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Jim Bellows, RIP

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The L.A. Times, fittingly enough, has the obit on the Zelig of postwar newspaper editors:

Jim Bellows, a legendary editor who built a career resuscitating underdog big-city newspapers from Los Angeles to New York and helped turn Tom Wolfe and Jimmy Breslin into stars, has died. He was 86. […]

Over two decades beginning in the 1960s, Bellows transformed the New York Herald Tribune, the Washington Star and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner into showcases of sophisticated writing and spunky reporting that often shamed their more formidable rivals.

Bellows could not save the papers, each of which ultimately sank under long-standing financial pressures. But he helped them shake their bones in their twilight years and revived a spirit of competition in what had been essentially one-newspaper towns. Along the way, he created an early platform for the innovative brand of nonfiction called New Journalism and saw his best ideas copied by the stronger paper across town.

I crossed paths with Bellows a couple of times, including on a newspaper project that never got off the ground, and though he'd lost a step or three, he had more journalistic passion and mischief in his left pinkie than you'll see in some newsrooms. He certainly wasn't much of a writer, didn't have a reputation for line-editing, and was a world-class mumbler, but he could pick talent with the best of 'em (including female talent back when that was a newsroom no-no), and just loved the idea of competing against the big dogs. As I wrote at the end of a long media-bashing piece for Reason a few years back, "Read Bellows, and you'll want to stomp out into the world, launch new publications, and, in his simple motto, 'do your best.'" He'll be missed.

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  1. History may well record that the final death blow for paper newspapers came from E-Ink devices like Kindle, Sony Reader and whatever that thing Foxit is comming out with. Who needs paper when you can read E-Ink and not go blind either!

  2. Wow, two measly posts, including this one. I’d say right-wing libertarians are demoralized.

  3. “right-wing libertarians”

    What are those? Never heard of them.

  4. Re right-wing libertarians, Chomsky said it best:

    Man: What’s the difference between “libertarian” and “anarchist,” exactly?

    Chomsky: There’s no difference, really. I think they’re the same thing. But you see, “libertarian” has a special meaning in the United States. The United States is off the spectrum of the main tradition in this respect: what’s called “libertarianism” here is unbridled capitalism. Now, that’s always been opposed in the European libertarian tradition, where every anarchist has been a socialist-because the point is, if you have unbridled capitalism, you have all kinds of authority: you have extreme authority.

    If capital is privately controlled, then people are going to have to rent themselves in order to survive. Now, you can say, “they rent themselves freely, it’s a free contract”-but that’s a joke. If your choice is, “do what I tell you or starve,” that’s not a choice-it’s in fact what was commonly referred to as wage slavery in more civilized times, like the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for example.

    The American version of “libertarianism” is an aberration, though-nobody really takes it seriously. I mean, everybody knows that a society that worked by American libertarian principles would self-destruct in three seconds. The only reason people pretend to take it seriously is because you can use it as a weapon. Like, when somebody comes out in favor of a tax, you can say: “No, I’m a libertarian, I’m against that tax”-but of course, I’m still in favor of the government building roads, and having schools, and killing Libyans, and all that sort of stuff.

    Now, there are consistent libertarians, people like Murray Rothbard-and if you just read the world that they describe, it’s a world so full of hate that no human being would want to live in it. This is a world where you don’t have roads because you don’t see any reason why you should cooperate in building a road that you’re not going to use: if you want a road, you get together with a bunch of other people who are going to use that road and you build it, then you charge people to ride on it. If you don’t like the pollution from somebody’s automobile, you take them to court and you litigate it. Who would want to live in a world like that? It’s a world built on hatred.19

    The whole thing’s not even worth talking about, though. First of all, it couldn’t function for a second-and if it could, all you’d want to do is get out, or commit suicide or something. But this is a special American aberration, it’s not really serious.

  5. “if you have unbridled capitalism, you have all kinds of authority: you have extreme authority.”

    LOL! Capitalism is what happens when you have NO central authority!

    “Now, there are consistent libertarians, people like Murray Rothbard-and if you just read the world that they describe, it’s a world so full of hate that no human being would want to live in it.”

    Hate? Has Chomsky ever read a single thing Rothbard has written?

