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The New Radicalism: Is it Time for a General Strike?

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The folks at ACTIVE have come up with an interesting idea. They’re calling for a nationwide strike by citizens against the government, turning the international socialists’ tactics against them and possibly launching a movement which will have even more impact than the Tea Parties have had.

At a time when the extreme left has become the establishment, those who support traditional American values of liberty and free enterprise are by default the radicals, just as we were in 1776 when we opposed the tyranny of British rule. I don’t agree with all of the beliefs and methods which groups like ACTIVE and the Patriotic Resistance and Bureaucrash advocate, but this idea of adopting the methodology and rhetoric of the radicals of the 60s in the fight against the growing power of the leftist state in America is very appealing.

Back in the early days of the Libertarian Party this is very much the approach we took. As editor and a columnist for Liberty magazine back in those days I was constantly writing articles which sought to capitalize on the enthusiasm of student radicalism and direct it against the terrible policies of the Carter administration. In the SLS we were borrowing ideas from the SDS which had preceded us by about a decade, and we were drawing on the hardcore anarchism coming out of the anti-government riots and the punk music coming out of England in the late 70s. At the time there was only so far we could go with the idea, because Carter’s incompetence made his administration too soft a target and the entire dynamic changed when Reagan came into power and drew a lot of libertarians including myself more into the political mainstream.

The days of Reagan are long over now and the champions of liberty are the underdogs again. This time we have a statist establishment to oppose which is much more powerful and much more dangerous than Jimmy Carter ever dreamed of being. The time really is ripe for a liberty revolution, and the tactics of the revolutionaries of the past are now ours to use. The liberty movement has made a lot of strides in the last couple of years and generated a huge diversity of organizations and issue groups, both inside the Republican party and among independent voters, but it’s clear that a lot of these groups are looking for opportunities to take action in more radical and dramatic ways.

The Tea Parties brought a lot of different groups together with a common goal, but their effectiveness is inherently limited and they have been successfully undermined by a media disinformation campaign portraying them as “astroturf” events because of the involvement of Republican party groups and big money advocacy groups like FreedomWorks. As an idea they have also lost momentum from being overused and have pretty much run their course as an effective protest campaign.

Whatever succeeds the Tea Parties needs to go even deeper into the grassroots, and nothing could do this more effectively than a protest which is purely based on individual action. Instead of gathering and marching or rallying, every person can take action on his own, but coordinated on a nationwide basis. That’s what makes something like a general strike such an appealing idea. If enough people can be involved to really represent the high level of dissatisfaction in the country, the results could be impressive and impossible to ignore.

The only problem is the timing. I assume that those who have proposed the date November 4th picked it because it’s the one-year anniversary of the election and because it gives plenty of time to organize a nationwide protest. The problem is that by then it’s likely to be too late for even a wildly successful strike to have any impact on the most serious threats from the Obama regime. If we don’t stop Obama and Pelosi as quickly as possible we are going to be out of luck. Cap and Trade and ObamaCare will be done deals by November 4th and we’ll be well and truly screwed as a nation. These socialist programs will never be reversed once they are implemented, so we need grassroots protest on a huge scale before the end of the summer.

I love the irony of using classic radical tactics against this government, because the truth is that they may have started out as radicals, but they are now the establishment and we are the radicals. So grab a copy of Rules for Radicals, Steal this Book, or Stir it Up and learn the tactics that used to drive our enemies, because they’re ours now and it’s time to turn the tables on them.

This nation was founded by radicals and it will take a new generation of radicals to reclaim our stolen liberty. Founding radical Sam Adams said: “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” We are the new irate minority – sons and daughters of liberty like Sam Adams – and a general strike might be just the kind of brushfire we need.

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About Dave Nalle

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    I don’t get how this is a “strike.” People are going to stay home from work and protest (but with something other than tea)? That’s just going to hurt the companies they work for, isn’t it?

    The only thing I can imagine being an effective “strike against the government” would be if a whole lot of people refused to pay their federal income taxes. I’ve been tempted throughout my life to do this… as have many on both sides of the political spectrum. (My taxes being used to torture people… lovely!) If the government went bankrupt, that would sure teach whoever was running it at the time… good luck keeping the nation going without a military, though. For starters.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The idea of a general strike is that it will shut down infrastructure. The problem is that a lot of our infrastructure is essentially government controlled, so for it to work you need to get the unions on board at the very least. That may be unrealistic in our current environment where they have been so thoroughly bought off by the government.

    Interesting you should bring up the military. Have you heard about OathKeepers? I’m going to write about it in an upcoming article. It’s kind of like the military declaring its own bill of rights.

    As for the general strike idea, I think it’s very appealing, but I’m not sure it will work. The general idea of adopting that kind of radical tactic has a lot of appeal, but I’m not convinced that a general strike is likely to be all that effective, but it’s great to see people thinking outside the box.

    Dave

  • Baronius

    People who work for a living are never going to strike in great numbers. That’s just a fact, but also it’s kind of fitting. If you want to show your commitment to capitalism, earn a day’s wage. It’s the most radical statement you can make.

    I’ve been reading about members of Congress being overwhelmed by protestors at town hall meetings. Whatever you may think of immigration reform, that was a clear case of a public outcry affecting the legislative agenda. Sending emails to your representatives may lack flair, but it apparently works.

    I’ve heard legislators and staff say that the best way to get an elected official’s attention is to write a letter. Calls and email are far less effective, they say. To me, that sounds like they’re sick of being flooded with protests, and they’re trying to reduce the volume. So definitely, if you have the time, send a letter or make an appearance at a public event, but if you don’t have the time, don’t be afraid to email.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    People who work for a living are never going to strike in great numbers.

    The history of labor relations disproves your argument, Baronius. Unions in the US tend to have a bark worse than their bite, but that’s far from being the case elsewhere. In Britain alone I can point you to the General Strike of 1926, the 1979 ‘Winter of Discontent’ and the miners’ strike of 1985, among many other mass withdrawals of labor.

    I agree, though, that in the current economic climate the idea of striking is very unattractive to most working people.

  • http://jonsobel.com Jon Sobel

    It doesn’t really sound out of the box to me, more like desperate. The (relative) left won the last two elections largely by out-organizing the other side, but doing so within the system, abetted by superior use of the internet.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jon, I refer you to the Sam Adams quote at the end of the article. I think that’s the key. We’re “irate” and have had enough. After a long time of being pushed around and compromising, people are finally ready to push back.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    Another one of Daves silly and naive fantasies.

    Dream on.

    Even were a successful strike mounted and successful, the participants would quickly discover that their compatriots have diametrically opposed ideas of how to proceed After The Revolution. so they’d start killing each other and establish oppressive governance.

    Take a look at the Russian 1917 revolution.

  • zingzing

    “At a time when the extreme left has become the establishment, those who support traditional American values of liberty and free enterprise are by default the radicals, just as we were in 1776 when we opposed the tyranny of British rule.”

    where were you stationed?

    how do you define “extreme?”

    ditto “liberty?” (and why is that “liberty” and “free(dom)” have become republican catch phrases (words) over the last few months? it’s like all they do is say the words without any context, expecting that fellow republicans will get all riled up. sound bites have become bits.

    i count at least a dozen uses of “liberty” in this article alone. so what does it mean, and how is obama infringing upon your liberties? and why did you not mind it when bush did the same in the name of “protecting the nation[‘s interests]?”)

    “These socialist programs will never be reversed once they are implemented, so we need grassroots protest on a huge scale before the end of the summer.”

    what in politics is ever irreversible? and you want “huge” and “grassroots” to happen within a couple of months? how likely is that? you’re fucked if that’s what you “need.”

    “I love the irony of using classic radical tactics against this government, because the truth is that they may have started out as radicals, but they are now the establishment and we are the radicals.”

    no, you’re not the radicals. you’re the old establishment wasting away. bye bye! see you on the other side. it only gets better/worse from here. as your generation dies off, you, like every other generation that has ever come before, are going to be appalled at the lengths the radicals go to. and as my generation dies off, i’ll do the same. get used to it, you’re over the hill–it’s a downhill slope towards the political and earthen grave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I have to agree, zing. Just hate to see Dave die off as well. I’d like to believe there’s still a chance for him. If that’s all that the Reps are capable of right now, then it’s indeed the end of the party.

  • Clavos

    it’s a downhill slope towards the political and earthen grave.

    It’s ecologically unsound and decidedly un-PC to be buried in a grave any more.

    In fact, it should be against the law. It should be mandatory that all human corpses be made into animal feed or fertilizer and distributed to poor farmers under government supervision; let’s stop wasting our resources.

    All terminally ill and handicapped people who can’t work should be euthanized as soon as they become unable to work, they are a drag on our economy and the health system, and we need the money for windmills and solar panels.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    At least the trains will run on time.

  • http://www.marksaleski.com MarkSaleski

    sad to say, but dave’s ‘articles’ are reminding me more and more of the stuff that hannity is pushing on fox.

    pure fabrication.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Bliffle, it’s not my idea to have a strike, I’m just pointing it out as an example of innovative application of radical tactics.

    how do you define “extreme?”

    Far outside the norm. Do you define it differently?

    ditto “liberty?” (and why is that “liberty” and “free(dom)” have become republican catch phrases (words) over the last few months? it’s like all they do is say the words without any context, expecting that fellow republicans will get all riled up. sound bites have become bits.

    And perhaps because their fellow republicans DO know what they’re talking about that means that you’re the one who has lost the meaning of the word.

    i count at least a dozen uses of “liberty” in this article alone. so what does it mean, and how is obama infringing upon your liberties? and why did you not mind it when bush did the same in the name of “protecting the nation[‘s interests]?”)

    Zing, you’ve been here long enough to know that I was just as critical of the infringements of liberty which took place under Bush. As for why more people are complaining now, I suspect that they’re more willing to accept threats to their liberty when they are justified by a perceived threat than they are when the motivation is to redesign society on a socailist model.

    what in politics is ever irreversible?

    Entitlements. Name one which has ever been rescinded.

    and you want “huge” and “grassroots” to happen within a couple of months? how likely is that? you’re fucked if that’s what you “need.”

    I know, it’s a challenge. But the situation is getting increasingly dire.

    no, you’re not the radicals. you’re the old establishment wasting away. bye bye! see you on the other side. it only gets better/worse from here.

    I’ve always been a radical. I’ve just been waiting for the rest to catch up with me. as your generation dies off, you, like every other generation that has ever come before. I’m also not planning on dying off soon, sorry. I’ve got another 40 years in me.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What’s irreversible, Dave, is the present. You can’t retrieve the past.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos ventures:

    “All terminally ill and handicapped people who can’t work should be euthanized as soon as they become unable to work, they are a drag on our economy and the health system, and we need the money for windmills and solar panels.”

    I take it that this is ironic, knowing (lamentably) your personal situation.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Articles I’ll never finish reading dept.:

    At a time when the extreme left has become the establishment…

    If you believe this, you are a fool.

    If you don’t believe it and wrote it anyway, you are despicable.

  • Baronius

    What in politics is ever reversible?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Good article Dave. It is humor right?

