Rapid Fire Q&A 2
1. Isaac asks, “Do public debt and deficit spending constitute taxation without representation?
No, they constitute taxation without acknowledgment.
2. TC Avey asks, “I’m confused on the difference between fascism and socialism and Marxism—how can I tell the difference?”
The first two are forms of statism. Socialism is a form of statism in which the government owns the means of production. Under fascism, there continues to be nominal private property, but the government controls its use and disposal. Marxism is a political-economic theory that advocates a particular type of socialism—a fantasy in which the state will allegedly wither away as people willingly choose to sacrifice themselves for the community.
3. Taran asks, “Socialists continue to espouse socialism in the face of all evidence that it simply does not work. How do we explain their continual support for a system that is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions? And by extension, their hatred of a system that is responsible for lifting people out of subsistence living?”
Few people espouse socialism today (although many in Europe continue to call themselves socialists). Those who do are typically either young and ignorant or they are intellectuals. Ayn Rand has a definite view of what motivates socialist intellectuals. As she writes in the essay “The Monument Builders” in The Virtue of Selfishness, “What, then, is the motive of such intellectuals [those who support socialism]? Power-lust. Power-lust—as a manifestation of helplessness, of self-loathing and of the desire for the unearned.” Definitely read the whole thing.
4. Jan asks, “In a laissez-faire society, should certain professionals be qualified—e.g., a medical doctor—before they can partake in trade?”
This question mixes together two distinct issues: Should there be medical standards and should the government dictate those standards? In a capitalist society, anyone can offer medical services, but to get a job at a medical institution let alone attract customers, a doctor will have to prove objectively that he knows what he’s doing.
What distinguishes capitalism from today’s regulatory state is not that one has standards and the other doesn’t, but that in a free society, those standards aren’t determined by bureaucrats: Each individual remains free to choose his own standards according to his own values and judgment.
5. Andrew asks, “What do you think of the rich who are advocating that the government should tax them more?”
Not much. Look, no one is stopping them from cutting the IRS a bigger check. It’s not their taxes they want raised—it’s yours.