FT189: “The problem with lying is that you can’t keep everyone ignorant forever.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 27th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

Global Warming Activists are Anti-Capitalists who want the US to be a European Social Democracy

Democrats lie.  It’s the only way they can advance a liberal agenda the people don’t want.  In the Nineties they warned us about impending doom from manmade global warming.  They said their science told them that within a decade global temperatures would rise so much that the polar icecaps would melt.  And the rising oceans would flood our coastlines.  While the hotter temperatures would turn our fertile farmland into desert.  The left wasn’t saying this could happen.  They were saying it was going to happen.

Well, it didn’t.  Every dire prediction they made didn’t happen.  The polar icecaps are still there.  Our coastlines are still there.  Our farmlands are still fertile.  In fact, they’re so fertile that America has an obesity problem.  Because we’re eating too much food.  And we’re eating too much food because we are growing so much food thanks to those fertile farmlands.  Why, we’re growing so much food that we’re using a large portion of our corn crop to make ethanol to burn in our cars.

So either the global warming crowd was so very wrong.  Or they were lying the whole time.  Why would they lie?  Well, who exactly are the global warming activists?  They’re not Republicans.  They’re not conservatives.  They’re liberals.  And it just so happens that they want the same thing liberal democrats want.  An ever growing regulatory environment strangling our businesses.  For these people are, generally, anti-capitalists.  Who want the United States to become a European social democracy.  Where there is fairness.  Egalitarianism.  And no rich people.  Other than those in government.

The Climate Scientists were wrong about Manmade Global Warming and their Hurricane Predictions

Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest and costliest hurricane to hit the United States.  And the left said, “See?  Global warming.”  Not only that they said this was only the beginning.  And because of manmade global warming we could expect a lot more Hurricane Katrinas.  In fact, it was a sure thing.  Manmade global warming was going to fill the hurricane season with a lot more hurricanes.  And a lot of them would be Hurricane Katrina bad.  Or worse.  And you could take that to the bank.  Because their mathematical models proved this.

Well, it turned out these mathematical models were wrong.  Since Katrina we’ve had nothing but mild hurricane seasons.  Exactly the opposite of what the climate scientists said we would have.  In fact, it took 7 years before we experienced another storm nearly as destructive as Katrina.  Hurricane Sandy.  Or Superstorm Sandy.  As it wasn’t quite a hurricane.  Though it was destructive.  It wasn’t Hurricane Katrina destructive.  Like the climate scientists said most hurricanes would be like following Katrina.

So either the climate scientists were just very bad at science.  Or they’ve been lying.  Or both.  During the Seventies these same brilliant scientists were upset that the world’s governments wouldn’t heed their warnings and start storing food for the coming ice age.  For they said it was a sure thing.  And there was nothing we could do about it. Then another decade or so later these same climate scientists were warning us about global warming.  Which was then a sure thing.  As global cooling and ice ages was so yesterday’s climate.

The Left is Good at Lying because they keep the People Ignorant and Gullible

Today business is strangled by environmental regulations.  The government is waging war against inexpensive and reliable coal-fired power plants.  While spending our tax dollars on costly and unreliable renewable energy.  Australia has a carbon tax.  And Europe has an emissions trading scheme.  To charge power plants, businesses, airlines, etc., for the carbon they exhaust into the atmosphere.  Adding layers and layers of costs to everything we buy.  All because the climate scientists said we were causing global warming.  Warming the same planet they said was cooling a few decades earlier.

They were wrong.  As they are on most things.  In fact, they are some of the most ignorant smart people in the world.  The political left.  Who want to run our lives because they are so much smarter than we are.  Yet their track record shows that they are not smarter than us.  Or that they’re just very good liars.  Who can tell the same lie over and over again and people will believe it.  Like global warming.  Or their Keynesian economic policies.  Policies that have given us the Great Depression.  The stagflation of the Seventies.  Japan’s Lost Decade.  The dot-com bubble and recession.  The subprime mortgage crisis.  And, of course, the European sovereign debt crisis.

Yet the left is very good at winning elections.  And that’s because they are such good liars.  For all of their policies are politically driven.  They don’t care about manmade global warming.  They just want to control the economy.  So they can pick winners and losers.  And enrich themselves.  Which is why they will tell the same lie over and over again.  Because they are so good at lying.  And the people are so gullible.  Because they are so ignorant.  Thanks to our public schools.  Which are controlled by the left (the teacher unions aren’t filling Republican campaign coffers).  The problem with lying to advance your agenda, though, is that you can’t keep everyone ignorant forever.  Eventually people grow up.  They raise families and feel the direct result of the left’s costly policies.  They live through 2 decades where there was no warming.  They see few hurricanes despite predictions of record hurricane seasons.  That’s why the left works so hard for the youth vote.  Because they are just too young to have experienced these things.  Young and dumb.  The ideal Democrat voter.  Who vote for the party that says sex is okay.  And drugs aren’t that bad.  Unlike their parents.  Who are old enough to have experienced the left being so wrong for so long.

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Marx, Engels, Communist Manifesto, Capitalists, Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Private Property, Soviet Union, Iron Curtain and East Berlin

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 1st, 2012

History 101

Nationalism, Socialism and Communism forced a more Fair, Just and Equitable Society onto the People

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto in 1848.  Launching a war against capitalism.  And private property.  Intellectuals and those in academia loved this stuff.  And labor leaders.  Because it was a path to power.  Especially for those who could not create wealth.  Unlike the great wealth producers.  Like the industrialists.  The entrepreneurs.  Small business owners.  The productive middle class.  That is, the capitalists.  Who work hard and achieve success.  By using their talent and ability to create wealth.  Moving up the economic ladder.  Creating income inequality.  The ultimate sin of capitalism.  According to Marx and Engels.  Intellectuals.  Academia.  And labor leaders.

