Category Archives: Socialism

What’s the real story behind Right Wing and Left Wing in America?

In America, the term Right Wing is misused to imply that conservative Americans are fascists lusting for world domination; in fact, the opposite is true.

Right Wing Left Wing Conservative

(As my regular readers (to whom I am endlessly grateful) know, I was away from my blog for some time caring for a relative who had surgery. Being away that long gave me time to think about “going a little crazy,” as Bob Ross likes to say when he adds another tree to a painting. In my case, “going a little crazy” meant wondering if I could do a video as well as a podcast.

In addition to the time spent researching how to do go about making a Power Point video (I’ve got to start somewhere), it took me six hours to create a 35 minute video and companion podcast. They both are a little glitchy, but not bad for a first effort. I will get better.  But I will never forget my readers, so here is the same content in written form.)

The idea for this video came when I ended my trip with a much-needed massage. Because this is Tennessee, my masseur is a liberty-oriented man so, in the midst of a far-ranging conversation, he asked this question: “Why are conservatives called “fascists,” when fascism is a socialist doctrine?” An excellent question, and one I wanted to answer here.

The reality is that, even though the media loves to talk about “right wingers” (although never left wingers), there is no “left wing” versus “right wing” in America, at least as those terms are understood in the rest of the world. Instead, we only have liberty versus tyranny, along with the supporters of both those ideologies.

Ironically enough, although the French Revolution post-dated the end of the American revolution by six years, the terms “right wing” and “left wing” are leftovers from that overseas kerfuffle. Let me explain.

The French Revolution had as its slogan “Liberté, égalité, fraternité.” Liberty, equality, fraternity! In the context of the French Revolution, those words were always lies.

At the start of the Revolution, France had an absolute monarchy that sat on top of a large, equally absolutist aristocracy. It was not a sustainable system, and the revolutionaries intended to topple it. However, unlike the American revolutionaries who envisioned limited government coupled with individual liberty, that’s not what the French wanted. Instead, the revolutionaries imagined an absolutist commune, with the monarchy and aristocracy replaced by an equally controlling cabal of “the people.”

But what, you may ask, does this have to do with “left wing” and “right wing”? Simple. In the French Parlement during the lead-up to the Revolution, the representatives who sought to retain an absolutist government led by the monarchy and the aristocracy sat to the Speaker’s right. The representatives who sought to replace the existing government with an absolutist government led by “representatives of the people” sat to the Speaker’s left.

And that’s where the terms still used today in American and around the world came from: Those on the right seek to “conserve” the old ways; those on the left seek to upend them. Except, as I’ll develop at greater length, America has not traditionally had any cognates to this European left/right divide.

And now we get to my favorite chart, one that, for convenience’s sake, uses a left/right continuum to show how there are two sides to the political spectrum:

On the left (although it could just as easily be portrayed on the right side of the line) is absolutist, totalitarian government, something with which we are all familiar. It exists under many names – monarchy, socialism, communism, democratic socialism, fascism, theocracy, etc. – but it always plays out the same: maximum government control; minimum individual liberty.

Meanwhile, on the right side of the continuum (although I could have easily placed “liberty blue” on the left), is the political system that has limited government and maximum individual liberty. At its extreme, it’s anarchy. Otherwise, it’s . . . well, it’s really only the American experiment. Everywhere else in the world, government control is the standard.

So what is the American experiment? It was build on Britain’s Magna Carta and its 1689 Bill of Rights. That last document was a statement of limitations on monarchical.  William of Orange and Queen Mary II had agreed to this Bill of Rights in order to to attain the British throne in the wake of 1688’s “Glorious Revolution.” (It was glorious because King James II fled, rather than going to war.)

If you look at the British Bill of Rights, you’ll see many echoes in our own Bill of Rights. However, the British Bill of Rights limits only the monarchy. Parliament was not limited, which is why it felt free to impose all sorts of restrictions on British citizens in the American colonies.

When the Founding Fathers decided to draft a Bill of Rights, they did it correctly. Instead, of stating the items as a negative charter (as Obama wrongly put it), one that simply tells government what it can’t do, the Founders stated our Bill of Rights as a set of rights inherent and inviolable in every individual. No government – no monarchy, no legislature, no judiciary, no official whatever – should be able to impede those rights without a high showing of necessity.

Hold that thought in mind as we look at the three most common forms of government outside of America in the years since WWI.

First, we have socialism, which exists not only as a free-standing form of government (National Socialists), but also as an umbrella term for the evil twins of communism and fascism. Under communism, there is no private ownership. Everything – and everybody – belongs to the government. Examples, all of them tyrannical, are the Soviet Union, China (despite its faux market economy), North Korea, and Cuba.

Back in the 1930s, fascism put a softer face on communism, because it did not nationalize all private property, instead limiting itself to nationalizing a few major industries, especially fuel and transportation. However, there is no freedom in a fascist country. Mussolini provided the ultimate definition of fascism: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” (I also include today’s oligarchies in the list of fascist states, since they function much the same way.) In the World War II era, fascist states sought world domination and, in Germany’s case, included genocide and slavery in the service of an imaginary “master race.”

Today’s Europe is still fascist, although that would no doubt horrify Europeans were you to tell them that. Under both EU rule and the governments of the individual European states, there is private ownership, but major industries, especially transportation, are still nationalized. Moreover, the EU and the individual governments tightly control every aspect of people’s lives.

(When it comes to nationalized services, I have a real bee in my bonnet about these “soft” socialized states’ so-called “cradle to grave” care, something my parents’ European-based friends and family boasted about non-stop. These benefits had nothing to do with socialism. They were available in Europe because American taxpayers funded European defense costs during the Cold War. It wasn’t socialized medicine; it was American medicine. Now that the Cold War has ended and the money isn’t flowing as much, European socialized medicine is cratering.)

The difference between today’s European fascism and Hitler’s is that (a) it’s not called fascism today and (b) it’s not yet engaged in world domination and anti-Semitic genocide. However, given the speed with which Muslims are populating Europe, all in thrall to an Islamic doctrine that calls for world domination and anti-Semitic genocide, I think it won’t be long before Europe starts to repeat the 1930s.

The third type of government in the world today shows up in monarchies or theocracies, both of which thrive, and are often intertwined in the Middle East. Whether it’s Mullahs in Iran or Kings in Saudi Arabia, these are totalitarian governments that use religious doctrine to control every aspect of their citizens’ lives. (In Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammed bin Salman is slowly trying to change this but, since he holds the tiger by the tail, it’s a very delicate and dangerous process.)

And then there’s America, which has a totally different system, one that, in its purest form, does everything it can both to limit government power and mob rule. There’s nothing else like it in the world.

The American political system as the Founders envisioned it has a limited federal government composed of three parts – executive, legislative, and judicial – each with unique spheres of power, each with some control over the other branches, and each jealous of its own power as a bulwark against any branch becoming too strong.

The Executive branch eschews pure democracy in favor of an Electoral College, forcing presidential candidates to campaign in every state (as Hillary learned to her cost). Without this, all presidents would be elected out of population centers. If the Democrats were able to do away with the Electoral College, something they’re trying to do through the grossly unconstitutional National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, all future American presidents would be elected by California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Under the Legislative branch, we have two organs. The Senate was originally meant to have its members appointed by each state’s governors, ensuring (a) that the Senators would be responsive to their states and (b) that no senator would be enslaved to the passions of the mob. The 17th amendment changed that in 1912, probably not for the better.

