Kevin Williamson on his Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism

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Instapundit Glenn Reynolds talks to National Review's Kevin Williamson about his new book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism. Well worth watching.

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  1. I recently bought this book. I cannot praise it enough. It gives what I found is the PERFECT working definition of Socialism:

    Central Planning.

    1. Exactly. The problem isn’t that planners are commies, it’s that commies are planners.

    2. I watched the video. Kevin Williamson makes it too complicated and inconsistent.

      Here is how to define each, rightly:

      Socialism — living by a council of bureaucrats who decide who gets what and often who does what.

      Communism — living by a council of appointed political officials who decide who gets what and always who does what.

      1. socialism – political control of resources

  2. I followed a few links there and Williamson answers one of his critics from WackedHo. This from the critic is a real howler:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.c…..alist.html

    He insists that reverence for centralized state control can sort out the socialists from the non-socialists. But federal regulation is by definition centrally administered. Wait ? Williamson says ? it’s centralized control in accordance with “THE PLAN” that is the hallmark of socialism. What “PLAN”? Williamson seems to say that “THE PLAN” is any time the state sets goals. In counseling school children to learn about science and math so they can help cure cancer and AIDS, Obama claims “a right of eminent domain over the lives of American children . . . .

    By destroying the desire for learning one mind at a time in our quest to homogenize the human experience we will BEAT that cancer!

    1. So, the commenter seems to be saying that as long as central planning is inconsistent and disorganized, its not socialism?

      I feel so much better.

      1. When were the coordinated efforts of all government ministries working in concert with all the peace loving members of society, towards a common goal….the betterment of humankind as it marches boldly into its socialist future not an inconsistent and disorganized clusterfuck?

      2. I think what he is saying is that you can’t define socialism as “centralized control” because federal activity will by definition be central control. Realizing this Williamson seems to say it is central control in service of “the Plan” that makes for socialism and the commenter notes that there is no one, coherent “the Plan.”

        1. the commenter notes that there is no one, coherent “the Plan.”

          One can say the same thing about any socialist state.

          In fact looking from the outside in all socialist platforms can be characterized by incoherence. I think the left see at as a feature rather then a bug.

          1. So any setting of any goals is socialism?

            1. Re: MNG,

              So any setting of any goals is socialism?

              Depends – do the goals come with departments, regulations and mandates, or not? Because talk is free.

            2. Other than the goals one sets for oneself, yes.

        2. Socialism, hocialism, whatever. As the great Noah Webster put it: There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

          That’s as true today as it was back then.

          1. The superficial distinctions of Fascism, Bolshevism, Hitlerism, are the concern of journalists and publicists; the serious student sees in them only the one root-idea of a complete conversion of social power into State power. When Hitler and Mussolini invoke a kind of debased and hoodwinking mysticism to aid their acceleration of this process, the student at once recognizes his old friend, the formula of Hegel, that “the State incarnates the Divine Idea upon earth,” and he is not hoodwinked. The journalist and the impressionable traveller may make what they will of “the new religion of Bolshevism”; the student contents himself with remarking clearly the exact nature of the process which this inculcation is designed to sanction.

            Albert Jay Nock – “Our Enemy, the State”

        3. No one is arguing that the left is not diverse in their incoherence.

          That is probably why Kevin Williamson put “The Plan” in parenthesis and capitalized the first letter in each word.

          He is making the distinction between a plan to mow ones lawn and “The Plan” that manipulates the economy so that people can pull unicorns out of their buts.

          It makes no difference whether one one socialist thinks subsidizing rainbows will do it and another thinks killing everyone wearing glasses will do it….they both still are “The Plan” to produce unicorns from anuses.

        4. Re: MNG,

          I think what he is saying is that you can’t define socialism as “centralized control” because federal activity will by definition be central control.

          Not control, MNG – don’t equivocate. Central PLANNING. P-L-A-N-N-I-N-G.

          You can control the states federally by, oh let’s say, not let them secede. That’s not central PLANNING.

          Realizing this Williamson seems to say it is central control in service of “the Plan” that makes for socialism and the commenter notes that there is no one, coherent “the Plan.”

          Meaning, the commenter is simply vying for the “Head In Sand” award. Just because he cannot see a “coherent” plan does not mean there isn’t one; it just means the kind of plan HE likes is not being implemented.

        5. Re: MNG,

          I think what he is saying is that you can’t define socialism as “centralized control” because federal activity will by definition be central control.

          Don’t equivocate, MNG. Central PLANNING – P-L-A-N-N-I-N-G.

          Central control is not planning. For instance, the federal government indulges in central control if, oh let’s say, it does not allow the states to secede. However, that is NOT central PLANNING.

          Setting minimum wages, or insurance mandates: THAT’S planning.

          Realizing this Williamson seems to say it is central control in service of “the Plan” that makes for socialism and the commenter notes that there is no one, coherent “the Plan.”

