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Posts Tagged ‘Socialist’

Doug Casey on the Truth About Millennials and the Next Crisis

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2020

I don’t think that Millennials as a group really believe in themselves. A lot of blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are resentful; a lot of the whites feel guilty and unjustly entitled. Few in any of these groups any longer seem to believe in the values—like individualism, personal responsibility, and liberty—that actually made the US different once upon a time.

Forget about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free markets. All of these things are radically under attack. Those things are why America became what it is—or once was. It’s being washed away.

https://internationalman.com/articles/doug-casey-on-the-truth-about-millennials-and-the-next-crisis/

by Doug Casey

International Man: Many people perceive Millennials to be entitled, spoiled snowflakes who refuse to work hard.

Whether or not this is true, Millennials as a group will soon surpass the number of baby boomers as the largest generational group.

How equipped is this soon-to-be dominant generation for handling a financial crisis, a major war, or civil unrest?

Doug Casey: According to William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book, The Fourth Turning, the Millennials should be a “Hero” Generation, set to face a huge threat to the country.

For previous so-called Hero Generations, the threats were the Great Depression and then World War II. The time from 1929 to 1946 was full of societally threatening events. Much like today.

The Millennials are in a generational position similar to that of the so-called Greatest Generation, who are now mostly dead. The Millennials, however, don’t seem quite ready for hero-scale challenges. They’re mostly talking about safe spaces, diversity, free college, a guaranteed income, and being gender uncertain.

When the United States encounters a civilizational crisis—which in my opinion is here, it’s unfolding as we speak—it’s questionable whether the Millennials will have what it takes. You don’t get there by being gender questioning or sitting in your mother’s basement playing video games and getting fat.

International Man: It’s no secret that Democrats are turning to socialist ideas like universal health care, universal basic income, and more.

The baby boomer generation had a significant impact on government policies and welfare programs like Medicare. From 2008 to 2018 alone, Medicare spending grew from $462 billion to $731 billion.

What’s your take on how Millennials will shape the future of the United States?

Doug Casey: Let’s look at this from a long-term perspective—0ver the last 120 years.

At the turn of the 20th century, something like 85% or 90% of Americans were on the farm, actually growing food, getting up at 6:00 AM, and working 16-hour days. They were on the ragged edge of starvation during bad years. Even people in the cities had it pretty tough.

Now, with the Millennial generation, the average American is at least three generations off the farm. A lot of them think that milk doesn’t come from cows. They think it comes from cartons.

The kind of values that you get from growing up on a farm, or at least having parents who did, tend to vanish when you grow up in a suburb, have helicopter parents, and your main relationship with the outside world is electronic.

I don’t think that Millennials as a group really believe in themselves. A lot of blacks, Hispanics, and immigrants are resentful; a lot of the whites feel guilty and unjustly entitled. Few in any of these groups any longer seem to believe in the values—like individualism, personal responsibility, and liberty—that actually made the US different once upon a time.

Forget about freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and free markets. All of these things are radically under attack. Those things are why America became what it is—or once was. It’s being washed away.

It seems like we have transitioned quite easily from a war against “godless communism” to war against Islam. Muhammedans look at the United States and Europe and see degraded societies without a philosophical center, without a belief in themselves. I suppose the Chinese are next on the dance card…

Even though they may for the most part be primitive, barefoot goat herders, Muhammedans hold the West in contempt. I’m afraid any serious conflict with the Muhammedans could end badly, regardless of our huge technological advantage. Why? Because, as Napoleon said, in war the psychological is to the physical as three is to one. And most of these people have a strong unifying faith—something totally lacking in the West.

Incidentally, I call their faith “Muhammedanism” as opposed to “Islam,” partly because you call followers of Christ, “Christians.” You call followers of Buddha, “Buddhists.” Followers of Confucius, “Confucians.” And so forth.

