Category Archive 'Socialism'
06 Nov 2019

Ed Sullivan Introduces the 2020 Democrat Candidates

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04 May 2019

Socialism

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02 May 2019

Venezuela Tried Modern Monetary Theory (MMT)

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01 May 2019

It

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Styephe

17 Apr 2019

Bernie Sanders Worth $2.5 Million*

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* Forbes story.

20 Feb 2019

Angry Socialism Selling Well

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George Will marvels at the recent surge of popularity for the new angrier Socialism.

Two-thirds of the federal budget (and 14 percent of GDP) goes to transfer payments, mostly to the non-poor. The U.S. economy’s health-care sector (about 18 percent of the economy) is larger than the economies of all but three nations, and is permeated by government money and mandates. Before the Affordable Care Act was enacted, 40 cents of every health-care dollar was government’s 40 cents. The sturdy yeomanry who till America’s soil? Last year’s 529-page Agriculture Improvement Act will be administered by the Agriculture Department, which has about one employee for every 20 American farms.

Socialists favor a steeply progressive income tax, as did those who created today’s: The top 1 percent pay 40 percent of taxes; the bottom 50 percent pay only 3 percent; 50 percent of households pay either no income tax or 10 percent or less of their income. Law professor Richard Epstein notes that in the last 35 years the fraction of total taxes paid by the lower 90 percent has shrunk from more than 50 percent to about 35 percent.

In his volume in the Oxford History of the United States (The Republic for Which It Stands) covering 1865–1896, Stanford’s Richard White says that John Bates Clark, the leading economist of that era, said “true socialism” is “economic republicanism,” which meant more cooperation and less individualism. Others saw socialism as “a system of social ethics.” All was vagueness.

Today’s angrier socialists rail, with specificity and some justification, against today’s “rigged” system of government in the service of the strong. But as the Hoover Institution’s John H. Cochrane (a.k.a. the Grumpy Economist) says, “If the central problem is rent-seeking, abuse of the power of the state, to deliver economic goods to the wealthy and politically powerful, how in the world is more government the answer?”

RTWT

17 Feb 2019

Socialism: Back From the Death Like the Killer at the End of a Horror Movie

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Matthew Continetti associates the rebirth of Socialism and Nationalism with the death of Christianity.

If the death of the socialist idea was the most important political event of the last century, then the rebirth of this ideal must rank high in significance in the current one. Just as nationalism has reasserted itself on the political right, socialism has grown in force on the left. In the twenty-first century the two ideologies are estranged and antagonistic twins, paired in Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party, Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. The Democratic victory in 2018 has elevated socialism to a height it has not reached in the United States in more than a century. Only in recent weeks, however, have defenders of democratic capitalism become aware of how great the socialist challenge really is. Only now are we beginning to formulate a response.

Take your pick of the headlines. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the most talked-about Democrat in the country. Her fellow member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Rashida Tlaib, opened the 116th Congress by saying, “Impeach the mother—.” Their comrade Ilhan Omar apparently wants to offend every Jewish American by the end of her term. The Green New Deal, Medicare For All, eliminating employer-based health insurance, marginal tax rates of upwards of 70 to 90 percent, requiring corporations above a certain size to obtain a federal charter, the expropriation of wealth, heavy inheritance taxes, free college, universal basic income, abolish I.C.E., the anti-Semitism that has long been socialism’s fellow traveler—what was once radical and marginal is now embraced and celebrated by a large and vocal part of the Democratic Party.

Why? The answer goes a long way toward explaining the resurgence of nationalism as well. In “Socialism: An Obituary for an Idea,” the essay quoted above, Kristol exhumed the ideology’s intellectual remains. He explained that the ideal of utopian socialism offered “elements that were wanting in capitalist society—elements indispensable for the preservation, not to say perfection, of our humanity.” Socialism supplied the values, aspirations, goals, mechanisms of meaning that democratic capitalism could not.