In the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels single out the accumulation of private property as the source of all our problems.  The capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have an insatiable appetite for private property.  They just can’t get enough of it.  And therefore oppress their workers, the proletariat, to maximize their property.  By paying them less and less to maximize their profits.  So they can use those profits to buy more and more property.  Which keeps the proletariat in perpetual and abject poverty.  And concentrates all the wealth into the few hands of the bourgeoisie.  And the only way to correct this great inequity was through a worker’s revolution.  Where the proletariat rises up and takes the private property of the bourgeoisie and gives it to the state.  So it belongs to everyone.  Especially to those who did not create it.  A very popular idea among those mired in perpetual and abject poverty.  Who are easily swayed to support this more fair, just and equitable distribution of other people’s wealth.

These progressive views enthralled Europe.  Especially after the Industrial Revolution created some appalling conditions for workers.  And they took this opportunity to put them into practice.  It was the 19th century that gave us the ‘fair’ political systems of nationalism, socialism and communism.  That began the process of transferring wealth from the capitalists to the anti-capitalists.  Precipitating the economic decline of Europe.  Making America the new economic superpower.  Which still maintained the principles of free market capitalism throughout the 19th century.  Until the anti-capitalistic teachings of Marx and Engels took hold in the progressive government of Woodward Wilson.  Bringing back the federal income tax Abraham Lincoln used to pay for the Civil War.  But unlike Lincoln Wilson had no intention of repealing it.  The federal income tax was here to stay.  As progressives began building that more fair, just and equitable society.

The Soviet Union Depended on the West for Food because their Forced Collectivized Farms couldn’t Feed their People

But the equitable movement in America was not as intense as it was in Europe.  Or Russia.  Which was taking the teachings of Marx and Engels to their logical end.  They had a worker’s revolution.  They became communist.  And forced that more fair, just and equitable society on their people.  Whether they wanted it or not.  And those who objected they systematically killed.  Or exiled to a Siberian gulag.  For Joseph Stalin’s rise to power was brutal.  As was the Soviet Union.  Even making a deal with Adolf Hitler to split Poland after the Nazi-Soviet invasion of Poland that launched World War II.  Then Hitler double-crossed their Soviet ally and attacked the Soviet Union.  And the Nazis nearly overran them.  The Nazis were in Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg).  At the gates of Moscow.  And in Stalin’s city.  Stalingrad.  The Soviets were unable to resist the Nazi onslaught.  The only thing that saved them was material aid from the capitalist West.  The Soviet T-34 tank (the best in the war).  And, of course, the millions of Soviet people the Soviet generals could throw into the Nazi killing machine to wear the Nazis down.

No one suffered like the Soviet people did during World War II.  The US and the UK each lost about a half million people.  A terrible loss.  The Soviets, though, lost about 25 million people.  A number that just numbs the mind.  This was the second Russian invasion that had brought an enemy to the gates of Moscow.  The first were the French a century earlier under Napoleon.  There wasn’t going to be a third.  Wherever their armies were at the end of World War II they pretty much stayed.  Turning Eastern Europe into a communist bloc.  And to make the Soviet Union a mightier nation they embarked on a rapid industrialization program.  To make it a modern power like those great nations in the West.  But unlike them they were going to do it the ‘smart’ way.  With their command economy.  Where their brilliant state planners would marshal their resources and do what the free market economies did in the west.  Only instead of taking about a century their Industrial Revolution would take only 5 years.

With no industrialists, entrepreneurs, small business owners or a middle class it fell upon the state planners to industrialize the Soviet Union.  As well as feed the Soviet people.  Well, they industrialized the Soviet Union.  But never brought it up to par with the industrialized West.  Worse, they couldn’t feed their people.  Despite having some of the most fertile farmland in all of Europe in the Ukraine.  The Soviet Union depended on the West for food.  Because their forced collectivized farms didn’t work like Marx and Engels said they would.  And they didn’t work in China, either.  Where another brutal communist dictator, Mao Zedong, killed tens of millions of his people by starving them to death.  By forcing a more fair, just and equitable society onto the Chinese.

Time Froze behind the Iron Curtain and People Lived pretty much Forever in the 1940s

At the end of World War II, like at the end of World War I, no one wanted to think about war anymore.  Winston Churchill, though, did.  For he saw what the Soviet Union was doing.  And saw the spread of their communism as a threat to Western Civilization.  He gave a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946.  And said, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.”  There was now an Eastern Europe.  An East Germany.  And an East Berlin.  All behind the Iron Curtain.  All in the Soviet sphere.  All communist.  Where they all suffered under a more fair, just and equitable society.  Whether they wanted it or not.  And they clearly did not.  For the Soviets had to build a wall in Berlin to prevent those in East Berlin from escaping to West Berlin.

The intellectuals, academia and labor leaders loved Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union.  They thought communism was the enlightened future.  Probably because they didn’t have to live in it.  But what is surprising is that a lot of college students have this affection with communism.  To this day they still wear t-shirts emblazed with the beret-wearing Che Guevara.   Who helped Fidel Castro bring that more fair, just and equitable society to the Cubans.  Who have been trying to escape it ever since by practically swimming to Florida and free market capitalism.  But the college students and their professors still yearn for a Soviet-style economy in the United States.  And condemn capitalism as they sit in coffee bars sipping their lattes.  Enjoying social media on their smartphones.  Wearing the latest fashions.  Enjoying the latest movies.  The newest music.  And dream of that more just society.  Where they redistribute wealth fairly and equitably.  And the rich pay their fair share.  Just like in East Berlin.  Where life was fair.  But it was nowhere as enjoyable as in the unfair West.

