Recently we came across a (relatively) new weekly webzine, the New World Standard Critique (Many Perspectives, One Focus). One of the most recent articles was “Gorbachev Accuses U.S. for Preventing Russia from Becoming a Strong Democracy.” Gorbachev is quoted in an interview as stating that the “goal [of the U.S.] was . . . to prevent the emergence of Russia as a powerful democratic state.”
|Democracy for Russia Now!|
Judging from recent actions of Putin, however, the Russians are far more concerned with being a powerful state, rather than a democratic one. After all, if the demand is for democracy, there is little or nothing other countries can do — short of invasion — to prevent democratic reforms . . . if they would even want to . . . and the last we heard, the United States has not invaded Russia, although there do seem to be an instance or two of Russia going into another country. . . .
|Rev. Wm. J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D.|
Frankly, consistent with the laws and characteristics of social justice as detailed by Rev. William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D., in his pamphlet, Introduction to Social Justice (1948) — available as a free download from the website of the Center for Economic and Social Justice — the only thing that can truly keep any people or nation from establishing and maintaining a free and democratic society is lack of the ability and means to do so. No outside agency can prevent this except by force of arms applied continuously.
The right to be free is inherent in every human being as a natural, inalienable right. The exercise of the right to be free, however, requires power, and genuine, lasting power can only be achieved by owning capital — as U.S. statesman Daniel Webster said in 1820, “Power naturally and necessarily follows property.”
|Frederick Jackson Turner|
If, therefore, the leaders of a nation want a politically free and democratic society, they must work with the people in solidarity to establish and maintain an economically free and democratic society. And that means opening up democratic access to the means of acquiring and possessing private property in capital, just as Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler advocated. As American historian Frederick Jackson Turner pointed out in a talk he gave at the Chicago Exposition in 1893, “So long as free land exists, the opportunity for a competency exists, and economic power secures political power.”
Substituting all other forms of capital for land, and sound monetary and fiscal policies that encourage and assist people in becoming capital owners instead of punishing them for becoming productive and virtuous citizens for the opportunity for a competency (i.e., an adequate and secure income), the solution is obvious. Everyone who desires to be free must own a capital stake sufficient to generate enough income to meet ordinary living expenses adequately.
The situation now faced by the former Soviet Union is no different from that faced by virtually every country in the world today: too much government, not enough ownership. Instead of being backed by private sector assets and created in ways that creates more owners, the world’s money supply is backed by government debt and created in ways that concentrates ever more power in the hands of the State. This has transformed the State from an essential social tool under the control of the people, to what totalitarian philosopher Thomas Hobbes called a “Mortall God” that rules on earth the way the Immortal God rules in heaven.
Pope Leo XIII pointed out the solution to many modern problems well over a century ago in his 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum. Although he wrote specifically of the relations between owners of capital and non-owning workers, what he said applies across the board to politics as well as economics:
“We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners.” (Rerum Novarum, § 46.)
The message is clear, and one that Gorbachev and Putin need to hear: own, or be owned.#30#