    You do remember when the tea baggers went to DC and were going to show the govt how the people are in charge? And they planned to dump their gazillion tea bags out wherever as a symbol of protest. Then they found out they needed a permit, but they didn’t have one. So, they wrapped up their tea bags and took them all home like good, obedient little citizens.

    These are the people who are going to take part in a general strike? (snoopy laugh)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Unfortunately not, Cindy.

  • Clavos

    Ironic, Bliffle?

    Yes, at this time. Do I think it could happen in the foreseeable future? Again, yes. In fact, one can hear the foreshadowing already in the discussions about saving costs in health care; not necessarily from the government yet, but there are people writing such thoughts already, albeit not in as extreme a fashion as I presented in my comment.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’m half expecting a tea bag [with a wingnut attached?] to be incorporated soon into the Blogcritics Politics logo.

    Will we be treated to straight-faced articles about ‘continued questions’ regarding Obama’s birth certificate? How about the liberal media conspiracy against Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford and John Ensign? [The liberals apparently made all three crazy enough to shoot themselves in the foot. Repeatedly.]

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Alas, Handy, with the exception of Roger (and occasionally Glenn) no-one leftwardly-inclined appears to be interested in writing in the Politics section at the moment.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I have considered an article about the Christian Congressmen’s C-Street church/residence/support group/mindcult. But Rachel Maddow has given it so much coverage there may not be much left to say. Perhaps as a book review of The Family by Jeff Sharlat, the book that covers the scary/funny influence of C-Street.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If you believe this, you are a fool.

    If you don’t believe it you are a dupe.

    If you don’t believe it and wrote it anyway, you are despicable.

    If you know the truth and are just engaging in a bit of provocation and distraction here, you’re an enemy of the people.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Good article Dave. It is humor right?

    No, Cindy. There’s little to laugh about these days.

    You do remember when the tea baggers went to DC and were going to show the govt how the people are in charge? And they planned to dump their gazillion tea bags out wherever as a symbol of protest. Then they found out they needed a permit, but they didn’t have one. So, they wrapped up their tea bags and took them all home like good, obedient little citizens.

    Actually, they did start dumping the tea bags, but then gathered them up when ordered by the police.

    But I suppose you’d prefer they killed the cops and rampaged through the streets?

    The difference between the tea party folks and your infantile anarchist comrades is that they believe in the rule of law, even if they want to change a lot of those laws.

    These are the people who are going to take part in a general strike? (snoopy laugh)

    They are at least interested in trying some new ideas. What are you going to do? Dress in black and light a flag on fire?

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Dave your article was spot on.

    It’s just as shame, as evidenced by the ensuing posts, that there a so many dimwits in this nation.

    These are the koolaid drinking cultists that installed our current thug in chief. They have absolutely nothing to offer those of us who’d rather make our own way in the world, or at least attempt to.

    If you’re not content to surrender your personal freedoms to the federal government for a few worthless trinkets they’ll attack you and call you foolish as they’ve done in this article.

    They’ll make all kinds of crazy unfounded assertions about the stolen 2000 elections and Bush being behind 911 and then in the same breath belittle you for pointing out that numerous individuals with ties to ACORN have been convicted of voter fraud.

    There are glimmers of hope though. Mini Chavez…aka Barry the “Eight Ball” Obama is having one helluva time foisting his radical leftist moonbat agenda on us because people have been waking up and speaking out. No cap and trade yet, no unsustainable, unaffordable fairy tale health care bill yet either and it doesn’t look like either will ever come to fruition.

    While the dolts on here are still drinking the Koolaid, chanting hope and change with that dead far off look in their eyes and attacking you, Captain teleprompters support and the support for his anti-American agenda are dropping like a stone among the citzenry, the ones that don’t live and die by what moveon.org or the daily kos tells themt o think each new morning when they login each new day to get programmed anew.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very eloquent, Archie. Now you’ve made Dave into a martyr. Next thing you’ll have him saying that he was opposing the tyranny of British rule in 1776. Wait, he said that already.

    Dave, the only kind of mass movement one can expect of rednecks – and don’t fool yourself, the tea-party participants are potential rednecks – is a paramilitary militia movement, with training camps, a shooting range and guns. These kind of people don’t go on a labor strike – never have and never will. It’s against the grain, completely out of character which is, in a manner of speaking, that of a psycho. At least your articles on the state sovereignty movement had a touch of credibility. This one has none.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    “Actually, they did start dumping the tea bags, but then gathered them up when ordered by the police.

    But I suppose you’d prefer they killed the cops and rampaged through the streets?”

    Yes, Dave. That’s right. If the police tell you not to litter I say pull out a gun and start shooting.

    Dave, thank you. I really needed a laugh this morning.

  • http://www.marksaleski.com MarkSaleski

    …with the exception of Roger (and occasionally Glenn) no-one leftwardly-inclined appears to be interested in writing in the Politics section at the moment

    because we grew out of playing “i know you are, but what am i?!” years ago.

    besides, trying to counter fox news regurgitations is a waste of time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not trying to counter Fox News, Mark, only to reach some of the minds on BC. Perhaps it is a waste of time.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    This is funny, Cindy. I failed to notice the humor. Actually, they would have been politically correct if it were green tea. But I don’t think the average tea-party goer is into health foods. They’re all beef eaters.

  • zingzing

    dave: [defining “extreme”] “Far outside the norm. Do you define it differently?”

    alright, smartass. i was referring to “extreme left.” how do you define that, because the rest of the world defines it differently.

    “And perhaps because their fellow republicans DO know what they’re talking about that means that you’re the one who has lost the meaning of the word.”

    that’s just it though. you’re repeating it so much that it’s becoming nothing but a buzzword, losing all its meaning. “liberty” just means anti-Democrat. “liberty” means “i disagree with obama’s health care plan,” or “i believe that we should not fund stem cell research,” whatever you’re against. you’re making liberty into a negative. that’s the point i was making, and i think you know that.

    “Zing, you’ve been here long enough to know that I was just as critical of the infringements of liberty which took place under Bush.”

    well, i must have missed it then. if you can show me an example of you calling for rebellion against bush’ government because of his infringements of liberty, then i’ll believe that you were “just as critical of” them.

    “you’re an enemy of the people.”

    quoting stalin?

    “They are at least interested in trying some new ideas. What are you going to do? Dress in black and light a flag on fire?”

    if cindy wants to, she’s free to do so. and i really don’t think that you can call what you’re proposing a “new idea” when you just went on about the “irony” of using left wing tactics against a left wing gov’t.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    They are at least interested in trying some new ideas. What are you going to do? Dress in black and light a flag on fire?

    Yes, dress in black. No fires though Dave, just dancing. Dance through life. It’s better than trudging.

    That’s me with the SDS in DC at the Funk the War protest.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Now we’ve got the real view of the Tolstoycat.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Seriously though Dave, I would be willing to get arrested now, but not for littering. It would have been silly for the SDS students to risk arrest for illegally chalking the sidewalk.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Good lord, the SDS still exists? I guess they must have reformed at some point, because by the time I got to college it was dead as the rotting corpse of liberty.

    And again, for Roger, I didn’t say that a general strike would work. I just think it’s interesting that they are considering using such a tactic.

    The truth is that the people who oppose Obama need their jobs and income and many are self-employed or entrepreneurs and can ill-afford to go on strike — or no one would be able to tell if they did. Such a general strike would end up being largely symbolic, but again I applaud them for considering it.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    dave: “by the time I got to college it was dead as the rotting corpse of liberty.”

    sheesh. there it is again, that damn rotting corpse. keeps popping up, every damn paragraph or two. dave, you need to get a libortion.

    “The truth is that the people who oppose Obama need their jobs and income and many are self-employed or entrepreneurs and can ill-afford to go on strike”

    but we could give all those dumbasses’ jobs to the unemployed! then all the republicans could go on unemployment! and they’d become the new democrats! new radical democrats! remember that band the new radicals? they could become the new new radicals!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “I just think it’s interesting that they are considering using such a tactic.”

    I tell you what I think of that: it’s grasping at straws and shows the impoverishment of the conservative ideas. I don’t think it’s possible to go back to the simplistic schemata which may have worked in the past. The configuration of the world has changed far too drastically for the old solutions to work. If capitalism and “free markets” are to prevailed, it will have to be in conjunction with a strong state. That’s the future and all we can do is try to make the best of it. Going against the stream ain’t gonna cut it.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    For whoever it was who was skeptical that I was critical of the Bush administration when it was in power, I wrote my first article directly critical of his administration when I’d been on BC for a month. It was about Alberto Gonzales.

    Most of my other articles during that period were more generally critical of congress or government policy, like Real ID and the Patriot Act. You can go through my past articles and find them for yourself.

    Dave

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The SDS is back Dave. They have some anarchist leanings this time. They are grounded in participatory democracy.

    Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) is a United States student organization. It takes its name and inspiration from the original SDS of the 1960s, the largest radical student organization in US history, but the modern SDS is a distinct youth and student-led organization with over 120 chapters world wide.

    Beginning January 2006, a movement to revive Students for a Democratic Society took shape. Two high school students, Jessica Rapchik and Pat Korte, decided to reach out to former members of the “Sixties” SDS, to re-establish a student movement in the United States.[1] Korte did this by contacting Alan Haber.[4] They called for a new generation of SDS, to build a radical multi-issue organization grounded in the principle of participatory democracy. Several chapters at various colleges and high schools were subsequently formed. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of 2006, these chapters banded together to issue a press release that stated their intentions to reform the national SDS organization.[5] In the press release, the SDS called for the organization’s first national convention since 1969 to be held in the summer of 2006 and to have it preceded by a series of regional conferences occurring during the Memorial Day weekend. These regional conferences would also be the first of their kind since 1969, and on April 23, 2006, SDS held a northeast regional conference at Brown University.

    Within its first year and a half, the new SDS has grown to include hundreds of chapters and thousands of members.”

  • zingzing

    to #39, it was me. and i my question was a little more specific. you can find it for yourself.

  • Bliffle

    The tea-baggers are still protesting the British East India Company tea monopoly?

    Could they at least modernize to, say, WalMart, or something?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Well I guess the old SDS always had anarchist leanings, but actually meeting the new group, they seemed to have more than the actual anarchists I met there.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    alright, smartass. i was referring to “extreme left.” how do you define that, because the rest of the world defines it differently.

    I don’t live in the rest of the world, Zing. I live in America. And in America the extreme left wants to minimize the role of free capital in our economy, expand government control of every aspect of our lives and reduce our sovereignty as a nation.

    that’s just it though. you’re repeating it so much that it’s becoming nothing but a buzzword, losing all its meaning. “liberty” just means anti-Democrat. “liberty” means “i disagree with obama’s health care plan,” or “i believe that we should not fund stem cell research,” whatever you’re against. you’re making liberty into a negative. that’s the point i was making, and i think you know that.

    Bull. You just choose not to accept “liberty” as a specific value, so you want to dilute it by suggesting it is being misused, but my use of it is very specific and consistent. Liberty is being free to live without interference from others or the government, to determine the course of your own life, to be secure in your property and to be able to speak and act as you wish so long as it harms no one else.

    well, i must have missed it then. if you can show me an example of you calling for rebellion against bush’ government because of his infringements of liberty, then i’ll believe that you were “just as critical of” them.

