The turkey has been well brined, and now it’s in the oven. I’ve also assembled a green bean casserole with fried onions. The rest is up to the wife, because that’s the way I roll. [And I didn't poison him because that's the way I roll. --TPK] It should be a good Thanksgiving for us here, but we almost didn’t have a first Thanksgiving. John Stossel does a good write-up of these circumstances at RealClearPolitics:

Every year around this time, schoolchildren are taught about that wonderful day when Pilgrims and Native Americans shared the fruits of the harvest. But the first Thanksgiving in 1623 almost didn’t happen.

Long before the failure of modern socialism, the earliest European settlers gave us a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism. Unfortunately, few Americans today know it.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.

That’s why they nearly all starved.

When people can get the same return with less effort, most people make less effort. Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. This went on for two years.

“So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented,” wrote Gov. William Bradford in his diary. The colonists, he said, “began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, (I) (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land.”

In other words, the people of Plymouth moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.

“This had very good success,” Bradford wrote, “for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many.”

Because of the change, the first Thanksgiving could be held in November 1623.

It’s a simple element of human nature that people have a strong drive to work hard when they benefit from their labors. It’s been proven over and over again. People can either accept this fact and tailor their lives around harnessing that power, or they can try to work against it and be perpetually disappointed at the results. Whenever leftists propose another communal system, the fact that such a system has failed every time it has been tried does not appear to faze or deter them. THIS time it’s going to work because they’re in charge. But it will fail, just as it has failed every time every hubris-soaked powermonger has stepped up to the plate to change history.

I don’t care how smart or talented or thoughtful or powerful you are; you can’t alter human nature to suit your system. At best you can tailor your system to suit human nature, and harness the raw potential of every human being.

So happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Even in the darkest of times, we have so much to be thankful for. And today, among many other blessings to count, I’m thankful that I will have a yummy turkey feed in about 2 hours.

“Good morning, class. I have a light reading assignment for you. First read War and Peace, all 1,296 pages of it, and then tackle the 832 pages of Anna Karenina, both by Leo Tolstoy. Pay particular attention to the supporting characters, and the differences between the Tsarist society of the Napoleonic wars of War and Peace and the later time period of Anna Karenina. Tests and essays determining how well you have learned the books will comprise a large part of your grade.

“Oh, and the test may happen any day now, so I suggest you best get cracking.”

Do you think you could successfully navigate through the required 2,000+ pages of Russian prose with complete understanding? Do you think you would have the time to finish the reading and fully grasp the subtleties of Tsarist society of 19th century Russia in the short time allotted? Do you think the professor is a complete idiot to pile this load of work on you in such a small time? Doesn’t he know that you have other classes and activities you are responsible for?

But this is exactly what the Senate is doing. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the Senate clocks in at 2,074 pages, making it slightly shorter than the 2,128 pages in the Tolstoy reading assignment. To make it even, feel free to skip the last part of Anna Karenina after the title character dies, and Tolstoy rambles on about his Mary Sue.

Do you think any Senator has actually read this monstrosity of a bill? And do you think any Senator fully understands what is in the bill? And worse still, do you think any Senator has an understanding of the unintended consequences that will arise by the passing of this bill? Or do you think this is just a naked power-grab by Washington D.C.?

A power-grab? Surely not! It’s not like government has already grabbed the reigns of power over the economy already. Oh, wait, it has already begun.

William Boyes, an economics professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, estimates that the government now owns or controls businesses that generate about one-third of U.S. economic activity.

And adding the medical industry’s 17-18% of the U.S. economy under the thumb of the government will raise the level of the government’s control close to, if not past, the 50% mark. But don’t you dare call President Obama a socialist!

Obama took months to pick out a dog for the family, and he has yet to pick a church to attend, but the mind-boggling complexity of the health industry, the planned reforms, and their unintended consequences don’t need careful scrutiny. Nope, it’s already passed the House, and the Senate is rushing toward a vote with the grace and understanding of the long-range ramifications as a college kid homing in on the frat house beer keg. And when I say rushing, I mean it. The Senate may have a procedural vote on the bill today, when normally Saturdays are reserved for pressing the flesh of their home-state constituents. But not when it’s time to ram home a double novel sized health care bill.