We used to call followers of Muhammed, “Muhammedans.” But the fact we no longer do is part of the general corruption of the language we now have in so many areas. “Islam” means “submission” in Arabic; it’s a PC word.

When you let an adversary take control of what words mean and which words are used, you’ve already lost the high ground. When you lose control of your own language, you lose control of your thought processes, and basically everything else follows. No wonder they hold the West in contempt.

If it comes down to a military conflict where the Millennial generation has to fill in for the previous so-called Hero Generation in the Strauss-Howe model, the West is in trouble. That’s true whether the conflict is with the Chinese or the followers of The Prophet.

That’s apart from the fact the US military itself is a very different animal from what it once was. With some exceptions, the US military today is made up of refugees from barrios, trailer parks, and ghettos. I don’t approve of the draft, but for what it’s worth, at least the draft was kind of a cross section of the US. Now, the military is very self-selecting.

It’s actually a completely separate culture within the US. Their first loyalty, like the police, is to other soldiers. Secondarily to their employer, the US government. And only third to America—which is no longer a republic. It’s a domestic empire.

I’m very antiwar as a matter of principle. But if it comes down to a military conflict I don’t see a happy ending, because all we have are ultra-expensive and obsolescent toys useful mainly to fatten the profits of so-called “defense” companies. Generals cozy up to them so they can cash in with fat consulting contracts after they retire. I suspect, incidentally, the next war will have huge biological and cyber elements.

There’s another x factor. The Millennial generation has grown up on first-person shooter video games. Some, if they have an extra Y chromosome, may want to put that into practice. You can really do that only in the military or the police—most of whom are ex-military today.

I’ve gone off on a few tangents, using the Strauss and Howe book as a platform. But my intention here wasn’t to do a book review. That said, I again want to recommend their work. They came up with something original and valuable, which offers a pretty solid look into the near future.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion.

The coming economic and political crisis is going to be much worse, much longer, and very different than what we’ve seen in the past.

Be seeing you

If THIS Continues To Happen, America Is Doomed ...

 

 

 

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Will the Twenties Roar? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 4, 2020

Government doesn’t produce anything, but rather redistributes, manages, and consumes the wealth created by the citizenry, serfs and livestock it “owns.”

The US is already a socialist country.  Friendly fascism is the name of the game, if we can believe Bertram Gross, Sinclair Lewis, or our own eyes.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/01/karen-kwiatkowski/will-the-twenties-roar/

By

The past decade’s accelerating explosion of US government spending and debt, and that of US corporations, banks, and citizens, will not only end, but will end painfully.

For all of this, the majority of voters in a presidential election seem to understand that what cannot go on forever, won’t. The 2018 examination (linked above) of why Americans increasingly don’t trust government, even as government provides so much to so many of these same Americans, suggested that it’s just a matter of explaining to Americans how great their government is. Big State needs better advertising.

Even the Deep State laughs at that idea. However, it is important to see what deep staters are really doing to maintain the current status quo, a.k.a Peak Government.

Government doesn’t produce anything, but rather redistributes, manages, and consumes the wealth created by the citizenry, serfs and livestock it “owns.” Just as a farmer, who when facing lower sales price and higher costs, re-evaluates his or her operation, so too do federal and state governments. The farmer counts his or her livestock carefully, and figures out how to do more with less, the same with less, and less with less all while squeezing more cash out of what he or she “owns.” Imagine, if you will, the gentle cow or ewe. Her value is necessarily monetized, and as the bottom line sinks ever lower, her owner will become very interested in what Bessie and Belle do all day, where they go, what they eat, and how they behave.

Depending on where you stand, some citizens are not worth as much as others, and more importantly, some citizens cost a lot more than others. How to decide? Politicians are in the business of deciding this question, and they are gamblers at heart. This predisposition shapes their calculations and actions. Win or lose, they enjoy the game. Various political groupings help them assign “value” and it’s all out in the open, as ugly and insulting as it is. You are free to choose a party or a candidate based on how you value yourself and your neighbors, and what you believe is good and valuable for you and your neighbors to have and enjoy. You can vote based on a coin toss, hairstyle or spousal charm, their pantsuit, their skin tone, or because you believe whatever they are saying. It’s all good, and it’s all good fun in this nation of equals.

