Monday, June 04, 2007


"The collection of any taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny"
-Calvin Coolidge Inaugural Address

Senator Clinton
In the last French Election, one of the most socialist nations on earth rejected the most socialist candidate, Segolene Royal, and embraced the least for President: Nicholas Sarkozy. The French, after decades of more and more socialism decided that they didn't care for the increased socialism that Ms Royal campaigned on, likely prompted by their poor economy and lack of productivity.

Recently, Senator Hillary Clinton spoke at the Manchester School of Technology and she laid out her economic ideas for the United States thusly:
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."

Which is in essence the same sort of language and ideals that Ms Royal was campaigning on: socialism. Growth, fairness, and a strong economy come from greater government control and more taxes. Given the booming economy we've enjoyed for years now, that seems an odd decision, something George Will is confused by:
Wasn't defeating such a society precisely why we fought and won the Cold War? Why does Senator Clinton wish to embrace the principles of the losing side?

Clinton has merely updated the old and discredited (except among socialist dictators) Karl Marx saying: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
He went on to quote economist Adam Smith:
"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense. . . . (Kings and ministers) are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expense, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will."

I am not robbed by people who have more money than me. I am robbed by a government that wants to penalize my industry and give increasing portions of what I earn to people who do not emulate my principles, morals and ethics.

What have we come to? We once taught our young people the virtues of hard work, saving, personal responsibility and accountability for one's actions, chastity before and fidelity and commitment in marriage, honesty, integrity and virtue - not to mention the Ten Commandments (especially the one about not coveting that which belongs to your neighbor). We now teach them entitlement, victimhood, class envy and rights to other people's money. When one robs a bank, it's a crime. When government takes our money, it's called a tax. Same result.
This analysis of Senator Clinton's economic philosophy was discussed at Town Hall:
That is rather unlike her to make a slip like that. I guess she figured that since these were a bunch of stupid government-schooled kids that she stood to garner too much praise for any negative ripple effect to be significant- and unfortunately it won't be. It'll be bantered about in Conservative circles for a week or two, then it will be forgotten.

Outside of the overkill with caps, Merry go boy was right; what we are experiencing in our present state of government is an influx of generational Liberals within both parties, just that each candidate is infected with varying levels of it. Every candidate running has some significant part of their platform that is left of center. So the challenge for the electorate will be to first decide what issue(s) are most imperative to preserving our republic then cut through the rhetoric to determine which candidate best suits that philosophy. As long as we can stop the deluge of invaders, I feel as long as we can keep breathing, we can fight the other issues as opportunities arise.
-by Prof_Chin

One of my many ex-brothers-in-law was a card carrying Communist. He used to complain all the time about the difficulty of establishing communism in America because "we don't have any Proletariat."

Well, looks as if Madam duFarge is trying to remedy that situation. Fortunately, speaking like this to people in technical schools is a waste of time; these are kids that are going to end up making a tidy upper middle class living for themselves if they are industrious and they know it; their dream is not "We'll take those away from them some day" but "I'm going to have one of those some day."

Ask anyone but the Victim Class in America to which class he or she belongs, and the vast, vast majority will say "Middle Class." You find very few people, even factory workers, who will say "Working Class" although that is indeed the foundation of America and always will be.

In a country where a good secretary can make $65,000 per year, the only hope for a French Revolution in America is to keep on inciting the detrius at the bottom of the barrel. Hillary better focus on rousing the only rabble the Country has left: the Unions. They are the experts at launching the national pity party that leads to revolution.

The only thing she is forgetting is that there is a huge group of middle and working class people leaning on their rifles, just waiting for her and her myrmidion to make their day....
-by AudiR10

Hillary's "politics of meaning" quip from years ago sums up her shtick pretty well. Hold no office and be a yo-yo; get elected for something and feel good about yourself. Politics is a way to assuage boredom for folks who think they deserve to rule the world.

The trouble with the slogan, "From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs," is that neither quality is knowable.
Nobody knows what "ability" is until after the fact. Does so-and-so have the "ability" to score touchdowns, discover medical advances, labor mightily for 10 hrs/day without fatigue, etc.? Who knows, until you observe the results?

Needs are even less measurable. People don't "need" much more than basic nutrition and shelter from the storm. We could all get our vaccinations, live in barracks and eat nutri-pellets like chickens in coops and still expect our threescore and ten. That's essentially what prison inmates do. Most people have more imagination than that, however, and souls that are motivated by infinite desires. Wants have a way of ballooning into needs.

After ten thousand years of civilization with progress accelerating markedly in the last two hundred years, all of a sudden people seem to "need" eight room detached homes, one car per adult, a dozen major appliances & reliable electricity to run them, 17 years of schooling, good paying jobs, abundant amusements for the idle hours, heroic & costly medical efforts to assuage every ill, and on and on.

