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!

Once again the Democrats’ hatred for the rich is showing. Senator Joe Biden, the Democrat Vice Presidential candidate, is calling for the rich to do the “patriotic thing” and pay more taxes.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. In a new TV ad that repeats widely debunked claims about the Democratic tax plan, the Republican campaign calls Obama’s tax increases “painful.”

Under the economic plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, people earning more than $250,000 a year would pay more in taxes while those earning less the vast majority of American taxpayers would receive a tax cut.

Although Republican John McCain claims that Obama would raise taxes, the independent Tax Policy Center and other groups conclude that four out of five U.S. households would receive tax cuts under Obama’s proposals.

“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Biden said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Noting that wealthier Americans would indeed pay more, Biden said: “It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.” [emphasis mine - CM]

Oh, where to begin? Is Biden calling for the rich to voluntarily pay more taxes, or is he telling us that the rich should feel patriotism swelling in their breasts as the federal government taxes them more? Past behavior tells me that the Democrat idea here is for the federal government to levy more taxes on the rich. After all, vowing to hike taxes on the rich is a major plank of the Democrat party. Or as one person said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The author of that little gem is Karl Marx, and the left loves it. Ain’t it interesting how mad they get when we correctly identify them as Marxists?

I wonder how Senator Barack Obama can say with a straight face that his tax plans would result in a tax cut for most Americans. Oh, wait! I know how he can do that — he’s a Marxist! Here’s the truth: Obama won’t renew the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 when they expire in 2010. When they do expire, every tax bracket will go up — every one. So how exactly does this plan cut taxes for the “vast majority of American taxpayers”? I’ll whisper the answer: it won’t.

The truth of the matter is that in life you get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish. And taxing people’s income is the same as punishing their income. When you punish an activity less, you shouldn’t be surprised to see that people voluntarily engage in that activity more often. Want Americans to earn more? Then stop punishing them for making money.

Don’t believe me? Fine. How about believing history?

In 2003, capital gains tax rates were reduced from 20 percent and 10 percent (depending on income) to 15 percent and 5 percent. Rather than expand by 36 percent from the current $50 billion level to $68 billion in 2006 as the CBO projected before the tax cut, capital gains revenues more than doubled to $103 billion. Past capital gains tax cuts have shown similar results.

Obama’s plan will call for the capital gains tax rates to go back to 2003 levels, reversing the trend that caused federal revenues to double because people were being punished less for investing. If the Democrats are serious about increasing federal revenues, they would make the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent. But Democrats won’t do that — because, even more than they love tax monies, they hate the rich and want to punish them.


Just recently, our friend Captain Midnight has been extremely busy with work and other duties, so today I’m taking over. One moment, please.

Arr! Weigh anchor and secure the captain’s cabin, Mr. Halliwell, this here ship be ours fer the duration!

With that particular housekeeping duty out of the way, I’d like to address an issue that Sticks in My Royal Craw. We’re not talking about minor annoyances like “and the media smote the Kerik, and all Homeland Security was laid to burnination,” or those annoying form letters stating that your insurance claim has been denied, or even those department store ads so rife with scratch-and-sniff perfume samples that your mailbox reeks like a miniature French cathouse. No, in this case I refer to the Freegan movement–or as I prefer to address this august body, the Freakans.

As far as I can tell from their website (and no, I’m not going to do their propaganda work for them by providing a link. That’s what Google is for), Freakans are an extremely anal subset of anticapitalist vegans who seem outraged that vegetarianism and veganism have been embraced by mainstream America. Apparently they are so appalled by the ease of leading a “cruelty-free” lifestyle these days–the fact that one can find tofu dogs, Boca burgers and organic produce at most national supermarket chains, for instance–that they feel it necessary to separate the True Believers from the casual vegetarians by making things even harder. (Their mindset of austerity for its own sake puts me in mind of crotchety old Sister Mary Lazarus from the film Sister Act: “I liked my old convent, in Vancouver. Out in the woods. It wasn’t all modern, like here. No electricity. Cold water. Bare feet. Those were nuns.”)