The Deep State on the other hand, is not comfortable with risk, does not “enjoy the game,” and it does not play. You cannot vote for it, nor can you assign values, weights, measures or limits to it, in any realistic way. The Deep State doesn’t want your vote or your political support – it wants your money, your faith, and your obedience. It is not interested in your opinion, as it is perfectly confident that it knows what is best. We don’t have time here to put the Deep State on a couch to seek clarity or find out why it turned out this way. It’s running, and ruining, the lives of 330 million Americans, and conducting coups, wars – hot, cold, trade and propaganda – in real time, as it has for over 100 years, maybe more. Increasingly, the weapons of these wars are aimed not abroad, but at the very citizens of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

If, as an American, you found that your ears perked up when you heard “land of the free” and “home of the brave,” don’t feel bad. We’ve been worked on for generations…

The only thing roaring in the coming decade will be the furious road noise of the Deep State as it strains technology, and races for its very life, against the growing humanity of actual Americans and their growing awareness of reality…

Be seeing you

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Deplorables Versus the Ruling Class: A Global Struggle – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on December 27, 2019

The true American ideology cautions against granting power to any bureaucratic establishment.

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/12/deplorables_versus_the_ruling_class_a_global_struggle.html

By Chet Richards

Consider the age of monarchs.  Squabbling barons select a supreme ruler – a king or an emperor — to suppress the squabbling.  Peace and prosperity return to the land.  The king makes policy but he can’t do everything.  His minions take care of the details.

Minions mean bureaucracy.   The bureaucracy grows.  The king grows old and dies.  The dynasty continues.  The bureaucracy continues – always continues, and always grows.  The bureaucracy becomes an establishment kingdom unto itself.  The bureaucracy grows in power and serves its own interests.  The king diminishes in power.  The land grows restless under the increasing regulatory tyranny and taxes.  Legitimacy –what the Chinese called the “mandate of heaven” —  is lost and so is the dynasty.

Change the names and we are at the end of a similar cycle – a cycle that began with the guillotine.  This time it is a world-wide cycle.  The modern king is a modern tyrant – Stalin, Hitler, Mao were the worst.

The socialist idea had been kicking around since the 18th century.  This seemingly plausible notion shaped the various Marxist evils of the 20th century.  The Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Nazism, Fascism, and today’s imperious European Union, are all socialist tyrannies of one degree or another.

Bureaucratic agencies become ideal tools for tyrants.

Read the rest of this entry »

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus a Socialist?

Posted by M. C. on December 22, 2019

Was He? Someone read the book and let us know.

He suffered like many 20th century socialists.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/12/rendering-unto-caesar-was-jesus.html

by EPJ

Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus a Socialist?

A perfect read for the Christmas season.

From the blurb:

Rendering Unto Caesar: Was Jesus a Socialist? tackles head-on a persistent myth that has stymied individual freedom in many parts of the world. That myth takes many forms, but reduces to this: “You can’t be for capitalism or free markets and be a follower of Jesus at the same time.”

For the first time in a short and readable form, Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) president Lawrence W. Reed debunks these misconceptions in powerful, convincing ways. Though he frequently references Scripture, Reed makes it plain at the start that one doesn’t have to be a Christian to understand the importance of proper interpretation of Scripture, as well as history and economics. People who simply want sound analysis or good history will appreciate it.

By examining the words of Jesus in the context of their time and place, Reed shows Jesus never called for the political process to rearrange wealth. He denounced envy. He stressed choice, accountability and private property. He endorsed keeping one’s word and honoring contracts. He emphasized principles of personal character and the Golden Rule. These things are all difficult to reconcile with political force.