Time froze behind the Iron Curtain.  When West Berlin enjoyed the best Western Civilization had to offer in music, fashion, food, entertainment, etc., East Berlin didn’t.  For they were frozen in the 1940s.  Western music was decadent.  So instead of rock and pop music you listened to classical music.  Instead of the latest Hollywood movies you went to the ballet.  You didn’t watch Western television.  Read Western books.  Or newspapers.  No.  You only saw things approved by state censors.  And that were patriotic.  Why?  To prevent their people from seeing how much better life was on the other side of the Iron Curtain.  Where they enjoyed the latest and the best of everything.  Whereas inside the Iron Curtain you went to the black market for any real luxuries.  Like a pair of blue jeans.  Which they didn’t sell in East Berlin.  Because they were decadent.  Why, they wouldn’t even sell a t-shirt with a communist icon on it.  Because you just didn’t wear something like that in the 1940s.  But college kids will attack capitalism.  And support the fairness of socialism and communism.  Even though the things they enjoy come from free market capitalism.  And are simply not available in the communist command economy.  Because the accumulation of private property is the greatest sin of capitalism.  And not allowed under communism.

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North Koreans hate Socialism and Try to Escape what some in the West call a Socialist Paradise

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 10th, 2012

Week in Review

You know who really hates North Korea?  I mean, really, really hates it?  Not just a little.  But a lot.  No, not President Obama.  Not even George W. Bush hated North Korea that much.  No.  The people who really, really hate North Korea are the North Koreans.  Who have to live under tyranny, poverty and famine.  So they try to escape their socialist ‘paradise’ by escaping across the border (see N.Koreans Keep Fleeing Despite Tough Border Controls posted 3/11/2012 on The Chosunilbo).

The group said a five-member family from Musan, North Hamgyong Province suddenly disappeared on Feb. 17. Although the entire border nearby was shut down and searched, nobody was able to find them. Five days later, a worker at a cooperative farm in Onsong, North Hamgyong Province was arrested for crossing the river, and another person was arrested in China after making it across. On Feb. 23, two women who tried to cross the river from Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province were arrested as well…

One defector who held a senior position in the North said, “The North Korean regime is pushing people to construction sites and robbing them of their hard-earned foreign currency” in order to prepare for the centenary of regime founder Kim Il-sung in April.

A researcher at a state-run research institute said, “Poverty is a major factor pushing people out of the country. The underground economy is booming and disparity in wealth has intensified in North Korea. The poorest of the poor, who had a glimmer of hope after the death of Kim Jong-il, now see their hopes thwarted and eventually decide to leave.”

Good Friends said the food shortage is getting worse, with some people saying it is even worse than the famine of the late 1990s. North Korea needs 5 million tons of food a year but only manages to produce 4 million tons. During the famine, food production fell below 3 million tons due to poor harvests and mismanagement.

The Stalinist regime of North Korea is the logical extreme of socialism.  The more the state gets involved in the private sector the worse life gets for those who must live in the private sector.  And when you reach full-blown communism the only way the state can survive is by enslaving their people.  Like in North Korea.  Where they prevent anyone from escaping their socialist ‘paradise’. 

The social democracies in Europe still cling to some vestiges of capitalism.  Why?  Because as of now their people can still escape their social-democracy paradises.  But once they cross the Rubicon and their state capitalism collapses under the weight of their massive debt burdens, they’ll have to arm their borders.  To keep their taxpayers from escaping.  So they can continue to fund the ruling class.  And the ever shrinking middle class who survive only because of their connections to the ruling class.  Sort of like it was back in the days of feudalism.  Only with nicer toys.  For those connected enough to have them.

Communists are anti-capitalists.  Just like all those people on the left who attack capitalism in America.  So what’s the difference between the anti-capitalists in oppressive communist regimes and those in the United States?  Protesting is a lot more fun in the United States than in oppressive communist regimes.  Because of capitalism.  It is capitalism that lets the anti-capitalists take a break from their protesting and enjoy a frothy cappuccino at a conveniently located coffee shop.  While protestors in communist regimes are arrested and sent to prison camps.  Or worse.  Why, capitalism even makes protesting capitalism better.  Something the protestors don’t really think about.  Because for them protesting is all about the fun.  Not the ideology.  And they have no desire to live under what they claim to want.  For anyone who enjoys a frothy cappuccino during a nice outdoor protest will have a rude awakening to see how a communist regime responds to their ‘difference of opinion’.

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Protesters on Wall Street haven’t a Clue of what they’re Protesting About

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 1st, 2011

Why are they Protesting?  Because Protesting is Fun.

They’ve gathered on Wall Street.  And they will be heard.  That is, if they had anything to say (see Occupy Wall Street protesters driven by varying goals by Tina Susman posted 9/29/2011 on the Los Angeles Times).

“At a certain point, there’s a valid criticism in people asking, ‘What are you doing here?'”

What are they doing there?  I think that’s pretty clear.  They’re protesting.  Why?  Because protesting is fun.  That’s why.

They may not know why they’re there.  Or understand how the free market economy works.  Have the foggiest idea of what capitalism really is.  All they know is that they had some Leftist high school teachers and/or some Leftist college professors who told them how much fun protesting was.  How much they enjoyed it all those years ago.  When they were dirty, filthy, stinking hippies.  Enjoying the college ‘education’ that Daddy paid for with his capitalistic career.  And how much they hated their fathers.  For being capitalists.  Which allowed their parents to give these spoiled little brats whatever they wanted.

Funny how some things never change.

The Man Sure gets Around; of course he was a Much Younger Man during the Vietnam era Protests.

But surely they must have a reason for being there?  Other than sticking it to the man (see Wall Street protest’s success not easily measured by the Associated Press posted 10/1/2011 on TRIBLIVE).

It all has the feel of a classic street protest with one exception: It’s unclear exactly what the demonstrators want…

“It’s time for us to come together to realize we are the masses, and we can make things happen.”

But he couldn’t say what, exactly, he wanted to happen. Handmade signs carried by some of the demonstrators — “Less is More” and “Capitalism is evil” — hardly make it clearer…

… the group’s lack of specificity serves a purpose because it invites outrage over a full spectrum of societal grievances. Indeed, some demonstrators say they are against Wall Street greed, others say they are protesting global warming and still others say they are protesting “the man.”