The House controls the power of the purse and, before the 17th Amendment, was the only branch of government with direct democracy. House members must go back to the voters every two years to make their case. This is why impeachment begins in the House and why the current refusal to have a formal impeachment – which would force House members to make their positions known to their voters — is a direct betrayal of the voters.

Finally, the Judicial branch is the least democratic part of our government, for its members get selected by the President, get approved by the Senate, and then sit for life. In theory, it is impartial and rules only on whether matters are constitutional or unconstitutional, a power Chief Justice Marshall arrogated to the Court in the early 19th century.

In recent years, the federal judicial has boldly grabbed for itself both legislative power and executive power. The legislative power appears in its finding emanations of penumbras to justify federally sanctioned abortion, something never contemplated in the Constitution, and writing whole romance novels to allow gay marriage, another concept far afield from the Constitution. Both these issues belong in the states until such time as the Constitution is formally amended. As for executive power, every time some podunk judge in a Leftist district blocks a facially valid executive order from President Trump based upon the judge’s interpretation about the purity of Trump’s mind and soul . . . that’s an improper exercise of executive power.

Lastly, as I said before, our Founders gave us a Bill of Rights holding that certain rights are vested in the people and that the government cannot infringe them. This is extraordinary and differs from all other constitutions in the world, each of which is an endless book of bureaucratic does and don’ts.

So what kind of cool stuff flows from a limited government and a Bill of Rights? For starters, we have free market capitalism, which has been doing wonders since President Trump reformed taxes to leave more money with citizens and cut back on onerous regulations.

Strikingly, our Democrat Party presidential candidates have no room in their platforms for the free market. Bernie is a stone-cold communist. As an aside, given that he’s been alive for the greater part of the 20th century and all of the 21st (to date), he must know about the tens of millions dead and enslaved under communism (a knowledge sadly denied to uneducated millennials). That he still supports communism despite this knowledge means either that he’s the most stupid man ever to walk the earth or an evil tyrant wannabe. Neither reflects well on him or the voters who support him.

Warren also should know better, but I can attest to the fact that she’s stupid. Maybe evil too, but definitely stupid.

The most recent example of the disrespect the Left has for the free market comes from Kamala Harris, another candidate who is dumb as a rock, only dumber. Her candidacy is in free fall, so she’s promising to seize private property to prop it up. (Incidentally, I don’t think the government should fund private companies, but it’s important to note that, government aid notwithstanding, these are still companies with shareholders, employees, and profits.

Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris on if drug companies do not comply with her mandatory set drug prices: “I will snatch their patent so that we will take over” Audience asks: “can we do that?” “Yes, we can do that! Yes, we can do that! … I have the will to do it” pic.twitter.com/gpU8nnGt6h — Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 23, 2019

Another benefit we have is social mobility of a type that never existed anywhere else in the world before America. I created a little photo montage, just off the top of my head, of people who have attained success in a way that would not have been possible without America:

In America, the fact that your grandparents were rich doesn’t mean you will be, and the fact that they were poor doesn’t mean that is your fate either. We make our own fate in America.

One of my favorite rights – and one that I came to late in life – is the Second Amendment right to bear arms. I think this picture says it all:

In Nazi Germany, the government seized arms as a prelude to seizing people. A government should always stand in awe of its people’s right to defend itself against tyranny.

People should also be able to defend themselves against evil-doers in their own community. Mexico, a rapidly failing state, with appalling gun violence and skyrocketing murders, has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world.

Of course, the Democrat Party desperately wants your guns. Beto, before dropping out, was open about this – and please note the audience roar of delight:

And then there’s the right to free speech. In England, the cradle of free speech, it’s already gone:

Free speech isn’t doing so well in Leftist America either. In New York, you can be find $250,000 for “misgendering” someone. And in California, when it comes to long-term care facilities, it’s the law that you can be fined for “misgendering” residents there too.

So, going back to my chart and the left/right divide, here’s what you need to know about the rest of the world: it’s not tyranny versus liberty; it’s two different types of tyrants fighting each other for total control over citizens. In America, we have half of that equation. The American left wants total control over American citizens:

“We’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money, but you know, part of the American way is, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product.” – Barack Obama (net worth $40,000,000).

“You built a factory out there, good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads that the rest of us paid for. You hired workers that the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” — Elizabeth Warren (net worth $18,000,000).

“I will snatch their patent so that we will take over.” – Kamala Harris (net worth $4,000,000).

“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15.” Beto O’Rourke (net worth $10,000,000-$15,000,000).

On the opposite side of the political aisle in America, however, things are different. Conservatives don’t crave power. They crave a smaller government that leaves citizens alone to pursue their own lives, and that concerns itself solely with such core issues as national security, a stable legal system, functional transportation across the country, and managing (God forbid) major health crises.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford

“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” – Ronald Reagan

With the above in mind – American conservatives are the sole political movement in the world dedicated to individual liberty – why are American conservatives called “right wing” or “fascist,” terms that are tied to totalitarian control, while American leftists are called “liberal,” implying a dedication to individual liberty? It’s time for a little history lesson to answer that question.

Back in the 1930s, Hitler and Stalin both presided over socialist governments. The former was fascist (private ownership but government control), while the latter was communist (no private ownership of the means of production). They were hideous, evil fraternal twins of socialism.

As is often the case with sibling rivalry, the two countries (and their leaders) hated each other. Nevertheless, in August 1939, a week before Hitler invaded Poland, sparking WWII, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia entered in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Under that pact, they swore to be neutral vis-à-vis each other in times of war.

When Hitler invaded Poland, Soviet Russia did nothing. Taking their cue from Russia, in America, communists also took a very lukewarm stance against Hitler.

The Pact ended abruptly on June 22, 1941, when Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa by invading the Soviet Union. When America entered the War, it found itself allied with Russia against the Nazis. On the American home front, communists instantly became staunch and fervent anti-Nazis.

However, when the war ended, with the Allies victorious, and socialist/fascist Germany in ruins, American communists had a problem: Fascist socialism stood exposed as one of the most evil ideologies of all time. How were they to protect communist socialism, which was also one of the most evil ideologies of all time?

The answer was to create a false syllogism that took hold in academia and media, and that now controls American thought:

Communists and Fascists were enemies.

Communists helped win World War II, with the war’s end providing unquestioned proof that Fascists were completely evil.

Communists and American Republicans are enemies.

Republicans are therefore akin to Fascists and, like fascists, must be completely evil.

And what’s the moral of this story?

Next time someone accuses you, or any other conservative, of being “fascist” or “right wing,” object vigorously. You are a person committed to individual liberty as opposed to being a slave to an all-powerful government (no matter how woke, intersectional, and politically correct that government claims to be).

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To too many, a Bernie life takeover is a GOOD thing

Sadly, not only Leftists, but beleaguered working and lower middle class voters will like intrigued the Bernie promise to make their lives safer and easier.