I have to wonder if the people of 19th century Russia who were complaining so loudly about the corruption and abuses of power under the Tsars would have been so anxious to support their overthrow if they had foreseen the corruption and abuses of power under the later communists? It’s the unforeseen consequences that will always get you when you rush into a massive change. Do you think the people cheering the fall of the Tsars and the rise of the communists in 1917 were also cheering for political repression, economic depression, and the murder of 20 million people under Stalin? I don’t believe so. I think they were just caught up in the moment as they called for change. People forget that change can also be for the worse.

Anna Karenina starts with the best line of the whole novel: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Once government has successfully taken over our health care industry, every unhappy family will be unhappy in the same way — the unhappiness that comes from reduced freedoms and government oppression. And reduced freedoms and government oppression is exactly what you get when the Senate rushes to pass a 2,074 page long bill that they haven’t even read.

“What’s in the bill? Who cares?!? Change!”

It's Schadenfreude Man!Schadenfreude is a German word that means the enjoyment that comes from watching other people suffer some misfortune. Which is why Schadenfreude Man is standing there with a grin on his face in the Dr. Fun comic to the right (click to expand).

Which brings us to the current American financial woes. Names like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman, and AIG are big in the news, and socialists who hate capitalism are overcome with schadenfreude. To illustrate the point, I offer up an article published on the Spiegel website by Marc Pitzke titled, “The World As We Know It Is Going Down.” The title comes from a broker by the name of James Allroy as quoted in the article. If you have nothing interesting to do or need help sleeping, read the almost 1,300 word article in its entirety; for the rest of you, let me point out two sentences. The first leapt out at me from the twelfth paragraph:

In fact, it really does look as if the foundations of US capitalism have shattered.

The second sentence came four paragraphs later:

The only thing that is certain is that the era of the unbridled free-market economy in the US has passed — at least for now.

I can’t speak for you, but I can easily imagine Pitzke rubbing his hands with delighted schadenfreude at the idea of America’s free-market economy tanking. And if free-market capitalism doesn’t work, then what other options are there? Well, people love Karl Marx’s ideas of communism and communism lite, also known as socialism. Neither one makes me happy, but I’m neither a communist nor a socialist.

Are America’s current financial problems proof that an “unbridled free-market economy” has failed us? You could make that argument if you believed that the free market got us to this position, but it didn’t. Government intervention got us to this point.

To trace this problem, we have to go back to the days of President Carter. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 (sometimes mistakenly called the “Community Redevelopment Act”) specified that financial institutions had to “meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate.” It was designed to help minorities and the poor buy homes by keeping banks from denying them home loans. Turning down a loan request would be taken as prima facie evidence of racism, and the government would come down on the bank like a ton of regulatory bricks. In other words, the federal government required banks to give loans to Joe CreditRisk, ignoring Joe’s spotty job history, spotty credit record, and spotty credit payment history. Is it any wonder that there were more high-risk loans?

In 1995 President Clinton pushed for, and got, a stronger CRA. Thanks to this update, subprime mortgages for Joe CreditRisk were secured by CRA loans, leading to another increase in high-risk loans. Between 1993 and 1998, CRA loans grew by 39%, while other types of loans grew by 17%. Did this growth occur because the free market ordinarily rewards people who are proven bad credit risks? A truly free-market bank would be very hesitant to make lots of loans to people who would be unlikely to pay them off. But thanks to government intervention, the banking industry was no longer truly free-market. As a banker, you either danced to the government’s tune and offered risky loans to people who were unlikely to pay them back, or the feds would be knocking at your business doors to close you down, you horrible racist, you.