Freakans, like many cults of austerity, derive their toe-curling satisfaction from drawing a line even further back in the sand; of creating and living by a veganer-than-thou standard. They adhere to a more rigorous, less mainstream existence than the thoughtless, consumer-driven satisfaction of their vegetarian brethren and sisters. No longer content to bask in the warm, rosy glow of self-righteousness that comes from shunning meat and animal products, the Freakans “monetarily consume nothing so as to give no economic power to the capitalist-consumer machine.” By opting out of capitalism, they intend to overthrow the system, returning everyone to a simpler, more natural way of life where humans and animals alike simply gather what they need from Mother Gaea–whether they like it or not.

You might, perhaps, expect those who live by this kind of manifesto to shun the profligate city life, move to the back of beyond, run a subsistence farm and commune where they make their own clothing and barter with each other. But there you would be wrong–for such a lifestyle demands intelligent, hard-working, and above all capable people, and Freakans are none of these things. No, instead Freakans are urban foragers. They take advantage of every free offer they can find, frequent soup kitchens and food banks, dumpster-dive, squat in abandoned buildings, and otherwise live on the tips and tailings of urban life.

American society is extremely wasteful. We throw away an alarming number of perfectly good items because we do not take time to think what else could be done with them, or who might need or want them. (There are some grassroots efforts to change this situation; go check out Freecycle for more info.) But there’s a huge difference between seeking to create a more streamlined, less wasteful society, and seeking to destroy that society by refusing to participate and sponging off its waste. Quite aside from the fact that there is not now, nor will there ever be, a critical mass of Freakans to effect any meaningful societal change; quite aside from the point that these pampered hothouse weeds of Western culture would swiftly die without a society from which they could scrounge their necessities; there is another reason why I view Freakans with a mixture of pity and contempt. They have made the conscious decision to discard thousands of years of human civilization, of progress, art, science, poetry, of social improvements, better medicines and modern dentistry in favor of the craven subsistence life of scavengers–and they desire to drag us all down with them.

Even making the assumption, as the Freakans and many anthropologists do, that early humans were far less advanced than they are now, why would anyone want to go back to that lowest-common-denominator standard of living? With all its problems, 21st-century Western human culture is fairly amazing and filled with myriad wonderful things to enjoy. How many of you would jettison Mozart and Vivaldi, da Vinci and Michelangelo, cheese and chocolate for a chance to pound acorns, masticate bugs and suck the juices out of an egg? How many would willingly step from the living standard of an omnivore–or even an herbivore–to a coprophage? To put it in other terms, would you rather be on the same level as a bear, a cow, or a cockroach? Frankly, the Freakans have made no progress in convincing me that their way of life is, by any measurable standard, better than or even equal to what I now enjoy.

The saddest thing about Freakans is the world which they have freely chosen to inhabit. With delicious, sensual, miraculous existence all around them, they choose grey, shriveled, neo-Puritan subsistence. They scrounge for discarded, moldy cheese rather than enjoying the wholesome fruits of honest labor. They skulk through back alleys alone rather than striding down the avenue with friends. They would rather live in an abandoned outhouse than enjoy the warmth and friendship of the hearth.

Do not mock them, my friends, for they have chosen their own living hell.

Ah, I can see the Captain on the shore, hollering something about slimy bilge rats. Don’t worry, I’ll give him his ship back. WHEN I’M GOOD AND READY!

This is what happens when you write an article about how you love you wife — she steps in and does a guest article for you while you are busy. All right, you slimy bilge rats! Bring back my ship! — Captain Midnight

The other day I came across a list of reasons why President Bush should not be re-elected. Here’s the list:

  1. Bush is destroying workers’ rights and outsourcing jobs instead of protecting the right to organize and creating new jobs rebuilding schools, bridges, roads and hospitals.
  2. Bush is privatizing Medicare, Social Security and public education with phony reforms instead of enacting health care for all, protecting retirement funds and full funding for public education through college.
  3. Bush is bankrupting the Federal Government with giant tax cuts for the very rich and super-funds to the military instead of securing the budget for human needs by taxing the rich and spending on human needs.
  4. Bush is rolling back civil rights gains instead of enforcing and expanding affirmative action to end racism in all areas of life.
  5. Bush is curtailing women’s rights and choice by undermining Roe v. Wade instead of upholding the right to choice and ending the gender wage gap.
  6. Bush is abusing immigrant workers in low-wage jobs instead of providing a clear path to citizenship and equal rights.
  7. Bush is exploiting and ruining the environment by protecting corporate polluters instead of conserving our natural resources for the public good.
  8. Bush’s war in Iraq is a disaster for our security and economy. He is pushing for more preemptive wars and for first strike nuclear military policy instead of negotiations and cooperation utilizing the UN.
  9. Bush is denying civil liberties and free speech in the name of fighting terrorism instead of repealing the USA Patriot Act and helping cities, towns and states fund firefighters and police.
  10. Bush discriminates against Gays and Lesbians with a Constitutional Amendment instead of expanding civil rights and liberties for all.

If you have been following the latest election cycle as I have, you’d recognize these are reasons being used by Democrat Senator John Kerry’s campaign against President Bush (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10), but there is one catch — this list didn’t come from the Democratic National Committee site. It came from the Communist Party USA site. There is virtually no difference between the Democratic objections to President Bush and his administration, and the Communist ones. Why? The answer is simple enough — the modern Democratic party is Marxist by its very nature.

The American Left didn’t start out Marxist, but it has increasingly become so in the past decades. I pointed out before that the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto have been fully accepted by the Left (and, sadly, by the Right in too many instances). But the Marxist rot has spread the farthest and been accepted the most by the Democrats and the Left.

Numerous pundits have noted a double standard between how members of the Left and Right are treated. Republican Senator Trent Lott made an off-the-cuff remark about fellow-Republican Senator Strom Thurmond’s presidential run of four decades earlier, and the subsequent backlash and cries of “Racist!” from the Left forced him to step down from his position of power in the Senate. Yet Democrat Senator Robert Byrd was an active member of the Ku Klux Klan in his past, and he recently used the word “nigger” multiple times on national TV. There were no similar calls of outrage and horror from the Left, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) dismissed this obvious demonstration of racism. Former President Clinton has been accused of multiple rapes and has confessed to multiple adulterous affairs, yet the National Organization of Women (NOW) has not only excused these actions, they actually stood by Clinton during the exposure of his affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment. The Left proudly claims to champion the rights of racial minorities and women, but willingly accepts bigotry and misogyny when it comes from within their own ranks. Lawrence Auster explains why this double standard exists: the American Left has become Marxist.

The basic reason for the “liberal” double standard has already been alluded to. It is that today’s “liberals” are really leftists who have rejected the older liberal belief in a shared equality of citizens before the law and have embraced the socialist vision of “equality as a fact and equality as a result,” as Lyndon Johnson famously put it. Since people are unequal in their ability to accumulate property, as Hayek argued in the Mirage of Social Justice, equality of results can only be pursued by treating people unequally. This is the origin of the double standard.

Still don’t believe me? I have already demonstrated the link between the Communist Party USA and the Democratic party in their shared anti-Bush message, and I previously wrote how the DNC fully embraces the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto, but you can also see it in some of the Democrat campaign slogans. Senator John Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech has been used repeatedly on the campaign trail:

Today under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one. One America does the work, while another America reaps the reward. One America pays the taxes, while another America gets the tax breaks.

Tell me whether there is any material difference between Senator Edwards’ stump speech and this quote by Joe Cannon, from the 1948 Socialist Workers’ Party convention speech:

There are two Americas — and millions of the people already distinguish between them. One is the America of the imperialists — of the little clique of capitalists, landlords and militarists, who are threatening and terrifying the world. This is the America the people of the world hate and fear. There is the other America — the America of the workers and farmers and the ‘little people.’

Another slogan for the Kerry/Edwards ticket, “Let America Be America Again,” was taken from the first line of a poem by Langston Hughes — a known Communist activist. This particular poem shows the poet’s admiration of Joseph Stalin, the most murderous of all the Soviet leaders. Senator Kerry wrote the preface to a recent re-release of Hughes’ poetry, so he seems to have no difficulty with the very pro-Communist flavor of Hughes’ work.