  6. It is possible to be a “voluntary socialist” and libertarian. You can set up a 1960’s style commune or a Kibuttz or something and have VOLUNTARY socialism that would be consistant with libertarianism but capitalism BY ITS VERY NATURE is voluntary by necessity.

  7. It’s interesting how “hate” and “responsibility” get all mish-mashed together in the liberal mind. Rothbard described a world of freedom in which people are free to help each other because they keep all the money they earn. In Chomsky’s world. The government simply forces us to be charitable. I wonder which is more hateful?

  8. It’s always important to discount something you disagree with as “not serious” and “not worth talking about.” Chomsky is a book-publishing hypocrite. He practices what he preaches when it’s convenient for him to do so, just like any liberal I’ve ever met. He believes his hot air most completely when he’s standing in front of a crowd collecting a fat public speaking check. If Chomsky is so concerned about the little guy, why does he collect those fat checks? Because Chomsky is worried about Chomsky. I would venture that most of the “consistent” Libertarians on this board don’t take Chomsky as much of an authority on anything other than the production of hot air.

    Liberals are subjectivists. They have no real principles, except maybe the principle of convenience. American Libertarianism “isn’t serious” because it’s built on too much moral and economic bedrock, and it’s too hard for an inconsistent liberal to subjectively contort it.

  9. I now understand what a hypocrite Chomsky is. Thanks, eric.

  10. I’m just a bot for the liberal media-Chris-Matthews echo machine. Can someone please save me from my stupidity.

  11. Save me with your witchcraft, Tom Cruise.

  12. Lefiti! Where you been?

  13. Wow dude that is like way cool, RIP bro, RIP.

    RT
    http://www.privacy.at.tc

  14. Alcoholism Intervention: If you are a friend or a family member of someone who is either abusing alcohol or already addicted, you’re probably wondering what you can do to help. The biggest problem you face is that the abuser or addict thinks this is YOUR problem, or you’re making a fuss over nothing. “I can handle it.” The last one in the room to know there is a problem is the one who has it.

    ========

    Anderson110

    Drug Intervention

    1. drink!

  15. I would venture that most of the “consistent” Libertarians on this board don’t take Chomsky as much of an authority on anything other than the production of hot air.

    I’m not going to set myself up as some perfect libertarian, but I take Chomsky pretty seriously when he discusses foreign policy. He has his blind spots, but everyone does, and at least his aren’t the common, everyday ones that American newspaper writers share.

  16. “I’m not going to set myself up as some perfect libertarian, but I take Chomsky pretty seriously when he discusses foreign policy. He has his blind spots, but everyone does, and at least his aren’t the common, everyday ones that American newspaper writers share.”

    I am going to be honest and admit that I have not read very much that he has written but the material quoted above is just absurd. But a stopped (analog – 12 hour) clock is right twice a day. It is possible he is right about foreign policy. I just have not read anything by him on that topic.

  17. I hate it when my boyfriend farts when I’m felching him! LOL!

    MF
    http://www.privacy-tool.di.ck

  18. Lefiti is out of jail already? I guess the sentencing guidelines for dog molestation ain’t as harsh as they could be.

  19. (including female talent back when that was a newsroom no-no)

    I didn’t realize newsrooms were boys’ clubs any time in recent memory. I remember reading Kurt Vonnegut’s post WWII account of working in a newsroom with tough female reporters.

  20. Right wing libertarians = social darwinists.

    A step away from national socialism. Good lord.

  21. Bret,

    So it seems you think socialism is a step away from capitalism? That must be one effing huge step!

  22. “but of course, I’m still in favor of the government building roads, and having schools, and killing Libyans, and all that sort of stuff.”

    Chomsky has proven with that statement that he has not read much H&R…

  23. PIRS
    For what it’s worth, I think Chomsky’s statements show that he has indeed read some Rothbard, but of course he reads him through the prism of his own positions and assumptions. Having read both some of Chomsky and Rothbard I can totally see Chomsky seeing what Rothbard wrote in that way.

    “but capitalism BY ITS VERY NATURE is voluntary by necessity.”

