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February 5, 2016

Socialism Defined Understandably

Joe Charlebois

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (D.) is a self-described Democratic Socialist. His belief that government is the answer, rather than a free citizenry, is not as concerning as the support his socialist message has received so far in this campaign season from the generation that was born after the Berlin Wall fell.


The feeling of hopelessness from recent high school and college graduates as they search for opportunity is significant. They are looking at massive debt and struggle with how to pay it down. They are enticed by the calls from progressives to take down the wealthy. They are enticed by the idea of government paying for their education and healthcare. They buy in to the idea that those who have earned any amount of wealth do not deserve to keep it.


What this current generation fails to recognize socialism is anathema to life, liberty and property as John Locke described it hundreds of years ago. Socialism is not egalitarian, it looks to control all three.


The more that time separates Americans from the devastating socialist regimes of the past century, the more likely upcoming generations are to fall for the empty promises of socialism. We have failed to subscribe to the works on natural law as Locke described it, and instead have embraced socialism throughout our federal government.


What I would like to do is explain to this upcoming generation how a free society would view property.


"Time is money" is a line often attributed to the great patriot Benjamin Franklin. Despite the saying’s centuries old origin, it carries the same meaning as it did in Franklin’s America, albeit in a much different environment.


What hasn't changed in the capitalist-based economy of America is the fact that wages are a creation of property that is purchased with the currency of time. When we are industrious, we are rewarded with wages, a salary or payment for services. Upon receipt of these wages, we then have the choice on how to spend our money or "time."


When I purchased my first vehicle, it was a 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle, red with a crank moon roof. I paid $800 for it. At that time I was making approximately $4 an hour. If I worked eight hours a day, I was pulling in a gross of $32 each day of which I may have seen a total of $25 after taxes.


In essence, I traded 32 days of my life to purchase my first car.


How many of us think about trading a number of days of our life to purchase a new washing machine, a flat screen TV, or a new car?


Since our earnings are a measure of our time spent on labor, how many days are you willing to trade for certain products or goods?


When it comes to the obligatory payments such as income taxes, we are – in essence – dedicating a portion of our lives in service to the government. Doesn't that take on a whole new meaning?


We need to remember that we are finite beings. We trade our time for money. We should reserve the right to determine how that money is spent.


This is not to say that we have no responsibility to fund our government, but rather we should fund the necessities of our government with our earnings. This should not include coerced redistribution of income.


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