Yes.  The man.  I remember first hearing about ‘the man’ during the Vietnam era protests.  The man sure gets around.  Of course he was a much younger man in those days.  But just as oppressive.  He had a job.  He paid taxes.  Saved for retirement.  And saved for the college education for the next generation of protestors.  That vicious, selfish bastard.

The Protestors have no Leader or Message but have the Support of Teachers and Transport Workers

But these protestors are not alone.  Other anti-capitalists have come out to support them (see Wall Street protesters set to march on police by Ray Sanchez posted 9/30/2011 on Reuters).

… a unionized subway worker, said, “Last year we had 900 of our members laid off … These are our issues too: Wall Street, the banks, layoffs, the struggle that these young people are spearheading is our struggle too.”

Among those pledging solidarity were the United Federation of Teachers and the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which has 38,000 members. The unions could provide important organizational and financial support for the largely leaderless movement.

It was the high unemployment that cut the tax base of the city that required them to lay off some of their employees.  Because they couldn’t pay them and those generous pensions and health care benefits for their retirees.  And that didn’t have anything to do with the Wall Street banks.

It is interesting that the teachers and the transport workers are supporting a movement that has no message.  At least when the unions protest you know what they want.  Money.  And benefits.  But these protestors have no leader.  And no message.  But the teachers and the transport workers will be right there with them to help them win what they want.  More fun protesting.  I guess.

Corruption is Initiated by Government because they have the Power, they Write the Laws

Perhaps we should listen to the protestors themselves.  Let them tell us why they’re protesting.  Bill O’Reilly sent Jesse Watters to Wall Street.  To find out.  And here is what he learned.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crl31Xgc3_w

Well, that clarifies everything.  These people are demonstrating how poor our educational system is.

What they’re complaining about is not capitalism.  It’s crony capitalism.  Crony capitalism is when politicians sell themselves to the highest bidder.  They say if you give me lots of money I will write laws that favor you.  This is the corruption.  And government initiates it.  Because they have the power.  They write the laws.  And set the rules of the game.  And if you want to play you have to pay.

Not all corporations do.  Microsoft didn’t.  Until they were called to Congress in a huge antitrust case.  Because they were giving consumers something free.  The Internet browser Internet Explorer.  Microsoft has since learned their lesson.  And now lobby accordingly.

Democrats need the Youth Vote because the Young stay neither Young nor Ignorant Forever

There are some older people in these protests.  But the vast majority are college age kids.  Many of who will grow up and raise families.  Have a career.  And will think about other pressing issues of the day other than legalizing pot.

Yes.  These kids today?  A lot of them will be ‘the man’ tomorrow.  And some punk kids will demonize them in a similar protest some 10-20 years in the future.

This is why the Democrats work so hard on getting the youth vote.  Because the young stay neither young nor ignorant forever.

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LESSONS LEARNED #68: ” Beware the demagogue, the champion of the poor, for he has dictatorial aspirations.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 2nd, 2011

Robespierre used the Sans-culottes

A telltale sign of royalty is a really nice pair of pants.  With a perfect, sharp crease.  But that’s today.  Back in the old days, it was a handsome pair of silk knee-breeches.  The wealthy in pre-revolutionary France all wore them.  I say ‘pre-revolutionary’ because it was not the thing to wear during the revolution.  In fact, a group of people who could not afford these fancy breeches took pride in their plain pants.  The poor working class in the cities.  Artisans and small shopkeepers.  The little guys.  Struggling to make a living.

These people did not wear the ‘culottes’ (French for ‘silk knee-breeches’) of the upper classes.  So they went ‘sans’ them (French for ‘without’).  Hence they were the Sans-culottes.  They were the people without silk knee-britches.  And the mob behind the French Revolution

They were Leftist radicals.  Anti-capitalists.  And the far-Left radical Jacques Roux used them for muscle.  Turned them against the bourgeouis (the middle class).  Caused a whole lot of unrest.  Some food riots.  And a massacre or two.  Roux was becoming too powerful so Maximilien Robespierre, a Jacobin, had him arrested.  Then he used the Sans-culottes to consolidate his power.  With the opportune assassination of Jean-Paul Marat (a Jacobin leader), Robespierre became the leader of the Jacobins and of the Revolution.  For awhile.  With the help of the Sans-culottes, he unleashed the Reign of Terror.  Marat’s assassin was a Girondin.  The Girondins were the political rivals of the Jacobins.  So Robespierre put Marat’s assassination to good use and cleaned house.  And by ‘clean house’ I mean killed as many of his political opposition as possible.  It was the time to kill.  If you didn’t like someone all you had to say was that he or she was a counter revolutionary.  And they got a date with the guillotine.  In all some 16,000 (or more) lost their heads during the Reign of Terror.  Including Robespierre himself.  Live by the guillotine.  Die by the guillotine.  And soon thereafter the Sans-culottes became less of a force as the government pulled back from the extreme Leftist radicalism of the Terror to a more conservative one.

Communist Leaders exploited the Proletariat

Marxism arose as a criticism of capitalism.  Which exploits the working class (according to Marxism).  The proletariat.  Who own nothing but their labor.  And are forced to sell it for day-wages to those who own the means of production.  The industrial bourgeoisie.  The proletariat wants to maximize their pay.  The bourgeoisie wants to maximize their profits.  Of course, one can only gain if the other loses.  Ergo, this is a class struggle.  Between the working majority.  And the capital owning minority.  Which is wrong according to Marxism.  And can only end in a proletarian revolution.  After which everyone will live a life of plenty in a classless, stateless, property-less society.  Because everyone will feel the love and work real hard to produce a lot.  Even though they won’t make an extra dime for all their extra work.  It will be a social utopia where society takes from those according to ability and gives to those according to need.  And they’ll sing workers’ songs as they eat and drink and scratch their fat bellies at the end of the work day.