    But you see, there’s the rub, and almost literally put by yourself. Many liberals don’t see capitalism as voluntary BECAUSE of what they see as necessity, or in the words of Chomsky above “Now, you can say, “they rent themselves freely, it’s a free contract”-but that’s a joke. If your choice is, “do what I tell you or starve,” that’s not a choice”

    Now, I don’t expect you to agree with that, but I hope you can see the reasons and logic he is using…

  24. Well, I understand where he is comming from but by that same logic a baleen whale is enslaved because if it does not eat krill it dies. No economic system can repeal human biological functions or the laws of physics. You have freedom or you don’t but either way we must eat. But within the confines of human biology we can be free.

  25. Someone like Chomsky reads someone like Rothbard and thinks “what kind of an anti-social asshole is so worried he may be compelled in some minor way to help people, usually by giving up some of his stuff, who need it that he comes up with this complex system of thought to ensure it never happens.” They see that as either anti-social, kicking those who are down, or being full of some kind of “don’t touch my stuff!” kind of mentality, or some combination thereof.

    And of course libertarians who read Chomsky see some kind of evil person who cares little for the inviolable rights of individuals or is a too-trusting useful idiot for government…

    The truth probably, as usual, lies somewhere in between.

    But we can at least all agree on this: the Anonymity Troll should be slow roasted over a blue flame. The Derp Aderpaderp post above what the shiznit…

  26. I have noticed a great deal of spam on the threads today. I agree, spam-trolls deserve to be slow raosted. If I believed in Hell I would say that is where spam-trolls go when they die.

  27. PIRS
    I’m not sure it’s biology his beef is with. It’s private property being inviolable that he and his ilk have the beef with. Hell, I have a beef with it to some degree. I find property rights to be useful in that they serve mankind, not the other way around. People do have to eat and such, that’s biological. But people do not necessarily have to have a system where one guy can call, say, this cantaloupe (umm, yummy) his and claim exclusive rights to it when other’s have need of it that exceeds his.

    Property rights are a difficult issue. Even the vaunted Nozick thought it was very difficult to come up with a satisfactory theory that would justify them (he basically laughed at Locke’s idea that something becomes yours when you “mix your labor” with it).

    Having said that, I think for the most part ideas of property rights similar to our traditional, normal ideas of them (and our legal system’s idea of them) have utilitarian value most of the time.

  28. “The essence of private property is always the right to exclude others…If…somebody else wants to use the food, the house, the land, or the plow which the law calls mine, he has to get my consent. To the extent that these things are necessary to the life of my neighbor, the law thus confers upon me a power, limited but real, to make him do what I want.” Morris Cohen, Property and Sovereignty, 13 Cornell L.Q. 8-12 (1927)

    To the extent that Mr. Cohen is on to something here then libertarianism as usually understood still allows individuals to exercise power over others all the time…And that’s Chomsky and such persons point…It’s a function of biological neccesity plus scarcity plus a system of private property in which the state which we all pay for is compelled to use force to protect the legally designated owner of said property in their right to use said property exclusively…

  29. But if biology did not require food property rights over a cantaloupe would not be as important. Indeed the whole structure of our civilization would be different. I agree with people who say that intellectual property rights are problematic – if they weren’t no one would have heard of Napster or Limewire.

    But rights over physical property are wired into our natures as vertebrates. A dog defends HIS territory and HIS bone. Try touching a dog’s mouth when it is eating and see what happens. Our more developed brains simply have more complex ways of dealing with the concept. Instead of peeing on a fire hydrant we hold a deed to a house. Instead of barking at intruders we set up a contract with brinks Home Security etc. etc. Thus property rights are “natural” and part of “natural law”.

  30. That’s why anarchism is the only true libertarianism.

    Why should I, or anyone, be compelled to support someone’s claim to some property?

    Supposedly because I would want to be able to compell others to help me protect my property.

    To hell with that, I can protect my own property without compelling anyone to help, other people should have to do the same to.

    If someone is trying to take your cantaloupe then protect it if you can, lose it if you can’t.

    But don’t compel me to help you with either my tax dollars to fund your police force or to do anything about it.

  31. “To the extent that Mr. Cohen is on to something here then libertarianism as usually understood still allows individuals to exercise power over others all the time…And that’s Chomsky and such persons point…”

    There is the old (but true) cliche that my right to swing my arm ends where your nose begins. If property rights is valid property can be seen as an extension of your body because you mixed part of your labor to obtain it.