    I didn’t call for a rebellion against Obama. I’m calling for organized resistence to his policies. Hardly the same thing. Go to my history, go back several years and look for my articles on REAL ID and the Patriot Act and drug policy and FISA and other similar topics.

    if cindy wants to, she’s free to do so.

    Actually, under Eric Holder’s Department of Justice she would be considered a domestic terrorist.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think so, Bliffle. Don’t forget you’re dealing with a conservative mindset.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Cindy, you’ll find a lot more anarchists if you go to a Students for Liberty meeting than you will in the SDS.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    Archie is always ready to spread scandals:

    “…numerous individuals with ties to ACORN have been convicted of voter fraud.”

    With ACORNs help, actually. ACORN maintains computer records that help the FBI convict workers who falsify records. ACORN itself has never been convicted of a crime.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    I talk to anarcho-Capitalists, voluntaryists and agorists on twitter. Many are nice people (except one jackass, lol; there’s always one). However, they are sort of like MLM marketers, most are misguided and just copy what they hear from each other. Very few have actually deeply considered what they’re proposing. They’re more like a club or an Amway congregation.

    The SDS students I met were great–tolerant and not divisive. I have a good feeling about them.

  • zingzing

    dave: “I don’t live in the rest of the world, Zing. I live in America. And in America the extreme left wants to minimize the role of free capital in our economy, expand government control of every aspect of our lives and reduce our sovereignty as a nation.”

    and i say that your vision of the “extreme left” is paranoid and inconsistent with reality. and you have drifted more and more to the right, so your idea of what’s “left” is skewed by your ever-increasing right-warped “reality.”

    “Bull. You just choose not to accept “liberty” as a specific value, so you want to dilute it by suggesting it is being misused,”

    huh? i say liberty has a specific meaning, and that it’s the right wing’s overuse of the term that is diluting its meaning.

    “but my use of it is very specific and consistent.”

    maybe YOURS is, but you’re not who i’m talking about, at least not in the specific.

    “Liberty is being free to live without interference from others or the government, to determine the course of your own life, to be secure in your property and to be able to speak and act as you wish so long as it harms no one else.”

    do what you will, but harm not other.

    “I didn’t call for a rebellion against Obama.”

    and i didn’t say you did. i suppose you could take my word “government” to mean “policies,” as you suggest below. my mistake for being a bit vague.

    “Actually, under Eric Holder’s Department of Justice she would be considered a domestic terrorist.”

    i’m not sure she’d all that upset about that.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    With ACORNs help, actually. ACORN maintains computer records that help the FBI convict workers who falsify records. ACORN itself has never been convicted of a crime.

    One of the other charming things about ACORN. When accused of a crime they let their workers, who are generally poor and already exploited by ACORN’s low wages, take the fall for them, thereby avoiding prosecution as an institution.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I talk to anarcho-Capitalists, voluntaryists and agorists on twitter.

    It’s nice that technology has finally developed the perfect medium for the utterly vacuous.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    When accused of a crime they let their workers, who are generally poor and already exploited by ACORN’s low wages, take the fall for them, thereby avoiding prosecution as an institution.

    Oh? And when has ACORN been accused of a crime?

  • zingzing

    “And when has ACORN been accused of a crime?”

    dave is law unto himself.

  • zingzing

    “It’s nice that technology has finally developed the perfect medium for the utterly vacuous.”

    um… yeah… it’s nice you’re starting to notice…

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dr. D. Come on. The catalog of ACORN’s abuses is pretty damned well known. This kind of disingenuous bullshit gets tiresome. Everyone knows the corrupt stuff ACORN is involved in. It’s just tedious to keep up the pretense. Go to rottenacorn.com sometime.

    With any luck the RICO cases against ACORN in Pennsylvania and Illinois will be ready for prosecution this summer. Then we’ll see how things go.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    “This kind of disingenuous bullshit gets tiresome. Everyone knows the corrupt stuff ACORN is involved in. It’s just tedious to keep up the pretense.”

    you have your pretenses, we have ours. would you deny diebold? not even diebold denies diebold anymore. and republican manipulation of voting is systematic (and effective) compared to acorn’s ridiculously cheap shit door-to-door nonsense.

  • Baronius

    I just looked up voluntaryism and agorism on Wikipedia. There’s just no grasp of human nature at all. BTW, Cindy, is voluntaryist theory the reason that you insist that there are no “free markets”?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    No Bar, I don’t say there are no free markets for theoretical reasons or because I object (which I do) to govt coercion and authority or govt monopoly. My reasons are based on history.

    I insist there are no free markets because the only actual free markets that have ever existed have been third world non-technologically advanced markets. Without the state intervening to subsidize markets they would never get very far, it’s why the government had to subsidize them right from the beginning, by building the railroads, for example. The so-called free-market was built on welfare, it still dominates as far as being the recipient of welfare. Banks and large businesses were favored by laws and tax structures, see the various rebellions for examples.

    So, your ‘free market’ was subsidized by tax payers from the very beginning. And much like the slaves who built the 13 colonies never enjoyed the credit or benefit, the people have been duped into believing their ever was any free market.

    Historically, an actual free market is a mythology.

    Capitalism always seems to involve first depriving people from use of land/assets in the public domain, like in England, where modern Capitalism was born. The U.S. where land was stolen from the people who inhabited it. It’s done essentially everywhere Capitalists seek to use cheap labor, Mexico had to do it to be part of Nafta.

    A book I bought just arrived today, called: Nafta from Below, “Maquiladora Workers, Farmers, and Indigenous Communities Speak Out on the Impact of Free Trade in Mexico.” Should be interesting as it’s actual people in various positions telling their own stories.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Very interesting point of view, Cindy. It stand to reason that the so-called “free markets” had to become institutions as it were – which is to say, provided with structure and support – in order to function as “free.”

  • Clavos

    Free or not, no large, complex societies in the entire history of humanity have been as beneficial to a greater portion of their citizens as the capitalist ones.

    None.

    Which is why migratory traffic between capitalist societies and non-capitalist ones is heavily toward capitalism and away from the others.

    Classic case in point: USA – Cuba.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Here’s in response to your first point Clav. It’s a 10 minute video. More informative than I can be in a few sentences.

    Chomsky: Is Capitalism Making Life Better?

    If you don’t like those points, I have others.

  • Bliffle

    “Free or not, no large, complex societies in the entire history of humanity have been as beneficial to a greater portion of their citizens as the capitalist ones.”

    Sweden, Norway, Denmark….??

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sweden was the birthplace of “welfare capitalism,” not in the sense it’s being used today but as mixed system:

    “The three different types are the ‘Social Democratic’ Model, as exemplified by the Scandinavian countries and particularly Sweden; the ‘Liberal’ Model, often related to the USA, Canada, Australia and increasingly the United Kingdom; and thirdly, the ‘Conservative’ Model, which is indicative of Germany, as well as France, Austria and Italy.[vague]
    Recently in the US there has been a trend away from its form of welfare capitalism, as corporations have reduced the portion of compensation paid with health care, and shifted from defined benefit pensions to employee-funded defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s.[citation needed]
    It should be noted that the original definition of welfare capitalism, as used by the 19th century German economist, Gustav Schmoller, called for government to provide for the welfare of workers and the public, via social legislation, among other means. (And not to rely on business to do this.) While Schmoller’s work is little available in English, his influence can be seen in the modern European welfare states.” (Wiki_

  • Mark

    …reminiscent of Krugman rolling his eyes at the mention of ‘the Austrians'; I have read numerous disparaging comments concerning Chomsky here on BC over the years but no meaningful critique of his work. Dave and Ruvy have come closest, the first with his tranzi label and general (as in sans particulars) accusation of misrepresenting history, and the second with his ‘self hating jew’ theory.

    Anyone care to step up and challenge the good professor on any of his actual theories or explain why this would be such a waste of time?

  • Clavos

    Sweden, Norway, Denmark….??

    All capitalist societies, bliffle, albeit with a far more socialist tinge than the US has, but still, capitalist, with plenty of private means of production.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ll give it a shot, Mark (#65) though I know Cindy will hate me for it.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Mark,

    Since you called me out on Chomsky, here are my views in sum.

    1. He’s an intellectual bully in the field of linguistics, (his chosen field of discipline) using the same suppression of intellectual freedom to drive out anybody who doesn’t agree with his theories a other “infantile leftists” and American Stalinists use on others. He has forced magazines to refuse articles by his critics and by those who have alternate theories to his.

    2. He hates America and American influence in the world. I do not have much of a problem with that; often his critiques of America are spot on. But to the degree that he allows himself to be imprisoned by the “infantile left” intellectually, he can get rather tiresome and whiny.

    He hates G-d. From his hatred of G-d flows his self-hatred as a Jew and treasonous activities as an Israeli ex-pat. For this he deserves to be hung. But, he is not as bad as the traitors with power in Israel, like Barak (both Baraks, Aharon and Ehud), Olmert, Netanyahu, Livni, and of course the murderer, Peres.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Wow, I really have no desire to discuss Chomsky again. He’s so completely irrelevant in the current context. Cindy’s choice to quote him really highlights how out of touch with reality she is.

    Dave

  • Arch Conservative

    Once again Dave is right. Chomsky is beyond irrelevant. He’s an angry old man who hates this nation and only emerges from the comfy confines of the people’s Republic of Cambridge every so often to remind the rest of us of that fact.

    Just like Ted Kennedy, the world will have lost nothing of any real value when he passes.

  • Mark

    (note – my #64 was written in response to a comment by the Con which in essence went something like this: ‘Heston is dead. Chomsky isn’t. What a shame.’ The comments editors saw fit to remove the comment for some reason.)

  • Mark

    Ruvy, do you have any particulars on your statement that, He has forced magazines to refuse articles by his critics and by those who have alternate theories to his?

    Dave, I’d think that Chomsky (an old-style academic radical) would be relevant in the context of this article.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    I wouldn’t hate you for a critique of Chomsky. I think that would be an excellent thing.

    (tries to shut up, for a minute, and just listens to the rest of the Chomsky discussion)

  • Mark

    I agree, Cindy, and suspect that Rog has the where-with-all to produce something beyond the typically vacuous marginalizing crapola.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank you both, Mark and Cindy, for your vote of confidence. I assure you, Cindy, you wouldn’t hate me for it – just a manner of speech. And I can assure you I’ll try to be as constructive as can be.

  • Bliffle

    Dave says:

    “The catalog of ACORN’s abuses is pretty damned well known. This kind of disingenuous bullshit gets tiresome. Everyone knows the corrupt stuff ACORN is involved in.”

    I don’t know, and I wasted a couple days last year researching ACORN independently. Acorn has never been convicted of anything, and they maintain thorough records of all registrations that can help police finger crooks. After all, when a registrar cheats on a regstration they are cheating ACORN, too. That’s why they do it: for the money.

    If you keep repeating these silly charges people will start to think that YOU are silly.

  • Bliffle

    Clavos offers:

    “Sweden, Norway, Denmark….??