          That just means the commenter is vying for the “Head In Sand” award. Who said they HAVE to be “coherent” plans?

        6. Re: MNG,

          I think what he is saying is that you can’t define socialism as “centralized control” because federal activity will by definition be central control.

          Don’t equivocate, MNG. Central PLANNING – P L A N N I N G.

          Central control is not planning. For instance, the federal government indulges in central control if, oh let’s say, it does not allow the states to secede. However, that is NOT central PLANNING.

          Setting minimum wages, or insurance mandates: THAT’S planning.

          Realizing this Williamson seems to say it is central control in service of “the Plan” that makes for socialism and the commenter notes that there is no one, coherent “the Plan.”

          That just means the commenter is vying for the “Head In Sand” award. Who said they HAVE to be “coherent” plans?

        7. Re: MNG,

          I think what he is saying is that you can’t define socialism as “centralized control” because federal activity will by definition be central control.

          Don’t equivocate, MNG. Central PLANNING – PLANNING.

          Central control is not planning. For instance, the federal government indulges in central control if, oh let’s say, it does not allow the states to secede. However, that is NOT central PLANNING.

          Setting minimum wages, or insurance mandates: THAT’S planning.

          Realizing this Williamson seems to say it is central control in service of “the Plan” that makes for socialism and the commenter notes that there is no one, coherent “the Plan.”

          That just means the commenter is vying for the “Head In Sand” award. Who said they HAVE to be “coherent” plans?

        8. I think most people can distinguish between trying to specify exactly what will be done with all capital (using a 12,000 page standard), and setting some health, safety, or rights based limitations on what may not be done and otherwise letting people do as they will.

          One treats the economy like an evil genie, the other treats it like the aggregate activity of free people. Of course, stripped of natural choice and consequence, the economy does tend to behave like an evil genie…

    2. From the comments of that same article:

      Look, we lived through years of Bush and Cheney being called fascists. Steve Cohen just called Republican House members a bunch of Nazis. This ship has sailed.

      Posted by: tomtildrum | January 19, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

      Is it ok now to call Bush a socialist?

      He did sign TARP create a prescription drug donuts hole and did support government attempts to manipulate the housing loan market.

      1. The only time I remember agreeing with Chavez was when he joked that “Bush is now to the left of me” after TARP.

    3. This is akin to saying because the Lenerean Hydra(government with multiple regulatory agencies and departments, vying for glory, power, and money) has multiple heads that occasionally attack each other, it is not a monster (real Socialism).

      Conversely a dragon IS a monster because it only has one head, one mind, and one will and typically does not work against itself.

  3. Why isn’t Barak on the cover – some Germanic sounding white guy with a beard can’t be socialist – he’s too busy attending tea party rallies…

    1. some Germanic sounding white guy

      I thought Marx was a Jew?

      Not that there is anything wrong with that.

      1. Marx didn’t consider himself a Jew. In fact, he rather disliked Jews. One of his favorite epithets for opponents and rivals was “‘N-word’jew.”

  4. Love to watch it but PJTV can kiss my ass with their registration requirement.

  5. john kenneth galbraith – the only acceptable socialism in america is corporate socialism.

    1. Perhaps the only thing he’s ever said that makes any sense.

      1. except he doesnt realize that his dear leader has been leading the effort as of late

    2. Acceptable…by whose standards?

      1. those who benefit…..!

    3. Thanks for requiring everyone buy our products. We appreciate it.

      Here’s a quarter. Go buy yourself something nice.

  6. Like fish said, I’d love to watch but PJTV is just about the most godawful website on the internet. The videos rarely work properly for me. Sure they have a whole list of reasons my browser or system isn’t compatible but screw that, post the damn videos on youtube where it always works. I think their video player was designed in 1995.

    1. it’s worse than real player!

  7. So socialists are Cylons, just not as hot?

    1. So socialists are Cylons, just not as hot?

      What the fuck was their “Plan” anyway?

      1. Bomb the shit out human home worlds
      2. ???
      3. Profit

      1. It got even more confusing when it turned out that the “humans” hadn’t created the cylons, but the “pre-humans” had. I stopped watching it for the plot at that point and instead for the badassery, hot chicks, and bowdlerized swear words.

    2. Your Dean Stockwell fetish sickens and excites me.

    3. The metal ones are still hotter than most socialists.

  8. The burning question remains unasked: Is the point size and margin width large enough to appeal to the “Politically Incorrect Guide” readership? Also, are the pages drool-proof, or just the cover?

    1. Re: PETE,

      The burning question remains unasked: Is the point size and margin width large enough to appeal to the “Politically Incorrect Guide” readership? Also, are the pages drool-proof, or just the cover?

      Sorry, no luck for you – it is not Heather Has Two Mommies; you won’t be able to read it.

      1. Dear Old Mexican,
        Can’t you criticize left-wing numskulls with out insulting gay and lesbian (and other letters) people.

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