Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Socialism’

Erie Times E-Edition Article Democrats stumble out of the gate in presidential voting

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2020

…and a carnival of unintended consequences.

This could be any government project.

George Will may be a warparty Buckley acolyte but he does understand government.

George Will

The progressive party’s Iowa caucuses were a hilarious parody of progressive governance – ambitious, complex, subtle and a carnival of unintended consequences. The party that promises to fine-tune , from the production of wealth to the allocation of health care to the administration of education, produced a fittingly absurd climax to what surely was Iowa’s final strut as a national distraction.

Like a toddler trailing a security blanket across Iowa, Elizabeth Warren clung to identity politics with a fervor that suggested desperation and defied caricature.

Eventual autopsies of her campaign, and perhaps of the Democrats’ presidential hopes, should ponder this promise to Iowans: For the purpose of “restoring integrity and competence to government,” she will have “at least 50 percent of Cabinet positions filled by women and nonbinary people,” and a “young trans person” will vet her secretary of education candidates. In the Democrats’ ideological auction, Warren bested Pete Buttigieg who, in what counts in today’s Democratic Party as Solomonic centrism, promised only that half the members of his Cabinet will have two X chromosomes.

Four days before Iowa Democrats stumbled into futility, Bernie Sanders revealed to The New York Times the genesis of his socialism. Never mind the gulags, famines, Venezuelas and other wreckages, socialism is justified because the Dodgers decamped from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season when Sanders was 16. The Times says “perhaps no single event has proved more enduring in Mr. Sanders’ consciousness – more viscerally felt in his signature fury toward the 1 percent.” Well.

In 1955, the Dodgers, with six future Hall of Famers, won the World Series but had an average attendance of just 13,423, barely better than Major League Baseball‘s worst-drawing 2019 team (Miami, 10,016). In 1950, St. Louis, the western-most major-league city, had teams and Los Angeles had none. In Sanders’ cartoonish understanding of reality, his explanation of everything he finds objectionable – other people’s “greed” – explains the loss of what he still considers his eternal entitlement to the Dodgers being in Brooklyn.

Never mind that many of the Dodgers’ fans left Brooklyn, as did today’s senator from Vermont who, by the way, when playing a like-minded rabbi for a film said that he despises “free agency crap” – the unionized players’ hard-won right to negotiate terms of employment with teams of their choice.

Substituting indignation for information, Sanders’ baseball nostalgia is akin to his claim that the average worker “is not making a nickel more” than 45 years ago. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that from 1990 to 2016 the average household’s inflation- adjusted income after taxes and government transfers increased 46 percent, and 66 percent for households in the bottom quintile.

Fortunately, there is something comparatively serious in America’s political future. Super Tuesday, aka March 3, will allocate 1,357 delegates, 68 percent of the total needed to nominate. They will come mostly from (never mind American Samoa and Democrats abroad) 14 states that include five that the nominee will lose in November (Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah), three that he or she will win (California, Massachusetts, Vermont), five competitive ones (Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado) and one (Texas) that might be competitive if the nominee is neither Warren nor Sanders.

If a few early states must initiate the nomination process, they should be unlike Iowa, which has a population just 14 percent larger than in 1960, compared with North Carolina (130 percent larger), Georgia (169 percent), Texas (203 percent), Colorado (228 percent) and Florida (334 percent).

Michael Bloomberg, however, is giving a glimpse of another alternative – a national primary, or several regional primaries. His spending – $250 million on television and internet ads in two months; approximately what Anheuser-Busch has spent advertising beer in the same period – will demonstrate either the steeply declining utility of political dollars or the manageable challenge for ordinary candidates to raise large sums from small donors in a nation that spends $8 billion a year on potato chips.

Meanwhile, like startled pheasants flushed from an Iowa cornfield, the surviving Democratic aspirants have fluttered away. The silliest candidates have disappeared (remember Beto O’Rourke?

didn’t think so) and Iowa has at least clarified the Democrats’ clashing theories: Americans are angry and hankering for more turmoil (Warren, Sanders), or Americans are embarrassed and exhausted by today’s politics of obnoxious noise (everyone but Warren and Sanders).

Sanders and Warren find billionaires distasteful, and neither they nor their woker-than-thou supporters will graciously accept a rising Bloomberg, so Iowa was just a sample of the Democrats’ coming self-inflicted wounds.

President Donald Trump’s smiles usually look strained, like grimaces out of context, but perhaps not today.

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Understanding the Fabian Window – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2020

Bertrand Russel, H.G. Wells, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, G.W. Bush sock puppet Tony Blair

Socialism Collectivism, Redistribution, gentle Execution, Eugenics, UK liberal party roots

The Fabian Society-The self described wolf in sheep’s clothing. One of the reasons the UK is in the shape it is in.

The following video was produced by Truthstream Media

In the video below, Truthstream Media discusses one of the most dangerous and ideologically insane root organizations of modern globalism and the “new world order – The Fabian Society.  The Fabians are notorious for their obsession with incremental tyranny and the erasure of individual and national sovereignty.  Though other organizations like the Council On Foreign Relations have now taken over at the forefront of the globalist effort, the Fabians were the foundation, the beginning of the modern push towards an everlasting totalitarian empire ruled by the elites.  Understanding their history and tactics helps us to understand exactly what is taking place today.  The “Brave New Word” is being established now, and it must be stopped…

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Q Anon: 10/05/18 Trust Trump's Plan

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France’s Political Hooliganism – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2020

Here is where the US gets to shine.

