Tag Archives: Marxism

Children Learn What They’re Taught, by Robert Gore

Karl Marx

Many millennials embrace Marxism. So do their parents and grandparents.

From the millennials’ abilities will supposedly flow the wherewithal to fund “needs”: their elders‘ entitlements, debt, and ever-expanding blob of a government. Horror of horrors, polls and studies indicate that many millennials are embracing Marxism: they want somebody to fund their “needs”! Where did they learn this nonsense?

It must be those left-wing, snowflake sanctuary, social justice warrior haven, gender-bending colleges and their washed up Marxist professors. This is America, where everyone stands on their own two feet. That’s not how they were reared!

Except it is how they were reared. Good parents know their kids pay more attention to what they do than what they say. America has been slouching towards collectivism for decades. This bipartisan trend has been differentiated only by the hypocrisies the red and blue teams peddle. Regardless of what’s said, this country does statist collectivism. That anyone should express surprise or dismay that the young embrace collectivism betrays self-serving delusion that only fuels their cynicism.

Believe it or not, a fair number of millennials are reasonably well-informed. They just don’t get their information from their parents’ and grandparents’ favorite hypocrisy peddlers. The median age of Americans watching CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News is over 60, with Fox the most geriatric at 68.

The younger set watches a lot of videos, some from consistently ideological sources but many representing eclectic viewpoints that can’t be pigeonholed. Between the internet and their own experiences, the millennials are getting a pretty good idea of what the future holds, even if they don’t know the current vice-president or America’s allies in World War II. The future, after all, is far more relevant to them than Mike Pence or a war 72 years past.

Local, state, and the federal government spend over 35 percent of the GDP. Taxes paid skew heavily towards the most productive under our progressive tax regimes; that’s where the money is. Around half the population receives some sort of largess from one or more governments. From each according to their ability to each according to their need. However, need doesn’t carry the same requirement of deprivation that it did when the welfare state got rolling during the New Deal.

The needy still include those true tales of woe invariably cited by welfare state fans. But they also include relatively affluent Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries receiving far more than they put in. And tax-funded professors, administrators, and athletic coaches drawing fat salaries at public universities. Let’s not forget legions of other government employees, whose average pay, retirement pensions and medical benefits exceed those of their private sector brethren who support them. Then there are the hordes of contractors, lobbyists, and other teat-suckers who cluster around Washington D.C. and state capitals like flies cluster around particularly redolent corpses and turds.

Communist commissars—the “needy” class in the old Soviet Union that actually got most of the loot—never had it so good. For all their tax-looting, America’s commissars still spend more than they take in, so they’ve placed a huge claim on future production: debt and unfunded pension and medical promises. Even some of the dimmer millennial bulbs recognize who gets to pick up those collectivized obligations. That’s in addition to their not inconsequential student loan debt. The more astute realize that this mound of obligations has something to do with the anemic economy and dismal job prospects.

History demonstrates that collectivist regimes which stifle economic and political freedom often turn to war, plunder, and empire building to mask their repression and failures at home. Doesn’t that describe the US government to a tee? It has military bases and deploys special operations forces all over the world. In the name of global order and fighting terrorism, it has engaged in more wars this century than any other government. To instill domestic “order,” the national security state surveils everyone, including a president-elect, and subverts the press.

Not only do wars add a lot of chits to the debt pile, but guess which generation gets to fight them? Not that the military is having trouble filling its ranks. It offers steady jobs with good benefits—hard to find in the private sector—for those who avoid getting killed or maimed.

It takes a while for those millennials who find their way into the private sector to discover how thoroughly it is dominated by the public sector. The meddling, stifling, counterproductive hand of government weighs on every important economic activity. In some jurisdictions kids can’t even sell lemonade without a permit. It takes time, experience, and investigation to discover another truth: regulation protects the entrenched and stifles the new and innovative.

The apotheosis is finance and banking. Central bank debt monetization and interest rate suppression promote government debt and add to the millennials’ load. The Fed is owned by the banks, buys their securities, promotes their cartel, and acts as their agent in Washington. Cheap money drives up the price of financial assets, which millennials by and large don’t own. Reams of legislation and regulation not only make it difficult to impossible for competitive new entrants, but are explicitly designed to ensure that members of the old guard don’t fail. When they nevertheless fail, they get bailed out.

