What Socialists Want -- and How the Free Market Might Provide It!
Anarchy vs. Passionate Moderation
- Anarchy. Does it have any chances?
Not that I never thought about it before, but ever since I published my socialism vs capitalism hub, this was one of my most frequent musings. I really like the idea of anarchy, I do. All my life...
- Passionately Moderate, and Proud of it!
What have Extremists ever done for you? I venture to suggest the answer is nothing, or perhaps nothing good. Because extremism, of any flavour, is not a creative impulse. It is wholly destructive. How do you...
Different people have different preferences. Some value personal freedom. Some value safety. Everything in life has a price. To obtain maximal safety, you have to accept minimal freedom. To obtain maximal freedom, you have to accept a high degree of risk. Some people are risk takers. Others always try to play it safe. Because we don't all want the same things, many people believe that a middle-of-the-road approach is better (See Paraglider's hub on the moderate approach to politics). They think we all have to live by the same rules, and so the rules that please the majority should be imposed by force on everyone.
But isn't there some other way? This hub proposes to look into the conflicting priorities of socialists and free marketers and to find a solution that would not require either party to impose its values on the other.
What do I want? I want the freedom to say no to any offer. I want to have control over my own life. I want to be able to keep my own property, make my own budget and decide on my own priorities. I want to choose for myself what risks I will or will not take with my life, my dependents and my property.
Other people have other priorities. They want to make sure that if they are not able to provide for themselves, then someone else will do it for them, even if that person doesn't know them or like them. They want to make sure that if they get sick, then someone will heal them -- or at least treat their illness with the latest medicine, free of charge, if necessary. They want to make sure that if they are old or disabled for some other reason, that someone will take care of them for as long as is necessary until they die. In order to have these desires fulfilled, such people are willing to give up quite a bit of freedom right from the outset. They are willing to have their income taxed to pay for these services. They are willing for safety laws to be enforced so as to minimize risk from dangerous activities. They are willing to work the majority of their lives for other people at jobs they don't necessarily like, and all for the guarantee that if something goes wrong they will be cared for. They want to feel safe.
Balancing Rights and Priorities
Couldn't all the people who prefer safety over freedom just get together and form cooperative organizations where they all pay dues? Couldn't these organizations provide health insurance, disability insurance and retirement benefits to the members of the cooperative group? Couldn't laws requiring people to wear seat belts be dispensed with, and instead members of these voluntary cooperatives would agree to abide by safety rules imposed by the group? Couldn't the cooperative pool the resources of the members and provide retirement for all?
Some might object that by allowing people to opt out of this social arrangement, the socially "responsible" might be losing valuable resources. But if the majority really prefers safety over freedom, then wouldn't the majority of citizens end up voluntarily in these cooperative ventures?
Sometimes I suspect that socialists have an agenda that involves taking property away from some people and giving it to others. However, if I am mistaken, and this is an unfair characterization of the true motives of socialists, then the above proposal ought to please all.
I understand that not everyone prefers personal freedom over safety. For those who want to be provided for by a large group or community, this seems like a workable solution that should please everyone, without imposing one group's values on others.
(c) 2009 Aya Katz