I have often realized that people fail to understand the importance freedom, rather they start criticizing the idea of individual liberty as an extreme and hence they suggest that government interventionism is not at all bad and we cannot see things as black or white, sometimes the grey or dark brown is better.
It is not very difficult to make people realize the moral hazards of slavery, they also agree that socialism and totalitarianism is an extreme that brings chaos, lack of development, poverty and impoverishment. However, they fear the concept of individual liberty and often criticize the morals of free market Anarchocapitalism or voluntarism. They consider socialism as an extreme and free market voluntarism (Anarchocapitalism) is another extreme, hence they say; we should fear both of the extremes and should opt for the middle path.
The Idea of Middle Path: Mixed Economy, Fabian Socialism
This idea of middle path often gains its momentum from the Nicomachean School of ethics through which Aristotle suggested,
“Virtue must have the quality of aiming at the intermediate.”
However, they never really think about this issue with a rational perspective, rather they are influenced by the fear of being free and responsible for their own actions and consequences. To support mixed economy, people actually suggest that out of the good, bad and ugly, one should choose the Bad as the Good and the Ugly both are extremes. In our case, Bad is socialism, Good is free market Anarchocapitalism or Voluntarism and the Ugly is mixed economy or Fabian socialism.
It would be a mistake to generalize the quote by Aristotle because it is empty in abstract sense, it holds no meaning. No one can say that a middle path will be beneficial without actually analyzing the middle choices.
People support the idea of mixed economy because they simply lack any rational argument against individual freedom and free market Anarchocapitalism. They often assume that just like socialism, free market Anarchocapitalism or voluntarism is imperfect and wrong. They suggest that collectivism is immoral and since individual liberty is against the idea of collectivism, it will also be wrong. Hence, they seek for a middle path which may offer restricted individual freedom while controlling the individuals with a strong thread of mixed economy or Fabian socialism.
Analyzing the issue of Middle Path: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The middle path is not always right and often, it is worse than the extremes. A girl raped and killed is an example of extreme oppression against women and extreme liberty for women is to let them live free and fearless. Are both extremes wrong? So what would be the middle ground? Do not kill the girl, but keep exploiting her, will it be any good?
Peace is an extreme opposite to mass murdering in wars. We cannot dream of a middle path between peace and war to suggest that this proposed middle path is better than peace.
Socialism or totalitarianism is a system that offers controlling power to the government to rule over the collective and to influence their decisions. Anarchocapitalism or voluntarism is a system that offers complete freedom for every individual to take his own decisions and make his own choices without any governmental interference or market interventions.
Fabian socialism or mixed economy is the middle path that offers regulating power to the government to decide what is good for citizens and how should they spend their earnings. Fabian socialism is the British idea that allowed British government to rob citizens through compulsory taxation to offer universal health care system through National Health Service (NHS). Fabian socialism is the system of government regulations. Current Eurozone crisis is actually the result of mixed economy, Fabian socialism or government regulations over market. The United Kingdom debt crisis and its huge national debt of around 1.1 Trillion GBP is the direct consequence of Fabian socialism and the policies of Labor party. The funny thing is, even the so-called right wing conservative party is no better at the idea of individual freedom and hence Chancellor Osborne is continuously announcing more social welfare programs while increasing the national debt to further heights.
India is also mixed economy with government regulations intervening with the market. However, government regulation is violence against individuals. No individual is free to not to agree, not to participate in any policy he doesn’t approve. An Indian will be termed as a criminal if he refuses to pay taxes just because he feels government policies are destructive. An Indian cannot start a business for a living without government license or permission. Bureaucracy and government interventionism is such bad that a doctor just cannot open up a clinic in a remote village without taking government permission. One cannot construct a building over his acquired land without an approval nod from the government bureaucracy and for attaining all these liberties, a person not only is required to pay taxes, but he needs to pay bribes. Obviously, government isn’t a voluntary institution; rather it is a forced tyranny that exists at the expense of producers. An individual cannot oppose the government and deny sacrificing his wealth for some heinous, immoral and irrational social welfare scheme of government, nor can he disown the subsidies offered by government. It is a situation where no one can lead a life with confidence and self-respect. He is not only forced to suffer exploitation and robbery against himself, he is also destined to be blamed of consuming the fruits of robbery as a part of collective.
Fabian socialism is nothing different than the mixed economy ‘regulated capitalism.’ Supporting mixed economy or Fabian socialism can be compared as the idea of raping a girl if she wants to study and innovate or if she wants to elope with her love. Obviously, the girl won’t be killed. Such is the limit of regulated freedom. Between freedom and slavery, expecting a middle path is ridiculous. Slavery is absolute bad and there cannot be anything good about it and freedom is the virtue yet to be achieved.
People accept that slavery is bad, socialism is wrong, yet they fear free market capitalism, they fear individualism, they fear freedom. And to avoid this fear, they suggest a middle path of Fabian socialism, which is nothing but slavery with a little more care for the slaves. Such attitude is not only limited to economic spectrum. People generally agree that freedom of speech is must. Yet, they ask for censorships on criticism against their irrational beliefs. People accept that theocracy is bad, but they never support the idea of secularism, rather they support a government protecting and promoting all religions and hence, they want a poly-theocratic or pseudo-secular state.
Free market Anarchocapitalism or Voluntarism is opposite of oppression, totalitarianism, aggression, it is opposite of slavery. Anarchocapitalism or Voluntarism is an extreme because it is freedom. People generally fear this idea of complete freedom and hence they advocate Fabian socialism, or socialist governments regulating the market. Obviously, it is bad.
Free market capitalism or Anarchocapitalism is freedom with an order; it is a means to protect individual liberty against chaos. On the other hand, socialism is chaos, it is oppression.
Cruelty is a vice and peace is virtue, there cannot be any good middle ground in between cruelty and peace. Can we say that love is wrong because it is extreme opposite of hatred?
Moderation cannot be justified in all cases. Some actions do not demand a mid-path. Some things are bad by nature irrespective of being extreme or moderate. Oppression is bad, no matter if it is extreme oppression like in totalitarian socialist state or moderate oppression like in Fabian societies or government regulated mixed economy.
Furthermore, even Aristotle never supported the idea of moderation and he said,
“Virtue must have the quality of aiming at the intermediate. But not every action nor every passion admits of a mean; for some have names that already imply badness, e.g., spite, shamelessness, envy, and in the case of actions adultery, theft, murder; for all of these and suchlike things imply by their names that they are themselves bad, and not the excess or deficiencies of them. It is not possible, then, ever to be right with regard to them; one must always be wrong.”
Slavery is wrong in every sense and at every degree, moderate, regulated slavery is wrong, so is Fabian socialism. Mixed economy is regulated moderate slavery and miniarchy is slavery to lesser degree. Yet, Slavery irrespective of how moderate it is is wrong.
Quoting Ayn Rand:
“There are two sides to every issue. One side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”
Anarchocapitalism, Voluntarism and idea of free market capitalism is right, communism, socialism, collectivism, is wrong, and the middle path of Mixed Economy, Fabian socialism or regulated capitalism (croony capitalism) is Evil.
Capitalism is comparable to the women allowed complete freedom, Socialism is comparable to a woman under complete oppression, and Fabian socialism is a system where the woman is under regulated freedom, she may go outside, but eyes are watching, the moment she does something which her oppressor doesn’t like, she is at a danger of being raped and killed.