Free Markets, Free People

Socialism? Why Not Call A Spade A Spade?

One of the things we talked about on the podcast this week is how, in the broadest sense, socialism is a growing phenomenon in our country. As I mentioned, while government may not actually own the means of production, if its regulations are such that they dictate how a company must operate, then government exercises de facto ownership.

What is happening in the financial sector right now serves as a perfect example.

The Obama administration plans to require banks and corporations that have received two rounds of federal bailouts to submit any major executive pay changes for approval by a new federal official who will monitor pay, according to two government officials.

[…]

Others, which are being described as broad principles, would set standards that the government would like the entire financial industry to observe as they compensate their highest-paid executives, though it is not clear how regulators will enforce them.

So regulators will have the final say on compensation. That, of course, is an ownership function. The de facto owner then is who?

Moving on:

In a sign of how eager corporations are to escape government diktats on pay, nine of the nation’s biggest banks are likely to repay bailout money as quickly as by the end of this month. The administration is expected to grant its approval this week.

Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and a handful of others have worked to rid themselves of their ties to government in order to shed restrictions on pay that they say put them at a competitive disadvantage.

But under the administration’s new plans, even companies that repay the taxpayer money will not escape some form of oversight on their compensation structure.

The set of broad pay principles being drafted by the Treasury Department would authorize regulators to tell a bank to alter its compensation arrangements if they are found to encourage too much risk-taking. It is not clear how the government will define too much risk.

Part two – no matter whether you pay the money back in full with whatever interest is owed, the government retains the right to dictate your compensation structure based in some arbitrary metric of “too much risk”, to be determined only by them.

They will apply to a broad swath of financial companies, even the United States operations of foreign banks, as well as private companies like hedge funds and private equity firms.

“This is the government trying to tell the TARP banks not to worry, because everyone else’s compensation will be monitored too,” said Gustavo Dolfino, president of the WhiteRock Group, a financial recruiter, of the industrywide principles. “We’re in a world of TARP and non-TARP.”

Clear enough? For those that like to quibble about the meaning of socialism and parse words, I’m eager to hear your spin on this. But, in light of the plan above you’d better be damned good at deploying the rhetorical smoke and mirrors if you plan to call this anything but a manifestation of the “s” word.

~McQ

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48 Responses to Socialism? Why Not Call A Spade A Spade?

  • Which is the step where they target a group that is easy to demonize in order to more easily justify unlawful levels of government intrusion?

  • Absolutely correct, on the metastatizing bureacracy, closet-socialism.

    However, to be fair to the taxpayers,  we must be honest and distinguish true free markets, from “state-capitalism” (equivalently labelled state-socialism).

    The singer must sell a million CDs, the athlete a million tickets, the entrepreneur a million widgets, to earn their fortunes.

    The corporate manager need only seduce a dozen board members.

    Similarly, up a level, many industries enjoy “regulatory capture” and use the power of government to advantage and entrench themselves.  Political skills supplant commercial productivity.

    The corporate managers then deal double.  For example, when it suited them, investment banks pressed the SEC to allow 30:1 leverage, on the grounds that I-banks are not explicitly  guaranteed, in contrast to commercial bank deposits.

     But when troubles arose, the statists at the investment banks cashed in their implicit guarantees.  Shameful that Bear and Merrill did not enter bankruptcy.  Shameful that Goldman and others collected 100% from the failed of AIG.

    So when we see Obama grasping for the reins like a good socialist, remember we sold him the harness.

  • I wouldn’t call it socialism.   It is governmental control without ownership….that is fascism, not socialism.  Let the leftists defend that…it is at least a more honest accusation. 

    • As we argued on the podcast, fascism is a form/part of the broader ideology of socialism. I’m talking in broad terms so we don’t get bogged down in the nonsense of “its fascism. No, its socialism” and lose site of the forest for the weeds. The premise is that fascism is a form of socialism.

      • I think it is more accurate to say that Fascism and Socialism are both forms of collectivism.  IIRC , in Liberal Fascism there are quotes of Mussolini defining Fascism and Socialism as different and as first a socialist and then a fascist he ought to know.  Ayn Rand differentiated them as forms of collectivism as well. 