  32. I don’t know PIRS. A lot of animals are “naturally” not very territorial at all. And this idea of natural property law you mention would only correspond to what I’m immediately using like the food near the dogs mouth or the yard he can see. If my dog walks away from his food to take a nap and my cat eats it my dog doesn’t sue my cat later…

  33. “I don’t know PIRS. A lot of animals are “naturally” not very territorial at all.”

    The animals we evolved from are.

    “If my dog walks away from his food to take a nap and my cat eats it my dog doesn’t sue my cat later…”

    Again, we have more developed brains and social structures. I bet your dog doesn’t have a written language either.

  34. PIRS
    Locke’s argument is that when you work on something you leave it different than it was before, and so your labor, which is an extension of you, “inheres” in the thing you worked on.

    And Nozick said that’s silly and he used as his reductio ad absurdum example a person who pours a can of tomato juice into the ocean and says “the ocean is now mine, notice how through my effort the ocean is now different (it has tomato juice running throughout it now), that’s my labor inhering in it.”

    It’s really, really hard to say what makes something that you call yours yours…

  35. PIRS
    Are apes like that? They seem more like communist to me, to roam around in groups picking lice off each other and sharing food from the Discovery Channel specials I’ve seen 🙂

  36. Fuck what an animal does.

    I’m a man, a human being, and justice is a human concept. I won’t be guided by what an animal does.

    My dog doesn’t try to compel other dogs to help him guard his bowl.

    Neither should men. Anarchy is the only real libertarianism.

  37. “It’s really, really hard to say what makes something that you call yours yours…”

    People in the Austrian Economic School use a concept called “homesteading”. It isn’t just changing something but making it useful for human use. Burning down a forest does not make it mine just as pouring tomato juice into the ocean doen’t make it mine. A good fictional example of homesteading is what the kids did to the old abandoned hotel in the movie “Hotel For Dogs” (Great movie by the way) They took something that was not being used anymore and they made it useful.

  38. “Are apes like that? They seem more like communist to me, to roam around in groups picking lice off each other and sharing food from the Discovery Channel specials I’ve seen :)”

    Our “tribes” are families. We do that with out families. We don’t mind if our spouse or child drinks our milk or eats our cantaloupe. A family is the perfect example of “voluntary socialism” and is perfectly consistent with libertarianism (although Stephan Molyneux might disagree with me on that).

  39. PIRS
    What does “making useful to human use” mean? Does the person who can make it the “most” useful get to claim it? And why not if “useful to human use” is the criteria for property?

    If you owned the building those kids decided to use, do you think they should be able to keep it?

    And by that logic, if I could put some property you have to better use than you, wouldn’t I be entitled to it?

    “Our “tribes” are families”

    I dunno PIRS, I’ve seen many a special with tribes of apes that involve several “families” of apes…Along those lines the actual natural fact that humans sacrifice for non-family other humans all the time would seem to make one question how “natural” all that is…

  40. “What does “making useful to human use” mean? Does the person who can make it the “most” useful get to claim it? And why not if “useful to human use” is the criteria for property?”

    If I am currently using it in some way you cannot take it even if you could make it “more” useful.

    “If you owned the building those kids decided to use, do you think they should be able to keep it?”

    There is a point after which, even under many laws today, an abandoned property is no longer “owned” by the person who holds the last held deed. It was not made clear in the film how many years that building was unused but all incications were that it spanned several decades. Whoever the owner was, he or she won’t miss it when it is owned by those kids.

    “I’ve seen many a special with tribes of apes that involve several “families” of apes…”

    Sure, even within human culture the definition of “family” can change. The Amish definition is different from the Anglo-Saxon definition which is different still from the Itallian definition. Religion can also bind people together as families in non-biological ways.

    “Along those lines the actual natural fact that humans sacrifice for non-family other humans all the time would seem to make one question how “natural” all that is…”

    Despite what Ayn Rand might have said my explaination is that altruism is a natural social lubricant and is often recipricated. I am sure you have heard the phrase “You would have done the same for me.” Once people can no longer say with with some degree of certainty society begins to break down.

