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The Left Still Harbors a Soft Spot For Communism

For all the brutal revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart.

CommunismJgarayIn the mid-1980s, in my student days at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, I once got into an argument at the campus pub with a student activist who thought communism was unfairly maligned. (Back then, I had a reputation as a right-wing extremist because I didn’t think it was crazy to call the USSR—from which my family and I had emigrated a few years earlier—an evil empire.) When I mentioned the tendency of communist regimes to rack up a rather high body count, the young man parried, “Well, what about all the people capitalism kills? Like the people who die from smoking so that tobacco companies can make money?”

Having recovered from shock at the sheer idiocy of this argument, I ventured to point out that cigarettes weren’t exactly unknown behind the Iron Curtain. I don’t recall where things went from there; but I was reminded of that conversation the other day, after reading an honest-to-goodness apologia for Communism on Salon.com, a once-interesting magazine that’s rapidly becoming too embarrassing to list on my résumé.

The author, Occupy activist and writer Jesse Myerson, already caused some controversy last month with a Rolling Stone article that outlined a five-step plan toward eliminating inequality and collectivizing wealth. But at least in that piece, Myerson limited himself to extolling a visionary American brand of kumbaya communism rather than defend any of its actual, real-world versions. Here, in an article that purports to correct Americans’ “misconceptions” about communism, he takes the further step of arguing that the real thing wasn’t as bad as we think.

Among these alleged misconceptions: the notion that “Communism killed 110 million people for resisting dispossession.” As an example, Myerson cites a comment by Fox News host Greg Gutfeld that “only the threat of death can prop up a left-wing dream, because no one in their right mind would volunteer for this crap. Hence, 110 million dead.”

Where’s the error? Well, says Myerson, the actual death toll probably wasn’t 110 million. (True; it may have been just under 100 million, which makes it so much better.) Besides, Myerson argues, many of the people killed by the Soviet regime were not resisters against communist utopia or collectivization—they were themselves communists who ran afoul of Stalin.

But here, Myerson battles a straw man. Not even the fiercest anti-Communist has ever suggested that all the victims of the “left-wing dream” died in defense of property rights. Rather, building and sustaining a system based on expropriation required such levels of violent coercion that the repressive juggernaut inevitably began to crush its own—as well as random victims who were neither communists nor anti-communist resisters. (People would end up in the gulag because a spiteful neighbor reported them for a disrespectful remark about Stalin, or simply because the local authorities needed to meet their quota of arrests.)

Myerson offers other well-worn excuses: the Soviets had to fight a civil war, and also “faced (and heroically defeated) the Nazis.” He leaves out the part where Stalin tried to team up with Hitler to gobble up Eastern Europe, refused to heed warnings of an attack for which he left his country shockingly unprepared, and then sent millions of untrained and barely armed recruits to certain slaughter.

As for Red China, Myerson acknowledges that tens of millions died in the famine that resulted from Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”—“a disastrous combination of applied pseudoscience, stat-juking, and political persecution designed to transform China into an industrial superpower”—and then summarily dismisses the notion that communism might be to blame. “Famine,” he explains, “is not a uniquely ‘left-wing’ problem.” Not even, it seems, when that famine is caused directly by the policies of a left-wing regime.

Then, Myerson tries to make the case that capitalism is just as homicidal as communism—and, in a bold stroke of what passes for logic at Salon these days, includes in his indictment deaths that might happen in the future. Specifically, he wants capitalism held accountable for the future death toll from human-made, capitalism-driven climate change. Myerson might be terribly disappointed to learn that, just like smoking-related health problems, environmental degradation is not always the result of capitalist greed: in fact, it’s widely believed to have been particularly bad under communist regimes.

Myerson’s muddled screed might not merit a second thought if his defense of communism was just a personal eccentricity. Unfortunately, toned-down versions of such whitewashing are fairly common not only on the left but even in mainstream liberal opinion. In 2005, reviewing the book, Mao: the Unknown Story, by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff chided the authors for their overly negative view of the subject: “Mao, however monstrous, also brought useful changes to China. … Mao’s legacy is not all bad.” This rose-tinted view also explains why Westerners who dote on mass-murdering dictators of the left, such as folksinger and onetime Stalin devotee Pete Seeger, tend to get a pass from the media as misguided idealists with their heart in the right place.

The motives behind the reluctance of the left, including many liberals, to fully acknowledge communism’s evil are stated with startling candor by the late leftist writer/journalist Daniel Singer in a 1999 essay in The Nation reviewing The Black Book of Communism, the monumental study of communist terror and repression compiled by a team of historians. Such a one-sided account, Singer lamented—missing the good bits such as “enthusiasm, construction, the spread of education and social advancement”—makes it impossible to understand why so many Western leftists were drawn to communism and willing to overlook its crimes. Besides, he wrote, communism’s record of atrocity was being used to discredit “the possibility of radical transformation” and force people to resign themselves to the status quo. In other words: coming to grips with communism’s true nature makes the Western left look bad and discourages the quest for utopia.

Singer wrote that communism’s detractors “idealize the Western world.” In fact, few would deny that liberal capitalism, historically and today, has plenty of flaws—though many of the sins the left lays at its doorstep, from imperialism to racism, and other prejudices, are near-universal traits of human civilization which liberal capitalism has done much to ameliorate. Anti-utopianism does not preclude seeking positive change; it merely cautions against an uncompromising quest for perfection that may recklessly destroy the good—and against seeking change by coercive means.

For all the revelations, the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart. Just last weekend, narrating an NBC News segment on the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics and surveying Russian history, actor Peter Dinklage referred to “the revolution that birthed one of modern history's pivotal experiments.” That brings to mind an old-time Soviet joke in which a schoolboy asks his father if Marxism-Leninism is a science. “I reckon not, son,” the father replies. “When scientists do experiments, it’s always on animals, not humans.”

Photo Credit: Jgaray

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  • RishJoMo||

    Sounds liek a solid plan to me dude.

    www.RealAnon.tk

  • ||

    As long as leftists continue to be able to live in a fantasy world (which is one of the reasons they love academia, since it's about as close to real life as a Twilight movie), they will continue to venerate and love communism. Because it's not about logic or sense, it's about FEELZ, and to them, communism FEELZ good. They're essentially children.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Some of them try to apply logic to it, but they don't apply reality. Anyone can construct an internally consistent social theory to match their preferences by ignoring the way things actually work.

  • ||

    When they try to use logic (as they see it) it's a disaster (ironically, just like the ideology they defend).

    Myerson is quite possibly the most idiotic individual earning a pay check on the internet. The level of bad in his tired, stale assertions is astounding. I heard all the excuses repackaged by Myerson back in the 1980s. It was retarded then and it's retarded now.

    Defending Communist Russia and China is the work of an ignoramus.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Somebody has to pick up where Pete Seeger left off.

  • ||

    It's funny, because if you think about it--and our buddy SmartPhones here is a perfect example--leftists don't even love communism that much. It's that they absolutely hate capitalism, and the only thing they've so far come up with as a counter to it is communism. Sure, it was an abject, utterly evil failure, but they don;t care because countering capitalism is what matters.

    And the best part is that "capitalism" is just another word for "human nature". Essentially, leftists hate human nature and will excuse any atrocity as long as it was opposing the very nature of humans themselves.

    Leftists are just religious nuts who instead of wanting people to stop fornicating (which is human nature), they want them to stop trading. It's hilarious.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Excellent insight.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Essentially, leftists hate human nature and will excuse any atrocity as long as it was opposing the very nature of humans themselves.

    This. They're pie in the sky idiots who willingly condemn those who do not agree with their theory of "how to get along" to the gulags. They're the petty tyrants in your HOA writ large.

  • Pulseguy||

    One of the best posts I've read in a year. Leftists do hate humanity. It is right through their philosophy.

  • SugarFree||

    Don't praise him. He'll just start humping your leg.

  • Freddy B||

    Well stated and I've seen exactly what you're talking about in debates, progressives turn always to the flaws and supposed injustices of capitalism, but will stay away from discussing the economic fallacies inherent in the communist model - although they will tout it's supposedly better 'social justice' solutions. I hear the term social justice and I think gulag archipelago. I'm not sure what they see when they say the words.

  • ||

    Don't make the mistake of thinking they don't see the gulag archipelago. That's exactly what they want.

  • ||

    I've come to learn they're jaded cynics. It all came together for me when a liberal friend, when pushed to the limit of his argument, conceded he agreed with government policies because 'people could not be trusted to make the right decision.'

    That's cynical.

    However, while there are cynics among their ranks, there are some who are simply misguided and don't harbor a hatred for humanity or maintain a cynical disposition (not that a capitalist can't be a cynic by the way). They're the ones the battle of ideas can be won.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    conceded he agreed with government policies because 'people could not be trusted to make the right decision.'

    That's cynical.

    Because government isn't made up of people, obviously.

  • JW||

    What are you talking about? People who are too corrupt and can't be trusted to run their own lives are clearly the most qualified candidates to run the lives of everyone else.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Yep, leftists are hardcore misanthropes. Their philosophies are steeped in contempt not for the "oppressors" who they view as behaving rationally according to their own purposes, but rather the weak and stupid working class that allows themselves to be exploited.

    The nastiest attack the leftist can use is that if you are not rich and not one of them, then you are brainwashed and voting against your own interests. They basically must infantilize the people they ostensibly want to help.

  • Redmanfms||

    The nastiest attack the leftist can use is that if you are not rich and not one of them, then you are brainwashed and voting against your own interests.

    Or what I've heard, "This is what happens when you don't go to college."

  • ||

    And the best part is that "capitalism" is just another word for "human nature". Essentially, leftists hate human nature and will excuse any atrocity as long as it was opposing the very nature of humans themselves

    err

    There are some things about human nature that i do not find very appealing. Flint spear heads are often found embedded in old bones world wide.

    The left's hatred of human nature and humanity is very specific and often amoral. Things like they people eat to much or they like big houses and boats. They do things that displease their aesthetic sensibilities. Murder rape oppression are not bad per say...only a product of people not achieving the right aesthetic.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Lefty intellectuals hate capitalism for the same reason that European Aristocrats hated Industrialism; it shows them up for the largely useless parasites that they are. They are absolutely SURE that they were paced upon Earth by Divine Providence to tell the rest of us what to do and how to live. Capitalism (when not meddled with) rewards intelligence and effort, and they are stupid and lazy. Naturally they hate it.

  • ||

    ^This

    Their own inadequacy is at the root of their hatred of others and the appeal of equal outcomes for them. In a word- envy.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    They're basically a christian sect minus that Jesus dude.

  • hotsy totsy||

    "They're basically a christian sect minus that Jesus dude."

    Arnold Toynbee called communism a "Christian heresy."

  • PapayaSF||

    One of the funniest things I've ever seen was a circa 1992 account by an American Communist (whose name escapes me) who went to a Moscow book fair to try to sell his books. He was shocked and saddened that the Russians who saw his booth either ignored him, laughed at him, or got angry and yelled at him. What a deluded fool.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yeah, you want a cheerleader for freedom, just find anyone who lived in Russia under communism.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    A friend of mine grew up in Poland, and the same can be said about that country.

  • Waffen Hans||

    You'd be surprised. I have met quite a few young and old that talk about in the old days - before the fall of communism - things were "free."

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Or Venezuela.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I think that was Michael Parenti, I had to read 'Democracy for the Few' for a community college class and I attended a lecture he held for extra credit.

    Regrettably I was not yet a libertarian at the time so I did not take the opportunity to take him and his bullshit to task during the Q&A part.

  • PapayaSF||

    Yes, that's who it was.

  • mtrueman||

    "but they don't apply reality"

    Tens of millions dead and that's not real enough for you?

  • Marshall Gill||

    And then they call themselves "Reality based".

  • mtrueman||

    "And then they call themselves "Reality based"."

    I am not a 'they.' I am a 'he.' And I don't call myself reality based.

    Yet another self-styled libertarian who can't wrap his mind around the fact that people are individuals and deserve to be treated as such.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "As long as leftists continue to be able to live in a fantasy world"

    They see themselves as the "intelligentsia" (aka Vanguard, Philosopher Kings)destined to "guide" (aka rule) the worker class in their new communist utopia. Much like Charles Manson saw himself coming out of hiding after the blacks won the race war that he started to be their leaders since they wouldn't know what to do on their own. Same mindset really.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Of course they want to start a class war instead of a race war. Although I'm sure either will work for their intentions.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "Bunch of mindless jerks who will be the first against the wall when the Revolution comes"

  • AlmightyJB||

    Pol Pot likes this.

  • GILMORE||

    THIS

    Part of the fundamental need they have is to be on an "elevated consciousness", such that they become immune to any of the critiques of 'traditional political dialectic'. They LOVE the idea of themselves being 'intellectual' - not out of any particular love of the world of *ideas*, but for the chance to BE something others ARE NOT. *better*. For all their preaching about Equality and Egalitarianism, the most ardent communists are screaming elitist cockwads who see the vast majority of people as disposable idiots. They perpetually speak to their desires to 'uplift' and 'liberate' 'the masses', but no so much because they actually have any real interest in 'the masses', but because they want to BE themselves the UPLIFTERS and the ones who already reside on the elevated plane.

    Communists are basically Moral/Intellectual Narcissists who, more than ANYTHING, want to be around people who reflect their own self-image as 'morally and intellectually superior beings' back at them. Which is why they so often laugh and reject any obvious criticism of their logic or historical awareness as 'deluded' or 'false consciousness'.

    Yeah. Communism is pretty much the worst massive-multiplayer RPG *evah*

  • C. Anacreon||

    And their frustration with capitalism is that they feel they are better than others, but for some reason in our system so many other people are far more successful than they are. They long for a day where those doing better are brought down to a consistent level of poverty with everyone else in the world, except for them, of course -- they will be the intellectuals who get invited to the art openings and have special privileges the rest of the commoners won't.

    It's really that they have a narcissism that they deserve to be ranked over all others, but don't want to actually take the risks or work hard to rise above others. They really believe in a communist system they would finally be recognized to their true position as philosopher kings.

  • AlmightyJB||

    some animals are more equal than others.

  • JW||

    More so, they're usually the losers of the capitalist system as well. Most of the hardcore lefties I've known personally have also been the worst decision makers I've encountered. They just keep piling up one bad decision after another, on top of the previous one. Which, of course, is always someone else's fault. They were screwed by The Man.

    Another part are the Volvo-driving upper-class fuckwits whose good fortune depended solely on the implicit or explicit subsidies provided to them by the state. They have all sorts of ideas for the lower castes on how they can live to further serve their needs.

    Then you have the delusional dreamers. I have relatives who are well-meaning ex-hippies who can only see the benefits of Leviathan and just tut-tutt about the unfortunate and occasional side-effects that kills and jails millions of people at the hands of the state Goon Squads. For them, there is no unseen, only the results that confirm their bias.

  • ||

    That is pretty accurate JW.

  • Jerms||

    I love this post. Its perfect .

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    It's important to remember that in this the Lefties are not particularly original. The European Aristocrats felt and acted much the same way. So did the Plantation Aristocrats of the Confederacy. So did the Social Darwinists. There is always at least one self-selected elite that believes, for no particular reason, that it should be running the world. The progress of civilization can be measured by the degree to which the common man can get away with telling said elites to go climb a tree.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    There is always at least one self-selected elite that believes, for no particular reason, that it should be running the world.

    I know they're wrong because it's supposed to be me.

  • ||

    FY, it is obviously me, you slack-jawed yokel!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yes, and their distaste for those beneath them makes them disdain free choice. The world would be a much better place if only everyone would live and think as they're told, not as they choose. Choice = anarchy. It really boils down to what it always has and that's desire for power no matter how it's disguised or rationalized. They should be the ones in power dammit because they are the ones who know best. It's not "fair" that who gets the power is influenced by personality, corporations, money or free will. It's their birthright as superior beings.

  • ||

    "They see themselves as the "intelligentsia" (aka Vanguard, Philosopher Kings)destined to "guide" (aka rule) the worker class in their new communist utopia. "

    I highly recommend everyone to read "Boomeritis" by Ken Wilber. It speaks to this very issue and explains and defines it in a way that leaves the reader with a through understanding of the whys and hows of the modern liberal mindset.

  • Michael Price||

    Communism is the class ideology of the intellectuals. It's designed to increase the power and wealth of those who shuffle symbols for a living. It allows those who theorize about society to determine the direction of society, rather than entrepreneurs and consumers doing so.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Isn't the USA's 3-2 victory over Russia proof enough that capitalism is best?

  • ||

    Great game.

  • SmartPhones||

    The problem with communism is capitalism.

    Communism has been unable to triumph because of a large stone: Capitalism.
    It's not just that Capitalism is unable to meet the needs of all humanity, its very workings are the cause for the mass of deprivation and misery in the first place.
    Capitalism is more like a nervous disease these days than a triumphal, over confident system. Communism came about because of how awful capitalism was.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Pretty good. I give it a B.

  • LynchPin1477||

    You didn't know capitalism is the root cause of all the problems in North Korea and Venezuela, and the Middle East?

  • ||

    You forgot Cuba.

    We all know Communist Cuba would not a poor backwards state if the evil capitalists would only open trade with them...

    Wait.

  • PapayaSF||

    One of my favorite idiotic leftist arguments. "Cuba is poor because the USA refuses to practice capitalism with them!"

  • fish_remote||

    No Epi you should hear what he has to say. I've often felt that the Cleveland Browns could win the Super Bowl if it just wasn't for all those other teams ruining it for them.

    Nahhh...that's just crazy talk....the Browns would still find a way to lose.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Competition is a lie perpetrated by those fat cats and hoarders.

  • ||

    They're persistent. I'll give them that.

    Stupid and insipid, but persistent.

  • lap83||

    "Communism came about because of how awful capitalism was."

    Ironically, he might have a point. If Karl Marx hadn't inherited all his money and spent all of his days lounging and philosophizing about things he knew nothing about, he probably would've gotten a real job instead of ruining the 20th century.

  • lap83||

    Not that I think Communism is a solution to that. But it's definitely a cruel irony of capitalism that it allows people lots of free time to come up with dangerously stupid and indulgent ideas.

  • ||

    My friend hired an engineer who came from communist Bulgaria at his company.

    They talk about communism from time to time. It's funny how people who actually EXPERIENCED communism consider it an evil. People like Myserson and his pampered, intellectually defunct band of Western buffoons can sing romantic of it because once they hit the submit button they head on over to Starbucks or any other place.

    They don't know what it's like to live in fear and so it remains but an abstract in their minds. A 'it wasn't that bad' deception if you will.

    Anyway the Bulgarian once described a typical day in Booolgaria. People sit around cafes all day long doing nothing. Just like in bloody Cuba I observed. They have nothing to do.

    Perfect conditions to let misery stew and rage grow. Just like in the Mid-East. Idle hands are the devil's workshop, you know?

    Guess who they blame for their lot? Ok, yes, the Joooos. But what else?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    My experience in the former Bloc countries has always been the same. Only the corrupt and connected miss the communists.

  • thom77||

    A ten minute conversation with someone who actually escaped communism is usually enough to cure most of their sympathies for it. Most, not all. It's the few who hang on (like Mr. Myerson) that are the real problem.

    I too used to work with a guy who escaped the USSR, and the stories he would tell were like nothing I've ever heard before. Sobering stuff.

  • GregMax||

    "They don't know what it's like to live in fear . . . "

    Give 'em time.

  • ||

    I never heard anything about Marx inheriting much money, but he did live most of his adult life sponging off of Friedrich Engels, who never worked a day in his life because his father owned so many (guess what!) cotton mills in the north of England.

  • Sevo||

    Lenin lived on hand-outs until he got the guns and started stealing the money.

  • ||

    It's hard - being a communist doesn't pay that well.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Actually, if you are a dull eyed killer, who's interest is in infliction of pain on your fellow humans, communism pays plenty.

  • ||

    It's not so much the pay, but the great benefits package.

  • Sevo||

    Res ipsa loquitur|2.15.14 @ 3:17PM|#
    "Actually, if you are a dull eyed killer, who's interest is in infliction of pain on your fellow humans, communism pays plenty."

    That's AFTER they came to power. Before, not a one of them earned a damn thing.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Oh, I dunno, bank robbery pays ok provided you don't get caught.

  • Sevo||

    Nazdrakke|2.15.14 @ 4:54PM|#
    "Oh, I dunno, bank robbery pays ok provided you don't get caught."

    See Pipes: I didn't realize how much a part theft played in the Bolshie effort.
    A LOT!

  • Marshall Gill||

    Wasn't Stalin a bank robber?

  • MarioSmario||

    There are many problems with your argument, but the first is the most obvious: capitalism came about after communism, so how could communism have evolved to correct the problems of capitalism? Using your argument, it's more logical that it was capitalism that came about to correct centralized strong arm governments.

  • David_B||

    Communism Capitalizes on cheap labor.

    Workers are often trapped in a cycle of poverty and exploitation, since they cannot improve their lives without significant savings, and most do not have education or other resources for social mobility.

  • LiveFreeOrDOH!||

    "Communism has been unable to triumph because of a large stone: Capitalism."

    Fat ugly chicks have been unable to lay because of a large stone: hot girls."

    That's rich.

  • LynchPin1477||

    It's not just that Capitalism is unable to meet the needs of all humanity

    What makes you think that?

    its very workings are the cause for the mass of deprivation and misery in the first place

    From my point of view, the most miserable places on Earth are usually the least free.

  • ||

    I love it when someone points out that the problem is scarcity, and then tries to blame capitalism for it.

    As if scarcity would disappear under communism (or any other economic system). I guess they're right, look at how abundant life is in North Korea...

  • LynchPin1477||

    If there is a force on Earth better than capitalism at mitigating scarcity and creating new wealth, I'm not aware of it.

  • ||

    Scarcity is a basic economic condition having nothing to do with an economic system.

  • Sevo||

    "As if scarcity would disappear under communism (or any other economic system). I guess they're right, look at how abundant life is in North Korea..."

    And when Russia was part of the USSR, you didn't need money to buy the goods that weren't in the stores!

  • ||

    "As if scarcity would dissappear under communism..."

    Old Soviet Joke: If all of North Africa became communist, within a year they would have a shortage of sand.

    I know, it isnt funny, but a russian friend told me that and he thought it was freakin' hilarious. It is accurate though.

  • ||

    If the left came to grips with the atrocities of communism there would be no more left.

  • SmartPhones||

    Communism was blamed for revolutionary regimes who chose to subvert its principles in order to maintain the same totalitarian regimes they claimed to overthrow. This criticism of communism originated with people who have never read Marx and have no understanding of that stream of political thought, originating with Hegel's dialectical materialism, nor ever understood that Marx's communism was just a theory of what might occur after capitalism reached its maximum expansion and exploded like a balloon filled with too much air.

  • Hugh Akston||

    "It's like a balloon, and...something bad happens!"

  • ||

    Man, it's sinking like a Zeppelin...man!

    /takes puff of doob.

  • ||

    FEELZ!

    You're going into C territory here, dude. You should stop while you're ahead.

  • ||

    Watch it Epi, he sounds like one of those left-wing students who will storm into your office giving them a better grade because they have grand plans for the future! They need to maintain a B+!

    You must give it!

    Capiche?

  • ||

    Does anyone still take Hegel seriously? Have you read Marx yourself? Is he someone you would consider a serious, careful thinker?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Almost no one has read Marx thoroughly, because he's a shitty writer who purposefully obfuscated his writing to avoid having to deal with the (wait for it...) internal contradictions of his own theories.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I tried reading Marx's original writings. It was tough. I don't really remember any of it.

  • ||

    Gobbledy-gook, like Hegel. I think Marx was just drawn to the obscurity-for-its-own sake angle of Hegel.

    Hegel's dialectic was already a pretty dicey idea even for metaphysics. The nice thing about metaphysics is that by the time people figure out whether or not you're full of shit, you're retired.