Monica Showalter of American Thinker, is one of the most astute political bloggers out there. Nevertheless, I believe her conservative outlook caused her to make a conceptual error. Today she wrote a short post about an Axios list of the things Bernie wants to bring under government control — and Showalter thinks that Axios published the list because it’s concerned about Bernie’s proposed power grab:

In a startling Axios summary list called “Bernie Sanders’ 2020 plan to restructure your life,” Axios publisher Jim Vanderhei (and Juliet Bartz), are sounding the alarm about the nightmare scenario of a potential Bernie Sanders presidency.

The piece was featured in Mike Allen’s widely read Top 10 — at the top. It’s a piece that looks like it belongs more at Issues & Insights than center-left Axios. Axios warns that Sanders is surging in the polls and influencing other Democratic candidates with his ideas and they don’t sound happy.

I have to disagree with Showalter. First of all, looking at the list from the purely Proggie viewpoint, I think it’s a very happy list. In the chart below, the left-hand column quotes verbatim from that Axios summary. The right-hand column has the reaction from the average hard-core, college-educated Leftist.

[table id=3 /]

But of course the base is going to be happy. The more worrisome thing is that, unlike Showalter, others might find it appealing too. That is, like Axios writers, they’ll see the ten items as either positives or net neutrals. Here’s another chart looking at the same list from the loosey-goosey, not-very-political working class or lower-middle class voter’s view.

[table id=4 /]

To reiterate, I think Showalter is shocked by the reach of Bernie’s proposals. I’m not sure non-conservative Americans will be. When the Democrat candidates stand on the stage and talk about open borders and paying for illegal health care, ordinary Americans get queasy. When these same candidates promise to take away all pain and worry, they may start to line up with their hands held out.

Back in 2016, I put together a blog with some sustained attacks on Bernie’s policies. I recommend checking it out now. It’s an effort to remind people that Bernie’s policies, nice though they sound, invariably pave the way to despair and death.

Image credit: Bernie Sanders by DonkeyHotey.

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The 1619 Project: Scholarship Or Race Hustling? — by Wolf Howling

In addition to being an obvious effort to sow racial discord in America, the 1619 Project is based upon false, shoddy, and uninformed “scholarship.”

Let’s take a deeper dive than I did yesterday into the evil of Project 1619.  Let’s take a look at the work of two academics who figure prominently in it, Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond and Cornell historian Edward Baptist.  Are they pushing scholarship or race hustling?

I have been lambasted in the comments to the post linked above for pointing out that the 1619 Project is a revision of history designed to sow racial hatred and division for unrelated political ends — and opining that it is mother of all tosses of the race card.  To paraphrase the comments, “No, no, this is just a fair look at history.  It is benign.  There is no ulterior motive here.”  Yeah . . . bull.

Neo-Marxist progressives are in a full court press to destroy the foundations of this nation by tying the Constitution, the application of our laws, and our economic system to racism.  The problem is, there is precious little overt modern day racism in this country — and indeed, apparently most of what accounts for actual racial incidents today on the fringes of society are more likely than not to be hoaxes.

What is a good proggie to do?  Well, claim everything is inherently racist or, to use the words of the NYT in announcing the 1619 Project, all that the neo-Marxists progressives oppose is the “legacy of slavery [that] continues to shape our country.”

There is nothing fair or benign about any of this.  To falsely stir up racial tensions in this country, the cause of so much pain, suffering and loss of life, is pure evil.  Let’s drill down on just one example, the 1619 Project’s neo-Marxist assault on capitalism and the modern wealth of this nation.  Matthew Desmond, an ivy-league professor of Sociology, as part of the NYT Project 1619, authored an essay entitled In Order to Understand the brutality of American Capitalism, You Have to Start On The Plantation.  Heavily anecdotal, it is much more of an appeal to emotion than reason.

Desmond begins his introduction to the “brutality of American capitalism” by giving the example of Martin Shkreli:

A couple of years before he was convicted of securities fraud, Martin Shkreli was the chief executive of a pharmaceutical company that acquired the rights to Daraprim, a lifesaving antiparasitic drug. Previously the drug cost $13.50 a pill, but in Shkreli’s hands, the price quickly increased by a factor of 56, to $750 a pill. At a health care conference, Shkreli told the audience that he should have raised the price even higher. . . .

“This,” Desmond breathlessly tells us, referring to Shkreli as the alpha and omega of capitalism in America, “is a capitalist society.”  That, folks, is an appeal to pure emotion.  And Desmond is lying through his teeth in making the appeal.

The Shkreli story is the opposite of free market capitalism.  It is what happens when the government intervenes in the market place — in Shkreli’s case with regulations that allowed him to create a tiny monopoly.  A monopoly is the antithesis of free market capitalism.  If a government does that on a small scale, it is a market distortion.  If they do it on a larger scale for political ends, it is called, misleadingly, crony capitalism.  And if they do it on a national scale, it is called Venezuela . . . or the Soviet Union, etc.

What it is not is an example of the free market capitalism that has, in its short and imperfectly applied life, lifted humanity — including the progeny of all people once slaves — out of grinding poverty.  And indeed, as you take a look at the graph below, note that slavery ended in all British possessions circa 1843, and in the US, 1865.

 

People like Desmond love the Shkreli story because they think it an indictment of capitalism.  It certainly is an indictment of government regulation that allowed Shkreli to get away with his temporary monopoly pricing but, critically, Desmond and others never tell the rest of the Shkreli story:

Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that last month raised the price of the decades-old drug Daraprim from $13.50 a pill to $750, now has a competitor.

Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company based in San Diego, announced today that it has made an alternative to Daraprim that costs about a buck a pill—or $99 for a 100-pill supply.

That is “brutal American capitalism” in actuality.  Bit of a different story, eh?

But enough of that.  Aside from having nothing to do with actual capitalism, what in the nine hells does Shkreli’s case have to do with the “legacy of slavery”?  After all, Desmond raises it as the exemplar of “brutal American capitalism” to indict American capitalism as somehow uniquely founded on the greed of Democrat slave owners.  Really?  Because the history of mankind is kind of full of the stories of people actuated by greed.  Indeed, the Bible, whose oldest chapter was written over 3,000 years, is full of proscriptions against greed.  That was long before capitalism or slavery in 18th and 19th century America.

Greed is a constant of mankind.  It is fair to say in the modern era that it is always at its worst when not blunted by the market forces of capitalism.  Take a look at any socialist economy, where the people starve while the rulers get fat and their children accumulate fortunes beyond the imagining.  For but two examples, in Cuba the average wage is $29.60 a day; Castro’s son is an international playboy.  In Venezuela, people are starving; the richest person in Venezuela was the daughter of Hugo Chavez.  Etc., etc.

But back to Desmond.  His drive-by hit on capitalism is Desmond’s template for the entire article.

As Craig Pirrong, a professor of finance at the University of Houston, writes at his blog

Desmond observes X (a bad thing) in the modern American economy. He observes something sorta kinda like X in the slave economy. He asserts that sorta X developed sui generis in the slave economy, and then asserts that the slave economy sorta X caused the modern economy X.  Every part of this “reasoning” is false.

