Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How to talk to socialists

Analysis of the socialist mindset
The intellectual bankruptcy of the left, part IV
Rumors of Wal-Mart's demise are greatly exaggerated

Well, our socialist visitor is back, though he said he was never coming back -- just like all those Hollywood liberals said they were leaving the U.S. if Bush were re-elected, but didn't.

He said:
External circumstances led me to look at your site again.
I see you have misrepresented all my points, set up a straw man, called me a socialist and then satisfied yourself that you have won the argument.
Translation: someone told him he was getting his ass flamed, and being a glutton for punishment, he just couldn't resist how bad.

My oh my, Bobby is a fine one to accuse others of misrepresentation and using straw men. It was his favorite anti-Wal-Mart blog that made a personal attack on me all that time ago, and it's Bobby who misrepresents himself by denying his socialism.

On a personal note, I never feel a need to "satisf[y] [my]self that [I] have won the argument" -- I let my words stand on their own merit. I will add, however, that it's not hard to defeat socialists, particularly ones like Bobby who repeat the same propaganda and can never refute your points.
I've never said anything about socialism, by which most people mean state ownership of the means of production. Government regulation of industry is not socialism. Collecting taxes is not socialism. Representative government is not socialism.
But Bobby doesn't want to stop at collecting taxes. He wants a government to make decisions for people. That's socialism: government having massive economic control. In its final, pure form, socialism is full state control over the means of production (I wonder if he had to look that up when I called him a socialist), but socialists are more than content to "creep" toward the goal.

Representative government can very well be socialism. When government taxes Peter to give to Paul, that's the redistribution of wealth. In other words, socialism. Moreover, democracy itself is completely undesirable, as the Founding Fathers often warned about. They called it "mobocracy" for a damned good reason: there's no protection for the individual rights to life, liberty and property. Woe unto you should you be one of the 49 in a population of 100, when the other 51 vote to take away your property. And if you're in the top 1% of income earners, the other 99% won't hesitate to seize a chunk of your wealth.

But wait a minute: "Government regulation of industry is not socialism"? I realize that most political science taught today is complete crap, but how damned stupid must someone be to think that regulation is not socialism? Marx discussed such socialism in his Communist Manifesto, actually criticizing it for not going far enough. But he still didn't deny that those who supported the regulation of industry, as part of achieving "egalitarian" social reformation, are socialists.
While you pray to your god Bastiat, it is worth noting that he is a marginal figure in the world of economics. In addition none of the ideas that you extol, such as the "free market" and laissez faire treatement of business has ever been put in place anywhere in the world.
Clearly Bobby has no idea what he's talking about, particularly since I most certainly don't pray to Bastiat, but I guess he thinks "economics" is the baloney that Krugman and DeLong throw out. Krugman doesn't have much support these days, anyway, as Don Luskin recently noted, and this is a guy who supposedly will win the Nobel Prize someday.

Economics isn't about trade flows, inflation and employment statistics. Real economics is fundamentally the science of human choice and its consequences, and Bastiat's astute insights are so legendary that I do not need to defend him as a great pioneer. The difference between Bastiat and Krugman is that had the Nobel Prize been around in Bastiat's time, he'd have won it repeatedly, but it would be like when Phil Collins won his Oscar: their brilliant accomplishments transcended any need for a mere award. So many of Bastiat's principles seem evident today, but do we think condescendingly of pre-medieval Arab mathematicians because their algebra is old hat to us? As Don Luskin once told me when we met for drinks, even Krugman wouldn't dare contradict the "broken window" fallacy.

Now, Bobby thinks that laissez-faire has never been put in place anywhere in the world. What parallel Earth does he live on? Whatever it is, it must be the most impoverished piece of cosmic rock ever imaginable. Even Bastiat in 1850 noted that the most prosperous societies are those where government stayed the most out of commerce. Look at the United States. Look at France and Germany. The U.S. prospers despite all the hindrances and obstacles government creates. France and Germany can't prosper no matter what the governments do.

As I've pointed out, we have had four supply-sider presidents: Calvin Coolidge, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Coolidge was especially known for a belief that government should not interfere with business, save when it commits force or fraud. That's not laissez-faire? Reagan made Goldwater's 1964 platform a reality and started us down the road of government deregulation (until Democrats and then Republicans brought us back up). Reagan wasn't following laissez-faire? Bush is only somewhat laissez-faire

How about laissez-faire with international trade? Hawley-Smoot Tariff of 1930, world trade collapses, and the Great Depression spreads globally. Free trade agreements (better than nothing) starting in the last part of the 20th century, and everybody prospers (especially poor countries who now can earn money from wealthier countries).

And what has Ireland been doing, but following laissez-faire policies? And what has it reaped, besides immense prosperity that places it at the head of Europe?
If your hope is that such a society can be achieved then you have proved my point about being hopeless utopians.
I never claimed to want a Utopia. I just want people to be free to make their own decisions, and let them determine their own destinies. You, on the other hand, are promoting more Utopian ideals by extolling the fallacial virtues of government deciding what's "best" for the people.

You don't appear to be a very well-educated person, because if you were, you'd know that "utopia" is the least appropriate word to apply to free marketers' belief of how the world should be.
PS. Just for the record I've probably made more money in the stock market that your entire clique combined, so I'm hardly a socialist.
What a laughable boast. I'd put money down and call for his 1099s, but I'd first bet he doesn't even know what those are. When I regularly played Ultima Online, I routinely met other players who claimed to be 6'2", 220 pounds in real life, bench-press 350, blah blah.