    In practice, Hegels' dialectic is arbitrary at best.

    "Dialectic materialism," while a neat sounding phrase if you don't know what it means, is utter nonsense if you do.

    I'm with BakedPenguin - Marx was a charlatan.

  • PapayaSF||

    I never have, partly because the labor theory of value seemed absurd on its face.

  • ||

    That's another one that seems like it should be pretty obvious.

    I once explained to my step-father that it has happened on more than one occasion that I have put full days of labor into my VW and only made it less valuable.

    He understood the concrete example, but couldn't make the transfer to the labor theory of value.

  • BakedPenguin||

    If the labor theory of value were true, industrial capitalism would never have happened. All the laborers could have just labored and created value at home, instead of someone else's factory.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    I'm a few hours late, but the labor theory of value was still predominant among liberal economists when Marx was running around ranting and hitting up his friends for money in the late 19th century.

    Neither Smith nor Ricardo were able to develop an answer to the old diamond-water paradox, which left them clinging to the labor theory for want of something better. Marx, being a half-assed economist and a whole-assed propagandist and eschatologist, sought out this weakness in 19th-century economics and made it the center of his economic vision and criticism of the capitalist class who were stealing the value of their employees' labor. By the time that von Bohm-Bawerk & marginalism came around and discredited Marx, it was largely too late.

    Not that it would've mattered. Mises argued convincingly against central planning a century ago, and the past two generations have demonstrated that he was right, but the same old populist demons keep rearing their heads via the democratic politics of envy and, more subtly, Keynes and modern macro.

    When a generation of economists really, really wants socialism to be legit, they will eventually erect a pseudo-scientific discipline that, despite having forecasts as accurate as a coin flip, will gain the ear of presidents and senators.

  • Irish||

    I tried reading Marx's original writings. It was tough. I don't really remember any of it.

    Mises pointed out that for all of Marx's supposed 'scientific' logic, his entire theory hinged upon the idea that he was a sort of prophet who had divined the secret guiding force of history.

    People often call political theories they disagree with 'religions' but it's difficult to read Marx's apocalyptic rhetoric about the mystical force guiding history without seeing it as an essentially religious argument.

  • ||

    In the early 90s Jacques Derrida pointed out that Marxism was essentially a religious faith that was just as guilty of imposing a meta-narrative on history as any other ideology, and that Marxists had lost touch with the principle of constant intellectual revolution that was the only thing of value in Marx's thought.

    He was all but banned from academia.

  • MarioSmario||

    Engels did most of his writing for him; Marx was a trust fund baby from the start. In fact, Engels did much of his writing while in Manhattan.

  • bob sacomano||

    Bohm-Bawerk agrees.

  • ||

    I personally never got Hegel. That and he reminds me too much of Uncle Giggles.

  • ||

    You start with an arbitrary observation, and then choose an opposite observation (thesis-antithesis). You then find a way to synthesize the two, which gives you Truth.

    The rest is just trying to build a big system out of that practice. The resulting system made no sense, which is why it's impossible (and pointless) to read Hegel.

  • ||

    Yeah. Always got the sense it was running around in circles for nothing. Like sophistry.

  • ||

    I actually like the old Greek Sophists much better in that a lot of them were just denying that logic can ever actually lead anyone to Truth.

    Hegel is just pointless.

  • ||

    Oh absolutely. I was referring to the modern version of sophistry practice so well on the left.

  • ||

    Oh that sophistry. Yeah, I think Hegel is their hero.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Great take on Hegel and Marx.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Open.....069101972X

  • AlmightyJB||

    I also recommend Vol I

  • ||

    Does anyone still take Hegel seriously?

    Apparently all the peasants of Russia were vigorous students of Hegel.

    The USSR would have worked if only those kulaks had spent more time reading Marx instead.

  • ||

    I've read Hegel,
    In a nutshell, Hegel is protestant Christianity, with the religion stripped out. It's all all the work ethic and bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth. Minus the actual belief in God or heaven.

    Basically Hegel elevates labor to be the highest virtue (see where this is going), and believe that society is progressing towards some sort of ultimate perfect society through the process of the historical dialectic.

    Hegel was originally trained at a protestant seminary to be a priest and it shows.

    Once you get Hagel, it is utterly banal and stupid. It's a priest trying to justify the value system he was brought up with after he wised up and decided he didn't believe in God anymore.

  • Libertarius||

    The chief philosophical influences on Hegel were Heraclitus and Kant. Hegel's philosophy is essentially Kant's without the noumenal world, with added hyper-rationalism which attempts to derive the universe and physical existence from an ethereal super-consciousness ("the Absolute").

  • ||

    Well, what's the difference between an "etheral superconsciousness" and "God" anyway?

    This still sounds to me like a guy who was trained in a seminary trying to rationalize the value judgements he internalized during his upbringing.

    I've never read Kant, but maybe the same goes for him too.

  • Libertarius||

    For Kant, reality is a product of a super-consciousness of the collective; the premise of collective subjectivism which dominates the modern West ("Everybody knows..." or "Nobody thinks that..." etc.) comes directly from Kant.

    For Hegel, it's also a collective consciousness, but it allegedly exists separate and above the collective human minds alleged to constitute it, but it's not God (it's the "Absolute") or something to that effect. Hegel is extraordinarily obscure, even for a German philosopher lol

  • ||

    Well I don't mean it's literally the same thing as God, but it's like a psychological replacement for God.

    So you can go on maintaining all of the other beliefs and value judgments that are part of the super-structure of religion.

  • Killaz||

    Meh. There is no way you are going to improve on the first post. Trolls should take a lesson from George Costanza and know when to go out on top.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Every single communist regime, every single one, devolved into oppression.

    "But they weren't *really* communists!"

    Even if you're right, who cares? If trying to apply communism's "principles" always leads to the same outcome, then communism's principles are worthless, at best.

  • JW||

    To be fair, *every* state has done that. It's only a question of magnitude.

    POP POP!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    A shorter summary might read - Marx didn't understand human nature in the slightest.

  • ||

    When I read The Communist Manifesto, I admit there were parts to it that intrigued me. But those ideas weren't significant enough that a free society couldn't fix in my view.

  • ||

    Everything worthwhile in the Communist Manifesto is achieve much better by a free market society than by a communist dictatorship.

  • Free Society||

    Except all the violent coercion, slavery and murder.

  • Free Society||

    but i guess those aren't terribly worthwhile.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Marx praised a real-world communist government: the Paris Commune.

    "If the Commune was thus the true representative of all the healthy elements of French society, and therefore the truly national government, it was, at the same time, as a working men’s government, as the bold champion of the emancipation of labor, emphatically international. Within sight of that Prussian army, that had annexed to Germany two French provinces, the Commune annexed to France the working people all over the world."

    (from marxists.org)

    http://bit.ly/1f58TAz

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Since you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, "the true representative of all the healthy elements of French society" imprisoned and murdered the Archbishop of Paris and some priests:

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

  • ||

    This criticism of communism originated

    Let me stop you there. This criticism of communism originated from me.

    It is amusing that you think one cannot observe communism's failures and come to this same criticism from first principles.

    It is even more amusing that you point to Hegel as an origin of criticism of marx because no one read marx.

    Who the fuck has read Hegel dumbass?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Who the fuck has read Hegel dumbass?

    I have, if only to understand why Continental philosophy is such rank nonsense. All of it. It is completely devoid of any intellectual merit or utility. Indeed, Hegel's works were the first razor slice across the vein of European philosophy and civilization, that has been slowly bleeding its life force out into the bath waters for more than 170 years now.

  • ||

    I came to him with the same motivation. There's this great sense of hanging your head and saying to yourself "Oh my God how you people have been wasting your time."

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed. When reading Hegel's arguments for dialetic logic, it's like reading a really, really bad translation of Tao Te Ching.

  • ||

    I'm glad I'm finding allies about Hegel. For the longest time because I didn't understand him it meant I was simply not smart enough to get his point.

    Happens enough, I grant, but Hegel left me nodding my head wondering about my intellectual chops.

  • Sevo||

    SmartPhones|2.15.14 @ 12:24PM|#
    "Communism was blamed for revolutionary regimes who chose to subvert its principles..."

    Communism is properly blamed for what happens every time it's been tried: Reality intrudes and finally the only way to keep people poor is to shoot 'em.

  • Sam Grove||

    Communism was implemented immediately after the communist revolution in Russia and was almost immediately discarded. Capitalism aside, communism simply will not work at any scale beyond maybe a dozen people because of the coordination problem, the systemic incentives, and human nature. Anyone who has had to suffer with bad roommates will have an inkling why many people would make lousy comrades.

    Capitalism, defined as simply as possible as the private ownership and direction of the means of production, does work because it is not a designed system but rather is evolved from natural human behavior, thus it incorporates the systemic incentives that motivate humans to produce and trade to mutual benefit...the supposed ideal aim of communism. Oh, the irony.

    Capitalism, as managed by government, is no longer capitalism, rather it becomes a hybrid of mercantilism/corporatism/fascism.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Without a large non-linear information chewing engine like The Market, collectivist schemes simply can't process the data required to implement wide spread coordination. Markets to it implicitly, etc...of course y'all know this.

    Which brings to mind another question I have regarding lefty retards. Why are they able to process ideas like "spontaneous order" or "emergent behavior" in science but not understand its importance to economic systems? Are they just fucking stupid not understanding it in the first place?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why are they able to process ideas like "spontaneous order" or "emergent behavior" in science but not understand its importance to economic systems?

    With the exception of P.Z. Meyers, they don't.

    Are they just fucking stupid not understanding it in the first place?

    Yes. Very few people truly understand the import of Darwinian thought, as Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea cogently argues. (It's an excellent book and I urge all of you to read it. Jus' sayin')

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Can't I just watch the BBC version?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    They made a documentary of it? Cool!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Evolution is correct and proper in nature. Humans are not natural, therefore anything resembling evolutionary pressures in human behavior is wrong. QED.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Most of them never had real jobs, I suspect. At the very least, they never looked at their jobs in the context of the larger market.

    As for me, I have two jobs, both dealing with data. One is doing sales reports that show how well certain ad campaigns are performing (or not), the other is updating weather and pricing data to help determine how much natural gas should be shipped to certain locations, and what it should be priced at. In both, I'm merely a cog in a chain of people working hard to make the right decisions so the businesses will thrive, and people will get goods and services they want at the most reasonable prices.

    CAPITALISMS, FUCK YEAH!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    They key part of your jobs as they relate to capitalism is that if you suck at them, you'll be replaced by someone or something better.

  • BakedPenguin||

    While that is true, I was thinking more about reinforcing Eggs Benedict's point that capitalism relies on massive amounts of data, which needs to be collected and used in timely fashion. We are motivated to do so by our competitors, which every government not under civil war lacks.

  • ||

    "I'm merely a cog in a chain of people working hard to make the right decisions so the businesses will thrive, and people will get goods and services they want at the most reasonable prices."

    This resonates with me. Although I'm in a completely different business, this is pretty much the truth of how things work in a capitalist world.

    When I worked for the bank, in the early days of my training in showing how banking 'behind the scenes' worked, it was startling to learn how much of it is based on an 'honor system' as there's large parts of it that aren't necessarily ruled by regulations or inter-banking rules.

    They just work together in a common manner to ensure the right calls are made. Not some sinister plot to ruin lives.

  • PapayaSF||

    To lefties, in economics, "spontaneous order" or "emergent behavior" sound like "laissez faire," which they know they don't like, because greedy people exploit the poor and pollute the Earth without government control.

    Heck, lefties will prattle on about "sustainability" when it comes to ecology, but when it comes to government debt, that concept just evaporates.

  • Irish||

    Guys, Smartphones is obviously a sockpuppet and a pretty good one as far as these things go.

    I don't know why people are responding to him. I'm almost positive it's a satire of communists.

  • Irish||

    I mean, for Christ's sake, his name is 'Smartphones' and he's advocating Communism.

    Is there anything more hypercapitalist than a fucking Smartphone? They don't make those things in North Korea. This tells me he's a sockpuppet satire of Communists, especially since every one of his arguments is a restatement of the Myerson arguments that Cathy Young just obliterated in this article.

  • ||

    If it is a good enough sockpuppet to be confused with the real thing then why not argue with it?

  • section9||

    Spot-on. People who talk like undergraduates like Smartphones aren't really in it for the Long Haul intellectually.

    You'd best ignore.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    Hegel is another sum bitch I'd like to waste along with Wilson, Teddy R., and Rousseau. If only I had a way back machine.

  • PapayaSF||

    If I had two time-travel shots, I'd take out Muhammed and Marx.

  • Acosmist||

    Hegel was dialectical idealism, dude.

  • Qui?||

    Uhhhh....Hegel's dialecticism isn't materialist. Marx even criticizes this. Which you would know if you were sufficiently familiar with Marx.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Marx's communism was just a theory of what might occur after capitalism reached its maximum expansion and exploded like a balloon filled with too much air.

    Well, that's because Marx was essentially a religious fanatic who replaced church with state. His theory was one of apocalypticism, not economics.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    If it is fair to blame Christianity for the excesses of horror shows like the Spanish Inquisition, and people tend to, then it is fair to observe that every self-proclaimedly Communist Revolution has resulted in a regime of mass murder.

    Christianity has also been the basis of societies that greatly advanced civilization. Communism has, thus far, been the basis only of death and misery

  • Zeb||

    Marx's communism was just a theory of what might occur after capitalism reached its maximum expansion

    Yeah. A wrong theory. Even without the benefit of hindsight, I can't understand how anyone doesn't think Marx is just silly. Just the labor theory of value is laughable on its face. How do people buy that shit?

  • perlhaqr||

    Just the labor theory of value is laughable on its face. How do people buy that shit?

    They don't have to, there's a common store of it that each takes from according to their need!

    *ba dum, ching!* :D

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    If the Left came to grips with the atrocities of Communism, it would have to face what it has been cheerleading for. And that would break an awful lot of comfortably mediocre academic minds.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You might even call what they're suffering a form of false consciousness.

  • Number 2||

    "Such a one-sided account, Singer lamented—missing the good bits such as “enthusiasm, construction, the spread of education and social advancement""

    And Mussolini made the trains run on time, right?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    And it's even worse than that - Mussolini *didn't* make the trains run on time, according to Snopes:

    http://www.snopes.com/history/govern/trains.asp

  • LynchPin1477||

    Enthusiasm? This guy watched one too many propaganda videos.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "I hear you haffen't been showink enthusiasm, comrade..."

    "No, no, I'm enthusiastic! I would heartily recommend communism to anyone!"

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I recently saw "Fidel", a movie made about 10-12 years ago.
    The whole thing was worth watching just for the scenes where his centrally planned economy fell apart.

    For example, he was told that sugar cane production was down because the workers all made the same salary regardless of how hard they worked.
    He kept insisting to his advisors that the problem was a lack of motivation from them to the workers about working for the glory of Cuba.

    i.e. "messaging"

  • BakedPenguin||

    Gosh, I can't think of any American politician that sounds like at all.

  • Irish||

    Gosh, I can't think of any American politician that sounds like at all.

    This is the real reason leftists are hesitant to attack Communism as much as they ought to. Its logic, arguments, and excuses are all virtually identical to the logic, arguments, and excuses of less radical leftism.

    Obama and the Democrats are pretty moderate leftists as far as these things go, but whenever something goes wrong they sound exactly like Stalin blaming the obstructionist Rethuglicans wreckers and saboteurs.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Well, says Myerson, the actual death toll probably wasn’t 110 million. (True; it may have been just under 100 million, which makes it so much better.)

    It all depends upon how one looks at. The Black Book death toll is limited to murders excluding war casualties. If one includes the deaths incurred in wars between competing brands of socialism, the death toll is far larger than 100 million.

    Communists are very protective of their brand, so naturally they would not want to include deaths incurred in their competition with national socialism, Kuomintang socialism, and Anglo-American fascism, etc. (The latter characterization may be disturbing to younger readers, but that is exactly how Reds characterized their Western adversaries.)

    There is no logical reason for libertarians to exclude the war deaths in the struggles among socialist variants, however. These were the natural consequence of socialism just as much as the eradication of the kulaks and the landlords, engineered starvation programs, the gulags, the killing fields, and all of the routine fuckedupedness of socialism. When these are included, the death toll is much, much greater than 100 million.

    But when somebody is really, really invested in an idea, the facts don't matter.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Whether you exclude the war dead or not, the human toll is staggering and should be enough to destroy any arguments.

  • Drake||

    You don't actually argue or debate such an idiot in any logical manner. You shun and avoid such radioactive stupidity. If anyone like him actually gets into power, you use violence before they use it against you.

    There is no reasoning with them.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    The truth is that they don't care about the deaths.
    Just like American lefties began ignoring Iraq/Afghanistan deaths the day Obama took office.
    FYI, 1700 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan since Dear Leader took over, and silence.
    And the way they threw crazy Cindy Sheehan under the bus when she dared criticize The One says a lot about them as well.

  • ||

    Didn't Olbermann have a daily death count or something under Bush?

    And where has the idiot been anyway?

  • Number 2||

    Back doing sports. And he knows as much about that subject as he did about political issues.

  • ||

    I'm dumbfounded that ESPN put him back on their payroll. He must have some really incriminating pictures.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I'm dumbfounded that ESPN put him back on their payroll.

    The Worldwide Leader is a fucking parody of itself now. Long ago, it was a really interesting channel that had a pretty eclectic mix of stuff to watch, from pro football to lacrosse to soccer to even professional wrasslin'.

    But right around the mid-90s, they decided that substituting snark for substantive analysis was better for the brand (not surprising given that Gen-X, who practically made snark and cynicism a cornerstone of personal interactions, was dominating pop cultural tastes at the time). Now that they have all these TV contracts for the major sports, their coverage is both insufferable in its hype and compromised in its integrity.

  • ||

    Like Deadspin.

    Deadspin was interesting for 15 minutes. But it lacked and lacks substance.

  • ||

    FYI, 1700 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan since Dear Leader took over, and silence.

    Holy shit, I had no idea. That sucks (to say the least).

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Commies suck.
    QED.

  • ||

    Fucken-A.

    Amen.

  • Eric Bana||

    Well, four years ago a fellow student was reading a book outside the door before class. Another student asked her what she was reading. She said, "Marx. He's my idol." When I heard that my jaw literally dropped and I gasped for air in surprise. She noticed my reaction of course, and I decided to limit myself to saying people usually read other things. I was extremely shocked though. I couldn't believe that people still think that way in the 21st century. It was rather disconcerting.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I met a Hitler apologist. Nothing surprises me.

  • ||

    The next day you should have brought bible and sat in the same place reading it.

    Told anyone who asked "Jesus. He's my idol"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Told anyone who asked "Jesus. He's my idol"

    But that's idolatry!

  • John C. Randolph||

    "Marx. He's my idol."

    "What do you like about him? Is it the crushing poverty, or the hundred million people murdered by the idiots who followed him?"

  • ||

    The life spent drinking beer and sleeping in until 10am, of course.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    It's more the boils on his penis.

  • J2Hess||

    Marx was a failure as a builder of fantasy political utopias but ranks as one of the top classical economists. If your jaw dropped, it is because you know only the right's stereotypes of Marx.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    So Ellen Page is gay.
    Are you happy now, world?

  • John C. Randolph||

    Who's Ellen Page?

    -jcr

  • ||

    A nude video game model.

  • SusanM||

  • ||

    She looks like a little boy...

    So it is probably a good fit.

  • LynchPin1477||

    I think she's cute.

  • GILMORE||

    No one complains about the ugly lesbians.

    its only when the cute ones come out that there's a collective "Awwwwww?" that resonates through the male universe.

    which quickly transforms into a shrug, and a "fuck it, lesbo porn is good too"

  • ||

    Same deal for guys - no one cared that Paul Lind was gay, but Rock Hudson! Women were wearing sack-cloth and dumping ashes on their heads.

  • Killaz||

    How can you love Hudson more than Lind? Lind was funny and entertaining, Hudson was just a slab of meat. I guess women just tend to be superficial that way.

  • Killaz||

    To my eyes she looks like Jenna Fischer's plain face sister.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It was because she sometimes stayed with Jim Lahey and Randy and their lifestyle corrupted her.

  • JW||

    What rock did you have to be under to be surprised by this announcement?

  • BakedPenguin||

    A Penguin-sized one, apparently. I actually had no idea who she was until I checked out imdb.

  • JW||

    I didn't really know her all that well, mostly from Inception and my limited exposure to her otherwise, but really, you're a lesbian? You don't say.

    File under 'Ellen.'

  • Marshall Gill||

    Sort of like the male figure skater "coming out". Surely not a single person thought this dude was straight.

  • Killaz||

    I would be so pissed if I was Bryan Singer. She could have timed coming out in May a few weeks before the release of Days of Future Past.

    Do actors have any sense of loyalty these days or, are they all just half assing it, now?

  • Bam!||

    She did a lesbian sketch when she was on SNL years ago. Not a big surprise.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    But how will Ellen Page's lesbianism affect chemistry on the set with her cast mates and crew?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    So?

    She's gonna need to do better than that. Perhaps she'd get the attention she craved if she claimed to be having sex with small barnyard animals, but gay? Please. Gay is like so 2000s.

  • Killaz||

    She could join the NRA. Do hoplophile porn if she wants to earn her stripes as a sexual pioneer.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Are these public announcements of sexual orientation starting to become tedious for anyone else? Like I could give a shit about how these yo-yos get their jollies?

    Now hear this! Hawk Spitui is a heterosexual! And white! And male! You heard it here first!

  • ||

    Are these public announcements of sexual orientation starting to become tedious for anyone else?

    meh.

    We will be better off once it becomes background noise.

  • PapayaSF||

    It's gone from The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name to The Love That Won't Shut up About It.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It's always been tedious. If you want to state that you are in a relationship with a specific person and want to celebrate it (or rub it in everybody's faces), fine. If you're just professing how you prefer to get your jollies, it's unimportant at best.

  • Killaz||

    Having a news conference to announce your sexual preferences is itself a fetish that only the famous get to indulge in. Are we so envious, like the Occupy folk, that we would deny to the famous their right to please their appetites?

  • ||

    Now hear this! Hawk Spitui is a heterosexual! And white! And male! You heard it here first"

    Citation needed.

  • ||

    Come out of the closet Hawk!

    /Channeling John Travolta

    Next you'll be denying you're a scientologist.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    What's so stupid about the whole spectacle is how she's being praised for her "bravery."

    Bravery? Are they fucking serious? Even as little as 15 years ago, yeah, coming out as gay would have been brave as hell. But is Page really risking anything by coming out? A loss of movie roles? Ostracization by her peers and/or family members? Arrest and incarceration? When you have a multi-billion-dollar industry ready and willing to ennoble you simply because of your sexual orientation, is it really bravery to come out?

    Fuck that. Gays in Africa who are getting thrown in prison or even executed due to their sexual orientation are brave. This woman's just the latest in a long line of Hollywood narcissists looking for people to worship them.

  • PapayaSF||

    Leftist positions are by definition "brave." Doesn't matter how trite they are. Being "for peace" and "against racism" are considered "brave," as if the vast majority of people were racist warmongers and it was risky to disagree with them.

  • ||

    “Well, what about all the people capitalism kills? Like the people who die from smoking so that tobacco companies can make money?"

    Wouldn't surprise me if they're logic would stretch back to blaming the Bubonic Plague on capitalism. After all, it was Venetian merchants who brought back the rats on their ships from India. And was this so? Because they were capitalists trading in the East!

    Their corporate greed and obsession profits killed millions!

  • Sevo||

    R.J.F.,
    I give you 6 months before someone throws that back at you as an example.

  • ||

    I don't know why I keep missing words. Damn. "obsession WITH profits.'

    Anyway. That long, huh? I hope I didn't start something here.