So what was the end result of government’s heavy-handed control over risky loans? Well — duh — lots of risky loans. But as long as housing prices continued to grow and grow, the banks and lending institutions could use the good deals to balance out the bad ones. But then the housing bubble popped, and high-risk debtors turned out to be — surprise, surprise — bad at making their loan payments. Having created the problem in the first place by messing around with the free market, the government stepped in to “fix” the problem with massive buyouts (with taxpayer money) for some, and giving a middle finger to others.

Is the banking crisis evidence of the collapse of America’s free-market capitalism, as Marc Pitzke maintains? No. It is the obvious result of government mucking around where it shouldn’t be. What we have here is the obvious result of a government-controlled market. In other words: Marxism sucks, and how!

There isn’t a nice way of saying it, so I’ll just blurt it out — Socialism sucks.

But that doesn’t stop people who are enamored with Socialism from advocating it, as Senator Hillary Clinton did recently:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it’s time to replace an “on your own” society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ownership society really is an “on your own” society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

“I prefer a ‘we’re all in it together’ society,” she said. “I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none.”

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.

“There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed,” she said. “Fairness doesn’t just happen. It requires the right government policies.”

Boy, it sure is great that we have the honorable Senator from New York to make life fair for us. And how does the Senator in all her wisdom propose to make life fair for everyone? Why, with government action, of course! After all, fairness doesn’t just happen; it requires government policies. And now for some more pearls of wisdom from Sen. Clinton:

“We have sent a message to our young people that if you don’t go to college … that you’re thought less of in America. We have to stop this,” she said.

Beyond education, Clinton said she would reduce special breaks for corporations, eliminate tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and open up CEO pay to greater public scrutiny.

Clinton also said she would help people save more money by expanding and simplifying the earned income tax credit; create new jobs by pursuing energy independence; and ensure that every American has affordable health insurance.

Beyond education, Clinton said she would reduce special breaks for corporations, eliminate tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and open up CEO pay to greater public scrutiny.

There is a word that accurately identifies Sen. Clinton’s plan, and that word is Socialism. It sure is a national tragedy that we have existed for over 200 years without the sage-like wisdom of Sen. Clinton and her love affair with Socialism. All during this time, life hasn’t been fair because she wasn’t around to make it so for us.

But I’m being facetious. I have long since realized that life isn’t fair; in fact, I wrote about it over three years ago:

Is life fair? I guess that depends on what you mean by “fair.” Is it fair that my hair started falling out when I was 17? Is it fair that I am not taller than my older brother? Is it fair that I don’t have Orlando Bloom’s good looks and hefty bank account? Is it fair that both my parents are alive, while my wife’s father died while she was a child? Is it fair that I was born an American and not an Armenian? Is it fair that I have wants far exceeding my ability to supply them? In each and every one of these cases, it is quite clear that life is not fair. But who promised you that life would, should, or even could be fair?

To answer that last question, it is Sen. Clinton who claims life should and could be fair. All we have to do is everything she says, and then life will be fair. Let’s get those government policies going right now!

There’s a problem with the Senator’s plan: Socialism sucks, and how! Can you identify a single place on earth where Socialism has worked to ensure both freedom and happiness? Socialism has sucked generations of life from the Soviet Union. Socialism has sucked the “get up and go” from hard-working Scandinavia. Socialism has sucked freedom from every nation where it has been implemented by oppressive governments. Socialism sucks out joy and replaces it with bureaucracy. A rather poor trade, that.

No, life is not and never has been fair, but it is a fool’s errand to try to enforce fairness through the ham-fisted bludgeoning of government policies.

We have basic cable at home — a first — and I admit that I love watching shows on the Discovery Channel and AMC. Mythbusters and Dirty Jobs are by far my favorites. [By contrast, I'm getting sick of the TV constantly yammering away in the background. --TPK]

One of the channels is a public access forum, and all sorts of random stuff appears there. Sturgeon’s Law is in full force. One morning I was treated to a choice nugget of nonsense in the form of “Liberty News TV.” While waiting for my carpool to arrive, I watched a cartoon explaining why people are unhappy, and purporting to show how government can make them happier.