It is the intellectual crime of the century to call this bastardized state of affairs capitalism or freedom. Capitalism—investment, production, and voluntary exchange—is what people do when they’re left to their own devices and are free to pursue their own legitimate interests. It was dealt a mortal blow in 1913 with the establishment of the central bank and income tax, and buried in the New Deal. It’s no surprise the left falsely labels the grotesque and failing mixed economy capitalism. It’s every failure can be ascribed to capitalism and used as a justification for more government.

What’s revolting is the rhetoric of capitalism’s so-called defenders. Conservatives ritualistically praise a “free market system” that hasn’t existed for decades. It’s useful cover: invoke the free market while supporting and profiting from collectivist skims and scams. From the dwindling ranks of true entrepreneurs and honest businesspeople the rhetoric snares some of the more gullible. However, even when the red team has full control of the government, it just keeps getting bigger, more intrusive, and more powerful, reminiscent of communism.

At root, the conservative problem with capitalism is the phrase, “free to pursue their own legitimate interests.” The second law of government is that you can do almost anything to people if you tell them you’re doing it for them. (The first law of government is nothing succeeds like failure.) Liberals and conservatives alike pose as benefactors. A system based on freedom and self-interest—capitalism—obviates that pose. Ostensible benefactors can’t use government and other people’s money to bestow their “munificence,” extract their rents, and grasp their power. In part it explains the vitriolic hostility of both sides towards Ayn Rand, who extolled freedom and rational self-interest and condemned coercive altruism.

Millennials would be best advised to fight for their and others’ right to their own lives. Unfortunately, millennials learn what they are taught, and cutting through all the hypocrisy, the lesson plan is collectivism. As are the generations preceding them, millennials are collectivists. The only difference is they want to be the ones doing the collecting.

The Individual, Not the Collective

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We Love You, Morons, by Robert Gore

Are most people too stupid, ignorant, and benighted to comprehend truth in the sciences, appreciate beauty in the arts, and embrace wisdom in politics? That question captures the bedrock assumption guiding a sliver of the populace, a self-anointed elite who cover their disdain for everyone else with altruistic professions of humanitarian concern. They’re curiously contradictory posture: we despise common tastes, choices, and beliefs, but we stand four square for the common “folk” (one of President Obama’s favorite words). After over a century of such sententiousness, the “common folk” are beyond irritated. Before the charade blows up completely, however, this claim to intellectual, aesthetic, and moral superiority, its widespread acceptance and its devastating effects, must be dissected, analyzed, and understood.

Walk into any museum of modern art and you’ll soon come upon a work that, if you’re honest with yourself, you have no idea how or why it’s called art. Maybe its a few squiggly lines, or a geometric representation indistinguishable from the floor tiles in a restroom you once visited, or three blank, white canvases (these examples came from a simple Google search: modern art, images), but no matter what “masterpiece” first evokes it, the feeling grows that a fraud is being perpetrated. Visual art is chosen here because it’s the most obvious, but listening to the music from today’s supposed heirs to Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff, or reading the precious gems that win contemporary literary prizes and awards will also produce that sinking sensation of intellectual and aesthetic victimization. You have, in fact, been had, and it’s vitally important to unravel this con game and what it accomplishes.

The decoupling of the “artistic” from the popular is a fairly recent development. The Renaissance geniuses were mostly recognized during their lifetimes. Shakespeare’s plays (whoever wrote them) filled the Globe theater. The serialized Crime and Punishment was devoured by Russian readers, the English eagerly awaited each Dickens’ installment, the French lionized Victor Hugo, and Mark Twain won enduring acclaim, notwithstanding some scathing criticism, after the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (for a more contemporary scathing criticism, SLL has weighed in). However, by 1885, when Twain’s classic was published, storm clouds were already on the horizon.

For centuries the hereditary nobility, primarily the landed aristocracy, was the clearly demarcated economic and political elite of Europe. They had no need either to exaggerate their status or to differentiate themselves with incomprehensible artistic, intellectual, and moral standards. Their patronage of religion, education, and the arts was in part to ensure that their standards were promulgated and accepted throughout society, especially among the lower classes. That patronage created a second tier, the priests, scholars, and artists, dependent on their patrons and below them on the social scale, but above the “common folk.”