It is not just false, it is insane.  It is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez levels of insanity, where she, with her degree in economics, celebrated driving Amazon out of the Bronx and saving the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars, not understanding that she was in actuality preventing her city from collecting billions of dollars in tax revenue that did not exist without Amazon there.

Two more examples from Desmond’s work should be sufficient to show his fact-free blame game.  The first concerns the fiscal crisis of 2008 which resulted from Democrat race-based social engineering in the market in the 1990’s.  The second concerns accounting.  Again, Prof. Pirrong addresses both:

The bulk of Desmond’s screed consists of just-so stories showing that pathologies and misfortunes of modern American life trace back directly to slavery. My favorite – mortgages and financial crisis. You see, slaves were collateral in mortgages extended by greedy New York bankers. There was a credit boom in the South in the 1820s and 1830s, fueled in large part by mortgages with human collateral. The boom collapsed with the Panic of 1837.

Just like 2008! – only replacing “slaves” with “houses.” Per Desmond: “C.D.O.s were the grandchildren of mortgage-backed securities based on the inflated value of enslaved people sold in the 1820s and 1830s. Each product created massive fortunes for the few before blowing up the economy.”

As if there have not been other financial crises in other countries with totally different histories that have resulted from a collapse of credit. Indeed, this a hardy perennial of financial history.

Which can bring us back to Desmond’s beloved Iceland, which had a debt-fueled financial crisis that was arguably the worst in the world in 2008. . . .

Just how the hell does Iceland’s implosion have anything to do with American chattel slavery? And if it doesn’t, how can Desmond claims some sort of necessary causal link between a financial crisis during the slave era (which, by the way, was followed by many other US financial crises in the non-slave era) to a financial crisis 143 years after the 13th Amendment?

And as for mortgages, they’ve been around since Roman times (as the Spanish word for mortgage, hipoteca, indicates, that also being the Roman word for this kind of debt, which also lives on in English as “hypothecate”).

Ridiculous, I know. Oh, but there’s more!

Accounting. Seriously. Slave owners depreciated slaves in their plantation accounts:

“They quantified capital costs on their land, tools and enslaved workforces, applying Affleck’s recommended interest rate. Perhaps most remarkable, they also developed ways to calculate depreciation, a breakthrough in modern management procedures, by assessing the market value of enslaved workers over their life spans. Values generally peaked between the prime ages of 20 and 40 but were individually adjusted up or down based on sex, strength and temperament: people reduced to data points.” (Emphasis added.)

Uhm, slave owners didn’t “develop ways to calculate depreciation,” they applied a long standing concept to their capital in slaves. It is horrific that humans were viewed as capital, but this did not spur the development of a universal accounting concept: the concept has been around since people figured stuff wore out. And it is ridiculous for him to say that “scientific accounting” was developed on plantations: it was developed long before, starting with the Renaissance Italians, and plantation owners found it useful. As did Boston merchants and Manchester mill operators and on and on and on.

Desmond also focuses on the meticulous monitoring of slave laborers, and sees it as the forerunner of “unremitting workplace supervision” in the modern American economy. Put aside for the moment that workplace supervision today is at its most unremitting outside of the United States (can you say “Foxconn,” Matt? How the hell does that relate to US slavery?). What the hell do you think Marx and Engels kept going on about when describing the horrors of the English factory system? . . .

There is more.  Do read the whole post.  This crap is ridiculous.

That said, Desmond, a sociologist, bases a significant portion of his work on that of a new-age Cornell professor of history, Edward Baptist, the darling of the reparations set.  Indeed, Desmond quotes and references Baptist several times in his essay for the NYT 1619 Project.  Baptist is the author of the 2014 book, The Half That Has Never Been Told:  Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, the book Ta Neshi Coates relied upon when arriving at the rather large number he claims that today’s white Americans, none of whom have ever owned slaves and some of whose ancestors died in the fight to end slavery, owe to some or all of today’s blacks, none of whom have ever been slaves, some of whose ancestors may have been slave owners, and some of whose ancestors may have been slave traders.

Many of the same comments about Desmond’s ideas apply with equal force to that of Baptist.  Baptist tells the sad tale of slavery that everyone knows, cherry picking the most brutal stories.  He ignores the abolitionist movement — at one point in a recent Vox interview ludicrously crediting the decision of Northern states to outlaw slavery with being “largely due to the resistance of enslaved people,” as if in the years before the Great Awakening triggered the abolitionist movement, blacks had been fine with their slave status, encouraging white passivity.  Well, that certainly makes the moral issues much easier for progressives.  But Baptist does not stop there.

In tallying up the amount he believes are owed in reparations to free blacks today, a number he puts in the trillions, he essentially erases the staggering economic costs of the Civil War, while simultaneously claiming that the wealth of the pre-Civil War South is responsible for American wealth today.  As he states in the interview:

The debt is so great that whites have little claim to say that something is too much to pay. They have no standing to argue that the wealth distribution should remain where it is today. There’s no justifiable way — in my opinion — to make that argument.

So this is the moral argument not merely for reparations, but wealth redistribution on a grand scale.  Is that justified, or are there problems with Baptist’s scholarship before you even reach the question of justification?  This from The Statistical Errors of the Reparations Agenda appearing at The American Institute For Economic Research:

[During the reparations hearings, Ta-Nahesi Coats testified that] by 1836 more than $600 million, almost half of the economic activity in the United States, derived directly or indirectly from the cotton produced by the million-odd slaves.”

This stunning statistical claim was widely repeated in commentary . . . [it] is, however, unambiguously false.

Coates’s numbers come from Cornell University historian Ed Baptist’s 2014 book The Half Has Never Been Told. In a key passage in the book, Baptist purports to add up the total value of economic activity that derived from cotton production, which at $77 million made up about 5 percent of the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States in 1836. Baptist then committed a fundamental accounting error. He proceeded to double and even triple count intermediate transactions involved in cotton production — things like land purchases for plantations, tools used for cotton production, transportation, insurance, and credit instruments used in each. Eventually that $77 million became $600 million in Baptist’s accounting, or almost half of the entire antebellum economy of the United States.

There’s a crucial problem with Baptist’s approach. The calculation of GDP, the main formulation of national accounts and a representation of the dollar amount of economic activity in a country in a given year, only incorporates the value of final goods and services produced. The rationale for doing so comes from accounting, as the price of the final good already incorporates intermediate transactions that go into its production and distribution. Baptist’s numbers are not only wrong — they reflect a basic unfamiliarity with the meaning and definition of GDP.

When The Half Has Never Been Told first appeared in print, economists immediately picked up on the error. Bradley Hansen of Mary Washington University kicked off the scrutiny by posting a thorough dissection of Baptist’s errors on his personal blog. Economic historians Alan Olmstead (UC-Davis) and Paul Rhode (University of Michigan) chimed in with a devastating critique of Baptist’s empirics, observing that a continuation of his “faulty methodology by summing the ‘roles’ of cotton with a few other primary products” would yield an amount that “easily exceed[ed] 100 percent of GDP” in the antebellum United States — an economic impossibility.

