Tag Archives: Socialism

Take Ownership of Your Bolshevism, Bernie! by William L. Anderson

Somehow you can chop down all the tall trees, which socialistic egalitarianism demands, without actually hurting the trees. From William L. Anderson at lewrockwell.com:

Once upon a time, the Great and Learned People of our society believed that we could have our own form of communism without all of the starvation, mass executions, and imprisonment that marked the establishment of communism abroad. When Leonard Silk, economics editor of the New York Times,wrote The Economists in 1978, he named his chapter on John Kenneth Galbraith, “Socialism Without Tears.” Yes, “American Exceptionalism” also extended to the imposition of socialism that would bypass the death and chaos that marked the communist “experiments” in the USSR, China, and Southeast Asia.

Galbraith believed that the Soviet economy would be superior to the distasteful market economy that plagued the USA, and so did Paul Samuelson, whose famed text showed how in due time, the Soviet economy would grow faster than that of the United States, and someday be more productive. All that was needed was the political will for Americans to reach for the Horn of Plenty, something that evil capitalists did not want to see happen.

Enter Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate who could argue forthrightly that Hillary Clinton and the party leadership stole the election from him. Bernie promoted socialism, although socialism of the “right” kind, something practiced in Denmark and Scandinavia. (That those countries have lower taxes and fewer regulations on business enterprises is not something Sanders would admit aloud, as such information would have been anathema to him and his followers.)

That Bernie wanted a “nice” socialism, a “socialism without tears” is supposedly his political salvation. There is no need for the murder and violence that accompanied the Russian and Chinese communist revolutions, although even there one had to remember that many prominent Americans, including Galbraith, were effusive in their praise of the results of those revolutions. Galbraith even had been to China, was wined and dined, and wrote “A China Passage” as a tribute to the utopia that Mao and his underlings had created, and it is clear that Galbraith saw China as a shining example of what an “egalitarian” economy could be, plain shops and all.

To continue reading: Take Ownership of Your Bolshevism, Bernie!

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Why Do Half-Measures Work for Markets, But Not for Socialism? by Ryan McMaken

The proponents of socialism proclaim that you need the whole loaf or socialism will fail. Proponents of capitalism don’t have to make such claims. Usually just moving in that direction leads to improvement in economic well-being. With a hat tip to SLL reader ikdr, from Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Socialists have attempted many times to put their ideology into action. Socialism has been applied in the Soviet Union, Cuba, China (before Deng), North Korea, and by many other less-famous regimes.

In each case, the result has been economic impoverishment and political authoritarianism.

But the die-hard socialists refuse to give up. “Don’t judge communism based on these results, ” we’re told. “Socialism has simply never really been tried.”

Socialism Doesn’t Work Unless It’s Pure Socialism

Indeed, in a recent back-and-forth between John Stossel and Noam Chomsky, Chomsky denied that the Venezuelan regime is socialist at all:

I never described Chavez’s state capitalist government as ‘socialist’ or even hinted at such an absurdity. It was quite remote from socialism. Private capitalism remained … Capitalists were free to undermine the economy in all sorts of ways, like massive export of capital.

The thinking goes that socialism cannot work unless it progresses all the way to “full socialism.” No partial effort will suffice, we are told, and socialism keeps failing because the some elements of “private capitalism” remained. 

So long as any aspect of a state is not full-on socialism, the thinking goes, then the regime is not really socialist. Moreover, the failure of the regime’s socialist policies — such as expropriation of private companies and expansion of government-owned industries — are to be blamed on capitalism, not socialism. 

RELATED: “Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela” by Ryan McMaken

Naturally, were socialism able to achieve it’s final state — and all elements of capitalism expunged — we’d know it by its ushering in of a society marked by unparalleled prosperity and total equality.

Nevermind that for all intents and purposes, Lenin did achieve nearly complete and total nationalization of the economy during the Russian Civil War in 1922. The people began to starve soon after, and Lenin retreated to the partial socialism under his so-called “New Economic Policy.”

To continue reading: Why Do Half-Measures Work for Markets, But Not for Socialism?

Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela, by Ryan McMaken

If you ask leftists and socialists about socialist states like the USSR, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela, you invariably get a “That’s not what I mean,” and then a description of a socialist utopia not found on this planet. Frm Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

During the 2016 presidential election, Bernie Sanders refused to answer questions about Venezuela during an interview with Univision. He claimed to not want to talk about it because he’s “focused on my campaign.” Many suggested a more plausible reason: Venezuela’s present economy is an example of what happens when a state implements Bernie Sanders-style social democracy. 