A universal basic income, then government (taxpayer) sponsored retirement at 40.

Where are you Bernie, AOC?


France’s favorite sports are striking and street demonstrations. At heart, most French are revolutionaries and protestors.

In France, the answer to every problem seems to be ‘aux barricades!’ (to the barricades!). Demonstrations are typically followed by a hearty lunch…

France is not highly unionized, but its belligerent trade organizations, most of them with roots in 1930’s communism or socialism, have a stranglehold on key sectors of France’s economy: trains, metros, refineries, truck transport, ports, food distribution, air traffic control, and even hospitals.

The current round of demos that began a month ago are serious business. Just about everyone appears opposed to President Emanuel Macron’s plans to modernize the nation’s crazy-quilt pension regulations that confer special privileges on favored groups of workers. Rail workers, for example, a particularly pampered bunch, can retire with close to full pay while in their 40’s. Ballet dancers enjoy similar benefits. Average workers can retire at 62. Macron wants to change retirement to 64, citing the longer life-span of today’s workers, and to consolidate the nation’s 42 separate retirement plans. Britain’s retirement age is 66 years.

France’s labor movement is up in arms, responding with more outrage and fury than it did when the Germans invaded in 1940. Unless Macron backs down, the unions will strike oil refineries and petroleum distribution centers, threatening to cripple most road transport, food distribution, emergency services and airports. Ports will also be targeted.

In short, industrial warfare against the state and its citizens…

Behind all this, is the unspoken but very real French notion that government is ‘papa.’ Rather than pay for work, Paris doles out allowances to the French. When they want more, like unruly kids everywhere the French throw tantrums, demanding better pay and benefits. Government in France is assumed to enjoy unlimited wealth. Budgets and spending restraints are dismissed as the works of mean-spirited Scots or Swiss accountants…

France is one of this world’s most beautiful nations. Its citizens are well educated and sophisticated; its cities shine; its ecology superbly safeguarded. In many ways, it remains ‘the Great Nation’ of the era of Louis XIV. But not when it comes to labor and civic responsibility. Instead of calm discussion to resolve wage and work issues, such as we see in Switzerland and Germany, the French keep indulging in political hooliganism to the endless misery of their fellow citizens.

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French protesters step up violent strikes against labour ...





Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment » Rand Paul Explains to John Stossel the Truth About Socialism

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

In conjunction with the release of Rand Paul’s new book, The Case Against Socialism, John Stossel interviewed Rand.

Rand’s book is excellent. I reviewed it here.

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The Battle Isn’t Right vs. Left. It’s Statism vs. Individualism – Foundation for Economic Education

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

satire from the clever folks at the Babylon Bee.

At a press conference on Thursday, American Nazi Party leader Emmett Scoggins told reporters that his group is not trying to instate full-on Nazism, but a much better system called “democratic Nazism.” …Scoggins was questioned about the use of the word “democratic” and how democratic Nazism was any different from plain-old Nazism. “The main difference is we add the word ‘democratic’ on there because people like that word a lot more than just plain ‘Nazi,’” Scoggins said. …The conference ended with a long speech from Scoggins about…how “real” Nazism has never been tried.

Libertarian principle: Free people own themselves.

How high does the death toll need to get before people realize that communism, like its sister ideology of Nazism, is despicably evil?

I’ve written about how totalitarian ideologies such as communism and Nazism have a lot in common. Both subordinate the individual to the state and both give the state power over the economy.

And both slaughter millions of people.

My buddy from grad school, Matt Kibbe, has a great video on this issue.

Needless to say, I agree with Matt’s characterization.

The battle is not right vs. left. It’s statism vs. individualism.

Let’s look at some writings on this issue.

We’ll start with an article by Bradley Birzer, published by Intellectual Takeout. He worries that totalitarianism on the left is making a comeback.

In 1936, you had three choices: National Socialism, international socialism, or dignity. In 2018, we find ourselves in similar circumstances… Why is this happening now…?  First, we scholars have failed to convince the public of just how wicked all forms of communism were and remain. …Almost all historians ignore the most salient fact of the 20th century: that governments murdered more than 200 million innocents, the largest massacre in the history of the world.

Terror reigned in the killing fields, the Holocaust camps, and the gulags. …Second, an entire generation has grown up never knowing such things as the Soviet gulags or even the Berlin Wall. …most younger defenders of communism buy into the oldest propaganda line of the Left—that real communism has never been tried.

He explains that fascism and socialism are two sides of the same coin.

That the National Socialists embraced socialism is factually accurate. …they did nationalize very vital industry in Germany, even if by outright intimidation rather than through the law. In his personal diaries, Joseph Goebbels wrote in late 1925: “It would be better for us to end our existence under Bolshevism than to endure slavery under capitalism.” Only a few months later, he continued, “I think it is terrible that we and the Communists are bashing in each other’s heads.”

Whatever the state of the rivalry between the two camps, Goebbels claimed, the two forces should ally and conquer. …The Italian fascists had even closer ties to the Marxists, with Mussolini having begun his career as a Marxist publicist and writer. A few Italian fascists even held positions in the Comintern.

Richard Mason makes similar points in a piece he wrote for the Foundation for Economic Education.