  41. The State’s claim to be able to force me to support another’s welfare is tanamount to enslaving me.

    Forcing me to support another’s claim to property is included in that.

    So my namesake called the State “the instrument for establishing monopolies in favour of the ruling minorities.” (Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets, p. 286)

    Such a minimalist state equals minimal slavery, what a deal! How “liber”tarian!

  42. The Democratic Party wants to compel me to support someone’s claim to doctors.

    The Republican Party wants to compel me to support someone’s claim to have their neighborhood be “drug free” (hello, caffiene?!)

    The Libertarian Party wants to compel me to support someone’s claim to own something.

    Peas in an authoritarian pod!

  43. As a working journalist, I clicked on this thread in hope of posting some respectful comment about the late Mr. Bellows, but cannot participate in the current discussion because I lack sufficient familiarity with Noam Chomsky’s philosophical base.

    *Sigh* Must be gettin’ old. In my college days, I never felt such disconnect unless I was really, truly, cataclysmically stoned. But then, in college I also didn’t have attention whores like Lefiti to contend with either.

  44. As a working journalist, I clicked on this thread in hope of posting some respectful comment about the late Mr. Bellows, but cannot participate in the current discussion because I lack sufficient familiarity with Noam Chomsky’s philosophical base.

    It’s called a threadjack, jennifer. Know it, love it, use it! Don’t let the (IMHO fascinating) MNG/PIRS discussion dissuade you from posting your paean.

  45. “right-wing libertarians”

    Redundancy,unless you are trying to distinguish libertarians from Bill Maher and Will Wilkinson.

  46. All of them Scotsman, none of them true.

    I’m tempted to simply say “A libertarian is a person who gives more than a shit about human freedom.” No wing has a monopoly (or a particularly good track-record) on that.

  47. PIRS
    It appears we killed the thread…

    Jennifer, sorry for my part in the threadjack (hey, I didn’t start it though!), but c’mon, the given topic was a snorefest…

    This kind of thing would not happen if we had the return of the Weekend Thread.

  48. Right-wing libertarians are market-worshiping true believers. For right-wing libertarians, libertarian domga has no known flaws, so reality poses no challenge. Bring on the recession. It’s all the government’s fault!

  49. Jennifer, I am also sorry for my part in the threadjack but – in my defense my first post was at least somewhat on topic 🙂

  50. Sorry, the temptation is too great – I must repond to Lefiti:
    “Bring on the recession. It’s all the government’s fault!”

    Are you saying it is not the government’s fault? Are you claiming that we do not have a central bank that sets interest rates? Are you saying that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are not GSEs (government sponsored enterprises)?

  51. PIRS-
    The thread may seem pretty dead in the wake of our philosophical discussion (which I, like LMNOP, greatly enjoyed), but in the spirit of “you keep what you kill” I’ll respond to your response to me upthread.

    “If I am currently using it in some way you cannot take it even if you could make it “more” useful.”

    But if me putting something to useful use for humans can justify me taking owernship from you who are not, then why can’t I take ownership from one who is putting something to useful use for humans if I can show that I will put it to much more useful use? I mean, if that’s the criteria then why stop at just “some” or “none” as meaningful categories?

  52. MNG,
    When the HMS Bounty mutineers landed on Pitcairn Island they found it uninhabited – it is clear from archeological evidence that it WAS inhabited at some point before they arrived but when they got there it was not. So who owned the island when they landed? No one. No one owned the island because it was not being used. It is possible that the descendents of the original inhabitants exist somewhere in Polynesia and they may even be able to somehow “prove this” but it would be unjust to take it away from the current inhabitants to give it to them. The mutineers and their descendents made it THIERS by working the land, building their homes and making it usable for human use. It is a more complex and somewhat modified version of the child’s saying “finders’ keepers, loosers’ weepers”. In the child’s version if I find a toy and it was lost, unclaimed it becomes mine because the other child was less responsible and left it lying around, unattended. In the Austrian Homesteading concept the toy (or land or hotel or cantaloupe) becomes “mine” if it is clear that it has been not merely “lost” but abandoned. In other words a guy dropping his wallet but who has an ID inside is not the same thing as someone who abandons a farm and moves to Europe without bothering to try to sell it to someone else. Freegans “homestead” things that are thrown in the garbage – things that the previous owners clearly no longer want. A freegan is justified in claiming a cantaloupe that has been thrown in the garbage and will simply rot if someone does not modify it for human use (i.e. eat it).