    All capitalist societies,…”

    Danm! It’s hard to keep up. Seems like only yesterday we were all condemning Sweden as being “socialist”.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Mark,

    Ruvy, do you have any particulars on your statement that, He has forced magazines to refuse articles by his critics and by those who have alternate theories to his?

    I do not know if I could pull up a URL for theses allegations, but I do know that the linguistics writers who found their articles effectively bullied out of journals by Chomsky would be happy to testify if Chomsky were to sue….

    They have more than just a bone to pick.

  • zingzing

    dave: “Wow, I really have no desire to discuss Chomsky again. He’s so completely irrelevant in the current context. Cindy’s choice to quote him really highlights how out of touch with reality she is.”

    heh. i love it when nalle dismisses chomsky. arrogance is its own reward. it’s also a good reason to pick up some chomsky again. that sounds much more funny than it really is.

  • Mark

    Ruvy, I thought that you might have some insider info what with your interest in the subject. Such a story of academic intrigue sounds fascinating — perhaps instructive for the ‘new radicals’, as well.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Mark,

    I do have “insider info” – but until I contact the individuals involved, wisdom dictates a certain reticence.

  • Mark

    Ruvy, comprendo.

  • zingzing

    insider info could be bullshit, whether from ruvy’s end or “the individuals involved.” of course, it also could be true, but until ruvy gets over his “reticence,” we’ll never know.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Chomsky does have a reputation, Mark, of being a prima donna. And his linguistic theory is not the alpha and omega, though there’s no question he’s brilliant.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    zing,

    One of these days you will understand how the law of defamation works. I can call Obama a disgusting pewrvert if I wanted to, and because he is a public figure, I’m pretty much protected from lawsuits. Within the realm of linguistics, Chomsky is not a “public figure”, so just throwing names around without solid proof is lawsuit material. Mark comprehends this. Now go basck and reread my original answer to Mrk’s question at comment #77 and let’s see if you were able to comprehend also….

  • Baronius

    Cindy, it seems to me that your refusal to accept the term “free market” is both ideologically-driven and fussy. Ideologically-driven, because it relies on your conception of capitalism as predatory. Fussy, because hardly anyone who uses the term envisions the free market as completely free. Even yard sales take place off public-access roads.

    A lot of people object to the use of words whose meaning is commonly understood. We get a lot of that on BC with words like “liberal”. If everyone understands the meaning of the term in a modern political context, there’s no need to fuss over what it might mean in a different time or place. If people share the same concept when they say “free market”, then correcting them isn’t clarifying communication; it’s impeding it.

  • Mark

    ““When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is”, said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”” — Lewis Caroll

  • Clavos

    Seems like only yesterday we were all condemning Sweden as being “socialist”.

    I’ll overlook the fact that you quoted me rather selectively, omitting the part where I said they have a decidedly socialist bent (and bent is the right word for socialism).

    Also, I never called them socialist, even though I have a wealthy cousin in Soderkoping who pays 90% of his income in taxes, and the Swedish rock group ABBA moved their business base away years ago to avoid paying taxes at that level.

  • Baronius

    Mark, that’s completely cromulent. If people don’t agree on what a word means, by all means we should give our best definitions. But does anyone doubt what “free market” means?

    I’ve got another example – “democracy”. When we use the term around here, I think everyone understands that the US is a constitutional republic, but calling it a democracy makes the distinction of importance (democracy versus dictatorship). Non-Americans like STM are smart enough to understand the point we’re making.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think Cindy was claiming a different meaning to the term “free market.” She was only providing a sociological/historical account – namely, of “free market” as an institution. I don’t see anything objectionable about that.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This is an interesting discussion. Limited, but revealing.

    Bar, I am not sure what to say to you if that is your verdict after I summed up my position. I doubt 42 tomes worth of writing, explaining it in detail, would have much effect. You don’t play poker do you? I can get you signed up if you like. I play at Full Tilt.

    Ruvy, are you calling your insiders? A respectable person would do no less right? You have expressed your pride in being honorable and you have impugned someone’s reputation. I would expect no less from my own nephew. I would be interested in knowing the names of the persons making the claims.

    Mark, This is one you might like as well. :-)

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “Now go basck and reread my original answer to Mrk’s question at comment #77 and let’s see if you were able to comprehend also….”

    i understand the idea, but i wonder if you get that i’m just pointing out that what you say COULD be b.s., as you offer no proof any such thing happened. in the absence of that proof, which you readily acknowledge is missing, we can take it or leave it.

    i don’t care one way or another, really, but seeing an argument put forth like that (“i have friends who say…”) gets on my nerves a bit.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yeah, it’s like saying some of my friends are … whatever. And it’s way lower than any direct kind of attack, because you’re hiding behind someone or something. Real sneaky.

    But then again, Chomsky, apparently, is a Jew – BTW, I had no idea. So that’s an added incentive to dump on him, especially since he’s not a bible- or God fearing Jew.

    And so the world turns.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    When I use a word,Humpty Dumpty said,” [its] in rather a scornful tone.

    What other way is there, Mark, unless you’re an ignoramus – or an ideologue? I’m hesitating this moment as to which is worst.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Re: #92:

    It must be comforting to be living in such a simple, unassuming universe.

    Spare me the comfort, please …

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I’m not expecting you to concede your entire ideology, only that for most of our conversations, the distinction between generally-unregulated markets and perfectly-unregulated markets isn’t meaningful.

    I’ve been meaning to play on Full Tilt’s free site. Now there’s an interesting question about the limits of the law in a free society…but the truth is I’m just cheap. I don’t want to play for money.

  • Bliffle

    I have no idea what the BCers mean by the terms “capitalism, communism, socialism and Free Market”.

    Herewith are the definitions from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (COED):

    COED: Capitalism, communism, socialism,

    capitalism

    • noun an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
    ————————————–

    communism

    • noun 1 a political and social system whereby all property is owned by the community and each person contributes and receives according to their ability and needs. 2 a system of this kind derived from Marxism, practised in China and formerly in the Soviet Union.
    ———————————–

    socialism

    • noun a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
    ——————————————

    free market

    • noun an economic system in which prices are determined by unrestricted competition between privately owned businesses.
    —————————————–

    FYI this is an old definition of another system:

    entrepreneurial

    Free Market with low cost of entry and large number of producers none of which is powerful enough to dominate the market.

    So, what is Sweden, Norway, Denmark, etc.?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Bar, I signed the petition. I actually didn’t know they’d take a credit cards anymore until my two uncles told me. It’s good for me Atlantic City is a bus ride. I get two free rooms twice a month there, and with the bus it only costs $8 each for for two nights incl hotel and transportation. But I only actually end up going 3 times a year.

    Full tilt is fun and after playing for money, I played the play chips there since 2006. You can learn a lot there even in play chip games–only since the money transfer from banks to gambling sites law. Before that the play chip games were not as meaningful. If you sign up I will be thrilled if you put my name in. Unless you already know someone who plays there. You never know, maybe some time you will want to play for money. My nickname is shoot2nd. Even for fun, it’s a good site. But if you do ever play for money we’ll have a game. (Unless you’re scared. :-) I won 1st in every 6 player sit n go today, I think I played 5, my last big tourney was 90 players, I took 1st in that. (I am such a braggart :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This is a very interesting thread.

    Roger, Are you really addressing yourself? (# 94 refers to #92)

    And I know I promised to shut up, but really, can you say this?

    And his linguistic theory is not the alpha and omega…

    I mean, even people who don’t agree with him know that he changed the entire face of not only linguistics, but his pioneering led to changes in thinking in other fields. Alas, I have often lamented that teaching–as in how we teach children–wasn’t one of the fields greatly influenced, though it should have been, as how we learn language is ultimately very important to how we teach it. But English teaching still trudges on trying, ignoring how we learn and prefers to cram whatever someone decided was good to cram into other peoples’ heads in whatever way they decided (generally by force).

    (I can start on a conversation about why we have schools at all, but I’ll save that.)

    Bar, I am not talking about perfectly unregulated markets. I am saying there never have been any markets that were free markets in any meaningful sense of the words free market. I am talking about very specific ideas of what free markets are. I am using Dave’s definition; I am using Milton Friedman’s definition. Markets are absolute failures at maintaining any kind of freedom or justice or fairness, the way it is claimed that they do. Plus, no markets ever got anywhere near technology without govt subsidy. All I am saying is, my points are not based at all–zero–on ideology.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle, do you think that BC conversation imply definitions greatly different from the ones you’ve given?

    Cindy, I don’t know Dave’s or Milt’s definitions offhand. Would you accept Bliffle’s?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Bar,

    Yes, I would accept the definition Prof. Bliffle’s put forth. And, what I am saying is there have been no free markets here. They have always been subsidized.

    ““One in every fifteen of the persons in the United States who are
    engaged in economical pursuits, or earning wages get their living from the
    operation of the railroads of the country.” — Chauncey M. Depew (A proponent of Capitalism, 1901)

    The problem is, Capitalists in their zeal for showing how wonderful their system was, forgot to mention this:

    “In 1845, Asa Whitney presented to Congress a plan for the federal government to subsidize the building of a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific.” (link) or this:

    “Scott Reynolds Nelson, who teaches history at the College of William and Mary, shows how slave labor built both the intrastate railways of the antebellum South and the South’s first interstate railway system, a wartime project of the Confederate government in Richmond. Nelson shows that after the Civil War freedmen working on the rails became the object of Ku Klux Klan violence and corporate betrayal.” (link)

    So, what exactly are free markets if every historical instance traces back to either slavery, government subsidy or robbing land or assets from the people to create this “free market”.

    I haven’t even gotten started on all the other ills Capitalism and ‘free markets’ have created. People die because of this system. Do you understand Baronius, that just creating fuel from crops and that having has starved people to death? That futures in food causes starvation on enormous scales?

    Can you live with that knowledge? Why? How?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    zing #78 lol, there are a million videos. much easier. :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Bar, Correction: “just creating fuel from crops has starved people to death”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Ruvy, are you calling your insiders? A respectable person would do no less right? You have expressed your pride in being honorable and you have impugned someone’s reputation. I would expect no less from my own nephew. I would be interested in knowing the names of the persons making the claims.
    …………………………..
    Yeah, it’s like saying some of my friends are … whatever. And it’s way lower than any direct kind of attack, because you’re hiding behind someone or something. Real sneaky.

    Sorry if you do not view my comments with favor, you two. But it is basically not my responsibility or duty to create a legal minefield for either me or the linguists who have been screwed over by Chomsky. Nor is it wise.

    When the time comes, it may well be a battle I will undertake, if the circumstances so require. Right now is not that time.

    Now both of you can figure out the meaning of lashón har’á – or evil speech – for that is the sin I’ve committed here. It is a sin I’ll ask G-d to forgive me of – not you.

    Evil speech is when you state something that reduces the honor of a second person in the eyes of a third person. In this case, what I said was the truth. But that is irrelevant. It still reduces the honor of the second person (Chomsky) in the eyes of third persons (you).

    Even if I were to reveal the identity of the injured parties to you, my actions would still remain lashón har’á because I did not communicate this to Noam Chomsky himself.