…how do we react to the hammer and sickle? I don’t have to write an article explaining the millions of deaths that occurred at the hands of communist regimes; like the Holocaust, the gulags of the Soviet Union and killing fields of Cambodia are widely known. Yet journalists in the UK openly and proudly advocate communism. Statues of Karl Marx are erected. …there is no justifiable way a fascist could argue ‘That wasn’t real Nazism.’ The same is not true for communism. …Since Karl Marx never implemented communism himself, the leaders of communist states always have that get-out-of-jail-free card.

Any shortcomings, tragedies, or crises a communist regime faces can always be blamed on a misapplication of Marx’s infallible roadmap… The communist ideology in its purest form might be separated from its implementations, but at what point does its awful track record discredit any attempts to advocate it? …The history of communism is as bloodstained as that of Nazism; much more so, actually. It’s time we treated it as such.

Amen. I’ve weighed in on that issue, and I strongly recommend what Jeff Jacoby wrote on the issue as well.

And Sheldon Richman expands on this theme…

See the rest here

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Freedom Isn't Free - Conservative Intelligence Briefing

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Why Republicans Are Powerless against Socialism

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

If we are to believe the Republicans, they are all that is holding back the forces of socialism from taking over the United States and replacing a free and capitalist society with an authoritarian and socialist society.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

After suffering the humiliating loss of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election, and having to deal increasingly with the fallout from the govern-by-Twitter pronouncements of Democratic bogeyman, Donald Trump, Republicans needed a bogeyman of their own to feign horror over in order to help them convince moderate and independent voters (and on-the-fence Republicans) that they should be afraid of the policies pushed by Democrats and vote Republican in the 2020 election. That bogeyman is socialism. As Republicans gear up for the 2020 campaign, they are pressing their case that a vote for Democrats is a vote for the policies of socialism.

Republicans don’t have an easy road ahead of them. A Gallup poll taken last year found that 37 percent of Americans feel positive about socialism, including 16 percent of those who lean Republican. Young people are especially likely to view socialism positively, with about half of Americans under 30 (51 percent) responding that they had a positive view of socialism. That accords with other polls that reveal that an increasing number of Americans support progressive ideas such as government-mandated paid maternity leave, tuition-free college, government funding for child care, increasing the minimum wage, and Medicare for All. Popular political figures such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), as well as an increasing number of progressives, embrace the label “democratic socialist.” Even so, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has told reporters that the path to Republican success in the 2020 election is “running to be the firewall that saves the country from socialism.”

Back in April, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) received approval from the U.S. House of Representatives for the creation of the Anti-Socialism Caucus. According to a press release that was posted on the congressman’s official website, “The purpose of the caucus is to inform lawmakers and the public on the dangers of socialism and to serve as a bulwark to stop the advancement of socialist policies and legislation.” According to Representative Stewart,

Socialism is a folly. Not only is it doomed to fail wherever it rears its head, it leaves a wake of destruction in lives and freedoms lost.

So much time has passed from the fall of the Iron Curtain that many have internalized — or never experienced — socialism’s ultimate price. If we fail to recall those dangerous times, the primitive appeal of socialism will advance and infect our institutions.

Our adversaries have one thing in common: they want to destroy freedom, democracy and the rule of law, for the life-affirming principles which define our liberal democracy represent an existential threat to their existence.

The Anti-Socialism Caucus will play a part in how we will defeat socialism once again.

“This caucus will defend individual liberty & free markets and highlight the dark history of socialism,” tweeted Stewart upon receiving approval from the House for the formation of the caucus.

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held earlier this year outside Washington, D.C., White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), former White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka, head of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel, and Vice President Mike Pence all played the socialism card.

According to the Associated Press and Business Insider, Kudlow implored conference attendees to “join us to keep America great and join us to put socialism on trial and then convict it.” Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, warned Republicans that Democrats are “embracing socialism.” Gorka asked and answered a question: “What is America’s biggest problem? Not socialism in Russia, but in America!” McDaniel told the conference that the GOP would look to “go out and educate” voters about socialism. Pence said in his speech that the choice in the next election is “between freedom and socialism, between personal responsibility and government dependence.” “The moment America becomes a socialist country is the moment America ceases to be America,” said Pence to the friendly crowd.

A Trump campaign official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the campaign was exploring ways to use the “socialism” message to drive a wedge between Democratic voters and independents. It was a surprise that Trump did not mention socialism in his speech to the crowd of conservative activists. But of course, he has mentioned it numerous other times. Just before the 2018 election in which Democrats regained control of the House, he predicted,

If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America. Government-run health care is just the beginning. Democrats are also pushing massive government control of education, private-sector businesses, and other major sectors of the U.S. economy.

In his State of the Union Address in February, the president again warned of the dangers of socialism:

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence —not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

Socialism in theory

The term “socialism” is increasingly bandied about by pundits and presidential candidates, resulting in much confusion. What is socialism? Although Republicans are increasingly trying to demonize Democrats with the label, they rarely stop to define the term in its specific historical sense or in its more general modern sense. Akin to that is their insistence that they believe in free markets and that the United States is a capitalist country that must be saved from socialism.

In its essence, socialism is the government ownership and control of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. That is why socialist parties, once in power, seek to nationalize major industries. Under socialism, government central planning, not markets, determines what should be produced, by whom, and in what quantities — at least in theory.

