Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories and Left-Wing Conspiracy Theories Compared
Right Wing (in America, not Europe) means classical liberalism -- favoring private property, individual rights (private enclaves of freedom for peaceful people), free markets, and constitutional limitations on government. In such a system peaceful people would be free to pursue their own private plans and to satisfy their needs and wants through private alternatives offered by selfish-motivated (profit-seeking and loss-avoiding) businesspeople in the marketplace. The function of government would be limited essentially to protecting the rights of peaceful adults in their persons and properties from criminal violence and fraud.
Left Wing means opposition to private property and instead strong support for the government to take over and control everything (at least the major industries) in one big government monopoly. Under such a system, people have to depend on one monopoly source (the political state) for the things they need. Private alternative sources, if they exist at all, only exist as "black" (illegal) markets run by criminals.
Right-Wing Paranoia - fear of Big Government abuse of power and tyranny.
Left-Wing Paranoia - fear of corporations and Big Business abuse of power and exploitation.
Right-wing conspiracy theory tends to focus on efforts by communists and other hard-core, organized socialists, fascists, and advocates of Big Government to impose an absolute tyranny or "New World Order" on Americans in particular and mankind in general in which major industries and products (food, energy, media, money and banking, etc.) would be owned or controlled by government bureaucrats as world monopolies with no private alternatives allowed -- and the rights of peaceful people in their lives and properties destroyed completely by political central planning and control. As major steps in the direction of bigger and more intrusive government over our lives and businesses, right wingers can point with dismay at several successful political achievements, made by the organized Left over several decades, such as the enactment of the Income Tax (second plank of Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto), the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 (fifth plank in the Communist Manifesto), increasing control over education by the national government, inheritance taxes, the UN, the Environmental Protection Agency and various "environmentalist" regulations on private business and land use, and many other political attacks on private property rights and the private plans of individuals over their own lives. From the Right's point of view, these measures must be abolished or rolled back as soon as it is politically possible to do so -- rather than remaining as permanent fixtures in American society. Right wingers would return the government to the restrictions imposed on it by the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and (ideally) limit government's scope to using its powers to combat criminal violence and commercial fraud, and to defend against foreign aggressors, as opposed to trying to organize society through any politically imposed central plan or trying to ameliorate inequalities of wealth or income.
Left-wing conspiracy theories, on the other hand, tend to see the source of evil in the world as private selfishness, the profit motive, private property itself, American capitalism (as based on private property rights and the profit motive), and irreconcilable "class differences" (between the workers who use the tools and machines and those who own the tools and machines). The Left fears what it perceives as the "economic power" of Big Business, and considers this power to be "exploitative" in a bad sense -- an "unfair" advantage of the "strong" over the "weak" resulting from a lack of sufficient government regulation in a free-market economy. It is because of this belief system and the fear of "economic power" that those on the Left agitate for more and more government controls and regulations. Further, the Left seems obsessed with a vision of a politically planned society, in which each individual would be made to conform to a planning matrix devised by supposedly superior philosopher-king bureaucrats. Only in this way, they believe, can war and social disharmony in the world be eradicated forever -- and only then will the "economic power" of corporations be stifled.
The Left's fear seems excessive or misplaced. Why do I say that? Neither corporations nor any other business in the market can actually force (use violence on) people to make us deal with them, buy from them, or work for them. It's all by voluntary choice and consensual contract. Whatever their faults, businesses -- even big corporations -- have to rely on persuasion -- advertising, marketing, attractive alternative pricing, new products, fancy packaging, etc, not coercion.
As long as a businessman confines his behavior to purely market means (non-violent persuasion), no one is forced at the point of a gun to deal with him. Any coercive power a corporation may have comes from its association with or privileges from . . . . ta-da! . . . interventionist government (political statism)! The source of such abuse is therefore not the market, but interventionist political government -- Big Government with the unjust authority to take from some and intervene to dish out goodies and privileges to others, and is made possible only when government is permitted to go beyond its proper role of protecting peaceful citizens' rights by using its own powers of coercion to combat the use or threat of coericon, violence, or fraud by criminals and foreign aggressors.
The government cannot give anybody anything without taking it from somebody -- and it almost always uses the force of taxation or some other form of coercive intervention to do that. When any agency of government is permitted to do this -- to positively intervene in peaceful peoples' lives by taking away what belongs to some and giving it to others -- it is violating the rights of peaceful people and is acting improperly, for it is doing what an ordinary citizen cannot do without himself committing a crime by violating the rights of others.
