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Sunday, March 08, 2015

Applying the lesson

In the comments to a recent post, Hey Skipper stated the following:

I could swear I've brought this up a couple times already: Left & Right are useless terms; instead we should use Collectivist & Individualist.

Old habits die hard.  In an attempt to change those habits, I thought it would be worth trying to apply this idea to a post by John Jay on one of his blogs:

Leftists Collectivists don't understand much 
Leftists Collectivists are people who know and understand a lot less than they think they do.  The classical example of that is of course in economics.  Even when they gained unfettered control of such vast countries as Russia and China, they made a hash of it.
 
At the time of the 1917 revolution, Russia was a rapidly modernizing country with railways snaking out across the land and a flourishing agricultural sector that made it a major wheat exporter.  After the revolution agricultural production dropped by about one third and right through the Soviet era Russia never managed to feed itself.  Europe's subsidized food surpluses were a Godsend to it.  A lot of those food surpluses went East. 
And in China, Mao's Great Leap Forward was an unmitigated disaster that achieved nothing but millions of deaths from starvation.  An understanding of economics as poor as Communist economics could hardly be a better proof that Leftists Collectivists are people who know and understand a lot less than they think they do. 
And what libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was V.I. Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state.  He could see the problem but was quite incapable of solving it. 
And Leftists Collectivists understand people so badly that they judge everyone by themselves  (projection) -- leading to the generalization that to understand what is true of Leftists Collectivists you just have to see what they say about conservatives.  That is even true of Leftist Collectivist psychologists (i.e. around 95% of psychologists).
 
For example, a book by Leftist Collectivist psychologists called "The Authoritarian personality" (under the lead authorship of a prominent Marxist theoretician) was a huge hit among psychologists in the '50s and '60s and is still well-spoken of among them to this day.  The basic theme of the book was that conservatives are authoritarian.  What a towering example of projection!  It was written while the vastly authoritarian regimes in Russia and China were still extant and just after another hugely authoritarian socialist regime had collapsed, Hitler's.  Yet it was conservatives who were supposed to be authoritarian? 
The fact of the matter is that Leftism Collectivism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, Leftists Collectivists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that? 
And remember Obama's 2008 diagnosis of the Midwest:
 
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. 
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." 
That Midwesterners could be sincere Christians who need guns for self defence and hunting clearly did not figure in Obama's understanding of the Midwest -- and the remarks have become a byword for Leftist Collectivist incomprehension. To this day conservatives often sarcastically refer to themselves as "bitter clingers". As all the surveys show, conservatives tend to be happy people, not "bitter".  The uproar caused by  his uncomprehending remarks led Obama himself to backpedal. 
And the stock Leftist Collectivist explanation for all social ills --   It's due to poverty -- got really hilarious in the aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks on America by Osama bin Laden and his followers.  Leftists Collectivists insisted that bin Laden's hatred was also due to poverty.  It took some months before they could get it into their brains that bin Laden was actually a billionaire 
Leftism Collectivism is the politics of rage.  They see things about them that seem wrong to them but rather than seek to understand why that state of affairs prevails, they simply condemn it and propose the first  simplistic solution to the problem that comes into their heads -- usually some version of "MAKE people behave better".  They are incurious and impatient people and the destruction they can cause as a result is huge.
 
German philosopher Leibniz proposed many years ago that we live in "the best of all possible worlds" as a way of drawing attention to the fact that some good things necessarily have bad effects as well.  So stomping on the bad things will also destroy good things.  The whole of Leftism Collectivism is an example of that in action. To improve the world you first have to understand it.  Leftists Collectivists don't.
That's not a bad start, but it might take some more practice.

My youngest is home on break.  He was looking over my shoulder as I prepared this post.  His comment was, "that's a very opinionated piece."  I replied, "yes, but it's not wrong."  He agreed.

232 comments:

1 – 200 of 232   Newer›   Newest»
erp said...

Authoritarian? How about the old Soviet joke, Whatever isn't forbidden, is required!

You're right that Russian peasants were getting too rich and sassy.

It's amazing that in every instance when collectivists get control, the people are worse off than they were before.

Bret said...

Yeah, so I think that helps regarding the National Socialists. Whether or not they were Left or Right, they were certainly collectivists in that the entirety of German resources was dedicated to what I'll call the 3rd Reich's "project."

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

To take Bret's example, it is not so that collectivism necessarily leads to economic catastrophe.
The Nazi period before war was a bit of an economic miracle.

Howard,

I know you did not write the piece, but I don't think it is factually right at the bin Laden part. To the best of my memory, the liberal argument then on terrorism and economics was that poor conditions and lack of opportunity facilitated recruitment, not that bin Laden himself was poor. I very much doubt anyone was ignorant about bin Laden's history "months" after 9/11.

erp said...

Clovis, sorry.

Nazi's weren't around long enough to prove their model could survive the long haul.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Most of Bin Laden's recruits were relatively well off as well. The "poverty contributes to terrorism" simply doesn't stand up to actual facts.

erp said...

... ditto the people who literally came out of the woodwork to take over and crash the 9/11 aircraft. At least one of them I read about at the time, but that info has disappeared, had a good job in Virginia, lived here for many years, married an American girl, had children and when the call came, left it all for the greater glory of Allah.

Moslems are like the Borg. They are the ultimate collectivists who meld their lives into the whole and live to obey the laws as written in the Koran and interpreted by their religious leaders.

Political collectivists aka lefties think they can use Islam to take over the west, but I think they have the tiger by the tail. There are one and half billion Moslems and there's little chance after we are destroyed that the followers of Marx, etc. will be able to change their stripes and a far greater chance that Islam will persevere, taking with it western civilization.

Good news: we won't need fusion.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

That's not the point, but rather if bin Laden was seen as a poor guy by Leftists (or Collectivists, as Howard prefers). He was not.


As for your affirmation, '"poverty contributes to terrorism" simply doesn't stand up to actual facts' is quite a leap too. It is hard to deny a correlation between both. What you probably want to deny is a causation, but you end up making a stronger claim than you ought to.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

When I wonder how delusional someone can get, you always beat my expectations.

So we are all about to be destroyed by Moslems? Interesting, when we add up military power, economic power, basically any measure of power you wish, they are quite the underdog in any such fight. Still the West is doomed to loose.

The funny thing is to see such a discourse from a citizen whose country has the title of unmatched military power in the world, and in history no less. I guess too much power makes you a whiner after some time.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

No, actually, it's quite easy to deny the correlation. There has been no shortage of terrorism in wealthy societies and terrorists are generally better off than average in their societies.

liberal argument then on terrorism and economics was that poor conditions and lack of opportunity facilitated recruitment

Hence my comment on Bin Laden's recruits. Which makes the tranzis* wrong even in your paraphrase of their argument.

* My word for the collectivists, which is "Transnational Socialists", of whom the MAL (and the EUlite) are a subset.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

With regard to military and economic might between the West and the Umma, is that how the USA won the Vietnam War as well?

erp said...

... because you don't read what I write, you read what you think I've written.

Check the dictionary for the definition of whine and then note that I am opining, not whining.

Remember Gulliver. He was the giant who was pinned down by Lilliputians as he slept, just like the collectivists are tying our hands and destroying not only our military which can easily be rebuilt (NASA's mission now is outreach to Islam), but our will which I am not at all sure can be revived.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I see, to prove you are not delusional you come up with... Gulliver. Yes, very representative of historical record.



AOG,

---
No, actually, it's quite easy to deny the correlation.
---
Because all the safe havens for terrorist groups as well as their source of money comes from very rich countries, as opposed to some poor failed states in Africa and East, right?

Not to mention that for every "better off" terrorist, you can probably find fifty "worse off" ones too. The difference is that, like in every other profession, the "better off" ones have greater chance to make it to the top leadership, hence giving you the illusion that economics is not at play here too. (You should give some thought about becoming a communist or something alike, if you think you can turn economics off whenever your ideology wants to).


---
With regard to military and economic might between the West and the Umma, is that how the USA won the Vietnam War as well?
---
Exactly. After it gave up the military fight, it squarely won the economic one later on. Witness Vietnam today (and please notice my effort in citing someone you approve of).

erp said...

Gulliver is a fictional character. I used him as example of how the strongest can be brought down by those far weaker, not as an historical example.

Moslem society provides for its adherents who are discouraged from behaving independently. They don't need jobs or job training.

Hey Skipper said...

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Harry will be calling Obama a racist in 3, 2, ... umm ... never.

Odd, that. If you wanted a perfect example of a racist comment, that one would be tough to beat. It tars an entire group of people with derogatory characteristics that apply -- maybe -- to a few within that group.

Annoying Old Guy said...