  • J2Hess||

    Merchant capitalism is different from industrial capitalism as it doesn't control the means of production. But if you're on the right track in noting that greed/desire predate industrial capitalism, the stock markets institutionalize it by giving the greatest rewards to the worst offenders.

    Thus your analogy fails. The Venetian merchants didn't intend to bring back the plague. Tobacco companies intended to profit through doing harm and spent years obscuring the science so they could keep it up..

  • ||

    'and why was this so?'

  • mtrueman||

    Nothing here is terribly interesting. Of course the Left still harbours a Soft Spot for communism. Communism is of the left. Much more surprising is that today's left harbours a much larger Soft Spot for capitalism. The number of Leftists who explicitly disavow capitalism today is vanishingly small. This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

  • Sevo||

    "The number of Leftists who explicitly disavow capitalism today is vanishingly small."
    Cite missing

    "This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high."
    Cite missing.

  • Killaz||

    Don't you know, Sevo? The capitalism market for hit men is just huge. 123,000 killed through capitalist facilitation a year for almost 100 years and you easily get a figure that matches the death toll from communism.

    He probably thinks capitalism is synonymous with democracy and nationalism, brands that do have a high death toll. The very nature of leftist ideologies that they confuse the political with the economic is at the heart of this all too common confusion by them. They just suck when you get down to the root of the problem.

  • Sevo||

    Killaz|2.15.14 @ 1:09PM|#
    "Don't you know, Sevo? The capitalism market for hit men is just huge."
    I know last time I needed to bump off a lot of customers, it cost me an arm and a leg!

    "He probably thinks capitalism is synonymous with democracy and nationalism, brands that do have a high death toll."
    And monarchies! They're capitalists, aren't they?
    See below.

  • mtrueman||

    "Cite missing."

    Hunting down cites for you is not my style. Sorry, do your own research.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 1:17PM|#
    "Hunting down cites for you is not my style. Sorry, do your own research."

    That's right, that was YOU!
    You get to make stupid statements and never have to back them up! I forgot the special dispensation for ignorant pieces of shit.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Lazy troll is lazy, film at 11

  • ||

    Ok. So do it for me. I'm curious.

  • mtrueman||

    A cite stating that the number of leftists today who explicitly dissavow capitalism is vanishly small? What exactly is that supposed to settle?

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 1:35PM|#
    "A cite stating that the number of leftists today who explicitly dissavow capitalism is vanishly small? What exactly is that supposed to settle?"

    OK, folks, for your amusement, let me introduce MTRUEMAN!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Don't you mean mfalseman

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Burden of proof lies with the claimant.

    If you can't back it, don't spout bullshit.

  • mtrueman||

    "Burden of proof lies with the claimant"

    Not really interested in proving anything. Just here to have discussion, and maybe expand my views. My motives are mostly selfish. I don't really care much about persuading anyone here of anything.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 1:51PM|#
    ..."Not really interested in proving anything. Just here to have discussion, and maybe expand my views."...

    That's a RIOT!

  • Irish||

    Not really interested in proving anything

    Well then you should probably avoid making wild and incoherent claims.

    You don't get to spout lies and then say "I'm not interested in proving anything."

    I'm honestly amazed someone as obviously dumb as you is even capable of working a computer.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'm honestly amazed"

    I'm an amazing guy.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 9:01PM|#
    "I'm honestly amazed"
    "I'm an amazing guy."

    Only in that most people would be ashamed.

  • mtrueman||

    "Only in that most people would be ashamed."

    Have you met most people? Were you impressed?

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 10:54PM|#
    "Only in that most people would be ashamed."
    Have you met most people? Were you impressed?"

    Are you stupid enough to presume otherwise?
    Probably all of the hits on your blog today are from people here who are amazed at your stupidity. And what I noticed is the absolute lack of any comments; your arm-waving isn't sufficient to engage the the idiot kids in the basement.
    How thrilling it must be to talk to yourself and hear no response!

  • mtrueman||

    "And what I noticed is the absolute lack of any comments; your arm-waving isn't sufficient to engage the the idiot kids in the basement.
    How thrilling it must be to talk to yourself and hear no response!"

    Comments are overrated. I learned that at Reason. Most commenting is posturing, insult and bluster. Your commenting, Sevo, is fairly unremarkable in that way.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 11:10PM|#
    "Comments are overrated."

    By idjits like you.
    At the very least, they indicate that someone cares about your stupidity.
    In your case, you're stupid enough that no one even bothers to point out how stupid you are.
    How does it feel to talk to yourself? I'm gonna guess that making a living is something that is a bit foreign to you.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 11:10PM|#
    "Comments are overrated."

    Oh, and just to beat on the asshole at hand:
    1) I read your most recent post on your blog. You NEVER even hinted that smoke was any sort of danger at all. You simply suggested that others weren't as as righteous as you.
    Now there are examples of assholes, but that is one of the best I've seen, asshole. Would you please post a correction on your blog?
    2) You seem to be arguing with the point of the article generating all these comments, and yet I've yet to see a single comment from you or any of the other lefty ignoramuses that disputes one of Cathy's comments.

  • mtrueman||

    "You NEVER even hinted that smoke was any sort of danger at all"

    Whether smoke is dangerous or safe is not relevant to my observation.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'm honestly amazed someone as obviously dumb as you is even capable of working a computer."

    You underestimate the power of trial and error.

  • So very tired||

    Not really interested in proving anything.

    Because you can't prove your claim.

    You lied.

    I don't really care much about persuading anyone here of anything.

    Why is it always, first "find it yourself" followed by some version of "i don't care what you think/am not here to persuade"?

    Do you trolls have a "troll by numbers" kit or something.

  • Irish||

    Mtrueman is not a troll. Trolls don't generally have their own blogs.

    Read his blog and it becomes obvious that he's just really fucking stupid.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Holy fuck, what a repository of stupid.

    http://mtrueman.blogspot.mx/20.....dites.html

    Drawing an equivalence between the Luddites and modern day hackers, because people.

  • JW||

    Read his blog and it becomes obvious that he's just really fucking stupid.

    You don't even have to do that much, to reach that conclusion.

  • Sevo||

    I did, and if anyone is convinced by the combination of ignorant self-righteousness and innuendo, screw 'em.
    He spends the first post never mentioning that there is no proof of harm, just that he's superior to libertarians since he cares about THE CHILDRUNZ!
    Stupid and slimy.

  • Sevo||

    "Why is it always, first "find it yourself" followed by some version of "i don't care what you think/am not here to persuade"?"

    Because idjits are some damn predictable.
    Smart people surprise you; fools are all alike.

  • mtrueman||

    "Smart people surprise you"

    No, what surprises me is that I'm the only one posting here that finds the Left still harbouring a Soft Spot for communism remarkable. To me it's utterly banal. Scatch the surface and you'll find leftists harbouring a Soft Spot for Paris Communards as well. Surprised? You really shouldn't be.

  • Sevo||

    "Surprised? You really shouldn't be."

    And yet you've spent a good part of the day arguing it isn't true!

  • mtrueman||

    Sorry, my mistake, I should have said " I'm the only one posting here that finds the Left still harbouring a Soft Spot for communism UNremarkable"

    I've spent a good part of the day doing something pleasant. Here I'm dealing with puppies and ankle biters.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 11:15PM|#
    "Sorry, my mistake, I should have said " I'm the only one posting here that finds the Left still harbouring a Soft Spot for communism UNremarkable"

    I've spent a good part of the day doing something pleasant. Here I'm dealing with puppies and ankle biters."

    Oh, how cute, asshole.

  • mtrueman||

    "Why is it always, first "find it yourself" followed by some version of "i don't care what you think/am not here to persuade"?"

    Honestly, I'm not sure I could "find a cite." These are my opinions and I may well be the only one to hold them. After all, I'm apparently the only one not to find the fact that Leftists still hold a Soft Spot for communism remarkable.

    A cite proves nothing except a lack of originality.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 9:34PM|#
    "A cite proves nothing except a lack of originality."

    mtrueman posted that. I didn't make it up. He really did.
    Did you know that mtrueman fucks little kids? I do. I know that and I don't have to post a cite about it since I do.
    Hey, mtrueman, are you on the predators list? You should be since you fuck little kids.

  • mtrueman||

    When I post my opinions, a cite doesn't really add anything. Would any cite I add really change your mind? I don't think so. I think your request for cites is simply a ruse to let you avoid the topic and shift it to some wild goose chase on to some other topic. A less interesting topic, to me.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 10:41PM|#
    "When I post my opinions, a cite doesn't really add anything."

    it's my opinion that mtrueman is a child molester.
    A cite really doesn't add anything.

  • mtrueman||

    You always end up repeating yourself, don't you Sevo. Say something worth saying and we can continue this discussion. Sometimes you manage to say something of substance, but it always seem to be offered so grudgingly. My advice, be a little more generous with your interlocutors. Courtesy costs you nothing.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 11:06PM|#
    "You always end up repeating yourself, don't you Sevo"

    Yes, because lefty ignoramuses always make the same claims.

  • Griff Tannen||

    "[A] cite doesn't really add anything. Would any cite I add really change your mind?"

    Hilarious.

    Your honor, I know that I don't have a cite for the position that my client should be compensated in the amount of $1.3 million because an advertisement about women hygiene products made him cry, but a cite doesn't really add anything. Seriously your honor, would any cite I add really change your mind?

  • mtrueman||

    "Hilarious."

    Yet even more hilarious is your apparent belief that this board is even remotely similar to a court of law.

  • Sevo||

    "Did you know that mtrueman fucks little kids? I do. I know that and I don't have to post a cite about it since I do.
    Hey, mtrueman, are you on the predators list? You should be since you fuck little kids."
    Correction:
    It is my opinion that mtrueman fucks little kids. I do not state that as a fact.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    My motives are mostly selfish.

    How capitalistic. Funny how that works.

  • mtrueman||

    You don't think communists are selfish? That was part of their failure. Their inability to inculcate a spirit of altruism.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 10:43PM|#
    "You don't think communists are selfish? That was part of their failure. Their inability to inculcate a spirit of altruism."

    So you agree that mtrueman is a child molester?

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    It's the entire failure of state socialism, as coerced altruism is an oxymoron. Altruism is the rarest of attributes, and it is, by definition, voluntary. It's one man in a million who becomes altruistic, and that's almost always the consequence of mystical experience, not pro-social drilling by society, and certainly not coercion via the monopoly of violence that is the state.

    It's worth noting that where voluntary socialism exists on a scale larger than the family, it's characterized by poverty, usually extreme poverty. Jamestown and Plymouth Rock remain the definitive examples of the failures of voluntary, truly communal socialism and the triumph of (relative) natural liberty.

    If you haven't read it already, I recommend Sowell's Conflict of Visions for the definitive take on the tabula rasa/New Soviet Man vision of human nature of the socialist vs. the constrained/evolutionary understanding of how innate human nature influences and restricts social behavior.

  • ||

    Mtrueman rapes small children!!

    I would cite the proof but i am not your fucking research assistant.

  • ||

    Oh, I'd heard it was chickens, that's even worse.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It's pretty clear that research isn't your strong suit.

    And, why bother anyway? The ideology is all you need to understand that capitalism is evil. If somebody wants facts, like a typical commie, you just can make shit up to suit your ideology.

  • mtrueman||

    "The ideology is all you need to understand that capitalism is evil."

    It's not about that. Capitalism has the capacity to kill large numbers of people. Any large scale social engineering has that.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 10:13PM|#

    "The ideology is all you need to understand that capitalism is evil."
    It's not about that. Capitalism has the capacity to kill large numbers of people. Any large scale social engineering has that."

    mtrueman has the capacity to fuck little kids. Any idiot does. Therefore mtrueman fucks little kids.
    BTW, idjit, capitalism is the oppsite of a 'social engineering' effort, but a kid fucker wouldn't know that, would you?

  • mtrueman||

    "capitalism is the oppsite of a 'social engineering' effort"

    How is capitalism, or more precisely, the introduction of capitalism to a non capitalist society, the opposite of a social engineering effort? Don't get your meaning here.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 10:53PM|#
    "How is capitalism, or more precisely, the introduction of capitalism to a non capitalist society, the opposite of a social engineering effort"

    You stupid shit; no one "introduces" capitalism, but ignoramuses wouldn't know that, right, ignoramus?
    That would be you, ignoramus.

  • Sevo||

    "How is capitalism, or more precisely, the introduction of capitalism to a non capitalist society, the opposite of a social engineering effort? Don't get your meaning here."

    You probably are that stupid.
    No one "introduces" capitalism; it is an organization that occurs when people deal with each other.
    Unlike your fave, where it requires coercion to force people to give up their possessions.

  • mtrueman||

    "No one "introduces" capitalism"

    But goods that were not part of the global liberal markets do become part of them. Indian wheat or Congo rubber, for example. The process does involve coercion and sometimes, the deaths of millions.

  • Malkavian||

    Hint: this process ain't capitalism.

  • mtrueman||

    In the true capitalism, goods are blamelessly magicked into existence? Or the rubber economy can't be considered capitalism because of its methods of extraction? How, exactly, do you define capitalism? Do tell, otherwise we're never get beyond running around in circles.

  • ||

    By your definition, all forms of exchange are capitalism. The very nature of human desire and scarcity is capitalism. Anything that involves one person wanting something and being willing to pay for it is capitalism.

    If that is the case, there capitalism is not a system, so much as an intrinsic feature of human nature.

    A more reasonable definition is that capitalism is a system of laws regarding contracts and property rights. This system treats individuals as autonomous and equal free agents, who are equally entitled to ownership of the products of their labor, and have equal rights to free exchange of said products, with no other mutual obligations beyond what they freely agree to.

  • mtrueman||

    "A more reasonable definition is that capitalism is a system of laws regarding contracts and property rights"

    Is that just an ideal? With a global market there ought to be global system of laws. There is none, and I can't foresee one. Without one, the capitalistic system that governs the manufacture and exchange of Model T cars will necessarily be tainted by the coercion inherent in the extraction of the rubber. I hope you get my point.

    On another point, this whole exercise of comparing capitalism and communism is not very useful. There are no capitalist governments. There are governments that make capitalism possible but that's not the same thing. There are on the other hand communist governments. We are dealing with apples and oranges here.

  • ||

    With a global market there ought to be global system of laws.

    This is what the WTO is for. Strangely, your people seem to be opposed to international trade agreements.

  • mtrueman||

    Do you believe the WTO to be adequate to prevent government coercion of a labour force? China is a member in good standing. You really ought to look into how things are in China before you put too much stock in legal frameworks like the WTO. Maybe you think only a little tinkering is necessary before the WTO irons out all the kinks in the system...

    By the way, I don't speak for 'my people.' I don't put much stock in international trade agreements for reasons that should be obvious.

  • CatoTheElder||

    This comment is reminiscent of a poster here by the handle White Indian, the guy who bemoaned the fact that capitalism deprived people of their ability to gambol about in nature, or something.

    Of course, capitalist societies have the capacity to kill huge numbers of people. Any society that has attained a early 20th Century level of technology has that capacity. Even the Huns of the 5th Century and the Mongol hordes of the 11th & 12th Centuries exhibited the capacity for megadeaths.

    However, no sensible capitalist has an interest in killing his customers, or even his competitors. Of course, states have a very long history of killing both competitors and pesky subjects and even subjects who do not contribute adequately to the interests of the state. OTOH, 20th Century totalitarian socialist states and raiders from the steppes have a particularly dreadful history in this regard.

  • Sevo||

    You are more kind to the asshole than am I but:
    "OTOH, 20th Century totalitarian socialist states and raiders from the steppes have a particularly dreadful history in this regard."
    You miss the Asiatics here; add at least 80m deaths.

  • ||

    Capitalism's death toll consists of anyone who dies because someone else didn't give them something. Because failing to give away all your food to the starving is the same thing as murder.

  • mtrueman||

    "Capitalism's death toll consists of anyone who dies because someone else didn't give them something."

    I don't think it's that simple. The death toll attendent with any radical transformation of society, whether it is collectivized and mechanized like under Stalin and Mao, or integrated into liberal world markets, like under capitalism, comes about because large numbers find themselves cut off at the knees and unable to feed themselves. The ways they've been living suddenly no longer have the ability to sustain themselves.

  • ||

    Under capitalism, you can sustain yourself if you can find anyone willing to trade with you for what you can produce, or if you can produce what you need to live on yourself.

    Under communism, they shoot people for doing that.

  • mtrueman||

    The 10s of millions who died in famines in India were in no position to trade for the wheat they produced. Market forces dictated that wheat was bound for Europe.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 10:49PM|#
    "The 10s of millions who died in famines in India were in no position to trade for the wheat they produced. Market forces dictated that wheat was bound for Europe."
    That was because the Indian government prevented that trade, but miserable assholes like you will try to hide that, right asshole?

  • mtrueman||

    "That was because the Indian government prevented that trade"

    The Indian government of the 19th century was a creature of the East India Company and the Colonial Office. If you believe they tried to prevent that trade, you are sorely misinformed. Find yourself some cites and educate yourself.

  • ||

    Ahh the mysterious "market forces".

    As if that has nothing to do with "stuff other people actually want".

  • mtrueman||

    "stuff other people actually want"

    Everyone wants food. The issue is whether or not they can pay for it.

  • ||

    This issue is whether they can provide someone with something they actually want in exchange for it.

  • mtrueman||

    "This issue is whether they can provide someone with something they actually want in exchange for it."

    You need to educate yourself a little. Don't ask me to do it for you. Those Indians who starved during the famines of the 19th century did have something that everyone wants - money. The problem was they didn't have enough, were outbid at the market place and starved to death. Tens of millions of them.

  • ||

    The problem was they didn't have enough, were outbid at the market place

    In other words, they couldn't produce ENOUGH stuff that other people actually wanted to buy enough food feed themselves, given the fact that other people actually want food too.

    Not having enough money due to "market forces" is the same thing as not being able to produce enough stuff that other people actually want. Being outbid is the same thing as other people wanting the same stuff and being willing to pay more for it than you are.

    Selling to the highest bidder is murder?

  • mtrueman||

    "they couldn't produce ENOUGH stuff"

    Exactly. They couldn't produce enough to feed themselves and the people of Europe. That inability fated them to stand starving as they watched train loads of grain pass by bound for European markets.

    "Selling to the highest bidder is murder?"

    Not exactly. It spells famine and the deaths of tens of millions.

  • ||

    Resources are scarce. If you can't produce enough to feed yourself, you starve. Sorry, but that's life.

    If you're willing to sell food to a European in exchange for money, presumably, you are doing so because you think that what you are getting in exchange will provide you with something more valuable. Say, equipment or resources to enable you to produce more food. Money to buy cheaper commodities. Etcetera.

    Was someone physically FORCING them to sell food? If so, then that's not capitalism. You sell commodities because you think you will get something of greater value in exchange.

  • mtrueman||

    "you starve. Sorry, but that's life."

    No, actually starvation was death, for tens of millions.

    I don't think you have understood me. The peasants of India were not capitalists. They were peasants who had no understanding of the forces that were behind the famines of the 19th century or the meaning of global markets. They were almost certainly illiterate. They did business as they always had. The peasants did not sell to Europeans as you seem to imply, but to local middlemen and brokers who typically did not suffer in the famines. My whole point here is to stress how deadly the transformation of non-capitalist economies to capitalist economies can be.

    You might take a leaf from the British imperialists of the time who blamed the laziness and shiftlessness of the typical Indian peasant for the famine. If only they had the gumption to put in a super human effort and rake off harvests that were capable of feeding the entire world, the famines would have been avoided. Their deaths were entirely their own fault.

    I suggest you delve a little deeper into the facts of the matter and leave the capitalist dogma aside for the while.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 9:41PM|#
    "I don't think it's that simple."

    I don't think you have the mental capacity to decide.

  • mtrueman||

    Probably right.

  • Sam Grove||

    This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high."

    Please detail so I can point out your error.

    Note: Capitalism means the private ownership and direction of the means of production. Private actors do not wage war.

  • mtrueman||

    Sam Grove, meet King Leopold.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 1:06PM|#
    "Sam Grove, meet King Leopold."

    Yeah, a king is capitalism, alright. Nothing to do with the state or a government.
    What a fucking idiot.

  • mtrueman||

    That rubber extracted ended up on international markets, king or no king.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 1:20PM|#
    "That rubber extracted ended up on international markets, king or no king."

    And I'm sure you really are such an imbecile that you bleeve that means the king was a capitalist!
    Some people might be bright enough to learn; in your case, let's just figure they'll plug you in the ground as stupid as you are now.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Soviet oil and gold ended up on international markets. Chinese grain ended up on international markets, while Chinese peasants starved during the Great Leap Forward.

    So, what was that dipshit saying about King Leopold? Was he arguing that Belgians introduced rule of law to the Congo with full recognition of rights to life, liberty and property? If so, his should read a bit of history and, perhaps, Conrad.

  • mtrueman||

    "Were the Soviets capitalists?"

    In some ways, yes, of course. You really need to ask me this?

  • mtrueman||

    Their desire for growth, especially industrial growth. That's what was behind the enormous death tolls. You thought it was just cruelty and stupidity? It was, but it was also the desire to modernize and unleash the hidden potentials of the working classes.

  • Sevo||

    ..."If so, could you point to a single capitalist venture that required an enormous death toll?"

    Do you reckon he actually noticed the internal contradictions in his 'argument'?
    Or just flat gave up?

  • mtrueman||

    East India Company's business in India was accompanied by the deaths of 10s of millions. Exploitation of rubber in Congo was perhaps as deadly.

  • ||

    You're confusing merchantilism with capitalism.

  • mtrueman||

    "So are enormous death tolls also a necessary component of capitalistic growth?"

    In a word, yes. Deaths in enormous numbers go hand in hand with radical transformation of an economy. That happened most notably in USSR and China in the 20th century. In the 19th, it was places like the Congo and India that saw enormous numbers of deaths as these countries were integrated into liberal worldwide markets.

    I have more shocking news for you. The Left still harbours a Soft Spot for not only communism, but also the diggers, the new model army, Watt Tyler, Robin Hood and his merry men.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Deaths in enormous numbers go hand in hand with radical transformation of an economy.

    This is demonstrably false and a really silly statement. See, oh, the industrial revolution in the West or the rise of the information age which has occurred in many of our lifetimes, without genocide.

  • mtrueman||

    "the rise of the information age which has occurred in many of our lifetimes"

    The most deadly conflict these days has been in Congo. Millions have died in the last couple of decades, more than any of the conflicts in oily arab nations. The conflict in Congo is all about war lords trying to monopolize control over resources vital to IT and get them on the market. There are ethnic aspects to the conflict as well. It's not as cut and dry as you might expect it to be.

  • LynchPin1477||

    You mean self-proclaimed Marxist warlords?

    Let's get one thing straight: if war and violence are used by governments to take control of resources that are then sold in international markets and bought by capitalists, markets and capitalism are not to blame for the war and violence. The governments and warlords that perpetrate that violence are the ones who are responsible.

  • mtrueman||

    I suppose a professional fence is not responsible for thievery, following your line of reasoning.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 9:20PM|#
    ..."In a word, yes. Deaths in enormous numbers go hand in hand with radical transformation of an economy."

    Oh, look here:
    Upton Sinclair: "Maybe it cost a million lives - maybe it cost five million [...] There has never been in human history a great social change without killing"
    Yep, one more slimy apologist for thug government; the ends justify the means, right, mtrueman?
    Who cares how many die if some sleazebag gets his wish?

  • mtrueman||

    "Yep, one more slimy apologist for thug government; the ends justify the means, right, mtrueman?"

    Do you honestly believe that capitalism doesn't have its own Upton Sinclairs? That's the impression you're giving me. If I'm wrong, please tell me so.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 11:20PM|#
    "Yep, one more slimy apologist for thug government; the ends justify the means, right, mtrueman?"

    Do you honestly believe that capitalism doesn't have its own Upton Sinclairs?"

