There is a philosophic battle royal, or even a metaphoric civil war, raging in this country. On one side are those who embrace free market capitalism, the economic system that built the United States into the freest and most prosperous nation. The other side is steadfastly trying to transform this nation into a Democratic Socialist nation, which will only result in economic ruin and an oppressive centralized government, which will become totalitarian over time.
Here is how our great national struggle is described in this American Thinker article
With Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coming out of the shadows and being described as the future of the Democratic Party, the fight card has been set: socialism versus free-market capitalism. Socialism versus constitutional republicanism. Socialism (authoritarianism) versus self-rule. In short, bondage versus freedom.
All of the defenders of free market capitalism have a much more difficult message to sell. In order for the free market to work properly all of us have to produce something worth buying, either a service or a good. No one gets a free ride. It is much easier to seduce the uninformed with cries of free stuff for everyone. It has gotten to the point where almost our entire educational system, our news broadcasters, and our entertainment industry are bashing the free market with negative distortions and erroneously praising socialism. We need to work extra hard to get our facts and arguments right and to transmit them to everyone as effectively as possible. Here are some of the more impactful facts and arguments I have encountered.
Here is a quote by Milton Friedman from chapter 1 of The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom.
Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era. History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.
Here is another quote from the same chapter.
Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place.
It is an effective message to highlight the fact that the free market is all about voluntary cooperation and Socialism is all force and coercion.
Here is part of a transcript from an interview with Milton Freidman on Phil Donahue from 1979. The entire interview is a must watch.
The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.
There was no greater champion of the free market and no harsher critic of Socialism than Ayn Rand. Here is one of my favorite quotes by her from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal written in 1966.
America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.
Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man’s well-being is not their goal.
It appears that the free market has been steadily failing us for the past 100 years. It is not the free market that has been failing us, it is government intrusion into the free market that has been causing the slow motion collapse. Ayn Rand discusses this in The Voice of Reason = Essays on Objective Thought,
One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.
Critics of the free market complain that that system runs on greed. Here is how to answer that concern with a quote by Adam Smith from Chapter 2 page 19 of Wealth of Nations.
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
I tried to choose just one quote from this article by Thomas Sowell but I could not because it is such a fantastic article.
If you have more quotes that could help in this battle of ideas please share them in the comments section.