Speaking of Senator Kerry, the Left is rallying around him because he is their appointed leader. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth group started to voice its concerns and opposition to Senator Kerry’s Navy record and service in Vietnam, the Left responded not by refuting these claims, but by launching attacks on the Swift Vets themselves. Apparently it is OK for the self-proclaimed “party of the little guy” to attack the little guys of the Swift Vets group when they dared to challenge the Left’s anointed leader. Any lie, dishonesty, sneaky behavior, or illegal act is defensible and right if it is done to uphold Marxist ideals.

This is why Leftists don’t care about their own hypocrisy. This is why it is useless to expose the Left’s double standard. Since treating people differently to achieve equality of result fits with Marxist ideals, the hypocrisy of their actions simply doesn’t matter. It is part of what they must do to achieve their desired ends. I believe in calling a spade a spade, so from now on, I will stop calling radical Democrats “the Left” or “the liberal Left” and call them by their true name: the Marxist Left.

As I type this, the Marxist Left is being exposed again. On October 14th, just a few weeks before the national election in November, the Democrat election playbook was leaked to the press. Chapter 2 of the playbook directs Democrats to “launch a pre-emptive strike” if no sign of voter intimidation appears. In other words, if nothing goes wrong, the Marxist Left is to go ballistic and claim voter intimidation anyway. You can see this in the shrill verbiage from the Marxist Left on the subject of the 2000 vote in Florida. They claim that a million blacks were disenfranchised, but nobody can point to a single black person who was prevented from voting. But since it assists their goal of regaining power, it’s acceptable for the Democrats to lie. In a further attempt to muddy the waters, the “Colorado Election Day Manual” says to round up the useful idiots and parade them before the media: in other words, describe “party/minority/civil rights leadership as denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting”. The truth doesn’t matter to these people; all that matters is getting and keeping power. That is the essence of Marxism.

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.”

The human body is truly a wonder. Right now your body is digesting the Big Mac and fries you had for lunch, replacing the damaged and dead cells from the paper cut you got this morning, fighting off the cold virus your boss gave you with a friendly handshake, and accomplishing a myriad of other necessary actions all without your having to think about it. This frees you up to read today’s Dilbert comic when you should be reading that overdue report sitting on your desk.

These automatic actions take place because of the miracle of homeostasis — the automatic actions your body juggles to keep you neither too hot nor too cold, neither too thirsty nor too hungry. Since there are too many homeostatic controls to review in the space of this article, let’s focus on just one: blood sugar. While you may enjoy a Big Mac, your cells would have a hard time recognizing it as usable food. Your cells want something simpler like glucose, a simple sugar and the basic food source for your body. The circulatory system provides the means for transporting glucose to your cells, keeping them well-fed and ready to do a good day’s work. Your body would prefer a steady glucose level in the blood to keep everything working well, but unless you graze constantly throughout the day, your body experiences times of high and low glucose levels.

When the level of glucose in your bloodstream is high, your pancreas produces higher levels of insulin. Insulin is an enzyme that converts glucose into glycogen, which is stored by the body, lowering the overall level of glucose in your blood. When glucose levels are low, your pancreas produces a different enzyme–glucagon. This enzyme converts some of the stored glycogen back into glucose, raising your blood sugar level. These two enzymes, insulin and glucagon, are produced by the pancreas automatically as your blood sugar level fluctuates during the day. Unless you are diabetic, a member of the medical field, or just good at remembering your Biology notes, you were probably unaware of the critical function your pancreas fulfills. If you knew this already, you can get bonus points by pointing to your pancreas right now. Wrong. Over there. Yeah. That’s it.

The wonder of the body is that necessary processes like the insulin/glucagon battle take place automatically, whether you think about them or not. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have to think about these functions. The chemistry necessary to turn those two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun into the glucose your body needs (minus the icky bits your body doesn’t need) is a chemist’s nightmare. How long would it take you to break normal table sugar (and water) into glucose if you had to do the following chemical reaction manually?