Talk is cheap. Staying true to your principles is not. Ask Nathan Hale in the afterlife: sometimes staying true to your principles is extremely expensive.

There's no reason socialists can't profit off a capitalist system, anyway. Socialists can be just as hypocritical as anyone, using tools that they themselves claim to loathe. Look at George Soros, who doesn't dare advocate actual socialism, but he promotes "interventionism," which is still socialism. Soros doesn't believe people can be left completely free to their peaceful, voluntary transactions, because too much "self-interest" causes problems. Yet it's his own self-interest that allowed him to earn billions. That's just like socialists: they'll use whatever they can to get to the front, and once they do, then they start talking about redistribution.
By the way you failed to respond to my questions about why you are so angry and have such a need to deny reality. Sorry, you failed to address any of my issues.
Socialists just don't understand that people don't like being stolen from. They just don't understand that people tend to have a sense of property, but the socialist few among us who want to feed off others' labor. The socialists know they can't achieve full-blown socialism, so instead they creep: Teddy Roosevelt's "progressivism," FDR's "New Deal" politics (including trying to stuff the Supreme Court), Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" and "War on Poverty" (which made society less great and more impoverished), GWB's "No Child Left Behind" and prescription drug bill, and 21st century Democrats' push for universal health care. Very few Americans would have supported universal health care 50 years ago, because they still had some sense of pulling your own weight. However, socialists condition each generation by telling 1000 truths and 1 lie, then 999 truths and 2 lies...

And isn't it amazing when you take socialists' stupidity apart, sentence by sentence, and they ignore that, fail to answer a single thing you said, then claim "you failed to address any of my issues"?

Note to Bobby: "issues" is a malapropos word. Try something better suited like "points" or even "assertions." Do yourself a favor and try to stop sounding eloquent; your command of the language isn't that hot. Maybe you're using Roget's, but next time, I recommend a decent copy, not a fake from the dollar store.

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Blogger Robert D Feinman said...

You are a tiresome little twit. You live in a fantasy world of your own making and have to resort to personal insults whenever you respond.

By the way I didn't "insult" you by calling you a sock puppet, that was JR, too bad you can't even read properly.

Unfortunately for you and your friends you are young enough that you will suffer the full effects of the libertarian, neo-con economic policies that have been put into place in the past 40 years by people who pretend to think like you and then line their own pockets.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006 9:39:00 AM  
Blogger Steven Tomer said...

Good riddance.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 2:26:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Bobby, are you really taking your marbles and going home this time? Is the real world, where incentives matter and wealth creation is important, really so scary to you?

I suppose no one can blame you. Can you even come close to refuting one single thing I ever say? When you attempt to debate someone who's smarter than you, are you always shot down by anti-aircraft fire before you even get out of the hangar?

You are a little putz, but I never tire of making fun of your uneducated kind. I have no need to resort to personal insults, but recall that your little band fired the first salvo. Thus it's tit for tat, and besides, it amuses me. You really didn't know what you were getting into here, did you?

You have no concept of reality, instead basing your philosophy on delusional notions of "equality." You can't even get your logic straight: why do you call me tiresome, when this is my blog you're visiting?

I knew the day he posted exactly who stupidly and erroneously called me a "sock puppet," but you have been found guilty by association. It's too bad you can't read.

By the way, did you ever look up what a sock puppet really is?

Unfortunately for you and your kind, there will come a day that you'll receive a bullet in the head when you attempt to seize others' wealth. Take that however you'd like, but I'm merely cautioning you that your ideals of theft will do you in. There are a lot of us who are tired of suffering the effects of the last seven decades of socialist policies where people like you steal from people like me to line your and everyone else's pockets.

Why should I be afraid of the free market, when it's the free market that gives me the best chance at prosperity? You foolishly want "equality," but the only equality that socialism ever produced is poverty.

Why I welcome the free market and why you fear it is a perfect illustration of the difference between you and me: I actually work to create my wealth, but you want to acquire yours by using government to steal from others. Well, watch your back, Jack: storm's coming.

And by the way, "libertarian, neo-con economic policies"? Do you even realize how contradictory libertarian economics is with neo-conservatism? Good lord, you are an idiot.

I will miss your little attempts at intelligent argument, not just because it's fun to shoot them down, but because you seriously need a good education. Ah well. Go cry under your mommy's skirt.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 9:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Quincy said...

"By the way you failed to respond to my questions about why you are so angry and have such a need to deny reality."

Mr. Feinman, if you do come back, I would like you to address some realities as well:

1. Why people stayed in New Orleans sat waiting for government to come help them in the face of a category 5 hurricane.

2. Why, when time is of the essence, it's considered more humane to make people wait for medical care than it is to make them pay for it.

3. Why decisions about my life, or your life, or anyone else's life should be made by people who proclaim themselves as wise, even though the factors of distance and limited human intelligence make it impossible for them to see most of the factor in those decisions.

4. Why leftists, who claim to extol the virtues of diversity, choose an economic system which denies a diversity of wants and needs among the population, prefering instead to bow to a vision of what some people say should be.

Can you address these realities, Mr. Feinman?

Sunday, August 27, 2006 4:20:00 AM  

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