Basically yes, particularly the money, leaders, and ideology. Absent those sources from rich countries, we would have very little terrorism.

P.S. Note once again you simply can not accurately respond to a claim, you have to turn it in to a straw man, e.g. "all safe havens". Do you really mean that if 99.99% of the safe haves were in rich countries and just one wasn't, that would be a correlation between poverty and terrorism?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] To take Bret's example, it is not so that collectivism necessarily leads to economic catastrophe.
The Nazi period before war was a bit of an economic miracle.


The pre-war Nazi period was only a miracle if there was something miraculous about it.

There wasn't.

To the best of my memory, the liberal argument then on terrorism and economics was that poor conditions and lack of opportunity facilitated recruitment, not that bin Laden himself was poor.

I have heard that liberals are deeply in love with data and sciency stuff. Surely that argument must have some affirmative objective support. It would have to, because liberals wouldn't reach self-flattering conclusions, on account of …

Wait. What? Liberals just trotted that old nag out?

It isn't enough to say it is "hard to deny a correlation"; instead, it requires providing, in the first place, an hard to deny correlation. I haven't heard it — well, other than the correlation between liberals claiming the correlation, and liberals citing the claim as correlation.

But that's not really the same thing.

Erp,

When I wonder how delusional someone can get, you always beat my expectations.


I think you've missed her point.

Progressives have a hard time with Islam — to the point where progressives label every criticism of Islam as phobic. (That link, BTW, comes from a progressive.)

Progressives are, by definition, collectivist and totalitarian. One of the bloggers at my favorite punching bag, Crooked Timber, is now a Salon columnist.

The very bases of that thing are intrinsic to collectivism: eliminating private choice where it conflicts with what progressives know to be good, and looting.

Just as progressivism is a totalitarian ideology, so is Islam: progressives can hardly point out the totalitarian elements of Islam without holing themselves below the water line.

The funny thing is to see such a discourse from a citizen whose country has the title of unmatched military power in the world, and in history no less. I guess too much power makes you a whiner after some time.

Ignoring, for the moment, how Western European governments have basically caved to Islamic demands. When Ayatollah Khomeini issued the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, where was the chorus of western leaders telling him to take his fatwah and shove it where the sun doesn't shine? Or how political quislings turned their backs on teenage girls in England. And our Prevaricator in Chief was a complete no-show after the Charlie Hebdo atrocities. Never mind our leading national newspapers, demanding freedom of the press on one hand, while assuming a position so supine as to embarrass even the most submissive dog when they decided not to reprint the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

So, like I said, ignore all that. What if the Pakistani government collapses, and we lose track of some nuclear weapons?

——

Collectivism suffers a fundamentally crippling problem: information. Making decisions collectively that are best left to individuals presumes that the consequences of all those collective decisions can be measured. However, to do so requires the interactions between all the consequences.

Assume an economy with only 100 entities. (There are more than that in even a smallish company) How many interactions?

Individualism at least doesn't suffer that rampaging hubris.

erp said...

aog, let's take a real-life example:

Our handyman is a real-life jack-of-all-trades and an artist to boot. He’s extremely intelligent and can figure out complicated measurements, etc. with only the barest schooling. I would trust his eye before his level.

He's worked for us for over 25 years doing all manner of fine work as well as routine yard maintenance. We pay him $25/hour -- a very high wage here. We also usually give him at least a 10% bonus on top of his vigorously complete down-to-the-penny statements for payment.

He’s only 58, but he’s tired and can no longer do heavy work, so he gave notice that he will no longer do yard or pool work and must limit himself to small jobs. He’s never paid taxes, doesn’t have health insurance, has never had a medical checkup and has only seen an ER doctor when he’s broken a bone. He desperately needs dental work and a visit to an ophthalmologist. He uses drug store magnifying glasses.

We have tried to get him to form a company to teach younger people how to do the kind of work he does. He could get a couple, three, four kids and put them to work. In no time, his company would be hugely profitable. My husband is a CPA and offered to set him up and keep the books and do all the paperwork for him, but it’s alien to his nature to be the boss.

Had he agreed to this proposition years ago, he could be sitting pretty with a going business – handymen are in great demand and good honest ones are in very short supply in area where there are so many elderly people who can’t do the kind work around the house and yard they used to do.

He will probably be on the street soon because he can’t keep up his rent and has refused all attempts of help. It breaks my heart because he’s taken to drinking and I fear he won’t live very long.

I also feel sorry for us and the rest of his customers because now we don’t have the help we desperately need and are willing and able to pay for, but will probably not be able to find, so we’ll be at the mercy of the unscrupulous who prey on the weak.

erp said...

Skipper, re: Nazi's economic "miracle." It would be amusing to consider since so much of the German economy was run by Jews who were the intellectual engine that made it happen should they have won the war and found they destroyed the very thing that made their miracle work.

Hey Skipper said...

It would be amusing to consider since so much of the German economy was run by Jews ...

I forgot to mention that. Collectivism invariably pits groups against each other, because the individual has no standing.

So whether it is Nazis convincing Jews to use their talents elsewhere, or Islamic countries confining half their brains to burqas, collectivism always manages to destroy or ostracize intellectual capital.

Annoying Old Guy said...

As I've pondered this, I think Howard has entirely missed the point of collectivism. It's not about economic success or improving the conditions of the poor (or the masses) but only about collectivism. They don't and don't learn about economics because they simply do not care, it's irrelevant to their goals. So we should be careful about reading too much in to this persistent failure.

erp said...

Like everything on the left, their goal is the exact opposite of what they say. Collectivism enslaves and that is the object. I'm not using hyperbole when I compare them to the Borg.

Hey Skipper said...

erp:

I think you need to compare progressivism to what it really is: a religion.

Islam (or doctrinaire Christianity, for that matter) doesn't care about economic success, material conditions, or individual happiness; after all, it's a religion.

Just like progressivism.

erp said...

Skipper, It depends how you define religion because progressivism has no deity and without one, the cult of personality here in the US needs to keep changing as leaders come and go. That's why I'm wondering how things will go next election? Will Obama be forced to declare martial law after an attack on our country? Maybe a nuclear one?

Hey Skipper said...

Hmmm. Good point.

IMHO, Communism was (is, to the extent it is still practiced) a religion.

Progressivism isn't a religion so much as a kind of religious belief. Hang with me here. There is no formal theology, and a great deal of it is post hoc.

However, progressives see themselves as motivated by superior morality, and entitled through superior intellect to impose their policies upon rest of us. They are in thrall to their own ideas, and ostracize those with the temerity to disagree

That is religious belief, even if there is no supreme being or formalized theology.

Will Obama be forced to declare martial law after an attack on our country?

I remember progressives insisting Pres Chimpy McBushitler was going to declare martial law.

As if.

Same here.

Absent Pakistan collapsing and some nukes getting loose, there will not be a nuclear attack.

And maybe -- probably -- not even then.

I think we have good enough intel on enough Islamists to get the word out through backchannels that if a Paki nuc gets torched off, then every Islamic holy site more important than Finsbury Mosque, and that one too, will cease to exist.

I'll bet that most Islamists wouldn't want to get caught on the wrong side of that exchange.

erp said...

I totally agree with you. There are all the trappings of religion, but no unifying permanent god/leader to rally around with his own book containing rules and regs like the other religions which identifies adherents as members of the group.

Do you really think the Obama et al. will send out planes to bomb mosques no matter what was done to us?

I don't.

erp said...

The always on-the-mark Instapundit.

Bret said...

erp,

Yeah, that instapundit post is interesting. The thing is, there will not doubt be another Venuzuela that will enjoy a period of being a socialist utopia that those on the Left can point to as being a wondrous thing. That one will crash too, and the cycle will begin anew.

erp said...

I'm eagerly awaiting the news that socialism's supporters in the entertainment and media world have purchased vast tracts of the people's beachfront and mountain view property in Cuba and will "help" the poor by building lavish homes and vacation resorts to provide jobs for the impoverished Cubans and add a couple of bucks to their retirement funds.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Basically yes, particularly the money, leaders, and ideology. Absent those sources from rich countries, we would have very little terrorism.
---
I guess you are saying the Saudis are rich, and IMO that's a stretch.

Anyway, the argument over economics and terrorism has been tackled by many, and with contraditory results. Still AFAIK the most general results in the literature goes like this:

"For the victim country, GDP per capita, population, wars, and religious and ethnic tensions are positive determinants of terrorist attacks, while economic freedoms and physical integrity rights (i.e. absence of human rights abuse) are negative determinants of these attacks. For the venue country, these authors found that economic freedom, physical integrity rights, and law and order are negative influences on terrorism, while population, military spending, involvement in wars, foreign portfolio investment, and political proximity to the United States (in terms of the UN General Assembly voting) are positive influences on terrorism. For panel runs based on the perpetrators’ country of origin, inhibitors of terrorism include economic freedom, physical integrity rights, and the number of telephone mainlines, whereas promoters of terrorism include civil wars and centrist governments."