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, in his 1944 book Bureaucracy, contrasted capitalism and socialism:

The main issue in present-day political struggles is whether society should be organized on the basis of private ownership of the means of production (capitalism, the market system) or on the basis of public control of the means of production (socialism, communism, planned economy). Capitalism means free enterprise, sovereignty of the consumers in economic matters, and sovereignty of the voters in political matters. Socialism means full government control of every sphere of the individual’s life and the unrestricted supremacy of the government in its capacity as central board of production management.

More recently, economist Walter Williams succinctly explained the difference between the capitalist and socialist systems: “The key features of a free-market system are private property rights and private ownership of the means of production. By contrast, socialist systems feature severely limited private property rights and government ownership or control of the means of production.”

But as Mises’s disciple and Nobel laureate economist Friedrich Hayek made clear in the preface to the 1976 edition of his classic work The Road to Serfdom (1944), the meaning of socialism evolved in the second half of the twentieth century from meaning “unambiguously the nationalization of the means of production and the central economic planning which this made possible and necessary” to mean “chiefly the extensive redistribution of incomes through taxation and the institutions of the welfare state.” Modern-day socialists and their fellow travelers aren’t calling for the nationalization of industry or the abolition of private property. They want a mixture of government ownership, government control by regulation, and government redistributive programs to ensure social justice and economic equality.

Socialism in practice

In spite of Republican rhetoric, and contrary to what most Americans think, the United States, like every democratic country, has — in the words of economist Thomas DiLorenzo — “islands of socialism in a sea of capitalism.”

Socialized education. Public education is one of the most blatant forms of socialism in the United States. Every state government has a provision in its constitution for the operation of K–12 schools, colleges, and universities in the state. K–12 schools are funded by local property taxes as well as the federal and state governments. Public universities are funded directly by state governments and indirectly by federal Pell grants, other federal educational grants, and federal student loans. Teachers are employed by local school boards (in the case of K–12 schools) or state governments (in the case of colleges and universities). Textbooks are selected, and curricula are designed, by government entities.

Every state, as well as the federal government, has a department of education. The states have mandatory-attendance laws and standardized-testing requirements. Government agencies mandate teacher-education requirements and certify teachers. The federal government has math and science initiatives, special-education mandates, bilingual-education mandates, research grants for colleges and universities, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, Common Core, Title IX anti-discrimination mandates, the No Child Left Behind Act, and school breakfast and lunch programs. The accrediting agencies of colleges and universities are government agencies.

Socialized medicine. Americans who criticize the socialized medicine that exists in Canada and European countries forget that we have several forms of socialized medicine in the United States. Medicare is government-funded health care for Americans 65 years old and older and for those who are permanently disabled, or have end-stage renal disease or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). It covers more than 55 million Americans, most of whom become eligible for Medicare when they reach age 65, regardless of their income or health status. Medicaid is government-funded health care for poor Americans of any age and people with certain disabilities. It is the primary source of health-insurance coverage for low-income populations and nursing-home long-term care, and covers about 70 million Americans. Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal and state governments, but designed and administered by state governments within federal guidelines. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is a partnership between federal and state governments that provides federally funded health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid.

Government insurance exchanges help millions of Americans purchase health insurance subsidized by the federal government. The federal government has a National Institutes of Health (NIH), federal laboratories, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HIV/AIDS prevention initiatives, vaccination programs, and nutrition guidelines.

Social Security. This is the largest socialist program in the United States. There are actually two parts to Social Security (OASDI). The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) program provides monthly benefits to retired workers, families of retired workers, and survivors of deceased workers. The Disability Insurance (DI) program provides monthly benefits to disabled workers and families of disabled workers. More than 60 million Americans receive some sort of Social Security benefit. The government pays the benefits, determines the benefits, sets the retirement age, decides on cost-of-living adjustments, and makes the rules for eligibility.

Despite the name of the program, many Americans think that they are entitled to receive Social Security benefits because they earned them by contributing to the system over the course of their working life. But there is no contractual right to receive Social Security benefits. Congress can reduce benefits at any time, increase Social Security taxes at any time without increasing benefits, and raise or eliminate the wage base upon which Social Security taxes are figured at any time without increasing benefits. The federal government can even pay Social Security benefits in perpetuity regardless of the amount of Social Security taxes that are collected.

Socialized charity. There are in the United States about 80 means-tested welfare programs that offer benefits on the basis of the beneficiary’s income or assets. U.S. welfare programs provide cash, food, housing subsidies, utility subsidies, and social services to poor, disabled, and lower-income Americans.

The most egregious of the means-tested welfare programs is the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. It pays cash directly to welfare recipients to spend as they please. States receive block grants from the federal government to design and operate TANF programs. In an average month, approximately 3.5 million Americans receive TANF benefits. The majority of poor families with children receive some form of cash assistance from the government.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program gives cash assistance to people who are disabled, aged, or both and who have low income and few assets. More than 5 million low-income households in the United States receive federal rental assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Most recipients of federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, with the government paying the rest up to a certain amount.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP [formerly known and still referred to as food stamps]) is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but operated by the states. Recipients of food-stamp benefits receive a deposit on an EBT card each month that can be used only for prepackaged food items. About 13 percent of the population are on food stamps.

