Henry Ford, Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard, Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, Howard Schultz, Ray Kroc and Richard Branson

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 25th, 2014

 History 101

(Originally published May 8th, 2012)

Capitalism allows Entrepreneurs to bring their Great Ideas to Life

Entrepreneurs start with an idea.  Of how to do something better.  Or to create something we must have that we don’t yet know about.  They think.  They create.  They have boundless creative energies.  And the economic system that best taps that energy is capitalism.  The efficient use of capital.  Using capital to make profits.  And then using those profits to make capital.  So these ideas of genius that flicker in someone’s head can take root.  And grow.  Creating jobs.  And taxable economic activity.  Creating wealth for investors and workers.  Improving the general economy.  Pulling us out of recessions.  Improving our standard of living.  And making the world a better place.  Because of an idea.  That capitalism brought to life.

Entrepreneurs Risked Capital to bring Great Things to Market and to Create Jobs

Henry Ford established the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899.  Which failed.  He reorganized it into the Henry Ford Company in 1901.  Ford had a fight with his financial backers.  And quit.  Taking the Ford name with him.  And $900.  The Henry Ford Company was renamed Cadillac and went on to great success.  Ford tried again and partnered with Alexander Malcomson.  After running short of funds they reorganized and incorporated Ford Motor Company in 1903 with 12 investors.  The company was successful.  Some internal friction and an unexpected death of the president put Ford in charge.  Ford Motor built the Model A, the Model K and the Model S.  Then came the Model T.  And the moving assembly line.  Mass production greatly increased the number of cars he could build.  But it was monotonous work for the assembly line worker.  Turnover was high.  So to keep good workers he doubled pay in 1914 and reduced the 9-hour shift to 8 hours.  This increased productivity and lowered the cost per Model T.  Allowing those who built the cars to buy what they built.  In 2011 the Ford Motor Company employed approximately 164,000 people worldwide.

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard established Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 1939.  In a garage.  They raised $538 in start-up capital.  In that garage they created their first successful commercial product.  A precision audio oscillator.  Used in electronic testing.  It was better and cheaper than the competition.  Walt Disney Productions bought this oscillator to certify Fantasound surround sound systems in theaters playing the Disney movie Fantasia.  From this garage HP grew and gave us calculators, desktop and laptop computers, inkjet and laser printers, all-in-one multifunction printer/scanner/faxes, digital cameras, etc.  In 2010 HP employed approximately 324,600 employees worldwide.  (Steve Wozniak was working for HP when he designed the Apple I.  Which he helped fund by selling his HP calculator.  Wozniak offered his design to HP.  They passed.)

Steve Jobs had an idea to sell a computer.  He convinced his friend since high school, Steve Wozniak, to join him.  They sold some of their things to raise some capital.  Jobs sold his Volkswagen van.  Wozniak sold his HP scientific calculator.  They raised about $1,300.  And formed Apple.  They created the Apple I home computer in 1976 in Steve Jobs’ garage.  From these humble beginnings Apple gave us the iPad, iPhone, iPod, iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro and iTunes.  In 2011 Apple had approximately 60,400 full time employees.

Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker opened the first Starbucks in 1971 in Seattle, Washington.  About 10 years later Howard Schultz drank his first cup of Starbucks coffee.  And he liked it.  Within a year he joined Starbucks.  Within another year while traveling in Italy he experienced the Italian coffeehouse.  He loved it.  And had an idea.  Bring the Italian coffeehouse to America.  A place to meet people in the community and converse.  Sort of like a bar.  Only where the people stayed sober.  Soon millions of people were enjoying these tasty and expensive coffee beverages at Starbucks throughout the world.  In 2011 Starbucks employed approximately 149,000 people.

Ray Kroc sold Prince Castle Multi-Mixer milk shakes mixers to a couple of brothers who owned a restaurant.  Who made hamburgers fast.  Richard and Maurice McDonald had implemented the Speedee Service System.  It was the dawn of fast food.  Kroc was impressed.  Facing tough competition in the mixer business he opened a McDonald’s franchise in 1955.  Bringing the grand total of McDonald’s restaurants to 9.  He would go on to buy out the McDonald brothers (some would say unscrupulously).  Today there are over 30,000 stores worldwide.  In 2010 McDonald’s employed approximately 400,000 people.

Richard Branson started a magazine at 16.  He then sold records out of a church crypt at discount prices.  The beginning of Virgin Records.  In 1971 he opened a record store.  He launched a record label in 1972.  And a recording studio.  Signing the Sex Pistols.  And Culture Club.  In 1984 he formed an airline.  Virgin Atlantic Airways.  In 1999 he went into the cellular phone business.  Virgin Mobile.  In 2004 he founded Virgin Galactic.  To enter the space tourism business.  His Virgin Group now totals some 400 companies.  And employs about 50,000 people.

The Decline of Capitalism and the Rise of the Welfare State caused the European Sovereign Debt Crisis

And we could go on.  For every big corporation out there will have a similar beginning.  Corporations that use capital efficiently.  Bringing great things to market.  Introducing us to new things.  Always making our lives better.  And more comfortable.  One thing you will not find is a great success story like this starting in the Soviet Union.  The People’s Republic of China (back in the days of Mao Zedong).  East Germany (before the Berlin Wall fell).  North Korea.  Or Cuba.  No.  The command economies of communist countries basically froze in time.  Where there was no innovation.  No ideas brought to life.  Because the government kind of frowned on that sort of thing.

There is a reason why the West won the Cold War.  And why we won that war without the Warsaw Pack and NATO forces fighting World War III.  And why was this?  Because we didn’t need to.  For the communist world simply could not withstand the forces of living well in the West.  Whenever they could their people escaped to the West.  To escape their nasty, short and brutish lives.  In the command economies of their communist states.  Where the state planners failed to provide for their people.  Even failing to feed their people.  The Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China and North Korea all suffered population reducing famines.  But not in the West.  Where we are not only well fed.  But our poor suffer from obesity.  Which is not a good thing.  But it sure beats dying in a famine.

Sadly, though, the West is moving towards the state planning of their one time communist foes.  Social democracies are pushing nations in the European Union to bankruptcy.  Japan’s generous welfare state is about to implode as an aging population begins to retire.  Even in the United States there has been a growth of government into the private sector economy like never before.  Which is causing the Great Recession to linger on.  As it caused Japan’s lost decade to become two decades.  And counting.  As it is prolonging the European sovereign debt crisis.  With no end in sight.  The cause of all their problems?  The decline of capitalism.  And the rise of the welfare state.  Which just kills the entrepreneurial spirit.  And the creation of jobs.  Which is one cure for all that ails these countries.  And the only one.  For only robust economic activity can pull a country out of recession.  And for that you need new jobs.  And the entrepreneurial spirit.  In short, you need capitalism.