  53. PIRS,

    “So it seems you think socialism is a step away from capitalism?”

    I said “National Socialism.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialism

    Sorry for the pedopedia link.

  54. Yes, and National Socialism is a species of socialism.

  55. Yes, and National Socialism is a species of socialism.

    Mmm, not really. I mean, the name sure is similar, but that’ll fool ya.

  56. NAZI Germany had central planning, government control over virtually every aspect of a business. Also, do not forget the one of the reasons that the Jewish people were so hated was because they were associated with business ownership and banking. In fact non-Jewish business owners were sometimes called “White Jews”. If you would like an in depth analysis of this I recommend “The Vampire Economy” by Reimann. You can read it online here: http://mises.org/books/vampireeconomy.pdf

  57. Lots of German private companies remained intact under National “Socialism.” They availed themselves of slave labour, but who doubts Wal-Mart wouldn’t if it could?

  58. Lefiti, “intact” only in the sense the original owner held the title. If I can tell you what to do in your house and tell you how to decorate your lawn and how to decorate your bedroom and you also must pay me a fee for the privilege of living in it do you really own it? Or would it be more accurate to call you a tenant and me the landlord? That is what it was like for German businessmen in NAZI Germany.

  59. You know what it was like to be a businessman in Soviet Russia? Dead.

  60. PIRS
    I still don’t understand why, if what makes something a person’s property is that he be doing something with it to make it useful (so that he can take it from someone with some other claim but who is clearly not making it useful) then why someone who can make it even still more useful can’t claim it over the one who can only make it half as useful. If usefulness is so, well, useful and good then why not maximize it? Why say “as long as there is some modicum of it that’s enough?”

    Another thorny problem is: what is “useful?” I might think it more useful to manking to not develop my land (it makes for an aesthetic experience that way, and it may contribute to a healthier environment or ecosystem, or maybe I have a religion which calls for the area to be in its natural state in order for certain “spiritual uses”, etc) while you can argue that you would put a factory on the land which would churn out aspirin (aspirin is useful, and how).

  61. PIRS
    According to your definition any regulation would mean socialism. I can see where you are going, but it seems wrong to have a concept so broad that it includes the kind of regulation a business in the US experiences, the kind it did in Germany, and the kind it did in the USSR…

  62. “You know what it was like to be a businessman in Soviet Russia? Dead.”

    That is also what it was like to be a Jewish or Romany (Gypsy) or homosexual businessman in NAZI Germany. Soviet style communism is still another species of socialism. Both are ways government can control the economy.

  63. MNG,

    Abandonment is a large part of the equasion. If your call dies in the mall parking lot and you decide to go shopping while waiting for a call from AAA this does not give me a right to tow it to my home and repair it. You have not “abandoned it”. You are planning to have it repaired and simply doing something more useful with your time than roasting on hot blacktop.

    As for natural areas people can post signs claiming an area as their own. People do this sort of thing now. Some people post “NO HUNTING” signs on the border of their property. Others post signs that simply say “PRIVATE PROPERTY”. What you do with your land is your business and there can indeed be uses for natural areas – I love natural areas and parks are one of the few things the government does that I consider benign if not downright benevolent – it is only the method of funding I have an issue with. So, yes, even in a perfect Rothbardian society there would be ways of preserving the rights of individuals or non-profit organizations over wilderness areas. There would also be plenty of profit motivations for doing so. People pay good money to see wild animals living in natural areas and as people have pointed out many new medicines are found in the vast wilderness of pristine forests.

    As a side note – I would like to point out that I consider areas of the Amazon and other vast rainforests that are inhabited by native peoples to be owned by those native peoples. This is an area where I STRONGLY disagree with Ayn Rand’s position. It is theirs, they homesteaded it. Even if they live a lifestyle we may not wish to live or even fully understand they are sentient people and have chosen it. So long as they continue to choose to live there it belongs to them.