    What disgusts you here is seeing lashón har’á in action. If it is ugly to you, consider how it looks when any of us (myself included of course) criticize anyone on-line – public figure or not – in such a way as to reduce his honor in the eyes of others. This is one of the most serious sins in the Jewish lawbook. On the other hand, not engaging in lashón har’á would shut the comment section down.

    I’m not prepared to expose myself or anyone else to a legal minefield at this time simply because you feel that someone you admire has been impugned. But I am at least prepared to confess publicly what I’ve done wrong. That is as far as honorable behavior allows me to go – at present.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy, Roger,

    By the way, the only reason I mention this at all is that lashón har’á violates commandments in the Torah – commandments which are binding upon both Noam Chomsky and me, for we are both Children of Israel. You are not bound by these laws – you are not Children of Israel.

    It is extremely difficult to avoid committing lashón har’á, and not doing so raises one to a level of holiness the average person is not expected to reach. It is one of the laws that set us apart from you, and are part of the “burden of being chosen”. When I say “the Children of Israel are reckoned apart from Mankind,” this is one of the reasons why.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Ruvy,

    It is extremely difficult to avoid committing lashón har’á, and not doing so raises one to a level of holiness the average person is not expected to reach.

    One of the problems I have with religions, is that they all seem to have some clause that allows people to do whatever it is they want and still absolve themselves from responsibility.

    I think the honorable choice was to not make claims that you aren’t able to provide evidence for. The problem being, there are always at least two sides to any story. How many times have we been convinced by someone’s story only to discover that when we hear the other side, things don’t seem to be quite what we were led to believe. Any good family counselor would understand this.

    I can’t accept such claims with no evidence. How can I possibly know if your account is unbiased? No offense. As you said yourself, above, you’re not perfect.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not to mention, that we cannot know anything about your insiders, their reputations or the veracity or reasonableness of their claims.

    I do know one thing about Noam Chomsky, based on what I have seen with my own eyes. He’s not afraid to confront his opponents and he is not a censor.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I am using Dave’s definition; I am using Milton Friedman’s definition. Markets are absolute failures at maintaining any kind of freedom or justice or fairness, the way it is claimed that they do.

    Neither I nor Milton Friedman would claim that markets are fair or just. I think he’d agree with me that those concepts are basically meaningless in the context of the market. Your fairness and your justice come from elsewhere, either imposed on the market, usually doing great harm in the process, or arising from application of the golden rule by individuals.

    Dave

  • Mark

    This is a pretty common accusation in academia politics. As Chomsky is such a high profile kinda guy in his circles, I’d be surprised if no one felt him guilty of blocking the work of others when he participates in the peer review process.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    I really thought that the main point was that free markets are supposed to be the best way to benefit all. I am sure I have heard this being claimed by Friedman and by you. I am certain of this Dave, in Friedman’s case. I mean we can quibble over words. But isn’t privatized education supposed to result in fairer choices, isn’t the free market supposed to result in fair wages, isn’t hoarding wealth supposed to be fair to Capitalists?

    If markets don’t result in fairness and justice, then what is the point of them Dave?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That sounds reasonable, Mark. I didn’t think of that.

  • Mark

    Dave, then what’s all the Smithian prattle about that ‘best result’ that is supposed to be achieved through free market exchange? Is this result simply defined as maximized profit for capitalists and GDP growth?

  • Baronius

    Mark, Smith was making the same point as Bliffle et al. Recall that in Smith’s time, all regulation was in service of the mercantile system. In defending the free market, Smith was opposing big business. Smith’s arguments are used today against things like the health care proposals, but at the time they were directed against the equivalent of the GM bailout.

    This is the reason I find Cindy’s objection to the term “free market” to be trivial. Among economic systems that have existed, the American model is unprecedentedly free. It’s possible to imagine something freer, but that system would only exist in the imagination (unless you count tribes where people trade rocks for other rocks). And if you want to argue against its morality, you’re welcome to it. But arguing that a “free market” doesn’t exist? That’s silly.

    G.K. Chesterton said that when a philosophy doesn’t correspond with reality, the philosopher will deny reality. I think that’s what Cindy is doing.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #98,

    You’re off, Cindy. I was referring to Ruvy’s characterization.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Mark, Cindy. The “best” result is not necessarily “fair” in the sense which I think you guys are using it.

    If you acknowledge that it is entirely fair for the unmotivated and unskilled to be paid less than the skilled and hard working, then a free market is indeed entirely fair — but I have a feeling that you don’t use the word “fair” that way. Certainly not when you link it to a buzzword like “social justice”.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Ruvy,

    I wasn’t addressing Chomsky’s reputation in the academic circle – he is being perceived as an arrogant elitist and a prima donna, not to mention the fact that some aspect of his linguistic theory are subject to credible disagreement. And I don’t know enough about the insiders to be be able to comment beyond that.

    My only point was the third element of your criticism. Because Chomsky’s views on linguistics or his critique of American society should be examined independently of the fact whether he is or is not a God-fearing Jew. That was my only point.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger, Sorry, my mistake.

    Baronius and Dave. What a racket! This market doesn’t work right because it’s not a real free market because of the govt interference, but there can’t be a real free market as this is as free as it gets, and it’s not about fairness just it’s about fairness.

    I feel like I am being flimflammed.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    What’s the best work by Chomsky on critique of the American society? Most comprehensive, I mean.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you this evening. I have to run out now.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    OK

  • Baronius

    Cindy, you feel like you’re being flim-flammed? You compare a real system to an imaginary one and find that the imaginary system works better and fairer. I think that lollipop trees would be better than the trees that we have now, so let’s tear down all the trees and maybe lollipop trees will grow in their stead.

  • Bliffle

    Baronius asks an interesting question:

    “99 – Baronius

    Bliffle, do you think that BC conversation imply definitions greatly different from the ones you’ve given?”

    Yes. For one thing it seems to me that many avid supporters of capitalism on BC think that capitalism is all about innovation and competition, which it is not. Capitalism just means that:

    “…a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit”

    Thus, as we witness everyday, capitalists steal innovation and kill competitors and do whatever necessary to make a profit. Competition is antithetical. Governments may be corrupted, widows and orphans driven homeless into the street.

    I think most rightist BCers have a rather romantic, fantastical view of capitalism.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Baronius (Part 1),

    If you do not understand Friedman’s or Dave’s meaning then you probably can’t really understand my point. I’m not being fussy or picky or ideological. Friedman’s free market ideology has been the most influential economic theory for decades. My argument is a direct counter to it. The definition that Bliffle offered works fine, but has an entire theoretical perspective complete with amazing claims. The whole sales pitch about the free market is that it is based on rights and would benefit the most people. It would be the best answer for a variety of problems. When markets don’t actually work the way it is claimed, Dave and Friedman blame govt intervention. Their argument is that the government is interfering and therefore the market isn’t working freely. This isn’t my construction, it’s theirs. All I did was point out that the markets never were free markets and could never have been.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Roger,

    It is a difficult call. I discussed it with my friend John and we agreed that Failed States is probably the best choice for your purpose. If you need a copy of anything by Chomsky I can provide it. I can even lend you a selection and give you a return mailer if you cannot find something in your local library.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Baronius (Part 2),

    How would we ever change anything if we didn’t do things differently than they have been done in the past? What about freeing the slaves and paying them to do work? I imagine that must have been a ‘lollipop tree’, as you put it. How about airplanes? How about democracy itself? Women’s rights? How would anybody live without a king? What if everyone under the rule of kings thought the way you do?

    Besides, I have demonstrated that organizations and communities consistent with anarchism are working. In fact, what I am amazed at is they are working in societies where the norm favors machismo. people seem able to readily adapt to and embrace a system where everyone is free and everyone counts. Why should it not work on larger scales? The main difference is that delegates are sent from each community to communicate instead of representatives who govern as you have now.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Baronius (Part 3),

    Saying the system in the US is relatively free is like saying roulette as a casino game is relatively free. Some games favor the house less than others. But they are all fixed in the interest of the house. It’s the same with Capitalism.

    You consider this the best possible system. But you didn’t answer my questions about Capitalism killing people. Is that just the price you think we have to pay to get cheap TV sets, designer sneakers, luxury cars and $1000 bottles of champagne to drink?

    You don’t want to play poker because it might waste a little money. But futures markets are gambling. Imagine if every time I played poker I knew someone would have to die when I won. What would you think of me if I played anyway?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Cindy. Will let you know.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Oh and Roger, in case you didn’t find this yet, he has excerpts from some of his books on his web site here.

  • Clavos

    Thus, as we witness everyday, capitalists steal innovation and kill competitors and do whatever necessary to make a profit.

    So?

  • Clavos

    Oh, and bliffle:

    You forgot “exploit workers.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thank, Cindy. I’ll be in touch.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Obviously, because of my British heritage and my desire to live only in a country that has a Union Jack somewhere on its flag (or previously had one, although since Hawaii STILL has one, in that case that state of the US would be acceptable too), I’d much prefer a tea party to a general strike.

    Provided, of course, that everyone remembers that no tea party is complete without cucumber/and/or watercress finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off and scones with jam (jelly??) and cream.

    General strikes are messy affairs. Tea parties, however, or high-teas, are great things to have in the afternoon.

    Also, if Doc or Rosey are about, could we please NOT discuss the cricket beyond this:

    There are another three Test matches left, the South African “Englishman” Pietersen is out injured – and Brett Lee is coming back for Oz, probably at Headingley for the final two games.

    Let’s see how the English bats go with Lee sending a few cannonballs down at 100mph.

    A win at Lord’s might be a big deal, but it ain’t the be all and end all.

    Remember the obit.

    There’s a reason it’s called The Ashes… upon the death of death of English cricket, “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.

    It’s still anyone’s, boys …

    Don’t do your usual trick of celebrating before it’s over :)

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    So Dave, can we organise a tea party??

    I’ll bring the sangers.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    Yes, Friedman agrees with you about fairness. I forgot this article I read awhile back:

    There is no objective standard of “fairness.” “Fairness” is strictly in the eye of the beholder. If speech must be fair, then it cannot also be free; someone must decide what is fair. (Milton Friedman)

    He is in support of the same thing you are. Once power, land and assets have been stolen from others, suddenly everything becomes about “freedom’ to use these gains as one sees fit.

    This is a convenient freedom (for the few). It says it’s okay to take things from those with less power and use them. That’s what freedom turns out to be, when looking at the historical facts. A protection racket.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    It’s absurd when you think about it. It’s like turning everyone out on a range and where everyone is ‘free’ to use any tools they have to make gains over each other (competition). “We aren’t about fairness here.” After all, how else could it be justified that some of the people have guns and a few have tanks but most have nothing.

    I know Dave you are for the rule of law, that will straighten everything out. The only problem is it was written by the ones with the tanks.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I haven’t replied to every point you’ve made. No offense is intended.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle –

    “Baronius asks an interesting question”

    I’m an interesting guy.

    “For one thing it seems to me that many avid supporters of capitalism on BC think that capitalism is all about innovation and competition, which it is not.”

