The number of Americans who openly and proudly admit to being socialists these days is staggering.
Frederic Bastiat, The Law (1849)
This is why Claude is one of my heros.
The two terms socialism and communism are synonyms. Communism is a very old term, while the term socialism was first coined in France at the end of the 1830s. Up to the year 1917 both were used indiscriminately. Thus Marx and Engels called the program they published in 1848 the Communist Manifesto, while the parties they organized for the realization of this program called themselves socialist parties.
Before 1917 no distinction was made between the two words. When Lenin called his party “communist,” he meant that it was a party sincerely aiming at the realization of socialism as distinct from the parties that, according to Lenin, merely called themselves socialist parties while in fact they were “social traitors” and “servants” of the bourgeoisie. Lenin never pretended that his Communist party had any other goal than the realization of socialism. The official name he gave to his government was?and is?the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics. If somebody says he is opposed to communism, but cherishes socialism, he is no more consistent or logical than a man who declares that he is opposed to murder but cherishes assassination.— Ludwig von Mises, Economic Freedom & Interventionism, Chapter 21.
The real theory of trickle down is actually advocated by the interventionists and socialists. They think that if we tax everyone and give money to the government, it will eventually come trickling down to the middle class and the poor. Same with power. If we give more power to the state to regulate and run our lives, this power will trickle down to the rest of us.
But if you want to talk of implausible theories, this is surely it. Government’s power and money doesn’t trickle down. It takes money and pours it into ever more bureaucracy and gives it to the elites. Its power grows and grows at the expense of society. This is the experience of the whole of human history.— Jeffrey Tucker (via anarchei)
“you realize Smith was a Libertarian Socialist, right” I’d put my life savings on this guy being a Chomsky-drone. Chomsky makes the exact same asinine assertion.
the whole libertarian-socialist makes zero sense to me. Let’s pretend for a second that he’s referring to ‘socialist’ as the economic and not the political/governmental version because the governmental version would instantly clash with the ‘libertarian’ ideals.
Let’s also pretend that the economic form of ‘socialism’ he refers to is the variety where citizens and not the state own all property because the latter would, again, clash with the views of the ‘libertarian’.
Still, this political label makes zero sense. It is an oxymoron since even a non-state version of ‘socialism’ would require that there be no private ownership of property or profits and ‘libertarianism’ promotes the protection and ownership of private property.
These two things clash at their very core.
Anyway, it’s always fun seeing how silly some people are. I like to hold the view that, for the most part, people aren’t right or wrong so long as they are consistent in their philosophy and application, but sometimes people leave me in a state of doubt in my own philosophy.
Contempt for Capitalism. How A Lack of Understanding Sparked Hatred
This is a prime example of how limited the people are in their knowledge of how wealth is created and how that process is beneficial to all.
What anti-capitalists don’t understand about the advancement and progress of technology, industry and markets is that overtime what once seemed unattainable and luxurious eventually becomes the norm and even sub-par.
People are fairly clued up on how products come to market and we all can see how innovations eventually become cheaper. Your entire analysis misses is the point of the capitalist mode of production and why anti-capitalists have a problem with it.
Why don’t you enlighten us.
Contempt for Capitalism. How A Lack of Understanding Sparked Hatred
A new theme I’ve seen gain popularity among the youth, both in America and in Europe, is a spurning of capitalism that stems from the notion that successful people owning rare or high-priced goods is evil. This is the idea that a select few should not have possessions that the masses don’t also have access to. This is a prime example of how limited the people are in their knowledge of how wealth is created and how that process is beneficial to all.
What anti-capitalists don’t understand about the advancement and progress of technology, industry and markets is that overtime what once seemed unattainable and luxurious eventually becomes the norm and even sub-par. This process is how
People are so blinded by their present-day greed or envy or even disgust that they don’t realize that someday, in the future, what you have a demand for, yet see as unattainable today will eventually become a common good or even an obsolete good.
It’s these volunteer ‘beta testers”, if you will, who put up their own money to buy high-priced yet typically unrefined goods that pave the way and open up markets for more competition, more supply and more efficiency in production (costs, time and price).
Let’s look at some examples:
Automobiles: Only the rich had cars. Then, because the rich actually spent money and smart people entered the industry, cars became affordable and the masses could have cars. We’ve become so accustomed and spoiled by this becoming the norm that some people are embarrassed of their lower-quality cars. 50 years ago, you’d drive around in a beat up Carola like you were a Rockefeller.
Let’s look at something even simpler than a car.
Running hot water: Today, almost everyone in America has running hot water and we’re getting tot he point that almost everyone on the planet has the same. Sure, in other parts of the world, it’s more rare, but let’s focus on America. 100 to 200 years ago, you’d shower once a week, if lucky, in reused, lukewarm water. Today, we take daily is not multiple showers a day.