As a social utopia, it’s a pretty nice one.  Especially to the working class who have worked some pretty hard lives.  So they are quick to show a lot of need.  And little ability.  Because those with the most ability have to work the hardest.  Whereas those with the greatest need get more stuff.  Even if they don’t work.  At all.  According to theory, at least.  The working class may be uneducated laborers, but they understood this.  Especially when a leader came along to lead a proletarian revolution.  I get more for working less?  I’m with you, brother.  There have been quite a few such revolutions.  Though there are some degrees of differences, we can call most of these communist revolutions.  Because communist leaders based their philosophy on some form of Marxism.

Many countries had communist revolutions.  Russia was the first.  It became the Soviet Union.  Then China.  It became the People’s Republic of ChinaNorth Korea.  And Cuba.  To name a few.  And how did the proletariat make out in those countries?  Well, suffice it to say it wasn’t quite the utopia they were expecting.  By fighting for the people, Joseph Stalin became one of the greatest mass murderers of all time.  Beating out Adolf Hitler by scores.  There was no utopia in the Soviet Union.  Unless you liked fear and oppression.  And going hungry and lacking the necessities of life.  Ditto in China.  Only their proletariat wasn’t urban workers.  They were rural farmers and peasants.  Forced into collectivized farms.  Where food production plummeted.  Resulting in one of the 20th century’s most horrific famines.  Between famine, fear and oppression, Mao Tse-tung gave Joseph Stalin a run for his money as the greatest mass murderer of all time.  Not sure who won as records are a little sketchy.  But they probably hold first and second place.  Don’t know much about North Korea because it’s such a closed society.  But they suffer some of the greatest famines of modern time.  And spend most of their nights in the dark as they have little energy (seen from space you can tell North Korea from South Korea by the lights).  And the Cubans have more than once tried to escape their social utopia by crossing the Atlantic Ocean in rickety boats and rafts to reach America. 

Life got worse for the working class in general under communism.  But it got pretty good if you were in the communist party.  It was that ‘from those according to ability to those according to need’ thing.  It didn’t work in practice.  Because it turns out people want to benefit from their labors.  Which is the basis of the proletarian revolution in the first place.  And making them work harder for less just wasn’t going to cut it.  Especially when life was better under capitalism.  For it was better when the capitalist bourgeoisie did the exploiting than the communist party.  And it wasn’t just because of the famine, fear and oppression that came with the communists.  Because the capitalists paid you according to the quality of your labor.  Not by the quantity of your need.  So the harder you worked, the more they paid you.  And that’s the kind of thing that’ll get people to work harder.  Incentive.

Peron exploited the Descamisados

Tim Rice is one of the greatest lyricists in musical theater.  Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s greatest works were those he did with Rice.  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream CoatJesus Christ Superstar.  And Evita.  The story of Eva Perón.  Wife of Juan Perón.  And their rise to power in Argentina.  With the help of their descamisados.  The poor, shirtless workers.  Who loved Eva Perón.  As she loved them.

The musical Evita has a Che Guevara-like narrator named Che who tells the story.  And participates.  He sees the Peróns for who they are.  Sees how they exploit the descamisados for personal gain.  And bankrupts the nation.  Rice does a great job of turning this story into some great songs.  This story of a workers’ revolution is accessible.  And entertaining.  Here are some of the lyrics.  Starting with the workers’ demands.

Nationalization of the industries that the foreigners control
Participation in the profits that we make
Shorter hours
Higher wages
Votes for women
Larger dole
More public spending
A bigger slice of every cake

The hallmarks of any workers’ revolution.  Which of course the leader of the workers’ revolution promises in exchange for their vote.  Even though he would prefer not to have to deal with that pretense.

It’s annoying that we have to fight elections for our cause
The inconvenience–having to get a majority
If normal methods of persuasion fail to win us applause
There are other ways of establishing authority

Then the secret police echo these thoughts.

We have ways of making you vote for us,
or at least of making you abstain

Perón wins the election.  And gives his first speech on the balcony of the Casa Rosada.

Argentinos! Argentinos! We are all shirtless now!
Fighting against our common enemies–
Poverty, social injustice, foreign domination of our industries!
Reaching for our common goals–
Our independence, our dignity, our pride!
Let the world know that our great nation is awakening
and that its heart beats in the humble bodies of Juan Peron
and his wife, the first lady of Argentina,
Eva Duarte de Peron!

Yes, he is just one of them.  Shirtless.  And poor.  Though he says this from the ‘pink’ house.  Which is more palace than house.  Che is in the crowd.  And is not amused.

As a mere observer of this tasteless phenomenon, one has to admire the stage management
There again–perhaps I’m more than a mere observer –
listen to my enthusiasm, gentleman! Peron! Peron! Peron!
Look, if I take off my shirt, will you-

At which point the security police beat him and take him away.  For they don’t like dissenters.  Typical revolutionary stuff.  But in a story told so well.  Thanks to the great lyrics of Rice.  And the music of Webber.  And after Perón gets his power, how does Argentina do?  Does Perón deliver that Promised utopia?  Che explains in a brief but passionate monolog.

What’s new Buenos Aires? Your nation, which a few years ago had the second largest gold reserves in the world, is bankrupt! A country which grew up and grew rich on beef is rationing it! La Prensa, one of the few newspapers which dares to oppose Peronism, has been silenced, and so have all other reasonable voices! I’ll tell you what’s new Buenos Aires!

It’s a story as old as time.  The revolutionary leaders get richer.  The workers get poorer.

(The original Broadway cast recording includes Patti LuPone as Eva and Mandy Patinkin as Che.  Who’ve set the bar for these roles.  You can’t get better.  So buy this recording.  You won’t regret it.)

Famine, Fear and Oppression never take a Holiday

Sans-culottes, proletariats, descamisados or some other poor class of people a revolutionary leader champions, it always ends the same.  The leaders of the revolution always seem to do better.  And the poor class continues to suffer.  Often worse off than they were before.  Some leaders come and go.  But the suffering of the masses usually lingers.  For famine, fear and oppression never take a holiday.  But liberty does.  Sadly.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #52: “The political right is usually right.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 8th, 2011

Sitting in the French Legislative Assembly and Defining Future Politics

In politics we hear a lot about the Left and the Right.  What does that mean?  Where did these terms come from?  Probably the French Revolution.  So we need a small primer on the French Revolution.  So here goes. 