Now, when anyone suggests that the teachings of Jesus are in any way incompatible with free markets or capitalism, defenders of free markets can provide concise and conclusive responses. There is no other publication that does the job as fully or is as accessible as Rendering Unto Caesar.

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1 In 3 Millennials See Communism As Favorable, Survey Finds

Posted by M. C. on October 28, 2019

“When we don’t educate our youngest generations about the historical truth of 100 million victims murdered at the hands of communist regimes over the past century, we shouldn’t be surprised at their willingness to embrace Marxist ideas,”

Is this the future of the US? Oh Mao goodness!

https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/28/millennials-communism-socialism-poll/

Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

A growing number of Millennials show support for communism and socialism, a survey from the Victims of Communism found.

The survey, conducted by the Victims of Communism and polled by the research and data firm YouGov, found that 70% of Millennials are likely to vote socialist and that one in three Millennials perceive communism as “favorable.” The survey is part of the Victims of Communism’s report “U.S. Attitudes Toward Socialism, Communism, and Collectivism,” which polled 2,100 people in the United States who were 16 and older with a margin of error of +/- 2.4%.

A little over half of the Millennials polled said the Declaration of Independence “guarantees freedom and equality” better than the Communist Manifesto.

“The historical amnesia about the dangers of communism and socialism is on full display in this year’s report,” said Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

“When we don’t educate our youngest generations about the historical truth of 100 million victims murdered at the hands of communist regimes over the past century, we shouldn’t be surprised at their willingness to embrace Marxist ideas,”…

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The Biggest Danger of Uncontrolled Immigration – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/michael-s-rozeff/the-biggest-danger-of-uncontrolled-immigration/

By

The extent of our economic freedom and the defense of our property rights are the key factors in our accumulation of wealth (goods and services) and a rise in our standard of living via the division of labor. But economic freedom and property rights depend critically on our laws and institutions, that is, the kind of government we have.

There is no question that we’ve moved away from the good laws and institutions that promote capitalism and embarked instead on a course of bad laws and institutions that promote socialism. This is why over a period of decades our living standards have not grown as much as they could have, and why some large portions of Americans can’t seem to get ahead, drop out of the labor force, live on welfare or even live on the streets.

Immigration is good for a country under two conditions. First, the country has the good laws and institutions that protect economic freedom and property rights. Second, the immigrants assimilate to the good laws and do not change them for the worse.

The socialist aspects of our current system are its bad laws. Immigrants don’t do Americans any good if they burden those parts of our system that offer “free” or subsidized goods and services. We cannot have a welfare state and allow unlimited immigration. Too many immigrants will opt for the free benefits. The wealth transfer is a tax upon working taxpayers. This amounts to greater socialism and economic retardation.

In order to benefit from immigration, as we have in our pre-1930s past when the welfare state and socialist regulatory laws were minimal, we need to get rid of these bad laws and institutions. This being unlikely at present, immigration becomes a worse and worse problem. It must be stopped, but stopping it requires a wall and police state measures. As George Reisman notes, the welfare state becomes a police state with unlimited immigration.

Then there is the second condition, which is that immigrants assimilate to our laws and institutions if they are the good laws supportive of and consistent with capitalism, private property rights and economic freedom. If they assimilate to what we have in our country today, this means adopting and supporting a system that has large socialist elements. This is definitely undesirable in terms of promoting the growth of wealth. We do not want to teach immigrants that American prosperity owes to our panoply of socialist interventions.

Worse yet, there are conflicting sentiments among immigrants to contend with. Some or many come because they want to work, educate themselves and get ahead in ways they couldn’t where they came from. But some or many also bring with them sentiments and political attitudes of their mother countries that they’ve imbibed and do not realize are contradictory to economic freedom and private property rights. Once within the bosom of our system with its socialist elements, they are likely to fall right in line with them, thinking they are being true Americans in supporting laws like Obamacare, Medicare for All, or other socialist laws and administrations…

Although the Republican party has been no stranger to socialist legislation, such as extending Medicare to prescription benefits, the Democrats are worse. They typically propose the socialist extensions and campaign for them for years on end until they become law.

