The Left vs The Right: Who Has The Moral High Ground?

Democrats often wish to portray Republicans and libertarians as immoral beings who are greedy and don’t want to help the little guy.

So far, it has been an effective tactic for getting votes. We’ve got plenty of historical evidence to show that statism doesn’t actually work, yet people who know very little about the historical effects of statism keep voting for more government on the principle of morality. But is it the more morally sound method?

Morality is a man-made concept where we behave in such a way as to either not do harm to others, or to help those who are in need. Even if you’re not religious, morality is an evolutionary trait social beings like humans use to advance our species—a subject Michael Shermer elaborates on quite well in this article.

Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer

So then the question begs, does capitalism or statism jive better with the concept of morality?

I’ve mentioned on several previous posts that there are four officially socialist nations in this world. North Korea, China, Cuba, and Laos. Two other former socialist nations worth mentioning—the USSR, and Nazi Germany. Is there anyone who honestly wishes to argue that those nations were either:

A) More moral than the United States

or

B) Had a citizenry whose poor had a better quality of life than the poor of the United States.

I don’t believe any honest debate can say that America is the less moral nation, but what about the idea of a happy medium? Is some socialism good?

I would argue socialism is like smoking, there’s a decent amount you may get away with without killing the user, but the safest amount is the least amount. That’s the libertarian opinion, but do the facts support it?Statism-c-c[1]

We know that all animals instinctively work to advance their species, it’s the underpinnings of evolution. Organisms on this planet have been innately competing with one another to become the dominant species since the day single-celled organisms first sprung into life.

You’ll notice I said competing—competition is the foundation for capitalism, not socialism. Therefore, I feel I can logically conclude that capitalism is congruent with the natural behavior of all living organisms. But that doesn’t necessarily make it more moral, does it?

All life competes with other life for food and resources. In doing so, through the process of natural selection, life as a whole is advanced. Without this, we would still be just single-celled organisms floating around in a primordial soup. Forcing inferior organisms to either improve, or die trying, advances life far greater than nursing a losing battle. While I don’t believe asking for help is immoral, demanding help at the point of a gun sure is.

If we look at communist era Russian cars, have you noticed there is no real collector’s market for them? There are plenty of 100-year-old model T’s puttering around the globe, the market for them is still quite strong. But look around for a communist era Russian car, and you’ll be hard pressed to find one. They were horrid and hateful machines that no one wants.

Even when America allowed the socialist made Yugo to invade our shores, it was clear that these things were racking up more miles on the back of a tow-truck than they were under their own power.9780809098910_custom-815d71859a4a1992cb9174e6290928df7b86bac7-s99-c85[1]

If we were under socialist rule, we’d still be driving them, or something similar, but free markets and competition brought us better cars at a lower price, and the Yugo, along with communist Yugoslavia took their rightful place in the annals of history as failed experiments.

Many Democrats accept this, and claim they are pro-capitalism, but still believe we should have more government regulation and assistance for the underprivileged. They argue that social programs help the poor and needy, something they feel rich people wouldn’t do voluntarily.

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are two of the richest men in America, and they voluntarily give billions away to charitable causes every year. Even old stalwarts like Andrew Carnegie, someone famous for being a monopolous and ruthless businessman, gave away most of his money in the end.

Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie

There is plenty of evidence to show that people will give to charities, rich and poor alike, so long as they feel the money will go to a good cause, will be appreciated, or will benefit mankind in general. It’s effectively a capitalist charity system where the best and most worthwhile charities garner the greatest contributions, and the ones that are not so deserving rightfully lose out.

The part where Democrats go wrong is that they fail to understand that government is not a charitable organization, it is an agent of force. You cannot argue that putting a gun to someone’s head, and forcing them to give to a cause they do not support is moral. If the cause needs support, and is worthy of the assistance it asks for, it will gain support on its merits, not because glad-handing politicians decided it was worthy.

What Democrats are pushing for when asking for more government isn’t moral, it’s lazy and selfish. They have their causes that they wish to support, but instead of making a case in the marketplace of ideas as to why the rest of us should support it, they try to pass laws to force us to do so whether we like it or not. Does that really sound moral to you?

Penn Jillette
Penn Jillette

The argument that if they don’t, people won’t help has a lesson in there that they routinely fail to see. People don’t support it, because it’s often not a good idea. Just because someone’s intentions are well-meaning, doesn’t mean they are right.

I might want to help the doctor saving the life of a loved one, but any help I attempt to provide in an operating room would likely be less than helpful at best. I don’t know what I’m doing, and can help the most by staying out of the way, something government officials should understand, but the desire to do something always seems to overwhelm them.

Famous examples like Solyndra, where we invested $500 million taxpayer dollars with little knowledge of the solar industry, and lost it all. Or with General Motors, where we invested $49.5 billion that GM didn’t even want, only to lose $10.5 billion when all General Motors needed to do, according to ousted CEO Rick Wagoner, was to file bankruptcy, which they ended up doing anyway.

Rick Wagoner
Rick Wagoner

Both instances, Obama and his administration meant well, just as I would in the aforementioned operating room, but good intentions still yielded bad results.

The problem for many Republicans is that they are quick to paint Democrats as evil, or immoral in response to the Democratic attacks. Ultimately, they’re often just wrong, and we’d be smart to focus our message on the factual inaccuracies Democrats use to justify their agenda.

Name calling has never advanced society, and it never gives you the moral high-ground. Republicans and Libertarians alike, should acknowledge the altruistic intent of every Democrat-proposed item on their agenda, but then break down why they are bad ideas with logic and reason. People will respond to this better than bickering and insults.

Our government is designed to be a guarantor of rights, which it must do at the point of a gun. That is a morally sound thing to do when using an agent of force.

But deploying the might of government into free markets, free will, and the individual pursuit of happiness, is oppression. It isn’t oppression like we saw in the 1700’s under monarchies, or into the 1800’s with slavery, but it’s still forcing people to be subservient against their will. Much like government, oppression of any kind, should be minimized as much as reasonably possible and should never be portrayed as moral.

The fact is, both parties mean well, and should be portrayed as moral. We simply disagree on the methodology and implementation of how to best advance our nation. We on the right feel freedom accomplishes this best, Democrats believe government regulation does. Since the historical evidence is on the libertarian side of the argument, I will always contend we are effectively the most moral.

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