---
Do you really mean that if 99.99% of the safe haves were in rich countries and just one wasn't, that would be a correlation between poverty and terrorism?
---
Quite the contrary. Most safe havens are in poor countries in Africa and East, and that's all I've meant.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[On Erp] I think you've missed her point.
---
Not at all. I get the part where she believes lenience towards "Islamist misbehavior" is killing Western civilization. When I say she is delusional, I am certainly including that as evidence. Maybe you can't see it because that's a shared delusion among the conservative establishment in the USA - you guys are swimming inside the same aquarium and can't see outside.

---
So, like I said, ignore all that. [Examples of Western European governments caving to Islamic demands]
---
I am happy to ignore all that for the issue in question here - the demise of Western Civilization under the boot of Islam - for they are not existential threats by far. Which you certainly know, since you went on to finally point out one such existential threat:

---
What if the Pakistani government collapses, and we lose track of some nuclear weapons?
---
I see yourself answered that in later comments, so I won't enter into details on how, even if such an unlikely event happened, how hard would be for the terrorists to actually deliver that bomb to any relevant target.

What I'll notice is how even your most extreme scenario is not exactly an existential threat. Ask Japan if one or two bombs were enoughto wipe them out of the map. Ops, they are still there for you to ask, right? I guess you have your answer...

OTOH, such a nuclear terrorism incident would almost certainly lead to Pakistan (and anything close to the terrorists track) to be indeed wiped out of Earth. You see, they do have some iincentive for not to leak any of those bombs (supposing they even really still work).



erp said...

Clovis, You might want to look up the definition of the word "existential."

Howard said...

AOG
As I've pondered this, I think Howard has entirely missed the point of collectivism. It's not about economic success or improving the conditions of the poor (or the masses) but only about collectivism. They don't and don't learn about economics because they simply do not care, it's irrelevant to their goals. So we should be careful about reading too much in to this persistent failure.

Yes, that's probably correct in many cases. However, I do know some Progs who have a difficult time refraining from collectivist economic prescriptions out of honest economic misconceptions.

erp said...

Howard, there probably are some honest Progs, but no matter how naive and dewy-eyed, they have to have noticed that they are woefully wrong about economics when there isn't a single instance when their collectivist concepts have succeeded.

erp said...
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erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

It is hard to deny a correlation between both [poverty and terrorism]

the argument over economics and terrorism has been tackled by many, and with contraditory results

It cannot be the case that both of these are true.

Quite the contrary

In all seriousness, how can I respond rationally to you if you write things that are "quite the contrary" to what you mean?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
In all seriousness, how can I respond rationally to you if you write things that are "quite the contrary" to what you mean?
---
They are not "quite the contrary" to what I mean, but to what you understood I've meant.

The first step to "respond rationally" to something is to actually understand the argument. It may be my fault too, but you could work a bit harder on that also.

---
It cannot be the case that both of these are true.
---
It can, since there is a lot of room on the subjacent definitions. Actually, one conclusion of the link I've given above was: "This study is noteworthy because it showed that the data source and the country viewpoint can influence which determinants of terrorism are significant."

So if you look in the literature, you'll find papers showing good correlation between terrorism
and poverty. Then come other studies that show that, controlling for other variables (like "when civil and political liberties were controlled"), the correlation goes away. Then come other studies that point out that previous studies failed for not differentiating between different kind of terrorisms... and so on. Get it?

But my argument was not about tricky statistical correlations. It is way simpler: islamic terrorist havens (and not financed by a State) are all in poor forgotten places, none in a rich country. It is correlation enough for the purposes of this discussion.

erp said...

Clovis, I get that by rich countries you mean the Anglosphere, but I don't get what you mean by poor countries. Most of Islamosphere is also rich, so I take it you mean that Moslem safe havens are all in the poor countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

You mean Afghanistan - the main safe haven for al Qaeda until 9/11 - was then a rich country?

erp said...

Of course not. I was being sarcastic.

It’s far more logical that countries offer safe haven to Islamic terrorists for ideological reasons, than monetary ones.

Clovis e Adri said...

Right, Erp. That's why no one is defending causation.

It is not only about ideology, though. It is also about having stakes at a good economic order. The places who end up accepting to safeguard terrorists also may have a sense they are not part of the game, so what does it matter if they mess up with it?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Not at all. I get the part where she believes lenience towards "Islamist misbehavior" is killing Western civilization. When I say she is delusional, I am certainly including that as evidence. Maybe you can't see it because that's a shared delusion among the conservative establishment in the USA.

In the US, there is essentially no tolerance of Islamist behavior, because every time Islamists try, it gets the derision it deserves. About seven years ago, some Muslim cabdrivers decided they weren't, for religious reasons, going to pick up fares with seeing eye dogs or carrying alcohol.

Massive derision. Cabbies told to pound sand. (Interesting side note: for those of you who think bakers should be allowed to refuse on religious grounds baking cakes for gay nuptials, you might need to rethink. I know I just did.)

Muslims wanted to broadcast a weekly call to prayer from a church at Duke University. Quisling academics cave to perfectly obnoxious request. Non-academics demand Muslims pound sand.

I can't think of any examples beyond that. Why? Because the (still largely) prevailing ethos is individualist, not collectivist.

Contrast with Europe. The Muslim rape ring in Rotherham, England (and perhaps other areas, as well) would be absolutely inconceivable in the US. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose bravery cannot be overestimated, was exiled from the Netherlands by the government caving to Islamist threats. The Dutch government revealed itself to be utterly pathetic and beyond shame.

As a general matter, in the West there is a civic religion: freedom of conscience, association, religion, speech, etc.

Europe has an appalling track record of sacrificing its civic religion to Islamic demands.

So far, in the US (except for Yale University Press, academics and most of the mainstream press) the reaction to Islamic demands has been: Tough. Don't like it? Leave.

So far.

I see yourself answered that in later comments, so I won't enter into details on how, even if such an unlikely event happened, how hard would be for the terrorists to actually deliver that bomb to any relevant target.

Good catch.

Martinis make me optimistic. (Full disclosure: two do, three make me sleepy.)

Martini-less, I'm less so. Particularly when it comes to this: "… if such an unlikely event happened …"

That is an abuse of the term "unlikely". Governments do collapse, and collapsing governments have a rather decent track record of losing control over their weapons. Kind of goes along with that whole "collapsing" thing.

Given that governmental collapse and loss of control over weapons stockpiles have, in fact, happened, what makes you think that losing control over nuclear weapons would be "unlikely"?

Particularly in Pakistan, where significant parts of the government so actively Islamist that bin Laden was able to hide there?

Hey Skipper said...

So if you look in the literature, you'll find papers showing good correlation between terrorism
and poverty.


Full disclosure: I haven't read any studies.

But there are huge swathes of the planet that are poverty stricken, and don't engage in terrorism, never mind exporting it elsewhere.

China (save for Uighurs). India (save for Marxists). South America (save for drug gangs).

Of course there are qualifiers. But all of them prove Islam the exception to the rule. In all other instances, the terrorism is internally directed. The French need not worry about Uighurs, Indian Marxists, or Mexican drug cartels.

But everyone has to worry about Islam's tender sensibilities.

Foxtrot Tango. (Pardon my language.)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

For Afghanistan, I'll counter offer Iran and Ba'athist Iraq. I find the location of terrorist safe havens correlates far more strongly with ideology than wealth, although I suppose you could argue that same ideology tends to correlate with poverty.

Harry Eagar said...

Dunno who this John Jay is, but he don't know nuthin' from nuthin' about Russian agriculture.

http://mauinews.com/page/blogs.detail/display/3352/Book-review-215--Soviet-Agriculture.html

Howard said...

That's quite an interesting book review Harry. Everyone should read it. Here is an abbreviated version: Individualists and Collectivists make mistakes. Collectivists seem to have a much tougher time overcoming those mistakes.

"Contrary to rightwing myth, Communism did not fall because of outside pressure…" well sure, I can buy that. It failed because it is both morally bankrupt and insufficiently adaptable.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
[...] for those of you who think bakers should be allowed to refuse on religious grounds baking cakes for gay nuptials, you might need to rethink. I know I just did.
---
Oh, well, I know you are not much of a Libertarian, Skipper, but now even the Individualist inside me is offended. I feel self-employed cab and bakers should really be free to decide from whom they want to accept orders, no matter their personal reasons.


