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Sunday, January 17. 2016
Of course, there are no truly free-market nations, so it is all relative.
For an excellent summary of the inspirations of the socialist, "idealistic," totalitarian-minded youth, The Leftist Intellectuals Hovering over the Campuses. Short version: They want my stuff, by force if necessary. Take my freedom, my autonomy, my stuff - and then what? Shoot me as a bourgeois, hang me as a kulak - and then what happens?
The topic is well covered by Daniel Hannan:
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The United States in the 19th century was textbook free market. Little to no (with the exception of Lincolns' usurpation of private property and suspension of Habeas Corpus) Gov't intervention in the markets allowed the biggest advances in science and manufacturing, and the greatest creation and expansion of wealth the world had ever seen. Inflation throughout the century was around 1%. For the entire 100 years! Was there economic equality? Of course not. But there WAS equality of opportunity. Anyone with enough drive and ambition and an idea or product people desired could make themselves as successful and wealthy as they desired. Compare that to the 20th century after the disaster of Woodrow Wilson and the establishment of the 3rd National Bank (Federal Reserve) which resulted in over 1000% inflation over the last 100 years (needed to support the welfare state) and the creation of tens of thousands of Federal "regulations" designed to prevent you from achieving success on your own merits. I'll take free markets any day.
Jeffersonian: Inflation throughout the century was around 1%.
Actually, there was significant deflation during the 19th century. There was substantial growth, but also an increasingly dangerous boom-and-bust cycle as the nation industrialized.
As for growth rate, it has been relatively constant when adjusting for inflation and for population over the last two centuries.
It's amazing that so many people don't realize that Hitler was a socialist and that he and Stalin were two flavors of the same sauce.
The most successful systems will align themselves with human nature. They will require state a state run by people who are better than everybody else. They have to be better than everybody else because they have the task of guiding the actions of everybody else. So who will choose who those better people are? They will choose themselves, of course!
The one feature of all people is that they will act in a way that is in their perceived self interest. This would be so of the chosen, too. Their first allegiance would be to themselves and not the rest of the underlings. One of the things they would do is insulate themselves from their decisions when they are no longer in power - sort of what we have now.
My take is that socialism only functions well with perfect people, but the free market functions okay, but not great, even with crummy people. Rule of law necessary, I grant.
Socialism works well with flawed people, too, as long as they are intimately bound enough to care (nearly) as much for each other's welfare as for their own. It's strangers it doesn't work for--not even really excellent strangers.
Hitler was a socialist
Jerry: Hitler was a socialist
This version is largely a remedial lesson in pre-war history for those who know only what they have learnt via school textbooks, popular encyclopaedias, movies etc.
That's funny. Ignore scholarship and ignore common usage, and use his redefinition instead.
Note that Marx wanted to "emancipate" (free) mankind from Jewry ("Judentum" in Marx's original German), just as Hitler did
Marx considered Judaism to be a religious affiliation that could be dispensed with. Hitler considered Judaism to be a racial classification. Marx thought that the need for religion would inevitably disappear, while Hitler thought the Jewish race should disappear. There's quite a difference there.
You really are tied to whatever the the Best People assert, aren't you? This is not the first time that you have fallen back on authority, defined politically, as your standard. Ignore "scholarship?" Only the research that agrees with the common view of the folks who call themselves enlightened is accepted, other research isn't scholarship? And "common usage," which is merely a synonym for conventional wisdom, is supposed to have force as an intellectual argument? Because most people think of fascism as right-wing, this PR creation of the Trotskyites is unassailable?
Nazism encouraged nationalism, which is also often a feature of right-wing groups (though not always.) I'm not seeing much else that puts it on the right. That was a convenient fiction by the communists, who succeeded in making it conventional wisdom among European elites.
Assistant Village Idiot: This is not the first time that you have fallen back on authority, defined politically, as your standard.
Valid scholarship is supported by evidence, not only within a field, but in related fields. In this case, it refers to professional historians and educators. Words are defined by usage, so the fact that generations of scholars and laypersons use the term a certain way supports the use of the term.
Assistant Village Idiot: I'm not seeing much else that puts it on the right.
The political right is characterized by support of hierarchy.
In the case of the Nazi, that includes national exceptionalism, authoritarian rule, as well as racial superiority. They garnered the majority of their support from the political right in Germany, who thought they could be controlled once in power. They were considered on the political right then, and they are considered on the political right now, other than a very recent redefinition by the American Right.
