Thursday, July 22, 2010

SSRN: Stop Socialism Right Now

By Bob Hockett

Give the Republicans credit, they’ve got me thinking. I’m thinking there’s too much socialism in this country. Socialized army, socialized air force, socialized NASA. Socialized navy, marines, coast guard. Socialized CIA. Socialized FBI, socialized Drug Enforcement Agency. Socialized Homeland Security. Socialized predator drones. Socialized cops. Socialized courts. Socialized schools. Socialized air traffic control. Socialized money. Heck, even the highways, the roads, bridges, sewage and water treatment plants, you name it – they’re socialized too. And don’t kid yourself that the gas and electric companies aren’t socialist. These regulated monopolies are so heavily regulated, they might as well be called state-owned. And what about that state? It's socialized too, the socialized entity par excellence. What were the Founders thinking, founding a state as they did, hence founding ... socialism?  L'etat c'est moi: that's monarchy.  L'etat c'est nous: that's socialism.

How did all of this socialism creep up on us unnoticed? How did we miss it? And what next – will we be wearing socks with our sandals, working 35 hour weeks, taking month-long vacations, getting effective and inexpensive health care, child care, retirement security, and discussing art or unanswerable philosophic questions at sidewalk cafes like the socialists of Europe?  Say it isn't so.

I’ve got a suggestion to make: let’s Stop Socialism Right Now. That's right: SSRN.  Got a problem with terrorists? Round up your like-minded friends, pass around a collection plate, and hire a firm to go take ‘em out. Worried about drugs or drug dealers? Same story – find a company to pay to go out and stop people from smoking, inhaling, or otherwise imbibing or doing things you think that they shouldn’t do or imbibe. Want to take down a monstrous dictator somewhere, or stand up against fascist or communist aggression? Very well then, pass the plate. What to put into the plate? Well, not dollars; those are printed by the government and therefore are socialized currency. Better then to put in the plate what the people you’re hiring want – food, clothing, watches, jewelry, personal services …let's barter!

What about roads, bridges, power grids, courts, crime? Same thing: let companies compete for our traffic or other business. Let firms lay roads, tracks, bridges, grids, where ever they can buy - or rather, barter for - land. Then let them compete for our traffic – even if they all run side by side. That might make for an awful lot of pavement and a whole lotta wires all over the place, but prices will be lower. And we’ll be more free! How about courts, legislatures, cops and so forth? Easy: let people buy justice. Somebody robs you, go hire a private cop to go get ‘em. Somebody injures you? Hire a firm to extract compensation - in kind. When private courts and cops have to compete for our business, they’ll be more efficient, less expensive. And we’ll be more free.

You may say I'm a dreamer.  But I'm not the only one. Some people look at the world and say 'why?'  I look at what could be and say 'why not?' What I'm suggesting here, it's not so radical. It’s even been done before. It’s how armies, police, courts and so forth worked in late Greece prior to the Macedonian takeover, and in Rome shortly before Caesar. With such classical antecedents, who could object?