The biggest danger of uncontrolled or unlimited immigration is that it shifts American politics even more greatly toward socialism.

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La-Raza-Founder (1)

…from the USA

 

 

 

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How Boris Johnson Can “Make Britain Great Again” | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 13, 2019

In twentieth-century Britain, the success of free markets bred a peculiar form of envy, based on the erroneous idea that the accumulation of wealth was at the expense of the labouring classes. It also played to intellectual and middle-class guilt. In defiance of all the evidence, it was popularised by the followers of Karl Marx. This was the basis upon which the Labour Party became a force in British politics.

https://mises.org/wire/how-boris-johnson-can-make-britain-great-again

A future prime minister must have a clear understanding of his enemy, the socialist myth, why it fails, and why free markets succeed.

Successful societies all have one thing in common: the freedom of individuals to cooperate socially in the pursuit of their needs and desires. Uniquely in the animal world, the human race deploys individual skills to produce what others want, and those others reward the individual on the basis of his or her ability to do so. Despite his inferior physical characteristics compared with other animals, it is through specialisation, the division of labour, that the human race has become dominant. The key to human success is the ultimate democracy inherent in the division of labour. It means the customer is king and all economic effort is expended toward his satisfaction. Individual success is rewarded by the improvement in living conditions for all. It defines human progress.

Truly, it is proof that free-market competition is more successful than any form of consensus.

The full economic potential of a free society is hardly ever realised. Island states, such as Hong Kong and Singapore have achieved it, but in the larger nations the development of true economic liberalism reached its zenith in Britain following the repeal of the Corn Laws and eventually all other tariffs. The improvement in living standards for the British people was truly remarkable, and the subsequent accumulation of productive wealth was unprecedented…

Socialism is incapable of fostering progress, because it cannot exercise commercial judgement unfettered by non-commercial considerations. It is a monopoly becoming less efficient by the day. The state is only able to assume that what happened in the past will happen in the future. There is no room for progress in the state’s static calculations.

Progress is the defining feature of dynamic free markets. In socialism we observe the state removing productive resources from the individual by confiscating his property, and in free markets the individual in his own interests serves his fellow men to their greatest satisfaction. The baker bakes bread for the builder; the builder builds shelter for the tech entrepreneur; the tech entrepreneur provides the media for the baker and the builder to enjoy their leisure. The state simply cannot devise an economic role for itself by interposing in these transactions.

Public support for socialism is not based on reason, but emotion. It draws on Christian values and morality, in which a concern for the welfare of the common man is expressed. As a competitor to religion, socialism replaces the deity with the head of the state: this was Karl Marx’s creed, considering himself as the head of a unified world state and Engels as his enforcer. Christians were the useful idiots on the way to this godless nirvana…

If Boris Johnson is to succeed in “Making Britain Great Again” he must understand the fundamental differences between socialism and free markets. He must observe and learn from Trump’s errors to not fall into the traps Trump has set for himself. He must be guided by free market principles, despite the howls of outrage that will continue to be a feature of his premiership, just as they have been of Trump’s presidency.

A nation is only successful despite its government.

 

 

 

 

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: The Economic Positions of Kamala Harris (And Her Father): What You Need to Know

Posted by M. C. on July 5, 2019

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/07/the-economic-positions-of-kamala-harris.html

When considering the economic policy positions of Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris (54), it should first be kept in mind that her father, Donald J. Harris, is Professor of Economics, Emeritus at Stanford University.

He is considered a post-Keynesian and should best be thought of as writing dense obscure papers from a post-Keynesian perspective that will have no impact on future economic thinking.

When he has taken a position on current day economic policy, it has been from an interventionist perspective. We are not dealing here with a Walter Block fellow traveler.

