Who Decides?

The difference between communism and capitalism, no matter how they’re commonly used, is one of “who decides?”

Seriously – does anyone imagine that a factory in the “communist” Soviet Union did not involve accumulating resources, people, materials, expertise?

And does anyone imagine, unless they’re a die-hard materialist, that a capitalist who intends to be successful over time, to build a business and enterprise that lasts, who leaves a legacy, and his stamp on society, doesn’t involve himself in community, give back to the community, shepherd projects into being, people into leadership, and raise children? Give to and partake of a shared culture?

Nevertheless, while I no longer am convinced enough of the supreme and autonomous atomic individual to be even a “small L” libertarian, I’m still freedom oriented. Why?

Because ultimately, the position of capitalism is that we choose how to live our lives, to spend our time, our resources, and what matters to us, and how much. We choose to be good, or evil – often both – and to what degree how much. That the state must justify it’s decisions to us, and that though we are a part of the mesh and network of life, we choose how to respond to the strings that tug us.

Socialism, communism, progressivism, is ultimately where others decide for us. Where they decide how much of our money we earn we can keep because it was never ours – thus the attitudes that tax cuts are taking money away from the government – what we can say to others, what we can think and believe, what our time is worth, what medical care is allowable, what we’re allowed to eat, how we’re allowed to exercise, what we are allowed to see, where we can travel, how we can travel, what we’re allowed to be interested in, for the common good.

Because the scope of control and knowledge of any group of individuals even over themselves, never mind of the societies around them, is so limited, any such decisions result in stagnation, tearing down the successful, and simple rules that benefit few except those at the top.

While granted, no society is perfectly at one extreme or the other, and as I pointed out, a purely freedom-oriented society of atomized materialists too short sighted to see beyond the next quarterly report will fail almost as miserably and inevitably as communists, that fundamental difference, the idea that the default should be for competent adults to make their own decisions and mistakes, and take responsibility for them, that allows people to take risks and fail, that allows for not only order (community, tradition) to provide a support and framework within the common bonds fo culture, but also for chaos, disorder, disruption, and growth.

For success.

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