Punchinello’s Chronicles

September 25, 2009

Retail Stands Against Tyranny

Filed under: Just Thinking — Punchinello @ 1:24 am
Tags: , , , ,

Choice resides at the foundation of all freedom and individualism. We have the freedom to choose what we think, how we will act, what we will do, and how to live. Capitalism provides us each with the right to own the fruits of our labors and our thoughts, and we choose what it is we want to create. America represents a nearly unique society founded on the freedom to choose. Even our electoral process is founded on choice.

Socialism, statism (the concentration of power and authority in the State), tyranny and all other forms of social control begin by limiting choice. Freedom and individual liberties require personal choice and accepting responsibility for those choices. Tyranny and state control removes choice and assigns punishment for breaking the rules.

Throughout modern history, almost all the nations we know about have been controlled societies. One way or another, the rights of the many take precedence over the rights of the individual. Socialism sets the rights of the society higher than those of the individual. Communism sets the right of the group higher than those of the individual. Most of today’s nations and societies have a solid history of accepting some kind of central rule. Not America.

One of the reasons tyranny won’t ever succeed in America, despite the lack of education and experience in today’s culture, is the retail industry. Only in a free, capitalist society can shopkeepers open new stores, develop and sell new products, and offer wider and wider choices. In communist and socialist societies, there are fewer stores, fewer goods, and almost no choices at all.

Retail, here in America, offers every single citizen the opportunity to make choices, every day. Those choices are based on available money, personal interest, and personal needs. Many former Soviet Union emigrants were overwhelmed by American stores. They couldn’t handle the choices involved in an entire aisle devoted only to coffee or breakfast cereals. And yet, all of us in America have grown up with a tremendous number of options and choices.

From our earliest introduction to money, perhaps at the local corner store, we have options and choices involving candy, comic books, toys, and clothes. We learn about shopping from infancy, assimilating the entire cornucopia of the world of retail. One reason why consumer credit cards have helped wreck the economy is that we want it all, and we want it now! Why wait until we have the money? We feel like we want it, so we buy it. On credit. Nobody’s ever said, “no!”

But all those choices are specific to a free-market economy. Those choices represent competition. What sells, succeeds. What doesn’t sell, fails. That’s a function of life and nature, and led to the economic principle of survival of the fittest. That principle was later adopted by Darwin, a key part of a theory of evolution. The morality and economics of capitalism produce an environment of choice, and all of us assume our right to choose, right down to our core belief system.

Only the government has no customer service option. The government has the force of law (guns and shackles) to demand certain behavior. The government has no association with competition because nobody can compete with the government. Not if the government writes laws to prevent that competition. As such, nobody has a choice where it comes to government mandates, rules, regulations, laws and so forth. Other than to leave the country.

Many conservatives decry the lack of education as a central reason for electing an almost entirely liberal administration. We point to lack of knowledge about economics, lack of personal values, and a lack of a sense of belonging to a unified nation. We worry that the rapid move toward government control over everyday life will actually happen and nobody will do anything to prevent it.

Not true! The only reason the current administration has been able to pull off so many astonishing socialist-like actions is because the resulting loss of choice hasn’t yet been made evident. Even the most rabid Obama supporter still goes to the store every day and chooses whatever they can pay for. Those choices aren’t controlled by anything other than personal desire and needs. And there continues to be a massive number of options, from potato chips to soda pop, frozen dinners to shampoo.

The retail industry is floundering, perhaps on the verge of collapsing. International shipping is at the lowest it’s ever been, meaning that imports and exports are dramatically less. Small businesses are about to reach the October 15 final deadline for IRS extensions, and thousands are predicted to declare bankruptcy. Unemployment means less money, and maxed-out credit cards mean no credit.

We should soon begin to see empty shelves in the stores. Conservative or liberal, Obama supporter or not, young and old, educated and ignorant alike will then be faced with a major reduction in their choices. At that point, people will have a personal stake in asking why. They’ll educate themselves in order to find out what’s going on in the stores.

In almost all other nations and societies, there’s a fairly recent history of shortages, lack of choice, and government controls. The youngest citizens may not have experienced it, but their parents and grandparents remember. They pave the way for declining choices, pointing out that it’s “the way things always have been.” But not in America.

For our entire history, we’ve known only the freedom to choose. Yes, there were shortages and rationing during World War II, but with the adjacent patriotic spirit, people chose to accept the reduced choices. It was for the good of the nation. Back then, there was a sense of being part of a nation, and “the good” of that nation was based on common values.

Educators for decades have chipped away at that “silly notion of patriotism,” encouraging divisions into groups. We have more special-interest groups and ethnic or cultural minorities than ever before. Few people even feel they’re part of a historic organization or that they’re citizens of the great United States. Instead, it’s “gimme gimme gimme,” and “I want it now!”

All that demand for immediate gratification requires huge amounts of choice, options, and the freedom to choose. We aren’t satisfied with a computer case. It has to come in different shapes, sizes, and even colors. We want tee-shirts, jewelry, makeup, gadgets and food. We not only want those things, we also want a wide range of prices. Some of us want (or demand) a DVD player that costs $50, regardless of the realities involved in producing such a technical masterpiece.

We want 5,000 channels and we don’t want to pay more than $10 per month. We want 100 different types of milk, anywhere from fat-free to whipping cream. And within those options, we also have competing brands, each offering the entire spectrum. Thousands and thousands of choices confront every one of us, as soon as we walk in to any kind of retail store. We even have wholesale companies, co-ops, member-only stores, outlet stores, and mail-order or online shopping. Not to mention the used goods market.

No nation or society has ever had the incredible luxury of so many choices. And that’s the bedrock shoreline against which the modern socialists will crash and drown. Right now, in the very short term, all these new laws and regulations, taxes and fees can pass through Congress. We may even see those politicians being re-elected, in the very short term.

But in the long term, there isn’t anyone in any position of action who won’t be faced with a drastic reduction in choices. And when that happens, that’ll be the line in the sand. During the original American Revolution, the slogan was “Don’t tread on me,” referring to autocratic repression of liberty.

In the coming troubled times, the new slogan may be “Don’t take away my cable choices!” Or something along those lines. It’s only that we haven’t yet begun to experience real shortages. There’s still plenty of “stuff” on the shelves. Many large retail chains have gone under, many are in trouble, but hundreds more are still in business. When Americans suddenly discover they can’t choose the way they’ve done up until now, that’s when we’ll see real disagreement with the government.

Freedom is the capability of doing whatever you want to do, and not having to worry about how you’ll pay for it. Responsibility means accepting that your actions have consequences and you must pay something in exchange for your actions. Right now, the government pays the bill for many people’s actions. When the government no longer can pay that bill, many people won’t have the freedom to do whatever they want. The first place where most people discover this will be in the world of shopping.


1 Comment »

  1. […] View original post here: Retail Stands Against Tyranny […]

    Pingback by Retail Stands Against Tyranny « acc3ss.info — September 25, 2009 @ 2:21 am | Reply

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