If you want to experience the… uh, thrill, of Liberty News TV “education,” you can view the same cartoon online here (forward to about 17:30). The three cartoon characters — Bingo, Trudy, and Nigel — chat and stroke the host, Daniel Noel, until about 19:10 when the following gem of economic silliness is given:

Daniel: Why do so many Americans feel unhappy? Let’s start with a big one: the gap between rich and poor. It’s a gap that grows a little every day, thanks to tax cuts for the rich, corporate welfare, and war.

Bingo: I’m poor, and he’s rich. And that stinks. I’m unhappy!

Daniel: A progressive tax system asks more from the rich and increases overall happiness because it spreads the wealth around.

Bingo: Look, Trudy! Nigel’s learning to share.

Trudy: Brilliant! Taxing the rich will help the Yanks pay for health care and improve education. Maybe some of them will learn to pronounce “nuclear.”

Bingo/Trudy: I feel happier already.

Nigel: I’m snuckered. I can’t afford to buy as much stock in Halliburton this year.

Trudy: Sorry, Nigel. Remember the cardinal rule: create the most happiness for the most people.

Nigel: That takes it! My bloody watch has stopped.

Bingo: Don’t worry. I called him a “Wambulance.”

Oh, where to begin? First, the good folk at Liberal Noise Liberty News TV postulate that rich people get richer and poor people get poorer because of tax cuts to the rich, corporate welfare, and war. Nowhere in their calculations does work, differing natural abilities, or education appear. A highly-trained heart surgeon working 60 hours a week will earn far more money than an Oprah-watching couch potato waiting for his welfare check; this growing gap of wealth has nothing to do with tax cuts, corporate welfare, or war. Bill Whittle does an excellent job of explaining away the “growing gap” myth in his two-part essay titled, “Trinity.” I highly recommend you visit his site if you haven’t already done so.

Anyway, Bingo says he’s unhappy because he’s poor and Nigel is rich. A more accurate term to describe the cause of his unhappiness is envy — or as the Bible calls it, “covetousness.” And as long as someone on Earth is richer than Bingo, and as long as he remains envious of that wealth, he will always be unhappy. There is a wise reason why the 10th Commandment basically tells people to stop envying their neighbor’s plasma TV.

Daniel goes on to explain that more people are happy when the wealthy have their pocketbooks forcibly vacuumed to redistribute the money to the poor Bingos of the world. Never you mind that the majority of wealthy people in the United States made that money themselves, and should have as much right as the poor and middle-class to spend their own profits as they see fit. Ignore the fact that these caring and thoughtful lefties have zero sympathy for Nigel, openly mocking his misfortune when he dares to complain that he’s taking it in the shorts. As long as there are people who are getting vacuumed goodies from the world’s Nigels, they will continue to demand that the government apply the suction by way of punitive taxation. The phrase goes, “He who robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.”

But if spreading the money around makes people happy, why aren’t welfare recipients the happiest people on the planet? Well, that’s because they’re having babies. Yes, you read that right. One of the “truths” espoused on this shallow show is that having children does not make us happy. And that’s probably true if you don’t want children in the first place — or if you see every child as yet another mouth to feed and another useless drain on the world’s fragile resources. But if you see a child as a precious gift from God — a unique individual whose personal contributions to the world might include cures for cancer and AIDS, inspiring and beautiful music and literature, or a life given in service to God and man — then each child is a joy, not a burden.

I’ll finish with the cardinal rule that Trudy gives us: “create the most happiness for the most people.” Another way of stating this rule is, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That little gem comes from the Left’s good buddy, Karl Marx. By this light, I see that Liberty News TV believes happiness comes from Marxist economic theory. I’ll give Communism a pass, thanks. I prefer an economic system that, well, actually works.

You can watch the rest of the program if you have the stomach for it. I found the brief moments I watched to be filled with similarly wrongheaded ideas that seem to be common fodder for the Left today. While I will occasionally watch and read the Left’s ideas, there’s only so much I can take in one sitting.

Friggin’ Commies.