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Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and the Soviet Union

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 18th, 2014

History 101

Marx called for a Dictatorship of the Proletariat where the Workers controlled the Means of Production

Karl Marx did not like capitalism.  Or middle class people that used money to make money.  The bourgeoisie.  Who exploit the working man.  The proletariat.  The bourgeoisie used their capital to exploit the labor of the working man (i.e., taking a risk and investing in land, factories, machinery, labor, etc.) to make money.  While the working man slaved away at slave wages creating all the great things we have in the world.  Of course, the proletariat could not do any of this unless others took risks and invested in land, factories, machinery, labor, etc.

This was just not fair to Karl Marx.  Because the industrial bourgeoisie had all the power.  And their exploitation of the proletariat was nothing more than a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.  So Marx created a socio-economic philosophy to address this dictatorship.  Marxism.  And called for a social transformation.  For working men everywhere to unite.  And break the chains that bound them in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.  Calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat.  For the workers to control the means of production.  In a new system that replaced capitalism.  Socialism.  Until they could usher in the true ideal.  Communism.

In capitalism the bourgeoisie get rich creating neat things people discover and want to buy.  In communism there would be no bourgeoisie using the means of production to make a buck.  Instead, wise and selfless people would determine what was best for the people.  Instead of free markets allocating scarce resources economic planners would.  And they’d do it better.  Because they are selfless.  Creating large surpluses that would go not into some rich capitalist’s bank account.  But they would fairly distribute this surplus among the working class.  So society as a whole would be better off.  Sounds great.  But if the market didn’t make the decisions of what to produce who did?  As it turned out for Marxism that was a very difficult question to answer.

Leon Trotsky was a Like-Minded Marxist and the number two Communist behind Lenin

The Russian people were growing tired of World War I.  And Tsar Nicholas.  In fact they had it with the Russian Empire.  Even before World War I.  Although serfdom was abolished in 1861 the lives of peasants didn’t improve much.  There was still famine.  And the serfs had to pay a lot to their former landlords for their freedom.  So there was revolutionary fervor in the air.  And a few peasant uprisings.  As well as a few revolutionaries.  Such as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  Who was a Marxist.  His anti-Tsarist political activity got him arrested and exiled a few times.  In fact, during World War I he was living in exile in Switzerland.  Hoping that the Germans would weaken Tsarist Russia enough to kick off a socialist revolution in Russia.

When revolution did break out Lenin was anxious to return to Russia.  But being in Switzerland posed a problem.  It was surrounded by warring countries.  Lucky for him, though, the Germans were anxious to close the eastern front of the war.  And a little revolution in Russia could do just that.  So they transported Lenin through Germany and helped him return to Russia.  They travelled north.  Took a ferry to Sweden.  Then by train to Petrograd.  Formally Saint Petersburg (Peter the Great’s new capital on the Baltic Sea).  Which was later renamed Leningrad.  And then later renamed Saint Petersburg.  Where he would lead the Bolshevik Party.  And the world-wide socialist revolution against capitalism.

Leon Trotsky was a like-minded Marxist.  And an anti-militarist.  He had a falling out with Lenin but eventually reunited.  With Trotsky becoming the number two communist behind Lenin.  Trotsky addressed a problem with Marxism for Russia.  Socialism was to be the final step AFTER capitalism.  Once there was a strong industrial proletariat.  Russia didn’t have that.  For it was one of the least advanced countries in the world.  An agrarian nation barely out of the Middle Ages.  So Russia had to industrialize WHILE the proletariat took over the means of production.  Which brought up a big problem.  How could a backward nation industrialize while having a revolution?  How could they do this without other advanced capitalistic countries coming to the aid of the bourgeoisie?  Which Trotsky answered with his Permanent Revolution.  For the Russian socialist revolution to be successful there had to be socialist revolutions in other countries, too.  Thinking more in terms of a worldwide revolution of industrialized states.  And not just in Russia.  Something another Marxist disagreed with.  Joseph Stalin

Communist States have Guards on their Borders to prevent People from Escaping their Socialist Utopia

During these revolutionary times workers’ councils were appearing throughout the country.  Soviets.  Which helped stir up the revolutionary fervor.  In 1917 the imperial government fell.  The Bolsheviks killed the Tsar and his family.  And Russia fell into civil war.  Which the Bolsheviks won in 1922.  And formed the Soviet Union.  Or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).  That stretched from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean.  Under the rule of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  Until he died in 1924.  Then Joseph Stalin took over after a brutal power struggle.  Even exiled Leon Trotsky.  And established totalitarian rule.  Stalin created a planned economy.  Rapid industrialization.  And collectivization.  As well as famines, forced labor, deportation and great purges of his political enemies.  To strengthen his one-party rule.  To protect the socialist revolution from a return of capitalism.

The Russian Revolution was the only successful socialist revolution in Europe.  The dictatorship of the proletariat did not happen as Lenin and Trotsky had envisioned.  So Stalin abandoned the idea of Permanent Revolution.  And adopted Socialism in One Country instead.  To strengthen the Soviet Union.  And not support a world-wide socialist revolution against capitalism.  In direct opposition of Trotsky.  To aid in the USSR’s industrialization Stalin made a pact with the devil.  Adolf Hitler.  And entered an economic agreement that would allow Hitler to build and test his war machine on Soviet soil that he would use in World War II.  Then came the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  And the secret protocol.  Where Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to conquer and divvy up the countries located between them.

Trotsky did not like what the Soviet Union became under Stalin.  An oppressive dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.  Not the dictatorship of the proletariat envisioned by Karl Marx.  And he didn’t like that pact with a militarist Nazi Germany.  He predicted that Stalin’s USSR would not last.  Either suffering a political revolution like Tsar Nicholas suffered.  Or it would collapse into a capitalist state.  Stalin disagreed.  And killed him and his family.  Getting rid of the last of the old Bolsheviks.  Leaving him to rule uncontested until his death in 1953.  Exporting communism wherever he could.  Where it killed more people than any other ideology.  Until the great and brutal socialism experiment collapsed in 1991.  For Trotsky was right.  It could not survive when a better life was just across a border.  Which is why all of the communist states have guards on their borders.  To keep their people from escaping their socialist utopia.

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Fighting a Fire in Sub-Freezing Temperatures Shows how Global Warming is better than Global Cooling

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2014

Week in Review

The left has been warning us about the global warming apocalypse since the Nineties.  And how the warming of the planet will kill us. But global warming is not high on the list of concerns for many these days.  Especially during brutally cold weather of late (see About 35 feared dead in Quebec senior citizens’ home fire by The Associated Press posted 1/24/2014 on The Washington Times).

Using steam to melt the ice, investigators searched the frozen-over ruins of a retirement home Friday for victims of a fire that left about 35 people feared dead and cast such a pall over the village of 1,500 that psychologists were sent door to door.

The spray from firefighters’ hoses left the senior citizens home resembling a macabre snow palace, the ruins encased in thick white ice dripping with icicles.

Search teams of police, firefighters and coroners slowly and methodically went through the ruins, working in shifts in the extreme cold about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Quebec City. The afternoon temperature was around 3 degrees F (minus 16 Celsius.)…

Hivon said the home was up to code and had a proper evacuation plan. A Quebec Health Department document indicates the home which has operated since 1997, had only a partial sprinkler system. The home expanded around 2002, and the sprinklers in the new part of the building triggered the alarm.