    Well, asshole, show us one.

  • mtrueman||

    "Well, asshole, show us one"

    I'll leave the smearing of individuals to you.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I'm a fan of Robin Hood and his merry men. These guys didn't violate the non-aggression principle. Rather, they forcibly seized wealth that the state had confiscated in the original act of aggression, and distributed it approximately to its rightful owners.

  • ||

    Deaths in enormous numbers go hand in hand with radical transformation of an economy.

    I somehow failed to notice the 10s of millions of people dying around us even as our economy is radically transformed due to the advent of the internet and personal computer technology.

  • MJGreen||

    Their desire for growth, especially industrial growth. That's what was behind the enormous death tolls. You thought it was just cruelty and stupidity? It was, but it was also the desire to modernize and unleash the hidden potentials of the working classes.

    Completely in keeping with Marx and all of the "scientific socialists" of the 19th century.

  • mtrueman||

    "Completely in keeping with Marx and all of the "scientific socialists" of the 19th century."

    Completely in line with communists of the 20th century. Even Pol Pot shared such ideas.

  • Boisfeuras||

    [The Soviets] desire for growth, especially industrial growth [was capitalistic]. That's what was behind the enormous death tolls.

    The Soviets that wanted even more rapid industrialization were considered to be on the "left wing" of the Party (the Left Opposition).

    Those wanting a slower pace, like Bukharin, were considered to be on the "right wing" (Old Bolsheviks). They were purged.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Their desire for growth, especially industrial growth. That's what was behind the enormous death tolls.

    Sorry, no. The enormous death tolls were the result of an insanely immoral world view that didn't value individual human life and identified any dissent as a crime punishable by death or worse.

  • ||

    That rubber extracted ended up on international markets, king or no king.

    So all the dead bodies in the streets of Venezuela today are the fault of capitalism because Venezuela exports oil?

  • ||

    Capitalism did not mount the effort that extracted it though..

    A Kind did.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    King Leopold. "King" as in a monarch, you know, the full authority of the state embodied in one person.

    Clearly, Sam, this disproves your argument.

  • mtrueman||

    Rubber is rubber, markets are markets. That's what empowered the king.

  • Irish||

    Underground markets still exist in Communism.

    By your logic, Communism is therefore actually Capitalism.

    Do you see why this argument is idiotic? Slave labor and forced expropriation by a government official =/= Capitalism.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    markets are markets

    Let's just eliminate need and desire why we're at it.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|2.15.14 @ 1:22PM|#
    ..."That's what empowered the king."

    What "empowered the king", asshole, was his army.
    Fucking idiot lefties; how long does it take to get this stupid?

  • seguin||

    Four years, give or take.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Rubber is rubber. Markets are markets. That's what empowered the Soviet Union to organize a trade bloc known as the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON).

    Unless you're here to advocate for North Korean style autarky (Juche), you've said nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I've always wanted to go to Comicon, sounds like a lot of fun.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Eh, it's just a bunch if neckbeards whining about how Dan DiDio fucked up the multiverse.

  • Sevo||

    "Unless you're here to advocate for North Korean style autarky (Juche), you've said nothing."

    He's now gone full circle; the USSR was capitalist!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Of course it was, that's the only possible explanation for it's collapse. The purges and the gulags weren't strong enough measures to eliminate the corrupting ideas of the Bourgeoisie.

  • ||

    Rubber is rubber, markets are markets, derp is derp.

    I bet you think your farts smell like fresh baked bread.

  • Irish||

    His point was that actual capitalism involves private non-state actors and your counter example is a king?

    Really? King Leopold used slave labor in the Congo to extract rubber. Unpaid forced servitude is not capitalist.

    Not only that, but villages were required to meet quotas or villagers hands would be cut off. That sounds an awful lot more like Fidel's Cuba than a capitalist nation.

  • Sevo||

    Uh, you think evidence is going to mean anything here?
    This is mtruemann! Celebrated for stupidity!

  • mtrueman||

    "Unpaid forced servitude is not capitalist."

    That didn't stop capitalists in many countries from buying the rubber and putting it to use. It was a huge business and vital to industrialism.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You see what he did there folks? That rhetorical game of Three Card Monte? The equivocation of mercantilism and capitalism?

    The only problem is that mfalseman is a fucking clumsy idiot who knocked over the table and showed us the cards hidden up his sleeve.

  • Sevo||

    Heroic Mulatto|2.15.14 @ 1:54PM|#
    "You see what he did there folks? That rhetorical game of Three Card Monte? The equivocation of mercantilism and capitalism?"

    He's not even that specific. It's now gotten to the point where any progress is capitalism, therefore capitalism is to blame for any and all deaths!
    QED!
    EDG is giving him the rope, but the knot's already been tied.

  • So very tired||

    "Unpaid forced servitude is not capitalist."

    That didn't stop capitalists

    Here, by conceding Irish's point, you unintentionally admit you were lying about your example.

    This is indicative of the quality of your thought process.

  • mtrueman||

    "Here, by conceding Irish's point, you unintentionally admit you were lying about your example."

    Don't catch your meaning. Nobody is claiming that the Congo workforce was well treated. Slavery or not, the rubber still found its way into capitalist markets. Are you arguing that the rubber economy was not capitalist because those who extracted it were so ill-treated? I never got that impression. Apologies for my thought processes disappointing you!

  • ||

    Slavery or not, the rubber still found its way into capitalist markets.

    Those dastardly capitalists, making people want rubber!

  • ||

    Hi Tony.

  • Sevo||

    Unless Tony has that blog, it's not him.

  • Calidissident||

    It is kinda crazy how little-known the horrors of the Congo Free State are. Millions killed and millions more dismembered in 20 years and very few average people have any idea that it happened. It's not like it was that long ago.

  • Hugh Akston||

    So many people still turn a blind eye to the capitalist gulags and free market death camps.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Not to mention all of the brutal, vicious wars waged by corporations.

  • Plopper||

    Ronald McDonald shot my dog.

  • ||

    Purge incorporated!!!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The Alien movies loom large.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    didn't like 100 people die in some CORPORASHUN MINE?

    100 WHOLE PEOPLE

  • Plopper||

    Yep, just as high where in Cuba only tourists can eat lobsters and beef and all the ferries have remote cutoff switches so the locals can't escape to Florida Keys.

    Do I even have to mention North Korea?

    Stalin's purges?

    Capitalism kills alright!

  • Irish||

    The number of Leftists who explicitly disavow capitalism today is vanishingly small.

    They don't say "I hate Capitalism" because they know that's a losing argument. Nonetheless, every one of their arguments is anti-Capitalist and opposed to the idea of free markets.

    If I never said "I hate religion" but every one of my arguments was anti-religion, a rational person could read between the lines and figure out what I believe.

    Since you're an idiot, you can't read between the lines and realize that the constant desire for state intervention in every industry pretty much proves the left is hugely anti-capitalism.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Actually dipshits like this are actually too stupid to be Marxists.

    Marx actually praised the creativity and economic productivity of capitalists. He didn't title his magnum opus Capital because he thought capitalism to have failed in its stage of history. Instead, he argued a "scientific" Hegelian dialectic theory of history that predicted that the internal contradictions of capitalism would result in class conflict, and that this class conflict would bring about socialism. This prediction wasn't entirely wrong. Unfortunately, his prediction that socialism would bring about economic prosperity and genuine human dignity was entirely wrong.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    Here's a cite for you:
    20th century death.

    Communism has a pretty high body count.

    More damning is that they've separated communism as a cause of death from famine, even though they were arguably manmade famines caused by the communist regimes in China and the Soviet Union. So, the communism body count doesn't even count Holodomor. Communism is pure insanity.

    Sorry, but as far as broken promises and death tolls, capitalism wins, hands down. Capitalism just promises freedom, i.e., more specifically, free exchange with others. Communism promises full-blown utopia at the cost of your freedom, and delivers famine.

  • mtrueman||

    Check your sources for the 19th century death counts.

  • Brian||

    My sources indicate that the deaths due to capitalism in the 1800's are statistically negligible compared to the body count of communism in the 20th century.

    Also, since communism hadn't been invented yet, no comparison can be made. Especially, no comparison can be made which considers the modern progress of human beings.

    100 years after people in free societies have advanced greatly in the individual freedom given to minorities and women, communists were busy starving their own people.

    It is true that people and nations have a very violent history, that no system of economics completely overcomes.

    Still, it's a very valid to point out that societies which advocate for individual liberty and freedom seem to kill at lot less then their contemporaries that don't, and even more modern societies, like the Soviet Union, when they're busy implementing communism.

    Which society is more likely to murder you? One that advocates for individual liberty and freedom, or the one that says you're just a peg in the wheel of our grand society, which demands a sacrifice for the greater good?

    I know the group of people I want to be surrounded by when times are tough, and it's not the people who confiscate your food.

  • mtrueman||

    I suppose your sources don't include the deaths due to famine in India or China during the 19th century when various countries like Britain, I think we can safely call capitalist, imposed a regime of global liberal markets on their colonies and client states. If they did, the numbers wouldn't be too out of line with the numbers bandied about as communism's death toll.

    Which society is more likely to murder you? You are probably right on that issue, though it is not relevant to the point I am trying to make: social engineering on a vast scale, whether it is globalizing and liberalizing on the one hand or collectivizing and mechanizing on the other, often leads to enormous numbers of deaths.

  • Brian||

    Now, now, mtrueman: we know you don't use cites, so it's a bit late now to start checking the facts. Remember you're not here to prove anything, just to have a lively discussion, right?

    But, here, I'll do the work for you:

    List of famines
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It looks like there were 4 famines in China with a death toll of 45-55 million, and I'm counting about 15 million deaths in India due to famine.

    Communism killed over 100 million people of famine in the 20th century, and murdered over 94 million.

    Also, in what way do the British become responsible for every death by famine in China during the 19th century? Your grasping at straws. China had more going on in the 1800's than the British, and if you can't show how Britain caused the famines. Browsing through several of the articles on China famine, I can't find one laying the blame on Britain, or trade, much less capitalism. You're grasping at straws.

    I'm sorry, but unless you can get the body count up over 200 million, you really cant say that the numbers bandied about are in any way close to each other.

    Then again, I know you're not a "cite" person. Don't let the facts get in the way of believing in the false equivalency.

  • mtrueman||

    Famines, by definition, are the consequence of political decisions and policies. Don't confuse famine with drought. On whom do you propose to pin the famines of India and China? What nation (or nations) was making the most important decisions regarding the fate of these two nations during the 19th century?

    You may be right that numbers of deaths in the 19th century may not add up to those of the 20th. I suppose the exact numbers will always be argued over and we're not going to settle anything here. Still, I hope you will agree, contrary to what you said earlier, that the numbers who died in 19th century famines are statistically non-negligable.

    If you are interested in history, delve a little deeper. The history of colonialism in Asia is fascinating, and deserves more than a wikipedia style treatment. You may have some sympathy for the British Raj. I was honestly really surprised to find self-styled libertarians here who had much good to say of it. Probing though, I found that to a man, they knew almost nothing about it.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Famines, by definition, are the consequence of political decisions and policies. Don't confuse famine with drought. ...contrary to what you said earlier, that the numbers who died in 19th century famines are statistically non-negligable.

    Oh, that's how you want to define famine? Here's how a dictionary defines famine:
    famine: noun 1. extreme scarcity of food. "drought could result in famine throughout the region"

    I think you'd be wise to stick with the regular definition for your argument. Because, if you want to say that a drought makes a famine not a famine, then you have even bigger problems trying to tenuously pin famine on capitalism through guilt by association with imperial Britain.

    All Chinese famines in the 1800's that I can find reference for were associated with drought, which does serious damage to the number of deaths, and several of which precede the Opium Wars. This takes the Chinese death count down practically to 0. Drought was also associated with every famine in India. So, if you want to make tenuous claims of capitalist death by famine, you should probably not invent the meaning of words.

  • mtrueman||

    Here is the wikipedia definition of famine:

    "A famine is a widespread scarcity of food,[1] caused by several factors including crop failure, population unbalance, or government policies."

    Is that inaccurate? Drought may be important, but famines can also be caused by flooding, as was the case in North Korea during the 1990s. The common thread that makes a famine a famine is government policies. Is this really new to you? I'm surprised by the level of ignorance here.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    "A famine is a widespread scarcity of food,[1] caused by several factors including crop failure, population unbalance, or government policies."

    The common thread that makes a famine a famine is government policies. Is this really new to you? I'm surprised by the level of ignorance here.

    You do understand the definition of "or", don't you? That is, a famine caused by crop failure and population unbalance, without government policies, is still a famine, right?

    Because, if you don't know the definition of "or", then I am also surprised by the level of ignorance here.

    If you can't read a definition and successfully apply it, admitting that government policies aren't necessary for a famine to be a famine, then I'm not sure we can proceed further between ourselves and make progress with you. Others may find it enlightening, though.

  • mtrueman||

    "That is, a famine caused by crop failure and population unbalance, without government policies, is still a famine, right?"

    That is correct. The famines we are looking at however do have an element of political policy to them. Not certain about China, but I know that India was exporting food during their famines, because of the policies of the British Raj.

  • Brian||

    Great, then I'm glad we agree that a drought doesn't make a famine not a famine, since, as you say, it seems rather crucial to your argument.

    Now, if you could just show that imperialism == capitalism...

  • mtrueman||

    "if you could just show that imperialism == capitalism..."

    That's never been my contention. I do contend that the capitalist countries of the 19th century were imperialist. I don't think that's controversial. Back in those days, neither the capitalists nor the imperialists demonstrated the moral qualms you have about resorting to coercion to get what they want.

  • Brian||

    See Burke below.

    Unless you're wrong, and Burke wasn't really anti-imperialist.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    What nation (or nations) was making the most important decisions regarding the fate of these two nations during the 19th century?

    The Qing Dynasty.
    The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
    The Boxers.
    etc.

    The 1800's in China were marked by rebellion after rebellion, until the Qing Dynasty lost power in the early 20th century.

    Is it all capitalism's fault, because someone traded something in the middle of it?

  • Brian||

    The funny thing is, what do imperialism and communism have in common? Wealth confiscation, authoritarian subjugation, centralized regulation, etc. The worst parts of imperialism are what is has in common with communism, and are actually anti-free market actions. That says a lot more about the value of property rights, individual autonomy, and personal freedom, which are the cornerstones of free markets.

    If you wanted to, you could make similar, tenuous claims that capitalism caused the Irish potato famine. After all, they were trading potatoes, right? But, when you look deeper to the authoritarian subjugation of the Irish by the British, with absentee landlords of stolen property, divvying up poor Irish farmers onto smaller tracks of land until potatoes were the only way to make a living, then it's clear that free markets didn't have anything to do with it. Imperialist subjugation != capitalism, but has all the elements of communism. The only difference is that the central power is a foreign one.

    Also, you can history point to flourishing capitalist economies without imperialism. Where's the imperialism of Hong Kong? Singapore? Every company in the world isn't the East India Company.

  • Brian||

    In contrast to communism: isn't it a coincidence that, of all of the famines in the 20th century, the only statistically significant ones happened in communist countries? In the 20th century, the only ones that had significant problems with basic food, causing massive death, were communist? While practically every other significant country had no problems figuring out food? This from an economic model that promises brotherly comradeship and to each according to their need? And, with their own imperialist, aggressive tendencies thrown in, to boot?

    You know that something is seriously going wrong with the state is assuming that much power, ostensibly to provide the greater good for all of society, and somehow bungles food, the most important resource to human life, next to air and water. Their working class should be thankful that air is more naturally abundant, because, if it wasn't, they would probably have all suffocated.

    You can find successful societies based on capitalism without imperialism. I can't think of a communist example that isn't a hell hole. So, no, they are not equivalent.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    You may have some sympathy for the British Raj

    People here don't defend capitalism from imperialism because they have an affinity for imperialism and the British Raj. It's because they find imperialism distinct from capitalism, having much more in common with the actions of communist states then with free trade.

    You can say that conditions for workers in China offends our western sensibilities. However, their situation has more to do, again, with oppression and China, than it does free markets. And, even with the Chinese oppressing them, the liberalization of China has seen the working conditions, wages, and standards of living of the poor in China skyrocket.

    It would be very bad to claim that free markets are bad, and start more oppressive, anti-free market regulations, all of which would probably do damage to the poor in China, by taking their best options away, all because of false equivalency arguments and pinning the Chinese oppression of workers on capitalism. Because the Chinese powers that be don't allow for freedom, doesn't make it capitalism's fault.

    To summarize: communism, through the denial of property rights, and, through central planning, the denial of individual autonomy, causes death and misery. Imperialism is bad to the extent it engages in the same things. History shows us capitalist alternatives, but no communist ones. That's because communist theory requires rights violations. It guarantees failure.

  • mtrueman||

    "In contrast to communism: isn't it a coincidence that, of all of the famines in the 20th century, the only statistically significant ones happened in communist countries?"

    Sorry not to have read this sooner, but my eyes glaze over when you start lecturing me on the horrors of communism and I don't bother reading. But for some reason, now, I just read it. Your posts deserve that.

    You are showing profound ignorance here. There was a terrible famine in Bengal right at the end of WWII and had a death toll in the millions.

    You evidently don't know of Biafra where Britain teamed up with the Soviet Union, of all countries, a suspiciously capitalistic arms dealer, to back the government of Nigeria take on sesessionist armies in the oil rich province. Millions died from the Nigerians policy of deliberate starvation of Biafrans.

    To be charitable, both these stories take place in places where Britain had influence. I figure you for an American, and that your grasp on 20th century history is firmly on the US/USSR cold war dynamic. The rest of the world doesn't really enter the picture. Sorry if that sounds dismissive.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    There was a terrible famine in Bengal right at the end of WWII and had a death toll in the millions.




    Sorry, mtrueman, but crossing the 1 million dead mark with a famine doesn't begin to compare to what the communists did in the 20th century.

    China, North Korea, and Russia, combined, starved over 47 million people in the 20th century. And that doesn't count the other 94 million killed by the Soviets and the Chinese, and the North Koreans.

    They estimate that 1-4 million died in the Bengal famine.

    So, if you multiply by somewhere between 10 and 50, you might have something that approaches the mere communist starvation figure. And, then multiply another 4 times to approach the overall communist figure.

    You evidently don't know of Biafra where Britain teamed up with the Soviet Union...


    Clearly I don't because, that proves...what exactly? Britain was a naughty boy in the world, again? Did the death toll reach 200 million?

    Listen, if you want to go find the missing 200 million people that capitalism killed in the 20th century that I'm not aware of, go ahead. But, you keep citing these events which have no where near the magnitude of human misery.

    What the point of that is, I have no idea. It certainly can't be "see: equivalency."
  • mtrueman||

    Are you arguing that the death toll of a famine in the 20th century has to reach 200 million before it becomes statistically significant?

    I have to admit, that's a first.

    In what sense, precisely, are you using the term 'significant?' I wouldn't want to read you the wrong way.

    "China, North Korea, and Russia, combined, starved over 47 million people in the 20th century. And that doesn't count the other 94 million killed by the Soviets and the Chinese, and the North Koreans."

    I wouldn't put too much stock in these figures. The stink of bogusity. Look at the fine print. The come from a host of UN sources and they include the disclaimer that deaths are "inevitably" double counted. And "ball park" figures.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Are you arguing that the death toll of a famine in the 20th century has to reach 200 million before it becomes statistically significant?

    I'm arguing that, since communism killed about 200 million people (about 50 million through famine), you have to show where capitalism killed 200 million, or 50 million through famine, to claim equivalence. That's how equivalence works.

    If communism kills 200 million, and capitalism killed 4 million, it's unclear that you say:

    I think capitalism and communism are equivalent in that they both share a capacity to devastate large numbers when imposed or introduced to an unknown population.

    Actually, communism seems much better at devastating large numbers when imposed or introduced to a population. 200 5. It's 40 times greater than 5.

    But, then again, you're not interested in making equivalency claims about capitalism and communism, even though you have, multiple times. You just want to talk about British control of India.

    Sorry for bringing up the original topic again.

  • mtrueman||

    "Actually, communism seems much better at devastating large numbers when imposed or introduced to a population. 200 5. It's 40 times greater than 5."

    That's besides the point. Let's say we both share the capacity to lift a 50 lb weight. We are equivalent in that regard. The fact that I can also lift a 100 lb weight and you can't doesn't alter the 50 lb equivalence. What's with all this twisting and turning and quibbling? It's most unbecoming.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    That's besides the point. Let's say we both share the capacity to lift a 50 lb weight. We are equivalent in that regard. The fact that I can also lift a 100 lb weight and you can't doesn't alter the 50 lb equivalence.

    Uh, really?

    So, by this logic, a person with 6 fingers has an equivalent number of fingers as a person with 10 fingers, because a person with 10 fingers also has 6 fingers? Is that correct?

    Sorry, but a person who can lift 100 lbs has more weight lifting capacity then a person who can only lift 50 pounds. That's why we use the word "stronger." Stronger people aren't equivalent to weak people just because they can both lift paper clips.

    What's with all this twisting and turning and quibbling? It's most unbecoming

    Based on this, most recent argument, I would call this "projection."

  • mtrueman||

    "So, by this logic, a person with 6 fingers has an equivalent number of fingers as a person with 10 fingers, because a person with 10 fingers also has 6 fingers? Is that correct?"

    Not quite, I'd say these two are equal in that they both have at least 6 fingers. Sound right to you? If for whatever reason, you are looking for someone with at least 6 fingers, either of these two candidates should do. Is that not clear?

    If you are looking to kill off 10 millions with engineered famines, impose a communist economy on them or a capitalist one. Both are up to the task. At least that is what history shows us.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Not quite, I'd say these two are equal in that they both have at least 6 fingers. Sound right to you?

    No, you're still engaging in "twisting and turning and quibbling."

    You're redefining "equal" such that it means" at least 6".

    I'm sorry, but in math, equal does not mean, "at least 6." It means "equal." So, 3 != 2, and and 6 != 10.

    Sure, if you want to redefine words to mean whatever you want them to be, then yeah, you can make any statement correct. But, that's pretty much the height of twisting, turning, and quibbling.

  • mtrueman||

    "I'm sorry, but in math, equal does not mean, "at least 6."

    Who's talking about math? I'm looking for a man with at least 6 fingers. Are you saying I should reject the man I find with 6 fingers because he happens to be standing beside a man with 10?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I'm looking for a man with at least 6 fingers. Are you saying I should reject the man I find with 6 fingers because he happens to be standing beside a man with 10?

    I'm saying that you can't go around saying they have "equal" fingers. You can find anyone who satisfies any criteria you want, but you don't get to label any arbitrary criteria "equal" just because you prefer it.

    You can say "this person has at least 6 fingers, just like this person with 10 fingers", but you can't go around saying "They have equal fingers."

    "Equal" != "satisfying mtrueman's arbitrary criteria for similarity."

  • mtrueman||

    "I'm saying that you can't go around saying they have "equal" fingers"

    But they are both capable of satisfying my criteria. That's the sense I'm using the word. The 6 fingered man and the 10 fingered man both share something that the 5 fingered man doesn't. You haven't picked up on that even after what, almost a week of discussion? I don't know whether I can make this any clearer.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    But they are both capable of satisfying my criteria.

    Great. You've established that communism and capitalism are "equivalent" in the sense of satisfying your criteria: an arbitrary criteria that you tried to sneak into the argument to replace any sane person's idea of "equivalent."

    Your argument is like saying "I think this woman who hit a person with her car is equivalent to a homicidal, maniac serial killer in death count and misery."

    And then all sane people respond with, "What?!?"

    And you say, "Oh, I define "equivalent" as "having killed someone."

    OK.

    But, you're the only one who cares about your arbitrary criteria, and anyone with a reasonable sense of proportionality would reject it, and, instead, claim that the two are not equivalent.