Other means-tested welfare programs include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Head Start; Healthy Start; the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); the School Breakfast Program (SBP); the Special Milk Program (SMP); the Elderly Nutrition Program; the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and subsidized low-income phone service. Some welfare programs aren’t means-tested at all, such as Unemployment Compensation, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor and administered by the states. It provides benefits to those who become unemployed who meet certain eligibility requirements.

Socialized services. Governments at all levels in the United States provide services that could be provided by the free market. The most infamous example is the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). And to make matters worse, by law, only the Post Office is allowed to deliver regular mail. The federal government’s National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) costs taxpayers more than a billion dollars a year in subsidies. The federal government’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides security at airports and forbids airlines to provide their own security.

Government “public works” projects are not only socialism on a grand scale, they are also the epitome of the term “boondoggle.” In many states, counties, and cities in the United States, it is the government that collects the garbage; operates mass transit; supplies electricity, water, and natural gas; operates fire departments; owns the airports; operates health clinics; provides ambulance services; operates hospitals; inspects restaurants; operates the liquor stores; and picks up stray and dead animals. Other things that are done by private businesses are also done by government-run enterprises.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “In 2017, U.S. government spending for national, state and local budgets was 38 percent of GDP.” Almost two-thirds of the federal budget goes for transfer payments and subsidies.

The Republicans

Will the Republicans save us from socialism? To think so is to dream the impossible dream. Republicans are powerless against the onslaught of socialism, and for two reasons. One, they support the same socialist policies as the Democrats. And two, they did nothing to roll back socialism when they had the chance.

Republicans support the three biggest socialist programs in the United States: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Just read what it says in the Republican Party platform:

As the party of America’s future, we accept the responsibility to preserve and modernize a system of retirement security forged in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans. Current retirees and those close to retirement can be assured of their benefits. Of the many reforms being proposed, all options should be considered to preserve Social Security.

We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.

Even worse, Republicans sometimes create new socialist programs of their own accord. In 1997, the Republican-controlled Congress created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP, now just called CHIP), a partnership between federal and state governments that provides federally funded health insurance to children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid. The program has been reauthorized with Republican support ever since then.

After many years of Democratic control of both houses of Congress, Republicans captured the Senate during the presidency of the Republican Ronald Reagan and held on to control of it for six years. They did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they raised the Social Security and Medicare tax rates to bolster those socialist programs. If only we had control of the House, said the Republicans. During the last six years of the presidency of the Democrat Bill Clinton, Republicans had a majority in both houses of Congress. They did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they increased the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) every year to redistribute even more of the incomes of American taxpayers. If only we had a Republican president, said the Republicans. When the Republicans finally got their Republican president in George W. Bush they had a perfect opportunity to abolish the federal government’s socialist programs and restore the United States to a free and capitalist society. The Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for more than four years during the Bush presidency. They had not had absolute control of the government since the first two years of Republican Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. Again, they did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they expanded Medicare, created the TSA, and tremendously increased the budget of the Department of Education. The Republicans had another chance to roll back socialism when they controlled both houses of Congress during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. But again, they did absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught of socialism. In fact, they could not even come together to repeal Obamacare, even though they had railed against it since the day the Democrats passed it in 2010.

The conclusion is inescapable: Republicans are powerless against socialism because — as shown by their words and deeds — they are socialists themselves.

This article was originally published on the Future Freedom Foundation website and in the August 2019 edition of Future of Freedom.

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Your Alternative to Facial Recognition

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Socialism and the Green New Deal: Choose One | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on December 14, 2019

A socialist government would determine where and how you lived, the type of work and employment opportunities you had, the education that you and your children would be allowed, the types and quantities of goods to which you would have access, as well as the political, cultural and philosophical ideas you would be permitted to read and learn about and discuss.

Nothing would be outside of the restricting reach of the socialist state of the future.

The American experiment has lasted much longer than socialist experiments (maybe all added together).

Will new socialism seal America’s fate?

The Spanish philosopher, George Santayana (1863–1952) is usually credited with the phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Nowhere is this truer than with the renewed idea and demand for the establishment of a socialist economic system.

A noticeable number of intellectuals inside and outside the ivy tower of academia, as well as a vocal segment of those on the “progressive” side of American politics are insisting on the desirability and necessity for ending the “neo-liberal” capitalist system and replacing it with a “democratic” socialism dedicated to “social justice,” “identity politics,” and relatively comprehensive centralized planning of economic and social affairs.

Listening to and reading the arguments of these proponents of the “new” socialism, you would think that nothing had happened over the last one hundred years that in any way, shape, or form had anything to do with the case for and likely consequences from introducing socialism into twenty-first-century society.

In their minds, what have been considered to be “socialist” regimes in the twentieth century were either “false” forms of socialism not representing what a “real” socialism could and would look like; or they were socialisms that went wrong because the “wrong people” were in political power in socialist countries around the world; or the full possibilities and potentials of those socialist experiments were undermined and weakened due to American imperialist interference trying to make them “fail;” or the “new” socialists just try to ignore the history of socialism over the last one hundred years, sending it all down an Orwellian “memory hole.”

Early Anti-Socialists Warned of Tyranny and Plunder

Their naïve optimism and confidence might have been understandable and even excusable before the First World War. Before then, socialism was still primarily a political ideal and dream of those wanting to make over society so mankind could have a beautiful and more just and prosperous future. But even then, in the nineteenth century, critics of the socialist promise warned in often amazingly prescient ways, given all that has happened over the last one hundred years, what socialism-in-practice would really mean.