C12H22O11 + H2O —> C6H12O6 + C6H12O6

Now aren’t you glad that your body does this automatically for you? I know I am.

So what happens if your body cannot keep your blood sugar levels balanced? In short, you die. If the level of glucose in your blood drops too low, you can fall into a coma; if it rises too high, your body’s organs and cells will be damaged. People who are diabetic fail to produce the insulin the body needs to drop the high levels of glucose in the blood to normal levels. Commonly, diabetics will have eye, foot, kidney, skin, and nerve problems caused by the elevated levels of glucose in their blood. Some may reduce the level of glucose through diet and exercise, but for many, injections of insulin are necessary to keep their blood sugar levels in check. Sadly, these injections are neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic insulin/glucagon interactions that take place in a non-diabetic body. Given the choice, would you rather manage your insulin/glucagon levels manually through injections, or automatically through normal homeostatic functions?

So, what does this all have to do with Marx? Glad you asked.

Very similar to the automatic interactions taking place in your body as your blood sugar levels soar and sink, the marketplace reacts to the scarcity and surplus of goods and services. For instance, if there are too few pizza shops in a neighborhood, the scarcity will prompt Pizza Hut, Papa Murphy’s, Domino’s, and others to move in and provide the scrumptious wheels of cheese-covered flavor in demand by the people. If there are too many pizza shops in the town selling overpriced circles of cardboard-flavored dough, automatic market forces will cause some to go away. Since Papa Murphy’s is my favorite, I hope that is one shop that will stick around, and I will do my economic best to make that so. The wonder of the open market system is the way that supply and demand tend to balance each other, in much the same way your body keeps your glucose levels balanced.

The free market is very similar to the homeostatic functions of the body. Without anyone having to think about it (other than ivory-tower economists, and they are an insular group, anyway), the market will react as different forces act upon it. Adam Smith called this automatic governing process of free markets the “invisible hand” in his 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Just as your body is best served to have the blood sugar levels controlled automatically by the pancreas working invisibly inside you (further down and a bit more to the right. Yep, right there), the invisible hand of market forces works best when the force of government is kept out of it. Government intervention is similar to the injections of insulin. While it can be of short-term benefit to the person involved, it is neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic actions of the pancreas.

This is a basic reason why I distrust Marxism and any other heavy-handed government intrusion into markets. In the many examples of Marxism practiced over history, the bureaucrat-led governments have been obsessed with controlling everything about the economy of their countries. Like a diabetic person shooting up more insulin than necessary so she can eat an extra piece of cake at dinner, Marxist governments feel the need to tweak and dictate how their economies will run. The Soviet Bloc could mandate how many blue baby shoes were produced each year in the factories, but having visited stores in East Berlin before the Wall came down, I can tell you just how poorly those bureaucrats did at juggling the supply of shoes for their people’s demand. Marxism is to economies as insulin injections are to diabetics. It provides a short-term stopgap, but people are much better off when the process can be automatic, not manually governed. Just as it is easier to let your body digest your Big Mac automatically, so is it easier to allow the “invisible hand” to control a free market. Doing it manually requires a degree of intelligence and control that is beyond the scope of any bureaucrat. If you don’t believe me, ask someone born under the rule of Stalin or Brezhnev if this isn’t the case.

And don’t try to tell me that Marxism hasn’t been really tried yet. The last hundred years are sufficient evidence that it has, and it is a miserable failure. But that’s an article in and of itself. More on the failure of Marxism later.

Since this is my forum to discuss all manner of ideas, I figured it’s time to put forward ten principles commonly held by people.

Public education — One of the government’s prime duties is to see to the education of the rising generation. Our local grade school understands this, and prominently displays over the school stage the phrase “Today’s good students make tomorrow’s good citizens.” How are these students to know what makes a good citizen if the government is not there to educate them? This is why the Department of Education was established by Congress in 1979, and was made a cabinet-level position in 1981.