Ordinary citizens have the right to use violent force to defend their lives, families, and properties from the violence of criminals; so, it is legitimate and proper for people to organize together to form a government to perform this crucial function in society. But, by the same token, no ordinary citizen has any legitimate right to use violent force ("coercion") to violate the rights of other peaceful citizens. And neither does the government. Put another way: crime is no less wrong when done "legally" by government officials or by corporations empowered by special privileges gained from government intervention (regulations, taxes, subsidies, controls, tariffs, etc.) coercively imposed on the other people in society.
So, it seems to me, if one really wants to keep business abuse of power at bay, one should advocate a policy of laissez faire, viz., allowing anything that's peaceful (non-violent and non-fraudulent) but having the government come down on all fours on criminals and foreign aggressors who pose a threat to peaceful people.
Laissez faire means extending the First Amendment's "disestablishment clause" (with government taking no sides and giving no privileges to any church or sect) to all market (i.e., non-violent) activities. Despite its imperfect application, religious disestablishmentarianism has worked well in the U.S., and is a major reason why America was (mostly) spared the bloody religious wars that took place in Europe in past centuries.
If government is made to concentrate on its proper role of using its powers to combat crime instead of trying to regulate peaceful peoples' lives or run their businesses for them, or spend their earnings for them -- and allow peaceful business competition as we now successfully allow peaceful religious competition -- that would be a policy of laissez faire and would result in maximum freedom for peaceful adult people.
The pro-freedom Right's concern about the growth of Big Government is much more justified and on-target than the Left's paranoia about big (or little) business. Businessmen are driven by the selfish desire for profit and the avoidance of losses, and they can only become wealthy in the long run by producing something that other people want and for which they are willing to pay a price that will more than cover the costs of producing it.
Mrs. Fields may charge a dollar a cookie -- but nobody is forced to buy the cookie. If somebody does buy the cookie, it is because they want the cookie more than the dollar they are giving in exchange for it. No violence is involved. It is a voluntary exchange. The cookie buyer may be impelled from within himself by his own hunger or sweet-tooth desire for the cookie, but the key point is that hs is not compelled by Mrs. Fields or any other human being. The same cannot be said for government programs. You are (for example) forced to pay into FICA taxes whether you like it or not, whether you will ever live to receive the promised benefits or not, whether you agree with it or not. It is compulsory, not voluntary. You are given no choice; the money is taken right out of your paycheck before you get it and immediately spent by government.
Mrs. Fields may use advertising to seduce or persuade people to decide to buy her product -- but no violence is involved. By contrast, virtually all government programs are funded by the violence of coercive taxation and operate by coercive regulations and controls over peaceful (non-criminal) people. Coercive controls and restrictions belong on government officials and on criminals -- not on peaceful adult citizens.
It is not true, as is sometimes alleged by leftists, that the American Right (libertarians and conservatives) favors welfare (government subsidies) to Big Business. The Right wants to deregulate and untax as much as possible and as many people as possible, including businessmen. Government should neither "help" nor hinder any business enterprise any more than it should help or hinder any religious enterprise. Ideally, government should not positivley intervene at all in peoples' private affairs or voluntary (market) relations. After all, government cannot "help" some without hurting others by violating their rights, and when it does that it contradicts the only justification for its own existence -- to keep rights from being violated.
And, in fact, even though a few Republicans (not real consrvatives or libertarians however) have been implicated in some business favoritism, most of those involved in the recent major corporate scandals (Enron, Global Crossing, Goldman Sachs, etc.) have been limousine "liberal" Democrats (i.e., leftists) such as George Stepanopoulos, Robert Rubin, Joseph Lieberman, Terry McAuliffe, Richard Gephardt, Christopher Dodd, and Martha Stewart.
Who or what, then, is the real enemy? Economic "exploitation"? Or political tyranny?
The attrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge were committed by government goons, not corporate executives or greedy businesspeople. In the Twentieth Century alone, Big Government socialism (communism and naziism most especially) has been responsible for the mass murder and enslavement of hundreds of millions of peaceful human beings. However wealthy a businessman or company becomes, and however imperfect any businessman or company may be, nobody is forced to deal with market entities the way they are with governmental agencies and compelled to pay the taxes that fund those agencies and their bureaucratic programs.