Those earlier critics of socialism warned that a triumphant socialism would mean a terrible tyranny. Socialism would mean comprehensive government ownership and control over all the means of production. Such total control by those in political power and directing the central planning of all economic activities in the society would hold the destiny of everyone in their hands.

A socialist government would determine where and how you lived, the type of work and employment opportunities you had, the education that you and your children would be allowed, the types and quantities of goods to which you would have access, as well as the political, cultural and philosophical ideas you would be permitted to read and learn about and discuss.

Nothing would be outside of the restricting reach of the socialist state of the future. Each person would be nothing more than a cog in the collectivist machine, commanded, controlled and, when necessary, coerced to serve and be sacrificed for the wider and more important socialist good.

In spite of all the rhetoric and promise of the “liberation” of man under the socialism-to-come, the actual individual human being would be lost in the collective mass of “the people” as a whole, for which all that the socialist state implemented was the rationale and justification.

The critics of socialism also warned that “human nature” was not a moldable putty to be remade into a new “altruistic man” unconcerned with personal self-interest once common ownership had replaced private ownership over the means of production; and once a new generation had arisen that was sufficiently “reeducated” by the state to have been freed from “bourgeois” thinking, attitudes, and proclivities of focusing on the self rather than the group.

All that would have changed was the institutional setting within which human nature manifested and played itself out. Such extensive and monopolized economic power, as would exist under socialism, would merely mean the motives and incentives would be shifted to gaining political control over the state to use its power to benefit oneself and others important to oneself, at the expense of everyone else. (See my article, “John Stuart Mill and the Dangers of Unrestrained Government.”)

Early Criticisms of Economic Planning

Finally, a number of these critics of socialism pointed out the inherent unworkability of a socialist central planning system once private property, competition, and market-based prices had been abolished through the nationalization of the means of production by the government. How would producers know what to produce if competitive supply and demand did not generate the market prices to tell producers what it was that consumers wanted and the relative value they placed on those goods? Indeed, how could supply and demand be brought into coordinated balance if market-based and changing prices did not constantly and continuously adjust the two sides of the market?

How would competent directors of production be selected with the end of private enterprise, absent entrepreneurs to direct those enterprises who had proven their worth through winning profits and avoiding losses? How would labor be efficiently and effectively directed in their employments for assisting in the manufacture of the goods that consumers wanted, if in the name of “social justice” wages were determined by the socialist redistributors of income rather than by market-guiding wage incentives?

Every one of these worries and warnings turned out to be true in every instance in which fairly comprehensive socialist central planning was imposed and implemented anywhere and everywhere around the world over the last one hundred years. To enumerate them would be too gratuitous for anyone who possesses even a limited knowledge of the reality of socialism-in-practice. (See my articles, “Paul Leroy-Beaulieu: A Warning Voice About the Socialist Tragedy to Come,” “Socialism: Marking a Century of Death and Destruction” and “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power.”)

World War I Ushers in Government Central Planning

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The Hidden Link Between Fiat Money and the Increasing Appeal of Socialism | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 27, 2019

The longer a fiat currency is the coin of the land, the more one is led to believe that nothing should be in short supply, since everything is bought with money and money need not be in short supply.

What causes the seemingly unfounded confidence in socialism we encounter more and more in the news media and among political activists? In the Extinction Rebellion movement, for example, activists are quite certain they have learned that there is an alternative to markets as the means to economic prosperity. It’s a means that does not involve meeting the legitimate needs of one’s fellow men in the marketplace.

It is likely not a coincidence that most people living today have lived most of their lives in a world dominated by fiat money. It has now been nearly fifty years since the United States broke all ties between the dollar and gold. It’s been even longer since other major currencies were tied to gold at all. Consequently we now live in a world where the creation of wealth is seen by many as requiring little more than the creation of more money.

In this kind of world, why not have socialism? If we run out of money, we can always print more.

Unlimited Money Feeds the Myth of Unlimited Real Resources

The world was on a watered down version of a gold standard until 1971 when the US abandoned its solemn promise — the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement — to back the dollar with gold at $35 per ounce. Gold backing of a currency provided a solid intellectual foundation of reality that few even recognized existed within themselves; (i.e., that we live in a world of scarcity and uncertainty). This reinforced the idea that wealth has to be built. It cannot be conjured out of thin air, just as gold cannot be conjured out of thin air.

But fiat currency can be conjured out of thin air and in enormous amounts. The longer a fiat currency is the coin of the land, the more one is led to believe that nothing should be in short supply, since everything is bought with money and money need not be in short supply. Those who know only unlimited fiat money soon demand free healthcare and free higher education as a right. And why not? Unlimited money will pay for it. Into this never-never land comes demands for scrapping the fossil fuel underpinnings of our modern economy by those who understand nothing of how an economy works. But, apparently one does not need to understand technical limitations, because there are no technical limitations. The “barbarous relic” (gold) had once limited the money supply and thusly seemed to limit the supply of vendible goods. Gold has been replaced by unlimited fiat money. Now it seems that unlimited aggregate demand can be funded by unlimited fiat money, leading to a world of plenty. Designer of the Bretton Woods Agreement Lord Keynes says so in this very insightful short video.