The cold caused fire equipment to freeze, and firefighters used so much water that they drained the town reservoir.

Warm is better than cold.  For we can survive in warm better than we can in cold.  Here’s a fire in northern Quebec that became a dangerous labyrinth of ice as they fought a fire.  Yet just another example of how dangerous cold can be.

The last of the great famines that weren’t manmade (like those resulting from the communism of Stalin or Mao or the current dictator in North Korea) were during the little ice age.  When global temperatures cooled slightly.  Shortening the growing season.  Thus diminishing the food supply.  And without sufficient food people die.  This is the danger of climate.  Cooling.  For we can handle global warming.  As long as it’s warm we can grow food.  If the soil is too dry we can irrigate.  If it doesn’t rain we can irrigate the land with desalinated seawater.  Of which there is a never ending supply of in the world’s oceans.  And we can turn seawater into fresh water with the energy from nuclear power plants that provide our electricity to drive our air conditioners during the greatest of heat waves.

If it’s warm there is no limit to what man can do.  If the world is covered in snow and ice, though, not even man can save the human race.  Unless, that is, manmade global warming is real.  If so then man could warm an ice age and grow the food to sustain the human race.

Global warming?  Pish tosh.  The great civilizations arose once man took control of his environment.  And if he’s warming it so much the better.  For that just means longer growing seasons and more food to sustain a growing world population.

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FT204: “The young and dumb vote liberal while the old and wise vote conservative.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 10th, 2014

Fundamental Truth

Having the Ability to give Beautiful Young Women Nice Things helped Charlie Harper get them in Bed

On the show Two and a Half Men there was an episode where Charlie (played by Charlie Sheen) was having a conversation with someone where he was trying to defend himself and the choice he makes in women.  In broke off in mid sentence and said something like, “Yeah, you got me.  Young and dumb.  That’s how I like them.”  Or something like that.

Charlie Harper was about 40 years old.  Rich.  He drank to excess.  Smoked cigars.  Gambled.  Enjoyed strip bars and prostitutes.  And he womanized.  Getting beautiful young women back to his Malibu beach house for one night of passion.  Which was all he wanted.  One night.  The ladies thought he wanted more.  Because of the lies he told them to get them to his Malibu beach house.  And when they left in the morning they expected Charlie to call them.  But he never did.  Which is why he liked his women dumb.  For it was easier getting them into bed.  And out of it.

Charlie was skilled in the art of picking up women.  And what to do with them after picking them up.  Skill gained over years of experience.  And being rich helped, too.  Because being able to give beautiful young women nice things (expensive dinners, going to the best clubs, spending the night at a Malibu beach house, gifts, etc.) got their attention.  They liked that life.  And wanted more of it.  So they went to his bed with him.  Thinking that by doing whatever he wanted there would be more of this glamorous life to come.  But before that could happen Charlie was telling his lies to another young and dumb woman.

Every Communist Dictator that promised a Utopia to their People made their lives Absolutely Horrible

Charlie was engaged a few times.  The last time he was engaged to Chelsea (played superbly by Jennifer Taylor).  Who was a little older than most of the women he took to his bed.  Smart.  And wise.  She had a career.  Though he had a long engagement (for him) it did not last.  Because she could do better.  Eventually leaving him for someone more mature.  In fact, every age-appropriate relationship he had failed.  Because he did not do well unless they were young and dumb.  As Chelsea said one time when leaving after a breakup, “We both knew you were going to blow it eventually.”

You can learn a lot by watching Two and a Half Men.  For the world is full of Charlie Harpers.  People that lie and manipulate people to get what they want.  Who depend on people being young and dumb.  This is how liberals have risen to power.  By selling their utopian world view to the young and ignorant.  Before they get old and wise.  And learn the truth of their liberal utopia.

There was an article in Rolling Stone saying what America needs is full-blown communism.  The author is a young guy.  An academic type.  Knows everything.  But has experienced nothing.  His head was filled with communist ideals from his leftist professors.

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

But what John Lennon doesn’t sing about in Imagine is that every communist dictator that promised these things to the people made their people’s lives absolutely horrible.  Where people lived in fear of the secret police.  Were tortured at the hands of the secret police.  And died at the hands of the secret police.  Communism as an ideology has killed more people than any other dictator or ideology in all of history.  Yet college kids everywhere still imagine a world where all the people live as one.  Under the boot of an oppressive police state.  That forces the people to live in a brotherhood of man.  Or die.

Liberals are in a lot of ways like Charlie Harper because they like their Electorate Young and Dumb

Joseph Stalin terrorized his people with the KGB.  The East Germans shot their own people who tried to escape climbing over the Berlin Wall.  Cambodia’s Pol Pot killed a greater percentage of a nation’s population than any other dictator in history.  Cubans risk their lives to float from Cuba to the United States.  The masses in North Korea still suffer famine because of their oppressive Stalinist state.  Where it’s the military first.  Then the people.  And so on.  Yet college students still wear shirts with pictures of Che Guevara wearing his beret.  This hero of ignorant college students.  A guy who had urged the Soviets to launch their nuclear missiles at the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

And when the secret police wasn’t killing their people the people were going without the most basic necessities.  For their planned economies could not keep their store shelves stocked.  So people went without many of the things people in Western capitalist economies take for granted.  Things even ignorant college students take for granted.  Things they just couldn’t get in their beloved communist utopias.  Ronald Reagan won the Cold War not by waging nuclear war.  He won it by creating an arms race that the Soviet economy could not keep up with AND feed her people.  Like the Americans could.  In fact, the American economic output was so great that they could feed all Americans with enough left over to export to the Soviet Union.  So the Soviet people did not die from famine.

All throughout history free market capitalism provided a better life than any planned economy.  Even in the United States.  When FDR increased government spending to end a recession it only stretched out that recession into the Great Depression.  Excessive government spending didn’t work in the 1970s for Nixon, Ford or Carter.  Nor did it work during the Great Recession for Obama.  But cuts in tax rates provided explosive economic growth for Warren Harding/Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s, JFK in the 1960s, Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and even George W. Bush in the 2000s.  Yet the young and dumb buy the liberal lie that government spending can provide a better life for all despite history proving otherwise.  And keep voting liberal.  Until they get old and wise, that is.  And start voting conservative.

Liberals are in a lot of ways like Charlie Harper.  For they like their electorate young and dumb.  So they can more easily lie to them.  To get what they want.  By making promises they never intend to keep.  Such as that brotherhood of man sharing all of the world.  For after a century or so of promising this the only people who ever enjoyed the liberal/communist utopia were those few in power.

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FT203: “People vacationing in warmer climes know global warming is better than global cooling.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 3rd, 2014

Fundamental Truth

It is very rare for People to Vacation somewhere where they have to wear more Clothes

People love a white Christmas.  Looking out your front window as a gentle snow falls.  Christmas lights and reindeer on the lawn poking out from the fields of snow.  Coming in from the cold and shaking the snow off.  Then warming up with a cup of cocoa in front of the fireplace.  Feeling the warmth radiate out while listening to the pops of the burning wood.  The warm memories of Christmases past.  Then comes New Year’s Day.  And then you just hate that foul white stuff as you shovel it for the umpteenth time.

