- Capitalism and Alternatives -

I got this buddy...

Posted by: Stuart Gort ( USA ) on December 13, 1999 at 13:29:28:

I have a friend named Kevin Ryan. He builds guitars in his father-in-law's garage in Wesminster, CA. Kevin worked many years at Rockwell in the model shop and became quite familiar with tooling fixtures there which he applied to his then nascent interest of building guitars. Kevin, as it soon became apparent, demonstrated extraordinary genius in his craftsmanship. Today he has a two year backlog, sells to celebrities, exacts roughly $4500 per instrument, and makes 5 instruments a month at a cost of $500 per instrument. Kevin will never have anyone working for him, as he is quite unlikely to find another person of his caliber.

I'm going to say this once again;

Kevin is an extraordinary individual. He is among a group of 6 or 8 men in this country with the talent required to produce such stunningly complex and intricate artifacts.

There is also an old man, probably deceased, who I knew 22 years ago in Arcadia, CA. I don't remember his full name (a poignant testament to my point here) but his first name was Jack. I used to visit him fairly regularly to pick his brain about his luthier skills. Jack was quite a man from my perspective. I venerated his character and patience. He reminded me of my great grandfather who left this world as a fine example of virtue to me.
I was considering apprenticing for him and he indicated he could use the help. I wanted one of his instruments and would work on it while I apprenticed. I remember he too would produce 5 instruments a month but he only received about $700 for his. That price was quite beyond my means at the time and I perceived that to be as much as anyone would ever pay for a fine instrument.

I do not remember the level of quality of Jack's guitars. It was a long time ago. But now I compare Kevin's with all others and I see fundamental differences between builders that cannot be accounted for by time, expense, or exertion of energy. Simply put, Kevin's talent is worth far more per instrument than was Jack's.

The question socialists who embrace the LTV must ask themselves is whether or not Kevin actually does any more work than another guitar builder. He doesn't, of course. He is simply more talented at it and that is all. Just like those who own and play Kevin's instruments, an extraordinary commitment of time, money, or energy does not necessarily produce extraordinary results. Here we have manifested the natural inequity of life.

I believe I put a face on my arguments with my anecdotal accounts of life. The struggle to support one's views with unproved theory while disparaging the examples of reality is the same lack of virtue that makes it hard for an ordinary person to look someone directly in the eye while lying to them. It's impossible to face the truth when one has too much invested in a falsehood. The liar has his integrity at stake. The socialist has far too many years of time and energy committed to the theoretical world of academia at stake.

Nevertheless, under a socialist system Kevin will not be allowed to sell his instruments for $4500. He will be relegated to risking the wrath of the state as a black marketeer or his talent will be thwarted altogether and the world deprived of his art. Any socialist economic system that coerces egalitarianism will oppress talent and initiative as it always has. There is nothing new under the sun, as Solomon would say.

What must be acknowledged in any economic system is the greed and avarice of man that, if not understood and controlled, will undermine and topple that system. Socialism, which borrows a moral component of Christianity but denies Christ as God, a personal relationship with God, and the depravity of the unregenerate human condition, can only be a short lived impostor doomed to failure. Why? Because control of the greed and avarice of man will rely only on the power of the state. When the state ignores the power of God that convicts and changes the heart, it must coerce preferred behavior in a futile mockery of God. Socialism coerces compliance to the principles of Christianity without convicting or committing man's heart. The only option left to the state, or those promote such a state, is to place hope in the capacity of man to evolve as a species to the point where greed and avarice is naturally selected to the scrap heap of history. Don't those of you who support collectivism, but not state oppression, understand that you are practicing pure and simple humanism - a religion that assumes the transcendence of man without God? Is not socialism then antithetical to Christianity in every way except its most superficial practices?

Stuart Gort

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