Stanley Engerman, perhaps the foremost living expert on the economics of slavery, weighed in next:

“Baptist’s economic analysis, intended to demonstrate the essential role of the slave-grown cotton economy for Northern economic growth, is weakened by some variants of double and triple counting and some confusion of assets and income flows. To go from a value of the Southern cotton crop in 1836 of “about 5 percent of that entire gross domestic product,” to “almost half of the economic activity of the United States in 1836″ (pp 312-22) requires his calculation to resemble the great effects claimed by an NFL club when trying to convince city taxpayers that they should provide the money to build a new stadium because of all the stadium’s presumed primary and secondary effects.”

The main takeaways are that (1) the actual percentage of GDP derived from slavery is measured from final goods and services that involved slave-based production, and (2) Ed Baptist clearly did not understand what he was doing when he calculated his statistic. Cotton was by far the biggest item on the list of final goods and services, and, while its output varied year by year, it is probably reasonable to place slave-based goods in the mid to high single digits, not the 50 percent claim that Coates repeated.

Unfortunately, historians who work on the “New History of Capitalism” — a school of historiography that emerged after the financial crisis of 2007–8 and that purports to study the relationship between slavery and capitalism — have proven remarkably ill-suited at grasping the fundamentals of GDP and other economic concepts.

So this is the level and type of scholarship the NYT is pushing with Project 1619.  There is not an act undertaken in good faith.  It is an effort to stir up racial tension using the basest of polemics.  All so progressives can take power in 2020, because everyone who does not agree with them is a racist or white supremacist.

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No. 9 Bookworm Podcast — Elizabeth Warren and Socialism are a bad deal

Not only is she a squirrely character, Elizabeth Warren’s plans are openly socialist — and socialism’s history proves how dangerous this is for Americans.

(If you prefer listening to reading, the companion podcast is embedded below, or you can listen to it at Libsyn or at Apple podcasts. I’m trying to make a go of my podcast so, if you like it, please share it with your friends and on social media. Giving it good ratings helps too..)

It seems that Elizabeth Warren has had a sudden polling surge in Iowa:

A new Iowa Starting Line-Change Research poll shows the senator opening up a commanding lead in the Iowa Caucus. Warren was the top pick of 28% of likely Iowa Caucus-goers in the poll, an 11-point lead over the nearest competitor. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were both tied for second with 17% each. Pete Buttigieg came in fourth at 13% and Kamala Harris has the backing of 8%.

Given the undistinguished field in which she finds herself, Warren could conceivably ride this bump to a nomination, so I figured I’d say a few words about her. First, as always when I talk about Warren, let me explain that I’m completely biased. I had her as a banking law professor before she realized that she could use her family mythology about her high cheekbones as proof of a distant Native American heritage as leverage for a professorship at Harvard.

Back in the day, Warren was just another professor. In class, I found her confusing, because she had a habit of starting on thought B before finishing thought A. (Confession: I was often confused at law school, but I found her more confusing than most of my professors.) I therefore often found myself in Warren’s office. There, she was friendly, soft spoken . . . and still confusing.

My animus towards her comes from the fact that she assured me certain things wouldn’t be on the final exam . . . yet they were. If memory serves me, I managed to pull a middle to high “B” in the class, which certainly didn’t scar my subsequent legal career, so my dislike for her isn’t rooted in some sort of “she ruined my life” emotion. I just really dislike soft-spoken liars who are boring and confusing teachers.

The next time I heard about Warren was when I discovered she was gaining national celebrity by pointing out the obvious: Affluent people will flock to regions that have reputations for offering good public K-12 schooling, thereby driving up real estate prices. I think a lot of people without Harvard credentials could have figured that one out. If I had been Warren’s teacher, I would have given her an “A” for self promotion and an “F” for original thought. As it was, I was actually kind of impressed that she’d managed to take an unoriginal mind and marginal teaching skills, and go so far.

But now Warren is socialist political candidate and I don’t just dislike her, I worry that the media, helped along with the Leftists in Silicon Valley, could actually propel her to the White House. The fact that Warren has attacked the social media giants is irrelevant. When push comes to shove, if she’s the candidate, they’ll do everything they can to get her into the White House. Once there — God forbid! — Warren might prove herself a more competent and effective administrator than Obama when it comes to imposing socialism on America.

So I guess it’s time to revisit the attacks I made on socialism back in 2016, when it looked like Bernie had a chance, before Hillary’s Super Delegates and other fixers told him to stand down and be quiet. Back then, I created a little Blogger site I named “I Don’t Like Bernie, Because….” I put up four posts there before it became apparent that Bernie would be marginalized, at which point I stopped posting there and returned to my regularly scheduled attacks on Hillary here at the Bookworm Room.

To the extent that Elizabeth Warren is open about her socialism (does she even bother to call it “Democratic Socialism”?), I’m going to import here almost wholesale my post about the history and horrors of socialism. I know you can find better posts on the internet and better books in the library, but this one is mine, it’s what I’ve got, and I’m going with it:
So what is a “socialist” system?  Think of the realm of available politics as a line moving from left to right.  On the far left side is totalitarianism, which means government has all the control and the people have none.  At the far right side is anarchy, which means there is no government at all, although the resulting chaos usually means that people have no control either and therefore seek a strong man to create a totalitarian regime. (As an aside, the terms “Left” and “Right” came into use during the French Revolution when revolutionaries sat to the Speaker’s left in the Parlement and the monarchists sat to his right. Both groups were totalitarian, in that they each envisioned complete government control over the French people. The same is still true for various “Left” and “Right” political groups in Europe.)

All political systems fall somewhere along that line.  The further to the Left they are, the more likely it is that power is centralized, and the further to the Right they are, the more likely it is that there is minimal centralized power, leaving more power with individuals.

Socialism, by definition, is a system that vests power in the government.  The government owns all of the means of production, as well as all of the things produced. All people work under government control, and all goods and services are handed out pursuant to government mandate.

Theoretically, in a socialist country, the people and the government are one and the same. The reality, though, is that you can’t have millions, tens of millions, or hundreds of millions of people in management.

What actually happens, therefore, is that all power resides in a tightly-controlled government group that makes all decisions about everything.  It decides what the country as a whole will build, produce, sell, etc.  As part of this, the government has to to control every aspect of citizens’ lives, in order to make sure that its social and economic goals are met.

Over the last 100 years, socialism has taken on many guises, from hard to soft.  In today’s world, North Korea, which vests all power in one member of one ruling family, is socialism’s most extreme face.  (Venezuela is running a close second.) We know that hundreds of thousands of people who have displeased the North Korean regime live in concentration camps where those who survive work as slaves.

A small percentage of those North Korean citizens who are connected to the ruling party live good lives, with food, shelter, and other creature comforts.  The military is heavily supported, because socialist dictatorships are paranoid.  But for everyone else — well, famine is a common occurrence in North Korea because, as you’ll see repeatedly in socialist countries, government apparatchiks are horrible economic managers.

Socialist governments, because they manage matters so badly, invariably end up fearing their citizens, which leads to a police spying state and increasingly draconian punishments. When you concentrate all power in one entity — that is, all police and military power — that entity can do a great deal of harm, both at home and abroad.

The former Soviet Union wasn’t much better back in the day than North Korea is now.  In its heyday, the Soviet politburo controlled every aspect of people’s lives.  During the 1930s, when Stalin headed the nation, he decided that the Kulaks in Ukraine, who were small farmers with privately owned farms, had to be destroyed to make way for large collective farms run under government control. Thus, when the Kulaks refused to cooperate with Stalin’s grand plan, he used his vast government power to steal their grain and starved them to death.  Millions died.

