A Discussion Paper published by:
The WORKERS PARTY
P.O. Box 685
FREEDOM V SOCIALISM
There are two opposing ideological elements of the youth movement. One is libertarian and the other is socialist.
The primary principle of libertarianism is that no person or group of people (such as a government) has the right to initiate the use or threat of physical force, and that the only moral means of dealing with another is by his voluntary consent. It should be obvious that the acceptance of this premise is essential to a free and peaceful society.
Why then do the Marxists and other brands of socialists claim to be defenders of freedom and peace? And, what is worse, why are they able to fool so many youths with otherwise libertarian tendencies? It is because of their evasion of what it means to coerce someone.
A person’s rights can be violated only be the use or threat of physical force. When one forces another to do something, he is compelling him to act against the judgement of his mind, or else force would not be required. Because man is a potentially rational being whose proper survival depends on his choice to think and remain loyal to his judgement, to force a man is to require him to act in contradiction to his nature. Which means, to violate his RIGHT to life. This cannot be the basis for a free and peaceful society. Only destruction can result.
That is why any form of collectivism … communism, socialism, fascism, nazism, welfare statism, or state capitalism … is backward and reactionary. All of them advocate, explicitly or implicitly, the use of physical force for some specific purpose they feel is worthy.
For example, most people today realise the evil of fascism. But many look at socialism as something quite different, as some noble ideal. The fact is, the only difference between fascism and socialism is that socialism is more honest.
Fascism retains a semblance of private property even though the state exercises complete control over how it is used (which means, how people live their lives). Socialism exercises the same control, but doesn’t bother with the facade of private ownership. It is more honest, but not better.
After this minor difference, socialism proceeds along the same path as fascism. All human socialism … economic or otherwise … is directed by a central planner. (Of course, one is for the “good” of the working class, the other for “the race” or whatever.)
But what happens when an individual (that is what societies are made of) disagrees with the planner and starts to live the way he wants and keep what he produces or earns in voluntary trade? Are his rights recognised? Or is he sent to a concentration camp, or beaten into submission, or killed?
It is obvious which the socialist chooses. It is the latter. For if he chose the former, he would be an advocate of voluntarism or libertarianism. Under this system (or more appropriately non-system) people would be free to set up a kibbutz or a commune or a corporation or any other institution … but they could not FORCE others to live their way. The only way they could influence others would be by persuasion or the refusal to deal with them.
As long as the socialist believes that the majority has the right to violate the rights of the minority, he is no different than his ideological brother, the fascist. The issue is NOT force for this reason versus force for that reason. THE ISSUE IS FREEDOM VERSUS FORCE. Fascism and socialism are not opposites … they are only two sides of the same irrational coin.
What motivates people to advocate a system of institutionalised force? It is true that many are duped idealists, but how many see themselves as the omnipotent central planner or Fuhrer?
By the way, how is this planner to be chosen? Will it be someone who believes he has superior ability or some mystical source of knowledge which is inaccessible to everyone else? Plato was first to expound this nonsense in The Republic, Hitler concretised the idea.
Or is the planner to be elected? If the socialist believes that the people can choose this all-wise man or group, why doesn’t he think that these same people, individually, are capable of running their own lives? It is certainly simpler to run one’s own life than to attempt to run everyone else’s. This question has never been answered.
Let the socialist continue to advocate what he does. But those to whom he preaches the hypocrisy of welfare statism and state capitalism should realise that he is not advocating a noble ideal. He is propounding the most brutal and reactionary doctrine possible … collectivism.
Those who desire to be defenders of peace and liberty must renounce any initiation of force and uphold man’s rights. They must respect EVERY person’s right to deal or abstain from dealing with whomever he chooses. In a word, they must advocate individual freedom.