Of course, no social system made of human beings is perfect – and businessmen will often try to cut corners and make money by bilking customers. In no way am I suggesting that we should naively trust business people. I recommend caveat emptor, let the customer be wary! There will always be crooked people in any social system. But, at least under a market economy, you are likely to have alternatives – different sources competing for your consumer’s dollar – from which to choose. If you find fault with one, you can go to his competitor and take your business there. Knowing this possibility helps keep most businessmen on their toes to satisfy the consumer. You are not stuck with one monopoly source as you are under socialism.
And if we should not trust businessmen and should instead keep a wary eye on them in our role as consumers, then how much less can we as citizens trust politicians and bureaucrats -- the men of government -- who possess concentrated powers which businessmen do not have? I agree with Thomas Jefferson when he advised against trust and confidence in the men of government, but rather "bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution."
The anti-capitalist mentalities of the Far Left and America’s "liberal" Democrats (welfare-stete regulatory fascists) seem to assume that selfish intentions and crooked motives necessarily lead to evil consequences. The Right on the other hand is more concerned with practical objective results, regardless of subjective intentions.
This is an important distinction because after all isn’t it outward behavior that is important, not what may or may not be the malicious or sneaky motives and intentions of the actors? In courts of law, for example, we may consider the motive as part of the evidence to prove that the accused committed the crime, but outside of that, it is not the motive or intent for which the convicted criminal is punished; it is the actual crime itself -- the actual theft, murder, rape, or whatever action violated the rights of someone. The Right sees that, overall and in the long run, no matter how selfish or sneaky a businessman’s motives may be, in a market economy with no government favors on his side, he cannot enrich himself without enriching others by selling something that somebody wants enough to pay him enough in exchange for it to more than cover his cost of producing it (with the profit margin serving as both the motor and the rudder of production). If he sells shoddy products, word soon gets around and his reputation becomes like burnt toast – and he loses the customers he might have got otherwise. Instead of earning profits, he sustains losses, and eventually goes out of business if he continues the unsatisfactory practices. As Adam Smith proved over 200 years ago, the most selfish of businessmen necessarily benefits others whether he intends to do so or not.
Also, Libertarians and American "conservatives" perceive that in the context of the political arena, the competition for special privileges between and among various lobbies and pressure groups means that one group’s gain must come at the forced expense of others, which leads to a net loss for society as a whole – but in the context of a market society, one person’s or group’s gain does not come at the expense of others since each party to every voluntary transaction gains in his own eyes because he wanted what he got more than what he gave up to obtain it. The dynamic of how people obtain what they get is dramatically different in these different contexts. In the political arena, someone must be forced to pay for the special privileges or subsidies or "welfare" that the government dispenses. In the free market it is "win-win" and no one is forced to participate.
Those on the Left should check their assumptions about the alleged inherent evils of business and keep an eye instead on the real threat to liberty and progress -- namely, big government -- instead of being distracted by Marxist propaganda and duped into supporting still more draconian political regulations and taxes over us all on the belief they are fighting "evil" business folk or protecting the environment.
The answer is: No; click here to find out why market capitalism is not to blame and discover what really is to blame
The Ultimate Antidote to Exploitative Monopolies & Oligopolies: (or . . . Beware the Regulatory-Industrial Complex!)
Cliches of Politics (refuted)
A Few Preliminary Definitions -- what is the difference between "voluntary" and "coercive" or "violent"?
The Three Categories of Human Activity and How They Relate to the Proper Role of Political Government -- or, Where Libertarians Would Draw the Line
Dr. Walter Williams on Violence & the Moral Limits of Political Action
Separation of Force and Whim -- The Laissez-Faire Republic vs. Whimarchy: The Principle of Clearly Defined Individual Human Rights in a Limited Constitutional Republic versus the Tyranny of Unlimited Government by Whim
Constitutional Republic vs Democracy: The Role of a Majority Vote in a Free Society Versus Unlimited Majority Rule in a Democracy Did the founders of the United States of America intend to establish a democracy? Is a republic merely a representative democracy?
Selected Historical Documents List of Major Documents, Books, Essays, Pamphlets, & Tracts in the Historical Development of the American Constitutional Republic, and how this increasingly placed legal limitations on the prerogatives of political rulers (first the King and then the Parliament itself), thus effecting a separation of whim from the use of government force by the assertion of private rights.
Outline of Political Systems, and Where the Laissez-Faire Republic