---
Given that governmental collapse and loss of control over weapons stockpiles have, in fact, happened, what makes you think that losing control over nuclear weapons would be "unlikely"?
---
Well, as you would say, it is part of 'that whole "collapsing" thing'. Did you forget everything you learned in Service?

I guess I should not lecture a former Air Force Pilot on this, but do you remember how were you supposed to deliver an atomic bomb to a target, if that was the command you received?

I actually don't know - and have little idea - of what yourself was supposed to do, but I am pretty sure you were not the person going down the high security holes in order to fetch the Little Boy. You probably had not the clearance neither even understood all the security barriers for that. You were not also the person who afterwards would install Little Boy in your Heavy Machine. You probably had some understanding on how that worked, but even then not the security clearances again.

Of course, you were the person who would push the button. Well, not even the you were alone, for it probably required another security pass with checks relating to the higher command.

Actually, the process to make Little Boy available to you was even longer than that, involving just so many people of different backgrounds and high levels of technical knowledge in many different areas.

In other words, a very complex organized process that blows away with that whole "collapsing" thing.

Now imagine a bewildered terrorist with his hands on one shiny (or, more probably, rusty) Pakistani nuclear head. You do really think he knows WTF to do with that thing? Unless he is in partnership with a number of people in the chain of knowledge of how to make that work (and here you finally get my "unlikely" explained), he would be better served by his old AK-47.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
For Afghanistan, I'll counter offer Iran and Ba'athist Iraq.
---

LOL!

Ok, that one was very good... I keep imagining Iran and Iraq as rich countries, and LOL all over again. Good, very good...

Bret said...

Clovis wrote: "I feel self-employed cab and bakers should really be free to decide from whom they want to accept orders, no matter their personal reasons."

They may be "self-employed" in some sense, but since they're part of a government control, government authorized, and government restricted guild, they probably really do have to pretty much take any fare. Not so for Uber and Lyft. Or bakers.

erp said...

Bret, yes and that's just another reason the government should stick to its knitting.

If I want to open a boutique that only stocks lady's sizes 2-6, should the government step in and demand that I stock lady's (and why only ladies, why not all 57 sexes) apparel to fit everyone up to including uber plus size 56 because my shop is on a public road and a use a "public" utility?

Harry Eagar said...

'Collectivists seem to have a much tougher time overcoming those mistakes.'

Really? In the case of Russia, it was the individualists who had a tougher time recovering from their mistakes?

I don't know how much you know about Russian agriculture. My guess would be nothing. Why should you?

Bret said...

Harry Eagar wrote: "I don't know how much you know about Russian agriculture."

I know that they had to import grain from the United States, their hated enemy in the 1970s.

erp said...

Harry, who were the individualists in Russia?

Harry Eagar said...

'I know that they had to import grain from the United States, their hated enemy in the 1970s.'

Do you know why?


erp said...

I'll take a guess at it: The individualists were hungry?

BTW - who were the individualists? Are you going to answer that question or just let another non sequitur drop into oblivion?

Bret said...

Harry Eagar wrote: "Do you know why?

Yes, but I don't know why you think that was the case. Do tell.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Dunno who this John Jay is, but he don't know nuthin' from nuthin' about Russian agriculture.

No sarcasm here, you really do have a gift for book reviews. It is an exacting art, a balancing act between detail and space. No one, as far as I know, puts out book reviews that meet the stringent requirements as well as you do.

But -- and you knew that was coming -- just because a book review is stylistically perfect doesn't mean that it is good in any other particular.

To take just one example, and there are many in this one (I am bereft of time until Wed, at the earliest):

... Lenin was not wrong when he said capitalists would sell the hangman the rope he would use to hang them ...

Grammatically perfect, and an excellent example of effective, concise, writing.

Yet it is wrong in every other particular. It's wrongness is so fundamental that, without having to read another syllable, your review creates an unbridgeable credibility gap.

Hey Skipper said...

... its ...

(Hangs head in shame.)

erp said...

Know how you feel. My eyes lag behind my brain, or is it the other way around? :-)

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harry Eagar said...

Well, Bret, unlike the tsarists -- and even unlike the first generation Bolsheviki -- the Politburo wanted to improve the diet of the citizens, specifically, to have them eat more meat.

Had the diet remained as it had been, the domestic output would have sufficed until later than 1963 (but I cannot say how much longer).

I suspect the reason you propose will be different.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

You mean the Poliburo that engineered the Ukrainian Famine? Is that what you mean by "improve the diet of the citizens"? Or do you mean the Politburo that destroyed the Aral Sea, devastating agriculture in that region? Or the Politburo that resisted expanding private plots despite their enormously higher productivity?

Harry Eagar said...

All of those.

Are you contrasting with the capitalists that destroyed Lake Utah; who condemned millions of sharecroppers to starvation; or the big capitalist farmers whose output per acre is less than half of that of French socialists?

Annoying Old Guy said...

I'm contrasting those that actual made an omelet to those who broke more eggs and failed at it.

P.S "millions" of share croppers starved to death? Or that not quite the same as in the Ukraine in the 1930s?

Hey Skipper said...

... who condemned millions of sharecroppers to starvation;

If there was ever a statement demanding substantiation, that is it.

Stand and deliver.

[Harry:] Had the diet remained as it had been, the domestic output would have sufficed until later than 1963 (but I cannot say how much longer).

That has to stand as a perfect example of a sentence that is both grammatically perfect, and utterly meaningless.

Harry Eagar said...

Starved, yes. To an early death, yes. To as early a death as in Ukraine, no.

Read the Rockefeller Commission reports.

Earlier, Skipper wrote:

"... Lenin was not wrong when he said capitalists would sell the hangman the rope he would use to hang them ...

"Grammatically perfect, and an excellent example of effective, concise, writing.

"Yet it is wrong in every other particular. It's wrongness is so fundamental"

Are you now changing your position that Europe, which was almost entirely fascist by 1941, was collectivist?

Or perhaps you contest the idea that the capitalists financed the fascists' rise?

Sheesh

Bret said...

Harry Eagar wrote: "Read the Rockefeller Commission reports."

I did a google search on '"rockefeller commission" report starvation" and came up with no hits.

How about a link?

I did find that pravda claims 7 to 8 million died of starvation during the depression.

That defies credibility to me since my grandparents and great-grandparents who were plenty poor during the depression did not know of even a single person dying of starvation. 8 million out of a population of 123 million would be tough to miss.

Now, were people weakened from poor nutrition and fewer than optimal calories so that they succumbed to other causes of death more easily? Sure. But that's a LOT different than starving to death.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] re you contrasting with the capitalists ... who condemned millions of sharecroppers to starvation ...

Starved, yes. To an early death, yes.


Bollocks. Pure, refined, completely uncontaminated by truth, bollocks.

[Harry:] Lenin was not wrong when he said capitalists would sell the hangman the rope he would use to hang them ...

[HS:] Grammatically perfect, and an excellent example of effective, concise, writing.

Yet it is wrong in every other particular. Its wrongness is so fundamental …

[Harry:] Are you now changing your position that Europe, which was almost entirely fascist by 1941, was collectivist?


By implicitly equating fascism with communism, it appears you finally taking on board that there is no meaningful difference between the two.

Aside from that, no. Lenin was too stupid to foresee the epic disaster communism would become — communism didn't hang any capitalists, it hung itself. Just as fascism did. So his foolish statement, perfectly wrong, completely indicts your book review. Which includes more grammatically perfect nonsense:

Star Wars and the American military buildup had no effect. The amount the Soviets spent to counter Reagan's military bluster was about one-fiftieth of what it was spending trying to keep its farms going.

Math isn't one of your strong points, apparently. In order for that to be true, the Soviet Union would have been spending 625% of its GDP on agriculture.

More math failure. The US GDP in 1982 was more than 5 times that of the Soviet Union. ($6.49T v. $1.21T). In 1982, the US was spending about 7% of its GDP ($450B), while the Soviets were spending 12.5% ($151B) of theirs. For a system that relied upon force and empty promises, that was a situation that couldn't continue. Even spending at a ruinous rate would leave them with a starved economy while falling even further behind a vicious cycle — and they knew it.

When Poland rebelled – again, not against Communism but part of the ancient resentment of the Russians – the Soviet state had no resources to react. Everything had gone to food. [sic]

Which is, of course, why Poland kept communism after it gave the Warsaw Pact the boot it so richly deserved.

I visited the Soviet Union once. It was pervasively awful. Everything was in an advanced state of decay. Even simple things — windshield wipers — were impossible to find. And this was after perestroika.

