Video: Why Socialism is Morally Wrong: The Basis of Property Rights

I just published a video version of my essay, “Why Socialism is Morally Wrong: The Basis of Property Rights.” In it, I discuss the “purest” and “most economically reasonable” form of socialism, and I show why it’s immoral and impractical, by the standard of a morality that is pro-human life.

Now, of course, if your morality is against human life on Earth, socialism may be perfectly “moral,” according to your anti-human moral code. And indeed, as Ayn Rand argued in Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishness, conventional altruism is one such anti-human moral code. It is the origin of the appeal of socialism to so many people in the past 200 years. This includes, not only Marxists, but utopian and Christian socialists as well.

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Book Review — RooseveltCare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance

RooseveltCare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self Reliance, by Don Watkins book coverMost American conservatives, today–however “radical” or “extremist” the political Left calls them–do not openly challenge “big government” in the form of Social Security and Medicare. While some seek a complete repeal of the recent ObamaCare legislation, at most, they want to “reform” these other two programs by a scheme of partial privatization.

Yet, in his recent book, RooseveltCare, Don Watkins demonstrates that the United States grew, prospered, and did quite well at providing for old age for 158 years, before FDR and his fellow “Progressives” pushed Americans into accepting the Social Security program. Watkins also shows that, ultimately, a complete repeal of Social Security is the only moral course of action; any lesser measure, as the ultimate goal, is morally wrong. Social Security is basically an inter-generational Ponzi scheme that is morally bankrupt and does nothing but harm.

RooseveltCare is divided into 2 parts: “The Story of Social Security” and “Social Security: A Verdict.”

The first part is a thorough survey of the history of the United States as it relates to Social Security. The account of the culture of American self-reliance prior to Social Security is inspiring and enjoyable. It includes the plethora of options ordinary people had in dealing with old age and life’s unexpected challenges, both in preparation and response. The account of the rise of Social Security and the welfare state makes clear that these government programs were not something that most Americans considered an obvious necessity, even during the government-created Great Depression. Social Security was pushed by “Progressive” intellectuals, on Americans who had no intellectual defense, (and some operative elements of the un-American morality of self-sacrifice, making them susceptible.)

The second part of RooseveltCare is an exploration of the moral status of Social Security. It takes the arguments of Social Security’s proponents seriously and persuasively shows why they are wrong, (such as that Social Security is an “earned benefit.”) It discusses how and why Social Security is destructive to Americans’ economic and moral well-being. It discusses why “reforms” of the Social Security system are not a morally acceptable endpoint: ultimately, only a complete phase out of the system over a finite number of years will do.

I highly recommend RooseveltCare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance, by Don Watkins. It contains fascinating history, and will help give most people a stronger appreciation for the benefits of liberty and the culture of self-reliance. Workers in 19th-Century America were not downtrodden and were not starving in the streets. Starting out poor was not considered an indignity, to be “corrected” by handouts, but an honorable condition to be improved by diligent work on one’s own behalf. (A huge number of Americans in fact did improve their lot quite significantly this way.) It was, rather, accepting unearned charity and handouts that were often considered beneath one’s stature as a self-reliant adult.

The “Progressive” movement changed these attitudes and made unnecessary dependency morally acceptable in most American’s eyes. This opened the way for government redistribution, and has led to a host of destructive effects, including the destruction of wealth and the elimination of opportunities for investment in new technologies.

If we Americans want a bright future of prosperity, technology, opportunity and self-esteem for ourselves and our children, we need the majority of the population to understand the moral and economic need to completely phase out government entitlement programs. As a first step, we need as many thoughtful people as possible to read Don Watkins’ book:

RooseveltCare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance

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Socialism and Welfare vs. Justice: Why Inalienable Private Property Rights are Required for Justice

America Before The Entitlement State

Yaron Brook: Shrugging the Stigma of Success

In this recent talk at the University of Texas-Austin, Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, discusses the general American attitude toward success in business and how it is influenced by traditional moral ideas. But does traditional morality really make sense? Is it reasonable? Dr. Brook argues that it doesn’t and it isn’t.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

For anyone who found this talk interesting, I highly recommend reading the book, Free Market Revolution, which Dr. Brook co-authored with Don Watkins.

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The Nature of the Morality of Rational Egoism: Short Notes

Free Market Revolution by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins

Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government is now available at Amazon.

From the description:

A look at how our current crises are caused by too much government, and how Ayn Rand’s bold defense of free markets can help us change course.

The rise of the Tea Party and the 2010 election results revealed that tens of millions of Americans are alarmed by Big Government, but skeptical that anything can or will be done to stop the growth of the state. In Free Market Revolution, the keepers of Ayn Rand’s legacy argue that the answer lies in her pioneering philosophy of capitalism and self-interest -a philosophy that more and more people are turning to for answers. In the past few years, Rand’s works have surged to new peaks of popularity, as politicians like Paul Ryan, media figures like John Stossel, and businessmen like John Mackey routinely name her as one of their chief influences. Here, Brook and Watkins explain how her ideas can solve a host of political and economic ills, including the debt crisis, inflation, overregulation, and the swelling welfare state. And most important, they show how Rand’s philosophy can enable defenders of the free market to seize the moral high ground in the fight to limit government. This is a fresh and urgent look at the ideas of one of the most controversial figures in modern history – ideas that may prove the only hope for the future.

To anyone who is relatively unfamiliar with Ayn Rand’s ideas, but interested in solving our current economic and cultural problems, I encourage you to read this book. I encourage anyone who is very familiar with Rand’s ideas to tell friends about this book, loan your copy to them, or give it to them as a gift.

To purchase, click here:
Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government

EDIT: Here’s a really good video from the CATO Institute with the authors of Free Market Revolution: Free Market Revolution at CATO

Rachel Maddow Fails “Ayn Rand 101”

At the link below, Don Watkins of the blog, Laissez-Faire, describes Rachel Maddow’s misrepresentation of Ayn Rand’s philosophy. Anyone who actually reads Atlas Shrugged should be able to tell that Maddow’s statement is a misrepresentation. Yet this seems to be a rather common falsehood passed around by Rand’s detractors.

Rachel Maddow Fails “Ayn Rand 101

Here is a YouTube video of her misrepresentation: Maddow Misrepresents Rand @ 8:30

What Caused the Financial Crisis: It Wasn’t Capitalism or Deregulation

Below are links to Yaron Brook’s explanation of how the US housing bubble and financial crisis happened. Yaron Brook has an MBA, a Ph.D. in Finance, and was a professor of finance at a university.

Here is a short video on what caused the crisis:

Here is an audio course that goes through the details of what happened and why:

The Financial Crisis: What Happened and Why

Ayn Rand’s essay: What is Capitalism? (YouTube audio)

Capitalism at The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

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