Thanks to progress, these things have become the norm, yet we don’t appreciate it. And some people, the anti-capitalist crowd, are to stupid to even realize to be taught.
Look at every industry. Look how Airbags and ABS went from only a Mercedes feature, most couldn’t afford. Today, the worst car has 6 airbags and giant breaks. Look at medical advancements. A 100 years ago, the common cold would kill you. But with the advancement and investment by those vilified rich, those that could afford the emergent, cutting edge treatment, today we have tech available for people how have no money that would seem like science fiction for our great grandparents.
Accumulation of funds and the investment of those funds bring about progress. When people who have brilliant ideas and need the resources and the funding to develop them, that’s what advances humanity. That’s what brings progress. Without the ability of market interaction and voluntary investment, everyone would hoard their ideas and their resources and we’d never accumulate short-lived pools of ideas and funding to ever create new wealth for all to benefit from.
Appreciate what you have and understand that overtime, progress touches us all and we all benefit. Don’t hate those that benefit now due to their ability to afford it for themselves. Their high-priced investment today will help bring that product to the masses for cheap in the future, improving the daily lives of all of society’s members and paving the way for demand of newer and better technology. It’s a beautiful cycle that continues to grow and continues to give to all so long as we all appreciate it’s overall impact.
*This was a comment I had posted on another post, but I liked it too much to let it be lost as an obscure comment, so I made it a post.
These are the reasons why Ron Paul is not a good choice:
To get a full handle on how bad Paul’s record and positions are, here is a quick rundown of his most offensive positions, those that would be the most damaging to the country. (Other than the fact he voted against the Civil Rights Act and opposed Hate Crime legislation.) Ron Paul:
- Would abolish the income tax - Federal income tax and most state income tax originated in 1913 to prepare to pay for the national debt and the interest payments to the privately owned Federal Reserve. My definition of taxes: The redistribution of wealth through inefficient means under the guise of improving everyday public life via the creation of regulations that only the ultra-rich and well educated can find loopholes out of. Learn your history.
- Would place the U.S. on the gold standard - Russia, China and other prominent countries are looking to switch back to the gold standard also. (Source 1, 2)
- Would allow citizens to engage in trade using gold and silver instead of currency - Because free trade using a currency that isn’t under monopolistic control is bad? Why is it okay for countries to trade in gold but not private citizens?
- Would arbitrarily cut government regulations and believes that regulations only hurt businesses - You’re right, regulations hurt employees. Also, the economy.
- Would eliminate the taxation of foreign income - This is a good thing. It promotes people making money and bringing it into the US. This funnels money back into our country and then is spent on and paid to other citizens.
- Is a global warming denier - One thing I don’t agree with Ron Paul on. The Earth is obviously warming But one thing I will say is that we don’t know if it’s caused by man or nature. There is evidence that the Earth’s warmed like this well before industrialization or humans. There’s also this thing called The Sun and it’s been warming up other planets too. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
- Says that Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare are unconstitutional - They’re. They are also ponzi schemes that are no bankrupt.
- Would eliminate antitrust laws - If the gov’t, and you, are anti-monoply than why does the gov’t grant patents?
- Would eliminate the federal minimum wage - Minimum wage laws HURT workers, not help them. Here’s a longer post I wrote on minimum wage.
- Would eliminate the Davis-Bacon Act and the Copeland Act - Again, establishing a price floor is not good for industry or the labor force.
- Would eliminate the estate and gift taxes - This is another thing I disagree with Ron Paul on.
- Would tax all earners at a 10 percent rate - I don’t think this is true and your link is broken. Ron Paul did suggest a 10% optout idea where one can pay 10% of income and optout of all gov’t interaction and the taxes associated with them.
- Would eliminate tax credits to individuals who are not corporations - Misleading. He’d eliminate income taxes for individuals. That’s a 100% tax credit.
- Would eliminate the elderly tax credit, child care credit and earned income credit - Again, no more income taxes. At all. Ever. Can’t have credits for something that doesn’t exist.
- Voted to make it easier to decertify unions - Unions are a monopoly. First you’re mad he would allow companies to monopolize and now you’re made he’ll outlaw them?
- Opposes Federal Deposit Insurance - Because it’s not the gov’ts job. He wouldn’t oppose a private company issuing deposite insurance.
- Would revert government spending to 2004 levels and freeze it there - On Noes, not all the way back to 2004! What a caveman! You understand that in 2004, the US government spent more money than any government in the history of humanity? Is that not enough money?
- Opposes raising the debt ceiling for any reason - Why is this bad? Do you want MORE debt? We’re already at Debt as 105% of GDP. We have more debt than any nation has in the history of nations. BUT WE NEED MORE?