As you shovel and your back aches and you feel what may have been a hernia you now understand why people retire to someplace warm.  To get away from this.  Before they have a heart attack shoveling it.  Because you’re sick and tired of shoveling snow.  Cleaning the snow off your car.  Fearing for your life when cars ahead of you spinout.  Wondering how many times can you slip and fall before you start breaking something.  But most of all you just hate being cold.  All you can think about is the joy of last summer sitting in the shade with a cold beer.  Doing nothing.  And loving it.

Even young and healthy college kids hate the cold.  Which is why when they go on spring break they head south.  And between the boozing and the sex they spend time lying on the beach doing nothing.  And loving it.  With the ladies practically naked in tiny bikinis sunning themselves.  And the men looking at the practically naked ladies.  For it is very rare for any vacationer (other than those on a ski getaway) to vacation somewhere where they have to wear more clothes.  Because people just don’t like being cold.

The Fall Harvest feeds most People most of the Year

But we complain when it’s too hot, too.  During the dog days of summer.  When it’s the humidity, not the heat, that makes it so insufferable.  Until we step inside our air conditioned home.  Or sit in an air conditioned movie.  While enjoying a cool beverage.  And some delicious popcorn.  Or spend time in the pool.  Or at the beach.  Where the ladies are practically naked.  Or going out to eat.  Enjoying cool adult beverages and a nice meal at an outdoor cafe while wearing shorts.  Or dining inside an air conditioned restaurant.

You may sweat and stink when you get home.  But you won’t be tracking snow and salt into the house.  Soaking the rugs and carpets.  Or leaving puddles of water on the tiled floor.  No.  During the summer there’s no mess.  There are no wet socks in your shoes.  No frost bite.  No hypothermia. If you car breaks down in the summer you don’t have to worry about freezing to death before someone rescues you.  Whereas if you slip off the road and down the embankment on an expressway during a blizzard frostbite and hypothermia are real possibilities.  As is freezing to death.  Because being cold is dangerous.  And being cold when you’re stranded a long way from home or help can be lethal.

Another bad thing about cold is that things don’t grow in the cold.  Which is why farming is seasonal.  A problem throughout history.  As people’s need to eat is not seasonal.  So not only did farmers have to grow food to eat during the summer they had to grow enough during the summer to feed everyone throughout the winter.  With the fall harvest feeding most people most of the year.  Making a long growing season essential for survival.  Because if you ran out of food before the next harvest you went hungry.  Or died.

If we have another Little Ice Age we may suffer Recurring Famines once More

There were recurring famines during the Little Ice Age.  Which ran from approximately 1350 to about 1850.  The climate cooled enough to shorten the growing season.  Which were cooler and wetter than they are today.  And because of that they didn’t grow enough food to feed everyone.  With the occasional famine wiping out about 10% or more of a country’s population.  As masses of people starved to death because of global cooling during the Little Ice Age.

The United States suffered some droughts the past few growing seasons.  And food prices went up because of these droughts.  But there were no famines in the United States.  Or in the countries the United States exports food to.  No, today the only countries having recurring famines are hard-line communist or other such closed and oppressive states.  Such as North Korea.  Al Gore has been warning us about the perils of global warming since the Nineties.  We did nothing.  And a few decades later there are still no famines.  Because even in regions suffering from the worst drought farmers can still irrigate their land.  And grow food.  Food may be more costly but there will be food.  But no famine.

People who worry about global warming fret about these droughts.  And the lack of fresh water.  But about 70% of the earth is nothing but ocean.  And we can desalinize seawater.  It’ll make water more costly.  But there will always be water.  Even during the worst of droughts.  So even if global warming does its worst to us we will be all right.  No.  The real fear is global cooling.  Because global cooling will shorten our growing seasons.  Which will reduce our food supply.  And if you ever looked at an aerial view of our vast farmland you will understand the problem that is.  It’s just too big to bring indoors.  If we have another Little Ice Age we may suffer recurring famines once more.  And not just in North Korea.  But throughout the world.  Those people vacationing in warmer climes know it.  Global warming is better than global cooling.  For our personal comfort and safety.  And our food supply.

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Democrats Lie because they Must

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 2nd, 2014

Politics 101

Democrats lie because they have a Track Record of doing things Poorly

Democrats lie.  They have to.  Because they want power.  And they have no good reason for accumulating it.  They lied about Obamacare to pass it into law.  With the top Democrat telling the biggest lie of 2013.  President Obama.  “If you like your insurance plan you can keep it.  Period.”  They lied because they want the power to control one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  Even if they reduce the quality of health care.  Which they will.  So they can spend the ensuing years demanding more money (i.e., higher taxes) to fix Obamacare.

They blamed the killing of 4 Americans including our ambassador in Benghazi on a YouTube video.  Even the left-leaning (it leans so far left it has actually fallen over) New York Times is rehashing this story.  Saying it was a spontaneous uprising over that YouTube video that had nothing to do with al Qaeda.  Despite using military armaments like rocket propelled grenades and pre-sighted motors.  Things crowds don’t typically have on them to commit spontaneous mischief.  But President Obama’s 2012 campaign claimed that President Obama had al Qaeda reeling.  And just couldn’t let the American people know that they were negligent in protecting Americans in Benghazi.  Which was so dangerous that the British had pulled out before the anniversary of 9/11.  But they still denied Ambassador Stevens’ request for more security.  Despite the anniversary of 9/11 being around the corner.  Because it wouldn’t look good during a campaign that claimed to have al Qaeda reeling.

So Democrats lie.  Because they have a track record of doing things poorly.  Preventing them from saying “let us do this and that and the other thing because we have a great track record of doing this and that and the other thing.”  When in fact their track record is so poor that no one would ask them to do more so we can enjoy more failure.  So they lie.  To expand the size of government.  So they can reach out and strangle the private sector.  Such as with their lies about global warming that raised the cost of heating our homes.  As well as to light our homes.  Making the incandescent light bulb now illegal.  Forcing us to use more costly lower wattage lamps.  Compact fluorescents.  And LEDs.  So we use less energy.  And put less carbon into the atmosphere.  Because manmade global warming is killing us.

You can irrigate a Desert and grow Grass but you can’t grow Grass where Ice and Snow cover the Soil

One of the iconic images of the American Revolutionary War is our troops freezing at Valley Forge.  The winter was brutal.  And for good reason.  It was part of the Little Ice Age.  A period of cooling from approximately 1350 to about 1850.  Where temperatures fell.  Making the winters colder.  Longer.  And snowier.  Rivers and harbors froze that don’t freeze today.  Glaciers destroyed mountain top villages.  And the shorter and wetter growing seasons caused famines in many countries.  Famines in France, Norway and Sweden killed about 10% of their populations.  Famines in Estonia and Finland killed more.