    By your definitions, capitalism isn’t about competition, but free market capitalism is. I think that when most of us conservatives are talking about capitalism, we include the notion of fair competition. In this regard, Bliffle, you’re a lot closer to being a conservative than you realize. You sound just like me when you rail against, for example, TARP.

    So with free market capitalism as a goal, we include both private ownership and competition. That only leaves innovation. History demonstrates that innovation under FMC is unprecedented. Innovation requires education, properly-allocated capital, and the means to get the innovation to market. FMC rewards all three. (It’d be a lot longer post if I described the means by which FMC rewards them, and I’m hoping that I don’t have to.)

    So we can see innovation within the FMC. But what about fairness, the point that Cindy brought up? (I’m ignoring Cindy’s notion that there are no free markets.) Here you get into different definitions of justice. The traditional forms of justice are commutative (what one individual owes another), legal (what an individual owes to society), and distributive (what society owes an individual). FMC is commutative justice, and it’s compatible with legal justice. The big question is distributive justice. The usual take on this question is that government and private charity can fulfill any societal obligations. But that’s true of any system. Point being, there is no conflict between justice and free market capitalism.

    All we’re left with is a political argument: which party is more antithetical to competitive capitalism.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Ruvy wrote:It is extremely difficult to avoid committing lashón har’á, and not doing so raises one to a level of holiness the average person is not expected to reach.

    Cindy answered:One of the problems I have with religions, is that they all seem to have some clause that allows people to do whatever it is they want and still absolve themselves from responsibility.

    You misread what I wrote above as some kind of excuse to sin. Let’s rewrite that statement just a bit.

    It is extremely difficult to avoid committing lashón har’á (evil speech). not committing lashón har’á raises one to a level of holiness the average person is not expected to reach.

    I’m criticizing myself here, not seeking out excuses for my actions. You may not understand the difference between the two, nor care, but the truth of the matter is that holding myself to the higher standard the Almighty exects of me is very difficult for me.

    The honorable thing to do in criticizing academic thugs is very different from the correct thing to do, and different again from the thing to do which is wise in terms of avoiding lawsuits. This is a point which I do not expect you to comprehend.

    As for a general strike, this is something I do not expect to ever see in the States. Yes, capitalism kills people, but Americans are nowhere near the point of understanding that. That will only come if the Chinese get to steal all their assets, make monkeys of the white (and black) devils and let them starve – while they buy all the luxury goods and flaunt it in Americans’ faces – the way Americans have world-wide.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Bar,

    Thanks for your thoughtfulness. But, I don’t really expect an answer. I almost never get one when it comes down to asking direct questions. People feel more comfortable in the world of ideas, I think. They almost never like to know that the system they promote is responsible for this.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, are you saying that those kids were perfectly healthy before biofuels, and that some force of capitalism prevented them from receiving aid?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Bar,

    Here is an explanation of what I am saying. This information is available from many sources. I picked this because it’s not written by a social justice advocate. It’s written by a futures speculator who is offering his services.

    What do you think about someone who reads this article and then seeks to get some of the market action in commodities?

    Grain’s Gains: Profits or Pains?

    By Chris Nelder
    Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

    Some excerpts from throughout the article:

    …commodities have been the hot sector for institutional investors seeking a safe haven against a falling dollar and a loss of faith in the stock markets.

    Today, I want to take a closer look at the reasons why this sector has been–and still is–the place to be.

    As prices have risen, the poor are simply getting priced out of the market. Average prices for rice have doubled over the last five years, and have high a 20-year high this month.

    For the vast population of the world’s poor, food costs represent over half of the household budget. And about half the world depends on rice for the majority of their daily caloric intake.

    For you and me, a fifty-cent hike in the cost of a bag of rice is an inconvenience, but for them, it’s becoming a question of whether or not they’ll eat, period.

    And we now have a mere five days’ worth of corn in storage worldwide-the lowest level ever.

    Wheat inventories are at a 30-year low. Stores in the European Union have plunged from 14 million tons to a mere 1 million just in the past year.

    The price of medium-grade Thai rice, a market benchmark, has skyrocketed from $360 a metric ton at the end of 2007, to $795 a ton last week, and is expected to hit $850 this week, and $1000 over the next three months.

    How to Profit from the Commodity Crunch

    At this point, I can already hear you grumbling: “OK Chris, enough of the doom and gloom. How can I profit from this?”

    Well, I’m gonna tell you…

  • Baronius

    You could have just said, “I’m exploiting dying children for my cause, on the basis that someone, somewhere, might be making a profit.”

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Do you have something more current that the article above? Economic conditions 16 months ago may not apply today.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius,

    I have not gotten a response that has sickened me more than that one in a long while. I had better stop talking to you about this. I doubt I can control my sense of outrage and disgust.

    I’m not sure how a human being can look at that article and respond as you did.

    Ruvy,

    Are you suggesting that maybe the prices dropped and less people (maybe it’s down from 30 per minute?) might be dying of starvation or that somehow maybe the commodities markets no longer have anything to do with prices of food.

    (To answer your question, because of the financial crisis created by Capitalism, combined with droughts, the world food programme’s budget is severely short, countries are not meeting their contribution commitments.)

  • Baronius

    Cindy, don’t pretend you have the moral high ground here. You’re nowhere near the moral high ground until you give me some reason to believe that those particular children whose pictures you posted are victims of biofuel profiteering. Your outrage doesn’t give you the right to score points by posting pictures of dying children. Present some evidence on the specific claim that you made, or I’m the one walking away in a huff.

  • Bliffle

    Baronius says:

    “By your definitions, capitalism isn’t about competition, but free market capitalism is. I think that when most of us conservatives are talking about capitalism, we include the notion of fair competition.”

    Thus, your confusion. “Capitalism” and “Free Markets” are contradictory. Capitalists seek to dominate and oppress markets, innovators seek to gain customers from existing capitalistic entities.

    It’s schizophrenic. You’ll get dizzy switching back and forth trying to decide which applies in whatever circumstance.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That is what starvation looks like. I have to get fingerprints of the exact people who starved to death from biofuel? As opposed to the ones who starved to death from speculation or the ones who are now starving or will starve to death because of the Capitalist created crisis?

    Or maybe you don’t think that is what starving people look like. Maybe some chubby people starved? What exactly are you looking for me to prove? I’m making it look worse than it is? Does starvation look prettier in your imagination?

    That is what it looks like. It doesn’t matter if those people are already dead. That is what people right now will go through when they starve to death.

    Here is an article from The National Catholic Reporter. May 2008
    Food riots underscore ‘tsunami of need’.

    What must it be like to be a father and hand your child a cake of mud mixed with lard and salt because he’s hungry?

    You tell me what evidence do you need. I’ll get it. ‘d think the Pope might have told you about what happened last year and the year before and what is happening now, as far as feeding the hungry, instead of spending his time trying to dissuade Africans (who are at great risk from AIDS) from using condoms.

    What is the the Pope doing? Doesn’t god tell Catholics to take care of the poor? Wouldn’t that mean Catholics should know what is going on with world hunger?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Food riots underscore ‘tsunami of need’

    Excerpts:

    In Haiti, mud cakes are a traditional remedy for hunger pangs among the poorest of the poor. Made from dried dirt mixed with salt, shortening and sugar, some say the cakes have a buttery flavor. But now even that meager meal is proving too costly.

    The cost of mud cakes has tripled over the last three years as prices for shortening continue to rise.

    Hunger is particularly dire in the Caribbean, where island nations depend on imports and food prices are up 40 to 80 percent, in some places. But the demonstrator’s violent outcry finds echoes across the globe.

    Worldwide food prices have spiked. The cost of oil, needed for fertilizer, irrigation and transportation, is at a record high. The increasing demand for biofuels also pressures food markets.

    In the past few months, when most of the cost increase has taken place, food-related riots have broken out from Haiti to Uzbekistan, from Mexico to Indonesia to Yemen.

    Workers in a rice market in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 29. Rice prices on world markets have jumped 50 percent since January and at least doubled since 2004.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I’ve noticed that when I ask you for specifics, you change the subject, but when I corner you, you insult my religion. It’s a pattern of yours. To be honest, I wasn’t sure you realized that you were dodging, so I made myself a little bet. I bet that within 24 hours, you would lash out at God out of nowhere (as if that’s going to shock me off the subject). I was wrong; you went after the Pope instead. Either way, it confirms to me that you’re being evasive.

    It’s clearly disingenuous to falsely represent people as victims of capitalism.

    The reason I wanted more information was to try to assess if capitalism was to blame for their situation. The world food supply has greatly increased under the capitalist system. Starvation typically isn’t caused by lack of food, but by a collapse of the means to get food to the hungry. It would have been interesting to study the particulars of the case – only there wasn’t a case.

  • Baronius

    OK, in the time it took me to write that, you did provide some support. But the article doesn’t really address capitalism as a cause of poverty. We’re back where we started.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle, look again at those definitions. There’s nothing about domination and oppression in the definition of capitalism. It’s only a matter of ownership. The free market and capitalism are not contradictory, at least by your definitions.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Baronius,

    Cindy, I’ve noticed that when I ask you for specifics, you change the subject, but when I corner you, you insult my religion. It’s a pattern of yours.

    Thanks for the analysis. Here’s mine: Cindy, I haven’t replied to every point you’ve made. as an answer when you didn’t reply to any point I made.

    I think you’re in denial and are projecting. You should have gone and looked up what Friedman says about ‘free markets’ if you don’t know. I’m not sure how you could imagine discussing the subject intelligently without that information.

    I think your denial and marriage to dogma clouds your thinking and causes you to espouse values and defend practices that are morally corrupt.

  • Clavos

    It’s clearly disingenuous to falsely represent people as victims of capitalism.

    Particularly in the case of Haiti, a place I’ve visited and know.

    Haiti has one, and only one, problem; everything else stems from it:

    For more than fifty years, it has been in the grip of brutal, murderous, thieving thugs who have imprisoned, tortured and raped (literally and figuratively) the population in general and all opposition figures who might present a real challenge to the status quo.

    The population is the poorest, most abject in this hemisphere and among the poorest in the world, but capitalism has nothing to do with it.

    They don’t have any.

  • STM

    No one here is a genuine victim of capitalism. True, people are losing jobs and homes at the moment because of the greed of some, but capitalism and greed are two different things.

    One – perfectly reasonably, if they’ve been the ones to outlay the capital in the first place – lines pockets of owners, executives and shareholders while providing goods, services, jobs and pay packets that raise everyone’s living standards.

    The other – greed- lines pockets while giving nothing.

    Capitalism brings us all the standard of living we have come to expect … and that includes those on the left who decry capitalism but expect that standard of living it has provided us to be passed on to all and sundry – regardless.

    You know, kind of out of thin air …

    Haters of capitalism should have visited the Soviet Union – at its most benign in the 1980s – and watched queues forming on whispers of the availability of toilet paper, or people asking westerners to buy them chewing gum or smokes that didn’t taste like dried dung (or anything else we can just get by walking into a shop or sticking a coin in a machine) from the big hotels.