  64. call = car in the above post

  65. “I can see where you are going, but it seems wrong to have a concept so broad that it includes the kind of regulation a business in the US experiences, the kind it did in Germany, and the kind it did in the USSR…”

    I met an elderly Polish immigrant once who had lived in Poland under both the NAZIs and the Communists. She was not Jewish (if she were Jewish she would have had a very different perspective.) But from her point of view she said the primary difference between the two was “who they killed”. She said “The NAZIs killed the Jews and the Communists killed everybody else.”

    There are degrees of socialism. Until the second term of George W. Bush I would have said we have a “mixed economy” in the Untied States. Now I would have to say we have a flat out socialist economy that is only somewhat more mildly socialist than many in North-West Europe. Give us Canadian Style Healthcare and we might as well be part of Scandinavia.

    Democratic forms of socialism tend to be far more mild than either the NAZI form or the Soviet style of Communism but it is important to remember that Hitler was elected . . . . so – as Holocaust survivors often remind us – we must never forget. If we ever do forget it may happen again.

  66. “Democratic forms of socialism tend to be far more mild than either the NAZI form or the Soviet style of Communism”

    I think that is a bit much, the democratic forms of socialism in places like Scandinaiva have been worlds apart from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, in fact quite pleasant places overall…

    I think we’re missing each other on the property issue. If what you are saying is that what can give a man a right to ABANDONED property is that they use it that’s one thing, but I thought we were talking about what gives any person a right to any property.

    And if your answer to that is “a person can lay claim to anything they can make useful” then it appears that “ability to make useful” is your criteria and hence one who can make it more useful should be able to lay a stronger claim to it…

  67. hence one who can make it more useful should be able to lay a stronger claim to it…

    Well, it’s how the west was won.

    but seriously, squatters rights is what I took PIRS to be talking about the whole time. It’s a fairly longstanding concept in the Anglo Saxon legal tradition. There are inevitable ‘disagreements’ and what counts for abandoned (plus a habit for the previously property holder to say ‘wait that’s mine’ just after someone does improve something) but that’s why it needs to be codified into law. The boundaries are arbitrary but necessary to make the system work.

  68. Nationalists want one people = one nation.

    The Soviets did not, and welcomed diverse groups.

    The Nazis also subsidized small business:

    http://www.hitler.org/writings/programme/

    (Historical site, not political site.)

  69. “Soviet style communism is still another species of socialism. Both are ways government can control the economy.”

    No economy, including ours, has ever existed that hasn’t been controlled to some extent by a government. Completely unfettered capitalism is a libertarian pipe dream, with the same ontological reality as Heaven or Hell (Chomsky thinks of it as Hell.)

  70. “Until the second term of George W. Bush I would have said we have a “mixed economy” in the Untied States. Now I would have to say we have a flat out socialist economy that is only somewhat more mildly socialist than many in North-West Europe. Give us Canadian Style Healthcare and we might as well be part of Scandinavia.”

    Give a rabbit a bone, and it’s pretty much dog…

  71. “I think that is a bit much, the democratic forms of socialism in places like Scandinaiva have been worlds apart from Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, in fact quite pleasant places overall…”

    That is what I meant by “mild”. It is not as bad as . . .

    “I think we’re missing each other on the property issue. If what you are saying is that what can give a man a right to ABANDONED property is that they use it that’s one thing, but I thought we were talking about what gives any person a right to any property.”

    OK, let us talk about Antarctica. Let us suppose I love freezing my arse off and wish to build a house in the middle of Antarctica. No human has ever lived on this land I have chosen. What makes it “mine”? The same thing that would make abandoned property mine. My taking something useless to all but wingless flies and turning it into something useful.

    “and hence one who can make it more useful should be able to lay a stronger claim to it…”

    Childrent tend to have good instincts on this sort of thing. You know the children’s game “shotgun” to decide who sits up front? Or that licking something makes it yours? We can learn a lot from children – they have not yet been brainwashed. They understand natural law better than most adults.

  72. “The Nazis also subsidized small business:”

    Subsidizing businesses is not capitalism.

  73. “Give a rabbit a bone, and it’s pretty much dog…”

    If it walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it looks like a duck and it tastes like a duck, chances are it is a duck.

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