As a review, it is very well written. But in terms of content, had I believed any of it, I would have become far more ignorant from reading the thing.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Oh, well, I know you are not much of a Libertarian, Skipper, but now even the Individualist inside me is offended. I feel self-employed cab and bakers should really be free to decide from whom they want to accept orders, no matter their personal reasons.

I feel strongly that the government has no business telling business owners who they must serve.

I also feel strongly that it is the government's business to tell cab drivers who they must serve.

That is a pretty good example of a contradiction. Clearly, if I believe both things at the same time, and base the difference on religion, then I'm asking the government to prefer one religion over another.

And as much as I think Islam is a death cult, and Christianity innocuous, I still don't want government intruding in matters of belief.

Which still leaves the contradiction standing.

There is one difference, though: in the US, cab drivers can only operate if they possess medallions, which exist in quantities limited by government fiat.

So if government is going to limit competition -- which, with respect to cabs, it very much does -- then it can't allow a significant portion of medallion holders to refuse service.

Uber, thankfully, is going to destroy that particular vestige of socialism.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

"Starved, yes. To an early death, yes. To as early a death as in Ukraine, no"

Therefore you are holding up as a positive example something that achieved far worse results than the target of your comparison. OK...

Harry Eagar said...

'By implicitly equating fascism with communism, it appears you finally taking on board that there is no meaningful difference between the two.'

Not at all, I'm just pointing out how inconsistent you are.

As for selling the rope, by 1942 virtually all of Europe was fascist, thanks to the shortsightness of the German rich who bankrolled the Nazis. (And who opposed the Nazis? Commies)

'Therefore you are holding up as a positive example something that achieved far worse results than the target of your comparison. OK...'

I was keeping it to the US. If you want, I can cite an engineered famine that killed millions more than the Bolsheviks did in Ukraine, in the service purely of capitalist profits. You are an educated man, no doubt you know it already.

But while you must have cited the Ukraine famine 20 times, you have never cited this even worse famine. How come?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Because the Ukraine famine was directly relevant in those cases, as it was in this one. There is also the matter that your definition of "capitalists profits" is unique to you, as far as I can tell, so for all I know you're talking about Pol Pot or Mao.

erp said...

Harry, No one here has implicitly or explicitly equated fascism with communism because, of course, they are not the same thing, but they are both socialism or, if you prefer, collectivism.

The media’s attempt to use “rightwing” as a synonym for both fascism and libertarianism/conservatism/individualism, etc. makes no sense as they are complete opposites.

Harry Eagar said...

You mean you don't know about the capitalist famine that killed 10 million? Yet you claim to know that communist killings were the gravest of all.

Apparently you just spout rightwing talking points without bothering to learn about the subject. Perhaps I was in error in thinking of you as an educated man.

I referred of course to King Leopold's rubber company.

Howard said...

Leopold's nearly unlimited power had no impact on events in the Congo? Funny how you always seem to miss that point! Don't know if that's about education or the inability to grasp the basics of power.

Harry Eagar said...

And Henry Ford's not quite unlimited power allowed him to have mere dozens shot and hundreds beaten, instead of millions.

I think the point is that capitalism is murderous. If government does not restrain its impulses, it kills without limit. Often, unfortunately, capitalism captures government and uses troops to kill for it. That was the situation in the United States until Frank Murphy and the New Deal changed things.

In any event, why are capitalist crimes never mentioned in this blog, except by me? Leopold's crimes were more concentrated than some but he did not score the biggest bag, not by a long shot.

erp said...

Harry, a better question is why don't you ever decry the violence perpetrated by union thugs aiding and abetting socialists "organize" communities. That isn't (reinvented) history, that's going on right now.

Howard said...

DEATH BY GOVERNMENT concerns me much more...

Harry Eagar said...

I know it does, Howard, but it's not a rational concern, based on evidence.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Howard;

That is precisely what I meant by "There is also the matter that your [Eagar's] definition of "capitalists profits" is unique to you,". Now we have a monarchy getting "capitalist profits" instead of seeing as the government (King Leopold's) looting a country. Next he'll be telling us about how the free market was the cause of the deaths during the partition of India.

Harry Eagar said...

It was not a monarchy. It was a private corporation, with almost all the stock owned by one man. There was no government there.

See Adam Hochschild's 'King Leopold's Ghost.'

Interesting how ideology comes before facts. As usual with you guys.

Hey Skipper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey Skipper said...

It was not a monarchy. It was a private corporation, with almost all the stock owned by one man. There was no government there.

Interesting how ideology comes before facts. As usual with you guys.


According to Wikipedia, here, and here: Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project undertaken on his own behalf.

That's a sentence only Harry could write. The sole head of the government creates a project, on his behalf, and it is private and therefore capitalistic. In order for this to be anything other than crazy-talk, that would mean everything King Leopold did as king was capitalistic.

But wait, there's more: Leopold could not meet the costs of running the Congo Free State, so he set in motion a regime to maximize profitability. The first change was the introduction of the concept of terres vacantes—"vacant" land, which was any land that did not contain a habitation or a cultivated garden plot. All of this land (i. e. most of the country) was therefore deemed to belong to the state and servants of the state (namely any men in Leopold's employ) were encouraged to exploit it.

And: Shortly after the anti-slavery conference he held in Brussels in 1889, Leopold issued a new decree which said that Africans could only sell their harvested products (mostly ivory and rubber) to the state.

Plus this niggling little detail: Private trading companies began to lose out to the Free State government, which not only paid no taxes but also collected all the potential income. These companies were outraged by the restrictions on free trade, which the Berlin Act had so carefully protected years before.

No, Harry, the Congo Free State was not capitalist, it was a colonial creature of the Belgian government.

If you wanted to get somewhere closer to the mark, instead of committing yet another crime against the concept of "fact", you might want to instead refer to Cecil Rhodes.

Which would have the benefit of being factual, and at least moderately on point, but would undermine you in every other regard.

Hey Skipper said...

Collectivism on parade.

erp said...

To simplify:

Only actions taken by socialist governments can with any surety be determined to have been taken for the altruistic purpose of the betterment of the human race, the animal kingdom and the planet earth -- disastrous consequences of same notwithstanding.

All actions taken by other players are suspect if not downright atrocities no matter if they result in a perfect day in May for creatures large and small as well as a bounteous earth.

Harry Eagar said...

So, Skipper read a Wiki article and misunderstood it. Surprise.

The 'Free State' was a private, joint-stock corporation, of which Leopold was the majority owner, as an individual, not as a king.

You know who in Belgium opposed the murder of 10 million by the king?

I'll give you one guess.

Hey Skipper said...

The 'Free State' was a private, joint-stock corporation, of which Leopold was the majority owner, as an individual, not as a king.

If ever there was a distinction without a difference, this certainly has to be it.

What I understand completely, and the article conveyed multiply, is that the Free State wasn't an example of capitalism, you don't know what the word means, nor do your communist friends. I don't think I've ever seen a concept so hideously mistreated as what you, and Socialism Today, have done to capitalism.

You are left with fatal factual problems you are, as is your wont, either ignoring, or are ignorant of.

For one example, that I mentioned above: how is it that an actual example of capitalism, Cecil Rhodes, so much less awful, than the confusing of rabbits with freight trains that you have managed?

For more examples: why aren't all of the kleptocracies that so characterize Africa aren't themselves capitalist? Fair enough, that was a trick question. They aren't, at least in the eyes of anyone else but doctrinaire socialists, and maybe not even them. Nor can you answer why colonies of the prototypical capitalist society -- England -- were so much better off, and remain so to this day*, then the offsprings of the governmental creatures you so grotesquely confuse with the real deal.

For the very same reason, the Congo Free State wasn't, either.

And as a parting shot, you said Leopold was "the majority owner". Who else, exactly, were minority holders?

I'm sure you don't care, but the crickets are really feeling put upon.

You know who in Belgium opposed the murder of 10 million by the king?

Hey, I have an idea, instead of keeping us all in suspense, why don't you come out and just say who.

And, while you are at it, how about cluing us in as to why "in Belgium" is a qualifier in the question?

It is singularly mystifying, because, as this hawaii.edu post notes, those opposing the murder in the Congo Free State went well beyond Belgium's borders:

There was a vigorous international movement at the time led by the Congo Reform Movement, and involving many notables of the day, such as Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad, Booker T. Washington, and Bertrand Russell. Debates over what to do about the Congo involved the legislatures and Presidents, or Prime Ministers of the United States, England, France, and Germany.

Hey Skipper said...

Oh, and another couple quotes from my link above:

1. Does this change my evaluation of the relationship between power and democide, freedom and nondemocide?

No. It reinforces it. King Leopold II had absolute power over the Congo Free State. It was his. Belgium had nothing to do with it. And he created and slave and lethal land on the order of Stalin's slave labor gulag.