        I think it is important to differentiate the two because many people, and especially the MSM, will proceed along these lines: 1. government ownership is a prerequisite for socialism, 2. there is no government ownership, therefore 3. cries of “socialism” by conservatives are just name calling

  • “One of the things we talked about on the podcast this week [and which Michael so eloquently and cogently argued earlier in the week] is how, in the broadest sense, socialism is a growing phenomenon in our country.”

    Sometimes this blogging software is really puzzling.  I don’t know understand how that portion of the sentence was dropped, but no worries, Bruce, I fixed it for you ;)

  • We’re no closer to socialism than we were under Nixon.  The S word is the new code world for “I hate having a Black president.”

    • yeah, that’s what it is.  You go ahead and continue to think that.
      Keep telling yourself everyone who disagrees with anything the current President does is automatically a racist.

    • No, Alan, it has nothing to do with race.  The same people cried out about socialism back in 1993-1994, when Hillary Clinton was attempting to ram her socialized medicine plan through Congress.

      And I’m not sure how “Nixon did it, so it’s okay if Obama does it” is an argument.  Flesh that out a bit for us, please.

    • Hey look, a drive by retard, wave to him, bye

    • I didn’t care for the creeping socialism under Bush either Alan. Was he black?  I didn’t notice.

    • Lemme guess: your real name is Janeane Garofalo, right?

  • I said it before, and I reiterate it again: The Dear Leader™ is doing things that are eroding confidence not just in him but in the United States. That is not change; that is destruction of our way of life. The Clown™ may think that he is doing anything he can to rescue the economy, but he is in fact undermining it. To that end, it is no wonder that his job approval ratings are at historic lows just four months into his maladministration. For this reason, I feel confident that next year, with double-digit unemployment and a sputtering economy, the Democrats will lose enough seats in the House to give control of that body to the GOP; how the Senate shakes up (pickups across the board for the Republicans, cutting into the Democrats’ majority) is anyone’s guess right now.

    The Dear Leader™ is sowing the seats for his own destruction. His one term will be seen, in history, as a disaster that was forewarned, but the warnings were ignored.

    (I eagerly await Erb coming here and telling us what a fine job The Dear Leader™ is doing, and that I am crazed to believe that the American people do not support this wholesale takeover of the American economy.)

  • “For those that like to quibble about the meaning of Socialism…”

    Chill, bro. One doesn’t need to have any particular definition of Socialism to agree that this is bad.  Big tent and all that.

  • The reasons are fairly simple to understand, and are well explained by an Classic Monty Python sketch:

    Praline: Next we have number four, ‘crunchy frog’.

    Milton: Ah, yes.

    Praline: Am I right in thinking there’s a real frog in here?

    Milton: Yes. A little one. Praline: What sort of frog?

    Milton: A dead frog. Praline: Is it cooked?

    Milton: No.

    Praline: What, a raw frog? (Superintendent Parrot looks increasingly queasy.)

    Milton: We use only the finest baby frogs, dew picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.

    Praline: That’s as maybe, it’s still a frog.

    Milton: What else?

    Praline: Well don’t you even take the bones out?

    Milton: If we took the bones out it wouldn’t be crunchy would it? Praline: Superintendent Parrot ate one of those.

    Parrot: Excuse me a moment. (exits hurriedly)

    Milton: It says ‘crunchy frog’ quite clearly.

    Praline: Well, the superintendent thought it was an almond whirl. People won’t expect there to be a frog in there. They’re bound to think it’s some form of mock frog.

    Milton: (insulted) Mock frog? We use no artificial preservatives or additives of any kind!

    Praline: Nevertheless, I must warn you that in future you should delete the words ‘crunchy frog’, and replace them with the legend ‘crunchy raw unboned real dead frog’, if you want to avoid prosecution.

    Milton: What about our sales?

    If you call it what it is, Bruce, you’ll have the folks with the tar and feathers marching down Pennsylvania Ave about 20 minutes later. Sorta like changing the name on the war on terror, or calling increased taxation ‘investing in America’.

  • This is the only thing I found good in the “leaked” version of the Kennedy bill ..

    The bill defines an “eligible individual” as “a citizen or national of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence or an alien lawfully present in the United States.”

    It does leave a door the size of Texas for political games with the definition of “ lawfully present”.

    • Till you find out lawfully present is the camel nose in the tent that has them declare those currently here without our sanction as now “lawfully present” as of such and such a date.

      It’s comin, just another cool thing about having a single source for control of 2 of the 3 (and working hard on the third as we speak) branches of government.