A cooling climate is dangerous.  It shortens the growing season.  Leaving people hungry, malnourished and sickly.  For you need sun, warmth and moist soil (not mud) through many months to grow food.  If you don’t you have poor harvests.  Providing less food for the people to eat.  And less forage to sustain livestock over the winter.  Which reduces the food supply during the winter further.  Giving you famines.  Like those in the Little Ice Age.

Dubai is a city in a desert.  From May through September they get less than one inch of rain each month.  The average high in July is 105.4 degrees.  The average high in January is 75.2 degrees.  The average annual humidity is 59.8%.  So Dubai is hot and dry.  A city of buildings and sand.  But you know what else Dubai has?  Lush, green, championship golf courses.  Something Greenland doesn’t have.  Because you can irrigate a desert and grow grass.  But you can’t grow grass where ice and snow cover the soil.  And the same holds true for food.  Making a cooling climate far more dangerous than a warming climate.  As those valiant soldiers at Valley Forge could have attested to.

Because of Global Warming Dr. David Viner said in 2000, “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”

The global warming alarmists have been warning that the polar ice caps are melting.  And the poor polar bears have no ice to rest on.  Soon the ice will all melt and flood our coastal regions.  They say this even today.  Interestingly, a ship is retracing the steps of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson in the Antarctic.   Whose expedition suffered horribly during the winter months there about a century earlier.  The current expedition is aboard the MV Akademik Shokalski.  Which has been stuck in the ice since Christmas Eve.  And this during the summer months in the Antarctic.

Noted climate ‘scientist’ at the University of East Anglia, Dr. David Viner, said in 2000 that because of global warming “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.”  Currently, the eighth winter storm this year, Winter Storm Hercules, is dumping over a foot of snow from Buffalo to Boston.  With blizzard warnings for Cape Cod and Long Island.  And bitter cold Arctic air will follow the snow.  About as bad as it was at Valley Forge.  With another winter storm following Winter Storm Hercules.  Funny.  Here we are almost 14 years later and there is still snow.  Proving how wrong the global warming alarmists have been.

Still, the global warming alarmists say we must fight global warming.  To allow the climate to cool.  Even though history has shown that a cooling climate leads to hunger, malnourishment and sickness.  And famine.  But the left fights for those things.  Why?  Because there ain’t a damn thing you can do with regulations to warm the planet.  But if you paint manmade global warming as the villain you can blame carbon.  And regulate the hell out of the economy.  And that’s something they will never let go of.  Hence their lying.  Because they just don’t want to give up the power that allowed them to make the incandescent light bulb illegal.

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FT200: “Only force can make people live in a world without choice.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 13th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

College Students and Hippies of Yesteryear have a Soft Spot for their Communist Heroes

The hippies in the Sixties saw a brotherhood of man.  They wanted to link arms and sing Kumbaya.  Live in their communes.  Get high.  Have unprotected sex with multiple partners who bathed infrequently.  While being one with nature.  And poop and pee in the great outdoors.  Like the animals.  Only with less grooming.  For they hated the Man.  And didn’t want anything to do with their parent’s generation.  They protested any figure of authority.  Protested the Vietnam War.  And protested against their government.  Speaking truth to power.  And yearned to bring the Marxist-Leninist revolution to America.

The hippies were rabid anti-capitalists.  Which is why they loved communism.  Where there were no possessions.  No religion.  Or greed or hunger.  Just imagine all the people sharing all the world.  Words from John Lennon’s song Imagine).  Former Beatle.  And one of the leaders of the counterrevolution.  Not to be confused with the other Lenin.  Vladimir Ilich Lenin.  Of Soviet Marxism-Leninism fame.  Or, rather, infamy.  One of many icons of the counterrevolution.  Along with Mao Zedong.  Ho Chi Minh.  Fidel Castro.  And, of course, Che Guevara.  Whose bearded and beret-wearing image adorns many a university dorm room wall and student t-shirt to this day.

College students today, just as the hippies of yesteryear, still have a soft spot for their communist heroes.  Thanks to many of these hippies of yesteryear having joined the establishment.  And are now teaching our kids in college the evils of capitalism and the goodness of government.  Despite their one-time fierce opposition to the Man.  Guess things change once you get money.  Like someone in the rock band The Who said when asked if he still hopes to die before he gets old (a line from My Generation-a song about youthful angry rebellion against their parent’s generation).  The reply was that being old wasn’t all that bad when you were rich.  Something the old hippies of the Sixties no doubt discovered.  And best of all they got rich by taking money from the capitalist pigs.  Their students’ rich parents.  Or the taxpayers who worked in that detested capitalist system.

Nations with the Marxist Brotherhood of Man with No Possessions have been the Worst Places to Live

It is ironic that without capitalism these communist-loving parasites could not be parasites.  For if no one was creating economic activity there would be no income to tax.  Or to pay for the one thing growing more expensive than health care.  College tuition.  Interestingly, there is no ‘Obamacare’ for our colleges and universities.  No.  They never label them greedy despite their being the greediest of them all.  But you know who they do label as greedy?  The taxpayers who oppose higher taxes to pay for the ever higher cost of higher education.  They’re the greedy ones.  Not the old hippies of the Sixties.  And their fellow anti-capitalists.

Another interesting thing about these anti-capitalists?  They yearn for one-party rule.  Which is why public education teaches our kids to distrust capitalism and to trust government.  And our colleges and universities teach our kids to be ashamed of their nation’s past.  And the importance of diversity.  Which is code for anything that isn’t American.  For America was founded by rich white slave-owners who stole the land from the Native Americans.  And America’s imperialist aggression is the only source of strife in the world today.  While ignoring the expanding communist revolution that was spreading out from the Soviet Union into the Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.  The one ideology that has killed more people than any other.  Through state oppression, wars and famine.

Yes, this brotherhood of man where there are no possessions have been in fact the worst places to live.  The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Mao’s Peoples Republic of China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, etc.  These are all nations that had gulags or reeducation camps for political prisoners.  Those people who spoke—or thought—truth to power.  They all had police states where the people lived in fear of their government.  They suffered for the want of the most basic items (soap, toilet paper, etc.).  There was state censorship.  They persecuted anyone practicing any religion.  The people suffered from constant hunger.  And the occasional famine.  They killed anyone trying to escape their communist utopia.  Or sent them off to hard labor and torture.  If they escaped successfully then the state punished any family remaining behind.  To warn others what would happen if they escaped their communist utopia.

The Great Flaw of Socialism is being unable to Determine What is the Greater Good

Why did these communist states have police states and brutally oppress their people?  Because they had to.  When the communists built the Berlin Wall it wasn’t to keep people from West Berlin out of East Berlin.  It was to stop people escaping from East Berlin to West Berlin.  For the East Germans were suffering a terrific brain drain.  Capitalists believe in liberty.  The freedom to do what they want.  And to get paid for their services.  A highly skilled doctor expects a higher salary than a janitor.  And that just isn’t going to happen in a communist state.  You get what the state gives you.  No more.  Creating a heck of a free rider problem.  When your economic system works based on the Marxist premise from each according to ability to each according to need what you get is a lot of people showing little ability and a lot of need.  For the more ability you had the harder they forced you to work.  While the greater your need the more you got.  Such a system encourages people to do the minimum and not be extraordinary.  Which is why Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, Apple, The Beatles, etc., did not come from communist countries.

