By Will Arthur | USA
One element of libertarianism that separates its ideology from other groups like conservatives or liberals is the consistency between ideas. Libertarians consistently believe that the correct steps to gain freedom is by limiting government involvement whether in the political or economic realm. Milton Friedman sums up why libertarians view the need for both political and economic freedom by saying “Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction it reduces the area over which political power is exercised”. If you look at the ideology of a democrat/liberal it is much different than the libertarian approach of consistent belief. Liberals often say they promote political freedom but believe the government should have a great deal of control over the economy. This government economic control often is summed up in the idea of socialism.
Today socialism is often characterized as an economic structure that transfers wealth from private individuals/groups to the public/state. The idea behind this transfer of wealth is done so that the state can distribute it back out to the citizens more evenly and “fairly”. The distribution can be seen to be done in many techniques: healthcare, welfare, corporate bailouts, and subsidized housing to name a few examples. typically these techniques of wealth distribution are put in place with the support of the left/liberal side.
Libertarians speak and act strongly against government handouts and socialism because we believe the government should not be able to take from people who earn a living and pick and choose who receives these free handouts. Instead, people should have individual responsibility and freedom to provide for themselves in the manner that they choose through the free market.
Libertarians are not the only political group that speaks out strongly against socialism, however. The conservative/right side often speaks out against handouts like universal healthcare and welfare and says they are against socialism. But after speaking against universal health care and welfare they believe they should receive handouts (paid for by the tax dollars of citizens) of their own. A good example of the handouts conservatives want would be a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Conservatives may deny that the building of a border wall between Mexico and the United States is socialism, but Frederic Bastiat would claim differently. In his book The Law, Frederic Bastiat talks about how there are two types of plunder: legal and illegal. Legal plunder being especially dangerous because it protects the beneficiaries and criminalizes the victims who oppose the plunder. Bastiat goes onto to say that “[all plans of legal plunder] constitute socialism”. Today and throughout most of American history, the most obvious example of legal plunder would be taxation, since taxation is the forceful taking of wealth from the people by the government. According to Bastiat if taxation is legal plunder then taxation would also be socialism, and anything supported by taxation would also be a form of socialism.
With taxation being an avenue of socialism and a border wall being funded through taxation, conservatives and Republicans are very ironic. To say you support capitalism and oppose socialism until you need something funded through socialistic means is extremely hypocritical. Especially when there are more peaceful and capitalistic ways to lower the immigration of bad/unproductive immigrants that a border wall would supposedly lower.
A study by the Center for Immigration Studies tells us that “An estimated 49 percent of households headed by legal immigrants used one or more welfare programs in 2012…” and that those illegal immigrants often benefit from the welfare programs their legal immigrant children receive. These statistics prove that if conservatives truly want to limit the immigration of bad or unproductive immigrants they should instead start with abolishing socialist programs such as SNAP, TNAF, Social Security, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and all other welfare programs.
If the immigration of needy or “bad” immigrants that the right side strongly despises does become a serious problem for the United States, the decision the Republicans and conservatives make will tell a lot about them. Will they only vocally oppose socialism while accepting handouts of their own like a border wall, or will they live up to their claims of opposing socialism and put an effort to eliminate the welfare programs many immigrants live off of?