In late 18th century France, in the Ancien Régime (before the French Revolution), there were three main groups of people.  They called these the estates of the realm.  The First Estate was the clergy of the Catholic Church.  The Second Estate was the nobility (less the king).  And the Third Estate was everyone else (approximately 98% of the population).  The first two estates were exempt from most taxation and lived well and had full bellies.  The Third Estate paid the bulk of taxes, lived horribly and suffered a famine or two.

Well, this caused tensions.  The poor were deplorably poor and hungry.  Compounding this problem was the near constant state of war between France and Great Britain.  That and financing the American Revolution was bankrupting the Ancien Régime.  The régime had nothing to give to the poor and hungry.  So the poor and hungry revolted.  They met in the French Legislative Assembly of 1791 to debate the future of France.  Those in favor of the monarchy and the old order sat on the right.  The radicals who wanted to overthrow the old order sat on the left.

Right and Left become Conservative and Liberal

So that’s a brief lesson on the origins of the political labels ‘Left’ and ‘Right’.  They weren’t political parties.  They were just seating arrangements.  In those days, the Left were liberals.  Similar to our Founding Fathers.  In the classical sense of liberalism (it meant something completely different then than it does today).  Basically, the Left said the old ways just ain’t working anymore and it’s time to try something new.  The Right, on the other hand, was worried about losing their privileges.  As well as the potential chaos that could result from trying something new.  And for good reason.  The French Revolution got a little chaotic.  And a little bloody.

Since then the labels kind of morphed into new meanings.  Right and Left have become synonymous with conservatism and liberalism (or Progressivism, Socialism, Communism, Marxism, etc.).  Conservatives (the Right) believe in individual liberty, limited government, laissez-faire capitalism, low taxes, free trade, little business regulation, etc.  Liberals (the Left) believe in Big Government to redistribute the wealth, high taxes, strict controls on capitalism and business, oppose free trade and believes business operates best (and most fair) when ‘partnered’ with government.

So, to simplify, on the right you will find capitalists.  On the left you will find anti-capitalists.  On the right, people decide what’s best.  On the left, government decides what’s best.  On the right you keep more of your paycheck and buy what you want.  On the left you keep less of your paycheck so others can buy what they want.  And so on.

Free Markets and Planned Markets

The Right believes in free markets.  That if left alone, free markets will maximize employment and living standards.  The Right doesn’t believe that any one person is smarter than the collective of millions of individual decision makers in the free market.  The free market is always win-win.  When two people agree on an economic decision, they both prosper.  The seller gets what they value more (money).  And the buyer gets what they value more (what they bought).  When everyone is choosing what they value most in the free market, economic activity explodes.  This creates jobs.  Workers earn money to buy goods and services.  And taxes at low tax rates paid by the multitude of businesses and individuals swell the public treasury.

The Left, on the other hand, believe a free market economy is inefficient.  They prefer a planned economy.  They want to mettle.  To tinker.  To help people make economic decisions by regulating markets.  Enacting targeting taxing and targeting tax cuts.  To make us buy what they think we should buy (electric cars, for example).  And they think free markets are woefully unfair.  Because poor people can’t buy as much as rich people.  So they want to tax the rich to redistribute their wealth to the poor.  They call this stimulative.  Giving away other people’s money.  So other people can spend that money.  (So if you’re keeping score, net spending doesn’t change.  Just who is spending the money changes).

There’s a lot more to these political labels Left and Right.  But this will suffice for our purposes.  You will see more mature and elderly people on the right.  And more younger people on the left.  Remember the expression from the hippy counter-culture in the Sixties?  Never trust anyone over thirty?   You know who was saying this?  Inexperienced and ignorant young people.  Young college students who learned a thing or two from a radical professor.  You didn’t see many family breadwinners in the counter-culture movement.  Just a lot of people who hadn’t grown up yet or worked a job or raised a family.

Age, Experience and Family tend to make you Conservative

And so it is today.  The Left depends on the young.  That’s why they lowered the voting age to 18.  To get these people who haven’t experienced the real world yet to support things that sound good.  Yes, we should pay more taxes for a better education.  Of course, what the young don’t know is that they’ve been saying this for the last 50 years or so.  And the quality of our education has gotten worse.  Not better.  That’s why the older and more experienced voter tends to vote against these tax increases.  Not because they hate kids.  But because they’ve seen throughout their life that throwing money at education hasn’t helped any student.  Only the public school bureaucracy.

When you’re young and stupid you tend to think about today.  Your emotions easily sway you.  And your passions.  Your thoughts focus on having fun in the sun.  Going to a club.  Dating.  It’s a little different when you have a family.  You think about other things then.  Your kids’ school.  Paying a mortgage.  Putting money aside for your kids’ college education.  Putting money aside for your retirement.  Those kinds of things.  And, incidentally, those things require a good-paying job.  And tax rates that aren’t so onerous that you can’t afford those things you want for your family.

That’s why we call these people on the right conservative.  They’re not too keen on change.  Because they have a lot of responsibilities.  And they’ve made commitments to meet those responsibilities.  It’s one thing to be footloose and fancy free and have radical thoughts.  I mean, what have you to lose?  But it’s quite another thing when you do have something to lose.  Any by that time in your life, when you’re making a pretty good living, you’re paying quite a bit in taxes.  Unlike those young radicals.  You have skin in the game.  They don’t.  They are, in fact, gambling with your money.  Those radical changes (health care for everyone, taxing the ‘rich’, carbon taxes to end global warming, etc.) they’re fighting for won’t impact their lives much.  They’re not paying the taxes.  Yet.  You are.  But those things will impact your life.  So much so that they may alter your life.  You may have to make a choice between a college education for your kids.  Or a comfortable retirement.