A communist state has a planned economy.  Instead of a free market economy.  Communist state planners manage the economy from top down.  Telling the raw material industry what materials to extract.  They tell what factories get these raw materials and what they are to build.  Etc.  Whereas in a free market economy the economy is driven bottom up by the consumers.  When consumers start buying a lot of one thing the price for that one thing rises.  Attracting other businesses into the market to meet that rising demand.  Who place orders with their wholesalers.  Who place orders with their manufacturers.  Who place orders with their industrial processors.  Who place orders with their raw material extractors.  Hundreds of thousands of decisions happen as this consumer demand travels up the stages of production in a free market economy.  Giving the people what they want.  And not what a state planner decides to give to the people.

This is why communist (and socialist) states are oppressive dictatorships.  Because state planners decide for the people.  Which must start with the supreme decision maker.  The Joseph Stalin, the Mao Zedong, the Ho Chi Minh, the Kim Jong Un, the Raul Castro, the Hugo Chávez, etc.  And these people don’t take polls or hold elections.  Well, at least elections that are legitimate.  Kim Jong Un continues the state policy of his predecessors.  No economic reform.  Money goes to the military first (especially for his nuclear toys) and whatever is left over may go to the people.  And anyone who disagrees with him or thinks wrong goes to the gulag.  Or is executed.  Like his uncle.  While the people suffer the want of the most basic things.  Like food.  North Korea to this day still suffers the occasional famine because of its economic policies.  But one problem the North Koreans don’t have?  Deciding where to go for lunch.

“Where do you want to eat?  I don’t know, where do you want to eat?”  This can go on until someone forceful makes the decision for the group.  Often making no one happy.  But it will end the endless “where do you want to eat?”  This is the great flaw of socialism.  Being unable to determine what is the greater good.  Because people rarely agree on what’s best for other people.  Just look at the recent budget agreement that made few people happy.  They were unhappy because they disagreed on what was the greater good.  People are different.  One size does not fit all.  You just can’t please all of the people all of the time.  So you have to force your will on the people.  The only mechanism that makes socialism work.  Force.  Because people can rarely agree on where to go to lunch let alone national policy.  And this is why all communist/socialist states end in brutal dictatorships.  Because only force can make people live in a world without choice.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, Hang them up on Telephone Wire, President Obama

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 12th, 2013

Politics 101

Oppression and Lies are Standard Fare for a Communist Dictatorship

Communists are pragmatic.  They know what they want.  And they do what it takes to get what they want.  For them the ends justify the means.  No matter how horrible those means can be.  And they’ve been pretty horrible.  As communists have been among the greatest abusers of human rights.  Something their people are not too keen on.  As well as those living in the free world.  So communists do something else a lot.  They lie.

When you want to do things against the will of the people you need to either lie to the people.  Or oppress the people with a large police state.  Which can be costly.  Because you have to take care of your police apparatus so they oppress the people and don’t turn on you.  That’s how all dictators stay in power.  Life is horrible in their countries.  But it’s pretty good at the top.  And those who protect those at the top.  North Korea still suffers from recurring famines.  Yet those at the top never go hungry.  Or suffer the abject poverty of the people.  And it’s been this way for a long time.  A system maintained with the firm hand of the state.  From Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un.  As the Kim family succession continues to keep life horrible in North Korea (see North Korea announces execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek by Chico Harlan posted 12/12/2013 on The Washington Post).

There have been no outward signs of instability under Kim Jong Un, and the North has largely maintained its key policies, resisting economic reform, devoting money to its weapons program and maintaining a gulag system for those accused of political crimes.

Kim Jong Un’s uncle was Jang Song Thaek.  I say was for he is no more.  Jang was in the inner circle of Kim Jong Il and thought to be a potential successor.  But that didn’t happen.  As Kim Jong Un had those honors.  But Jang was around a long time.  And knew a lot of people.  Which, of course, made him a threat.  So Kim Jong Un had him arrested, put him on trial for crimes against the state and executed.  Telling the people he was a “traitor for all ages” and was “despicable human scum” and was “worse than a dog.”  He demonized him to get the people to accept that this execution was just.  And to send a message.  He held power.  And anyone thinking otherwise will be demonized and executed.  Standard sort of fare for a communist dictatorship.  Oppression.  And lies.

You get the People to ask for more Government by Buying their Votes with a Cradle-to-Grave Welfare State

A communist state has its drawbacks, though.  The aforementioned abject poverty and recurring famines.  Because as an economic system planned economies just don’t work.  But a free market economy tends to put ideas into people’s heads.  Such as we don’t really need the government as much as the government wants us to believe we need them.  In the movie V for Vendetta this was something Chancellor Sutler impressed upon his lieutenants.  It was imperative to let the people know how much they needed British socialism.  Which is not quite communism.  But it’s anti-free market capitalism just like communism.  And a little easier to sell to the people.  For despite the left’s love affair with communism it is hard to spin that as anything other than it is.  Horrible.  I mean, people aren’t trying to break into North Korea and Cuba.  They’re risking their lives to escape these communist utopias.

So those on the left adopted a new type of socialism.  Social democracy.  Which was communism/socialism lite.  It wasn’t as anti-free market capitalism as communism/socialism was.  So as not to bring about the abject poverty and recurring famines you got with communism/socialism.  And you backed off on the oppressive police state.  Instead, you get the people to ask for more government.  By buying their votes with a cradle-to-grave welfare state.  And a lot of government jobs with decent pay and wonderful benefits.  To make the people love the state.  And impress on them how much they need the state.

Of course this bloated welfare state is costly.  Which they pay for with a progressive tax system.  A tax system that is ‘fair’.  By making the evil rich pay higher taxes so the good poor and the innocent children can have a decent life.  Not just those evil rich people.  And how do you oppose this?  You can’t.  Unless you hate the poor.  And the children.  Which is what the left says about the opposition whenever they oppose new spending.  Or higher taxes.  Of course, having to fight these battles over taxes and spending can be a pain in the behind.  So the state takes care of those in the inner circle of power.  Those who think correctly.  Who help get the people to ask for these taxes and spending.  The media who helps to spread their propaganda.  And the educational system.  That teaches the young to grow up loving government.  And fearing free market capitalism.  Then you add the coup de grâce.  National health care.

President Obama lied over and over again to put America onto the Pathway towards National Health Care

Every communist/socialist dictatorship had/has national health care.  For once the people become dependent on the state for their good health the state has them for life.  And whenever the opposition resists higher taxes for more spending all you have to do is kill some people by making them wait longer for health care that the opposition denied them.  Causing outrage among the people.  Who demand that the opposition stop playing politics with their lives.  The left’s kind of oppression.  Having the people beg for more government.  This is why national health care (or something that will help usher in national health care) is the holy grail of the left.  And why President Obama lied through his teeth to pass the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law (see Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ by Angie Drobnic Holan posted 12/12/2013 on PolitiFact.com).

PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice…

The Affordable Care Act tried to allow existing health plans to continue under a complicated process called “grandfathering,” which basically said insurance companies could keep selling plans if they followed certain rules.

The problem for insurers was that the Obamacare rules were strict. If the plans deviated even a little, they would lose their grandfathered status. In practice, that meant insurers canceled plans that didn’t meet new standards.

Obama’s team seemed to understand that likelihood. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the grandfathering rules in June 2010 and acknowledged that some plans would go away. Yet Obama repeated “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” when seeking re-election last year…

Also on Oct. 1, insurers started sending out cancellation letters for 2014…

One example: PBS Newshour interviewed a woman from Washington, D.C., who was a supporter of the health care law and found her policy canceled. New policies had significantly higher rates. She told Newshour that the only thing the new policy covered that her old one didn’t was maternity care and pediatric services. And she was 58…

First, they tried to shift blame to insurers. “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans,” said Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to Obama, on Oct. 28.

PolitiFact rated her statement False. The restrictions on grandfathering were part of the law, and they were driving cancellations.

Then, they tried to change the subject. “It’s important to remember both before the ACA was ever even a gleam in anybody’s eye, let alone passed into law, that insurance companies were doing this all the time, especially in the individual market because it was lightly regulated and the incentives were so skewed,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

But what really set everyone off was when Obama tried to rewrite his slogan, telling political supporters on Nov. 4, “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

Pants on Fire! PolitiFact counted 37 times when he’d included no caveats, such as a high-profile speech to the American Medical Association in 2009: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

President Obama lied.  Over and over again.  He lied to get this pathway to national health care into law (for once he destroys the private health insurance industry what will be left but a public option?).  And he lied to win reelection.  President Obama lied.  And his fellow Democrats lied.  Over and over again.  To put America onto the pathway towards their holy grail.  National health care.  The linchpin of the massive cradle-to-grave welfare state.  The one thing that allows the state to tax and spend more than anything else.  And puts the opposition into the position of wanting to kill people anytime they oppose higher taxes and more spending.  Which has a lot more staying power than a government shutdown.

What can you say about someone who lies (at least) 37 times?  That person is a pathological liar.  A pragmatic.  A person who believes the ends justify the means.  That the rule of law is only a suggestion.  A person that will say anything and break any law to get what he wants.  And is willing to kill people by taking away the health insurance they liked and wanted to keep.  By taking away the doctor they liked and wanted to keep.  And by taking away the medication they liked and wanted to keep.  Fear and suffering President Obama and his fellow Democrats and supporters in the media and education are indifferent to.  For their greatest concern is how will this hurt President Obama?  This is what those on the left worry about.  Their dear leader.  Not the people.  Just like the inner circle surrounding every tin-pot dictator worry about.  For if the people turn on the dear leader they may overthrow him.  And with him go their privileged lives amidst the abject poverty and recurring famines surrounding them.

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The Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 3rd, 2013

History 101

Queen Elizabeth hated the Puritans more than the Catholics

The Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock were God-fearing people.  Who had left England to escape religious persecution.  The Pilgrims were members of the new Protestant faith.  Less than a century old at that time.  With Henry VIII, King of England, turning Catholic England Protestant in the 1530s.  Which didn’t go over well with England’s Catholics.  Becoming a thorn in Henry’s daughter’s side.  Queen Elizabeth.  (The first Queen Elizabeth.  Not the current one.)  Who she persecuted.  But they weren’t the only people she persecuted.

The Church of England swung between Catholicism and Protestantism through the years.  Trying to please both Catholic and Protestant.  In time becoming neither Catholic nor Protestant but something in between.  Pleasing neither Catholic nor Protestant.  Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Church of England, settled the matter.  By persecuting those dissatisfied with the Church of England.  The Catholics who said it was too Protestant.  And the Protestant ‘extremists’ who said the Protest Church of England was too Catholic.

It was these Protestant ‘extremists’ that really irked Elizabeth.  No, the Church of England wasn’t good enough for them.  Because it didn’t strip every last vestige of Catholicism from it.  It was impure.  Corrupted with Catholicism.  Vestments.  Icons.  Altars.  It was just downright obscene.  That’s why she turned on these ‘Puritans’ with a vengeance.  And persecuted them like Catholics.  Even worse at times.

The Pilgrims suffered Three Years of Poor Harvests and Famines because of Socialism

Things didn’t get any better under James I.  Who followed Elizabeth’s lead.  With the political climate turning against the ‘Puritans’ they skedaddled.  Leaving England.  And resettled in Leiden, Holland.  Where they had the freedom to worship as they pleased.  But the different language and culture became a problem for the congregation.  Their children were becoming less like their parents and more like the Dutch.  Who enjoyed the pleasures in life a little more freely than they thought proper for a ‘Puritan’.  If their children became Dutch it would ultimately mean the end of the congregation.  So they boarded a ship.  No, not that one.  They took the Speedwell to England.  Then boarded THAT ship.  The Mayflower.  Crossed the Atlantic Ocean.  And landed at Plymouth Rock.

Now the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock were God-fearing people.  But they had a little in common with the hippies of the Sixties.  Not the sex and drugs.  But how they lived.  For the Pilgrims lived like the hippies wanted to live.  As communists.  The Pilgrims worked but didn’t own anything.  Everything they produced belonged to everyone.  Produced by those according to ability.  And taken by those according to need.  The perfect communist society.  And truly authentic to the yet unknown communist philosophy.  Right down to the recurring famines.

The harvest of 1620 was poor.  Making the first winter hard.  And there was famine.  It was so bad that half of them died.  The Indians then taught them how to grow corn.  Things were looking up.  They celebrated the first Thanksgiving.  But the harvest of 1621 was just as bad as the harvest of 1620.  And they suffered another famine.  Another poor harvest followed in 1622.  And another famine.  Why?  Because people were lazy.  The most able-bodied of them did not want to work according to their ability.  Just so the lazy could enjoy the fruit of their labors.  And draw from the common stores according to their need.  Without contributing anything to the common stores.  Because they had better things to do than work.  Besides, it was easier just to steal what others grew than working hard in the fields.

All of the Things that made America Great were born in Plymouth Colony

Jamestown was suffering the same fate.  The socialist utopia of living in a commune just didn’t work.  The most able-bodied men refused to work according to their ability to support other men’s wives and children.  For they had their own wives and children to support.  So those with ability did the minimum.  Because doing any more didn’t help them in any way.  Or their families.  It was like asking people to work an extra two hours at work for free.  So others with large families to support could work two hours less and go home early.  So one group of workers work 10 hours for 8 hours of wages.  While another group work for 6 hours for 8 hours of wages.  Which is socialism.  Redistribution.  From those according to ability to those according to need.  It was this economic philosophy many settlements used.  Giving them poor harvests.  And famines.

But that all changed in 1623 for the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony.  William Bradford, governor of the colony, changed the economic system.  He abolished socialism.  And replaced it with free market capitalism.  He parceled out the common land.  Giving each household a parcel of land.  Saying it was their property.  It belonged to them.  As did anything they grew on it.  Which meant the more they grew the more they could eat.  Or trade for other things they needed.  Which unleashed the energies in the able-bodied.  And they worked their behinds off.  Growing as much as they possibly could.  Soon the harvests everywhere they implemented free market capitalism were bountiful.  Even in Jamestown.  And there was no famine in Plymouth Colony following the 1623 harvest.  Things were different.  And never would be the same again.

