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Shame on You!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

J.R.R. Tolkein cautioned in The Hobbit that, “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations if you happen to live near one.” For those who value private property, free speech, unfettered competition, limited government and the principle of taxation with representation, Election Day 2008 was not only an historic event from the perspective of race relations in America, but also a shocking affirmation that a new generation of power-hungry socialists have surfaced from within that Trojan Horse called the The Democratic Party. These neo-socialists have already begun the process of turning this country into a nation of hand-out seekers, Wall Street whiners and corporate derrière smoochers seeking bail from the very people who contributed to their economic imprisonment.

In the coming months, I am certain the NeoSocs will be joined by others from both sides of the aisle who, for the sake of political expediency, will turn their backs on the principles of free-market capitalism. These sell-outs will help enact legislation that may cause Karl Marx to do an end-zone victory jig in his grave. It will not do to leave this live dragon out of our calculations.

When the media hype and spin are unraveled, three key factors emerge that explain America’s current political and economic debacle:

First, starting with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program, the U.S. Congress created numerous market disruptions in the form of social justice, pro-union and environmental laws. Ask anyone who has observed the downfall of the American auto industry about the impact of punitive environmental regulations and pro-union policies on the competitiveness of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. Take a good hard look at the long-term effects of Jimmy Carter’s 1977 Community Reinvestment Act and the Clinton Administration’s influence at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to find the root cause of the sub-prime mortgage disaster.

Second, when the Republicans took the reigns of power in both houses of Congress, they quickly abandoned their conservative fiscal values, increased the size of government and spent taxpayer cash like it was growing on those Japanese cherry trees that surround various monuments to our nation’s founders. Talk about rolling over in their graves!

Third, during the past decade social and environmental activists have been wildly successful convincing thousands of business executives to embrace corporate socialism. The so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement had business executives spending corporate capital on programs and policies that contribute very little to profitability and, in some cases, harmed their companies’ bottom lines. It was all oh so voluntary, neither government mandated, nor shareholder-sanctioned. Oftentimes, these expenditures amounted to pay-offs for the pet projects and policies of non-government organizations (NGOs) who helped shove CSR down our collective gullets.

Why did the anti-business activist groups preach the gospel of CSR? The simple answer is that they were preparing the battlefield to advance their socialist agenda at the ballot box, and in the court of public opinion. They knew that it would not be difficult to sneak into corporations led by executives who talk like Rambo but act like Bambi.

So why did these corporate leaders participate in this capitalist equivalent of treason? Some believed the myth that good PR—at any cost—is the Holy Grail of successful business management. Others wanted to position their competitors as corporate villains who could care less about human rights or the environment. Most were trying to appease the socialist attack groups, and their allies in the media and in government.

Guess what all of you corporate appeasers, CSR is about to become real mandatory!

Economist Milton Friedman wrote that some “businessmen believe that they are defending free enterprise when they declaim that business is not concerned merely with profit but also with promoting desirable social ends; that business has a social conscience and takes seriously its responsibility for providing employment, eliminating discrimination, avoiding pollution and whatever else may be the catchwords of the contemporary crop of reformers.” Friedman added, “In fact, they are . . . preaching pure and unadulterated socialism. Businessmen who talk this way are unwitting puppets of the intellectual forces that have been undermining the basis of a free society these past decades.”

It boggles the mind to think that any self-respecting business executive would pay lip-service to the CSR movers, shakers and spinners given their basic belief that corporations should become government property, while leaving the financial risks to the private investors.

Long before the economic meltdown, millions, if not billions of corporate dollars were diverted from shareholders and redistributed to others under the guise of CSR. Every dollar represented a hidden tax on unsuspecting investors. Talk about taxation without representation. Now, of course, people who actually work hard to achieve success won’t have to worry as much about hidden taxes. They will have to worry about Congress and the President deciding that their property and prosperity must be shared with people who haven’t worked quite as hard, or not at all.

How can we stop this lunacy? First, America’s 100-million shareholders need information about how their investments are being shanghaied, how their rights are being subverted and how corporate socialists and government officials are using their hard-earned cash to undermine free enterprise. This is advocacy of the kind employed by the Free Enterprise Action Fund (FEAF). The Fund uses its status as an institutional shareholder to persuade companies to focus on increasing shareholder value and profits rather than vainly trying to appease the socialists and their allies.

Second, American voters must be reminded of Winston Churchill’s admonition that, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy, its inherent value is the equal sharing of misery.” I fear that Americans will discover what Churchill meant in a multitude of ways over the next four years.

In the meantime, I offer three words to the corporate Neville Chamberlains who helped put this country in the hands of people who advocate wealth redistribution and government control of what was once the private sector: Shame on you!

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