      • Captin Sarcastic was trying to float just such an argument:  that an illegal alien is only illegal when he’s actually crossing the border.  Any other time, he’s a non-criminal who just happened to come into the country illegally.  I tried to point out that it’s akin to saying Charles Manson isn’t a murderer now, becuase he’s not actually killing anyone.

        • Steverino, the only cogent arument you would get from the left based on that would go like this:

          hmmm, ah, ah,  …. RACIST!!!!

          Look at at little miss “you hate people above” for the key ref

        • That one is stuck in my mind.  It was sort of like Catch-22. 
          We can stop them from coming in, but we can’t stop them from being here if we fail to stop them from coming in.

          Analogous to only being allowed to stop someone unwanted from entering your house if you actually catch them coming in, but being unable to get them to leave if all they’re doing is sitting on your sofa watching our TV.

  • I love it.   You don’t realize that calling something socialist is meaningless — that term does not carry the negative connotations it did in the 20th century.   The people who get upset about “socialism” are usually well over 40, and already conservative.  You’ll rile up like minded thinkers, but it’s meaningless in terms of persuading average Americans.  But hey, use the term — just don’t be surprised if it generates yawns.

    • Yup yup yup, you’d know, you’ve done your best, probably 5 days a week, 4 times a day, for years,  to make that come true by providing the best education you can manage to suggestive young minds.
      And now you sit there bragging about how successful you’ve been.

      To mangle Pogo – We has met the enemy, and they is you.

    • How many times do you think you need to state that in the comments here Scott?  Do you have other useless thoughts to share or is this the only one?

    • The word socialism certainly means something to those who are paying for it, Erb.

      And your inter-generational argument is just swell, except that it will take about five minutes to convince anyone under forty that Social Security and Medicare will get him an SRO accommodation and the option to check the “anonymously” box next to “how would you like your cremation remains treated.”

      There has to be a way to penetrate the UMF bunker and get your students to watch you here, Scott. I know it’s all but impossible to send communications into any of the American university penal colonies, but there has to be a way. Maybe that “new media” wizard Jon Henke can come up with something. Oh, wait, he’s your comrade. I forgot.

  • Socialism? Why Not Call A Spade A Spade?

    Problems:

    1.  Convince people that TAO and the filthy democrats (spit) ARE “socialists”.  This is not as easy as it sounds because they do not (openly, yet) advocate “pure” socialism.  Much of what they HAVE done differs from the policies of Bush (snarl!) only in degree, not in kind.  Was Bush (snarl!) a socialist?

    2.  Convince people that socialism is bad.  We’ve had almost a generation since the end of the Cold War.  “Socialist” doesn’t carry the negative connotations for younger Americans that it did for us old fogeys.  Further, MiniTru has worked ceaselessly for years to indoctrinate Americans in the beliefs that (A) capitalism is bad, and; (B) there are huge problems facing our country that can ONLY be solved by the government (by which MiniTru means the filthy democrats).

    At this point, merely branding TAO and his policies as “socialist” is whistling in the dark: the word has little meaning to most Americans, and it is easy for MiniTru to brand anybody who uses it as some sort of extremist (note the comment by Alan R R above for a demonstration of how successful MiniTru has been).  I say that the best tack to take it to hammer home WHY TAO’s policies are bad; leave the “s” word at home.  If there is a need for a single word, then I’d suggest “Obamism” or something to that effect.  And what is this “obamism”?  It is a collection of policies and ideals that include:

    (A) Reckless deficit spending that will eventually lead to massive inflation and economic stagnation, placing the American Dream forever beyond the reach of millions of Americans, who instead of moving up and having more for themselves and their children will become semi-permanent wards of an ever-growing State;

    (B)  Reckless intrusion of the government into private businesses that will lead to inefficiency, fewer jobs, less innovation, and less opportunity.  Ask the simple question: “Do you want the same organization that delivers the mail to build your car?”

    (C)  A reckless foreign policy that kowtows to our enemies, promising negotiations without preconditions with countries that have sworn to destroy us, while giving iPods to our best friends;

    (D)  A reckless defense policy that refers to terrorists as “extremists”, terrorist attacks as “man-caused disasters”, and considers our veterans to be a security threat;

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    TAO is a disaster.  It should be easy to demonstrate this to most of the American people (i.e. those who don’t agree with Evan Thomas that TAO is “god”).  Arguing over whether he’s a socialist does little to stop the train wreck that this reckless man and his filthy allies are making of our country.