...

4. What does the greed and bloody profits of concessions in the colonies say about capitalism?

Nothing. There was no capitalism, no free market, no competition, and no free trade. The companies that operated were given special dispensation and military protection to be monopolies over a specific region or trade. In the case of the Congo Free State, for example, Leopold only allowed most concession into the Congo if he had at least controlled 50 percent of their stocks. This was industrial socialism at its worst.


So perhaps the author may have misunderstood as badly as I did. By all means make the case. Use precise definitions, charts, and graphs where required.

Because so far you are getting an F-.

Hey Skipper said...

As for selling the rope, by 1942 virtually all of Europe was fascist, thanks to the shortsightness of the German rich who bankrolled the Nazis. (And who opposed the Nazis? Commies)

I'm going to turn the tables here.

Your parenthetical demolishes the sentence preceding it.

Based upon your voluminous knowledge of history, and complete lack of misapprehensions of anything, I am sure you can tell us why.

(Hint: time matters.)

Harry Eagar said...

Capitalism requires free markets? Who knew JD Rocklefeller was a socialist?

There was no government in Congo. The Free State was a PR ploy, still catching the unwary after more than 125 years.

There was nothing that a government has: no organic law, no executive, no legislature, no judiciary, no army, no tax department, no customs, no treaties with other countries, no ambassadors.

It was a company. Pure and simple.

I am not going to bother with answering most of your questions; they are all answered by Hochschild.

But the original opponent of Leopold was E.D. Morel, who was supported only by the Belgian socialists for a long time. Only after many decades did it become an international issue.

Howard said...

Rockefeller was competing too well for some peoples taste. If you read the Standard Oil Case, as Mr. Armentano has, you see no finding of harm even though they were "guilty." Most interesting. But what would you expect regarding so much conventional wisdom…

Harry,

Knowing and learning history is a joy, it only becomes a burden when you need to mount a blind defense of your prior beliefs.

erp said...

The argument that large monopolies will ultimately devour all was proven wrong -- again -- when a couple of boys in a Seattle garage left Big Blue in the dust. Of course, that was before the government colluded with crony capitalists to make that kind of thing a lot more difficult if not impossible now.

Harry Eagar said...

'you see no finding of harm'

Really, when ol' JD used market power to get railroad rebates for his firm on his competitors' shipments, no one was harmed?

Harry Eagar said...

'Knowing and learning history is a joy, it only becomes a burden when you need to mount a blind defense of your prior beliefs.'

Blind defense? I'd say refusing to see 10,000,000 murdered is a more obvious example of blindness.

I could multiply examples of the inimical effects of capitalism endlessly. Not all involve millions dead, some only thousands or dozens.

Overthrowing democratic governments to get fascist replacements would be a common example. A particularly redolent example, because of the fervent
capitalist associations of the name, is the M.A. Hanna Mining Company.

I am pretty confident in guessing you never heard of it, but I imagine one of our other commenters knows it.

Howard said...

I could multiply examples of the inimical effects of capitalism endlessly.

Yes, before capitalism nobody ever harmed another soul. Although I won't be surprised if that comment is lost on you.

erp said...

Harry, capitalism is how civilization started.
Even at the cavemen level, there were individuals who were better at some things than others and started to specialize, trading their wares or services with others, so everyone in the group could do what they did best. From that came everything else including the smartest, not the biggest and strongest leading the clan and thus free peoples went abroad across the land.

I can think of a good biblical phrase here, but don’t want to offend the anti-biblicals among us.

:-)

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
[...] is the M.A. Hanna Mining Company.
I am pretty confident in guessing you never heard of it, but I imagine one of our other commenters knows it.
---
I guess that bone was thrown to me.

Well, Harry, things are more complicated than a story about Capitalism. It was not only the interests of that mining company that made the US to support a "regime change" in Brazil. Geopolitical reasons played a much larger role.

Brazil did a fatal error when, asked by the US to play a mediation role with Cuba at the begin of the Missile Crisis, it downplayed the huge importance of the matter to US interests by playing too friendly with Fidel.

That was more about idiocy than ideology: having never had a role of life and death in global affairs, Brazilian political class was too naive about the importance of a nuclear dispute as that one.

I believe US support to a military overthrown in Brazil was set in stone after that incident, no matter the interests of any American mining company. Maybe the ensuing naivety of our politicians back then only made the job for an external influence easier. (I guess it still does.)

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
[...] is the M.A. Hanna Mining Company.
I am pretty confident in guessing you never heard of it, but I imagine one of our other commenters knows it.
---
I guess that bone was thrown to me.

Well, Harry, things are more complicated than a story about Capitalism. It was not only the interests of that mining company that made the US to support a "regime change" in Brazil. Geopolitical reasons played a much larger role.

Brazil did a fatal error when, asked by the US to play a mediation role with Cuba at the begin of the Missile Crisis, it downplayed the huge importance of the matter to US interests by playing too friendly with Fidel.

That was more about idiocy than ideology: having never had a role of life and death in global affairs, Brazilian political class was too naive about the importance of a nuclear dispute as that one.

I believe US support to a military overthrown in Brazil was set in stone after that incident, no matter the interests of any American mining company. Maybe the ensuing naivety of our politicians back then only made the job for an external influence easier. (I guess it still does.)

erp said...

Clovis, perhaps Brazil was betting on the Soviets winning the cold war.

Clovis e Adri said...

I doubt so, Erp.

You'd need some cultural background to understand it, hence just take my word here: Brazil would hardly bet in any side winning the war, nor take part on it. The only consistent aspect of our foreign policy, over centuries, is nearly utopic adherence to non-interventionist beliefs.

Even Canadians are hawks compared to us.

erp said...

Clovis, I believe that was my point. Don't forget the Monroe Doctrine hadn't been declared completely dead then, so the pacifist money should have been on the status quo, i.e., us, yet somewhere was that yearning for the utopia of socialism.

Harry Eagar said...

Hanna hired John McCloy, the 'chairman of the Establishment,' to protect their concession. Shortly, Hanna trucks carried the fascist soldiers on the march to overthrow Goulart.

I think you give too much weight to Brazil's place in the US political calculations. The bottom line is that, since April 12, 1945, the United States has supported every fascist regime in the world, so Brazil is not special in that respect; and it has worked to overthrow many democratic governments, so Brazil is not special in that regard either.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

And my point is that the "pacifist money" wasn't taking bets, not down here at least. Brazil made a mistake of (trying to) establish an independent position in a time and place where 'if you are not with me, you are against me'.


Harry,

At no point I placed Brazil's position as special. The US applied the same logic with regard to most of LA. Or the world, after all, that is Cold War 101.

Heck, they US applied the logic to themselves - before deposing Gourlart, you guys had already deposed Kennedy, just using other ways. Goulart at least could live a few more years before being poisoned by covert military agents.

erp said...

Clovis, I didn't mean to imply that money changed hands. It's only a slang way of saying that the pacifists/socialists were and still are, rooting for the Soviets to replace us as the presence in Latin America. Not to put a too fine point on it, they're even rooting for the Islamists to take over, anyone but us.

You do know, don't you, that Kennedy was murdered by the left? He was a playboy who simply wasn't interested in moving the narrative along, so Johnson was installed and made all their dreams come through and then some.

In 1960 the presidential conventions were on television as a first. Back then there was very little “art,” basically the cameras just televised what was happening with very little commentary from the pundits. The machinations at Democratic convention were quite an eye-opener and made a confirmed conservative of me for life.

BTW - do you have any theories as to why we went around the world killing off heads of "democratic" regimes and supporting “fascist” ones – and if you will, define what criteria you use to decide which regime is what? Harry has been silent on this subject.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
Not to put a too fine point on it, they're even rooting for the Islamists to take over, anyone but us.
---
I beleive everyone is allowed a bit of paranoia, but I guess you far exceeded your quota here Erp.

---
You do know, don't you, that Kennedy was murdered by the left?
---
Now you are infringing on my quota of paranoia and petty conspiracy theories. No, thanks, I prefer mine than yours.

---
The machinations at Democratic convention were quite an eye-opener and made a confirmed conservative of me for life.
---
If you can expand this one, I'd thank you, for I have little idea what you are talking about.

---
BTW - do you have any theories as to why we went around the world killing off heads of "democratic" regimes and supporting “fascist” ones – and if you will, define what criteria you use to decide which regime is what?
---
As for definition, I can't tell what Harry means, but I offer we settle for "democratic" ones being those elected under constitutional governments, and "fascist" the ones not so.


As for theories, well, that's easy: survival and lust for power. Is there anything else?

erp said...

