- - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In 1850, French economist, philosopher and statesman Frederic Bastiat wrote his book “The Law,” which has been described as possibly the best refutation of “The Communist Manifesto” ever written. In it, Bastiat gave a simple test to determine whether a law is good or bad: Does this law do for Citizen A at the expense of Citizen B what would be a crime if A did it directly to B? If the answer is yes, the law is a bad one.

Let’s suppose that Sam Smith wants to get elected by redistributing wealth in the same way the government does. He gets together a group of thugs who, by force or the threat of force, take money and other property away from people in Group A. After taking out their cut, these people offer the booty to people in Group B and say, “If you vote Sam Smith into office, he’ll see that you keep getting these free goodies.” The law would call that extortion and bribery. “Redistribution of wealth” is just a sanitizing euphemism for extortion and bribery.

I once took a class taught by a newspaper editor. This editor, who had interviewed some 300 prospective journalists, asked them if they knew the significance of the year 1161. In that year, William the Conqueror not only conquered England, but brought there the concept that everything a person had was a gracious grant of the king. This was codified into English law in 1275, under King Edward I, in the First Statute of Westminster. It was an attempt to repeal the Magna Carta. The idea that everything someone thought they owned was actually a gracious grant of the king was a hallmark of medieval feudalism.

In “The Communist Manifesto,” Karl Marx admits that the real goal of socialism is to restore medieval feudalism. This is important because, if you substitute “the government” for “the king,” you have the real, underlying assumption of modern-day liberals or “progressives”: What we earn by the sweat of our brow does not really belong to us; it is a gracious grant of the government. Marx outlined a 10-plank platform for destroying economic freedom in a society and imposing socialism. None of the planks are authorized by the U.S. Constitution, but liberals and “progressives” have implemented every one of them since the beginning of the 20th century. Restoring medieval feudalism appears to be the real goal toward which they are trying to make “progress.”

THOMAS M. CRAWFORD
Laurel