    • In several ways, yes, GW was demonstratively a socialist.  At best a centrist who aided and abetted while the socialists in Washington did their thing.

      I don’t even think it’s conscious socialism, it’s simply that creeping socialism (for the children, for the poor, for the country, for your dog, for Gaia, for mankind) is one of the easiest, minimally visible ways for politicos to get and maintain their power over the populace.

      • Now…this one, I should add, IS a socialist.

      • lookerIn several ways, yes, GW was demonstratively a socialist.  At best a centrist who aided and abetted while the socialists in Washington did their thing.

        I agree.  However, if we asked W, “Are you a socialist?” I expect that we’d get a shocked and rather indignant “NO!” from him.  This underscores the problem with using the term “socialist” to describe TAO or just about any other politician who doesn’t openly admit it (like Sanders from Vermont): what’s the difference between spending public money for charitable, benevolent purposes… and socialism?  I say that it’s a merely matter of both intent and degree, and that the line between “compassionate conservatism” or even a simple “helping hand” and “dictatorship of the proleteriate” is so hazy as to be almost meaningless.

        I would add that the GOP hasn’t got a clue about this, else they would be firmly against such budget busters as the prescription drug plan, TARP, and other elements of “compassionat conservatism” we experienced under Bush (snarl!).

        Indeed, I’d say that most Americans want and like socialism to varying degrees.  They want and like the government to pay for health care for “people who can’t afford it”.  They want and like the government to regulate businesses to “protect the consumer” and “stabilize the economy” and “protect American workers”.  The sad and hard fact is that, if you want to denigrate socialism, you’ve got to accept that this means telling people that Uncle Sugar shouldn’t be in the business of handing out charity… including Social Security checks, medicare checks, food stamps, etc.  This idea, which would have been perfectly natural to our ancestors, would be an outrage to quite a few of our fellow Americans today.  “What!!!  You mean you want old people to starve without their Social Security???  You want children to go hungry without food stamps????  You want people who lose their jobs to starve in the streets without unemployment insurance????”

        The dems (spit) have used this sort of logic for years to scare people into voting for them.  Not sure how well its converse can be used to scare people into voting against them.

  •  
    When did Socialism become a dirty word? Some people confuse socialism with communism.  Our fire departments, Police force, public schools and our military are socialist endeavors. These are honorable professional people working for all of society. China is a communist country with a capitalist market place. The illegal drug trade market is a “free market” that is unfettered with laws and regulations. A free market is anarchy. This is not good for anyone.

    The preamble to Constitution for the United States of America established Justice. Sellers know more about their products and services than buyers. The government makes laws and regulations to protect buyers from fraud, theft, unsafe products, and harmful business practices and is responsible for enforcement. This is good for everyone, rich and poor.

    The preamble insures domestic Tranquility and was to ensure the federal government had powers to squash rebellion and to smooth tensions between states. Federal law takes precedence over state law and the federal government regulates interstate commerce and enforces laws across state lines. This is good for all companies big and small.

    The federal government is responsible for the defense of the nation, both domestic and foreign. During WWII the federal government co-opted businesses to produce for the war effort. The government ran theses companies very efficiently and was magically not susceptible to the greed and lust of power. This socialist act did secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity (all that follow us, our children and their children). Socialism has served us well and has been good for everyone.

    The Constitution assigns the responsibility to work for the good of society to government – “to promote the general Welfare”. Welfare means the well-being of all the people not just the wealthy. Make no mistake about it, the CEO’s of the biggest 250 companies that own over 80 percent of corporation wealth; are wealthy.  “The income gap between the rich and the rest of the U.S. population has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten the stability of democratic capitalism itself,” then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said in 2005. The Republican Party is trying to convince you to vote for the well being of the wealthy and big businesses. Government is there to protect us, to level the playing field by enforcing laws and regulations.

    The Republican notion that all government regulations are bad has been blown out of the water by Alan Greenspan.  Accused of contributing to the meltdown, but denying that it was his fault, Greenspan told a House panel the crisis left him — an unabashed free-market advocate — in a “state of shocked disbelief.” The longtime Fed chief acknowledged under questioning that he had made a “mistake” in believing that banks in operating in their self-interest would be sufficient to protect their shareholders and the equity in their institutions. Greenspan called it “a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.” Hopefully, the Republican anti-regulation agenda has been discredited and will not be raised again.