As Michael Novak observed in his 1982 masterpiece The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, what we call capitalism is really three systems in one. There is the economic system of entrepreneurship and free exchange. There is a moral-cultural system governing norms and behavior. And there is the political system of democratic pluralism and individual freedom. Socialism returns at times when the democratic capitalist trinity is out of whack, at places where the moral-cultural and political systems fail to provide answers that legitimize the economic system. Socialism is the attempt to derive from the political sphere the direction and purpose to human life that is the traditional province of morality and culture.

The separation of the moral and cultural from the political and economic was the crack in the foundation of democratic capitalism. “A society founded solely on ‘individual rights,'” Kristol wrote, “was a society that ultimately deprived men of those virtues which could only exist in a political community which is something other than a ‘society.’ Among these virtues are a sense of distributive justice, a fund of shared moral values, and a common vision of the good life sufficiently attractive and powerful to transcend the knowledge that each individual’s life ends only in death.”

Thus, if people do not see the fruits of the economic system as just, and if the moral-cultural system fails to satisfy people’s deepest longings, they will look increasingly to the political system to lessen the gale of creative destruction or to silence it altogether. The viability of democratic capitalism, then, depends on its moral and cultural character. “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and trust,” James Madison wrote in Federalist no. 55, “so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.”

It was Kristol’s view that the founders of democratic capitalism simply assumed that such qualities would be always present. “Capitalist society itself—as projected, say, in the writings of John Locke and Adam Smith—was negligent of such virtues,” he wrote.

    It did not reject them and in no way scorned them, but simply assumed that the individual would be able to cope with this matter as he did with his other ‘private’ affairs. This assumption, in turn, was possible only because the founders of capitalism took it for granted that the moral and spiritual heritage of Judaism and Christianity was unassailable, and that the new individualism of bourgeois society would not ‘liberate’ the individual from this tradition. It might free him from a particular theology, or a particular church; but he would ‘naturally’ rediscover for himself, within himself, those values previously associated with that theology or church.

Things did not work out as planned. The bourgeois values of honesty, fidelity, diligence, reticence, delayed gratification, and self-control that once reigned supreme have been contested for many decades by an ethic of self-expression, self-indulgence, instant gratification, and demanding the impossible. Our politics is a competition for control over what Michael Novak called the “empty shrine” at the center of pluralist democracy. The champions of Christianity and militant secularism, free speech and political correctness, meritocracy and diversity, the entrepreneurial instinct and an inflamed egalitarianism, and historical memory and limitless iconoclasm struggle for a dominance that is never fully attained.

Both the right and the left are uncomfortable with the democratic capitalist trinity. Both would rather have the empty shrine be replaced with something else. That is why you see laments for the loss of political community, as well as critiques of inequality, on both Fox News and MSNBC.

RTWT

06 Feb 2019

Bernie Sanders Looked Unhappy and Unrepentant

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25 Jan 2019

Tweet of the Day

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18 Dec 2018

Bert and I: On Socialism

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1st sketch: 0:00 to 0:58:

Eban Robay went down to the Tremont Temple in Boston one Saturday night to hear Norman Thomas speak. Next Monday he was preaching Socialism to Enoch Turner over the back fence:

“You know, Enoch,” he was sayin’, “under Socialism a person shares everything.”

“You mean to say, Eban, that if you had two farms you’d give me one of them?”

“Ayup, Enoch, if I had two farms, I’d give you one of them.”

“You mean to say, Eban, if you had two hay rakes you’d give me one of them?”

“Ayup, Enoch, if I had two hay rakes I’d give you one of them.”

“Or if you had two hogs, Eban, would you give me one of them?”

“DARN YOU, ENOCH! YOU KNOW I GOT TWO HOGS!!!!”

——————–

Bob Bryan passed away recently at 87, and was commemorated with a posting from Bird Dog.

17 Aug 2018

“Do It For Denmark!”

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John Davis reports that the Danish Government has been reduced to begging men, via advertising from the state travel agency, to have sex with Danish women.