Taking your points in order:

a. Much of Latin America is anti-Semitic and socialist (thanks to Jesuit influence) and are rooting for the Islamists (or whomever is thought to be able to weaken us) -- whatever their words, their actions are speaking loud and clear.

b. Kennedy assassination: Cui Bono? Then you'll know who and why.

c. 1960 Democratic convention: The machinations of the Johnson team topped even the Irish mafia's strong determination to not have him on the ticket. Go Texas. You won't find the truth on google.

d. Democratic elections? Like the ones in the banana republics both in Latin America and Africa?

e. On this we can agree, there is nothing else but lust and power or lust for power -- they're the same thing. That's why our FF made such a fuss about making sure they covered everything, put limits on each of the three equal parts of the federal government, insured states’ rights, etc. but I won't bore you with all that "old stuff."

Harry Eagar said...

Clovis, your definition is spot on.

American power brokers -- McCloy is the premier example -- talked about democracy but they (and erp now) never believed that furriners were really capable of governing themselves, so we had to install the correct governments.

The definition of 'correct' was 'any corruptible thug who was smart enough to yell, "Commies under my bed." '

Query: do you think Brazil was corrupt from the time of Dom Pedro, or did the culture of corruption blossom later? I am not expert on Brazilian history, but I have an idea that it suited the US during the war to have to deal with only a pliant despot rather than all that mess democracy.

Clovis e Adri said...

To answer your points, Erp:

a) You should revise that caricature of the LA you take for truth. For a start, notice how very little of Islamic influence you can find here. Your innuendo of support for Islamic terrorism from this side of the globe is absurd, to say the least.

b) My pet conspiracy theory clearly presents beneficiaries too. And better fits the erratic pattern of Lee Oswald in the days prior to Dealey Plaza.

c) I indeed wish to visit Texas someday. I'll take notice.

d) If you can get over all that contempt, you may discover not all Banana Republics are made equal. Brazil may be a corrupt society, yet our presidential elections were (and still are) clean enough. Goulart was a legitim president.

e) The good work your FF made is one more evidence for my petty theory - a military overthrown of Kennedy was not possible, hence the need to kill.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
Query: do you think Brazil was corrupt from the time of Dom Pedro, or did the culture of corruption blossom later?
---
The first. It is no news the Catholich south European culture has those traces, and we came from them.

To make the point, the last prime minister of Portugal (J. Socrates) has been recently jailed. Charges? Corruption.

That said, we have built our own culture since them, so like the son can not keep blaming his father for his shortcomings, we must own up our mess.

erp said...

Clovis, please speak to what I said. I said Latin America as well as much of the rest of the world would like to see Islam prevail over us, not that there is a presence in Latin America - yet. The left’s flirting with Islam won’t end well for them. Once Islam gets the upper hand and the left completes dismantling our military as they are now in the process of doing, there will be no stopping Islam.

The fiction of a military coup deposing Kennedy doesn't even reach the level of absurd. Oswald was only the trigger finger chosen because he was dispensable. Only the socialists/collectivists benefited, no one else and they benefited big time. Kennedy's death not only put Johnson in power, but it so traumatized congress and the public that whatever was presented (even what Kennedy actually opposed) as something the sainted martyr supported was immediately granted.

I didn't say, nor do I think, Brazil is a banana republic. Funny about Brazil. I remember my Geography Book, a book I’d give a very substantial sum to own today, posited that Brazil was even more gifted in natural resources than the United States and from it great things would come in the future. There’s always been a soft spot in my heart about it – kinda waiting for you guys to come into your own.

erp said...

Harry, unlike you, I am not a patrician, but a child of immigrants who spoke no English until first grade when I fell in with a bunch of lovely young Irish girls dressed in medieval black robes, not unlike burqas, and were called nuns. They taught me everything I needed to know to set me on my way.

Commies were under beds from one end of the fruited plain to the other and all over the rest of the world as well. Check out the Venona project. Your side lost, Harry and McCarthy was right.

I seem to remember Allende, for one, had Soviet "advisers." Would that qualify?

Harry Eagar said...

Allende was democratically elected. Pinochet's 'advisers' were ITT thugs -- you never acknowledge the existence of employer thugs, do you? -- and they advised him to murder thousands of Chileans.

As I say, there has been no fascist regime since April 12, 1945, that he US has not supported. Your racism and contempt for furriners is well known, and your love affair with fascism, too.

erp said...

Harry, too silly to reply. Allende was democratically elected and then ...

Since Pinochet wasn't a socialist, he couldn't have been a fascist. You learned your catch phrases, ITT, United Fruit, etc., well, but they don't apply anymore, if they ever did which I doubt.

Chile, the only country in Latin America with a market economy, is doing very well. Too bad for the poor people in the rest of Latin American living in the paradise of socialism.

Other than wanting to tell other people what to do, your clan's speciality, not ours, what reasons do you profer for our propensity to off benign soviet style socialist leaders and support other socialist leaders whom you label fascist?

This question has puzzled me for a long time.

Harry Eagar said...

Let people choose for themselves. You always choose murderers for them.

And somehow you are aggrieved they hate you for it.

erp said...

What's this?

Let people choose for themselves!!

Laissez faire from our lefty in residence.

Lordy Lordy! Our work is done.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
I said Latin America as well as much of the rest of the world would like to see Islam prevail over us [...]
---
Yes, and I said you are crazy. Clear enough that?

---
The fiction of a military coup deposing Kennedy doesn't even reach the level of absurd. Oswald was only the trigger finger chosen because he was dispensable. Only the socialists/collectivists benefited [...]
---
It was mostly about trust. Powerful people within the Forces (not the military itself as an institution) and out of it reached the conclusion, after a few incidents, that they were scared to death to keep Kennedy in charge. As I stated from the begin, this was about the cold war and survival (at least in their eyes), you are missing the point by framing it in terms of a left-right divide. They were happy enough to throw away some crumbles to the Left if that gave them full control of the Machine Gun again.

Also, what's the point of making up conspiracy theories if they aren't thrilling? Your LBJ-did-it is just so boring...

---
kinda waiting for you guys to come into your own.
---
Hey, give us a few more milennia and we get there! :-)

erp said...

... so your narrative is that high-minded people who were afraid that Kennedy was an out-of-control cowboy with his finger on the nuclear button had him killed (to make the world safe for communism?) and that isn't part of the left/non-left divide? That is the divide. Please don't use "right" unless you define what you mean by it.

If Latin America wouldn't like to see Islam take us down, or at least take us down a couple of pegs, where are they on the world stage lamenting Islamic atrocities.

To quote Skipper, ... crickets.

erp said...

... more on Kennedy, was caving on the Bay of Pigs and letting people lose their lives because of his cowardice an example of the danger your high-minded conspirators had in mind?

BTW - can you give us an example of one of these guys.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

---
so your narrative is that high-minded people who were afraid that Kennedy was an out-of-control cowboy with his finger on the nuclear button had him killed (to make the world safe for communism?)
---
It is amazing how you got the exact opposite of what I've meant.

No, they were afraid he was too much of a coward, like the Bay of Pigs incident you mention showed, or even worse, the Missile Crisis one.

And I won't name names, Erp, what kind of conspiracy theorist would I be if I actually do that?

---
f Latin America wouldn't like to see Islam take us down, or at least take us down a couple of pegs, where are they on the world stage lamenting Islamic atrocities.
---
There is a great deal of difference from "I don't give a damn to that all" to "I want them to kill Americans!", don't you think so?

Islamic terrorism is mostly a subject ignored in the daily life of most of LA, if I extend my experience in Brazil to my neighbours.

To be completely honest, I'd say most people down here interpret the fixation of Americans on the subject as some kind of mass hysteria.

erp said...

As the old saying goes, with friends like Latin Americans, we don't need no enemies.

I understand now. It was that old bogeyman, the military/industrial complex in cahoots with the Birchers that did the foul did, but how does that answer the question cui bono.

It was well known that Johnson was much further left than Kennedy and would spend our money on bribery, not weaponry.

Your theories need work. There must be some semblance of coherency for them to be taken seriously even at first glance.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Well, Brazil at least fought WWII with you. Can you counter any instance of support the US has actually done to Brazil?

I won't include the entire LA here, let me keep to what I know: for Brazilian interests, what do we get from investing time and energy on "Islamic terrorism"? We are neither affected by it nor see it as a real threat to anything but Embassies far away. So what gives?

Harry Eagar said...

So, against the advice of most of the Eastern Establishment, Kennedy committed to a ground war against communism in Asia, and he was killed for being soft on communism?

erp, you really need to learn the history of your country. It is more interesting than anything you can imagine.

erp said...

Harry, Is that your theory of Kennedy's murder?