But the issue is precisely that the "use of the term" is being brought into question. You can't then fall back on "well, it just means that." Words change in their meaning, sometimes naturally, sometimes under pressure, all the time. Politically-charged words are especially susceptible to this.
So too with research by academics and historians. It is precisely their bias which is being brought into question. It's no good to just shrug and say "well, they're the experts, can't change it." Definition requires analysis, not just "research," which can only reveal certain types of answers.
I heard people claim that fascism and communism were deeply related as long as ago as the 1960's, so it isn't precisely new. Yet even if it were, the newer analysis might be correct, an improvement in understanding. In fact, this is exactly what happens all the time with historians. Distance can sometimes reveal what was invisible up close. As for the classic definition of Nazism also including authoritarian rule, that is rather ironic in view of your appeal to authority in this instance. Left-leaning governments are sometimes more authoritarian than any on the right. We have certainly moved into a period now in the West where that is so, whatever we might say about past centuries.
The claim is that the conventional wisdom is based on shallow reasoning, which was convenient for the Left of that time in creating a binary, which has continued to this day for suspect reasons.
(Creating such binaries, so that all may safely be divided into for-us-or-against-us, was a conscious tactic of the Communists since the 20's, and thus all subsequent binaries should be suspect for who they benefit.)
Assistant Village Idiot: But the issue is precisely that the "use of the term" is being brought into question.
The argument is that everyone, from scholars to laypersons, is using the term wrong except the author.
We pointed to just one problem of many with the argument. The author inaccurately argued that Marx's view of Judaism was parallel to that of Hitler. Indeed, the difference illustrates why Marx is considered to be on the left, and Hitler to be on the right.
Assistant Village Idiot: Words change in their meaning, sometimes naturally, sometimes under pressure, all the time. Politically-charged words are especially susceptible to this.
Words can change, sure, but that's not the argument being raised.
Assistant Village Idiot: I heard people claim that fascism and communism were deeply related as long as ago as the 1960's, so it isn't precisely new.
They're both extremist ideologies, so they share many of the same methods. However, their goals are contrary. Fascism advocates absolute hierarchy, while communism advocates absolute equality.
Assistant Village Idiot: Distance can sometimes reveal what was invisible up close. As for the classic definition of Nazism also including authoritarian rule, that is rather ironic in view of your appeal to authority in this instance.
No. The irony would be how you conflate different meanings of the word "authority".
Assistant Village Idiot: Left-leaning governments are sometimes more authoritarian than any on the right.
Sometimes. However, some of the most authoritarian countries in the world today are right-wing Middle Eastern countries.
from a viral email I received.
If a Republican doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a Democrat doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.
If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.
If a Republican is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.
If a Republican is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
If a Democrat is down-and-out he wonders who is going to take care of him.
If a Republican doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
A Democrat demands that those they don't like be shut down.
If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
If a Republican decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
If a Democrat decides he needs health care, he demands that the rest of us pay for his.
An observation from the late 19th century that is quite on point:
Socialism begins with the use of the powers of the State, and proceeds and operates through them alone. It is by the force of law that the Socialist purposes to whip up the laggards and the delinquents in the social and industrial order. It is by the public treasurer, armed with powers of assessment and sale, that he plans to gather the means for carrying on enterprises to which individual resources would be inadequate. It is through penalties that he would check wasteful or mischievous expenditures.
But Frederick J. Stimson hits the socialist heart in his 1903 debate on Socialism:
“Socialism; a speech delivered in Faneuil hall, February 7th, 1903, by Frederic J. Stimson
First, what is the best the socialists, in their writings, can offer us? What do the most optimistic of them say? That our subsistence will be guaranteed, while we work; that some of us, the best of us, may earn a surplus above what is actually necessary for our subsistence; and that surplus, like a good child, we may "keep to spend." We may not use it to better our condition, we may not, if a fisherman, buy another boat with it, if a farmer, another field ; we may not invest it, or use it productively ; but we can spend it like the good child, on candy — on something we consume, or waste it, or throw it away.
Could not the African slave do as much? In fact, is not this whole position exactly that of the negro slave? He, too, was guaranteed his sustenance; he, too, was allowed to keep and spend the extra money he made by working overtime; but he was not allowed to better his condition, to engage in trade, to invest it, to change his lot in life. Precisely what makes a slave is that he is allowed no use of productive capital to make wealth on his own account. The only difference is that under socialism, I may not be compelled to labor (I don't even know as to that — socialists differ on the point), actually compelled, by the lash, or any other force than hunger. And the only other difference is that the negro slave was under the orders of one man, while the subject of socialism will be under the orders of a committee of ward heelers. You will say, the slave could not choose his master, but we shall elect the ward politician. So we do now. Will that help much? Suppose the man with a grievance didn't vote for him?