    If that's your argument, then, fine. But, don't expect anyone else to care but you.

  • mtrueman||

    "But, don't expect anyone else to care but you."

    I don't. But I was disappointed that rather than agreeing with me on the first point I made, all of my respondents here were content to feign surprise at the fact that leftists still harbour a soft spot for communism.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    But I was disappointed that rather than agreeing with me on the first point I made, all of my respondents here were content to feign surprise at the fact that leftists still harbour a soft spot for communism.

    It's only surprising if you assume that people know history and are rational.

    When you understand that leftists are selectively blind when it comes to history, and make decisions irrationally, then no surprise is necessary.

  • mtrueman||

    "then no surprise is necessary"

    Yet the editors chose to publish the article and not a single respondent here agreed with me.

  • mtrueman||

    "Every company in the world isn't the East India Company"

    What I'm saying is the transformation of an economy is fraught with danger. That holds true whether it's incorporating a primitive local economy into a liberal global one, or incorporating a primitive local economy into a collective mechanized one.

    You should read about the thoughts of British politicians at the time of the famines. They were extremely laissez faire, moreso than typical politicians of today, closer to commenters and contributors at reason.

    "Where's the imperialism of Hong Kong? Singapore?"

    Interesting question. I'd say look to China. Were it not for the heavy handed policies of communist China, these city states would never have had the chance to put their refugees, extremely talented, extremely desperate, to use.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    You should read about the thoughts of British politicians at the time of the famines. They were extremely laissez faire, moreso than typical politicians of today, closer to commenters and contributors at reason.

    British politicians talking about free markets does not make British imperialism free market activity.

    Politicians pay lip service to lots of things. Communist politicians talk about to each according to their need, while they starve people. That doesn't imply that starving people is in accordance with giving to each according to their need.

  • mtrueman||

    "Politicians pay lip service to lots of things"

    Sure they do. Free markets, communally owned production are good examples. These are ideals and don't exist in the real world. We shouldn't judge a regime by its ideals, but the real history of how these ideals were implemented.

    I like your style, Brian, and hope we can continue to discuss these issues.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Interesting question. I'd say look to China. Were it not for the heavy handed policies of communist China, these city states would never have had the chance to put their refugees, extremely talented, extremely desperate, to use.

    So, this implies that Hong Kong and Singapore were/are imperialist?

  • mtrueman||

    No, but in a roundabout way they were the beneficiaries of communist policies. It would be a stretch to claim that Maoist China was imperialist, but it was nasty in its own right.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    No, but in a roundabout way they were the beneficiaries of communist policies.

    Stalin was a beneficiary of communist policies.

    People benefited from imperialism.

    What's the point? Does that make imperialism "good"? Because someone benefited?

  • mtrueman||

    "What's the point? Does that make imperialism "good"? Because someone benefited?"

    I'm not sure there is one. I was talking about the implementation of free markets in places like India and China in the 19th century and you asked me about the rise of city states in the late 20th century. I don't think it's germane. But I was only trying to respond. These city states prospered because of the massive influx of talented and desperate refugees. Had it not been for the communist regime in China, it's likely they would have remained the backwaters they had always been.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    These city states prospered because of the massive influx of talented and desperate refugees. Had it not been for the communist regime in China, it's likely they would have remained the backwaters they had always been.

    This is just another way of saying that these city states did so well, not because of how good capitalism is, but how much better it is than communism.

    I think you're making my point.

    And, when you're trying to discredit capitalism by linking it to imperialism, why does crossing the imaginary boundary of time matter between the 19th and century matter?

    Because, we can find plenty of examples of capitalist countries abandoning imperialism, while communists were thinking of new ways to create hell holes for the people right at home.

  • mtrueman||

    "And, when you're trying to discredit capitalism by linking it to imperialism, why does crossing the imaginary boundary of time matter between the 19th and century matter?"

    It was linked. The first capitalist countries were imperialist. The 19th century was interesting because it was then that markets became truly globalized. The sun never sets on the British Empire and all that. That phase in history has passed. No need to downplay it unless you have other motivations, such as your urge to compare capitalism favourably with communism. Sorry, but I don't have any dog in that fight.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    It was linked. The first capitalist countries were imperialist.

    No one is contesting that Britain was imperialist. The problem is:
    Brian:

    you're trying to discredit capitalism by linking it to imperialism

    I'm sorry, but if imperialist actions were in accordance with capitalism and free markets, you might have a point. Instead, it just goes as far as an argument against imperialism. History shows that you can be capitalist and not imperialist at all, yet you keep thinking your making a valuable point by pointing out that, at one time, some capitalists were being very bad imperialists. It's also why you don't want to talk about anything outside of this period in history. It doesn't help your argument, so it's best ignored.

    No need to downplay it unless you have other motivations, such as your urge to compare capitalism favourably with communism. Sorry, but I don't have any dog in that fight.

    Then why did you say:

    ...the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high,


    compared to communism. Now, you suddenly have no opinion?

  • mtrueman||

    " It's also why you don't want to talk about anything outside of this period in history."

    That's the period when capitalism is most clearly implicated in producing such a large death toll. The earlier days of communism were similarly bloody.

    I'm not interested in establishing a pecking order in terms of murderous brutality and negligence for post enlightenment ideologies. I've seen these discussions before. Eventually, inevitably they get down to a squabble over which was worse Hitler or Stalin, Fascism or communism. YAWN!

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I'm not interested in establishing a pecking order in terms of murderous brutality and negligence for post enlightenment ideologies.

    This article is about communism. You are the one who introduced comparing capitalism and communism in a false equivalency argument.

    If you're not interested in the arguments that you yourself are bringing up, then I would suggest not making them in the first place.

  • mtrueman||

    "You are the one who introduced comparing capitalism and communism"

    You misunderstand me. I'm not interested in comparing capitalism and communism. My point has been that the implementation of any economic regime has the potential to do great violence. I know you believe that communism has killed millions, especially within the first few years or decades after it gets its start. I agree with you. We can set that matter aside. Your take on the issue is essentially that of a partisan for the capitalist team. Fine but it bores me. I learned long ago not to argue with cheerleaders, at least not on their tedious terms.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    That's the period when capitalism is most clearly implicated in producing such a large death toll. The earlier days of communism were similarly bloody.

    But, hey, that's fine. I really wanted to have the argument you started: false equivalency arguments between capitalism and communism.

    I'm actually not interested in ignoring communism, or limiting my focus on capitalism to British controlled India. Because that's an incomplete picture of both imperialism and capitalism, and says nothing about it's equivalency to communism, which was the start of the argument.

    I hope you don't find my insistence on bringing the conversation back to the history of capitalism and communism, in general. That's what the conversation was originally about.

    Hearing you repeatedly explain that British controlled India was bad, without being wanting to engage in any other topic, seems like a complete change of topic, to something so narrow that it's boring.

    There's only so many points you can make about British controlled India, and you seem unwilling to discuss anything else, including the original topic.

  • mtrueman||

    " Because that's an incomplete picture of both imperialism and capitalism, and says nothing about it's equivalency to communism"

    Well, all history is incomplete, the nature of the beast and all that.

    I think capitalism and communism are equivalent in that they both share a capacity to devastate large numbers when imposed or introduced to an unknown population. Seems pretty uncontroversial to me, quite frankly.

  • mtrueman||

    The history of China is really quite interesting. You should take the trouble to learn of the imperial powers and how they took advantage of the weak and corrupt Qing, forcing them to sign 'unequal treaties' and the like. You can still travel deep into the heart of China and see evidence of the importance of European powers in the free-trade concessions along the coast and along the major rivers.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    You should take the trouble to learn of the imperial powers and how they took advantage of the weak and corrupt Qing, forcing them to sign 'unequal treaties' and the like.

    Because we all know that unequal treaties are at the heart of free markets and capitalism.

    Your entire argument is a guilt-by-association fallacy, trying to discredit capitalism by linking it to imperialism.

    And, your response to this is to just keep doing it.

  • mtrueman||

    "trying to discredit capitalism by linking it to imperialism."

    I don't have to try. The link is there right from the start. Britain was the first capitalist nation and had an empire the span of which the world has never seen, before or since.

    "Because we all know that unequal treaties are at the heart of free markets and capitalism."

    No. Laisse Faire is at the heart of capitalism. These moral objections you are raising are something new. The original practitioners of capitalism didn't worry themselves over them. They were social darwinists at heart.

    If modern capitalism has developed a moral conscience, so much the better. But don't misconstrue the original version.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    If modern capitalism has developed a moral conscience, so much the better. But don't misconstrue the original version.

    No, it's still guilt by association.

    Imperialism, as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is "an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another."

    Free markets are in fact anti-imperialist. To the extend that countries who claim capitalism engage in imperialism, is to the degree that they were not engaging in free markets, or capitalism.

    If I claim to be living according to a pacifist philosophy, and then go around murdering people, that doesn't mean that being a pacifist means murdering people. If I was the first person to come up with pacifism, and then implement it in this fashion, the correct response would be to say, "Hey: this guy doesn't really act like he's being a pacifist, as he describes it." The incorrect response is to say that pacifism must require murder.

  • Brian||

    Contrasting this with communism, which, theoretically and philosophically, requires violations of property rights, and requires central planning for all resources and the associated mismanagement and economic calculation problems, including food, and it's comparing apples to oranges.

    Communists can't claim that they were just departing from their philosophy when they violated everyone's property rights and managed every worker in an authoritarian fashion. For communists, those are features, not bugs, not mistakes, not moral errors. Unless you consider the moral error trying to do it in the first place. Which, it is.

  • mtrueman||

    "Free markets are in fact anti-imperialist"

    The anti-imperialists of the day were radicals and conservatives like Burke. The free market liberals were entirely in favour of the imperial project.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    The anti-imperialists of the day were radicals and conservatives like Burke. The free market liberals were entirely in favour of the imperial project.

    Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the prohibition on the export of grain on 16 November 1770, Burke argued in favour of a free market in corn: "There are no such things as a high, & a low price that is encouraging, & discouraging; there is nothing but a natural price, which grain brings at an universal market."

    So, he seems to be at least somewhat pro free market, and, against imperialism.

    Do you begin to see possible disconnects between free markets and imperialism, according during the very time we're describing, with the very people involved?

    It's a gross over simplification to say that Britain was homogeneously free market capitalism, and pursuing imperialism in accordance with that.

    You know, there were people advocating for the abolishment of slavery, during slavery. This does not imply that abolishing slavery and slavery are compatible, or that abolishing slavery, in its early versions, required engaging in slavery.

    Abolishing slavery isn't guilty by association because people who adhered to it lived in countries that engaged in it.

  • mtrueman||

    Burke was a remarkable character, but he died before the great debates of the 19th century that pitted conservative Tories against the free market Liberals. You are right though, it is a gross oversimplification to state that all Liberals were imperialists and vice versa.

    If you want to argue that an imperialist state can't be capitalist, I will listen. The fact remains however that those British who went to India and China and returned rich, did call themselves capitalists. Thanks to people like them, global markets became truly global. I don't have any problem calling these capitalists imperialists.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    If you want to argue that an imperialist state can't be capitalist, I will listen.

    Haven't done it yet, and don't intend to. That's not the debate.

    I don't have any problem calling these capitalists imperialists.

    Just as long as you realize that calling them imperialists adds information. That is, calling specific capitalists imperialists is not redundant. You're describing specific people with more detail, not the concept of capitalism.

    Which, actually, severs the link between the two.

    If you want to argue that, no, they're both intrinsically related by their philosophy and here's why, I will listen.

    That's essentially what Marx argued: that imperialism would be the logical conclusion of capitalism and world powers. This failed to predict both the decline of imperialism by capitalists, the wealthy capitalist societies which were not imperialist, along with the imperialism of the communist regimes themselves.

    Apparently, communism wasn't the solution to imperialism, any more than it was the solution to violence, or murder, of theft. Instead, it just exacerbated them in society by injecting violence, murder, and theft at the state level.

    mtrueman:

    This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    Again, that really needs a rethinking.

  • mtrueman||

    "You're describing specific people with more detail, not the concept of capitalism."

    That's correct. It's not the concept of capitalism that interests me. We could talk around in circles about that. I'm interested in how capitalism was actually implemented in the 19th century. Concepts, by definition, tend to leave out the bloody details.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I'm interested in how capitalism was actually implemented in the 19th century.

    By focusing exclusively on imperialism, and ignoring the drastic increases in wages, health, and standard of living for the average person, and the average poor person, during this time?

    Again, imperialism is not the application of capitalism. You admit this above.

    This establishes that:

    ...the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    When compared to the death toll of communism?

    But, you don't want to talk about the concept of capitalism?

    This is all a guilt by association argument, trying to discredit capitalism by linking it to imperialism and saying that imperialism was the application of communism.

    Sorry, but pacifists murdering people aren't implementing pacifism, and capitalists engaging in imperialism aren't implementing capitalism.

  • mtrueman||

    "By focusing exclusively on imperialism, and ignoring the drastic increases in wages, health, and standard of living for the average person, and the average poor person, during this time?"

    Sounds accurate. My focus has been to draw attention to plight of those who died in famines. I have not really discussed the drastic increase in wages for the average person, or the average poor person, or even the average rich person.

    On the relationship between imperialism and capitalism, I figure imperialism played the role of the vehicle capitalism used to spread itself across the globe. Once the vehicle had done its job it could be abandoned.

    "But, you don't want to talk about the concept of capitalism?"

    No, I thought I'd made that clear. I want to talk about the history of capitalism. A specific period of history in a number of specific places. Not one of your favourite topics, I know.

    I think it's weird that you can't approach the topic of the death toll of capitalism without dragging the death toll of communism into the discussion. You must have done it dozens of times by now. You sound like a partisan to me. Like when you are discussing with a Zionist something to do with Israel and your interlocutor pulls the Hamas tu quoque on you at every turn in the conversation. You are the Obama supporter who can't control his tedious urge to drag Bush into any discussion that threatens to become remotely critical of the prez. Partisans bore me for the most part.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    No, I thought I'd made that clear. I want to talk about the history of capitalism. A specific period of history in a number of specific places. Not one of your favourite topics, I know.

    No, you didn't make that clear. Specifically, when you say:

    mtrueman:

    ...the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    After I statement like that, I think, hey, this guy wants to talk about history in general, and how capitalism has had the same death toll and misery as communism does.

    Having a discussion about that requires engaging more history than the 1800's (i.e., when communism did not exist), and more places than British controlled India, where there were no communists.

    I think it's weird that you can't approach the topic of the death toll of capitalism without dragging the death toll of communism into the discussion. You must have done it dozens of times by now.

    I think it's weird that you think we can have a conversation about the broken promises and deaths of capitalism being equivalent to communism, without mentioning communism at all, and without mentioning anything other than, really, India under British rule. And, then, when I actually bring up communism in a discussion ostensibly about comparing capitalism to communism, or, really, any history outside of British controlled India, you claim that this is off limits, and I'm being "partisan."

  • Brian||

    I assume that, when comparing capitalism to communism in an argument about the equivalency of capitalism and communism, actually bringing up communism in the conversation is too unfair to communism, and too unfair in capitalism's favor.

    I can see why you'd prefer not mentioning it.

  • mtrueman||

    "I think, hey, this guy wants to talk about history in general, and how capitalism has had the same death toll and misery as communism does"

    Sorry for not being clearer. I want to discuss how the introduction of any of these post enlightenment ideologies, whether they are capitalism, communism, fascism can be initially devasting. You probably agree with this to some extent, though feel the urge to jump through hoops defending the capitalist team. I'm not interested in joining you in your jumping.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I want to discuss how the introduction of any of these post enlightenment ideologies, whether they are capitalism, communism, fascism can be initially devasting. You probably agree with this to some extent, though feel the urge to jump through hoops defending the capitalist team. I'm not interested in joining you in your jumping.

    I'm not sure you were unclear. Rather, I think you're just trying to change the subject to something you're more comfortable with, which is only tenuously related to the article in question and the comments and arguments you made previously. But, seeing as how this is going, I understand the desire to do so.

    The reason that all these introductions can bring about devastation is that one can introduce anything using violence, authoritarianism, and subjugation. That's the worst part of imperialism.

    The thing that makes capitalism and communism not equivalent in this respect, is that you can't adopt communism and avoid this, because, by its very nature as a concept and theory, communism requires authoritarianism and subjugation. Avoiding it would be like trying to swim without getting wet.

    History shows us many varieties in Europe, Asia, and North and South America, of people adopting capitalism and avoiding the tragedy that seems to universally occur when adopting communism.

    Sorry to advance the argument past "imperialism == bad", but that gets boring.

  • mtrueman||

    "by its very nature as a concept and theory, communism requires authoritarianism and subjugation"

    Granted, but if the question is whether communism requires the massive death tolls that were evident in Russia, China or the British Raj, then it's a different story. Take Cuba for example. Did 10s of millions die with the implementation of a communist economy in Cuba? I've never heard of such charges. Not even a million. The atrocities I've heard bandied about with respect to Cuba involve Che murdering a handful of captives, prisoners, collaborators etc. Strictly retail violence in contrast to the massive famines we've been discussing til now.

    Land reform and agricultural changes in Vietnam were also not marked by the same famines that Russia and China suffered under. I think it's plausible that the Cubans and the Vietnamese learned valuable lessons and avoided causing the famines that were characteristic of the Russian and Chinese experience.

    I think you are mistaken to assume the worst in people just because they are communist. If the Cubans or the Vietnamese were intent upon totting up a death toll to rival that of their communist big brothers, they had the means to do so. That they didn't shows that these tragedies are not as universal as you take them to be.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Granted, but if the question is whether communism requires the massive death tolls that were evident in Russia, China or the British Raj, then it's a different story. Take Cuba for example. Did 10s of millions die with the implementation of a communist economy in Cuba?

    That's why I've been careful to say that communism almost universally causes death and misery. In Cuba, there was a little less death, but a lot of misery.

    No, with Cuba, and with Vietnam, you get the phenomenon of "boat people": Millions of people over the years fleeing because of the economic and political misery and rights violations. Millions may not sound like a lot, compared to China, but when you realize that Cuba's entire population is only a little of 10 million people, it represents a big part.

    Sorry, but free markets and capitalism usually don't result in waves of boat people to communist countries. The Berlin Wall pointed one way.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Land reform and agricultural changes in Vietnam were also not marked by the same famines that Russia and China suffered under. I think it's plausible that the Cubans and the Vietnamese learned valuable lessons...

    OK, now you're just admitting more of a remarkable historical ignorance. That's OK: I take it you're a leftist and communist sympathizer, and they seem to track history as a record of the abuses of capitalism, understanding more about, say, British control of India, then they do with the abuses of communism. Sorry if that sounds dismissive.

    The abuses following reunification after the Vietnam War are pretty horrendous. A country with only about 40 million people sent 1 million to "reeducation camps", where 165,000 died. They executed 200,000 people, killed another 50,000 in hard labor (workers unite!), along with the same old story: more boat people.

    If by "valuable lesson" you mean that they figured out how not to starve people while murdering them, making their lives miserable, or causing them to flee the country at great personal risk, then, yeah, they figured it out. They may not have achieved quite the death numbers and misery index of China and the Soviet Union, but it wasn't due to lack of viciousness.

  • mtrueman||

    "They may not have achieved quite the death numbers and misery index of China and the Soviet Union, but it wasn't due to lack of viciousness."

    This is partly my point. You say it WASN'T due to lack of viciousness. I agree but I should like to add that the smaller death toll WAS due to lack of bungling.

    You'll find reprisals and recriminations after any revolution. Especially one as tumultuous as Vietnam's.

    Interesting that you would characterize me as a Leftist and a communist sympathizer. Is that your feeling, or was it something I wrote?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    You'll find reprisals and recriminations after any revolution. Especially one as tumultuous as Vietnam's.

    Really?

    Reeducation camps, executions, and boat people are explained away with "there are always reprisals and recriminations?"

    They all don't involve these things.

  • mtrueman||

    "They all don't involve these things"

    No but they typically involve some of them. Know anything about Canadian history and the enormous influx of refugees of a revolution to the south?

    I know of the turmoil in Vietnam and Cuba. But I hope that communists can learn to avoid the worst of their excesses.

    By the way, you say that authoritarianism and subjugation are the problems of communism, but make no mention of revolution. Are you in favour of revolution as a recipe for social change?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    But I hope that communists can learn to avoid the worst of their excesses.

    Historically, they do this by learning to avoid communism.

    By the way, you say that authoritarianism and subjugation are the problems of communism, but make no mention of revolution. Are you in favour of revolution as a recipe for social change?

    Revolution is violence. So the question is, is the violence warranted?

    People fighting a revolution to end authoritarianism and subjugation, sounds like self-defense.

    People fighting so that, once the dust settles, they can point the guns of the state at people,give orders, and confiscate the private property of peaceful people: not so much.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    If modern capitalism has developed a moral conscience, so much the better. But don't misconstrue the original version.

    And, in fact, just by saying this, your conceding my point. The "moral conscience" that reduced imperialism is, in fact, more aligning with actual free markets and capitalism, instead of authoritarianism. Clearly, capitalism can exist without imperialism, despite guilt by association arguments, trying to pin the crimes of imperialist nation-states over 100 years ago to a philosophy they claimed to like, but didn't practice when committing their rights violations.

    Can you show me where the communists grew a moral conscience without abandoning communism, along with it?

  • mtrueman||

    "where the communists grew a moral conscience without abandoning communism"

    Don't know about a moral conscience, but how about the USSR? There were droughts in the 1970s and these did not result in massive death tolls. The massive death tolls are associated with the introduction of a new economic regime - collectivization and mechanization. The famines came to an end once the regime was thoroughly implemented.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    The famines came to an end once the regime was thoroughly implemented.

    I'm glad they finally got a handle on, at least, food management, like the rest of the non-communist world.

    I'm even more happy that they eventually abandoned communism altogether.

    I hope they don't pick it up again because, hey, when you're trying new economic regimes, you have to break a few eggs, and, oh yeah, capitalists 100 years ago acted nasty sometimes.

  • mtrueman||

    "when you're trying new economic regimes, you have to break a few eggs"

    I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic, but this is exactly the point I've been trying to make all along. That and the fact that leftists harbouring a soft spot for communism should surprise nobody.

  • Brian||

    No, you claimed that:

    mtrueman: Much more surprising is that today's left harbours a much larger Soft Spot for capitalism. The number of Leftists who explicitly disavow capitalism today is vanishingly small. This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    Sorry, but imperialism != capitalism "breaking eggs."

    And, I was being sarcastic. China's managed to drastically liberalize their economy in recent years. There aren't massive starvation fears. It's not a coincidence that their market reforms are a departure from communism, towards capitalism.

    You can actually transform a society for the better, without killing a bunch of people. To accomplish this, however, requires not resorting to violence and coercion, which has everything to do with liberal thought, libertarianism, freedom, and free markets, and nothing to do with communist authoritarianism, violations of property rights, and everything else that goes with it.

    Capitalism is compatible with non-violence and non-coercion in a way that communism never will be. History shows us that you can be capitalist and not be imperialist, while communism requires being imperialist with your own people.

  • mtrueman||

    "History shows us that you can be capitalist and not be imperialist"

    But the history we've been discussing is a history of imperialism. How else would you characterize the British Raj?

    I've given a number of examples of where the local non capitalist economies were absorbed into a global liberal market and were accompanied by a massive death toll. India, China and Congo. This was coercive and violent. Maybe in some parallel universe the process was smoother and nobody was hurt, but all along, I've had my mind focussed on what actually happened in this world.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    But the history we've been discussing is a history of imperialism. How else would you characterize the British Raj?

    Great, but we are talking about capitalism. You said that:

    This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    So the question is, why do you want to switch topics to imperialism, as if capitalist thought is guilty of imperialism? You've already admitted that:

    You are right though, it is a gross oversimplification to state that all Liberals were imperialists and vice versa.