In 2008, he wrote an essay for the Stanford Daily supporting the presidential candidacy of Barak Obama because his “record bodes well for his ability to do an outstanding job as President and to secure passage of path-breaking healthcare legislation.”

And in the March 1993 edition of The Review of Black Political Economy, he penned an article, “Economic growth and equity: Complements or opposites?,” where he denies there are market mechanisms that work toward eliminating inequality (Though it is not clear whether he means eliminating inequality for doing the same type of work or a general lowering of unequal income). The paper’s argument suggests he likely supports affirmative action and other government interventions to fix inequality.

The paper’s abstract:

There is no automatic mechanism in a market economy to guarantee reduced inequality of income with growth. Some theories lead us to expect just the opposite. At best, there are self-limiting cyclical effects, associated with changes in unemployment. U.S. economic growth has actually been quite slow since the 1950s. Besides, there are structural barriers to reduced inequality that operate with or without growth. Historical evidence for different countries presents a mixed picture. For the U.S. economy, postwar growth has been associated with an upturn in measured inequality. Government intervention has been mildly equalizing, through transfers and expenditures but not through taxes.

It appears that his daughter, Kamala, has taken her father’s general interventionist-leanings and run with them in exponential fashion.

She co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All bill.

She has announced a plan to give the average public school teacher a $13,500 salary increase.

She has proposed the Rent Relief Act, which would offer tax credits to help with rents.

She has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal.

There is no indication she has any strong positions on such important issues as the Federal Reserve, Social Security or growing government deficits.

Bottom Line: Her economic policies are all early-stage socialist and she has little to no focus at all on any important economic issues and developing economic crises. Her post-Keynesian interventionist father would probably be even less of a danger than her. The only thing going for her is that she is not Elizabeth Warren.

RW

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: What AOC’s Favorite “Socialist” Country is Really Like

Posted by M. C. on June 25, 2019

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/06/what-aocs-favorite-socialist-country-is.html

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey explains:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

A non-technical definition of “socialism” would be “bossy and obstructive and high-handed government.” Sweden certainly has a good deal of that, inspired for example by the eugenicists Gunnar and Alva Myrdal in the 1930s. Sweden, with other Protestant countries, led the world in compulsory sterilization and persecution of gays into the 1970s. It’s an example of the way the Swedes go along with their government too much, sometimes because they assume too easily that whatever is widely agreed must be right. An old Swedish woman left her worn-out frying pan in a trash container for metal packages. She was arrested for committing a crime against the environment, freed only after trial, and fined. Nice…

Swedish-government spending, true, is very high, half again as large, measured as a share of GDP, as government spending in the U.S.

But when it comes to production, socialism disappears:

Sweden in fact is pretty much as “capitalistic” as is the United States. It’s Minnesota writ large. Not writ all that large, actually, with merely 9.3 million people, many of them now foreign-born, compared with the 5.3 million Minnesotans, 10 percent of Swedish descent. Like the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Sweden is a place of private ownership and thrusting inventors, Swedish bachelor farmers and pretty generous social provision, pretty good schools (with vouchers) and terrible weather.

If “socialism” means government ownership of the means of production, which is the classic definition, Sweden never qualified. When little Sweden’s economists were second in academic standing only to big Britain’s, in the early 20th century, they were “liberal” in the European sense: free-traders opposed to central planning and governmental ownership. None of Sweden’s manufacturing or extractive industries has ever been socialized, this in contrast, for example, to the experiment after 1946 in the world’s first innovative economy, when the Labour party’s Clause IV nationalized the Bank of England, coal, inland transport, gas, steel, health services, and much else. Sweden never followed even the more modest example of America’s temporary nationalization of railways during the First World War. Sweden’s Systembolaget, the state liquor store, was sold off in 2008, as it has not yet been in all the U.S. Apoteket, the maddeningly inefficient Swedish-government drug-store monopoly, was privatized, too, praise the Lord.

