We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, September 13. 2020
Dystopian science fiction writers must be laughing right now.
There is a reason political functionaries are being assholes about wearing masks - and it isn't about keeping you 'safe' (a common lie used to expand power).
Don't get me wrong, masks can play a role in reducing the likelihood of catching the virus, but it's just a delaying tactic. It's not preventive. There is a larger political play here...even if some of us are not capable of understanding it.
Most science fiction dystopias are based on reducing the individual into a collective hive. The Borg on Star Trek, Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut, 1984 by Orwell - all of these (and many others) found ways to subjugate the individual to the will of the state or hive.
Humans differ from other animals in a few key ways, which in aggregate make us rather special. The opposable thumb, the ability to analyze situations and prepare plans, the sense of self and free will (self-actualization). Where animals that reject individualism have a level of success in groups or hives - what people who overemphasize these fail to note is that humans exceeded the limitations of groups by emphasizing the individual initiative.
Hives have their place, they can be useful even for humans. Collectives can work, temporarily and in small groupings, if they are VOLUNTARY. But the problem with modern people is they fail to recognize that capitalism and free markets allow for voluntary collectives to form, disband, and form again.
Think corporations are powerful? Name 10 that have lasted more than 100 years. The few that have managed to survive that long only did so one way - by playing political games, or gaining some form of monopoly power guaranteed by the state itself. Natural monopolies can exist over short periods of time, but fall apart without state protection. That is why socialism can only fail, over time. It is an unnatural state monopoly formation. Even fascism, which is a form of socialism, fails because it is still the state dictating the means of production. While competition can exist, it's limited and reduced, innovation is stifled and winners are chosen by political functionaries.
Individualism, in socialism and fascism, is reduced to whatever the state says is acceptable and limited.
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Not really. Some of his stuff is okay, but he's really just a neo-fascist.
Democracy hasn't failed, as he tries to argue. It merely needs to be rebooted and our Constitution needs to be taught better.
People think we are a democracy (he does). We aren't and we never were. We are a Constitutional Republic which uses a democratic method of choice.
The method of choice needs a reboot, and people need to better understand that the Constitution limits government and protects individual rights.
He does not seem to understand that.
Those of us that have investigated or prosecuted monopolization and restraints of trade under the Sherman Act, when that law was being enforced indeed, have learned that cartels fail by their greed and members cheating among themselves. Too, the government blinks cartels.
10 corporations that have been around over 100 years.
1) General Motors
3) Union Pacific
4) Standard Oil
7) New York Times
8) US Steel
10) General Electric
There must be quite a few if someone as dimwitted as I am could come up with this list in a few minutes off the top of my head.
Anyway, I concur with your thinking Bulldog. Well said.
Exxon has been paying a dividend for - what is it? 109 years now? And they've been around for longer than that. Not as Exxon originally, of course.
As you should note I didn't say anyone couldn't name 10, but that the likelihood of naming them would, by their very existence, imply some kind of state help.
Each one of these have received some form of regulatory assistance, subsidy, protection or other assistance.
While Standard Oil is now Exxon, and was once attacked as a monopoly, they do receive massive government subsidies. I think you'll find something similar with each of these firms. I worked for GE at one time, and I am well aware of how deeply entrenched they are in DC. My own current employer will turn 100 in 3 years.
But my other point in asking people to name ten is less about how hard it could be - but consider how few in number they are. In other words, how many corporations have been in existence over the last 100 years? There are under 4,000 listed corporations today. 30 years ago there were over 7,000. The Wilshire 5000 doesn't have 5000 stocks in it because they simply don't exist. The Russell 3000 may see its number reduced soon.
This consolidation is indicative of the point I made. While we have 'anti-trust' legislation, the ONLY way to survive so long and make this kind of consolidation stick at the same time - is to be embedded deeply in the web of political intrigue DC represents.
At any rate, naming 10 (or even 20 or 30) out of the 10,000 or so that have traded over the last 100 years proves out the weakness a natural corporation has on its own UNLESS it can gain political favor.
When I mentioned my own corporation turning 100, I forgot to mention, I also know what we receive in the way of assistance or protection.
Part of my job is 'protecting' us from litigation. But while there are laws we have to navigate to keep ourselves 'clean' the reality is we were, and would be, doing this kind of work even without the laws that have (and many that just came into existence in the last 8 years) existed...because we are, basically, a good corporation. Like many others try to be.
But in doing this, it's intriguing to note, many of the laws which are designed to paint us in a corner actually create hurdles that make it difficult for potential competitors to overcome. In other words, the very laws designed to make life difficult for my firm ACTUALLY impose harsher penalties and restrictions on smaller firms and it is our SCALE that allows us to continue.