    Most Australian families have two or more cars, and I’m sure it’s the same in the US. It took 50 years’ pay in the Soviet Union to get one (and you couldn’t walk in and just get the nod for a line of credit, sign on the bottom line and drive off).

    Capitalism and what Americans might call “socialism” (not my idea of socialism) can work together perfectly well through things like productivity agreements – more pay for improving a company’s bottom line.

    The trade-off can always bring benefits for both.

    Provided of course that it’s all backed up by fair regulation, genuinely liveable minimum wages, courts of abitration to settle worker/employer disagreements, and good working conditions, the two can co-exist perfectly – in fact they already do in many places.

    But to suggest that capitalists are the new robber barons and we are victims is a nonsense.

    We’re currently victims of the greed exercised by some and in certain circles.

    I’ll concede only that some of these – like the Wall Street corporate ponzi players – need to be locked up in the tower and have the key thrown away.

    Yep, let’s not confuse greed and capitalism.

    Two totally different animals.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Stan,

    You’d have to read my assertions above to see why I already disagreed with you. I did it in advance, just to be on the safe side. ;-)

  • Bliffle

    Clavos:

    “There’s nothing about domination and oppression in the definition of capitalism. It’s only a matter of ownership.”

    Only?

    How silly. Of course REAL capitalism is about ‘owning’ everything, including any competitors.

    I heard the CEO of a top 10 corp proudly say in a meeting “my fair share of the market is 100%!”

    Capitalism has as it’s mission to squash all the competition and take over the market. Since they have the deep pockets, everything else being equal they will win. And we see it all the time when monopolies are allowed to flourish.

    That’s just exactly what the British east India Company was doing, dominating the tea market with a king-given monopoly when the Americans threw tea in the Boston Harbor.

    Capitalism is antithetical to Free Markets and innovation.

    If you try to hold two contradictory thoughts in your head you become schizophrenic.

    Any logical construct that has a logical contradiction allows you to prove EVERYTHING and therefore you can prove NOTHING. So if you can get a person to believe your contradiction you can make them nutty enough to believe EVERYTHING you say, but of course NOTHING is true.

    Clear your head and step free of these stupidities.

    It’s sunday so you shouldn’t be wasting your time with this mundane dreck anyhow. Better you should examine the

    “Tintoretto, Titian, Varonese”

    exhibition at Boston MFA. And if you’re anywhere near there you should go to the show.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Hi, Cindy. Just saying hello.

  • Clavos

    Bliffle:

    Clavos:

    “There’s nothing about domination and oppression in the definition of capitalism. It’s only a matter of ownership.”

    I’m too lazy right now to go back and check, but I don’t recall saying that, bliffle.

    In re the Tintoretto et al exhibit, I’d love to see it, but I’m stuck in my wife’s hospital room (the one Medicare quit paying for about ten days ago) in Miami.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    Hi there. If you have a minute, could you tell me if Baronius ‘cornered me’? It wasn’t my impression. I’d hate to be cornered and not notice it. So, if you feel like giving your impression. I could be missing something that I’m not aware of. Maybe I didn’t make a complete case? Can you see what might be missing?

    I don’t quite comprehend Baronius, he seems to be talking about something else. I think my world view point begins at some place far from his.

    Anyway, only if you feel like, or time permits.

    (Clav, I am working on a response to your Haiti thing. I think you didn’t go back far enough to discover the original and ongoing causes of Haiti’s misery.

    But, it stopped raining for a moment and I want to go in the peddle boat. So I will finish it later.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    Let me tell you the truth. I stopped reading the comments. I believe the entire Politics section had deteriorated to the point it ain’t worth reading it anymore. It’s just too rabidly ideological to my taste and I hate to be dealing with the same old stale arguments. There are very few voices on the Right worth listening to anymore. Dave just keeps on cranking out his pieces, one after another, thinking somehow that the frequency of his articles will somehow make up for lack of cogent thinking. And so it goes for most others. I believe they hijacked the site, so I say, let them. I think the wisest thing to do is simply to disengage: let them speak to one another and see how long it will last. As far as I see, they all suffer from impoverishment of thought, so let they die of attrition, as they surely will when left to their own devices. That’s why I don’t want to provide any more of the impetus to the already stale minds.

    If you want me to look up your and Baronius’s issue, let me know.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh no, Roger, don’t trouble yourself. It wouldn’t be worth it. But thanks for offering. :-)

  • Baronius

    Clavos, we all agree that you’re schizophrenic, but Bliffle’s last comment was probably directed at me.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Perhaps it is time for a general strike. If the majority of working Americans stopped for one day and said, enough is enough, imagine the impact.

    Before a general strike, however, I would like to see 3 million Americans march on Washington, D.C. and surround the Capitol while Congress is in session. Block lobbyists, special interests and religious freaks from entering the hallowed halls of legislature and make these members read EVERY word of every bill before they vote upon such acts.

    If there were ever a time in our history for radicalism it is now. The problem is that it would take away from our time to go out and buy “things” we just don’t need. Granny used to say, you reap what you sow. She was right. We planted a bunch of bad seeds and it’s harvest time.

  • Nails

    I’m sorry Baronius, Clavos stepped out for a moment. May I take a message?

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Cindy … I’m a leftie. Way left of what Americans might call a “liberal”. But I believe workers (or employees if we’d all like) and private-enterprise can work well together.

    There is no reason why they can’t.

    I don’t know how it works in the US but it’s been done here (in Oz … must be the result of our convict streak and our love of the underdog) and the result is an extraordinarily well-off society with a fantastic standard of living overall.

    Times ARE tough now like everywhere but we’ve ridden it out so far and the economy actually grew slightly last quarter.

    And some blue-collar workers in this country (including those not in business for themselves) are among the best-paid.

    I reckon the key to it all is a willingness to talk (and to talk seriously and in a socially acceptable fashion rather than taking your bat and ball and buggering off in a huff), and for employees to be represented properly through unions or advocates AND supported by legislation … and for governments (state and federal) to have the balls to regulate in the first place or send to the courts for independent arbitration in regard to what they think might be fair and equitable for both parties.

    In my case, that includes generous pay and working conditions which include 7 weeks a year annual leave (vacation) as a (fair) trade-off for working public holidays, nights and weekends.

    Although, I do get generous penalties on top of my wage for all that stuff. I do work my tits off, as well.

    These are the kinds of important trade-offs that keep workers happy, healthy, hard-working, productive – and most importantly, loyal.

    This is workers’ paradise here (when the global economy isn’t playing up deluxe)

    And why not?

    The most important asset in any big company or organisation is its staff or its employees.

    The best way to make lots of dough is to look after them and let them share in that wellbeing.

    Simple formula.

    Also, I have come to understand through these pages that what happens in the US is often different, but just because it might not happen in the US, it doesn’t mean it’s bad :)

    The other thing too I realise from living in Oz is that a lower Aussie dollar means more exports and therefore more money coming into the country. It’s crap when you want to go on overseas holiday and you are getting 80c US, but it’s no different at the grocery counter and when you’re selling stuff to others, it’s an incentive for them to buy from you.

    I can’t understand how many Americans don’t realise that the falling dollar in the US was actually a good thing, rather than a bad. All that Wall Street nonsense about “King Dollar” (keeping it artificially high) is just a crock … and now of course we know why that was. But for anyone else in the US buying into that argument, it was just egotistical rubbish: “We’re the US, therefore our currency should be worth the most” kind of thinking.

    You want to keep selling all those cars, planes, machinery and agricultural products and produce (etc) that you do so well over there, you need a lower US dollar value so any export markets targeted by the US will have an incentive to choose the quality product (yours, in many cases).

    That’s how America got wealthy in the first place, not from shuffling worthless bits of paper with worthless investments.

    Now, perhaps, American workers will also be seriously included in that process, and ordinary people will be given things like fair health care, as things turn around.

    No need for anarchy Cindy!

    Just pragmatism. In a capitalist society, we are what we are, and it’s good in most respects, so let’s all work with it I say … so we’re all happy little Vegemites (google it!).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Stan,

    Don’t look now Stan, but despite your cheerful outlook toward wage slavery, I think you haven’t answered as far as the problems I presented above, like starvation.

    Your optimism likely comes from the practice it must take to enjoy something that tastes like HerbOx beef bouillon concentrate spread on bread. (shiver)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan, how’s your manufacturing base down there in South New Guinea? ;-)

    I’m just thinking of Thatcher’s reign in Britain, which brought a booming economy and fantabulous wealth to many, but on Thatcher’s terms only. When the workers didn’t see it her way, she responded by pretty much wiping out the country’s heavy industry – resulting in a service-based economy which turned out to be just about as flimsy as the paper it was printed on.

    I agree that capitalism can be beneficial. We here at Blogcritics would not be arguing about it if that wasn’t true. It’s a good system, although it’s by no means the only economic system which works – history shows us that, although whether it’s the only system which works for an economy of the fantastic size we now see is another matter.

    It’s unfettered capitalism, of the kind some conservatives want, which worries me. Can’t help but think it would lead to vast riches for a few and grinding poverty for most… Industrial Revolution, anyone?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Industrial Revolution = the first consolidation of capital accomplished by fencing the commons and forcing the population into factories.

    (The British have such appealing names for things. Vegemite sounds like a vegetable crossed with a tool chest. Treacle, however, has a lovely sound–like the nectar collected by a gryphon. [As a child, I used to think it grew in wells. Must have been the illustration on the page.] It tastes good too.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No trouble, Cindy. I’ll get back to later today.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy, It’s really too complex. You guys are all over the map and it needs a fresh start. If you can sum it up the main point or two that you feel have not been responded to, could you please do so, and we could take it from there. You know that I’m sympathetic to your view about the impersonal, uncaring side of the capitalist system, so I am in your corner.

    PS: Clavos made a rather interesting remark, making little of the fact that much of what passes for innovation is stolen from true inventors. He conveniently forgets that a great many inventions that would benefit the society have been effectively blocked by the very same forces of “material progress.” Why? Because they run counter to the interest of the established hegemonies. So here is a negative, progress-impeding influences by the very system which is presumed to spread prosperity and well-being throughout world. Money has become God.

  • STM

    Doc: “Stan, how’s your manufacturing base down there in South New Guinea?”

    Not too bad Doc. Still making and exporting motor vehicles for a start, and there’s a populist move back towards manufacturing garments in Australia, rather than sourcing them cheaper in China.

    There’s other things happening. Don’t forget too that half of Queensland and northern NSW is covered in sugar cane, and there’s more fruit grown in this country than you can poke a stick at.

    Also, and I know it’s not really manufacturing despite the associated inudustries, but the ground here is chock full of STUFF … iron ore, uranium, gold etc.

    That’s keeping us going I suspect.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Cindy @ #167:

    True dat. Yet the Aussies do have some glorious terms of their own: for example, ‘technicolor yawn’ and ‘communing with the great white telephone’ – both descriptions of the same bodily function.

    Bonus hilarious fun fact: Scotch tape used to be sold in Australia under the brand name Durex. The British stand-up comic Jasper Carrott had a hilarious routine on the cross-cultural confusion this might cause…

    Aussie in drugstore: ‘Roll of Durex, please, mate.’
    Clerk: ‘A roll…?’