But these are small potatoes. The big potatoes in Sweden are owned by reclusive millionaires worthy of Newport, R.I., or Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. Consult Stieg Larsson and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. When Saab Autos began its descent into bankruptcy, no Swede suggested that the government give the company billions on the security of its worthless stock. When Volvo became a Chinese company, no Swede objected. Compare the determination of the Bush and Obama administrations in proudly capitalist America to socialize General Motors and Chrysler — Chrysler for the second time. Or compare the plans on the left of the Democratic party to solve any problem by expanding the government instead of solving the problem, such as monopoly in the provision of U.S. health care. “In many fields,” noted a Swedish diplomat, “we have more private ownership compared to other European countries, and to America. About 80 percent of all new schools are privately run, as are the railroads and the subway system.” Compare Amtrak, with eight stops in West Virginia, compliments of Senator Robert Byrd.

RW

 

 

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Donald Boudreaux: Conversation with a young socialist | TribLIVE.com

Posted by M. C. on April 5, 2019

https://triblive.com/opinion/donald-boudreaux-conversation-with-a-young-socialist/

Recently near my office at George Mason University I ran into a student of mine who was showing his friend around campus. The friend is thinking of transferring from Radford University to George Mason.

The friend — call him “Jack” — wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the famous image of Che Guevara.

Inferring from my economics lectures that I’m no great admirer of Guevara, my student joked awkwardly that Jack’s other favorite T-shirt features an image of Milton Friedman.

Jack didn’t laugh. Instead he asked me why I object to Guevara.

I was in no mood for confrontation, so I chose not to inform Jack of Guevara’s bloodlust. I instead replied simply that “Guevara was a socialist and I disapprove of socialism.”

“Why?” Jack asked.

“Because,” I answered, “socialism has never delivered on its promise to enrich the masses — quite the opposite — and it always turns into tyranny. Just look at the Soviet Union, Cuba and Venezuela. Even what we might call ‘socialist-lite’ countries do rather poorly.”

Jack’s look turned defensive. But before he could respond, I asked what he meant by socialism.

Jack admitted that he wasn’t sure of the details. He just wants to live in a society that’s “more just.”

I asked Jack for a specific example of an injustice in America today that would disappear under socialism.

“Inequality!” he answered immediately. Opining that it is “unjust” for one person to have multiple times more wealth than others, Jack expressed his desire for massive income redistribution.

I then asked a follow-up question that I knew would cause Jack to think that I was changing the subject. “What’s your college grade point average so far?” Jack replied, “3.85.”

“Very impressive!” I said sincerely. “You’re among a relatively small number of students at Radford who’ve accumulated such a large number of high grades.”

Jack looked at me suspiciously. I pressed on, asking if he favors grade redistribution: transferring “A” grades from students with “unjust” amounts of A’s to students with very few high grades.

Being an intelligent young man, Jack saw where I was headed. He replied “That’s different. I earned my good grades.” To which I replied: “Yes. So what makes you think that very rich people such as Jeff Bezos and Lady Gaga did not earn their great wealth?”

Before Jack could answer, I put to him another question: “If you knew that Bezos, Gaga and other very rich people earned their wealth, would you then call the difference in their wealth from that of ordinary Americans ‘unjust’?”

Jack dodged my questions by insisting that “no one needs that amount of money.”

“That’s not the question,” I protested. “The question is about the justice of the likes of Bezos owning so much more wealth than is owned by ordinary people. Tell me, Jack: What is unjust about Jeff Bezos having billions of dollars if it is all wealth that he earned, just as you earned all of your high grades?”

Jack answered confidently: “It’s unjust because it gives Bezos more power than others.”

“More power?!” I reacted surprisingly. “What power does Bezos have over you or me? He can’t force us to shop at Amazon.”

Jack heard enough. Walking away in a huff, he brushed me off as if I were an uncomprehending old goat…

Be seeing you

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