    Now, can you show how imperialism is, as you said, a "broken promise" of capitalism? Otherwise, what's the point?

    The process of liberalizing China seems to be going remarkably well, without either imperialism or massive starvation. Russia seemed to transition OK. So did the countries behind the iron curtain.

    Also, there are the scores of people living in capitalist countries all over the world. They seem to be enjoying the promises of capitalism in a way that's immune from imperialism, and in a way communists never enjoyed under communism in any place it was ever tried.

    How you can look at history and say that "This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high": that's referring to a parallel universe.

  • mtrueman||

    " that's referring to a parallel universe."

    No, that's a rhetorical device called hyperbole. I know it can be offensive, but it's handy in staking out a position and starting a debate.

    "The process of liberalizing China seems to be going remarkably well,"

    Sorry to pull rank on you, but have you spent much time in China? I have, I know the language and the people. It's a miserable place and millions would do just about anything to leave it.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Sorry to pull rank on you, but have you spent much time in China? I have, I know the language and the people. It's a miserable place and millions would do just about anything to leave it.

    Did you go in 1960? Can you compare and contrast?

    Graph: The transformation of China’s economy since the late-1970s—when the country opened up to foreign investment and began to take steps to participate fully in the global economy—has been nothing short of remarkable. ... This growth has given rise to a thriving Chinese middle class, whose increasing wealth and spending patterns have important implications for global growth more broadly.

    This graph shows the explosive growth in wages that have accompanied China's liberalization.

    Sorry, but anecdotal stories of "I went to China, learned a little Chinese, and didn't like it" doesn't make the liberalization of the Chinese economy a multi-million starvation event, and you're just moving the goal posts. Your subjective views of China aren't the issue, and I'm sure millions more wanted to leave before 1970.

    Unless, you think things were better then.

  • mtrueman||

    You don't need to tell me about China. It has changed a lot since the 70s but China's climb out of 'backwardness' as the Chinese would put it, started back in Mao's period. China is so large they can lose 30 million as a result of bureaurcratic bungling and a hare brained scheme of Mao's AND STILL come out ahead. Simple stuff like the insistence on using boiled water and massive efforts in manufacturing and distributing thermos flasks saved the lives of millions.

    I don't want to leave you with the impression that I don't like China. I love it. It's so large, it's got everything. What more can you ask for?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    You don't need to tell me about China. It has changed a lot since the 70s but China's climb out of 'backwardness' as the Chinese would put it, started back in Mao's period.

    Sorry. Measuring by GDP, China didn't start climbing out of 'backwardness' until about 1980, regardless of how the Chinese would put it.

    For comparison, here's a graph of world GDP before and after the industrial revolution.

    =This implies that China was, economically speaking, performing at pre-industrial world growth levels, until Chairman Mao died.

    I mean, I know that boiling water and thermos flasks are awesome, and all. Better than living as a peasant without them. But, when the rest of the modern world's living standards were about 100 years ahead of that, it's not very impressive.

    mtrueman:

    I don't want to leave you with the impression that I don't like China. I love it. It's so large, it's got everything. What more can you ask for?

    mtrueman:

    It's a miserable place and millions would do just about anything to leave it.

    You're showing a remarkable ignorance of things you've just said.

    That, or you have absolutely no problem with pure, unadulterated inconsistency.

  • mtrueman||

    "That, or you have absolutely no problem with pure, unadulterated inconsistency."

    You go to China, The place is inscrutable.

    Again, you seem to rest your arguments on statistics. Why should I take them seriously?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Again, you seem to rest your arguments on statistics. Why should I take them seriously?

    Because ignoring valid, relevant information pertaining to the argument is, generally, not a good way to arrive at truth.

  • mtrueman||

    " ignoring valid, relevant information"

    Is that what you are calling it? What can we expect next, valid, accurate CNN public opinion polling data?

  • Brian||

    Is that what you are calling it? What can we expect next, valid, accurate CNN public opinion polling data?

    So, you think graphs of China GDP growth are the equivalent of CNN public opinion polling data? That's displaying a remarkable ignorance.

    Also, your main argument against China being an example of the introduction of capitalism without catastrophe, is your personal dislike of China. That's the equivalent of a CNN public opinion pole of a single person. Therefore, by your own standards of evidence, you have invalidated your argument.

  • Brian||

    Do you want to switch back to talking about British controlled India? I don't want to keep a conversation going that you dislike.

  • mtrueman||

    "Do you want to switch back to talking about British controlled India?"

    Why not? If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Why not? If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.

    OK, I have a question:

    Why do you think that British control of India, an act of imperialism in one country, is relevant to a discussion about capitalism in general, and the introduction of capitalism being equivalently as dangerous as communism? Especially considering that communists have killed orders of magnitude more people than communism?

    Also, why do you think that only British control of India should be exclusively considered in evaluating this, when it requires ignoring both the billion people who have lived under capitalism, along with the billion people who lived under communism?

    Again, it sounds like another ignoratio elenchi argument: you can't establish the equivalence of capitalism and communism by ignoring practically all of capitalism, and literally all of communism.

  • mtrueman||

    "your main argument against China being an example of the introduction of capitalism without catastrophe"

    Where did I make that argument? The presence of the communist party rule in China is a continuing catastrophe. You really need me to point this out?

    If only CNN would confine its polling to me and me alone, I just might take them seriously.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Where did I make that argument? The presence of the communist party rule in China is a continuing catastrophe. You really need me to point this out?

    Yeah, and the liberalization of their markets, i.e. the slow introduction of capitalism, has done wonders for their GDP and their standards of living. It's been so positive that they've had great improvements despite the presence of communism in China. It's a great example of introducing capitalism in a positive way, completely avoiding the mass starvation and misery associated with communism and it's introduction.

    If only CNN would confine its polling to me and me alone, I just might take them seriously.

    You'd be the only one. Sorry, but if you want to make effective arguments that actually involve other people, you probably need a different set of standards.

    On that topic: I'm surprised that you keep engaging me with China, since you previously mentioned that you only want to talk about British control of India exclusively. We can switch back whenever you want. I don't want to bore you with the argument we started with, especially if you don't think the facts are going your way, and limiting the scope of the facts we deal with is the best way to move forward for you.

  • mtrueman||

    "Sorry, but if you want to make effective arguments..."

    See what you've done? Didn't I warn you of my love for absurdity?

    " I'm surprised that you keep engaging me with China"

    I think India, China and Congo are the clearest examples of capitalist involvement in massive death tolls. USSR and China for communist examples. If you know of others, by all means, throw them into the mix.

  • Brian||

  • mtrueman||

    Shouldn't we dismiss these examples as 'statistically insignificant?' They belong, after all, in the Bengal, Biafra ballpark.

  • Brian||

    When you add the total, it's clear that the death by imperialism count is much less than the death by communism count.

    That's why you need to look and compare individual cases: if you pick a small enough communist country, you can get the math to seem equivalent.

    Well, if the discussion was about, say, comparing a single famine in India to Cambodia, then, maybe.

    But, that's not the issue.

    Especially when you compare the billion+ people who lived under capitalism, and the billion+ people who lived under communism, they're not comparable.

    That's why you think it works so well when you look at specific, isolated cases, and ignore practically all of history other than that.

  • mtrueman||

    "That's why you think it works so well when you look at specific, isolated cases, and ignore practically all of history other than that."

    I'm not really following you here, Pick up any history book. It will focus on a specific area over a specific time. That's the way it works.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I'm not really following you here, Pick up any history book. It will focus on a specific area over a specific time. That's the way it works.

    Yeah, but history books don't say, "Gee: I'm surprised that leftists don't abandon capitalism just as much as they abandon communism, since capitalism is just as bad", and then proceed to make a historical argument focused only on British controlled India.

    Establishing the truth or falsehood of that requires more than comparing Cambodia to Bengal.

  • mtrueman||

    Yeah, but history books don't say, "Gee: I'm surprised that leftists don't abandon capitalism just as much as they abandon communism, since capitalism is just as bad"

    I agree. That sounds like something out of some tendentious, dissembling internet blowhard than any history book I've read.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I agree. That sounds like something out of some tendentious, dissembling internet blowhard than any history book I've read.

    Listen, you don't have to call yourself names. It's OK. Sometimes, people just go a little trollish. You can do better next time.

  • mtrueman||

    "Listen, you don't have to call yourself names."

    I was actually quoting something you had written. Not me. Don't confuse the two, even though I'm worse by far.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I was actually quoting something you had written.

    Really? When did I use the phrase "tendentious, dissembling internet blowhard"?

  • mtrueman||

    Just now?

  • Brian||

    When I was quoting you?

  • mtrueman||

    What quote are you referring to? If you are referring to this:

    "Gee: I'm surprised that leftists don't abandon capitalism just as much as they abandon communism, since capitalism is just as bad"

    The original author is not me. It's a crude forgery. I would never put my name to such an ill constructed sentence beginning with the word "Gee." It's a fake Brian. Someone else is responsible for that one.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Of course the Left still harbours a Soft Spot for communism. Communism is of the left. Much more surprising is that today's left harbours a much larger Soft Spot for capitalism. The number of Leftists who explicitly disavow capitalism today is vanishingly small. This despite the fact that the promises of capitalism are just as broken and the death tolls are just as high.

    I think:

    "Gee: I'm surprised that leftists don't abandon capitalism just as much as they abandon communism, since capitalism is just as bad"

    I think that's a pretty good paraphrase. But, if you prefer your own, go ahead.

    But, at this point, you're abandoning the argument to quibble about paraphrasing. Which may be the wisest course of action, considering how the argument was going.

  • mtrueman||

    "But, at this point, you're abandoning the argument"

    I do my prefer my own version and I don't abandon it. I don't find it odd that the left harbours a soft spot for communism and I'm still surprised that more leftists don't reject capitalism. Nothing you've said here has changed my opinion on the matter.

    The broken promises of capitalism are the unprecedentedly high numbers of undernourished people living today.

    Show me any death toll wracked up by communism and I can show one of equal horror under a capitalist regime, though I shamelessly have to go back to the 19th century and focus on India, of all countries.

  • Brian||

  • mtrueman||

    "Can you find one like that?"

    Have you looked into famines in India? While the British were globalizing Indian markets, there were many famines in India and they estimate death tolls as high as 60 million people.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    While the British were globalizing Indian markets, there were many famines in India and they estimate death tolls as high as 60 million people.

    Famines in India resulted in more than 60 million deaths over the course of the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries.

    Sorry, but you're lumping 3 centuries into one. Go back and revise your figures down.

  • Brian||

    Do you think you should probably have a better handle on the facts before you go around passing yourself off as the friendly neighborhood non-profit history teacher?

  • mtrueman||

    More like 2 centuries. 60 million deaths. In India under the British. Can you beat that?

  • Brian||

    OK, so you want to put 2 centuries of famines together in one body count of 60 million, and compare that to the Chinese killing 18 million to 45 million between 1958 and 1962?

    You want to hold capitalism responsible for 200 years of imperialism, during which communists get a free ride for not existing yet, and then say capitalism is equivalent to killing 18-45 million people in 5 years?

    If you want to make capitalism responsible for 200 years worth of time, then let's look at communism over as much time as we can give it (after all, it didn't last long).

    OK, so now we're back to square one: please show me the missing 100-150 million people killed by capitalism to make any reasonable equivalence argument. I will listen.

    Otherwise, you keep shrinking and expanding the window of time you want to consider capitalism just to suit your argument.

    Or, better yet: expand your analysis to the billion+ people who lived under capitalism, to the billion+ people who lived under communism, and take into account all of the human growth, average wages, and standard of living enjoyed by all the people in capitalist arrangements, and then, somehow, show me that communism was just as bad. At that point, however, it would seem we're calling all human progress since 1800 "bad".

  • mtrueman||

    "Or, better yet..."

    You asked for a famine to match the Great Leap famine. I pointed out a series of famines over a longer period of time killing more people.

    The fact that the Chinese famine ended after only 5 years and the leader was sidelined a decade later only make the comparison more damning to the capitalist cause. For some 200 years, the British presided over famine after famine, without taking steps other than shuffling a handful of minor office holders.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    The fact that the Chinese famine ended after only 5 years and the leader was sidelined a decade later only make the comparison more damning to the capitalist cause.

    Really?

    Yeah, Mao was sidelined...until the Cultural Revolution, which killed another 10 million people (it's hard to count when the government forbids counting).

    But that just makes the capitalists look worse, huh?

    Listen, you go find the missing 100-150 million people capitalism killed, and get back to me.

  • mtrueman||

    "Yeah, Mao was sidelined...until the Cultural Revolution, which killed another 10 million people (it's hard to count when the government forbids counting)"

    No, you misunderstand. The Cultural Revolution, which started in 1966, was the result of struggles between Mao and the leftists of the party and the capitalist roaders over who should bare responsibility for the great leap forward fiasco. Mao and the party's leftists were a spent force less than a decade after the end of the famine.

    "Listen, you go find the missing 100-150 million people capitalism killed, and get back to me."

    You asked me to find something comparable to China's Great Leap, and I showed you something far more deadly stretched out over a much longer period of time. Now you want something that doesn't compare to the great leap famine. What exactly do you expect of me?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    What exactly do you expect of me?

    You said:

    Show me any death toll wracked up by communism and I can show one of equal horror under a capitalist regime...

    So I picked a 5 year event in China that, itself alone, killed 18-45 million people.

    And your response is to drop 200 years of India history at the feet of capitalism because of British imperialists.

    All I want to do is be fair. If you're going to use a 200 year span of time, let's look at communism in the same span.

    Or, as I already stated:
    Brian:

    You go find the missing 100-150 million people capitalism killed, and get back to me."
  • mtrueman||

    "If you're going to use a 200 year span of time"

    I'm using that time span because that's how long the famines under the British lasted. Do you believe the Chinese were unfair limiting their great leap famine to 5 years? Do you think they should have engineered many famines killing more people over a longer span in the interest of fairness to the British and their exploits in India?

    Had the Chinese dragged out the great leap famine to span two centuries, would that have made it a worse crime, or would it have mitigated it? I really can't see where you want to go with this. If it's absurdity you are aiming it, you are obviously learning well.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I'm using that time span because that's how long the famines under the British lasted. Do you believe the Chinese were unfair limiting their great leap famine to 5 years?
    Show me any death toll wracked up by communism and I can show one of equal horror under a capitalist regime...

    You're combining 200 years, and about 10 separate famines in India. And that's fair because that's how long the British were there.

    If that's your idea of "one", then OK. I guess it goes with your idea of "equal" being whatever you say it is.

    Had the Chinese dragged out the great leap famine to span two centuries, would that have made it a worse crime, or would it have mitigated it?

    That would have required them to not initiate their market reforms in the late 1970's. Basically, communism doesn't have as bad a track record, because you can't sustain that much misery and death, without totally imploding. That's not a feature, it's a bug.

  • mtrueman||

    "If that's your idea of "one", then OK"

    One famine, no. One death toll, yes. And certainly one crime against the Indian people spread out over a couple of centuries.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    One famine, no. One death toll, yes. And certainly one crime against the Indian people spread out over a couple of centuries.

    So, by "one death toll", you mean a number you added up. And by "one crime" you mean....what? You're just arbitrarily saying 200 years and 10 famines is 1 crime? Is this more special mtrueman math?

    OK, let's say you mean "one" as in "one" country. Well, China's death toll goes up to 65 million.

    65 60. Woohoo.

  • Brian||

    Also, you probably need to lower your India numbers.

    The time of British rule doesn't contain all of the 18th century.

    There were about 15 million deaths due to famine before the British ruled India in the 1700's. During British rule, it looks like about 45 million people died in 15 different famines of various sizes, effecting different places in India.

    Or, as you call it, one crime.

  • mtrueman||

    Not sure what you mean here.

  • mtrueman||

    " Well, China's death toll goes up to 65 million."

    65 million, AND COUNTING! You appear to forget that China is still under communist rule and they are certainly adding to their numbers every day. The notion that Chinese stopped dying with the publication of The Black Book is ludicrous.

  • Brian||


    "Yeah, Mao was sidelined...until the Cultural Revolution, which killed another 10 million people (it's hard to count when the government forbids counting)"


    No, you misunderstand. The Cultural Revolution, which started in 1966, was the result of struggles between Mao and the leftists of the party and the capitalist roaders over who should bare responsibility for the great leap forward fiasco. Mao and the party's leftists were a spent force less than a decade after the end of the famine.

    The revolution marked the return of Mao Zedong to a position of power after the failed Great Leap Forward.

  • mtrueman||

    I don't think Mao had ever vacated a position of power after or during the great leap famine. There was a little bit of grumbling within the party and Mao scaled back his plans to collectivize society. You can read about the conference at Lushan at wikipedia if you are curious.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    China is so large they can lose 30 million as a result of bureaurcratic bungling and a hare brained scheme of Mao's AND STILL come out ahead.

    Ahead of what? China's GDP growth was stagnated at pre-industrial levels until they liberalized their economy. At which point, they started catching up to the rest of the industrialized world, which has provided tremendous benefits to the average Chinese person. So, whatever they were ahead of, it certainly wasn't capitalist economies.

    You're engaging in an ignoratio elenchi fallacy. You've stated that capitalism and communism are equivalent in their ability to cause death and misery when introduced. China is a clear counter-example to this claim, as are Russia and eastern Europe. And your response is, essentially, "I don't like China."

    There are clear examples of transitions to capitalism that are successful, while communism has absolutely no positive examples. Your personal dissatisfaction of China is irrelevant, and your restatements of it merely provide you with an opportunity to say something, anything, when you don't really have an argument to make.

    I can see now why you'd like to limit the discussion to British controlled India. Would you prefer that we only discuss that in this conversation? I wouldn't want to bore you with relevant information that you dislike, and you don't seem satisfied with any other topic.

  • mtrueman||

    "Ahead of what?"

    Ahead of where they were before the communists took over. When China was tyrannized not by communists but Japanese and Western imperialists and local warlords. Have you never come across this argument?

    "There are clear examples of transitions to capitalism that are successful, while communism has absolutely no positive examples"

    How is that relevant to the argument I'm making? Again this seems more in line with your ideological pecking order hobby horse that I've already stated I want no part in. I'm not interested in arguing with a cheer leader.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    How is that relevant to the argument I'm making? Again this seems more in line with your ideological pecking order...

    Because your argument is:
    mtrueman:

    I think capitalism and communism are equivalent in that they both share a capacity to devastate large numbers when imposed or introduced to an unknown population. Seems pretty uncontroversial to me, quite frankly.

    Sorry, but claiming equivalency is establishing a pecking order. Specifically, equivalency means they are ordered identically.

    The historical successes of transitioning to capitalism, and the exhaustive failures of transitioning to communism, contradict the notion that they are equivalent. History shows that it is possible to transition to capitalism without massive death and misery, and, if there's a communist example of death avoidance and thriving, it's gone unmentioned. If you care to present it, I will listen.

    Would you rather analyze British controlled India to make your point, ignoring the rest of space and time? That's not particularly relevant. That's like judging two paintings by looking at a square inch of one of them, while completely ignoring the other. However, you seem to insist that that's the only way you want to look at the issue.

  • mtrueman||

    "Sorry, but claiming equivalency is establishing a pecking order. Specifically, equivalency means they are ordered identically."

    How many died in the Congo under King Leopold? Was it more or less than the number who died in Ukraine under Stalin? You appear to believe there is an answer to both questions. I doubt there is. I think you are playing a mug's game.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    How many died in the Congo under King Leopold?

    I don't concede that King Leopold deciding to murder people has anything to do with capitalism. So, I really don't care.

  • mtrueman||

    "I don't concede that King Leopold deciding to murder people has anything to do with capitalism"

    I doubt very much that King Leopold decided to murder anyone. I'm sure though that he decided to put that rubber on sale in capitalist markets. A kinder, more caring, less racist monarch might have been able to implement his decisions with less bloodshed, but that's yet another alternative universe.

  • Brian||

  • mtrueman||

    "And, where are the outraged communists?"

    Exactly. Or the outraged capitalists for that matter. If outraged capitalist lead a Congo targetted boycott divestment and sanction campaign, I've yet to hear of it.

    Arthur Conan Doyle is your idea of a capitalist? He was actually a writer, and gadfly taking up all manner of hopeless causes on behalf of the underdog. In the pages of Reason he would quickly be dispensed of as an interfering bleeding heart leftist.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Arthur Conan Doyle is your idea of a capitalist? He was actually a writer, and gadfly taking up all manner of hopeless causes on behalf of the underdog. In the pages of Reason he would quickly be dispensed of as an interfering bleeding heart leftist.

    I'm sorry: I was just using your own logic. That is, that anytime anyone in a "capitalist" country does something, like imperialism, then, that's capitalism.

    If we're going to start looking at individuals, what they believe, and what they're doing, like Arthur Conan Doyle, then, suddenly, authoritarian imperialists subjugating foreign people aren't capitalists. They just happen to be "linked" to a capitalist country, like Arthur Conan Doyle.

    So, this point, you seem to be in agreement that we can separate capitalism from the actions of imperialists. Bravo, and I'm glad you came around eventually.

  • mtrueman||

    " I was just using your own logic"

    I'd prefer it if you stuck to your own logic. This Arthur Conan Doyle as capitalist line of yours is not entirely convincing. Gotta admit it's a laugh though. You're obviously picking up lessons from me as you go along.

    You want to understand what capitalists approve of and what they disapprove of? Simply follow the money.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    This Arthur Conan Doyle as capitalist line of yours is not entirely convincing.

    Actually, I didn't claim he was a capitalist. And, it resulted in the Congo Reform Association, composed of people in (wait for it) capitalist countries.

    What I'm pointing out is that, suddenly, instead of lumping everything happening in a capitalist country with capitalism, you now want to pick and choose which people are capitalists and which are not.

    OK, so the people engaging essentially in genocide and slavery in foreign countries. Is that capitalism? Doesn't sound like free markets to me.

    Sure, they may have sold things in markets. I'm sure Doyle bought something in his lifetime. I bet the people in the Congo Reform Association bought things. So, are they all capitalists? If Doyle isn't because he said and did things contrary to capitalism, then, aren't the imperialist not capitalists, since they say and do things contrary to capitalism?

    You can't declare that everything happening in a capitalist country is part of capitalism, and then start carving out special pleading exceptions.

    Unless you define imperialism as capitalism, which seems to be your inclination, with all of these special pleading exceptions for who is capitalist and who isn't. It's as if someone has to endorse imperialism for you to consider them capitalist, and the "link" between a person or people and a capitalist country only works in the direction of imperialism.

  • mtrueman||

    Honestly don't get what you are driving at here.

    Did the rubber from the Congo end up on capitalist markets? I would say it did. If you say otherwise, you should state so with clarity and brevity. We aren't getting anywhere wringing our hands over whether or not Conan Doyle ever bought something in his lifetime.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Did the rubber from the Congo end up on capitalist markets? I would say it did. If you say otherwise, you should state so with clarity and brevity.

    Did Arthur Conan Doyle's books end up on capitalist markets? Therefore, by your own logic, you imply that Arthur Conan Doyle is a capitalist. However, you said:

    Arthur Conan Doyle is your idea of a capitalist? This Arthur Conan Doyle as capitalist line of yours is not entirely convincing. Gotta admit it's a laugh though.

    So, which it? Is everything linked to a market capitalism? Or, is whether or not something is capitalist or not depend on... something else? Perhaps, how consistent it is with capitalism ideologically?

    Because, if imperialist are capitalist because "markets", then so is Arthur Conan Doyle. But you agree with one, and disagree with the other, which presents a contradiction.

    And, I think you're the only one you can straighten out your own contradiction.

  • mtrueman||

    "And, I think you're the only one you can straighten out your own contradiction."

    You'll have to do a better job at pointing it out to me. I still don't understand what you're trying to argue here.