  • STM

    Lol. Yep, I’ve been caught by the Durex one.

    Doc and Cindy: There are many, many more traps for the unwary, especially in the US.

    These are but a few.

    What about my visit to the Manhattan Beach surf shop in LA, looking for a new pair of essential Aussie-style beach footwear, and asking the girls behind the counter:

    “Excuse me, can you show me your thongs?”

    (Cindy: thongs are flip-flops in Oz, while the underwear is known as a “g-string”)

    And the other bizarre one: entree.

    Everywhere else in the world, an entree is the starter course or appetiser … in the US, somehow they twisted it around so that it’s the MAIN course.

    Since most American appetisers can feed all of Burkina Faso for a week anyway, ordering the main-course size by accident is a definite disaster. Even worse when confusion reigns supreme and you order an appetiser and a main course of the same thing, plus a main course of something else like I did in San Francisco after the waiter and I kept getting at cross purposes over “the entree”.

    Can lead to much confusion whilst dining, that one. It’s Seinfeld episodes all round.

    Also Doc, another one for when you’ve had one too many and it’s heading back in the wrong direction: driving the porcelain bus :)

    Cindy: Vegemite, BTW, is an acquired taste. Less is definitely more when it comes to spreading it on hot buttered toast. A thin smear only is required … although we do trick first-time-in-Oz Americans into eating whole spoonfuls by telling them it’s our equivalent of peanut butter (it’s not :).

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Or one better, there was the Aussie exchange student when my wife was in college who told her it was chocolate spread and encouraged her to try a huge tablespoonful of the stuff…

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    Lol. Yep, that’s how it’s done.

    “Mmmm … delicious. We eat this by the spoonful. Try some!”

    Of course, we don’t at all … we eat very thin smears of it on toast.

    We can of course eat spoonfuls of it to suck our Yanks friends in, and without grimacing, as we’re used to the taste.

    But you have to know how to use the stuff.

    A bit like tequila shots. Less is more.

    Amazing too how some Americans warm to it after living here for a while.

    Mind you, they’re also usually the ones who’ve a) taken Aussie citizenship (and therefore realise Vegemite-eating is high on the list of requirements) and b) have worked out that being called a Seppo isn’t necessarily pejorative as it’s only rhyming slang and that it’s better to have a shocker of a nickname in Oz than none at all.

  • http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/sundaysurfer/index.php STM

    On a more serious note: Ruvy is right about China, although I’m not sure about his prophecy on how the scenario might play out.

    With Japan and the oil-producing nations, it holds a huge proportion of America’s debt (much the same way America held a huge proportion of Britain’s debt at the end of WWII and used that as a threat to make Britain and France withdraw their paratroopers during the 1956 Suez crsis).

    It’s why China now always gets what it wants.

    Americans need to pay more tax NOW to get their national debt down or the debt is going to keep skyrocketing.

    The US also needs to stop borrowing more and more money and start making and selling stuff again.

    And not just scrap metal for Chinese and Japanese smelters, either.

    It must do what it’s good at: making (or growing, or rearing) quality things and flogging them off at AFFORDABLE prices (there’s that falling dollar working to your gain again) that will get overseas buyers flocking in.

    And ban Wall Street’s excesses, or nothing will change.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Stan,

    Folks here might take you seriously. Americans are finally beginning to save again. But look at the price!

    How many folks reading this do you suppose are in a position to influence policy in the States?

  • Clavos

    One little grain of sand…

  • Mark

    Baronius says, Here you get into different definitions of justice. The traditional forms of justice are commutative (what one individual owes another), legal (what an individual owes to society), and distributive (what society owes an individual). FMC is commutative justice, and it’s compatible with legal justice. The big question is distributive justice. The usual take on this question is that government and private charity can fulfill any societal obligations. But that’s true of any system. Point being, there is no conflict between justice and free market capitalism.

    73. Economic conditions that leave large numbers of able people unemployed, underemployed, or employed in dehumanizing conditions fail to meet the converging demands of these three forms of basic justice…75. This means that all of us must examine our way of living in the light of the needs of the poor.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The “needs of the poor” should be satisfied in proportion to their ability to contribute to society.

    What the poor need is opportunities to work and advance themselves. An all encompassing state which destroys the middle class will take away opportunities for advancement for those at the lower levels of society.

    The kind of system which so many here seem to envision inevitably creates a vast underclass ruled over by an oligarchy of the professional bureaucrats of a governmental elite class.

    When you start talking about “social justice” and the “needs of the poor” you are opening the door to equality imposed through forcing the middle class into poverty in service of an ever-growing state.

    Dave

  • Mark

    Dave, while concepts of “social justice” and the “needs of the poor” have opened the door to imposed equality, this is not necessary. With the (capitalist/socialist/totalitarian) State out if the way, the classes could work out an accommodation.

    The “needs of the poor” should be satisfied in proportion to their ability to contribute to society.

    Quite a code.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Good luck, Mark. I gave up.

  • Baronius

    Mark, I’m probably as uncomfortable with the term “social justice” as Dave is, but for a different reason. I don’t know what it means. It shows up in that document you quoted as one of the three basic forms of justice, replacing legal justice. But it’s clearly not an equivalent concept.

    I sort of know what it means, which only makes it more dangerous. Vague, good-sounding concepts encourage a person to sign off on bad policies.

    So let’s see if we can reach our conclusion without that concept, and say that
    economic conditions that leave large numbers of able people unemployed, underemployed, or employed in dehumanizing conditions fail to fulfill distributive justice. Would you be ok with that?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    I don’t know whether you’ve read anything by Umberto Eco. A collection of essays, Travels in Hyper Reality, is a good one – especially Part II, “The Return of the Middle Ages,” where he argues that many of our present-day problems stem from the Middle Ages (and that includes the markets). You might want to look it up.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    I have heard of him but never read him. That is interesting. I should read that. I have a premise for a book I am “writing toward”. That would be good to read. It could either correct or add to my thinking. Thanks for that.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger, Regarding the other conversation with Baronius and Dave. My friend John recommended the book below, he’s read a lot of Perelman and so I understand the free market based on conversations with him and my own research based on those conversations. But I never read the book.

    I have ordered my own copy now that it is wise to do so. So, I will leave off that conversation until I actually read it.

    RAILROADING ECONOMICS

    The Creation of the Free Market Mythology

    by Michael Perelman

    “Most economic theory assumes a pure capitalism of perfect competition. This book is a penetrating critique of the rhetoric and practice of conventional economic theory. It explores how even in the United States—the most capitalist of countries—the market has always been subject to numerous constraints.

    Perelman examines the way in which these constraints have been defended by such figures as Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, and Herbert Hoover, and were indeed essential to the expansion of U.S. capitalism. In the process, he rediscovers the critical element in conservative thought that has been lost in the neoliberal present. This important and original historical reconstruction points the way to a discipline of economics freed from the mythology of the market.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The reason I’m bringing this up, Cindy, because the concept and the practice of “the markets” developed out of/during the Middle Ages. Eco himself doesn’t go into that, but it does suggest a historical kind of analysis – of the concept and its practices – in addition to your sociological/political understanding of it. So the Middle Ages would be a good starting point. I do have some good books on the subject, and will provide you with a reference or two if I run across something interesting.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks for #185. Also, refer to my PS in #169.

  • mark

    Baronius: So let’s see if we can reach our conclusion without that concept, and say that
    economic conditions that leave large numbers of able people unemployed, underemployed, or employed in dehumanizing conditions fail to fulfill distributive justice. Would you be ok with that?

    Sure, so far as it goes. However, imo the existence of such economic conditions under capitalism is evidence of a distortion of fair value/just exchange and puts the lie to your claim: FMC is commutative justice.…and directly impacts your ‘legal justice’ category, as well.

    (And while ‘social justice’ might be a fuzzy grandiose notion, simply bracketing it results in a partial analysis. Better to come to terms with it — seek papal instruction perhaps…although the last I heard from that department is that FMC is next to godliness)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark. Cindy:

    I’m rereading some of the essays on capitalism – this one by F.A. Hayek, ed (Capitalism and the Historians, 1963 edition). Admittedly, it’s by conservative thinkers (like T.S. Ashton, e.g.) and not exactly what I like to hear: there are some good points that are being made overall, and it’s worth reading.

    Later

  • Baronius

    Mark, I’m not looking to solve all our disagreements on the first pass. If we can agree on that statement as far as it goes, that’s something. It gives you a recognition of the importance of distributive justice. I don’t know how many BC conservatives would agree.

    Maybe we can proceed from this.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Thanks Roger. Also, I saw your p.s. in 169. That sounds right to me. I’ve read some of Hayek. I am not very keen on the state taking over anything. However, whatever I read of his, I also took a dose of his critics. I recall not swooning over his ideas. The criticism I read regarded The Road to Serfdom .

    Speaking of govt running things, my experience at the post office today was enough to make Lysander Spooner roll over in his grave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy,

    The collection I mentioned isn’t by Hayek -it’s a number of essays by various authors offering some correctives about the dogmas of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution. Try to get hold of it if you can, for there are some issues worth discussing.

  • Bliffle

    Dave says:

    “The “needs of the poor” should be satisfied in proportion to their ability to contribute to society.”

    The Crusader in me cheers: “yes, yes, yes!”.

    Then, upon sober reflection of my own life, I say “just don’t apply that to me.”

    For the life of me I can’t think of a contribution I’ve made to society.

    Are they going to come and take all my toys away? Throw me in Shirkers Prison?

    I’d feel a lot better if I’d created some really nice type fonts that, say, helped find a cure for cancer, build better yachts for Miami millionaires, or kept the chip industry in the USA.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle – personal attack much?

  • Bliffle

    I was just reflecting on my own worthless life and how little I’ve contributed to society.

    Oh woe is me!

    Luckily the Crusaders have no way to take back all the fun I’ve had.

    How about you?

  • Clavos

    “Contributing to society” is but one measure of the worth of a life, and IMO not necessarily the most important measure.

  • Donald Meinshausen

    America has never had a successful general strike but it has had a number of successful non-violent civil disobedience campaigns. This is how the civil rights, anti-war and environmentalist causes won their points. What labor organizing is to the left taxpayer protests will be to us freedom activists. See my article “To Create our Future” at my blog on fr33 agents or emailme.

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Dave’s article and the commenters supporting him just show how deeply, deeply divided our country is. It cracks me up that anyone believes there is anything resembling an “extreme left” in present-day USA. And the president is so invested in cooperation and compromise that we’re not likely to see anything really Left left. Newsflash: the Cold War is over; we’re not fighting communism or socialism anymore. We’re fighting poverty, ignorance, and a complete lack of viable social safety nets. I do wish the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” crowd would recognize that many of us have no boots. The Extreme Right had it’s day from Reagan to Obama (Bill Clinton largely capitualted) and this is where we are: in deep doo-doo and sinking ever-deeper very fast. I fear the “Left” will never prevail in any substantive way, because multi-millions of Americans truly believe that government is their enemy and change = disaster. I used to have the audacity of hope; now I just have the melancholy and rage of incomprehension and disappointment.

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