From the 1950s through the 1980s, China had the same repressive government as North Korea and the Soviet Union.  During the 1960s, when Chairman Mao announced his Great Leap Forward, which was intended to take China from a medieval economy to a modern one in around five years, tens of millions of people died because of starvation, torture, slave labor, and execution.  Low estimates say that 40-50 million died.  High estimates say that as many as 75-100 million died.

The Nazis, whom Democrats and Progressives today say were on “right,” were also socialists — that is, people of the Left.  Their full name was the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”  Where Nazi Germany differed from a hardcore communist country like the Soviet Union, China, or North Korea, was that the government didn’t take over all the businesses.  Instead, it allowed businesses to stay in private hands — as long as the government made all economic decisions.

The government in Nazi Germany was still running things and the people had no choice but to go along with the program.  Add in the toxic ingredients of genocidal racism and a desire for world domination, and you have a government engine primed to break from its borders in an orgy of death and destruction. (Here’s a side note that’s become important since Trump became president and the Democrat is convinced he’s a new Hitler: Genocidal racism and a desire for world domination are quite different from Trump’s “America First” policy. His is a traditional idea that holds that a country’s leader should view as his first responsibility the social and economic well-being of his own citizens.)

Modern Europe has been the softest side of socialism.  It lets people have their own businesses and own property, but it keeps services such as health care, railways, and heavy industry (coal mining, steel production) under its control.  It also buries its citizens under regulations.  Every single aspect of life in a modern European socialist country is regulated.

For a long time, Europeans thought they’d found the perfect solution in this “loving” socialism.  Their citizens could run their own businesses and make money, so they had some economic growth.  In addition, in exchange for extremely high taxes, the citizens got “free” medical care (which they’d prepaid with their taxes), low-cost train and bus fares, and good elder care.  It all looked so beautiful in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

What the Europeans conveniently forgot was that, after WWII, it was American money that rebuilt their infrastructure.  This meant that Europeans didn’t have to repay capital investments. Europeans also liked to ignore that, during the entirety of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, America paid Europe’s defense costs.  That made money available for all the free medical care and cheap train fare that Europeans liked to boast about as a sign of their superiority.  Put another way, Europeans didn’t have “free” medical care — they had American-funded medical care.

Maggie Thatcher, who was the conservative Prime Minister in England during the 1980s, famously said “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”  In Europe, American money started vanishing when the Cold War ended.

In addition to losing American money, beginning in the 1990s, Europe has had a few other problems maintaining its “friendly” socialism:

(1) Its population began to age — people in socialist countries tend not to have lots of children — so more people were taking medical care and elder care than were working and paying into the system.

(2) The 2008 recession affected the entire world’s money supply, decreasing drastically the wealth in Europe.

(3) Europe invited in millions of immigrants who were not on board with the social compact that controlled European socialism.

In the years after WWII, Europeans collectively understood that, if everyone worked when young, then everyone would be cared for when sick or old (at least as long as the Americans took care of the defense bill).  The problem was/is that the new immigrants, primarily from Africa and the Middle East, didn’t sign onto this compact.  They came, got welfare, and stayed on welfare, letting the Europeans work for them. Their refusal to join the social compact was made worse by the fact that Muslims have a doctrinal belief that non-Muslims should support them. Europe’s welfare system fed right into this belief.

European socialism is in big trouble now that money is tight, the population is old, and too many free-loading immigrants are continuing to pour in. Moreover, as European citizens try to protest this state of affairs, their formerly “soft” governments are imposing harsh restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly.

By the way, the semi-socialist programs we have, such as Medicare or Social Security, are also running on empty.  The younger generation is just barely paying enough in taxes to keep those programs funding old people.  However, when the generation that’s paying for Medicare and Social Security now ages up to those programs, the best estimate is that there won’t be anything left for them.  As Thatcher knew, government always is a remarkably poor money manager.

The minimum wage isn’t anything to boast about either.  Even the New York Times, before it slipped its moorings, understood that the minimum wage is a way to keep unskilled labor out of the job market entirely.  Rather than paying people a living wage, it means that more people are paid no wage at all, putting further strain on social welfare systems that are barely in funds now.

That’s what socialism is. It puts power in the hands of poor managers who too often abuse that power.  It’s a lousy system and has failed everywhere it’s been tried, whether we’re talking about the Soviet Union, China (which is now trying a weird controlled “market” economy), Cuba, North Korea, Europe, and every failed socialist experiment in Africa.

And what about that “Democratic” part?  Here’s the truth — that word is meaningless.

“Democratic” means that citizens get to vote for their leadership, but it doesn’t say anything about the political system itself.  China styles itself the “People’s Democratic Republic of China,” but no one looks at it and thinks “Wow, that’s a free country because it’s got the word ‘Democratic’ in its name.”

North Korea, the most repressive country in the world, has as its official name “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.” Again, as in China, people in North Korea don’t have a right to vote, meaning that it’s a voluntary activity; instead, they are required to vote, or else, and they’d better vote for the people their government has already handpicked as the winners.

During the Soviet Union’s heyday, that nation always liked to boast that it was more “democratic” than America because it had a higher voter turnout on election day.  Somehow it never mentioned that a person who failed to vote could end up in prison or that, when voters showed up, they had about the same number of candidate choices as they had food choices as the grocery store . . . which is to say, none.

And what about the other side of that line . . . the Right side.  On the right side, as long as you don’t stray too far into anarchy, you have small government and individual liberty.  People get to decide what they want to do with their lives.  They get to try to invent, build, serve, sell, buy, work, play, and anything else they please as long as they don’t harm others.  They get to buy what they like when they want to.  Because they are allowed to own their own homes and cars and businesses, they have a stake in the success of each of those endeavors, and they work hard to achieve that success.

A free marketplace isn’t controlled by a government that calls all the shots.  It’s controlled by every person, with their organically combined skills, knowledge, desires, energy, and ambition coming together to create the most prosperous economic engine in the world.  And if you think that’s a bad thing, think again.  Thanks to market-driven First World capitalist energy, people live longer, healthier lives than ever before.  Even poor people in America are rich and successful compared to poor people anywhere else in the world.

Oh!  One other thing:  Totalitarian societies have no social mobility.  Whether the society is a monarchy, aristocracy, military junta, or a socialist “paradise,” you’re either in the ruling party/class or you’re not.  Those with power and wealth hold on to it tightly and scatter just enough food, money, and medical care to the masses to prevent a bloody uprising.

In a market economy, though, not only does a rising tide lift all boats, wealth constantly moves around.  Yesterday’s immigrant may be today’s innovator.  And that rich grandfather might have seen his son waste all the money and his grandchildren become quite poor.

If you figure out how to use the internet well, you may get rich.  On the other hand, if you decide to spend your time smoking pot and playing computer games, you’ll probably be poor (and burn through whatever money Mom and Dad left you in their wills).