Similarly, Pope Francis — who has taken the time to denounce pro-market ideologies for allegedly driving millions into poverty — seems uninterested in talking about the untrammeled impoverishment of Venezuela in recent years. Samuel Gregg writes in yesterday’s Catholic World Report:

Pope Francis isn’t known as someone who holds back in the face of what he regards as gross injustices. On issues like refugees, immigration, poverty and the environment, Francis speaks forcibly and uses vivid language in doing so.

Yet despite the daily violence being inflicted on protestors in Venezuela, a steadily increasing death-toll, an explosion of crime, rampant corruption, galloping inflation, the naked politicization of the judiciary, and the disappearance of basic food and medical supplies, the first Latin American pope’s comments about the crisis tearing apart an overwhelming Catholic Latin American country have been curiously restrained.

This virtual silence comes in spite of the fact that the Catholic bishops who actually live in Venezuela have denounced the regime as yet another illustration of the “utter failure” of “socialism in every country in which this regime has been installed.”

Thus, for many Venezuelans, the question is: “Where is Pope Francis?”

As with Sanders, it may very well be that Francis has nothing to say about Venezuela precisely because the Venezuelan regime has pursued exactly the sorts of policies favored by Bernie Sanders, Pope Francis, and the usual opponents of market economics.

It’s an economic program marked by price controls, government expropriation of private property, an enormous welfare state, central planning, and endless rhetoric about equality, poverty relief, and fighting the so-called “neoliberals.”

To continue reading: Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela

 

Eight Venezuelans Electrocuted To Death While Looting Bakery Amid Massive Protests, by Tyler Durden

Venezuela is falling apart. The over/under on the present government surviving is perhaps six months. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Venezuela’s ongoing protests against the Maduro regime took tragic turn when at least 12 people were killed overnight during looting and violence in Venezuela’s capital. Most of the deaths took place in El Valle, a working class neighborhood near Caracas’ biggest military base where opposition leaders say a group of people were hit with an electrical current while looting and trying to steal a refrigerator from a bakery.

The chaos turned deadly when looters entered a bakery protected by an electric fence and tried to remove a refrigerator. The accounts varied, but one opposition leader said 13 people were hit with an electrical current after tossing containers filled with water and making contact with the refrigerator’s power cord.


Criminal investigators look for evidence in front of a bakery, after it was looted

Daniela Alvarado, 25, who sells vegetables in the El Valle area, said the looting on Thursday night began after police officers fired tear gas and buckshot at demonstrators blocking a street with burning tires.

People starting looting the businesses and yelling that they were hungry and that they want the government out,” said Alvarado. “We’re afraid (the stores) are going to run out of everything, that tomorrow there won’t be any food.”

“Yesterday around 9 or 10 (p.m.)things got pretty scary, a group of people carrying weapons came down … and started looting,” said Hane Mustafa, owner of a small supermarket in El Valle cited by Reuters, where broken bottles of soy sauce and ketchup littered the floor between bare shelves.


Empty shelves, a day after a night of looting in El Valle neighborhood in Caracas

To continue reading: Eight Venezuelans Electrocuted To Death While Looting Bakery Amid Massive Protests

Why Socialism is Here to Stay, by Jeff Thomas

Socialism persists and does its deleterious work because it promises, although never delivers, so much for so many at the expense of the few. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com: 

“[T]he government has to take resources from someone before it can dole them out to others. This act of taking destroys an economy. The more you take from the productive members of society, the less productive they become. That’s the primary lesson of the history of socialism.”

The above quote is from Porter Stansberry – from his book, America 2020: The Survival Blueprint. It states a concept I’ve described for years, but Porter states it more succinctly than I ever have. In particular, it negates the argument by many “progressives” that, even if they don’t recommend full-on socialism, they believe in getting “just the right mix” of socialism and capitalism to create the ideal system.

Unfortunately, as viable as this concept may sound, even moderate socialistic national policies result in moderate deterioration of the system. It’s not unlike being “just a little” addicted to heroin.

It may be argued that, “That’s different. With heroin, the addict will always end up wanting more and he’ll become even more dependent.” Exactly so – and that’s unquestionably true for socialism as well. Once the concept of “free stuff” is part of a nation’s governing system, the desire for more free stuff will inexorably rise.

And, of course, historically, we have seen that governments always step up to the plate whenever the demand for more free stuff is suggested. But why should this be so? Wouldn’t a more conservative government be less likely to proffer entitlements than a more liberal government?