We live in a capitalist society. That means we allow the free market to determine prices and distribute goods to us. The other option is to allow government to do the same task, but a bureaucracy is never as efficient as the free market. I remember walking through the shopping areas of East Berlin during the 1980s when the Soviet Union was still strong and communism was the wave of the future. I saw for myself that the items for sale in communist East Berlin were inferior in number, quality, and desirability to anything I could purchase in free West Berlin. We did pick up some items from East Berlin, mainly because they were Russian-made knick-knacks like matryoshka dolls, not because they were good quality. We had a wonderful dinner for six in one of the Communist Party’s elite back rooms of a classy restaurant for about $20, including the best borscht soup I’ve ever eaten. But as good as the food was, the reason why we could afford to eat there was because of the purchasing power of Western currency in the hard-currency-starved East. Decades of bureaucratic control via communism had failed to compete in any meaningful way with the free and capitalist nations of the West.

But not everyone likes capitalism. I’ve held onto the picture below long enough that I can no longer remember where I found it. I’m guessing I got it from Zombie’s protest page, but I didn’t find it in a quick look through her archives.

useful idiots

To badly paraphrase Winston Churchill, it has been said that capitalism is the worst form of economics, save all the others that have been tried. Capitalism is far from perfect, but it is the best system we have–at least in part because it takes human nature into account. Communism has been tried and found wanting, but there are still plenty of people who believe that it only needs the right people to get it to work. But the good thing about capitalism is that it doesn’t require optimal conditions, and you don’t have to wait for the best people to show up. It doesn’t rely on people willing to work for the greater good of the communist borg collective, but out of self-interest.

Adam Smith wrote about this self-interest in The Wealth of Nations. “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love.”

The next time you buy a pizza, notice that the variety, quality, and availability are all direct results of capitalism at work. So thank the pizza guy for his willingness to make some money for himself by providing a great pizza for you. Then give him a good tip.

Wretchard of The Belmont Club fame has an excellent post about Ernesto “Che” Guevara, that famous communist t-shirt and poster guy. It’s come to the point that you can hardly have a lefty gathering without a Che visitation. He is the communist saint, with more spontaneous manifestations than the Virgin Mary.

Wretchard does a bang-up job of outlining the historic realities of Che Guevara and his rather pathetic ending; he sums it all up with the following:

Che Guevara is a testament to the power of a media symbol. As a purely military force he was negligible. As an organizing force and agitator of Bolivians he was an abject failure. But as an international Marxist symbol and poster-boy Che was eminently successful. Millions of people have worn his likeness on a T-shirt believing that he was a brilliant revolutionary and guerilla when in fact he was neither. But that would be missing the point. Guevara was the prototypical example of the triumph of image over reality. What did it matter if he wrote nothing of lasting ideological value? What did it matter if he was a comparative military failure? He was a surpassing public relations success and that made up for everything else. The power of Che lay not in his M2 carbine, which was shot out of his hands by the Bolivian Rangers. It lay in his beard, beret and his photogenic camera angles. Long before the word “spin” came into common usage Guevara was all spin — a spin which will outlast the memory of those who defeated and slew him.

Personally, this is my favorite Che shirt.

If you order clothing from catalogues, you usually have to guess at the sizes listed. Sometimes there is a size chart to help you, but is that XL size shirt the same XL size that others use? Knowing the wide range of height and weight variations in people, can we really believe that the phrase “one size fits all” is true? While the manufacturer will make just the one size, the customer often experiences two sizes: too big, or too small. I’ve even started to see some stores print labels stating “one size fits most,” since manufacturers realize that we aren’t all pressed out of the same cookie cutter, as demonstrated by Robert Pershing Wadlow in the picture to the right.

This difference in people is seen in culinary tastes as well. You can see this in the multitude of different restaurants and fast food joints. If our tastes were the same, we could get away with one store offering one kind of food. The one-size-fits-all concept applied to food means everyone gets the bland chicken dinner that is served at catered events. In political circles it is often called the “rubber chicken” dinner, and it will be found in most every dinner get-together where the rule of thumb is “one size fits all.” Pass the Pepto-Bismol and start chugging pink chalk right from the bottle.

