Berninating all the villagers
As any fule kno, beloved Vermont senator Bernie Sanders was sent down to earth by St. Karl of Trier to redeem us for the horrible sin of inequality and forgive us our transgressions and also our student loan debt. You may have heard rumors that his mission was actually to bilk gullible kids so he could buy a third house and a really expensive car, but that’s all fake news spread by Russians from Macedonia, so ignore that.
I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am to hear that a man who has literally never done anything productive in his entire life while simultaneously hectoring hard-working Americans about their "greed" and "privilege" would turn out to be a thief. In the illegal sense, even.
The Adam Smith Institute’s Tim Worstall claims to be one of the world’s foremost experts on scandium. Whether or not this is true I am ill-equipped to say, as I know almost exactly nothing about scandium. I assume they use it to make scanners, and I was figuring it was probably from Sweden, but then I realized I was confusing it with Scandinavium, a similar metal so heavy that Iron Maiden’s played there nine times. Anyhow, the point is: I don’t know anything about scandium, and I freely concede, in advance, any arguments about scandium I ever get into against Tim Worstall, who knows much more about scandium than he does about socialism. Sadly, it’s the latter he’s chosen to write about today, in an utterly bizarre article nominally about the mining strikes in Bolivia.
If you haven’t been following the Bolivian mining strikes, they’ve now escalated to the point where Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Rodolfo Illanes was recently kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by the strikers. Our friend Tim Worstall would have us believe that the strikers are protesting against socialism, but is that really the case? We’ll explore that very soon, but before we dive into the pièce de résistance, we need to whet our appetites with this lovely little amuse-bouche of stupidity:
Around here we usually make fun of Bolivarian socialism by reference to the idiocies which Nicolas Maduro has been imposing upon the people of Venezuela. They do, after all, call their system "Bolivarian socialism." Across the continent, in Bolivia, we also have a closely related Bolivian socialism. Evo Morales has often said that he takes inspiration from Hugo Chavez, and that the system he is using in Bolivia is similar. So, Bolivarian socialism in Bolivia then. Umm, perhaps both Bolivian and Bolivarian socialism?
Why yes, those do sound rather similar! What an astonishing coincidence! On a related note, I’ve always found it weird how similar the titles of Superman and Superman II are. What do you suppose were the odds that would just happen by chance, as it so obviously did? The universe is a mysterious place, my friends!
Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s new book, The Problem With Socialism, hardly could have come at a better time; the socialist fever is riding high in the United States, with demagogues like Vermont senator Bernie Sanders selling the idea that ancient, discredited economic philosophies are somehow the wave of the future, while simultaneously telling people that the failed government economic planning that has dominated most of our lifetimes is somehow a function of "capitalism." Those of us who value the truth are always in need of new weapons in our arsenal, and this book is a valuable addition.
The Problem With Socialism is a short book, clearly designed for a popular and not a scholarly audience — if you’re looking for a deep philosophical disquisition about the flaws and failures inherent in socialism, Ludwig von Mises’ 1922 classic Socialism remains the gold standard in the field. The Mises book, of course, is six hundred pages long and dense in the way that only German philosophy can be, and requires days if not weeks of study to comprehend, making it unsuitable for people who want a quick introduction to the field, or for giving to one’s friends or children who have become "socialism-curious;" they’ll simply never read it. DiLorenzo’s book, on the other hand, is admirably suited to the task, fluidly written, easily readable in one setting and accessible enough that even a socialist could understand it.
Somebody must have told Gary Johnson that I actually wrote faintly nice things about the Libertarian Party, because he wasted absolutely no time making me regret them. Here he goes making disjointed, rambling remarks to the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, in which he states that the federal government should have unlimited power to force people to associate with one another, with, evidently, the single exception that he personally shouldn’t be forced to be a social conservative. You think I’m just trying to make him sound like a fool, but, no, that is pretty much exactly what he says. When Carney asked if the government of New Mexico — Gary’s own home state — should have the power to punish photographers for refusing to cover gay weddings, Gary sputtered out this crazy thing:
Look. Here’s the issue. You’ve narrowly defined this. But if we allow for discrimination — if we pass a law that allows for discrimination on the basis of religion — literally, we’re gonna open up a can of worms when it come stop discrimination of all forms, starting with Muslims… who knows. You’re narrowly looking at a situation where if you broaden that, I just tell you — on the basis of religious freedom, being able to discriminate — something that is currently not allowed — discrimination will exist in places we never dreamed of…
It’s the right message, and I’m sideways with the Libertarian Party on this. My crystal ball is that you are going to get discriminated against by somebody because it’s against their religion. Somehow you have offended their religion because you’ve walked in and you’re denied service. You. (Emphasis original)
We cannot resort to simplistic or extreme solutions which substitute myths for common sense.
Whatever else one has to say about the presidency of James Earl Carter Jr., one must admit that he was not a warmonger. A technocrat, yes; a utopian socialist, probably; a warmonger, no. The Carter presidency brought the United States as close as it has been to peace since the days of Herbert Hoover; sadly, with the cold war still raging and the Iranian people overthrowing the American puppet Shah, president Carter would find himself dragged into foreign entanglements all the same. Still and all, it was something close to peace, and that’s not nothing.
President Carter had the good fortune to be the first president since World War II not to inherit any military boondoggles in the far east. This was, in fact, part of the reason he won the election of 1976; as a relative unknown with no nationwide name recognition, he was at a steep disadvantage running against a sitting president during the bicentennial. However, the Carter campaign nimbly took advantage of president Ford’s two main areas of weakness: Watergate and Vietnam. As an outsider, Carter sold himself to the American people as a "reform" candidate who wasn’t enmeshed in any of the national political scandals, as against president Ford, who was still suffering from issuing the Nixon pardon two years prior. He was also able to tar Ford with the eventual final disgrace in Vietnam. In other words: Jimmy Carter ran on a "hope and change" ticket, spinning his inexperience and remoteness as a positive.