    When regulators don’t do their job, everyone gets hurt including the rich. The victims of Bernie Madoff and Sir Stanford were rich. However, the greedy CEOs and super rich seem to have made out like bandits. They are the ones that pay the lobbyists to screw the rest of us. People are ‘society’ and they alone should decide what is in their benefit, not just the wealthy and big business.

    Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society. Socialists mainly share the belief that capitalism unfairly concentrates power and wealth among a small segment of society that controls capital and creates an unequal society.

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need is actually a very humane philosophy. Religion states it differently; Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you, or the needs of the many out weight the needs of the one. Some people call that Patriotism.  Capitalism, on the other hand, teaches greed is good, buyer beware, and everyone for themselves. Business has no innate responsibility to work for the good of society. Capitalism fosters inhumanity; consider slavery, child labor, and genocide against Native Americans as part of the “human ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit” that built this country.

    Conservative Republicans controlled by big business and the wealthy have feared the poor and middle class will wake up and demand a Socialist state. When people feel abused, that their government has created an unequal society, like Venezuela and Bolivia, they have the power to elect a government to support their needs. In the case of Cuba, it was a revolution. Ironically, it was the Republican Party that took the first steps of Socialism to bailout Wall Street. Americans do not want Socialism because they fear that it can lead to Communism or a Dictatorship.

    However, unrestrained free market capitalism is also unacceptable since it unfairly concentrates power and wealth and creates an unequal society like our economy now. President Teddy Roosevelt made the case in 1906 when he argued in favor of continuing the inheritance tax. “The man of great wealth owes a particular obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government.”


    Democrats do not want Socialism. Democrats want private ownership, a level playing field, equal opportunities, public services, and a compassion for the unfortunate. It is the American way and the American dream.

    • Ah, the ultrarich enemy.  Thank God they exist, otherwise you’d have to invent them….

      And Lord knows, guys like, uh, George Soros, he’s an ultra rich Republican ain’t he?

      You’d have thought the ultrarich could have better protected their investment in this last election wouldn’t you?

    • What a breath-taking expanse of unadulterated sophistry.
      Seriously, Bruce, you need to use something more than 8th-grade-level analysis if you want to swim in this pool.
       

    • I’m sorry, but you spend a lengthy post trashing capitalism, attempting to show how certain parts of our Constitution and society are and have always been socialist, and generally praising the central ideals of socialism, but finish up by announcing that democrats (spit) “do not want socialism”???  For something they (and, I presume, you) don’t want, you seem to spend a great deal of time defending and extolling it!

      I do want to discuss this concept of “level playing field”, as it is a much-abused concept used by democrats (spit) and socialists (is there really a difference?) to justify their totalitarian schemes.  To us nasty old capitalists and evil, rich, old Republicans, “level playing field” has to do with the rule of law and especially the concept that the laws apply equally to everybody.  To democrats and their socialist brethren, “level playing field” has nothing to do with equal treatment under the law and EVERYTHING to do with outcomes: Peter has more money than Paul, which is unfair, so the government must “level the playing field” by taking money from Peter to give to Paul and also seeing to it that Peter cannot make more money than Paul in the future by hobbling Peter with regulations while giving Paul preferential treatment.  O’ course, this only applies if Paul is a political ally of the dems (spit) and / or Peter is their whipping boy.  In short, how the playing field is “level” has nothing to do with economics or common sense and everything to do with politics and power.  Talk about something that’s bad for society!

    • What the hell Bruce Barnes?  You spent 8 paragraphs writing ‘socialism isn’t bad’ and ‘we already have socialism’, and then finish with ‘we don’t want socialism’.  Ummm, you need to sharpen your spear in here.  Better posters than I will skewer you if your best is that weak.

    • Capitalism fosters inhumanity; consider slavery, child labor, and genocide against Native Americans as part of the “human ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit” that built this country.

      Brilliant, all those things are clearly things directly attributable to Capitalism, rather than reflecting nasty attitudes inherent to MAN in societies since time began (and ones which we’ve striven in American Society, under Capitalism, to eliminate).
      Let’s blame capitalism, clearly THAT was the cause of these ills, and certainly the only economic system under which any of those occurred (as opposed to every economic system or government ever devised).