Finally the Pilgrims had a reason to be thankful.  Free markets.  The best medicine there is for famine.  Thanks to free market capitalism the colonies prospered.  And a new nation arose.  This economic liberty would go on to make the United States the greatest nation in the world.  Religious freedom.  Private property.  Limited government.  All of those things that made America great were born there in Plymouth Colony.  Thanks to William Bradford.  Who saw the futility of socialism.  And abolished it.  Things were difficult in the beginning.  But their decision to leave England ultimately provided the better life they were seeking.  And as it turned out they got out when the getting was good.  For the religious climate didn’t improve in England.  As the conflict between Catholics and Protestants would lead to civil war in 1642.  And it wasn’t pleasant.  Missing the horror of that gave the Pilgrims another thing to be thankful for.

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Little Ice Age, Protestant Reformation, Louis XIV, Enlightenment, Seven Years’ War, American Revolution and French Revolution

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 28th, 2013

Politics 101

(Originally published August 30th, 2012)

King Louis XIV remained Catholic as Protestantism was Breaking Out in Europe and Britain

It’s been awhile since the last ice age.  In fact the last time we had a real ice age predated the first civilizations.  We still wore animal skins and hunted and gathered our food.  Long before we first farmed.  But it would get cool again.  Shortly after the Black Death (during the 1300s) it did get unseasonably cool.  So cool that we now call it the Little Ice Age (from 1350 to 1850 or thereabouts).  The glaciers didn’t cover Europe.  But it was cold.  And wet.  The spring took forever to change into summer.  While summer was quick to turn into fall.  Which led to short growing seasons.  Poor harvests.  Hunger.  And famine.

Martin Luther was no fan of the Pope.  Especially because of the indulgences he was selling.  A shortcut to heaven.  For those with money.  Which is what the Pope wanted.  Money.  For he was doing some costly renovations in Rome.  So in 1517 Martin Luther nailed up his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door demanding reform.  And kicking off the Protestant Reformation.  Well, the Catholic Church wasn’t interested in reform.  So Luther set up a new church.  With a new religion.  Protestantism.  A more plain religion.  With masses in the common language of the people.  Instead of Latin.  And no fancy things in the church.  No altars.  No stain glass.  No icons.  Just the word of God.  With over a thousand years of Catholicism already under their belt, though, a lot of people took offense to this.  And their offense offended the new Protestants.  So they went to war with each other for a few centuries or so over their religious differences.

King Louis XIV was one of the great French monarchs.  Under his rule France was the dominant European power.  The Sun King believed in the divine right of kings.  Absolute monarchism.  Doing pretty much as he pleased.  Which included a few wars.  And growing an empire with oversea colonies.  It cost a pretty penny.  And a lot of lives.  Louis remained Catholic as Protestantism was breaking out in Europe.  And in England.  For a couple hundred years or so England and France were bitter enemies.  Contesting colonial lands throughout the globe.  And defending the true faith.  Catholicism.  Or Protestantism.  The Catholic-Protestant battle lines stretched across Europe.  And to distant lands across the globe.  Including the New World.  Where they would both spend fortunes in waging war.

For the French the American War of Independence had nothing to do with the Americans

The Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, gave the French Voltaire.  One of the great Enlightenment philosophers.  When Benjamin Franklin was in France the French were eager to bring two of the world’s greatest Enlightenment philosophers together.  And did.  The French also gave us the great Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu.  The greatest influence on the Founding Fathers as they drafted our Constitution.  So there was some great thinking percolating in France.  Thoughts that focused on science and reason.  Not tradition and faith.  Even questioning some long-held beliefs about the Catholic Church, the aristocracy and the absolute monarchy.

Louis XIV built a great French empire.  The French seemed invincible.  Until Louis XV took over.  Who lost the Seven Years’ War to the British.  And saw French North America become British.  (And the Louisiana Territory go to Spain.)  That was tough having their eternal foe humiliate them.  The Protestant British.  It was a blow to French pride.  French commerce.  And French finances.  The near-perpetual state of war that had existed between Britain and France had cost both nations a lot of money.  The British decided to recoup some of that money by taxing their American colonies.  Which didn’t go over well with the Americans.  For unlike France the British had a constitutional monarchy.  Where the Parliament restricted the king’s powers.  That great institute of the people.  Which the Americans had no representation in.  Leading to their rebellion.  Because they didn’t like being treated like second-class subjects of the British Empire.  Which brought about the American Revolutionary War.

After the Americans defeated a British army at the Battle of Saratoga the French joined the Americans in their fight for independence from the oppression of a constitutional monarchy.  Which seemed rather odd being that the French at this time was still an absolute monarchy (though now ruled by Louis XVI).  Which was far more oppressive than the constitutional variety.  But for the French the American War of Independence had nothing to do with the Americans.  It had to do with French interests.  It was a chance to strike back at their eternal enemy.  The Protestant British.  And more importantly, when they won they could get back all their colonies they lost in the Seven Years’ War.

The French were Intoxicated with all of those Enlightenment Ideals and the American Win over an Oppressive Monarchy

The Americans won their independence.  But the French didn’t get anything they wanted.  All they got was a lot of debt.  To add to the enormous pile of debt they already had.  One of the French conditions for their alliance was that the Americans would not make a separate peace with the British.  Which is what the Americans did.  Why?  Because the French and the Spanish were conspiring against the Americans during the peace talks.  So they could expand their holdings in North America at the expense of the British and the Americans.  The French were even willing to trade American Independence away.  The British, who would rather have Americans on their former lands than the French or Spanish, made a separate peace with the Americans.

This act of diplomacy stunned the French.  For they had assurances from the American Congress that they would take the lead in the peace talks.  The Americans double-crossed them before they could double-cross the Americans.  This wasn’t supposed to happen in the world of European diplomacy.  Especially with rubes like the Americans.  But it did.  And the French were now in a world of hurt.  Broke.  And facing bankruptcy.  Desperately needing new tax revenue King Louis XVI called an Assembly of Notables.  The nobility and clergy.  But they didn’t want to pay any more taxes.  So the king called the Estates-General of 1789.  Which included the clergy, the nobility and everyone else (i.e., the Third Estate).

Meanwhile there was widespread hunger and malnutrition.  Poor grain harvests (in part due to the Little Ice Age) pushed the price of bread out of reach for many.  People were cold, hungry and poor.  In the Third Estate, that is.  For though they may have been suffering they saw that the nobility and the Catholic clergy were not.  In fact, they were living rather well.  Which inflamed the masses.  Who became intoxicated with all of those Enlightenment ideals.  And that American victory over an oppressive monarchy.  It got the people thinking.  That they didn’t need a nobility any more.  The Catholic Church.  Or a king.  And the people would get rid of these things.  For awhile, at least.  With something called the French Revolution.

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