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Vladimir Lenin Quote

Capitalists the world over and their governments, will, in their desire to win the Soviet market, shut their eyes to the above-mentioned activities (espionage and subversion) and will thus be turned into blind deaf-mutes. They will furnish credits, which will serve us as a means of supporting the Communist parties in their countries, and, by supplying us with materials and techniques which are not available to us, will rebuild our war industry, which is essentially for our future attacks on our suppliers. In other words, they will be laboring to prepare their own suicide.

ideas > Why is freedom so important to defend

Why is freedom so important to defend
Today I testified for the first time in front of the City Council. I gave a three minute testimony against the rail system. While sitting in the gallery, I heard many people give testimony for or against the rail system. All these people seemed sincere in their beliefs. I intently listened to them. I didnít agree with some, but I respected their opinions. The building unions were represented and gave their support for the rail system. Those who support government planning and control gave their support as well. There was the PhD candidate who supported the rail system and who had studied and worked on other mass transit studies and projects. There was the father who lived in Hawaii Kai who believed in the rail system, because he felt it would produce a better future for his children, even though he wouldnít benefit from the system. All played there parts. All gave their testimony. I was fascinated how so many people could have different takes on the rail system. However, they all had one thing in common, they chose positions that benefited them economically. The unions, planners, real estate developers, and designers chose positions in support of the rail system because it would benefit them economically. Then there were the rest who cannot be neatly grouped into categories. There were those who opposed could generally be lumped into a few categories. There were those who didnít want to pay for the system, who complained that it would bankrupt the city or cost too much. Then there were those who complained about the noise. Even these groups of people who opposed it were opposed on economic grounds as well. The noise people would be affected adversely because there houses would be situated next to a loud steel on steel rail system. So everyone was acting in their best financial interests, pleading before the government to protect their financial interests.

I have been reading a lot of books about socialism, capitalism, economics and history over the past year. Currently, I am reading a book on Stalin, Hitler and Lenin. I just finished a couple of excellent economics books. As I read these books, I often reflect on the ideas that those people fought over are the same ideas that we fight over today. The great wars, both material and intellectual wars, that have been fought throughout history can basically be summed up as wars between those who believe the many should choose the destiny of their lives and their nations, embodied in such concepts as democracy and capitalism, and those who believe that the few should choose the destiny of their nations and the lives of the majority. All great conflicts always center around these two ideas. Should the kings or government tell the people what to do or should the people determine what they should do with minimal influence of the kings or government?

Over the past century or so, it would appear that those who believe the few should rule the many have won many of these battles. Lenin gained power in Russia even though their small movement of Bolshevists were a minority political party. He turned that country into a socialist prison that brutally murdered and oppressed millions of his own people all in the pursuit of a socialist paradise that was never achieved. As I have read about him and others like him, I have often wondered how they were able to gain control of such large countries and groups of people even though they were so few in number. I have come to what I believe is the answer. First, these kingmakers, as I will call them, always appear and flourish when times are tough. At the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Russian people were tired of the sacrifices that they were asked to make during World War I. The Germans were marching on their territory. The Bolsheviks took advantage of this by railing constantly against the Tsar, the king of Russia, and his government. They offered peace and land to the peasants or the masses. The Bolsheviks eventually staged a coup and drove the government out while it was weak. In 1918, legislative elections were held and the Russian Socialist party took 40% of the vote. The Bolsheviks took 24% of the vote. So it is clear that the Bolsheviks did not have the support of the majority of the people, yet still took power. And here is how I believe they did it. They promised the peasants land. The indulged in the people a basic human emotion of revenge. They took land from those who owned land and gave it to them masses in exchange for their support. At the same time, they created a secret police that could oppress the people into doing what they wanted to be done. The Communists came into power because the majority of the people were willing to trade freedom for land. After the Communists became powerful enough by building up the army and the secret police, they terrorized the peasants by taking their land and food they grew in order to build up the industrial sector of the economy. The people were willing to trade their freedom for a temporary peace and some retribution against the wrongs that were supposedly done to them by the rich and the landed and the previous form of government. What can we learn from this? We can learn that were should not trust political parties that seek to punish the rich or wealthy by taking their money and giving it to others. Just as stealing from the poor or oppressing the poor is wrong, so is stealing from the rich even if it goes to the poor. Both are acts of stealing and dishonesty. We can learn that sometimes political party offer messages of hope and peace which on the surface seem good, but are really designed to appeal to the masses so that they can assume power where they can enact their true agenda. We can learn that when a people is willing to give up freedom for security that ultimately they will end up with neither. We also learn that the people must be willing to check the government on a regular basis when the government attempts to infringe on anyoneís freedom. Just because you are safe one day from government oppression doesnít mean that you will be safe all the time. Once the Communist had consolidated power, they periodically purged what they called ďkulaksĒ from their country. And what were kulaks? They really never gave a definition. At one time it could be someone who made more money than others, someone who had two more cups than another person, someone that wasnít liked in a community, or any definition that Stalin or Lenin chose. These same techniques and messages were used decades later by Mao as his small band of dedicated socialists/communists took control of the most populous nation on this Earth. A wise citizenry will distrust any political party or politician that uses the same techniques and messages to rise to power, because once there, they will seek to consolidate their power as much as possible. Anyone that will play the rich versus poor card or us versus them should never be trusted with governmental power, because these types of people often lack moral clarity and often are willing to employ evil means to justify the ends. They are willing to lie to you in order to fulfill their need for power.

