Rick Phillips recently wrote that socialism is evil. Now this is a sentiment that should make all God’s children rejoice and be glad, and I applaud Phillips for saying out loud what needs to be said out loud. Socialism really is evil, and it is evil for the reasons Phillips said.
But more needs to be said than that theft is bad, that laziness is bad, and that a swollen state that perpetuates such things is bad.
Here is the problem. When we react to the disease of socialism, we are reacting to a disease that we already have. We are not in the position of a healthy person resisting an invitation to cancer. We are in the position of a patient with Stage III cancer fighting to stay out of Stage IV.
Now the problem is that many believers (rightly) fight all the blandishments that Bernie offers, and that part is good. But they also have a tendency to fight to keep the blandishments that all the Bernies of yesteryear offered.
In other words, we are not choosing between a capitalist option and a socialist one. Looking at our (very regulated) economy, we should be tempted to say what Frederic said about Ruth in Penzance — there are the remains of a fine woman about her. There have been times when the American economy was relatively free, and this has been the source of our incredible wealth. But that freedom has been steadily eaten away by economic parasites until it has been transformed into a crony capitalism (or crapitalism for short) that is no alternative to socialism, but rather the preparation for it.
There is another layer to this as well. Those who do not understand how compromised our economy already is, but who fight nobly and well to prevent our descent to the next level of economic folly, are charged by intelligent socialists with radical inconsistency and/or ignorance. You don’t want a single payer health care system, but you do want to keep Social Security, Medicare, government schools, etc. Up to this point, it looks like a fair cop, justly delivered.
But when paleo-conservatives, or libertarians, or theocratic libertarians such as myself, grant that such accommodations really are inconsistent, and that in a just society they would all be eliminated, we are promptly accused of wanting to push grandma off the cliff.
In short, inconsistent conservatives do want to keep the “advances” of previous socialists. There are some fire-eating conservatives who want to eliminate every compromise for the sake of ideological purity, and they want the reforms all instituted the week after their guy is inaugurated. They lend some justice to the charge of grandma-pushing. But responsible advocates of liberty grant the current inconsistencies as inconsistencies, not worthy of a defense, but also know that the pressing issue now is to prevent the next disaster. Evils already in place must be dealt with gradually.
This is not compromise; it is simple triage.