural tendency” for something does not mean we need government to enforce it or that it even pertains to government to begin with. And second, no tendency is justified as good or right just because it is “natural.” Let us look at these two points.
First, granting that humans do have natural impulses towards both individuality and community, this does not logically entail, or even merely imply, that we should have government policies to enforce or regulate the economy according to socialism. What Dean is actually saying here is shown to be absurd when we state it plainly: “People sometimes have a natural tendency to work in groups; therefore, the government should own most of the property and distribute it according to its dictates.” How in the world, by any standard of logic, does this follow? Why does natural human cooperation imply the need for government theft?
If anything, a natural human tendency towards community would imply the opposite—that we do not need governments to coerce people to work in groups, we do not need government to force people (with threats of violence) to socialize and work together in the marketplace in order to meet each other’s needs. If the impulse is natural, why should we need artifices—laws, regulations, courts, armed policemen, etc.—to enforce the impulse? If it is natural, it should happen without these things.
In fact, this is the way community should be—free. We already have a fundamental Constitutional law, after all, that allows the people “peaceably to assemble” as they see fit. The First Amendment denies to Congress the power to keep us from assembling (working together) whenever, however we wish. Is it a far stretch to say that this recognizes the fundamental human right to be free from coercion in regard to whom we wish to engage in business, in charity, in communication? Is it a far stretch to see this Constitutional freedom as the negation of the government’s power to enforce any given community upon freely associating (or dissociating) individuals? Seen this way, it becomes clear that Socialism actually works against nature and against law.
Inherent in Leftist thought (and that of many conservatives, too, unfortunately), is the fallacy that while that which is “individual” obviously pertains the individual, “community” somehow means “government.” This lies at the heart of Dean’s fallacy here. Liberals pretend that since we have a natural impulse towards wanting community, therefore we have a justification for government regulation. But this is hardly true. Community by no means automatically implies government power. The best and most productive communities are free communities, ones we create, join and/or fund voluntarily: churches, charities, non-profits, and business. In the past, this list included schools and universities, which are still available in voluntary forms, as well as medical care. We should also mention families, which, while not joined voluntarily, are created and funded voluntarily—and are certainly the nuclear community of humanity. Government is not necessary for any of these to be productive and good for society.
The only way government can compete with these voluntary forms of community is to tax the productivity of those who do voluntarily engage in community. Government cannot fund itself, it produces nothing. It must steal (tax). It consumes the produce of hard-working, voluntarily associating people, usually in behalf of non-working people in artificial, government-enforced “communities.” Dean is right: the real debate today is over how much socialism versus how much capitalism. The Left won’t let capitalism fade entirely because it needs capitalism to pay its bills. It needs hard-working people to tax. It must feed on the blood of hardworking people, but it must keep its bleeding victims alive to feed again later. Socialism is, yes, a Vampire.
The best thing “the Left” could do to reap the greatest benefit from both of our natural impulses is to get government more and more out of the picture. For people best to “do things for themselves” while at the same time most efficiently and productively to “be part of a community,” government should cease trying to tax and regulate how people act and work as both individuals and communities.
Secondly, Dean’s statement is fallacious in that in enshrines a natural human tendency as a government policy simply because that tendency is natural. How absurd is this notion? Rape and murder are also natural human tendencies. Fraud and conspiracy are also natural human tendencies. Case closed. Many human tendencies are abjectly evil. The question of “What form of government and economics is right?” is not answered merely by recourse to natural tendencies. We must have a higher law which discerns human tendencies and teaches us right and wrong before we create socio-economic policies.
But this fallacy pretty much explains Socialism, doesn’t it? Socialism elevates the basest natural human instincts—murder, fornication, theft, lies, and covetousness—as the duties of public office and law. It wants to enslave the people to its will against their will if necessary, and this requires physical threats of violence. Socialism wishes to be the sole community of man, and thus it attacks the nuclear unit of the family. This involves the glorification of sexual lust, the legitimizing of easy divorce, adultery, homosexuality, etc. Government does not produce its own wealth, thus Socialism must steal that of others. Socialism wishes to define truth so must deny the truth of what exists and what works already—lies and permanent propaganda. Socialism wishes to control the future, thus it forces educational policy—what we must believe as “correct” about the world—and it redistributes wealth to those whom it sees fit. Thus it covets the life and property of others and schemes to steal it and further its agendas.
To maintain such a racket, Socialism requires constant propaganda. It must continually brainwash and reeducate the people in order to keep itself in power. This is the thrust of the second part of Dean’s fallacy:
[T]his is a new innovation from Obama, and I think it’s a great thing for the Democratic Party. Remember I talked about the “Permanent Campaign”? Well, before I got to the DNC we didn’t have a permanent campaign. You would campaign for one year while you had a candidate, and then if you win you wouldn’t campaign for the next three years. No wonder we’d lose.… Now we don’t just have a permanent campaign for electing democrats, we have a permanent campaign for influencing policy. It brings us a little closer to the European model.
It’s clear that the Left in America wants European style socialism. Exactly what about European socialism actually justifies this admiration no one ever really says. It can’t be the productivity or freedom of it, for there is little. Either way, in order to have their Socialist way, Dean says, they need a “permanent campaign” to influence policy. In other words, they must wage a continual war with the ideals and values of American life, history, culture, and religion in order to brainwash them into accepting Eurpoean-style socialism. This means more lies, and actually requires a good bit of leader-worship (idolatry) on top of it. The Left has plenty of both.
Any Christian that has a biblical bone in his or her spine will have to stand against the pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-moral scam of Socialism. I have written God versus Socialism in order to illustrate, in a very simple way, the radically anti-Christian nature of Socialism. God mandated the institution of private property. Socialism is the negation of private property. God alone shall be worshipped and obeyed, and He institutes divine law; Socialism is the usurpation of God’s rule by earthly rulers, and the rejection of biblical law in favor of secular humanism. There is no simpler way to put it. Socialism is rival god. It is by nature a Satanic worldview.
The question of how to have capitalism is not one of how much Socialism to temper it with. Any Socialism is the destruction and negation of capitalism. Where the State gains a foothold in society, it makes society its footstool. Dependence on coercive power to further political agendas is an infectious disease born of sin and lust. The only answer is to roll back the power; remove the temptress of Socialism, and deny the lusts of those using government power to plunder their neighbors. For Liberals this is a tall order. For Christians it should be a no-brainer.