Radicals tend to Live in the Heat of the Moment while Conservatives look beyond the Moment

Part of the reason those on the right stood with their king in France was that they saw the danger in radical change.  The breakdown of institutions.   Of tradition.  Things that they knew worked.  Things that made France a great empire.  There may have been problems.  Some inequities.  But the collapse of the old regime may unleash chaos and violence.  Back then, that’s how power changed.  Through chaos and violence.  And sometimes an imperfect system is better than chaos and violence.

Over in America, a group of liberal radicals led their revolution.  But once they won their independence from Great Britain they got very conservative indeed.  In fact, they called some of the Founding Fathers ‘too British’.  Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jay, to name a few, where attacked for letting down the spirit of ’76.  There were still a lot of passions in the states.  Still a bit of a civil war going on in the south between Patriot and Loyalist.  But it was time for the grownups to step in to win the peace.  Even if they were perceived as being too British.

Radicals are quick to point out your failings.  But they don’t often have the wisdom or experience to see the big picture.  They live in the heat of the moment.  And often act bold and impertinently.  Whereas wisdom and experience tend to make you act with restraint.  To be conservative.  To see beyond the moment.  Because some of the established institutions and traditions have worked.  And even have defined a people.

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LESSONS LEARNED #10: “Conservatives like the Rule of Law whereas Liberals prefer militant, radical change.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 22nd, 2010

WHEN IT COMES to change, conservatives prefer gradual change within the established institutions.  They like things done within the Rule of Law.  Peacefully and quietly.  Everything has a place and everything should be in its place.  Including change.  If they don’t understand an issue, they study it.  Rationally.  They control their passions.  Some say too much.  Always so prim and proper, it’s like they have a stick up their butt.  They wouldn’t know fun if it bit them in the ass.  Or some would say.

A radical likes to excite the masses.  They like anarchy.  They like to get into the faces of their opposition.  They’re loud and angry and do radical things.  Throw a punch.  Blow things up.  And anyone who disagrees with them had better watch out.  They live by their passions.  Act first, think later.

TIMOTHY McVEIGH WAS a radical.  He wasn’t a conservative.  By definition.  Conservatives don’t blow things up.  Radicals do.  And it was indeed a radical that blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.  And he didn’t do this because of a conservative agenda.  He did it because he was pissed off about what happened at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco Texas in 1993.   This upset a lot of people.  Only one bombed something, though.  One radical.

The Clinton administration tried to blame McVeigh’s actions on conservative talk radio.   As conservatism does not endorse radicalism, this makes no sense.  Conservatives, in general, are about as threatening as a box of kittens.  They’re law-abiding people.  And you don’t show your support for the Rule of Law by violating the Rule of Law.

THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND was a radical, leftist organization.  They hated America.  They were anti-capitalists.  Their movement grew from the anti-war movements on college campuses in the sixties.   Their goal was similar to the communists in 1969 Vietnam.  Coordinated attacks in South Vietnam, known as the Tet Offensive, had the goal of causing rebellion in the south.  If successful, the dictatorship of the proletariat of the north would spread throughout Vietnam.  The Weather Underground tried to do the same in America.  They wanted to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat in America.  Both failed.  The communists in Vietnam would prove successful, though, some 7 years later due in part to the anti-war movement in America.  But I digress.

The Tet Offensive was defeated in bloody combat.  The Underground’s offensive was far from the Tet Offensive military campaign, but its ultimate goal was the same.  Their bombing campaign, though, had little effect.  Instead of stirring rebellion, it forced their members further underground. 

Though they committed sedition against the United States government, the feds dropped most charges or reduced them.  A Supreme Court decision regarding wiretaps made the wiretaps used to collect evidence illegal.   And inadmissible.  And a trial would have required revelations that would have damaged ongoing and future operations.  So most of them skated and reintegrated into ‘normal’ life.  One would even go on to associate with a presidential candidate.  Bill Ayers.  He was one of the ‘radical associates’ noted by some media outlets of then candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election.

THE REAGAN REVOLUTION was a conservative revolution.  And, as revolutions go, it was pretty benign.  There were no mobs.  No gunfire.  No bombings.  In typical conservative fashion, it was a revolution of ideas.

Reagan campaigned as a conservative.  He governed as a conservative.  His message was consistent.  And this consistency led to stability.  You knew what you got with him.  Voters returned him to office with an overwhelming majority; he carried 49 of 50 states.

Reagan’s popularity indicates the power of conservatism.  When debated in the arena of ideas, conservatism wins.  Not by intimidating voters.  Not by redrawing congressional districts.  Not by voter fraud.  Not by hiding your true political beliefs.  Not by misleading voters.  No.  Conservatism wins by honest debate.  The Reagan Democrats are proof of this.  These Democrats voted for Reagan because they supported his conservative platform.  And when you vote against your own party, you don’t do that lightly.  There’s conviction behind that vote.  And that conviction comes from listening intently to that debate in the arena of ideas.

THERE IS ANOTHER conservative revolution underway.  And it’s a peaceful one, too.  As conservative movements are wont to be.  Because true conservatives respect the Rule of Law.  These conservatives gather in peaceful assemblies called Tea Parties.  And the Left hates them.

The Left knows its history.  They know that they lose in the arena of ideas.  And they don’t want another Reagan Revolution on their hands.  So they are attacking this peaceful movement and are calling them every name in the book.  One in particular refers to a crude sexual act.  And this name originated in the Mainstream Media.  This would have been unthinkable in the days of Cronkite and Brinkley.  But, then again, today’s media is not the media of Cronkite and Brinkley.

On the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Left is warning of parallels between the ‘group’ that produced a Timothy McVeigh and the Tea Party movement.  But there was no ‘group’ that produced McVeigh.  He was a radical who was angry at the federal government for what he saw in Waco Texas.  He didn’t think.  He acted.  Much like the Weather Underground. 

