What is said here is very basic, but many of us need to carefully consider the alternatives and the relative merits.
I would add this. Before we choose between socialism and capitalism, we need to consider which choice is more ethical.
Here is the basic moral issue. We set up government to protect our rights. That is why government must exist, but socialism exists to redistribute the wealth, to take what one person produces and give it to another.
When is it moral to tax people, to take from them involuntarily what they would otherwise keep or share on their own? When do we as a people (as government) cross the line?
It is one thing to tax our neighbors to protect their right to keep what they have earned. But isn’t taking what people have earned just to give it to someone else stealing?
Consider the ethical dilemma socialism creates for our leaders. We must trust the same people who protect our right to own property with the right to take it away and give it to someone else? Won’t our leaders be tempted to buy the votes they need? Won’t some have-nots be quite happy to be bought?
All people have rights. When we all try to exercise our rights at the same time, we fall into conflict. Therefore, we make an unspoken agreement with one another. We surrender some of our rights to the government, and we give that government the power to protect our remaining rights. Which rights we surrender and which we maintain—that is the difficult question. Nations differ from one another in their answer to that question, and citizens within nations argue with each other about the answer to that question.
Like many ideas of western philosophy, the idea of the social contract has its roots in the writings of Plato and Aristotle. The idea first reached its full structure in the writings of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau. All three agreed that government is a necessary evil. All three wanted to see the size and the power of the government…
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