With this historical background firmly planted in my mind, I couldnít help but make certain connections in my mind with what the communists, socialists, fascists, and progressives --all of which I consider to be socialists or those who believe that the few should determine the course of life for the many-- have done in the past with what they are trying to do to Hawaii and this nation. In Hawaii, politicians and the unions or the politicians and those on entitlement programs have often used each other for mutually beneficial purposes. The unions provide the votes and the politicians provide the money. The same is true for entitlement programs. Both sides think they are better off. The unions and those on entitlement programs are similar to the peasants during the Russian Revolution. They are willing to give some of their freedom to the politicians in exchange for a disproportionate amount of wealth in return. This disproportionate amount of wealth comes from the kulaks or those who are not union or entitlement receivers. These folks thinks they are gained everything at the expense of nothing. But they are wrong, just like the peasants are wrong. They have given up their freedom, little by little, as the government builds stronger institutions of regulation and control and the government creates master plans of development that are designed to force people into more concentrated forms of housing based around a rail system. Those who benefit monetarily from the government do so at the expense of doing the will of the few or fulfilling the vision of the few. In the end, they will end up with neither freedom nor security because in the end this kind of central planning will kill the productive part of the economy, leaving people with lots of cash and inflation and very little to purchase with it. For as the government increases its power, it naturally seeks to plan more and more of the economy and more and more of the peopleís choices in life. Central planning is always inferior to non-interventionist economic systems such as capitalism. If you want material wealth to abound amongst the most people, then you cannot choose central planning. History has made this statement obvious to anyone who wishes to read about any Communist or Socialist country. So if we know that trading freedom for security will ultimately end in ruin because it allows the few to government the many using central planning, coercion, and oppression, then why do people century after century choose it?

