[This post is reprinted from my old internet home at crowdedhermitblogspot. You can find other posts there, too!]
The title of this post comes from an editorial by Marvin Olasky in the 3/10/12 issue of World magazine [link to the magazine archive by clicking here.] He described velvet socialism as “governmental conformity…. in the name of providing equality” and reminded his readers that 100 years ago in this country there were over 1,000 elected officials who labeled themselves as Socialists. It was considered a good thing then, before we witnessed a century of horrors in its name through revolutions in Russia and China, Nazi rule in Germany, as well as Viet Nam, Korea, Cuba and Cambodia.
Socialism has a bad reputation now, so adherents of this system call themselves Progressives these days instead. But don’t be fooled. Whatever name you use, a world view that believes government is better at controlling the economy to produce positive results instead of letting a free market operate will lead to oppression. The soft, or ‘velvety’ type of government coercion is just as economically destructive in the end, even without the violent loss of life that resulted from last century’s revolutions.
A top-down government-controlled approach to economics, education, health care, or any other aspect of civil society eliminates initiative and competition. It is those last characteristics that lead to advances and improvements, not the complacency of a bureaucracy.
Our freedom to pursue happiness in this country is based on competition. Even the three branches of our government are designed to achieve a balance of powers by competing with one another. President Obama misses this fact, as evidenced by his willingness to ignore the legislative branch through his far reaching executive orders.
Mr. Olasky explained this far better than I have here. I hope all Americans will think through the big issues at stake, and not get lost in simply fighting the individual battles over specific pieces of legislation. It is our overall belief in the purpose and nature of government that will determine what kind of century we have ahead of us. Let us elect representatives at all levels of government that share our convictions.