      • His post reminds of this old site I once saw called Capitalism Kills. I wasn’t able to find to show a link but it was similar tripe.

        It basically tried to link every death from slavery,genocide,war and terrorism to capitalism. It was supposedly a rebuttal to The Black Book of Communism.

  • When did socialism become a dirty word? For the post-war era circa 1945 with the publication of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom.

    Communism was the dominant form of socialism in the 20th century. You must remember the Soviet Union and Mao’s Communist China. How the extant regimes in North Korea and Cuba? Do you recal, perhaps, the Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe?

    Anyway, the socialist dominion in its communist form had the planet fairly locked down.

    End stage socialism is always fun, because when everything fails, it’s always the people who the regime blames. They, ah, don’t do their jobs right, or work hard enough.

    In Western Europe we have the social democracies or Fabian socialist regimes. That’s where the state crushes everything it can into its portfolio until it falls apart and then they “allow” free enterprise to restart. That’s somewhat similar to what’s happened in China, but not entirely.

    Anyway, firemen are not “socialist” by definition. The fire services could be privatized. The police have to do with the administration of law and justice and are appropriately a government operation. Some police activities can be privatized, but there are reasons why they are connected to government at certain nodes, even though their effectiveness can certainly be harmed by the status they enjoy. Not enough time and space to go into that. The military is about national defense. That is not primarily a business in any classical sense.

    Social Security (the famous Ponzi scheme) is the retirement pension business and is socialism. Bernie Madoff must blush and wonder why he’s going to jail for his little scam when he looks at SS. “If only I had been the federal government!” must be his big thought on that.

    Ditto Medicare.

    Socialism is a dirty word because it has that unique quality of not working and being theft.

  • Perhaps, the Identification of calling a spade a spade requires even more clarity.

    “We have seen above that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.”

    Marx &Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party

  • On the socialism, fascism, collectivism question.

    I think that socialism and collectivism are fairly synonymous, and that fascism is a variant of socialism, ergo, collectivist. The cleverness of fascism is that instead of taking the capitalists out back and shooting them and putting stupid, ignorant communist revolutionaries in charge, the fascists just order the capitalists to obey them, or face being taken out back and being shot.

    In that sense, fascism presevers the management function, which preserves, for just a little while longer than the stupid, ignorant communist revolutionaries, the market signals. They don’t just end abruptly but rather fade out as they must under any central command economic structure. Competitive businesses operate, usually, on pretty slim profit margins (compared to the incredible “profits” generated by government printing presses), so as the hyper-complex signals are distorted and then fade altogether, productivity wanes, as it must in any socialist structure, and the situation arrives at the basis of the old Soviet joke: “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

    I’m reminded of the old Polish guy who had been in a coma (true story) from before the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and then woke up just a few years ago. He couldn’t believe what he saw. He remembered the old days when the only thing on the shelves in the stores were mustard and vinegar.

    And a P.S. to Scott Erb: I bet the old internees on your father-in-laws collective farm also know the meaning of socialism.

  • P.S. to the above:

    Of course today the vanguard revolutionists are effectively lobotomized politicians (names Pelosi and Reid come quickly to mind), bureaucrats, judicial tyrants, and community organizers (to name but a few), who draw their strength from such schoolgirl fascist movements as “Women’s Studies” departments at universities and such other academics as have been fully fitted with and conditioned by the electrified genital cuffs of long experience in the mealy-mouthed world of higher education.

    • I’ve noticed, recently, an abundance of mustard and vinegar at my local grocer.

  • This is a NeoLibertarian blog, isn’t it? Why was it necessary add the ‘Neo’ part? Was there a quibble about the meaning of “Libertarian’?

    • Yes, libertarians are generally isolationist, while neo-libertarians promote interventionist foreign policy.

      • Well, neolibertarians are willing to intervene, but we’re not necessarily interventionist if that’s taken to mean “military adventurist.”  Just to clarify.

        We’re also actually trying to advance our goals within the context of coalition politics, instead of pouting and taking our ball home as some libertarians do when they can’t win it all outright.  That means not just persuading more people to think like us, but also making allies and trying to shift the compromise further in the direction of our principles.  That means actually participating in the messy political process.

  • I found your blog on google, and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.