Fiat Money Turns the World Upside Down

The psychological impact of a lifetime within a fiat money economy cannot be underestimated. One’s world is turned upside down. For many, financial success becomes prima facie evidence of exploitation of the masses rather than something to be admired and to which one could aspire also. With more wealth seemingly available at the click of a computer button, only an Ebenezer Scrooge would deny funding the latest demanded government program. If wealth is so easy to create, many conclude only greed and cruelty are what stand between us and far greater prosperity for all.

But that is the very reason that fiat money is so subversive to the social order. In a sound money economy any new spending program can be funded only by an increase in taxes, an increase in debt, or by cutting existing funding. There is a real cost to each of these options. There is a real cost to printing money, too, but the cost is hidden. One does not see malinvestment at the time of money printing. Price increases are delayed and uneven, due to the Cantillon Effect whereby the early receivers of new money are able to purchase goods and services at existing prices. Later receivers or those who do not receive the new money at all suffer higher prices and a reduction in their standard of living. Even then most people do not link higher retail prices with a previous expansion of the money supply.

It would be hard to invent a more effective method for the destruction of modern society. As Pogo would say, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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Still Fighting the Last War Against Socialism | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on November 16, 2019

Even in the midst of almost unimaginable material comforts made possible only by markets and entrepreneurs—both derided by socialists—we cannot manage to conclusively defeat the tired but deadly old arguments for collective ownership of capital.

Jeff Deist

Why does support for socialism persist?

The short answer may be simple human nature, our natural tendency toward dissatisfaction with the present and unease about the future. Even in the midst of almost unimaginable material comforts made possible only by markets and entrepreneurs—both derided by socialists—we cannot manage to conclusively defeat the tired but deadly old arguments for collective ownership of capital. We’re so rich that socialists imagine the material wealth all around us will continue to organize itself magically, regardless of incentives.

It’s a vexing problem, and not an academic one. Millions of young people across America and the West consider socialism a viable and even noble approach to organizing society, literally unaware of the piles of bodies various socialist governments produced in the 20th century. The fast-growing Democratic Socialists of America, led by media darlings Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now enjoy cool kid status. Open socialist Bernie Sanders very nearly won the Democratic Party’s 2016 nominee for president before being kneecapped by the Clinton machine. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio helpfully announces “there is plenty of money in this city, it’s just in the wrong hands.” He freely and enthusiastically champions confiscation and redistribution of wealth without injury to his political popularity.

Rand Paul and Thomas Massie are outliers on the Right. Ocasio-Cortez and de Blasio are not outliers on the Left.

How is this possible, even as markets and semi-capitalism lift millions out of poverty? Why does socialism keep cropping up, and why do many well-intentioned (and ill-intentioned) people keep falling for something so patently evil and unworkable? Why do some battles have to be fought over and over?

The Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin War fell decades ago. The Eastern Bloc discovered western consumerism, and liked it. Bill Clinton declared the era of Big Government over, and Francis Fukuyama absurdly pronounced that Western ideology had forever won the day. Even China and Cuba eventually succumbed to pressure for greater economic freedoms, not because of any ideological shift but because it became impossible to hide the reality of capitalist wealth abroad.

Yet economic freedom and property rights are under assault today in the very Western nations that became rich because of them.

Today’s socialists insist their model society would look like Sweden or Denmark; not the USSR or Nazi Germany or Venezuela. They merely want fairness and equality, free healthcare and schooling, an end to “hoarded” wealth, and so forth. And they don’t always advocate for or even know the textbook definition of socialism, as professors Benjamin Powell and Robert Lawson learned by attending socialist conferences (see their new book Socialism Sucks: Two Economists Drink Their Way Through the Unfree World). In many cases young people think socialism simply means a happy world where people are taken care of.

Never mind the Scandinavian countries in question insist they are not socialist, never mind the atrocities of Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot, and never mind the overwhelming case made by Ludwig von Mises and others against central economic planning. Without private owners, without capital at risk, without prices, and especially without profit and loss signals, economies quickly become corrupted and serve only the political class. Nicolás Maduro feasts while poor Venezuelans eat dogs, but of course this isn’t “real” socialism.

History and theory don’t matter to socialists because they imagine society can be engineered. The old arguments and historical examples simply don’t apply: even human nature is malleable, and whenever our stubborn tendencies don’t comport with socialism’s grand plans a “social construct” is to blame.

These most recent spasms of support for the deadly ideology of socialism remind us that progressives aren’t kidding. They may not fully understand what socialism means, but they fully intend to bring it about. Single-payer health care, “free” education, wealth redistribution schemes, highly progressive income taxes, wealth taxes, gun bans, and radical curbs on fossil fuels are all on the immediate agenda. They will do this quickly if possible, incrementally if they have to (see, again, the 20th century). They will do it with or without popular support, using legislatures, courts and judges, supranational agencies,university indoctrination, friendly media, or whatever political, economic, or social tools it takes (including de-platforming and hate speech laws). This is not paranoia; all of this is openly discussed. And say what you will about progressivism, it does have a central if false ethos: egalitarianism.

Conservatives, by contrast, are not serious. They have no animating spirit. They don’t much talk about liberty or property or markets or opportunity. They don’t mean what they say about the Constitution, they won’t do a thing to limit government, they won’t touch entitlements or defense spending, they won’t abolish the Department of Education or a single federal agency, they won’t touch abortion laws, and they sure won’t give up their own socialist impulses. Trumpism, though not conservative and thoroughly non-intellectual, drove a final stake through the barely beating heart of Right intellectualism, from the Weekly Standard to National Review. Conservatism today is incoherent, both ideologically and tactically incapable of countering the rising tide of socialism.