It is possible to offer a dinner that will be appreciated by the diners, but only if you offer variety. If there is a choice, some people will want the prime rib, some will want the chicken cordon bleu, some will ask for the salmon, and some will request the vegetarian plate. People with different tastes will be happy if there is a selection from which they may choose.

You can also see this variety of tastes in music. A quick glance at a music store will reveal a wondrous proliferation of genres and titles. My music taste probably isn’t identical to yours, and asking a third person will bring in a third set of tastes. Grab a random sampling of people, and you will be hard-pressed to find something that everyone wants to hear. The most you can realistically hope for is something bland that will offend the least amount of people — the musical equivalent of a rubber chicken dinner.

I am writing this article while eating lunch in the company cafeteria. Looking around at the dozens of people here, I note that no two people are dressed the same way. Obviously, I work at a place that doesn’t require a uniform. For anyone who has ever worn a uniform for work or school, can you honestly say that it was something you looked forward to putting on?

If variety is good in food, music, and clothing, why do we not ask for variety in other aspects of our lives? Some people who demand their own type of music are just as demanding that everyone be educated in one-size-fits-all public schools. Any mention of vouchers, private schools or home schooling is met with resistance. Why is an educational monopoly socially acceptable, while a software monopoly is not?

We live in a republic of 50 states united by a common history and federal government. The Founding Fathers didn’t want an overly-strong federal government calling all the shots. They thought it would be far better to have separate states making their own rules for issues within their borders. This would lead to a multitude of options open to the people. If you don’t like how your state is being run, you can work from within to change it, or you can vote with your feet and leave. A variety of states gives Americans a choice.

Our variety is one reason why our republic is far superior to any socialist or communist government. The one-size-fits-all nature of totalitarianism can never be appreciative or supportive of a society that is composed of a variety of voices and decision makers. No one person, no one group can be as smart as needed to make all the decisions for all the people. It is far better that many, if not most, decisions be made at the local or personal level.

The Soviet Union could not produce the shoes the people needed or wanted because the choice of styles, materials, sizes and amounts were controlled by bureaucrats. Adam Smith’s invisible hand of economics has proven itself far superior to anything the Soviet Union or any other totalitarian state has been able to produce for its people.

One size does not fit all. This is true for one-size-fits-all schools. This is true for Hillary’s one-size-fits-all health care. This is true for one-size-fits-all corporations. And this is true for one-size-fits-all government.

Variety truly is the spice of life.

Karl Marx is a dead, white European male. You’d think this would be sufficient to make liberals dislike him, but the opposite is true. Did Marx know in 1848 when he wrote the Communist Manifesto, or in 1867 when he wrote Das Kapital, that these writings would have a profound effect on the world for the next 150 years? Could he have foreseen that Marxism would be the root cause of over 100 million deaths in the 20th Century? My wife wonders if the knowledge of these deaths would have mattered to him. I find it ironic that a man who could not manage his own finances and who blew through two inheritances could be given any credence in matters financial, but many people still believe in the fundamental principles of Marxism.

Marx wrote that it is historically inevitable for societies to pass through several stages: feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and finally the workers’ paradise. A feudalist society is one where might makes right and the few “haves” dominate over the “have-nots” like barons over their serfs. In a capitalist society, the individual is important, and contract law makes business possible. The socialist society is concerned with the group over the individual, and the role of government expands to control more and more of the lives and business of the people. The workers’ paradise is the final step in Marx’s vision of society. At this stage the rulers step aside as the workers take control over their lives and their work. A heart-warming, rosy glow surrounds everything as the workers march arm-in-arm off into the sunrise of a new and glorious day.

There is just one problem with Marx’s inevitable march from feudalism to capitalism to socialism and the final joy of the workers’ paradise — it’s a crock of @#$%!

