October 26, 2020 by Anders Ingemarson
I have exciting news: my book, “Think Right or Wrong, Not Left or Right: A 21st Century Citizen Guide,” is now available for preorder as eBook at the outstanding-value-for-money price of $4.99 + tax. It’s been a year in the making, a few months longer than originally planned, but, if I may say so, was worth the wait. Head over to Amazon to get your copy: as you know, preorders count towards rankings, and you can help getting it to the top of the list. And if you’re outside the U.S. but in Amazon territory, you can preorder it as well (in English). Official publication date is November 19, which makes it perfect holiday season reading and gifting. As an additional incentive, below is an excerpt that may resonate if you, like me, think elections have taken on a disproportionate importance in society.
Capitalism Eliminates Political Inequality
Capitalism as a social system protects the rights of the smallest and only minority that fundamentally matters: the individual. As we’ve discussed, the government has three responsibilities under capitalism: It protects you from (1) foreign aggressors (the role of the military) and from (2) domestic aggression such as fraud, theft, murder, etc. (the role of law enforcement). And it (3) prosecutes domestic aggressors and settles disputes (the role of the court system). Capitalism doesn’t allow for individuals, alone or banded together in groups (parties, majorities, minorities, etc.), to vote on anything that would violate the individual rights of others. This significantly reduces the importance of politics and makes voting a marginal issue. The amount of money you have or manage to raise for a political campaign is of little importance. It may “buy” you a federal, state or local office—president, governor, county commissioner, or a senate or house seat. But the constitutional checks and balances protecting our individual rights ensure that you cannot wield political power over others when you take office. Consequently, the political inequality we experience under statism doesn’t exist under capitalism, in which no slim majority wields power over minorities, and no minorities wield power over other minorities or the majority. As a result, money does not play a significant role in who gets elected.
Let’s say you’re going to the polls to protect your hard-earned Social Security check because some politician would like to reduce it. Under capitalism you are in control of your retirement without government involvement. You plan for it from the day you enter the work force. Neither you nor your employer pay social security taxes, leaving you with a larger paycheck and more money to invest towards your golden age. And your capital gains and dividends are not taxed, meaning that your returns are substantially higher than today. With a little savings discipline and steady work, it is close to impossible not to retire comfortably. Hence, without government involvement, there is no need to factor in retirement planning in your voting considerations. (We will cover Social Security and saving for retirement in more detail later when we discuss safety nets).
Maybe you are casting your vote to ensure that your children get a good government (public) education. Under capitalism you are not at the mercy of your local school board or the state or federal Department of Education. You are in control of your children’s education. Think education is too expensive? Only under the control of federal, state, and local governments and boards does education get ever more expensive even as quality falters. Under capitalism, education becomes cheaper, better, and more efficient (in this context, probably leading to less time in school)—just like other products do where capitalism dominates. In a free, capitalist market, the Walmart of education springs up in your neighborhood and the online education equivalent of Amazon offers stiff competition to brick-and-mortar schools. The Khan Academy offers a glimpse of what that may look like. And with property taxes for education a thing of the past you control more of your own money. With education out of the hands of politicians, you and everybody else are politically equal, and your vote is of no consequence for your children’s education. (We will return to K–12 education later as well).
Does access to affordable healthcare factor into your voting decisions? Under capitalism the government is not able to force a healthcare scheme on you—Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare or the like. You are empowered to manage your own healthcare with the marketplace offering you a plethora of health insurance options, from inexpensive catastrophic plans to more comprehensive alternatives. And doctors and other healthcare providers compete for your business with both quality and price. All of healthcare goes the way of Lasik surgery, which is relatively less impacted by government and as a consequence cheaper and of better quality with each passing year. And with lower costs comes lower health insurance premiums. With nobody wielding political power over the fate of your healthcare, political equality rules and your vote is of no significance for your healthcare. (We will come back to healthcare in later chapters). Under capitalism, this pattern repeats itself in every area of the economy. Political equality reigns supreme by protecting your individual rights from violations by collectives, groups, and other individuals. Capitalism as a social system mostly eliminates high-stakes election cycles, drastically reduces the amount of money poured into lobbying and elections, reduces the impact of voting fraud and redistricting, and radically curtails the power of our politicians and bureaucrats. With no tax, spending, and regulatory spoils to fight over, the incentives are radically diminished for those who lust for office and those who supply the money to get them elected. Under capitalism, they have no control over your life.