- Would allow people to opt out of Social Security - It’s our money and our retirement. Maybe we want to invest it in a mutual fund or a 401k or treasury bonds or maybe we want to buy crack and smoke it. It’s none of your business.
- Says that widespread bankruptcy is the stimulus the country needs - Yes, because bankruptcy is the natural process by which economies and businesses reset themselves. If you artificially sustain and prop up a business or an asset, you will forever keep shoveling money into a black hole. You need to let it die and let the market grow out of the ashes. This is economics 101.
- Opposed the auto industry bailouts - Because they didn’t work. GM still owes us billions of dollars that we’ll probably never recoup. Oh, and they are still struggling. Ford didn’t take a bailout, almost went bankrupt, restructured, cut the fat, found private investment and they are a healthy company now with no debt to the gov’t and the citizens and they did this all without gov’t bailouts. Magic!
- Favors tort reform - Misleading again. He favors malpractice tort reform TO FAVOR THE patient Malpractice insurance is the #1 factor for driving up the cost of healthcare in this country. Health insurance is #2.
- Opposes the regulation of tobacco - Did you even read this link? Read it again. He is opposing over taxation and gov’t control of a private industries product. It’s a principle thing. He’s not endorsing tobacco.
- Would protect the ‘privacy’ of online sexual predators and child pornographers on public wi-fi networks - that’s because SAFE allows for ISPs to track every single thing you do online in order to “find” child pornographers. That’s equivallent to putting a cop in everyone’s house to make sure there’s no child abuse. The legislation was nothing more than a way to spy on the interent wrapped up in a shinny suit of child protection. And you fell for it hook line and sinker.
- Would prevent federal courts from protecting citizens who have their rights denied - I don’t think you understand or even know about jurisdiction and state’s rights. You know that America is a union of 50 independent nation-states, right?
- Opposed the Motor Voter law - I don’t know anything about this.
- Would allow states to ban gay marriage - He’d also allow states to ALLOW gay marriage. He doesn’t think the FEDERAL gov’t should have a blanket legislation on the issue, which is the case now. He actually doesn’t think any form of gov’t, state or federal should have a say in marriage.
- Sponsored the Marriage Protection Act See above.
- Would repeal affirmative action - Because affirmative action is racist! Here’s Thomas Sowell on the fraud affirmative action.
- Would limit the scope of Brown v. Board of Education - See above.
- Says that emergency rooms should be able to turn away undocumented immigrants - That’s the right of a business.
- Opposes the Americans With Disabilities Act - He opposes all centralized federal gov’t entitlements.
- Voted anti-choice more than 90 times as a member of Congress - He’s an OB/GYN, he spent his entire life delivering babies, you think he wants to allow them to be killed?
- Voted to eliminate all international family planning funds - Yes. He’s not for outlawing them. He just doesn’t want them to be funded by federal gov’t. It’s not fair to force people through taxation to pay for things they fundementally or religiously disagree with. And I’m pro-choice.
- Voted for the Stupak amendment banning abortion coverage by private health insurance companies - Again, he’s a OB/GYN. I don’t 100% agree with banning privately funded abortions.
- Voted in favor of fetal personhood laws - If you’ve ever had a kid, or some compassion, you’d probably agree with this.
- Would eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood - See above, 3 posts up.
- Would ban flag burning - I don’t know wnough about this. Flag burning is free speech and OK with me.
- Would weaken regulation of dietary supplements - because regulations have kept us safe so far? The FDA allows harmful substances to hit the stores allt he time. Regulations just add unneeded costs to the price of goods.
- Supports a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research - He doesn’t call for a ban on private stem cell research, only gov’t funded research. I don’t think you can understand this difference.
- Opposes subsidies for prescription drugs for seniors - He opposes ALL subsidies.
- Opposes mandatory vaccinations - It’s your body or your child’s body. It should be your own choice about what goes into it.
- Would expand offshore oil drilling - So? We need oil to survive and there’s oil in the ocean. It only makes sense that until a better solution for energy is discovered, we get ourselves the most oil at the cheapest costs.
- Would increase mining on federal lands - Again, we have vast natural resources yet we send money to foreign countries for the same resources.
- Would weaken the Clean Air Act - The EPA and the fake tax on pollution is just a ploy for the federal gov’t to make money.
- Would repeal the Soil and Water Conservation Act - above.
- Would weaken the Federal Water Pollution Control Act - above.
- Would eliminate departments of Energy, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Labor - - above.
- Would eliminate the Environmental Protection agency - You already mentioned. Above.
- Would eliminate FEMA - above.
- Would eliminate the Federal Reserve - clearly you don’t understand how the Fed operates or how it owns this country and our monetary system by issuing and manipulating our currency and interest rates.
- Would eliminate the Occupational Health and Safety Administration - OSHA is a joke. Many of OSHA’s regulations were common practice before the organization even existed.