Actually, no. To believe this is to misunderstand the very nature of governance. Those who are governed like to believe that their government exists to serve them, and all political leaders are quick to encourage this perception. However, amongst themselves, political leaders fully understand that they exist primarily to feed off of and dominate the electorate. Of course, they can’t actually admit this, but, regardless of party affiliation, that is their very raison d’tre.

To continue reading: Why Socialism is Here to Stay

“The End Of Truth” – Hayek Saw It All Coming Over 70 Years Ago, by Tyler Burden

On The Road to Serfdom, there’s an unmarked exit to the truth. Stay on the road and you’ll never reach it; in fact, it goes the other direction. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:  

The Road To Serfdom (authored by F.A. Hayek, first published in 1944)

Excerpts from Chapter 11 – The End of Truth

Annotated via Crossroad.to/heaven,

“The most effective way of making everybody serve the single system of ends toward which the social plan is directed is to make everybody believe in those ends. To make a totalitarian system function efficiently, it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the same ends. It is essential that the people should come to regard them as their own ends.”[p.171]

Berit’s comment: Ponder that statement. It helps explain the significance of universal service-learning. Like socialist youth in Nazi (National Socialism) and Communist countries, all must embrace the new ideology. Those who don’t — the intolerable dissenters — must be silenced.

The next section elaborates:

“Although the beliefs must be chosen for the people and imposed upon them, they must become their beliefs, a generally accepted creed which makes the individuals as far as possible act spontaneously in the way the planner wants. If the feeling of oppression in totalitarian countries is in general much less acute than most people in liberal countries imagine, this is because the totalitarian governments succeed to a high degree in making people think as they want them to.”[p.171]

The strategies that accomplish this mental change include numerous subtle and obvious forms of propaganda. Schools, the media, children- and youth-service teams, corporations, etc…. every source of propaganda must share the same vision. Though totalitarian, it will be designed to sound noble, compassionate and fair to all. Yet the result with be the exact opposite.

To continue reading: “The End Of Truth” – Hayek Saw It All Coming Over 70 Years Ago

The Problem With Hillary, by Thomas DiLorenzo

The problem: she’s a socialist. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:

The problem with Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate is not that she is a corrupt and dishonest politician, as her critics have charged. No, the problem with Hillary is that she is just as big a socialist as Bernie Sanders is. “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good,” she announced to a San Francisco audience in 2004, echoing the Communist Manifesto mantra, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” “We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society,” she once proclaimed as First Lady. Such statements are a defining characteristic of the socialist philosophy: attacks on individualism in the name of the “common good” of “society” – always defined and enforced by politicians, never by society as a whole. And like Sanders, she threatens “the rich” with even more onerous taxes to be used to subsidize the working class (“working families” in the neo-Marxist language of one of her television ads).

Hillary Clinton demonstrated her socialist credentials during the Democratic primary debates with the proud, self-described socialist Bernie Sanders. Whenever Sanders would excite the audiences of Democrats with Santa Claus-like promises of “free” healthcare, education, housing, welfare payments, and much else, Hillary’s response was to agree with him, promising to increase federal spending by more than $1 trillion over the next ten years. There was no disagreement over the principles of socialism, only the details.

A current fad among the socialists of Europe is to propose some kind of “basic” government-defined income for the entire population. Switzerland just voted down this latest money-for-nothing scheme. Naturally, Hillary is all on board with it, having proposed giving every baby born in America a $5000 account that would be invested and given to the child upon reaching the voting age of eighteen. George McGovern proposed a similar, $1000 “demogrant” in 1972, which was dismissed and ridiculed as socialistic nonsense and may well have caused him to lose the election to Richard Nixon.

In other words, Hillary is just as much a socialist as Bernie Sanders, only she doesn’t use the “S” word for marketing purposes. She prefers “progressive Democrat” instead, but that is not very convincing, even to many of her supporters. During a televised interview with Chris Mathews, she was asked repeatedly what the difference was between a Democrat and a socialist. She refused to answer the question, implying to many that she probably believes that there is no significant difference.

In the early 1990s Hillary Clinton was the main architect of what came to be known as “Hillarycare” – the Clinton administration plan to impose Soviet-style central planning on America’s healthcare sector. This gives us great insight into her vision of the role of government in the economy, and how she would like to see more and more American industries run – by dictates issued by thousands of anonymous bureaucrats paid for by the biggest tax increases in history and enforced by the heavy hand of the state.

To continue reading: The Problem With Hillary