When the Democratic National Convention meets in Los Angeles on August 14, it will be besieged by hordes of protestors representing some 70 different groups. These groups will be opposing, among other things, a strong military, genetically modified crops, technology, tax vouchers for education, global trade, and welfare reform. They will be advocating the termination of missile defense research, fully socialized medicine, and higher taxes on the wealthy. The "People's Convention," a counter-convention representing various socialist and communist organizations, will offer a platform that includes a guaranteed wage to everyone, even to those who choose not to work, and nationalization of all property belonging to people whose wealth exceeds the "minimum" level. A core motto of the convention protesters will be "Human Needs Not Corporate Greed."
Although the protesting groups may seem on the surface to be as varied as snowflakes, at root they are united by their common hatred of freedom, capitalism, and progress. A strong U.S. military is essential to our freedom because numerous dictatorships such as China, North Korea, and Iraq are now developing long-range missiles that will be directed at us. Crops that are genetically engineered to increase yields will become literal lifesavers as the population continues to increase at a rapid rate. Technological progress will benefit us in numerous other ways such as by increasing airline and automobile safety, raising energy efficiency, and curing deadly diseases. This last will soon include the ability to grow new organs from the patients' own cells to replace ones that are diseased or damaged. Tax vouchers for education will allow parents who cannot afford private schools the opportunity to select the school of their choice, thus undermining the government's virtual, and unconscionable, monopoly in this area. As to socialized medicine, it can have only one effect: poor medical care for everyone. The remnants of private medicine that we still have bring people desperate for treatment to America from all over the world.
Now consider the real meaning of the "Human Needs Not Corporate Greed" slogan. It is undeniable that capitalism has brought our country, and every other country that has tried it, a higher standard of living than any other system and that socialism has brought man nothing but stagnation, poverty, and suffering in every country that has embraced it (witness Cuba, North Korea, Russia). That which they call corporate greed--which presumably means a free economy and the desire for profit--is the only means to satisfy human needs on a large scale.
The protestors will reply that capitalism denies "social justice," because every person (and every country) does not make the same amount of money. They view the rich as immoral and regard the United States as the guiltiest country on earth, because it is so wealthy. What the protestors want is to drain the wealth of the producers and give it to those who are not productive.
The protestors are right on one point: capitalism is the antithesis of egalitarianism. Under capitalism, people only get what they earn; they do not have the right to seize what someone else has earned. What the socialists want in the end is an unjust world, a world where they forcibly harness the able, the competent, the hardworking--the productive--in order to reward those who are not productive. What the protestors refuse to acknowledge is that capitalism is the system of genuine "social justice."
Why are the protestors choosing the Democratic convention as their venue? Because they know where their ideological home is. The Democrats have always championed the "little guy," which has often meant penalizing those who made it big. But as philosopher Ayn Rand once noted, there are no little people in America. There are only people, equal before the law, yearning to breathe free and wanting to achieve the best within them. Most Americans do not hate the rich and do not feel unearned guilt because some people or nations are less rich than they are. They do not want to enslave their doctors or their teachers or their inventors or their business leaders--or themselves. They want real justice: each man gets what he earns and has no moral claim on the property of others. They respect individual rights and admire--rather than envy--those who are successful in their lives and careers.
In opposing freedom, progress, and justice, the protestors are opposing everything that is good about America. Let us have some counter-demonstrators at the Democratic convention, holding up signs that reveal a love for the good--love for man at his best--man as free, independent, responsible for his own life, proud of his achievements and unwilling to be sacrificial fodder for those who would enslave him.
Edwin A. Locke, author of The Prime Movers: The Traits of the Great Wealth Creators, is a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.