Generals always fight the last war, and politics is no different. We all tend to see the current political climate in terms of old and familiar divisions, long-faded alliances, and obsolete rhetoric. We all cling to the comfortable ideology and influences that help us make sense of a chaotic world. As one commenter recently put it, liberal Baby Boomers still think it’s 1968 and conservative Baby Boomers still think it’s 1985. Generation X and Millennials will exhibit the same blinders. It may be disheartening to keep fighting what should be a long-settled battle against socialism, but today we have no other choice.

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4 Reasons Why Socialism Is Becoming More Popular | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 8, 2019

We have already seen above that what’s not happening at universities, even elite universities, today is a whole lot of education in important subjects like history. What we are getting instead is a lot of groupthink and indoctrination…

The newfound openness of large numbers of Americans to socialism is, by now, a well-documented phenomenon. According to a Gallup poll from earlier this year, 43% of Americans now believe that some form of socialism would be a good thing, in contrast to 51% who are still against it. A Harris poll found that four in ten Americans prefer socialism to capitalism. The trend is particular apparent in the young: another Gallup poll showed that as recently as 2010, 68% of people between 18 and 29 approved of capitalism, with only 51% approving of socialism, whereas in 2018, while the percentage among this age group favoring socialism was unchanged at 51%, those in favor of capitalism had dropped precipitously to 45%. The same poll showed that among Democrats, the popularity of socialism now stands at 57%, while capitalism is only at 47%, a marked departure from 2010 when the two were tried at 53%. A YouGov poll from earlier this year showed that unlike older generations, which still preferred capitalist candidates, 70% of millennials and 64% of gen-Zers would vote for a socialist.

The question is why socialism now? At a time when the American economy under Trump seems to be chugging along at a nice clip, why are so many hankering for an alternative? I would suggest four factors contributing to the situation.

Factor #1: Ignorance of History

The first cause of socialism’s popularity, especially among the young, is an obvious one: having grown up at a time after the end of the Cold War, the collapse of Europe’s Eastern Bloc and China’s transition to authoritarian capitalism, “these kids today” — those 18 to 29 year-olds who were born around the last decade of the 20th century — don’t know what socialism is all about. When they think socialism, they don’t think Stalin; they think Scandinavia.

Americans’ — and especially young Americans’ — ignorance of history is well-documented and profound…

Factor #2: Government Bungling

When we try to explain the socialist urge, we cannot lose sight of the fact that our government keeps interfering in the economy in ways that give people every reason to think the system is corrupt and needs to be trashed.

Take the skyrocketing cost of college, for instance. On the surface, this looks like greedy capitalist universities just keep on raising tuition, and since most college kids and their parents can’t pay the sticker price, almost 70% take out loans , saddling young people trying to start their careers with a mountain of debt (almost $30,000 on average). This results in all those socialist promises of free college or loan forgiveness sounding dandy. Underneath the surface, however, a huge part of the problem is federal grants and subsidized loans. If the government stopped footing a large part of their bill, more students and parents would be forced to pony up, which would mean, in turn, that colleges would not be able to keep hiking their prices without seeing a precipitous drop in enrollment. They would, instead, be forced to price themselves at some level that applicants could realistically pay, making college more affordable for a large segment of the American middle class…

Factor #3: Universities’ Ideological Monoculture

The supporters of socialism are not simply the young, but rather, disproportionately those among the young who are college-educated. And the more college they have, the hotter for socialism they get. According to a 2015 poll , support for socialism grows from 48% among those with a high school diploma or less to 62% among college graduates to 78% among those with post-graduate degrees. Those on the left probably stop thinking hard about now and jump immediately to the conclusion that support for socialism is just a natural outgrowth of big brains and elite educations. But there is, in fact, a less obvious but ultimately far more compelling explanation that also manages to account for the general fact that more education correlates with more leftism: something — something bad — is happening at universities themselves to pull students toward the (far) left.

We have already seen above that what’s not happening at universities, even elite universities, today is a whole lot of education in important subjects like history. What we are getting instead is a lot of groupthink and indoctrination…

Factor #4: Coddled Kids

The young have always been more inclined to embrace pipe dreams — a lack of familiarity with the complicated way in which the world actually works, coupled with the college fix described above, will do that to most anyone — but there is a reason the mindset of today’s young’uns is particularly susceptible to the red menace. In last year’s The Coddling of the American Mind, the prominent social psychologist Jonathan Haidt and FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff describe the species of overprotective parenting and instilling of baseless and uncritical self-esteem by parents and educators alike that came to prevail as kids were growing up in the 90s and 00s. When we are raised in the belief we are wonderful just as we are, we never learn the critical life skills of self-soothing, working through anxiety, facing obstacles and overcoming adversity. The predictable result, as Haidt and Lukianoff observe, is a demand to be safeguarded — safe spaces, free speech crackdowns and so on. The state appears to many as the appropriate institution to provide this sort of “safety.”

If these four are the primary causes of socialism’s rapid surge in our midst, then the next logical question is what to do about it. There is no easy answer, of course, but I would suggest that the radicalization of academia is the lynchpin issue. If we could succeed in reversing that tsunami, many dominoes would fall…

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