Half a century ago, President Lyndon Johnson decided that he would make the Democratic Party the champion of minorities and the oppressed. In doing so, he upended the party’s long history and broke with the segregationists in its ranks.

He was successful, at least in perception. Today, the Democrats are considered, by default and by self-declaration, the party most protective of minority rights and protections for oppressed identity groups. Things and people tending to binary default, it’s thus presumed that any not-Democrat doesn’t favor minority rights and protections for oppressed identity groups. But, perceptions and binary presumptions aren’t always accurate. LBJ’s approach and message was to turn government, long the source and mandator of oppression, into the vehicle for combating that oppression. And, again because things and people tend to binary default, many have come to presume that a – they/we need government to advance minority rights and b – that those not of the Democrats’ side of the political divide oppose or wish to thwart minority rights.

By most rational measures, there have been massive strides forward in civil rights, including those of blacks, women, LGBT, and other people of color. in comparing the ability of a gay person to live an open life in pursuit of happiness today to one living half a century ago, we arrive at a no-brainer conclusion.

That’s not to say that we’ve achieved a color-blind, gender-blind, and orientation-blind society. Unfortunately, those original and lofty goals are increasingly being supplanted, by people who look to bend those movements to their selfish aims, to deliberate recognition of differences and disparate treatment based on those differences, in the other direction. Those original and lofty goals, and all those who believe in them, aspire to them, or benefit from their attainment, are also being leveraged by people who want to invoke a structural change in the nature of America and her governance.

The dialogue and language of race and racism, LGBT rights, women’s rights, and identity politics overall are being systematically conflated with the progressive/far-left’s socialistic renaissance. The only way we can truly achieve equal rights and break “systemic racism,” a phrase I recently deconstructed, is by upending America’s political system, abandoning capitalism, and replacing it with yet another iteration of socialism. This upending is the aspiration of the Democratic Socialists of America, both explained on their website and lurking just below the surface of the Green New Deal that their high profile people have cornered virtually the entire clown-van of Democratic Presidential aspirants into supporting.

However, it is not socialism or big nanny government that has advanced the rights of minorities and the traditionally oppressed. It is, in fact, the very capitalism that we are told we must hate and abandon. A recent article at Cato does a spectacular job of explaining why.

A core point:

Capitalism created the opportunity for people to live autonomously.

Capitalism has done more to elevate individual living standards, by FAR, than any other form of economic activity in history. It also liberates the individual from both the family and the state, thus enabling mobility and the self-sorting that allows oppressed groups to amass strength, safety, and clout through unity. It also is at the core of the ideas and forms of thought that coalesced and codified the premises of individual liberty that are the backbone of the nation.

The Cato article’s focus is on gay rights, and it correctly points out that libertarians were at the fore of gay rights support.

Why?

Because libertarians begin all their philosophical, political, and practical arguments at the level of the individual.

Since I am neither a Democrat nor a Leftist, I’ve had many encounters where it is presumed I didn’t or don’t support the rights of minority and traditionally oppressed groups. However, I was a vocal and combative advocate for gay marriage back when Obama and the Democrats were still voicing their opposition, and some of the earliest posts on this blog voiced that advocacy. I was not alone in that regard. Visit the archives of libertarian journals and publications and you will find the same support, rooted in individual liberty and autonomy.

The basis of liberty in autonomy goes beyond just gay rights, and it flies in the face of assertions that we need socialism to undo bigotries (the current fad in woke circles). If people cannot live autonomously, they are not free to go against whatever grain the culture happens to have in a moment.

Socialism is antithetical to autonomy. It ties every individual to the State, to commit the fruit of your labor not to your own pursuit of happiness, but to the State’s economic plans, management, and vagaries, and to subordinate your goals and desires when they don’t align with the State’s. In a socialistic system, you are not granted the liberty to live autonomously, and therefore all that you would deem rights, civil or otherwise, exist only at the State’s sufferance.

The Democratic Socialists tell us that their way is different, that we won’t have top-down management, but instead everything will be owned in community and run by that community of owners. But, if that community of owners includes some bigots and racists, won’t that gum up the works? Should they reach a critical mass, won’t that actually reverse the progress of race relations? Besides, their “community ownership” bit is a lie. Nestled in their platform is the admission that, in cases where capital investment is required, the State ‘may have to’ own companies.

Well, no shit. And, since they aspire to eliminate the corporate form entirely, the truth becomes evident: their socialism is no different than traditional socialism. How much “social justice” have we seen in the socialist nations of history? Certainly not in the Soviet Union or Red China – or even in modern day China, with its oppression of both Tibet and the Uighurs. Certainly not from socialist hero Che Guevara, or communist paradise Cuba, which has yet to legalize gay marriage and pays only lip service to gay rights, or socialist paradise-turned-totalitarian-hellhole Venezuela.

The Democratic Socialists wave off those failed socialist states, and assert that they hold nations like Sweden and Denmark as their aspiration and model. They’re either lying, ignorant, or deluding themselves. What the Democratic Socialists propose to do has virtually nothing in common with the Nordic model, as John Stossel details. That’s the gag that’s being sold to the willing and gullible: the promise of Nordic results via the mechanism of traditional, authoritarian, oppressive, autonomy-denying socialism. They engage in blatant equivocation. Point out the countless failed socialist states, and they claim their way is not that sort of socialism. But, argue against socialism, and suddenly everything, down to police, the courts, and the military, is socialism.

Socialism of the sort they are proposing has never produced social justice, and it won’t if they manage to get into power and disrupt the system of individual rights and free-market interaction that has advanced civil rights and social justice across the decades. Their way, no matter what they say, requires or will rapidly evolve to central control and the equivalent of Orwell’s Ministries of Plenty and Truth, which carried out the functions of rationing and speech/thought control.

The Left has done a spectacular job convincing people that liberty is problematic and should be given up, by burying that aim in deceit, false narratives, revisionist history, and emotional ploys, yet it is liberty, including capitalism, that has produced the advances in living standards that have, in turn, liberated people in ways that have fostered the strides in civil rights we have witnessed across the decades. To forego that liberty, to turn to the top-down and centralized control of socialism (and if you think that this time, it’ll be different, open your eyes to the reality that all these socialistic aspirants seek, above all else, power. Power to dictate, to control, to manage, and to take. If you think that they’re not going to use that power the sam way every other power seeker in history has, you are, to put it bluntly, one of the useful idiots that politicians love to leverage).

It’s a common gag in politics: Emphasize and exaggerate a problem, and tell voters the only solution lies in foregoing liberties and granting even more power to politicians. The social justice movement may be awash in good intentions, but it has been successfully subsumed by the socialists. They’ve also managed to convince people that, by putting them in power and supporting their big-government schemes, they’ll actually be taking power away from the powerful. The smarter supporters (insofar as anyone who still supports socialism can be considered “smart”) know the truth, but are content with putting their favored people in power. The rest are at risk of drowning in their own naiveté.

There is no social justice in socialism. There’s only loss of liberty and destruction of all we cherish.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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