    Rubber from the Congo circulated around the world in a global market. Was it a capitalist market or was it not? I still am not sure where you stand on the issue. I asked you in my previous comment, and instead of answering, you continued going on about Conan Doyle. It was funny the first time, I grant you that, and said as much. But Brian, really, there's such a thing as beating a dead horse. My advice, retire this Conan Doyle jag of yours. Enough is enough.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Rubber from the Congo circulated around the world in a global market. Was it a capitalist market or was it not? ...But Brian, really, there's such a thing as beating a dead horse. My advice, retire this Conan Doyle jag of yours. Enough is enough.

    OK, let me try to break this down into pieces, because the big picture is losing you:

    Arthur Conan Doyle sold books in a market. Was it a capitalist market or was it not?

  • mtrueman||

    "Was it a capitalist market or was it not?"

    Yes it was, but that doesn't make Conan Doyle a capitalist. He was paid a few pennies a word by those who published him. The Congolese were also paid for the rubber they produced. They weren't capitalists either. So much for your 'big picture.'

    I can see by now that you are determined to squirm and wriggle about while you avoid the question I asked. An impressive performance, you've put in here. Until now. I said it before, you're here to cheerlead.

  • Brian||

    "Was it a capitalist market or was it not?"

    Yes it was, but that doesn't make Conan Doyle a capitalist.

    Ok, so whether or not someone sells something on a market doesn't make them capitalist, or not capitalist.

    So, when you ask:

    Rubber from the Congo circulated around the world in a global market. Was it a capitalist market or was it not?

    A completely valid, consistent response would be "Yes it was, but that doesn't make imperialism capitalism.

    Brian:

    So, this point, you seem to be in agreement that we can separate capitalism from the actions of imperialists. Bravo, and I'm glad you came around eventually.
  • mtrueman||

    Globalizing markets is not separable from capitalism. Are you arguing otherwise? Do you also believe that collectivizing production is seperable from communism?

    Empire building is not necessarily about the expansion of markets. Capitalism is. Ideally the expansion of capitalist markets is non violent and voluntary, but there are cases where the ideals were not lived up to. Does this gap between the ideal and its practical application really confound you so much?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Globalizing markets is not separable from capitalism. Are you arguing otherwise? Do you also believe that collectivizing production is seperable from communism?


    Global markets can be part of capitalism, but global markets don't require land and property confiscation, slave labor, murder, war, and punitive taxation. To the degree that capitalists engage in this, is the degree to which they do not engage in capitalism. In fact, all of those things are contrary to the principles of free market capitalism: free, voluntary exchange of goods and services.

    This implies that capitalism is not responsible for imperialism.

    Does this gap between the ideal and its practical application really confound you so much?


    Sorry, but imperialism is the practical application of imperialism, not capitalism. Unless you can show me that all the catastrophe was due to the voluntary, free exchange of goods in markets.

    Just a tip: there were large swaths of the world at this time where imperialism wasn't practiced, in which capitalism is responsible for a great amount of improvement for the conditions of common people. Somehow, practically applying capitalism in those places didn't involve massive starvation, murder, and misery.

    Do you begin to see the gaps between imperialism and capitalism?

  • mtrueman||

    "To the degree that capitalists engage in this, is the degree to which they do not engage in capitalism"

    I get where you are coming from now. No true capitalist...

    Would you agree or disagree with this:

    "To the degree that capitalists engage in this, is the degree to which they engage in IMPERIALISM"

    I'm curious, you say "Just a tip: there were large swaths of the world at this time where imperialism wasn't practiced..." Where are these large swaths? The antarctic? The ocean floor?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    "To the degree that capitalists engage in this, is the degree to which they engage in IMPERIALISM"

    Yeah, capitalists can engage in imperialism, just like Arthur Conan Doyle can engage in capitalism. Capitalists can engage in kicking dogs. That doesn't make kicking dogs the practical application of capitalism.

    Your argument is a huge association fallacy:

    "John is a bank robber. John has black hair. Therefore, all black haired people are bank robbers."

    "British imperialists killed people. British imperialists sold things in markets. Therefore, all capitalists were imperialists."

    It doesn't make any sense.

    "Just a tip: there were large swaths of the world at this time where imperialism wasn't practiced..."


    Well, the United States wasn't being imposed upon by an imperialist power. Poor and middle class people in the United States didn't find themselves starving in famines, or executed. They actually fought a war ending slavery (showing that yes, capitalism doesn't require slavery in practical application).

    There's a similar story for people living in Britain and Europe.

    That's the part your argument misses: even if you do want to hold capitalism itself responsible for the actions of imperialists, you're ignoring how death and misery is the exception, not the rule, for the history of capitalist countries, while it's the exact opposite, for communism.

  • mtrueman||

    Yeah, I got it the first time around. No true capitalist....

    "Well, the United States wasn't being imposed upon by an imperialist power"

    Never heard of Wounded Knee or the war against the Comanche? It was taking place right about the time Leopold was making his move on Congo.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Yeah, I got it the first time around. No true capitalist....

    I don't think you understand what "No true Scotsman" means.

    I'm not making a claim that capitalists never did anything bad, and therefore imperialists were not true capitalists.

    Rather, I'm claiming that, capitalism, as a system, is much better than communism, which has a much worse track record for human misery and death.

    Imperialism Is not the practical application of capitalism. This explains why we have capitalism without imperialism.

    Never heard of Wounded Knee or the war against the Comanche?


    So Wounded Knee and the war on the Comanche == the USA being imposed upon by an imperialist power?

  • mtrueman||

    Systems, or concepts as you put it earlier, are always better on paper than they are in practice. Capitalism is no exception.

    "So Wounded Knee and the war on the Comanche == the USA being imposed upon by an imperialist power?"

    Being obtuse here. What purpose does that serve? Or maybe you truly believe that uncoerced Indians sold their lands in 'free markets.' Or perhaps your math teachers told you the numbers of deaths among the Indians was 'statistically insignificant' to use a phrase you like to bandy about when discussing non communist atrocities.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Systems, or concepts as you put it earlier, are always better on paper than they are in practice. Capitalism is no exception.

    So when imperialists were subjugating foreign people, waging war, confiscating property, murdering, and putting workers under slave labor conditions, they were just trying to practice free, voluntary exchanges of goods and services. Somehow, trying to practice free, voluntary exchanges somehow went wrong, and became authoritarianism and brutality.

    As opposed to communism, where authoritarianism, central mismanagement, price fixing, and economic illiteracy are what's actually called for, by communism.

    I guess if Arthur Conan Doyle sells a book, then this implies being anti-capitalist looks like capitalism in practice.

    OK.

  • mtrueman||

    "Somehow, trying to practice free, voluntary exchanges somehow went wrong, and became authoritarianism and brutality."

    That sounds about right. When imperialists (or capitalists if you prefer) found they could no longer trade beads and trinkets for land, they had to resort to force instead.

    Or are you still arguing that imperialists (or is it capitalists) didn't exist in 19th century America?

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    "Somehow, trying to practice free, voluntary exchanges somehow went wrong, and became authoritarianism and brutality."


    That sounds about right. When imperialists (or capitalists if you prefer) found they could no longer trade beads and trinkets for land, they had to resort to force instead.

    See, you want to have your cake and eat it, too. You don't want to talk about capitalism, the concept. Because clearly, capitalism as a system calls for non violent, free exchange of goods and services. You can't really paint capitalism as evil with that: it's too inherently decent.

    ou want to talk about capitalism in practice. This way, you can restrict your comments to the sins of capitalists (i.e., British rule of India).

    This fine, as far as it goes: pointing out the sins of certain capitalists.

    The problem is with your conclusion: you then want to come back and say, "See? Capitalism can kill."

    Wait a second: you just switched back to talking about capitalism (i.e, the concept). Capitalists killing people only shows that capitalism kills if the killing was part of capitalism. And, when people are using force, as you say, they cease to be engaging in capitalism.

    You actually, specifically, have to avoid capitalism, the concept, just so you can get started on your favorite part of the argument: talking about evil capitalists.

    Which is fine, but, then, you're violating your own rules by going back to the concept.

  • mtrueman||

    I'm glad you are still responding to me. I'd like to propose something. We change the conversation, I'll stipulate that 20th century death tolls were greater than 19th, but I propose another cause aside from the inherent evil of communism. I don't think we have much of an audience here, and we could always do with some outside input. How about we move and continue this discussion to another, more current, article? I'll leave it to you if you prefer, to choose the next venue.

    My idea is that technology, improved transport and communications etc probably goes a long way to explain why death tolls of the 20th century were so much greater than any other time.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    My idea is that technology, improved transport and communications etc probably goes a long way to explain why death tolls of the 20th century were so much greater than any other time.

    That's an interesting theory. It might have several holes:

    1. Technology, improved transport, and communications are available in lots of places in the 20th century without lots of people being killed by famine. This includes places that have undergone transitions in economic systems.

    2. Technology, improved transport, and communications weren't as advanced in China during the Great Leap Forward. Trying to bring China up to the level of the industrialized world was the stated goal of the Great Leap Forward.

    3. Starving people doesn't require technology, improved communications, and improved transport.

    4. To the extend that centralized planners actually care about their people and want to provide to each according to their need, the accomplishment of that is enhanced by technology, communications, and improved transport.

    5. Absence of adequate rail transport (i.e., "improved transport") was linked to the causes of India famines. This could fall under the previous 4: improved transport helps you feed people. No transport leaves people stranded without food, or increases the cost of acquiring food.

  • Brian||

    My theory would be this:

    Communism, as a theory, requires consolidating power to the party elite, who then engage in the same practices towards their own people as imperialists.

    And communists in the 20th century effected more people than imperialists in the 19th century.

  • mtrueman||

    If you can propose another thread to continue the conversation, reposting perhaps your opening salvo there, I'll be happy to respond. I don't really want to continue without a larger audience.

    "Modernity Means More Stuff" is a possiblity, however, since it was my suggestion, I will defer to your choice.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    No, that's a rhetorical device called hyperbole. I know it can be offensive, but it's handy in staking out a position and starting a debate.

    hyperbole: noun 1. exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally. synonyms:exaggeration, overstatement, magnification, embroidery, embellishment, excess, overkill

    Well, if you just admit that you're talking out of your ass, that explains it.

    Limiting your perspective of history to a specific time period in India under British rule, conveniently devoid of communists, while ignoring the before, during, and after history of capitalism and communism, and inflating a few million deaths to the level of 200+ million, is definitely exaggeration.

    I should bare in mind that, when you speak, you're probably not being realistic of fact-based. It's all for hyperbolic effect.

  • mtrueman||

    "I should bare in mind that, when you speak, you're probably not being realistic of fact-based. It's all for hyperbolic effect."

    A good approach, and I appreciate your close attention. It's not all hyperbolic effect. I am aiming at other effects like absurdity and word play that you should be on the look out for. I hope there's an uncurrent of truth in my comments. But I don't want to reveal anymore trade secrets at the moment.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I hope there's an uncurrent of truth in my comments.

    I'll give you this: while your arguments are incoherent, and there are many factual errors, omissions, and fallacies, some statements you make do have a factually correct component.

    Sorry if I'm being too dismissive.

  • mtrueman||

    " while your arguments are incoherent,"

    They may not be the best, and coherence is not my ultimate aim, in any case. You seem to have understood them, however, and that's all I can ask of you.

  • mtrueman||

    "a broken promise of capitalism"

    I had in mind the fact that there are more undernourished people alive today than at any other point in human history, or pre history for that matter. Nothing to boast about, in my opinion.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    I had in mind the fact that there are more undernourished people alive today than at any other point in human history, or pre history for that matter. Nothing to boast about, in my opinion.

    OK, so, in your mind, now that capitalism has survived and thrived and benefited the lives of billions, while the communist experiments smolder in the trash heap of history, you can now blame all global problems on capitalism.

    Convenient.

    Nearly 1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty in 20 years.

    The article gives most of the credit to capitalism in general, and the liberalization in China in particular.

    Sorry you think that China is icky.

  • mtrueman||

    "Nearly 1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty in 20 years."

    You're not reading me. I was talking about undernourishment. Not poverty. Undernourishment is a real phenomenon. Medical, even. Poverty is some airy fairy notion that means whatever some hack economist wants it to mean.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:

    Poverty is some airy fairy notion that means whatever some hack economist wants it to mean.

    Actually, if you read the article, you will find that the definition of poverty used is set by international standards as $1.25/day. It's not whatever "some hack economist wants it to mean."

    I think this is the part where you would say you're showing remarkable ignorance.

  • mtrueman||

    "It's not whatever "some hack economist wants it to mean.""

    Well, that's your opinion.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    This made my FB leftist friends heads explode this morning

    Workers at a Volkswagen factory in Tennessee have rejected the United Auto Workers union.
    The 712 to 626 vote is a devastating blow to the union and its efforts to organize other Southern plants run by foreign automakers.


    His takeaway from FB:

    It's also somewhat ironic that a foreign company is willing to cater to the American employee when American manufactures would rather just move business to Mexico and bankrupt cities in similar situations.
  • Sevo||

    "It's also somewhat ironic that a foreign company is willing to cater to the American employee when American manufactures would rather just move business to Mexico and bankrupt cities in similar situations."

    Cause and effect? WIH does that have to do with anything?

  • GILMORE||

    Apparently workers took a look at how the UAW's "Worker Benefits" translated into real-world success/failure in the auto industry, and said, "Eat a bag of dicks"

    because killing the Golden Goose? It isn't actually something you put on a resume and shop around.

  • Irish||

    It's also somewhat ironic that a foreign company is willing to cater to the American employee when American manufactures would rather just move business to Mexico and bankrupt cities in similar situations.

    This is hilarious. It never occurs to him that foreign companies come here because we're more business friendly than Europe and American companies leave because it costs too much to employ American labor to make a good number of products.

    The reason certain companies leave America is the exact same reason other companies decide to come here. That's not ironic.

  • ||

    No, you idiot, foreign companies are more virtuous. Because of socialism or something. FEELZ.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

  • ||

    Salon.com, a once-interesting magazine that’s rapidly becoming too embarrassing to list on my résumé.

    Salon has always been bad, but it's been getting really bad at an exponential pace recently. It's hard to believe they could top their classic OH NOES BEARDS ARE SECRETLY CONSERVATIVE article, but here they went and did it.

  • Irish||

    Salon has always been bad

    They used to publish Glenn Greenwald and some other pretty good writers. They were certainly better than most left-wing websites.

    It's amazing to think that Salon used to publish Greenwald and Slate published Hitchens. Could you imagine either of them publishing today an interesting writer who wasn't a doctrinaire, mindless liberal?

  • ||

    Stop calling them liberals.

    The left, progressives, statists are more descriptive and do not soil liberalism with their mention.

  • CatoTheElder||

    "Authoritarian" progressives is the best label I've heard.

    The "authoritarian" modifier distinguishes the current crop of insufferable progressives from the insufferable progressives of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century .

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    On topic: May have been posted elsewhere, but Dan Klein of GMU (who famously spanked Cass Sunstein a few years ago--but who hasn't, at this point?) examines the political/economic history of the word liberal beginning with its emergence with Smith and through the 19th century.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....sm/283780/

  • ||

    OH NOES BEARDS ARE SECRETLY CONSERVATIVE article

    They must have noticed that old dude in Mad Men who reads Ayn Rand and looks like Colonel Sanders

  • PM||

    I was gonna go with the classic "citation needed" myself, but now you've ruined my punchline...

  • ||

    I had to look up that beard article, it's everything I hoped it would be. I think someone could make a career out of writing ridiculous things that you'd think would be a parody of leftists and then getting them published on Salon like they were serious articles. Like that article about how The Legend of Zelda is classist, sexist, and racist. They probably don't pay well though.

  • PapayaSF||

    By focusing on the greed of individuals, the game ignores how private property incentivizes and even mandates such behavior.

    Oh good grief.

  • Skip||

    Wasn't that the Atlantic? Eh who cares, they are the same braindead hacks.

  • Killaz||

    So what you want about Mankiw, but this is funny.

    http://goo.gl/kKp7s3

  • PapayaSF||

    It is.

  • F. Stupidity, Jr.||

    OT: I'm getting a little tired of history being made on a daily basis.

    A couple of days ago, NPR news reported about "history being made" when women competed at the ski jump for the first time ever in an Olympics. The next day, I read some headline about Meredith Viera's solo hosting of the Olympic broadcast being "historic".

    Jesus H. Christ.

    Some firsts are historic. Barack Obama's election, my feelings about his ideas and his policies aside, was pretty noteworthy. We'll definitely be reading about that in history books down the road. But women's ski jump? Meredith Viera hosting a TV broadcast? Come the fuck on!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Meredith Viera hosting a TV broadcast?

    That was a huge step for retards everywhere.

  • Malkavian||

    “the possibility of radical transformation” and force people to resign themselves to the status quo

    Funny thing is, there's nothing in capitalist society that would prevent communists to attempt any 'radical transformation' that they desire. Just go out, buy some land (Detroit housing is very cheap), start a commune, and transform away. Lots of cults do it, no problem. The problem only starts when you force everybody into your cult at gunpoint.

  • Irish||

    Funny thing is, there's nothing in capitalist society that would prevent communists to attempt any 'radical transformation' that they desire.

    They've tried. The communes just tend to end horribly because even on a small scale with everyone in agreement Communism doesn't work.

    If Communism could work, don't you think some of those hippy communes that sprang up in the '60's would still be around due to the wonderful quality of life they offered people? The fact that they all collapsed tells you Communism does not work.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Externalities are obviously to blame.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And the Jews.

    Always the Jews.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Don't forget the kulaks and the wreckers

  • ||

    True. They always blame the economic instability in communist countries on plots by external forces. Those capitalists keep raising our interest rates! Those capitalists wont sell us stuff! Those capitalists won't lend us any more money!

    If communism worked, why the fuck isn't it self-sufficient? Why does it need external inputs?

  • BakedPenguin||

    The communes just tend to end horribly because even on a small scale with everyone in agreement Communism doesn't work.

    This is usually true, although The Farm in Tennessee made it.

    Of course, I probably know about it because it's the exception rather than the rule.

  • ||

    There are little ones around CA still, you just don't hear about them much, because it's not that exciting. They were either started by people with trust funds and are essentially just communal living spaces for the offspring of decaying families, or they are very poor and everybody has to work really hard and get all dirty and sweaty for the few comforts they have.

    Neither one plays well on posters.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    If I were in a commune I would eat, sleep and fuck all day, and not do a lick of work.

  • PM||

    If I were in a commune I would eat, sleep and fuck all day, and not do a lick of work.

    There's a Russian reversal in there somewhere

  • Sevo||

    "There's a Russian reversal in there somewhere"

    They pretend to pay me and I pretend to work.

  • ||

    I suspect all the surviving communes have somehow solved that problem. I doubt that you would be welcome long if you didn't do any work.

    My guess is they have powerful social norms, and that status (and leadership and decision making power) is based on how much work you do. Since most of these places operate on physical labor, that is easy to measure.

  • ||

    The Pilgrims started it off with disastrous results.

    It was historic.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Even the original socialism of the kibbutzim failed, and it's hard to imagine a setting more conducive for communal success.

  • Redmanfms||

    If Communism could work, don't you think some of those hippy communes that sprang up in the '60's would still be around due to the wonderful quality of life they offered people? The fact that they all collapsed tells you Communism does not work.

    Quite a few of them still exist, they just go through "junior" members like Kleenex. Most of them have become places for the old hippies to live fat off the labor of those who come in as probationary or junior members but are effectively never allowed to become "full" or "senior" (read: profit-sharing) members of the commune.

    There are several of them here in Virginia and they nearly all follow exactly the same model and the model makes senior voting or full membership entirely impossible. Full or senior members live in the houses on the property with indoor plumbing, electricity, air conditioning, etc. while the juniors live in huts and yurts and rely on communal bathrooms (if they even have that).

  • ||

    This.

    You want to form a communist society ? GO FOR IT! Nobody is stopping you!

    Fuck off and go be communists with out dragging the rest of us into the project!

    Of course, the truth is that what commies really want is revenge against the rich and to take other people's stuff. So long as there are evil capitalists out there capable of not giving you things for free that they have, true communism is impossible!

  • Dweebston||

    If we're going to indict capitalism for its alleged coming implosion (always right around the corner for going on half a century), shouldn't we credit it for the countless lives made possible by the astronomical wealth created since the industrial revolution? If a cursory google search can be believed, humanity sprang from a quaint 750 million to its present figure somewhere around seven billion in under three centuries.

    No, of course not. Progressives don't bother wearing the mask when they lament population growth. The movement of human compassion would quarter the world population, and halve it again, without a tinge of guilt or irony.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Actually we're staring down the barrel at the impending failure of the corporatist system, not capitalism. Capitalism is always failing and succeeding in small increments, thereby avoiding the massive failures inherent to centrally managed economic systems.

  • Dweebston||

    This is why I'm a persistent optimist. Capitalism cannot be destroyed, there is no "it," and we only reify the itness of it when we suggest that it is responsible for X resources acquisition or Y tragedy. Capitalism is a cumulative process; its itness is dispersed among the seething, roiling mass of humanity. So the lefty ambition to stomp "it" out in reality means stomping out the desires and ambitions of all of humanity, and humanity has shown itself adept at sidestepping and subverting authoritarian impulses. Leftists aren't aligned against a mere political party or ideological orientation, they're not fighting conservatives or libertarians or industrialists or bankers, they're aligned against the very essence of human motivation.

    If it weren't for their proficiency in killing individuals by the hundreds of millions, I'd call leftists a farce.

  • NebulousFocus||

    +2

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    stomping out the desires and ambitions of all of humanity

    You forget, humanity is just suffering from a severe case of false consciousness.

  • sarcasmic||

    stomping out the desires and ambitions of all of humanity

    Desire and ambition lead to inequality.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    People want to be absolutely equal, they just don't know it yet. Let's beat it into them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Equality is the lowest common denominator.

  • BakedPenguin||

    It's amazing to me that there are people who view the world depicted in Harrison Bergeron as a model.

    Although with so many people fighting to create 1984 here, I guess it shouldn't be.

  • ||

    I used to make my students read that story every quarter when I was still teaching. They weren't quite sure what to make of it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    They weren't quite sure what to make of it.

    Because their expectations for the future of communism/socialism were shaped by Star Trek.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is smarter, better-looking, stronger, or faster than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced. The government forces citizens to wear "handicaps" (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast)."

    OMG, I have to read this NOW!

  • CatoTheElder||

    The made-for-TV movie used to be on YouTube.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    People want to be absolutely equal, they just don't know it yet. Let's beat it into them.

    Oh, and we'll accomplish equality, not by raising the lowest up, but by bringing the highest down to the lowest level.

    Misery LOVES company.

  • ||

    humanity sprang from a quaint 750 million to its present figure somewhere around seven billion in under three centuries.

    But all those people are so hard to plan for. Better to kill them off so big minded planners can get their head around it

  • sarcasmic||

    In my home myself, my wife and my child live in a communist-like setting where each of us give according to ability and get according to need.

    And it works.

    Communists on the left feel that that system can work large-scale, but that simply isn't so. In a family everyone knows each other and presumably cares about each other. Shirkers can be identified and shamed. Those who earn more (because everyone knows and cares for each other) do not feel forced or compelled to share with their family. They do it of their own free will.

    Not so when communism scales up. Shirkers can easily live off others without shame. Those with ability have no incentive to use their ability since the fruits of their effort will be taken from them and given to strangers.

    The left simply cannot comprehend this. And they feel that anyone who disagrees with their collectivist ideals must have bad intentions, because their collectivist intentions are good.

    Something about the Road to Hell...

  • ||

    I think this is basically right.

    Communism is workable in small groups when there is a healthy social norm that forbids shirking and free-riding. People who don't contribute get named and shamed and ostracized.