I’ll close with a good summation of America’s virtues, for rich and poor alike, back from the 1960s, when the hippies thought they knew it all:

People who make smart choices can rise up; those who don’t . . . well, life can be hard.  But I’d rather live in a world that offers the possibility of success as opposed to a world that keeps everyone firmly down in the mud.

Image Credit: Elizabeth Warren — Caricature by DonkeyHotey. Creative Commons; some rights reserved.

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America’s Fabian revolution: Prelude to a Second American Revolution

We are in the 7th decade of a slo-mo socialist revolution in America, but there are signs it will be followed by a successful Second American Revolution.

One of my favorite books is Daddy-Long-Legs, an epistolary novel that Jean Webster wrote in 1912. The letter writer is Judy Abbott, a young woman who was raised in an orphanage but who ends up at a college much like Vassar (Webster’s own alma mater) thanks to an anonymous benefactor. The benefactor has only one request for Judy in exchange for her four years at an elite women’s college: She must send him letters describing her college experience. It’s a sweet book and stands the test of time very well.

Jean Webster herself was a very Progressive woman in the Woodrow Wilson mode. Indeed, true to the whole Wilson/Margaret Sanger political and social ethos in which she lived, her sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs, another epistolary novel called Dear Enemy, Webster argues strongly in favor of eugenics. The book never mentions abortion, but it makes a vigorous case that “defectives” — alcoholics and people with family histories of insanity or just not being very bright — should not be allowed to breed. Poor Webster might have done better herself had she chosen not to breed, for she died in 1916 from childbirth fever.

But back to Daddy Long Legs…. At one point in the novel, Webster has her heroine announce that she is a revolutionary, but not the nasty violent kind. Instead, she is a nice revolutionary:

Dear Comrade,

Hooray! I’m a Fabian.

That’s a Socialist who’s willing to wait. We don’t want the social revolution to come to-morrow morning; it would be too upsetting. We want it to come very gradually in the distant future, when we shall all be prepared and able to sustain the shock. In the meantime we must be getting ready, by instituting industrial, educational and orphan asylum reforms.

Webster’s was a pithy and accurate definition of Fabian socialism.

Thinking about it, a Fabian revolution is precisely what we’ve seen taking place in America since the years after World War II. Other countries’ revolutions — or even America’s own 18th century revolution — have been violent, abrupt upheavals. Societal institutions resisted the revolutionary ideas until guns and blood effected a change.

In America, the middle class sought freedom from overweening government power and corruption. In France, the intellectual class sought to switch to itself the power that the monarch had long held. The same was true with the Russian revolution. In China, rather unusually, it was the workers and the students who overthrew, not just the corrupt government, but the intellectual class as well, a model Pol Pot followed in Cambodia. You can mentally page through other revolutions around the world and see that they’re bloody affairs.

To date, though, our second American revolution has not been an abrupt, bloody, convulsion. Instead, it has been exactly what Judy Abbott envisioned: a revolution that came “very gradually,” with Leftists slowly but steadily working their way through every American institution. Sure, there’s been a bit of violence in the streets, both during the Vietnam and Iraq Wars and during the first two years of the Trump presidency, but it’s been street theater rather than the mass bloodshed and formal armed warfare that has attended past revolutions at home and abroad.

The real changes in America have been in colleges, in news media, in the entertainment world, in the publishing world, in high schools and elementary schools, and even in libraries, where men dressed up as women read to toddlers who, judging by pictures, appear both fascinated and horrified by the bizarre spectacles before them. Oh, and of course our corporations have also been moved to the Left by the Fabian revolution as college grads have successfully moved into mid- and upper-level managerial positions that were once held by people who weren’t educated in the Fabian socialist tradition. The social media and other tech giants are populated entirely by college grads or people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg who were in college long enough to absorb its hard Left ethos.

I happen not to like this socialist revolution, soft though it’s been. My preferred theory is “that government is best which governs least.” As I tried to demonstrate in this old post supporting the Second Amendment, there is no killer in the world more cruel and efficient than government. No individual or corporation comes even close.

As the increased rationing of care in Britain shows, government does not love its citizens. Cradle to grave care works only as long as there’s some residual money left over from the free market system. Once that money’s gone, government almost gleefully decides who lives and who dies. Your family, meanwhile, is very likely to impoverish itself to keep you alive.

Government is also a miserable money manager — and you need look no further than Venezuela to see what I mean. Within less than twenty years, it went from one of the richest (the richest?) countries in Latin America to being a complete economic basket case, with people dying in barren hospitals and starving on the streets. That is, they’re starving and dying of disease when they’re not being gunned done by their own government.

I could go on but I think most people already have their minds made up about whether they want to live in a country defined by individual liberty or a country that’s a dystopian cross between the world’s worst Department of Motor Vehicles and an abattoir. I mentioned a few paragraphs ago that I want the world of individual liberty and have seen enough of world history, along with current news, to know that nothing worse can happen to a country’s citizens than to fall prey to socialism.

My understanding of socialism based on two centuries of real world examples is why I don’t think Bernie is a sweet, but gaga old man; I think he’s a genuinely evil tyrant wanna be. I have a few essays on the subject that I wrote in 2016, which you can find here. Given that Bernie is currently having a hard time staying to the left of the other whacked out Democrat Party clown-show candidates, I may have to update and revamp that blog to accommodate all the new, evil craziness coming down the pike.

Since I dread socialism, I look for hope. Today, I’ve seen one sparkling sign of hope and had one hopeful thought.

The sparkling sign of hope is the Oberlin verdict. It was wonderful when the jury awarded Gibson Bakery $11,000,000 in its lawsuit against Oberlin based upon Oberlin’s deliberate effort to destroy the fifth generation family bakery because the bakery dared to call out a student shoplifter (who then joined with two others to commit assault). Things went from wonderful to glorious when, today, the jury piled on another $22,000,000 in punitive damages.

My joy doesn’t arise merely because Oberlin deserves to be destroyed, which it does because it’s one of the most pernicious influencers in the Fabian revolution that surrounds us. It also comes from the fact that the verdict proves that there are still Americans who believe in the American way and who will take a stand against the Social Justice Warriors who are at the forefront of America’s Fabian revolution.

Speaking of the “forefront of America’s Fabian revolution,” that forefront, the Ground Zero of the revolution, is America’s colleges and universities or, as I call them, Americans institutions of higher indoctrination. It is these institutions that seed everything. If Fabian Socialism is an infected boil, spreading its toxins through every American institution, the colleges and universities are the pus lying at the center of that boil. Lance the boil and expel the pus . . . and you might have a chance to help the rest of the body recover. One way to lance the boil is to withhold every penny of federal funds, whether in the form of grants or student loans or anything else, from all colleges and universities. If they can’t survive in the free market, they deserve to go down.

But as so often, I digress. I wanted to get back to happy thoughts. The Oberlin verdict led me to another nice thought, the hopeful one I mentioned. You see, sooner or later, no matter how gradual and Fabian a revolution, revolutions will turn violent. Most revolutions are violent in the initial phases and, with the exception of the American revolution, they remain violent for decades and generations after. As Jesus presciently and wisely said, “all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” There are purges and overthrows and more purges and mini-revolutions that are squashed and praetorian guards and it just goes from ugly to really ugly, with death always attendant on the revolutionaries and their progeny.

