Most US citizens would likely balk at the term “socialist” to describe the “land of the free.” They would probably point to France or Sweden as model “socialist states,” and they would have a point as far as those countries’ social welfare systems. However, when we look at who are the largest employers in the world, it’s easy to see that the United States stands head and shoulders above even nominally-communist China as far as direct government control of resources and labour. One part of the US Federal Government makes up the great bulk of this wealth destruction. The US military employs more people and consumes more oil than anyone else on this planet. And in 2010 they accounted for 42.8% of the total world’s military spending (almost six times as much as China, the next closest state). It’s difficult for us to even imagine the level of wealth/resource consumption and destruction the United States and its military engage in. Of course, the big news of late is that the US “Defense” Department is cutting 8,700 jobs. This may sound like a substantial cut until you realise that many of the jobs “cut” in this reduction don’t even exist – they are positions that the Federal Government had planned to create with the tax payers’ money. And the 8,700 jobs have to be considered as not even a drop in the bucket in light of the 3.2 million people employed by the US “Defense” Department, easily the world’s largest employer. That makes the US military the largest socialist force in the world, right? Take a look at the graphic below and consider that the United States used to be a fairly free market land. Yes, I know that was long ago. But still, surely these numbers have to be somewhat shocking to that dwindling number of people who still think they live in a free country.
In light of these numbers perhaps it’s time that America took some lessons from a freedom loving European of yesteryear. Yes, I know that sounds funny to American ears. But the French Classical Liberal school of the 1800s was one of the strongest advocates in the world for free trade and free markets – principles the USA long ago abandoned. The great French-speaking Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari wrote in his The Production of Security that:
The object of society is therefore the most complete satisfaction of man’s needs. The division of labor and exchange are the means by which this is accomplished…
If there is one well-established truth in political economy it is this: That in all cases, for all commodities that serve to provide for the tangible or intangible needs of the consumer, it is in the consumer’s best interest that labor and trade remain free, because the freedom of labor and trade have as their necessary and permanent result the maximum reduction of price.
Are labour and trade free in the United States? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Consider only for a moment the Federal level of restrictions on labour and trade, setting aside the burdensome and tyrannical state and local levels of economic restrictions. The United States Code gives a good indication of the lack of economic freedom in the USA:
[It] is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States. It contains 51 titles (along with a further 4 proposed titles) and is published every six years by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. The current edition of the code was published in 2006, and according to the US Government Printing Office, is over 200,000 pages long.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Federal Government has imposed 200,000 pages of regulations upon you thus far. How can anyone consider these facts and still believe that the United States is the “land of free”?
I should note here that strictly speaking the economic system in the US is not socialism. The government doesn’t yet own all property and means of production. Instead, we have a merger of big business and big government combined with rabid and aggressive militarism. Anyone want to take a guess at what that is called?
I think Il Duce (who knew a thing or two about this form of government) summed it up the best when he said: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”