Formation of a national bank — During the Great Depression, many banks crashed because they were small and didn’t have the wide base needed to weather a run on the bank. Many people lost all their life savings–money they had worked so hard to accumulate. Their only mistake was to put their money into the hands of greedy bankers who closed their banks rather than return the people’s money to their rightful owners. This is why the Federal Reserve was founded, to prevent nickel-and-dime banks from defrauding the people again.

A progressive or graduated income tax — It only makes sense that the rich should pay a higher percentage of their ill-gotten wealth to the government. After all, they have lots more money, so if they are taxed higher they can easily afford to pay it. This also allows for unfortunate people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder to pay little or no income tax.

Abolition of inheritance rights — We have a special tax to keep the money of wealthy parents from reaching the hands of their lazy, shiftless children. This so-called “death tax” is currently at 55%, but Wall Street tycoon Warren Buffet, known by some as the “Oracle of Omaha,” has no desire to pass on his billions to his children. Buffet is the champion for an “enormous inheritance tax.” He made his wealth on his own, so why should he pass on anything to his children? Let them earn their own money.

Property confiscation of all emigrants and rebels — A while back several very wealthy people started to leave the United States. Why? Because they didn’t want to pay their taxes like everyone else. The government is therefore justified in confiscating their wealth as they flee across the borders. Didn’t they make the money here in the United States? Then how can they justify taking it out of the country? They are just selfish. And for those people who stay in the US but break the laws, it is only fitting that we confiscate their property and money. Most of it probably came from selling drugs or other illegal activities, anyway.

Nationally-controlled communication and transportation — It is easy to see the need for a steady hand at the wheel of communication. There are people popping up on the Internet spouting off all sorts of kooky ideas. What if they all got their own radio or TV programs and increased the number of people they could reach that way? It would be bedlam or worse! That is why we have the FCC to control the use of our precious electronic airways. Imagine sitting at home in your comfy chair listening to your favorite classical music station, only to have some yutz down the street start broadcasting loud rap music on that same frequency. Now imagine if someone constructed a toll booth and started charging tolls on the freeway just because it ran next to his house. There is a clear need for government to control both communication and transportation.

Requirement for all to work — Didn’t God tell Adam that by the sweat of his brow he would work all the days of his life? Then why do we think we are any different? We have a need to work. Ideally, the greed of wealthy business owners should be contained to promote this. How many times have you heard of a CEO giving himself a multi-million dollar bonus during the same year that his business is failing? Why should doctors be paid more than teachers? How many teachers do you know who play golf constantly? Not many, I would guess, but can you think of a doctor who doesn’t play golf? It is clear that some people here just don’t work as much as others.

Regional planning — Most towns and cities restrict where certain kinds of buildings can be built, so why don’t we have the same thing on a national level? Why should people be allowed to build their houses right in the middle of the best farmland? Why should towns sprawl out endlessly from their centers? If you have driven down the East Coast, you have seen one city blend into another and then another as you drive along. A strong governmental hand in planning how people spread across our country is sorely needed, and the government is starting to realize this and take action.

Abolition of private property — There are enough greedy landlords causing people to spend way more than they should on rent. This could be solved so easily if we didn’t allow individuals to own land. The principle of eminent domain could be used to allow government to take ownership of any land that is currently privately held. Why waste time and money with all those private landlords, when we already have a Bureau of Land Management?

Government ownership of all factories and agriculture — Have you seen the old black-and-white photos of people working in the sweatshops and factories during the turn of the last century? The images of soot-stained children working next to dangerous machines is just heartbreaking. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about this any more. That is why we formed the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and Labor, and the Department of the Interior. These departments are aided by the Herculean efforts of the EPA, BLM, National Park Service and the IRS through corporate regulations. This is why children are now free from working in dangerous coal mines.

So do you accept these ten principles, just as many Americans do? If so, congratulations! This makes you a Marxist. These principles are the Ten Planks proposed by Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto. Yet each and every one of these guiding principles of Communism are enforced to greater or lesser extent in the United States today. Communism has been a dismal failure everywhere it has been tried, so why not give actual freedom a try here in the United States? Are you up for it, or are you still mired in the tommyrot inked by an insolvent fool now 120 years in his grave?