The Industrial Revolution upended the prevailing order. Fortunes larger than those of even the wealthiest of the European nobility went to the inventive, innovative, and ingenious. Wealth became a shifting, dynamic product of unfettered minds, not a virtually static sum based on land and rentier profits from low risk investments carefully shepherded from generation to generation, protected and augmented through political power. Heredity in the new order counted for next to nothing, except for whatever genetics had bestowed upon those who successfully navigated the ceaselessly roiling competitive landscape.

Undermining the basis of the old aristocracy, capitalism also knocked down the social status of the priests, scholars, and artists. The masses, as they disdainfully became known, certainly didn’t abandon religion, education, and art, but it was Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, and Edison, et al., that they admired and wanted to emulate, and some of them did. The devalued classes launched a counterattack that was, ironically enough, funded and supported in large measure by the new millionaires, their heirs, and their foundations.

It takes intellectual back handsprings to condemn as exploitive the first economic system in history that not only propelled countless rags-to-riches stories, but provided opportunity and raised standards of livings for millions of ordinary people who would have been previously consigned to poverty. In Karl Marx the devalued “intellectuals” found their man. Capitalism’s supposed internal contradictions would cause it to fail, replaced by a fully planned economy, and you-know-who would be doing the planning.

Only the resolutely masochistic can plow through Marx’s analytic gobbledygook and wildly errant predictions. What the intellectuals—the vast majority of whom did not actually read him—understood was that his planning and “scientific” socialism offered an avenue to restore them to primacy. They adopted two strategies. The first can only be called “baffle them with bullshit”: develop terminology, “specialized” modes of thought, and standards so abstruse and arcane—in politics, economics, the arts, and education—that the select few initiates would be seen as especially intelligent and expert. The second strategy was faux humanitarianism: the elect were not just exceptionally smart and capable, they were distinguished by their outsize concern for the wellbeing of the rest of humanity.

The presumed “exploited” didn’t have much use for a system where their ability doomed them to providing for the less industrious and competent, Marxist revolution came not from the proletariat in the industrially advanced nations as Marx had predicted, but in agrarian Russia, and demonstrated that the utopia had to be imposed at the point of a gun. Lenin and Stalin’s rivers of blood were bright light warnings of Marxism’s inherent flaws, but Western intellectuals continued to propound collectivism, undeterred, although they often called it something other than communism. The dictators derided the intellectuals as “useful idiots.” The intellectuals embraced the dictators, unveiling their true goal: power.

It is no coincidence that the century of the experts has been the bloodiest in human history. The mental chaos and intellectual abdication that have unleashed this unprecedented carnage are faithfully rendered in today’s awful art, literature, and music. However, an epochal change has begun. A growing number see the pretensions of the rulers and so-called thought leaders, the supposed brilliance, expertise, and humanitarianism, for the shams they are. A squiggly line is not the Mona Lisa, random noise is not Tchaikovsky, ten years from now nobody will be reading books hailed as today’s classics, and the “best and brightest” are just as prone to incompetence and corruption, if not more so, as anyone else; the governments they direct have run their countries into the ground.

One cannot be made to feel stupid without one’s consent. That consent, so long granted, is being withdrawn as common sense (known in some quarters as straight line logic), makes a comeback. The vaulting ambition of those exercising power always “o’erleaps itself” when those it seeks to rule rediscover that they run their own lives far better than the powerful do. The shrieking you hear is from those who have perpetrated fraud, recognizing that without their ill-gotten and undeserved power and status, they are nothing and have nothing to offer that anybody else would want. Don’t expect them to give it all up without a hellacious fight.

LITERATURE YOU CAN’T PUT DOWN

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He Said That? 3/28/16

From Vladimir Lenin,  (1870-1924), Russian revolutionary, the leader of the Bolshevik communist party, the first Premier of the Soviet Union and the main theorist of Leninism, “The ‘Disarmament’ Slogan,”  Collected Works, (1916):

Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved. But whoever expects that socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist. Dictatorship is state power based directly on violence. And in the twentieth century — as in the age of civilisation generally — violence means neither a fist nor a club, but troops. To put “disarmament” in the programme is tantamount to making the general declaration: We are opposed to the use of arms. There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say: We are opposed to violence!
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