People with common sense and some degree of humility assess their own abilities and needs, then come to an accomodation about what they might realistically achieve. People like Hillary with an infinite hunger for attention and an insatiable desire to tamper with other people's lives know no such restraint. Her interests are best served by stoking other people's wants and suggesting that only she can facilitate the getting of them. In short, she's running as Santa Claus to the riffraff.

"If you don't have the (fill in the blanks) job, education, doctoring, self-esteem, race or gender status, etc. etc. that you feel you deserve, vote for me. I'll take it from the greedheads and give it to you. We can all mingle happily in our 'village' and be equal together -- with the exception of me, Mother Superior, doling out the bennies and receiving your adoration in return."
-by Tomgee

One small item that is often overlooked in this ongoing analysis of Mrs. Bill Clinton is her taste for revenge. If she is elected, the political landscape will be strewn with the those who had the temerity to stand against her. We all know that she will prevaricate until the end of time, but we sometimes forget her dedication to the destruction of those who oppose her. When the tally sheet of her destructive qualities is amassed, this bloodlust for revenge should be near the top.
-by catherwood

That's quite a leap there, Cal. Hillary talks about a govenment more focused on helping us reach shared goals, and you immediately conjure the socialist bogeyman. Hillary isn't even a liberal, much less a socialist. She's a corporatist Democrat. This socialist bogeyman stuff (and I see it a lot in conservative commentary) reminds me of what people said about FDR, who arguably headed off revolutionary impulses during the Depression and saved American capitalism by forcing it to be more accountable. His trust-busting cousin Teddy (a progressive Republican before that became an oxymoron) also did some of that 20 years earlier.
-by johninoregon

There are only three kinds of socialists on this planet today:

1) Those who favor socialism because they seek the power that having full control over the lives of others gives. This category includes every single elected Democrat, many elected Republicans, and a whole host of wealthy leftists like George Soros.

2) Those who are extremely poor and blame everyone else for their being poor, and they wish to use socialism as a means to make everyone else suffer as much as they are. This is provably the most numerous category, and includes most of those who vote for those in category number one.

3) Those who are too naive or stupid to realize that socialism is universally destructive, and are either ignorant or willing to ignore the 3000 years of human history and all semblance of logic and reason that proves socialism is a monumental failure.

Those in categories 1 and 2 see socialism as a means of destroying ones opponents and a way to make thenselves more powerful.

Those in the third category are simply morons.
-by Beowulfe
A commenter provided a helpful list of the richest people in congress (albeit in a goofy attempt to argue that Democrats cannot be socialists because they are so rich):
1.John Kerry(D-Mass)senate $750 million
2.Herb Kohl(D-Wis)senate $243.15 million
3.Jay Rockefeller(D-WV)senate $200 million
4.Jane Harman(D-Calif)house $172 million
5.Darell Issa(D-Calif)house $140.86 million
It is a fact that many of the greatest supporters Democrats have are the very wealthy - men like billionaire George Soros and Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Barbara Streisand. Yet these are the most left-leaning people who want to raise taxes the most and have the government pay for everything. Personally, I wonder why they won't use their vast sums of money to do this instead of having the government take money from everyone at gunpoint to do it, but that's their choice.

Socialism is the idea that individual people cannot be trusted to do the right thing and that economies and situations are so chaotic that we need central oversight of businesses and the economy. People who are wiser and more enlightened, the more educated and better would be in charge of the economy to plan things so they worked better. Fairness is the primary cry of the socialist: the idea that any inequity is due to unfairness, and not only is it wrong for things to not be fair - economically at least - but that it is the duty of government to make things more fair. This is where Senator Clinton's statement comes from:

"Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies."

This is unvarnished, open socialism, it is abjectly and blatantly so: the government must control things so that we have economic fairness. F. A. Hayek points out something important to remember in his book The Road to Serfdom that I'll expand on some weekend, but it fits here. He says that the idea that true liberty consists of economic fairness is not liberty at all. Freedom from want is a definition of power not liberty. And power is what socialism is all about. The power to implement one's ideas, the power to force one's idea of fairness on everyone else. The power to force business to do what you believe they ought.

It is a fact that difficulty is part of life. Some people face less economic difficulty than others, which can be frustrating or annoying, but that is how life is. Some people are physically more challenged than others. Some people are socially more challenged. We all face limitations, and demanding government remove your limitations is not only a gross lack of responsibility and maturity, it is the seeds of servitude.

Oddly enough, most socialists reject the concept of absolute morality, that there is any transcendent standard of behavior that we all must agree and submit to in our ethical behavior. They appeal to just such a standard by crying unfairness, in practice demand their idea of morality be obeyed, but their rhetoric almost always rejects the very concept. Universal statements of fairness require an absolute, objective standard to base those on.

One of the good things that has come out of the 20th century is the healthy fear, loathing, and rejection of fascism as a form of government - even if many people aren't exactly clear on what it is and consists of. Everyone is on their guard against the rise of fascism, realizing it is a real evil and can return.