I have an interesting answer to this question. They choose it because they are greedy. It is ironic to me that many socialist utopias have been created to stamp out greed, yet it was greed that created them. And what are they greedy for? Generally, they are greedy for money. But what is money? Money is nothing more than a medium of exchange. You canít consume money. You can only use money to exchange for some good or service that you wish to use. Here is how greed for money ultimately leads to the state I described above. Money is controlled by the government. Government prints it, controls it, distributes it, etc. There are two parts to any economy. There is the private sector, which generally produces all the goods and services that you or I consume. Then there is the public sector, or government, which produces nothing. What it does do is seek to make sure that people play by the same rules and more recently it seeks to redistribute wealth. So the private sector produces. The public sectors produces nothing, but only consumes. The public sectors gets its money by taxing the private sector or by printing more money and introducing it into the economy through the banking system. Both sectors are needed. The private sector is needed to produce the products and services that make our standard of living as good as it is. The public sector is needed to make sure that we all play by the same rules. Both sectors ensure that we live within a certain level of social harmony. The question becomes two-fold then. What is the proper role of the public sector and what percentage of the economy should be private sector and public sector? At what point does the size of the public sector adversely affect the public sector? There obviously is a point where the private sector can no longer produce the goods and services that the people need to maintain or increase their standard of living because the public sector has grown too large. But where is that point? No one knows. With that background, letís go back to the original explanation of how greed for money destroys an economy and ultimately a country. To explain this, let me use a hypothetical example. Letís say we have an economy that is 90% private sector and 10% public sector and produces 100 goods and services for the people. This level of production allows the people to enjoy a high standard of living as a whole. A high majority of the people have shelter, most own homes, the rest rent, most have a car, take a couple of vacations a year, go out to eat once a week, go to the movie once a couple times a month, have nice clothes, etc. It kind of sounds like today. Most people today have a higher standard of living than the rich did a century ago. Even the poor enjoy goods and services even the rich had a hard time getting. Letís say a politician comes along and starts complaining about the rich and how they have more than they deserve and that if he is elected, he will make sure that he takes some of their money and gives it to the poor. Most people think this is a great idea, because very few people are hurt by it. So he is elected. Once in power, he must take from the rich and give to the poor. In order to do so, he taxes more, and creates more bureaucracy. In essence, he puts more people on the government payroll. Now the economy is 85% private sector and 15% public sector. That means that the private sector must work harder to produce the same level of goods and services that the people demand. Why? Because the people believed that having more money was better than having a more productive economy that produced more goods and services that people wanted. The believed the fallacy that having more money always meant they could have more stuff. But this is not true if in order to get more money you have to increase the size of the public sector at the expense of the private sector. Also, the public sector, the bureaucrats determine how the money is spent, not the people or the consumers. In the private sector, the consumer, through his individual choice of what to buy or not buy, determines what is produced. The private sector is accountable to the public. The public sector is not accountable to the public, but is generally accountable to the bureaucrats or special interest groups because the public sector realizes that every two or four or six years they can bring out the same old tired speeches about the rich versus the poor, the poor quality of education, the need to have social security, universal health care, a huge military that polices the world, or any other of a number of tired old phrases and this will generally appease the masses. As the economy slows more and more because the public sector increases its size and power, the people continually clamor for more government intervention. The politicians gladly intervene more and more, providing the people more and more money through taxation of the rich, printing more money, etc. All these things reduce the size of the private sector. The money is spent in ways that the government decides. Thus the public sector grows and the private sector shrinks. The economy is awash in money, but the goods and services become more and more scarce. This is how greed for money destroys an economy and a country. This is the path that our nation is currently on.

As more people turn to the government to solve their problems via the printing of more money or higher taxes, the private sector economy will shrink and the amount of goods and services that are produced will dwindle. The economy and the people will have lots of cash, but it will be worthless because they canít get much more it. More cash and less products and services is what causes inflation. It is exactly what is happening now in America. People are willing to trade their freedom for security and in the end they will have neither. They will have a broken economy that will never be fixed until they once again embrace the hope of freedom and turn away from the broken promises of security.

These are the things that went through my head today as a result of my attending and testifying before the City Council today. The rail system is not being built to fix or improve traffic. It is being built because the few, those who believe in government control and socialism in general, believe that life in Hawaii would be better if we all lived in high rise developments centered around mass transit hubs. They believe that oil is evil and that open space at the expense of you owning a yard is evil. The rail system is a ruse. It is another of long series of battles between the forces who believe the few should rule the many and the forces of those who believe that the many should collectively through their individual decisions determine the direction of society. The Revolutionary War was fought over these two competing camps of ideas. Today, most people forget this. I believe that more citizens in this state and this country are starting to wake up and realize that the government is destroying their hopes and dreams by centrally planning their lives into economic ruin. On a side note, Iíve always found it interesting that the worst economic depression in world happened after the creation of the Federal Reserve, an organization that seeks to centrally plan the economy. Since then, the Federal Reserve has presided over the inflationary days of the 70s and 80s, and now the great housing bubble which is now leading us into more and more inflation. But that is another story for another day.
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