I, like thousands of others trying to start businesses, learned that I would be at the mercy of public employees who interpreted the laws so they could profit themselves.
From Instapundit: “Socialism: The promises at the beginning are always the same. And so is the reality at the end.”
Example of reality: Venezuela Runs Out Of Drinking Water.
“Meanwhile, ‘friend of the poor’ Hugo Chavez left an estate worth two billion dollars.” Sean Penn‘s good friend did pretty well for himself while claiming to be for the people.
Since the U.S. is on the the same socialist trajectory—inch by inch—I’m beginning to think that the left refuses to learn the lesson.
From Protein Wisdom—the money quote:
Piketty is a socialist. A collectivist. Experience and history have shown us that the ideology and economic models behind socialism and communism, in all of its various iterations, leads to some sort of totalitarianism. It turns the “masses” into subjects and undercuts the Enlightenment’s ascension of the individual and individual autonomy as a precondition of government. It seeks to destroy a dispersed and organic market based on contractual agreement with a command and control economy lorded over by a bureaucratic ruling class who, surprisingly!, never feel that they themselves should have to live under the plans they devise (cf., Congress not subject to ObamaCare; the First Lady’s kids fed a completely different diet in their private school than she’s demanding the masses in public school consume, etc.). In short, it is, a history has repeatedly shown us, a blueprint for liberal fascism and a permanent ruling elite — and on that basis alone it should be dismissed out of hand….
Lessons for today, from Neo-neocon, a fascinating piece, so read the whole thing. An excerpt:
Animal Farm isn’t about Orwell’s own complicated and contradictory political stance. It’s a parable that was meant to illustrate some of the inherent evils of Communism. Yes, economic exploitation by those in power towards the workers (all in the name of a false “equality”) was part of it. But the focus was on totalitarianism, lack of liberty, and statist control—problems he located in the left, not capitalism.
That said, it is also true that Orwell was very much against income inequality. In fact, that’s the main reason he identified as a socialist. His socialism was a strange beast, however, and he himself recognized the inherent contradictions and difficulties of adherence to it.
While we worry about what’s happening here in the U.S. (in our slide toward a more intrusive government managing our lives), note this from Samizdata.net:
To me, (Britain) now seems a strange, immoral place. For example, I read articles in The Guardian and The Times this week about the abolition of inherited wealth.The Economist also recently wrote about it. It did not even occur to any of these columnists that they were talking about the property of others. They did not create it. They did not inherit it. They have no just claim to it. Yet they have no moral concerns about proposing its seizure.
The comments are also pretty good. An example:
The point of this, of course, from the socialist point of view is not to achieve “fairness” or solve “poverty” – it’s to enhance the state’s power. Without independent sources of wealth, any initiative, commercial or otherwise, that requires any kind of capital – even as little as £100,000 – must pass through the political process. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
This dreadful book has one redeeming quality: it admits candidly what the Left in America really wants when it says that its goal is a socialist country. Meant to be a recruiting tool as well as a morale booster for the Left, this book leads to a very different conclusion than its editors and authors intend.
Read the whole thing.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Will Be Free
By Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (2009)
1. This intensely poignant, beautifully rendered memoir tells the story of a child brought up in a Trotskyist family in America. The author’s mother (nee Finkelstein) was a member of the Socialist Workers Party who, in the 1960s, married a fellow party member, an Iranian-born graduate student who left her nine months after Saïd was born. Told by the author without recrimination, the story opens a window onto the bizarre universe of a radical who thinks and acts as if “the revolution” is around the corner while her child has to live among the aliens inhabiting the real world. The flavor of this affecting tale is captured in the title anecdote: The narrator, who fervently desires a skateboard, is denied this wish by his mother, who tells him that the $11 price is a form of capitalist theft and that he needs to wait for the revolutionary day “when skateboards will be free.” This book gave me shivers each time I picked it up.
Two chilling articles from The New York Times, by David Stockman (President Ronald Reagan’s budget director):
A Gallery of Economic Villains and Heroes (A bipartisan list.)
From Standpoint Magazine, an article discussing a book by Alan Ryan (On Politics: A History of Political Thought from Herodotus to the Present, including this great quote:
It is, as history attests, a grave error to conclude that because our vices are social rather than natural, they will be easier to cure; but radicals have thought just that for the past 200 years.
I found this short story at The American Scholar—”The posthumous tale of a Russian professor’s nightmarish encounter with a former student.” It deals with revolution and the joys and wonders of socialism.
The magazine also tells us that a new book is coming out:
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He died on August 3, 2008. This story, appearing for the first time in English, is part of the forthcoming collection, Apricot Jam and Other Stories, published by Counterpoint Press.