The market on the other hand in its freest form grants the liberty to retain their surplus earnings and invest them for their personal betterment to all. Of course, markets do not operated in their freest form and as regulation and taxes rise more and more individuals are denied the liberty to better their condition in life. Government is also used to deny this liberty to entire classes and to bestow the liberty upon political cronies. Socialism as has been practiced is more simply where those in control of the State take the surplus earnings and invest in the betterment of their personal condition while leaving the disfavored in servitude.
The Barrister: It has always seemed quite simple to me: Socialist schemes require governmental force while free markets permit people to do what people naturally do of their own accord- trade things they make, or trade their work, to get whatever they want.
As you know, Barrister, law implies governmental force.
The Barrister: Freedom can not exist without property rights.
Agreed. But property rights are not unlimited. Taxes are universal.
Of course, there are no truly free-market nations, so it is all relative. [/i]
That is correct. All developed nations are mixed systems, with strong government sectors, as well as robust markets.
"As you know, Barrister, law implies governmental force."
Or as Mises put it:
We call the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion that induces people to abide by the rules of life in society, the state; the rules according to which the state proceeds, law; and the organs charged with the responsibility of administering the apparatus of compulsion, government.
Mises, Ludwig von, Liberalism (pp. 35-36).
This of course, raises the question of what kind of society we seek in that that society will define the force the state imposes through law and government.
In the socialist society, the government is empowered through law to force the individual to labor, to force the production of state bureaucrat chosen goods and to used violence to stop those who would do differently.
In the capitalist society, the government empowered through law seeks only to stop those who would interfere with the rights of others to pursue the betterment of their condition. The government mediates contract disputes and impede those who would use violence or artifice against those individuals following societies rules in their conduct of life.
"law implies governmental force" is a true statement, which is why we must make efforts to ensure socialist schemes do not become law.
When we're saying "the government should intervene," we're saying "an organization with guns should threaten to lock people in cages if they don't comply with its dictates."
--Art Carden, Econlog
Quite obviously from that, we should limit government intervention to that of stopping wrongful acts rather than forcing others to act as the powerful (able to get a law) desire.
JK Brown: Quite obviously from that, we should limit government intervention to that of stopping wrongful acts rather than forcing others to act as the powerful (able to get a law) desire.
There's quite a lot more to modern government than just enforcing contract law. Start with traffic lights, not to mention taxes.
Who suggested government should be limited to contract disputes? Certainly not JK Brown in the comment above.
There is more to modern government because many have supported more government intervention in daily life.
One reason that Blacks are the object of more traffic stops is that Blacks are higher offenders of laws such as the seatbelt law. This nanny state law causes more Blacks to be involved with the police and thus have more chance of building up resentment, then resistance and ultimately police force used to arrest.
Take away the seatbelt law and reduce the governmental interference with Blacks going about their daily life.
As long as we have government, there will be taxes. Just as there has always been taxes when there has been government. The only question is "how much taxes?"
The questions as to how much the taxes shall be, and who is to decide how much they shall be, are always and in every stage of society questions of most fundamental importance. And ever since men began to make history, a very large part of what they have done, in the way of making history, has been the attempt to settle these questions, whether by discussion or by blows, whether in council chambers or on the battlefield. The French Revolution of 1789, the most terrible political convulsion of modern times, was caused chiefly by " too much taxes," and by the fact that the people who paid the taxes were not the people who decided what the taxes were to be. Our own Revolution, which made the United States a nation independent of Great Britain, was brought on by the disputed question as to who was to decide what taxes American citizens must pay.
Government is something which is supported by the people and kept alive by taxation. There is no other way of keeping it alive.
--Civil Government in the United States (1902), John Fiske
JK Brown: There is more to modern government because many have supported more government intervention in daily life.
Sure. Both left and right use government to achieve their ends when they have power.
JK Brown: As long as we have government, there will be taxes. Just as there has always been taxes when there has been government. The only question is "how much taxes?"
Sure. Which brings us back to the question of degree. However, you will find that the vast majority of people want the government to regulate many aspects of modern life; from seat belts, to water quality, to the electrical wires hidden in their walls.