That's only a small part of the 'benefits' we receive. But it is the one I'm most familiar with.
“Collectives can work, temporarily and in small groupings, if they are VOLUNTARY.”
No, they can’t.
If they ARE voluntary people pack up and leave.
Here’s the only example I know.
When Israel was founded many of the European Jews were leftists and dreamed of a socialist Israel.
So they devised and set up the kibbutzim, collectivist farms where they tried to build their communist paradise.
But everything there was, indeed, voluntary because they had sworn they would not do Jew on Jew violence.
They came from violence against them and they didn’t want any part of it.
Everything was collective and socialist and communist and the most hard core of them were, indeed, in what they thought was the promised land of collectivism.
Very soon people became disgruntled and dissatisfied with the collective and since there were no zampolits to shoot the dissenters the protests grew and people started to pack up and leave.
Nobody to stop them.
No Iron Curtain.
Very soon the concept of the moshavim had to be implemented in a hurry.
What’s a moshav?
A moshav is like a kibbutz that lost a good portion of its collectivism.
It worked for a while.
And then people wanted yet LESS collectivism and more individual freedom and less collective meetings for collective decision making.
And that was the end of the dream of making a communist Israel.
So, no, collectivism only works if it is backed up by violence.
Collectivism only works in a concentration camp or a concentration country.
An ant that doesn’t toe the line will be killed by the other ants in the ant-hill.
A communist who doesn’t toe the line will be killed by the minions of the Nomenklatura.
Otherwise, collectivism doesn’t stand a chance.
Voluntary collectives never worked and never will.
Collectivism is contrary to human nature.
There is no good part to collectivism.
You'll note I said TEMPORARILY.
They do work, temporarily. I have several friends who went to Israel and worked on kibbutzes. They were still, at that time, very much a collective.
They enjoyed their time there, but they did not want to stay (as you point out). That's why - if you believe it can work and want to voluntarily join one, you should be allowed to. It won't take long before you find it to be worthless.
But it's a Ponzi scheme, too. When some leave, other idealistic young folk show up believing the lie...for a period of time. They can survive...briefly.
In Israel, the Kibbutz system enjoys a great deal of political patronage. Unfortunately, all of Israel works that way. The unions are a problem there, too. It's common today for a Kibbutz to be converted into a Moshav. That's a joint stock corporation; so that people can buy stock when they join, and sell stock when they leave. There are Moshavs which are very business-oriented, and successful. But when there's a huge influx of immigrants, as there was in the 1940's a Kibbutz is still the easiest way to house a bunch of people quickly. So families will live on a Kibbutz for a few years, until they can find jobs in the private sector. The problem today is that Israel refuses to publish an English language directory of every Moshav and Kibbutz, so that immigrants can make a rational choice.
The Kibbutzim repeated the experience of several different utopian socialist "colonies" in the US in the late 19th and early 20th century, the most famous of which where the Amana and Shaker colonies.
These lasted long enough to establish reputations, but the socialistic natures seemed to disappear with the second and third generations.
As I understand it, while the Amana Colonies avoided violence, their dissolution involved decades of acrimonious litigation among several parties which pretty much bankrupted the remaining institutions, until the name remains only as a brand of the Whirlpool corporation.
Bulldog “#4.1 Bulldog on 2020-09-13 19:19”:
A kibbutz is by definition a collective.
That is why they don’t work.
That and the fact that they are full of Jews.
Some Jews love to play with the notion but as soon as one Jew tells another what to do, things change in a hurry.
Israeli hobby gourmet "communism" is a sad joke on real communism.
It's like playing sadomasochism tickling somebody with a feather duster while she screams as if we were slicing her with a butcher’s knife, with a huge smile of pure joy on her face.
It's a fantasy, a game.
Today's communism can be found in ISIS (Daesh)
Whatever remains of kibbutzim is just another way for some Jews to annoy other Jews.
We excel at it.
Communism is feudalism.
It only works as long as people are afraid and can’t leave.
“Voluntary communism” is a contradiction in terms.
And, by the way, the equivocation is the origin of the notion that “it works if everybody is in on it” followed by “you’d better be ‘in on it’ or else we’ll make you”
It never, ever works, if people can just pack up and leave.
The whole notion behind leftoxenomorphism is that people have to be taught to participate “voluntarily” and if they refuse is because they haven’t been “taught enough” and we just have to “teach” them harder.
That is EXACTLY how “cultural revolutions”, mao style, work.
It's called voting with your feet. Lots of people up north and out west are currently in the process of voting.