One of the bad things that has come out of the 20th century is the belief that communism wasn't all that bad, and that it is gone for good, so we don't need to be on our guard. This is the mindset that thinks that communism might have worked if only it was tried by the right kind of people, and that it really wasn't all that awful under the regimes. That its foolish to talk about communism and warn against it, only losers like Nixon were concerned about it, and McCarthy, and we all saw how that was in George Clooney's movie. Worse, most people aren't really aware of what communism really was all about and don't particularly care because they figure it's been defeated and is gone.

Putting aside the creative history that Good Night and Good Luck engaged in, communism is still a real threat and really exists, and really was awful - in the long run it slaughtered, terrorized, and brutalized far, far more people than fascism ever did. But because the prevailing mood is that it's silly and old fashioned and wrong to give the warning about this, communism can slip into rhetoric quite easily and people won't hear warning bells in their head like they would have, say, 20-30 years ago.

Senator Clinton isn't a communist. She's an open, shameless socialist like Segolene Royal of France. The problem is, there's never been a communist government or state. They have all been socialist.

Here's how Karl Marx' goofy theory worked:

1) Revolution - the working poor get so tired of their life under the middle class business owners that they throw off their bondage and destroy the system they have slaved under. This, according to Marx, is supposed to just happen spontaneously, and inevitably. In practice, it always has required rabblerousers who start the revolution and run it.
2) Socialism and Reeducation - the chaos that follows the revolution is controlled by a strong central government, as people are reeducated in proper economic theory (and for Marx, everything was economic). Some who cannot be reeducated have to be put away to work camps, or simply executed, a number that is always huge in communist revolutions. In this interim, transitional period, the government controls the factories and businesses, the government controls the economy, and the government has absolute power. The theory is that this then allows the transition to communism
3) Communism - no one person owns anything more than anyone else, all are shared and totally equal in every aspect of life. There is no want, greed, lack or wealth, and all work equally in their jobs to benefit others. Each person takes their personal talents and puts them to work for the rest of the state, working at what they wish to and all are equals, "comerades."

In reality, no government ever gets past step 2. Watch Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is right now taking these steps. Sure, there's no revolution (although he'd call his election one), but he's nationalizing all major businesses and plans on having collective farms.

In practice, what happens is that the government runs business as well as they run almost everything else: poorly, slowly, with enormous waste and bureaucracy. Without the pressure or encouragement to spend money well and carefully, businesses stagger and fail. They are propped up by taxes, not individual merit, and continue not because they put out a product people want, but because they put out the only product people can get. Prices are controlled not by what people will pay and can afford, but by what the commissars (the oversight bodies of the enlightened and properly educated) decide is fair and what it ought to be based on their economic theories.

In practice, socialism gives people no particular reason to work hard, produce well, or achieve in their work. In practice, socialism gives many people no particular reason to work at all. Stripping away any ethical basis for work by rejecting religion and absolute morality means that there's nothing beyond simple individual immediate gain to view life through and people will shrug and decide there's no reason to try harder than the absolute minimum.

"It's time to put the common good, the national interest, ahead of individuals"
-Senator Clinton

As cold and heartless as capitalism is, it gives people a reason to do more than the minimum, it rewards achievement, ambition, and creativity, while punishing sloth and incompetence. The problems capitalism produces: the extremely wealthy abusing the poor, the unlucky or mistaken being crushed under the system, and so on, can all be tempered by virtuous, proper living. In other words: good people taught right living and ethical behavior combined with capitalism equals a far better system than taking everything away and handing it out grudgingly and wastefully to everyone.

Saul AlinskySenator Hillary Clinton is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, and socialists everywhere welcome her statements of these sort. This is primarily why she made them: because the media won't hype them, most people don't view them as dangerous as they really are, and they endear her to the extreme left in America, which she's alienated by two years of pretending to be centrist. Senator Clinton is a student of an fan of Saul Alinsky, a radical socialist from the 20th century - indeed, her Wellesley senior thesis in 1969 was all about Saul Alinsky and his ideas. This senior thesis has been unreleased and kept from the public eye by the Clintons, in opposition to Wellesley official policy.

"The greatest enemy of individual freedom is the individual himself."
-Saul Alinsky

Saul Alinsky wrote several books for radicals (the word being in the titles, such as Reveille for Radicals) about how to gain power and how to use that power to implement leftist ideology. Senator Clinton is trying to put those ideas into practice.
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Blogger Lance said...

"Socialism is the idea that individual people cannot be trusted to do the right thing"

People cannot be trusted to do the right thing and sometimes someone or some group needs to step in and ensure the right thing happens.

5:15 PM, June 04, 2007  
Blogger Erica said...

And who would that someone be Lance?

10:10 AM, June 05, 2007  

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