Rational thinking about the possible outcomes of both their actions likely would have prevented their actions.  But radicals don’t think about the consequences of their actions.  At least, not before they act.  Conservatives do.  And the Tea Party people are conservatives.  That’s why they choose peaceful assembly to change public opinion over militant, radical action.  Because true change follows when you win hearts and minds.  Not by bullying.

THERE MAY BE individual radicals in the Tea Party movement.  Most groups have their radicals.  But the group as a whole is not radical.  And not a threat.  They’re like a box full of kittens.  But with an agenda.  A peaceful agenda.  And that agenda?  To engage in debate in the arena of ideas.

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LESSONS LEARNED #5: “When it comes to regretting past choices, liberals lead conservatives when it comes to their vote.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 18th, 2010

BEFORE THE SS death camps, before the Einsatzgruppen (action groups tasked to mass murder civilians in Poland and the Soviet Union), before the policy of conquest for Lebensraum (living space) for the ‘master race’, before eugenics and selective breeding policies were enacted to produce a ‘master race’, before the Munich Agreement (the Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland), before Kristallnacht (a coordinated Nazi assault on Jewish people and their property in Germany and Austria), before the Nuremberg Laws (anti-Semitic laws), before the Anschluss (the Nazi annexation of Austria), before the Enabling Act gave Hitler full dictatorial powers, before The Reichstag Fire Decree suspended habeas corpus and most of the Weimar Republic’s constitutional civil liberties, before these despotic actions there were free elections.  And the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party rose to power by the ballot, not by arms. 

The Treaty of Versailles treated Germany poorly.  It blamed her solely for World War I.  And to the victors went the spoils.  From Germany.  Economically destroyed by the war, the peace was little better.  Runaway inflation and rampant unemployment of the Great Depression.  Humiliation.  People were looking for something.  They didn’t know what.  But Hitler did.

The National Socialist German Workers’ Party was the party for German workers, not the capitalists.   In fact, the Nazis were anti-capitalists.  This was good because the people blamed capitalists for the Great Depression.  Socialism put people before profits.  Nationalism would restore Germany’s pride.  There was a lot about the Nazi party to like in 1930s Germany.

The Nazis put people back to work.  Building public works and building for war.  They printed money to pay for what the confiscated wealth of the ‘undesirables’ didn’t.  They ‘enslaved’ workers by prohibiting strikes, labor unions and the voicing of workers’ complaints.  Hitler paid them less than they were in the Weimar (i.e., capitalist) days.  Then they turned on the business owners.  They once supported Hitler because they thought he would remove the grip of labor on business and allow unfettered capitalism.  But the state’s grip just replaced labor’s grip.

War followed the war economy.  And conscription.  And another generation of German dead.  The devastation of World War II dwarfed that of World War I.  World War I didn’t have carpet bombing.  And the Soviets never reached Berlin in World War I.  But it had all sounded so good back in the 30s.  A nation so eager for government to do something.  And government did.  But few Germans liked the result.  If they could all do it over again they would probably have supported the Weimar Republic, not the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

THE CONSERVATIVE government of Winston Churchill won the war but the Labour Party won the peace that followed.  They, too, blamed capitalism for the Great Depression.  It wasn’t going to be business as usual now that the war was over.  So they nationalized Big Industry (coal, steel, rail, etc.).  There would be no more abject poverty or squalor.  They created a nanny state.  From the cradle to the grave.  And they created the National Health Service.  Health care for everyone.  Courtesy of the taxpayer.

Of course, to pay for such huge government spending you need taxes.  A lot of them.  And when you can’t tax anymore, you depreciate your currency (i.e., print money).  Like every other nation in the world has ever done when their government spent more than it could afford to spend. 

With monopolies came inefficiencies.  Shortages.  A shortage of coal required scheduled electrical blackouts.  Also with monopolies came power.  Union power.  Whenever they wanted more pay they just had a strike until the bosses caved.  It became the way of doing things.  The strikes were epidemic and crippling.  People outside of Great Britain called them the ‘British Disease’.

Excessive government spending to pay for the national industries, the unions, the nanny state and the National Health Service was turning Great Britain back to the discontent of a Dickens novel.  Only instead of the business owners, the oppressors were Big Labor and their unions.  The common people were tired of going without and sitting in the dark.  Especially when they were paying enormous taxes (the Beatles left Great Britain to escape the confiscatory taxes).   Economically, life was becoming more similar to that like in the Soviet Union.  The difference was that the Soviet people didn’t know what life under capitalism could be like.  The British, of course, did.  And they could vote.

And they did.  Labour was out.  The conservatives were in.  Margaret Thatcher took on the unions and privatized industry.  These moves were not popular at the time because poorly ran businesses lost government subsidies and failed.  Unemployment grew.  In the short term.  Things did get better in time, though.  You see, propping up bad businesses with government subsidies forced consumers to pay more for inferior goods.  This was in addition to already paying high taxes to subsidize the businesses in the first place.  It just couldn’t go on.  And didn’t.  They controlled costs.  The people kept more of their earnings.   They spent and stimulated.  The economy grew.  As did the living standards of the common Briton.

THE MORAL OF this lesson is to be careful what you wish for.  Whenever anyone talks about putting the people first, warning flags should go up.  History is full of people who have said this.  And just about every one of them was a liar.  They want something.   Anyone who read Mein Kampf would have known Hitler’s plans.  Some did but chose not to believe.  They just wanted to believe the lie.  They wanted what Hitler was offering.  It was just too good to be true.  And, as it turned out, it was. 

When they nationalized British industry the goal was not to repeat what had happened during the Great Depression.  For anyone who had lived through the Great Depression didn’t want to live through another.  So there was popular support.  But nationalization didn’t improve life for the common Briton.    Instead, the life of organized labor got VERY good at the expense of the common Briton.  Until it couldn’t be sustained anymore by the common Briton.

So be careful what you wish for.  You might just get it.  And all the unintended consequences that come along with it.

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