    Problem is that makes it very difficult to combine with modern liberal attitudes about social tolerance. Years ago, people who lived off of charity were shamed, as a social mechanism to prevent free-riding. But these days, not only do we have this belief that people are entitled to have their lives supported, but it's considered intolerant to shame them for being on welfare or disability. If we even know who they are. In most cases, it's anonymous.

  • sarcasmic||

    The further you distance the giver and receiver of "charity," the less shame there is in it.

    Welfare used to be a local thing. It came out of town budgets, and thus came out of property taxes. When a person paid for something with food stamps, they knew the other people in line were looking at them and thinking "My property taxes paid for this." That shame created an incentive to get off the dole.

    Once welfare became a function of the state, as opposed to the town, the shame factor shrank. As did the incentive.

    At the federal level both shame and incentive are nonexistent.

  • ||

    The trouble is, most liberals would find it morally wrong to shame people for receiving charity. So even if you COULD know the people who are receiving welfare, you still wouldn't have any social mechanism to enforce a norm against abuse. There's just a complete breakdown of the social mechanisms that used to prevent the abuse of charity in small group societies.

    If you went and looked at any of those surviving communes from the 70s, I would put money on it that they all ostracize and expel members if they don't share the workload. Go look at the Amish and see how well they tolerate members that deviate from the social norms of the community.

  • sasob||

    the romanticized view of communism as a failed but noble venture

    I, for one, have never been able to see what was so noble about it.
    The basic tenet of communism is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

    Noble? Really? What's so wonderful about receiving only what someone else thinks you need rather than what you've earned or produced? Where is the nobility in forcing some to serve the needs of others? And where is the virtue in living as a parasite off others? Why is the need of some considered a claim on others?

  • sarcasmic||

    It's noble because that's what families do. The bread winner of a family happily shares from his/her earnings with his/her family. Even with those who produce nothing. I don't view my child as a parasite (yet, she's only four).

    Communists want to elevate that noble family ideal to a national scale.

    Except that it doesn't work because we're not a big family.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I don't view my child as a parasite (yet, she's only four).

    Give it about 7 years.

  • Sevo||

    "Communists want to elevate that noble family ideal to a national scale."

    Communists presume that humanity is like that child; unable to make moral judgements and not responsible for the results of such choices.
    And the Tonys of the world come along and prove there are such infantile excuses for moral agents.

  • sasob||

    And the Tonys of the world come along and prove there are such infantile excuses for moral agents.

    The Tonys of the world remind me of my old man.

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    They remind me of the people who beg for change in Harvard Square from 9-6 and take a cab home at the end of the day.

  • sasob||

    @Sarcasmic:

    I wasn't referring to families - my post wasn't actually in response to yours. Matter of fact, I hadn't yet read yours when I posted.

    But since you mention it, let me ask why it's any more noble when that communist ideal is practiced by a family - if, indeed, it is practiced by a family (it isn't always.) When one brings a child into the world, whose opinion about the matter is not asked - either the child's or the world's - then it's one's moral obligation to support and raise that child and to teach it to become self-supporting. There isn't anything "noble" about it - it's the least one can do; it's being responsible for the results of one's actions. If one also loves the child, then so much the better. In fact, if one loves the child, one usually wants to give it more than only what it "needs". I'd feel sorry for a child who received only what it needed. I'd also, feel sorry for a breadwinner, or anyone else in said family, who contributed to his/her utmost and received little more than his/her needs in return.

  • sarcasmic||

    My post, as most are, was a mix of seriousness and sarcasm.

    I personally don't think there is anything noble about providing for my family.

    Apparently communists not only feel that that is noble, but they want to force everyone into treating strangers as family. And they feel that that coercive act is noble.

    (notice I use the word feel. that is because I would never accuse these people of thought. only emotion.)

  • Fluffy||

    It's noble because that's what families do.

    No, it's not.

    For it to be what families do, you would have to have no say in selecting a spouse. A spouse could merely attach themselves to you out of 'need'.

    And your spouse would not be required to contribute anything at all. They would not have to work, inside or outside of the home. They would not even have to be friendly or kind to you. They would merely have to 'need' someone to take care of them.

    There's a lot - a LOT - of bullshit rhetoric and poetry out there about the basis for family relationships, pretty much all of which is designed to obscure the selfish basis of family life, which can be summarized as follows:

    1. When people of the opposite sex are attracted to each other, they want to fuck. A lot. It often helps facilitate this fucking if they live in the same house.

    2. Once they live in the same house, they discover there's a lot of benefit, for both people, to a domestic division of labor and pooling of resources.

    3. All of that fucking occasionally leads to offspring. When that happens, both parties find that they are gripped by powerful biological drives that command them to take care of their offspring and lavish resources on them. Those drives are every bit as compelling as the drives that lead them to eat sandwiches or run from fire or fuck.

    That's it.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Just our of curiosity, are you married? Because this is a pretty sad view of family life. Maybe for some people, this is reality. It sure isn't for my wife and I, and I would wager, most others.

  • sarcasmic||

    I sincerely hope you never marry or reproduce.

  • Michael Price||

    How is it a failed venture come to that? It did exactly what it was intended to do, elevate the theorists above those who combine resources to satisfy human needs (entrepreneurs). The murder was a feature not a bug.

  • GILMORE||

    Libertarians = Constantly Abusing Children And Laughing About it

    'this illustrates the underside of Libertarianism. On the surface, it's all about reason and freedom. Only on the underside does it show its ugly nature: bullying, smugness, cheap-jack cynicism and spite. Children are society's weakest members, legally only a few steps away from a woman's or a slave's position a couple hundred years back. Rather than try to draw children into the circle of freely choosing people that constitutes a Libertarian society, libertarians seem content to kick a man (even better a child) while he's down."

    That's right! Daring to suggest that the state NOT intervene in Parent-Child lives under most circumstances not 'life threatening' or demonstrably abusive? HEARTLESS SLAVERS YOU ARE.

    Mr Trueman fails to ever point out the logic behind an ever-present nanny-state prepared to intervene and act In Loco Parentis (and somehow *more beneficially* to children); its just =

    'Not weeping and moaning about kids in cars with smokers makes you all a bunch of heartless scum.'

    Did I ever tell you guys about the Moral Superiority schtick that some people so desperately *need*...?

  • sarcasmic||

    libertarians seem content to kick a man (even better a child) while he's down.

    Not giving is taking and not taking is giving.

    So whatever the government allows the rich to keep is a gift from society, and whatever the government does not give to the poor is theft by society.

    See? It makes sense as long as you don't think about it.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The post doesn't even address the original's premise, that there is a lack of scientific evidence on the dangers of second-hand or third-hand smoke. Yet we still legislate as if it were an absolute.

  • GILMORE||

    "The post doesn't even address the original's premise, that there is a lack of scientific evidence on the dangers of second-hand or third-hand smoke"

    This is just another example of your essentially cynical nature.

    besides, *even if it were proven to be harmful*, you heartless scum would still simply say that these are choices people should be allowed to make.

    For instance = it is *proven* that youth football can be dangerous!

    Yet you allow your children to play it.

    QED You fucking scum.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance.

    If you agree with the left then you are tolerant.

    If you disagree with the left then you are intolerant.

    Thus the left can shower contempt upon even the slightest deviation from their groupthink, and then pat themselves on the back for being tolerant.

  • MarioSmario||

    So what we have here is another example of the vacuousness of left wing "thought": accuse those who dare to disagree with you as racists, women haters, and child abusers. Amazing that these people carry around the title "intelligentsia" when the seem so far from it. Even on a message board, when you have the luxury of time to compose your thoughts, all the Left can come up with is name calling.

  • sarcasmic||

    People on the left feel that ad hominems are compelling arguments.

    Take for example the fact that Jefferson had slaves.

    That makes him a bad person.

    Therefore everything he said about liberty is wrong, and anyone who repeats what he said about liberty is a dirty racist.

    It makes sense as long as you don't think about it.

  • MarioSmario||

    But they love Che Guevara, who in his own words described shooting dissenters (in "Motorcycle Diaries" he wrote glowingly about the smell of gun powder and blood). Many of his targets were college students, guilty of nothing more than listening to that evil new American innovation called Rock n Roll, which he referred to as "capitalist garbage." To think college students now adorn their $75 t-shirts with his image! I won't even mention Robert Redford's glorified movie based on his life, in which he conveniently left out details of the executions and his love of bloodshed. And wasn't it Rolling Stone who put a bigger than life portrait of the Boston bomber on their cover? There is something sick about the left's fascination with violence for the sake of their goals. They defended it when the Black Panthers were openly raping and killing white women in San Francisco in the 1960s, and they defend it today. Could you imagine the outcry if Reason or National Review put a picture of the Norwegian mass shooter on the cover of their magazine? There is a certain and clear difference between what the Left considers moral and how the rest of us define right and wrong. Even if we might agree with some psycho's "manifesto" we don't glorify them with t-shirts, mugs, and cover photos. Imagine shrugging off mass slaughter while condemning people who appreciate Jefferson's views as racist. Not only ridiculous and devoid of reason, but sick.

  • ||

    Well said, Mariosmario.

  • Mock-star||

    If Sir Isaac Newton kept a bunch as orphans to work as his salt miners, monocle polishers, and personal conveyance, they would deny gravity itself.

  • PapayaSF||

    Only on the underside does it show its ugly nature: bullying, smugness, cheap-jack cynicism and spite

    Thank heavens there's none of that among anti-libertarians!

  • mtrueman||

    "Did I ever tell you guys about the Moral Superiority schtick that some people so desperately *need*...?"

    No, I don't think you did. Too busy, I guess, plugging away at your own Moral Relativity schtick.

  • GILMORE||

    This "moral relativism" you speak of...

    I find your ideas intriguing.

    This comment? - from someone who ostensibly thinks freedom from coercion or restriction by the state is preferred - UNTIL THEY START SMOKING NEAR CHILDREN!! - is almost funny.

    You're projecting.

  • mtrueman||

    "You're projecting"

    So are you. I never mentioned 'the state.'

  • GILMORE||

    Then who exactly stops the pernicious, widespread scourge of children being exposed to smokers - the very thing you identify as the fatal flaw in the libertarian False Consciouness of 'human liberty'...?

    This "be more vague" thing doesn't really constitute a defense of your above comment.

  • GILMORE||

    "Why are children and the causes that benefit children treated with such contempt?"

    For the record - the ONLY example given of the (apparently universal) "Libertarian contempt" for 'causes that benefit children'?

    The mockery of the Brits attempting to ban 'smoking in cars with kiddies'.

    Really. That's it.

    so - "Mr True Man" isn't *for* the state intervening... *he just thinks we're all a bunch of heartless shits for being *against it*.

    SOOOO Different.

  • mtrueman||

    "so - "Mr True Man" isn't *for* the state intervening... *he just thinks we're all a bunch of heartless shits for being *against it*."

    Again, I haven't mentioned the state once. Please read more carefully. Why are libertarians so eager to ignore the systematic exclusion of children from the regime of freedom they are promoting? I don't get the idea you've thought this through. You have to be prepared to do more than parrot slogans, like how you keep insisting on that my argument is about state intervention when I haven't mentioned this at all. You act as though you are some babbling CNN talking head. I expect more from you.

  • mtrueman||

    "Then who exactly stops the pernicious, widespread scourge of children being exposed to smokers"

    In an ideal world, it would be children themselves standing up for their interests as they perceive them, Just as I would say of any other section of humanity. Given the legal and physical weaknesses of children, maybe non-libertarian adults could step in and lend a hand.

    If you can point out any "children's issues" where self styled libertarians come down on the side of children, I'd be very interested in reading of them. If not, my point stands.

  • Duke Trshmnstr of Stench||

    I dare not cite anything, for fear of disenabling you from doing your own fucking research. However, this is my personal opinion (as a self styled libertarian).

    1) Let's stop prosecuting kids for mild drug violations. Nothing starts a kid down the road toward disenfranchisement faster than a stint in juvy for a little bit of pot.
    2) Get rid of zero-tolerance rules that don't take the circumstances of a violation into account. This just puts a black (RAYCIIIIST!!) mark on their records for being an idiot in school. These kids would be much better served with a mentor and context appropriate sanction rather than automatic "mandatory minimums"
    3) Disincentivize single parenthood and welfare cheating by removing subsidies for those who choose to have children relying on the State as a parent.
    4) Allow parents of children who attend private school or homeschool to keep any tax contributions that would have gone the the local public school. This will balance the burdens of public and private schooling, giving children a better opportunity to have a good education.

  • Duke Trshmnstr of Stench||

    5) Restore the market signals to student loans. This will nearly immediately open a labor market of decent paying jobs to high school graduates, as floating through a 4 year bullshit degree in gender studies will be cost prohibitive.
    6) Remove farm subsidies that muddle the price signals of food, especially for urban children. If beef and corn prices return to market prices, "unhealthy" food will be more expensive, and farmers will naturally grow a greater variety of foods to try to diversify their risk.
    7) Remove top-down edicts from the Dept. of Education. This will make sure that children are taught the best for the market that they will enter. Detroit doesn't have the same education needs as San Jose or Huntsville. Passing declarations from on high just simply leaves too many children behind.
    8) When you take the 10,000 ton anchor (overgrown government) off of the back of the economy, parents are better able to provide for their children, and you'll see the amount of "food insecure" or "poor" or "hungry" or whatever metric the sociologists dream up go way down.

  • mtrueman||

    Interesting, but you simply seem to be a pro market paternalist. You have an idea what the children's best interests are but give no indication that you understand what children actually want and desire. That's paternalism. It's a tricky business, but I would have thought that libertarians would have wanted to move away from that. Each child is an individual, not simply a member of a group. You don't seem to recognize this, despite your claim to be a libertarian.

  • MarioSmario||

    It doesn't surprise me that communism is making a comeback. Now that there is no longer a USSR with real time examples communism's utter failings, communism has metamorphosed into a kind of religion; and like all religions, there is no need for empirical evidence to prove or disprove anything--all that's necessary is faith.

  • MarioSmario||

    A large part of the Left's ideology is that the United States is a behemoth that needs taking down (but the Soviet behemoth that invaded Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, large chunks of Middle East, Central America and southeast Asia, the Left didn't then nor now see as vulgar arrogance). And yet, ironically, it's the modern American recreated communist--the one's who think that Obama is a victim of American racism, not the product of American tolerance--is the most audacious and arrogant of the land. These Americans believe--by virtual of being American!--that they, and they alone, shall make this communist "pivotal experiment" work! Yes, we Americans, being so brilliant, being so crafty, will get it right! Talk about "ugly American"!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I really hate how capitalism has been captured by corporatists. Capitalism works when markets are really free. It fails when we are capitalist in name and are in actuality captured by cronies. Watch one of the business channels - pick Bloomberg or CNBC - and watch the parade of cronies enjoying their bailouts and protections brag about their "market" performance.

    It's so important to emphasize the distinction between free markets and corporatism when talking about capitalism to lefties. I find people who think they're on the left are persuadable, or, at least less certain, when I talk in terms of free markets. Soft lefties, not the hard core type, are open to this kind of persuasion.

  • MarioSmario||

    You are 100% right, but you cannot have corportism as you call it without a big corrupt government walking alongside it. You cannot. Socialism creates crony capitalism. It's a system set up to favor a select few. Look at those now and historically who support it. Do I dare risk being called an Ayn Rand nut if I quote her? "No one has ever advocated for socialism who didn't want to be dictator." Who was it that Obama played golf with last week? Goldman Sachs CEO or was it the woman who runs the local Chamber of Commerce?

  • Lady Bertrum||

    I agree. One intended consequence of shrinking government is starving the cronies - just another kind of welfare queen.

    But, again, I think it's important for libertarian to emphasize we're talking about free markets when we talk about capitalism because the word capitalism has been tarnished by cronies. It's also important to shame and name cronies who attempt to hide under the mantel of capitalism.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It's spelled kronies -- with a "K".

    http://thekronies.com/

    A great website for educational toys, brought to you by Chimera Incorporated http://chimeraincorporated.com/.

  • ||

    "Socialism creates crony capitalism. It's a system set up to favor a select few. "

    Contracts are given out based party loyalty instead of competence.

    The shameless, rampant cronyism of this current administration and the breathtaking incompetence on display go hand in hand.

  • sarcasmic||

    Most leftists would say that the whole problem with the corporations controlling the government is that the government isn't powerful enough to control the corporations that control it.

    All we need to do is give more power to the government, which is the people, and then the people will control the corporations that control the government.

    And if that doesn't work, then obviously the government needs more power so it, the people, can control the corporations.

    And if that doesn't work, then obviously the government needs more power so it, the people, can control the corporations.

    And if that doesn't work, then obviously the government needs more power so it, the people, can control the corporations.

    And if that doesn't work, then obviously the government needs more power so it, the people, can control the corporations.

    .
    .
    .
    .

  • Mark22||

    Capitalism hasn't been "captured by corporatists". Socialists and fascists have simply rebranded rent-seeking as "capitalism", when it is actually the exact opposite. It's nothing new either: socialists and fascists have been united in this for a century.

  • strodestrode733||

    my buddy's step-mother makes $64 hourly on the laptop . She has been fired from work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $14876 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check this link right here now.......
    http://www.Jobs84.com

  • Waffen Hans||

    Some might read this article and think that all is lost; it's not. This represents the second and final wave of socialism that will sweep the land of Freedonia with pestilence, war, and famine. This time, however, with knowledge given to us by our creator, we are prepared and understand the threat that is massing outside of the gates of Freedonia. We must as libertarians stand on our principles and educate our children, family and those willing to be swayed to understand the benefits of capitalism. Not all will be swayed by your passion to save what remains of freedom in our land, scared by years of socialism.

  • Waffen Hans||

    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

  • Jackand Ace||

    I see, Cathy.

    So tell me, would it be fair to say that conservatives still hold a soft spot for repressive regimes, a soft spot for those who would deny basic human rights?

    Let's see, conservatives were at the forefront to resist the US aiding Nelson Mandela and his fight against apartheid. In fact, when Congress in the 80's voted for sanctions against the repressive South African government, that bill was vetoed by Ronald Reagan. Of course, common sense prevailed, the veto was overturned by Congress, and who voted in line with the veto? Dick Cheney, who felt Mandela was a terrorist (I guess Dick also felt Americans who dumped tea were terrorists also-I think they were freedom fighters).

    Fast forward to today, and we see conservatives rallying around Putin's suppression of gays in Russia. Maybe I'm painting with too broad a brush here, but then so are you.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....30050.html

  • MarioSmario||

    Ronald Reagan appointed a black ambassador to South Africa, which was instrumental in ending apartheid. It certainly had a more profound psychological affect on the people and government than silly governmental sanctions that are nothing more than politicians pointing their finely manicured fingers saying "bad boy!" No wonder you leftists are such staunch supporters of the UN. You love nothing more than pretending to care, while doing absolutely nothing to back it up. While I don't worship political figures like some of you on the left, Reagan had a vision that extended beyond trying to pander to international effeminate "sanctions."

  • Jackand Ace||

    Appointing a black ambassador is purely symbolic...if you think that would have more of an effect on ending apartheid than real sanctions, then you would be naïve. Unless of course you think that if we normalized relations with Iran and appointed a Muslim as ambassador that would have resulted in bringing Iran to the negotiating table quicker than sanctions.

    The simple fact is that Reagan had a chance as a conservative to stand up against a regime that denied basic human rights and he failed to do so. And another conservative called Mandela a terrorist.

    Now I don't think conservatives have a soft spot for repressive regimes, but I guess Cathy Young must.

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|2.15.14 @ 4:27PM|#
    "Appointing a black ambassador is purely symbolic...if you think that would have more of an effect on ending apartheid than real sanctions, then you would be naïve."

    Show direct cause and effect from sanctions.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Anyone who proclaims "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country" is, by any reasonable definition, a terrorist. Those were the uncontested words of Winnie Mandela and were unrepudiated by Nelson. If you don't know what necklacing is, look it up.

    Nelson Mandela was a terrorist. Menachim Begin was a terrorist. Yassar Arafat was a terrorist. Stalin was a terrorist.

    A couple of them were effective politicians. Mandela accomplished the nearly impossible: avoiding a Zimbabwe-like transition to majority rule. On he achieved political power, he also abandoned his communist ideology. (He had earlier said, "The cause of communism is the greatest cause in the history of mankind.")

  • Jackand Ace||

    Nice try at bait and switch. Who said anything about Winnie Mandela? She had her own legal problems in all kinds of things.

    How about Sam Adams...terrorist?

  • Sevo||

    Jackand Ace|2.15.14 @ 6:14PM|#
    "Nice try at bait and switch."

    Why don't you learn what words mean? Those were facts and "bait and switch" is not an argumentative technique.

  • CatoTheElder||

    I really don't know. Can you cite an instance when he killed or incited others to kill civilians who cooperated with the British?

    I am unaware of such, but am willing to learn. No doubt there were American terrorists during the Revolution. Arguably Washington was a terrorist for departing from the informal rules of war when he crossed the Delaware for his Christmas Day offensive. It's a fairly weak argument, but better than the sort lefties usually make. He is also reported to have killed unarmed enemy prisoners, which is generally considered a war crime.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Thanks. Points to you for being consistent.

    I would point out that killing is not the only thing that defines terrorism. Destruction of property does as well, and since Sam was one of the ring leaders of the Boston Tea Party, then maybe he was.

    But if you define Washington as a terrorist (I don't...like N. Mandela he was a freedom fighter), then the only analogy you have so far drawn is Washington with Winnie Mandela.

  • Duke Trshmnstr of Stench||

    Like Nick Cage said in Lord of War:

    "Every faction in Africa calls themselves by these noble names - Liberation this, Patriotic that, Democratic Republic of something-or-other... I guess they can't own up to what they usually are: the Federation of Worse Oppressors Than the Last Bunch of Oppressors. Often, the most barbaric atrocities occur when both combatants proclaim themselves Freedom Fighters."

  • ||

    "Now I don't think conservatives have a soft spot for repressive regimes, but I guess Cathy Young must."

    Many on the left apologize for and advocate openly for communism. Cathy gives examples. How does it follow that conservatives would have a soft spot for repressive regimes? Even if they did, how is that relevant to a discussion in a libertarian forum?

    Try googling 'Non Sequitur'. Read the definition carefully, then go drink a cup of bleach.

  • wwhorton||

    Joe Scarborough does this on Morning Joe (back when I used to watch it). A Democrat does something naughty, for instance, and that is the topic of conversation. In order to make sure to appear "balanced", Joe (or Mika, from time to time) would relate some anecdote about a Republican doing something that was also naughty in a similar way, wrapping it up with, "so, the fact is, there's naughtiness on both sides." Since there's naughtiness on both sides, the first, on-topic naughtiness isn't really the issue it might first seem. In other words, since murders have been committed in the past, a particular murder committed yesterday by a particular person isn't really that big a deal. Or some such bullshit.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Again problems on understanding, WW. I in fact am saying the opposite. I say both sides are NOT naughty. I don't think Cathy provided any evidence at all that the LEFT (the whole LEFT) advocates for Communism. Her assertion is ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as the HuffPost piece that the right advocates for repression.

  • Jackand Ace||

    Exactly who in the left openly advocates for Communism? Obama? Clinton?
    Whereas Reagan, through his actions, openly advocated for a repressive regime in South Africa.

    I am saying that if Cathy can use as an example her college classmate and one writer as proof that the left advocates for repression, then I certainly can use a Republican President, Vice President, and about 5 writers as Republican support for repressions.

    Goose and gander, SB, goose and gander.

  • Waffen Hans||

    Who gives a fuck about "conservatives"? They are a dead and dieing breed. Maybe your argument would be relevant if, say, this was 198fucking2?

  • Sevo||

    It might also be relevant if he showed a 'conservative' rag giving space to some idiot promoting apartheid as RS did to some idiot promoting the stinking commies.

  • Waffen Hans||

    Wait, what?

  • Sevo|