Saturday, March 26, 2016

Leftist Fascism: Thomas Sowell

Socialist or Fascist

"What socialism, fascism and other ideologies of the left have in common is an assumption that some very wise people -- like themselves -- need to take decisions out of the hands of lesser people, like the rest of us, and impose those decisions by government fiat.

The left's vision is not only a vision of the world, but also a vision of themselves, as superior beings pursuing superior ends. In the United States, however, this vision conflicts with a Constitution that begins, "We the People..."

That is why the left has for more than a century been trying to get the Constitution's limitations on government loosened or evaded by judges' new interpretations, based on notions of "a living Constitution" that will take decisions out of the hands of "We the People," and transfer those decisions to our betters.

The self-flattery of the vision of the left also gives its true believers a huge ego stake in that vision, which means that mere facts are unlikely to make them reconsider, regardless of what evidence piles up against the vision of the left, and regardless of its disastrous consequences.

Only our own awareness of the huge stakes involved can save us from the rampaging presumptions of our betters, whether they are called socialists or fascists. So long as we buy their heady rhetoric, we are selling our birthright of freedom."
Much more, THERE.


Robert Coble said...

If you have not done so, please take the time to read F. A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. I just bought and read it. It is prophetic (in the sense of George Orwell's 1984 concerning the INEVITABLE end in totalitarianism that must result from all forms of collectivism (democratic socialism, socialism, fascism and communism). He clearly explains why the collectivism of economic means MUST encompass all other realms, with complete suppression of any non-conforming individuals, and yet, even that absolute power does not enable the dictatorship to actually produce the Utopia so desired by the collectivists.

Here's a link to Amazon:

The Road to Serfdom: Fiftieth Anniversary Edition

Note: there are multiple versions; this is the version I just read.

There are also other places to read the book.

Here's a link to a PDF copy, which also includes The Intellectuals and Socialism as a bonus.

Dr. Walter Williams wrote the Foreword in the PDF version, whereas Dr. Milton Friedman wrote it for the version I got.

Quoting Dr. Williams:

"While there have been monumental changes in the ideas marketplace, the last bastion of solidly entrenched socialism lies on college and university campuses around the world. Hayek argues that ‘It is perhaps the most characteristic feature of the intellectual that he judges new ideas not by their specific merits but by the readiness with which they fit into his general conceptions, into the picture of the world which he regards as modern or advanced’."

"Professor Thomas Sowell puts the argument in another way that encompasses Hayek’s. 3 Sowell says that there are essentially two visions of how the world operates – the constrained vision and the unconstrained. The constrained vision sees mankind with its moral limitations, acquisitiveness and ego as inherent and immutable. Under this vision, the fundamental challenge that confronts mankind is to organise a system consisting of social mores, customs and laws that make the best of the human condition rather than waste resources trying to change human nature. It is this constrained vision of mankind that underlies the thinking and writings of Adam Smith, Edmund Burke and Alexander Hamilton, among others."

"By contrast, the unconstrained vision sees mankind as capable of perfection and capable of putting the interests of others first. Sowell says that no other eighteenth-century writer’s vision stands in starker contrast to that of Adam Smith than William Godwin’s in Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. Godwin viewed intention to benefit others as the essence of virtue that leads to human happiness. Benefits to others that arise unintentionally are virtually worthless. Sowell says, ‘Unlike Smith, who regarded human selfishness as a given, Godwin regarded it as being promoted by the very system of rewards used to cope with it’. 4

3 and 4 Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, William Morrow & Company, New York, 1987.

Stan said...

It is important to note that the "perfectibility of man" involves the Che Guevarra method, also used by Mao, Lenin, Pol Pot, and other "New Man" advocates: kill mercilessly those who object (or might object) to their imminent perfection by the state, leaving only the most malleable of mind and morals.

The "silencing of America" is a step in the direction of "perfecting" the USA, but there are those cranks who will not be "perfected" or silenced merely by obtuse PC regulations. And those cranks in the USA are armed and well-practiced in self-defense, which causes the Perfectors no small degree of consternation.

As an admitted anti-perfectionist crank, I feel the need to fire off a few rounds now. So adios for the moment while I blow away some man-shaped targets.

BTW, it's a beautiful day here in flyover land.