Denmark, however, has fallen ill to a festering infection known as “feminism.” It is the same illness that has taken hold of the rest of Scandanavia, Western Europe and the UK. Because of this gender infirmity, Denmark’s birth rate, and, its population growth, has been plummeting (as is true with most of Western Europe).

Feminism has given women in Denmark an immunity from civility, and, license to openly hate and ridicule men. For example, it is not uncommon for girls to be sitting on a bus, in a group, and have them openly point to a man and discuss how unattractive he is. The Danish legal system is set up so that once a woman has “been impregnated” by a man, the man is completely disposable in divorce, and, the man’s role as a sperm donor is further degraded by requiring him to pay for the child for the rest of his life so that the impregnated woman may enjoy her fulfillment as a modern feminist.

Denmark still imposes all of the obligations of men that have survived medieval chivalry, yet, virtually sees men as nothing but completely disposable sperm donors (who are occasionally allowed to work in the Danish socialist job market).

Denmark’s feminist culture, laws and government view and treat men as nothing but disposable sperm donors.

The result is that only about 20% of Danish men are actively in the dating pool. Danish women are constantly complaining about not having enough men to satisfy their desires for sexual and social intercourse. Yet, Danish women will viciously guard their feminism, hatred of men, life plans to treat men as disposable, and the concept that men are irrelevant except to give the woman sperm, and, the child some semblance of legitimacy.

One with intellect, sensitivity, education (instead of the indoctrination that feminism requires) and human dignity might think that the solution to this problem would be to encourage women to learn something about human compassion, respect, human value beyond sex, and, the beauty of binding interpersonal relationships.

The Danish government doesn’t have any of those problems . . . . Here is the Danish government’s solution. This is just one advertisement of an intense propaganda campaign the Danish feminist government undertook to try to beg men to inseminate Danish women (for “Mom” and for “The State”).

Spies Rejser is the Danish state travel agency.

Note how the advertisement features a prominent man-hating feminist in the narrative in order to appease the fascist feminist lobby that controls the country’s social laws and norms.

Note how the advertisement relegates the man to a mere decoration and accessory and sperm donor.

RTWT

HT: Karen L. Myers.

15 Aug 2018

Socialism: A Political Solution to a Spiritual Problem

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Nathanael Blake has a good editorial explaining that the yen for Socialism really amounts to a category mistake.

The surge in socialism’s popularity among young Americans has little to do with the actual merits (or demerits) of the system, or even what it actually entails. Most seem to think it means a larger welfare state and taxing “the rich” a bit more. Rather, socialism’s allure is due to the families that are broken, the communities that are atomized, and the churches that are empty — often, sadly, because they betrayed their responsibilities to God and man.

The needs and desires that are met only by faith, family, and friendship are still part of the human condition. The current half-baked socialist revival is a category error, as it attempts a political and economic solution to a cultural and spiritual problem. But part of our crisis is the loss of the ability to think clearly about such matters, as exemplified by a generation that relies on the Harry Potter books for a shared moral language. This poverty of moral imagination and expression illuminates the spiritual and cultural desolation that prior generations created and bequeathed to their children.

As people seek a political solution for their spiritual and psychological dismay and distress, we see pathologies that used to afflict religious entities become manifest in politics. The sudden popularity of ersatz socialism is not because it offers a realistic plan of improvement, but because it sounds fair and compassionate while promising to relieve anxiety over economic uncertainty. That socialism will deliver on none of these promises is beside the point.

The concerns and anxieties that beset our culture will not be addressed only by reminders of material abundance provided by free market economics. Man does not live on technological miracles alone. Wealth will not satisfy us and assuage our anxieties; affordable airfare and iPhones will not save our souls. But as we look for that which will, we must remember the bounty lavished upon us. Our unhappiness rarely results from real material deprivation, and a socialist redistribution will do little to increase the sum of human happiness.

Only by bearing our material blessings in mind will we be able to think clearly about our desires for cultural, relational, and spiritual satisfaction.

RTWT

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