But slow-moving revolutions can turn violent too. Take the Muslim revolution in Europe. For several decades, Muslims have slowly been moving onto the Western European continent, whether as Turks in Germany, Algerians in France, or Pakistanis in England. Most were peaceful enough, although many were addicted to welfare. Now, though, they’ve reached critical mass in those countries, with help from the recent flood that Obama trigger and Merkel welcomed. This critical mass has seen violence become endemic in Europe and I predict that it will soon become epidemic. Then — poof! — no more Christian, Enlightenment Europe, and no more post-Enlightenment socialist-bureaucracy EU. Instead, it’s the Islamic Continent of Europe.

Slow, Fabian-style revolutions can also turn violent, not because of critical mass, but because the revolutionaries fear that victory is being snatched from their grasp. The perfect example is the mass hysteria following Trump’s election. For the Fabians, Bush was tolerable, although just barely. When Trump came along, Bush Derangement Syndrome looked like the common cold compared to the Black Death that is Trump Derangement Syndrome. Antifa went mad. Others went mad. Violence happened.

But here’s where the hope comes in: The socialist leaders in their incubators in America’s colleges and universities were so invested in the success of their Praetorian revolution than they never even considered that they might need a military branch. They haven’t trained fighters; they’ve trained snowflakes. The snowflakes periodically get screechy and vicious, and some will gather in dangerous mobs, as happened at Berkeley both when Milo and Ben Shapiro came to speak, but they’re not warriors. The vast majority have been trained for decades to fear guns and to run for help to the academic mentors when the going gets tough.

It’s the real Americans — the ones who believe in the Constitution, including the Second Amendment, and who believe in individual rights and self-reliance — who still know how to fight. I devoutly hope that the true Second American Revolution, the one that is a push-back against the socialist Fabian revolution that slowly occurred right before our un-heeding eyes, never needs to go outside the voting booths and courtrooms. However, if the Social Justice Warriors decide to continue their revolution on the streets, I’m pretty sure they’re going to lose quickly and efficiently.

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Mark Cuban: Bernie, AOC recognize socialism as ‘trigger word’ (Fox Business video)

 

Published on May 13, 2019 by Fox Business
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban says that he is a hardcore capitalist and believes that people don’t understand what socialism is.

While the following statement is far reaching over the heads of the indoctrinated, this comment says it all:

You can vote your way into socialism very easily, but you may have to shoot your way out.

 

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Bookworm Beat 5/17/19 — the abortion madness illustrated edition

With Alabama’s abortion law now more in line with Europe’s laws than America’s, Americans Progressives are going crazy — plus other good political posters.






Abortion


























































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Bookworm Beat 04/07/19 — the Universal Basic Income illustrated edition

Universal Basic Income is the touchstone of this illustrated edition, but there’s more, such as socialism, Bernie, Biden, gender, immigration, and avocados.

This will be an illustrated edition, but I first want to say a few words about Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang and his Universal Basic Income idea. Before I get to the substance, I want to congratulate Yang for talking to Ben Shapiro about his ideas. It was the kind of civilized discussion that America deserves, far from the hysterical, agenda-driven, drive-by media. Shapiro notes that he has invited all the candidates to his podcast, but only Yang accepted the invitation.

But….

While I greatly respect Yang for reaching out to a different audience and engaging in a civilized debate, I cannot agree with his primary idea, which is the Universal Basic Income. As best as I can tell, it’s just welfare by another name. That’s because Yang sees it, not as just a handout to everyone, or a handout to everyone in a certain income bracket. Instead, he sees it as an alternative to welfare or to disability. He’s into the psychology of it: People will not see themselves as welfare cases or as disabled. I don’t believe that will be the case. I think it will be an incentive for those who don’t want to work.

I’ve talked about those people before. Thanks to a friend of mine, I, unlike most college educated, middle- to upper-middle class Leftists have seen many of the permanently unemployed or underemployed up close and personal. Either they don’t work at all or, if they do work, their jobs never last. Why don’t they last? They don’t last because these people are not committed to jobs. They don’t show up, they get bored, they call in sick for every little thing, their substance abuse gets in the way. And most importantly, they don’t mind the minimal lifestyle of food stamps and other welfare payments. They are not upwardly mobile; they are couch-wardly mobile.

Here’s something to think about: To the extent my friend’s friends have broken that cycle, they’ve done it in one way and one way only — they’ve become Born-Again Christians. No fooling. I don’t know if finding God changes them or if they’re changing and finding God is just one change among many. It’s that, though, that gets them off drugs and on to reliability and that gets them off welfare and on to self-sufficiency. All the government payments do is maintain a very low-level but, to them, satisfying status quo.

Ultimately, Universal Basic Income is just another Big Government program that will not help the poor and that will not help the economy in the way Yang imagines. He’s correct that we are at an employment hinge point in history, with AI and other robotics about to squeeze many out of jobs, but Universal Basic Income is not going to the fix he thinks it will be.

Anyway, here’s that illustrated edition, starting with two Universal Basic Income pictures:


And now for the rest of that illustrated edition:



































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Bookworm Beat 3/15/19 — Ides of March illustrated edition

It’s only the Ides of March, not April Fools’ Day, but this jumbo illustrated edition, with all the Leftist craziness, shows Americans played for fools.

Regarding this first poster, I’m not giving it as an example of Americans being played for fools. I just love the Trump puppy, who looks singularly foolish:
Ides of March edition








































































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A power outage in Venezuela and Leftist denial

The collapse in Venezuela, rather than bringing enlightenment to America’s Leftists, instead sees them double-down on their delusions about socialism.

This post is what Instapundit refers to as a “shot” and “chaser” scenario. Here’s the shot (hyperlinks omitted):

In Venezuela, there’s a new front — the equivalent of an EMP attack, an attack on all the people, based on the massive and unprecedented electrical blackout still covering the country.

The Washington Post’s thorough report on the matter is horrifying.

CARACAS, Venezuela — One of the severest power outages in Venezuelan history ravaged the country for a second day Friday, with hospital patients languishing in the dark, most supermarkets closed and phone service largely knocked out in the oil-rich but economically collapsing country.

Venezuela, which has been roiled by a political struggle between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó, has been hit by outages before. But the blackout that began Thursday evening is the longest and most widespread in recent memory, a sign of the rapid deterioration of the economy, which is expected to contract sharply in the next few weeks as U.S. sanctions on the oil industry begin to bite. Some analysts even worry that the country — once among the richest in South America — could face famine.

The chaser is a poster I saw this morning when scanning through my real-me Facebook (on which I no longer post). Because I spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, my real-me Facebook has a substantial cohort of Leftists:

Venezuela Socialism

“Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” To the Left, not only does Venezuela’s complete and horrifying collapse have nothing to do with socialism, somehow what’s really wrong is Trump.

Lord Acton famously said that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Please note Acton’s careful phrasing: while some power might corrupt (“tends”), absolute power does corrupt absolutely.

What’s continuously impressive, in a bad and depressing way, is that Leftists do not see that, by concentrating all power in government, they are begging for absolute corruption. Nor can they understand that Trump — no matter his sometimes crude rhetoric — by divesting the government of power is the antithesis of corruption and dictatorship.

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