Marxism is a failure because it does not take into account the fundamental reasons how and why people work. If you watch slaves or serfs, you will notice that they work only as fast as the whip of their master compels them, and not one bit faster or further. A slave or serf requires a large amount of control in the form of overseers and bosses. On the other hand, a person who is free and able to benefit from his work will work harder and look for ways to improve his job. A peasant in ancient China had no way of changing his position in life, so inventing a better plow or ox harness would not improve his lot in any way. But in a free society, a baker who creates a new type of bread or a printer who invents a faster way of setting type can expect to do more business and increase profits; a slave or serf does not.

You could say that capitalism is similar to the scientific method. When scientists announce they have proven something new, they will publish their experiment for others to duplicate. If others can reproduce the same results, the new method or theory is accepted. But if someone makes a claim, as in the case of cold fusion, and no one else can duplicate the results, then the theory can be said to be disproved, or at least in a state of not yet being proven. In the years since Marx wrote his ideas, the “inevitable” workers’ paradise has never been successfully achieved. While many countries have moved along the path to socialism, not one has made the final switch to the workers’ paradise. A common response to this complaint is that Marxism has never really been implemented yet. Well, various nations on this planet have only been trying it for the last 150 years, so how much more time and testing is necessary? The scientific community did not take 150 years to disprove Ponds and Fleischman’s claims of cold fusion, so why should it take more than a century to disprove the claims of Marxism? But Marxists will not allow their belief in the system to be destroyed — they cling to it as faithfully as a religion.

Marxism is a philosophy that is applied by its adherents to economics, production, workers and their relationships, government, and much more. In my wife’s English class last term, the professor instructed the students in the Marxist interpretation of literature. As I see it, if the only tool you have is a hammer, before long all your jobs start looking like nails.

But regardless of what Marx said, not everything hinges on money; it hinges on power. Money is merely a unit of power — the power to procure the goods and services that you want and need. My wife has written a wonderful analysis and interpretation of Marx and his ideas that, IMO, is well worth reading.

Marxism is a failure because it fails to depict reality. Marx said that socialism would make way for the workers’ paradise, but in reality dictators never give up their power voluntarily. Can you think of any dictators who have willingly walked away from power? My wife believes that Marx was no dummy. He didn’t talk about how the workers’ paradise would come about. The very concept of the workers’ paradise was sufficient to agitate the common workers into obeying Marx’s pronouncements and achieving his goals. He dangled this carrot so like-minded people could manipulate them as useful idiots. My wife’s idea is that Marx didn’t specify how the workers’ paradise would be created precisely because Marx didn’t intend for it to happen. Instead, Marx wrote up a road map for ruthless people like himself to exploit the working masses in order to gain power. This is why socialism was taken to the communist extreme so easily in many nations. None of these nations have had anywhere near the financial success of smaller capitalist countries. This is a simple indication of the difference between a free and an enslaved population.

Capitalism is very much like Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravity. Under most normal circumstances, Newton’s law works very well indeed; it only breaks down when things reach extremes: in the realms of the super-small such as atoms and subatomic particles, the very large such as suns or bigger celestial bodies, or the very fast such as speeds approaching light speed. Likewise, capitalism tends to fail at extremes: when there is no authority to guarantee contract compliance, or when there are excessive government regulations and controls. But other than these extreme circumstances, both capitalism and Newton’s law of gravity work very well. Socialism, however, barely functions at its best. The Soviet Union was constantly plagued by food and goods shortages. Cuba is surrounded by ocean, yet it has a chronic shortage of fish. North Koreans are starving. Even Sweden, arguably the most successful socialist country, is showing signs of internal rot. P.J. O’Rourke outlines the situation in Sweden and other countries in his fine book, Eat the Rich.

The bottom line on Marxism is simple: it doesn’t work, it has never worked in the past 150 years, and it is about time for its adherents to acknowledge that Marxism will not work in the future, either. But this isn’t going to happen. Whenever you hear someone say, “Marxism/Socialism has never really been properly tried yet,” you know you are in the presence of someone for whom Marxism is a religion, not open to criticism or logical debate. Thomas Sowell summed this attitude up at the end of Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?: “Someone once said that an idea which fails repeatedly may possibly be wrong…. There are still many true believers to whom all evidence is irrelevant.”