- Would eliminate AmeriCorps - don’t know enough to comment.
- Would eliminate spending to combat AIDS overseas - because we have nothing left to fix in this country?
- Would eliminate gas taxes - A lot of taxes on gas pay for gov’t waste.
- Opposes the census gathering demographic data on Americans - It’s a waste of money.
- Opposed the dismantling of U.S. nuclear missile silos - Because war is great, right?
- Wanted to withdraw the U.S. from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty - why give other nations control over your own policies? Are we not sovereign?
- Wants to claim the Panama Canal as sovereign U.S. territory - we paid for it and built it.
- Opposes the International Criminal Court - Again, we are a sovereign nation.
- Would withdraw the U.S. from the U.N. - Again, we are a sovereign nation. The UN just uses us for our free military.
- Supports the electoral college and believes that the U.S. is not a democracy - The US is not a democracy, it’s a republic with a tiered electoral system.
- Believes that we have no right to health care - you have no right to a commodity. Not healthcare, not cars, not cell phones and not even clothing. These aren’t rights. You have the right to life, liberty and freedom.
- Would eliminate birthright citizenship - I’m down with immigration but his point is that people sneak into the US just to give birth. Eliminate the possibility of citizenship and people will stop risking their lives to sneak in.
- Believes that law enforcement can’t help people, only armed citizens can prevent violence - When seconds count, police are only minutes away.
- Would allow the legal sale of unpasteurized milk - On ho, freedom of choice!
- Believes that groups of people don’t have rights, only individuals do - Yes. Corporations are NOT people, my friend.
- Believes that government cannot redistribute wealth in any way - How is this even a bad thing? What kind of socialist idiot do you have to be to believe this is a bad thing.
- Believes in the concept of ‘jury nullification’, the idea that a jury can judge not only the facts in a case but the justness of the law itself - Laws are dynamic, they change over time as people and even morality adjusts. What’s wrong with this?
- Believes that social welfare should be in the hands of individuals only, not government - Or we can all live in the socialist utopia of a prison cell.
Do your research — a politician’s voting record matters far more than the words that come out of his mouth.
My rebuttals in bold. That took much longer than I thought.
Robert Reich gives us the dumbest headline of the weekend
This is the actual headline from Robert Reich’s new piece over at HuffPo: ”The Answer Isn’t Socialism; It’s Capitalism That Better Spreads the Benefits of the Productivity Revolution.”
Reich opens his article, responding to Sarkozy’s loss in France’s elections today:
Francois Hollande’s victory doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a movement toward socialism in Europe or elsewhere. Socialism isn’t the answer to the basic problem haunting all rich nations.
The answer is to reform capitalism. The world’s productivity revolution is outpacing the political will of rich societies to fairly distribute its benefits. The result is widening inequality coupled with slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment.
and from his conclusion (emphasis mine):
And this is why a second Obama administration, should there be one, must focus its attention on more broadly distributing the gains from growth. This doesn’t mean “redistributing” from rich to poor, as in a zero-sum game. To the contrary, the rich will do far better with a smaller share of a robust, growing economy than they’re doing with a large share of an economy that’s barely moving forward.
This will require real tax reform — not just a “Buffett” minimal tax but substantially higher marginal rates and more brackets at the top, with a capital gains rate matching the income-tax rate. It also means a larger Earned Income Tax Credit, whose benefits extend high into the middle class. That will enable many Americans to move to a 35-hour workweek without losing ground — thereby making room for more jobs.
It means Medicare for all rather than an absurdly-costly system that relies on private for-profit insurers and providers.
It will require limiting executive salaries and empowering workers to get a larger share of corporate profits. The Employee Free Choice Act should be an explicit part of the second-term agenda.
It will require strict limits on the voracious, irresponsible behavior of Wall Street, from which we’ve all suffered. The Glass-Steagall Act must be resurrected (the so-called Volcker Rule is more ridden with holes than cheese), and the big banks broken up.
And it will necessitate a public educational system - including early child education - second to none, and available to all our young people.
We don’t need socialism. We need a capitalism that works for the vast majority.
Umm…Robert, buddy…I don’t know how to break this to you. What you’re describing…that’s socialism.
This is why I have zero respect for Reich.
The guy knows there are problems. He even knows exactly what the problems are. He calls them out and outlines them correctly.
And then gives the worst possible solution an economist can give.
To make things worse, he is either very delusional or very confused on his own stance. He argues that he isn’t a socialist or a communist yet all of his solutions to our problems have to do with a socialist or communist form of economics. He wants to redistribute wealth and force those that make money to involuntarily slice of a part of their earnings and hand it to those that can’t or won’t involve themselves in the process of progress.
He even goes as far as saying that the economy is in trouble and that Obama’s policies haven’t worked yet he says that we need to reelect Obama and implement more of his policies.