Harry Eagar said...

I believe it was a lone nut.

erp said...

!

Annoying Old Guy said...

I'm going to agree with Mr. Eagar. That's my opinion as well.

erp said...

!!

erp said...

If Oswald was a lone nut, why is there a 75 year moratorium on making all the evidence public?

erp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

If you care to pay attention, Oswald showed himself little above the mediocre in most things he tried to accomplish in life.

Yet, suddenly, for one day in his life he turns into one of the most competent Commandos you've ever heard...

erp said...

Oswald is easy, he could have been lucky.

However, the local police being able to pick him up almost immediately is a little more difficult to swallow and what’s totally impossible to believe is that a local small-time hood was able to walk into the police garage at the exact moment to most famous assassin since Princip was being moved, pull out a gun and shoot him dead.

The fact people still after over 50 years believe that a malcontent like Oswald who doesn't even rise to the level of "small-town hood" just sashayed into a building carrying a rifle no less, found a window that had a clear shot of Kennedy, shot him and walked out again and did it all with no help or encouragement from anybody, else is preposterous.

Hey Skipper said...

[Hey Skipper:] [Harry] said Leopold was "the majority owner". Who else, exactly, were minority holders?

Harry's response:

[Harry:] But the original opponent of Leopold was E.D. Morel, who was supported only by the Belgian socialists for a long time. Only after many decades did it become an international issue.

Bollocks. Nonsense. Bilgewash. Balderdash. Bovine excreta. Prevarication. Supersonic goal post shifting.

Here is what you originally said: You know who in Belgium opposed the murder of 10 million by the king?

As it turns out, a great many people, early on. When confronted with that easily enough found fact, suddenly your assertion is not opposition to the murder of 10 million, but rather the opposition to Leopold, a different thing altogether. My eyes are still bleeding from the shockwave.

Which is of a piece with FUBARing the concept of capitalism well beyond where even your friends at Socialism Today are unwilling to go, and which you haven't, because you cannot, begun to defend.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I am not going to bother with answering most of your questions; they are all answered by Hochschild.

That stinks, reeks to the high heavens, of argument by authority.

(Your track record of answering questions is practically unstained by, well, answers.)

Hey Skipper said...

[erp:] Yes, before capitalism nobody ever harmed another soul.

Interesting observation. I read the Communist Manifesto once upon a time. Amazing that anyone ever swallowed that turgid drivel.

But I digress. Communists insisted that all manner of evils were due to capitalism. Well, of course, because there is absolutely no record of them anywhere in history ever before capitalism.

Ironically, in the ironic sense of ironically, we are getting told today that every instance of inclement weather is due to dreaded CO2, because there is absolutely no record of crappy weather anywhere in history ever before CO2 (capitalism).

That line is trotted out by the same pack of lackwits that couldn't suss collectivism for the disaster it always is.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

If you like to extend the concept of "lucky" to its extreme, yes, I guess Oswald could be seen as lucky.

One may wonder how someone who stopped practicing shooting for many years could keep being that sharp. But sure, that's within the realm of possible.

As you already mentioned, his imprisonment in the very same day is also of notice. You see, he was smart enough to do, all by himself, that great master plan for killing Kennedy - but a few hours later he comes back to be the nearly mediocre he's always been, being jailed in such stupid way. But hey, absolutely in the realm of possible...

erp said...

Clovis, saying he got lucky, is sarcasm.

erp said...

Skipper, the left's complete control of the narrative makes any contrary statement a ready-made nutcase conspiracy theory.

To all: It may be that my contributions to this forum which has provided me with so much amusement and a sense of being among friends, may be coming to a close in the not too distant future.

I thank you all for allowing an old lady to feel young again in spirit.

I wish you all a wonderful life.

Harry Eagar said...

There's Internet shorthand for Skipper's latest posts: ffs.

If a private firm organized to make private profits cannot be described as capitalism, nothing can be.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry, the word you are looking for is "colonialism".

A particularly vicious example, but colonialism, nonetheless.

Which even you brothers at Socialism Today figured out.


BTW, here, from a summary of Hoschild:

The story chronicles the efforts of King Leopold II of Belgium to make the Congo into a colonial empire. With a complex scheme of political intrigue, corruption and propaganda, he wins the assistance of one of the best-known explorers of the time, Henry Morton Stanley, as well as that of public opinion and of powerful states. Through the Berlin Conference and other diplomatic efforts, he finally obtains international recognition for his colony. He then establishes a system of forced labour that keeps the people of the Congo basin in a condition of slavery.

Emphasis added for those who can't fathom the bleeding obvious.

Hey Skipper said...

BTW, here, from a summary of Hoschild:

I wasn't doing a Harry, I just forgot the link.

Harry Eagar said...

You think colonialism isn't capitalist? Did you ever hear about the East India Company, the West India Company, the Russia Company, the Levant Company, the Royal Africa Company?

Hochschild's book goes into considerable detail about the corporate organization of Leopold's business. It was quite modern-sounding, with offshoring, dummy registrations, nominees to cover real owners, interlocking directors etc.

Not only was Leopold's business capitalism, it was capitalism in its purest form, since there were no competing organizations -- no religion, no government.

Annoying Old Guy said...

You think colonialism isn't capitalist?

Yes, if by "capitalist" you mean "free market". Although, based on what you've written, you seem to mean "involves money" as you definition, which covers all modern economies and governments.

Harry Eagar said...

I don't equate capitalism with 'free market,' which, if I did, it has never existed.

I define it as rating capital superior to all other inputs, no matter what. (See Greece)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Then we're not discussing the same subject and now I know that when you write "capitalism", it's a Humpty Dumpty word with no relevance to what I write.

But, I would like to know - how exactly was King Leopold's running of the Congo rating capital as superior to all other inputs?

Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

How about saving us all a lot of bother. In the future, when you decide to equate a word with a wholly idiosyncratic meaning, use a truly idiosyncratic word, too.

So, instead of using "capitalism" as a handle for something that has nothing to do with capitalism nor, as AOG noted, the thing to which you are applying it,
use, oh, say, "dashizzle".

To wit:

I don't equate dashizzle with 'free market,' which, if I did, it has never existed.

I define dashizzle as rating capital superior to all other inputs, no matter what. (See Greece)


Then at least we would know your confusions do not lie with capitalism, but rather an inability to look at reality through anything other than the narrowest of ideological soda-straws.

The Greek government is using dashizzle to explain why taxpayers in other countries need to continue funding Greek socialism, which favors graft, ineptitude, lassitude, lying and the torching of others' money above anything else.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] As for selling the rope, by 1942 virtually all of Europe was fascist, thanks to the shortsightness of the German rich who bankrolled the Nazis. (And who opposed the Nazis? Commies)

Comes from the same repository of blinkered history as:

As I say, there has been no fascist regime since April 12, 1945, that he US has not supported.


Harry, since you are a self annointed expert in everything historical, how about outlining for us the bolshevik program, and when bolshevism erupted.

And while you are at it, perhaps you could help us out with the concept of causeless effect. As I say, there has been no fascist regime since April 12, 1945, that he US has not supported is the sort of sentence that should shame anyone other than an impenetrably doctrinaire undergraduate marxist.

Clovis e Adri said...

To be wholly fair, what Harry refers to as "Capitalism" in historical context is usually further specified as "Mercantilism" ("Colonialism" being a subset of those practices), and it is indeed part of the evolution of Capitalism towards its modern incarnations.

I understand that's a bit far from free market ideals, but it'd be a whitewash to pretend it didn't happen under Capitalism's development - in the meaning of the term that indicates generating and saving capital for further reinvestment to generate more of it.

Harry Eagar said...

Few, if any, actual capitalists (that is, people with capital) want free markets. So if Guy and Skipper want to imagine a fairytale named 'capitalism,' I cannot stop them. But the reality-based community knows what it is.

And Skipper, go ahead and name for us all -- or even one -- fascist regimes that the US has failed to support since April 12, 1945.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Few, if any, actual capitalists (that is, people with capital) want free markets

Now there's a fairy tale for us.

the reality-based community knows what it is.

Define "it" in this sentence? You mean capitalism, as defined by the Oxford English dictionary? "An economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state." Hmmm, King Leopold, a monarch, is the state, and he owned that Congo operation. Or is the OED not part of that "reality-based" community?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] To be wholly fair, what Harry refers to as "Capitalism" in historical context is usually further specified as "Mercantilism" ("Colonialism" being a subset of those practices), and it is indeed part of the evolution of Capitalism towards its modern incarnations.

No. Mercantilism is "the economic theory that trade generates wealth and is stimulated by the accumulation of profitable balances, which a government should encourage by means of protectionism".

You are right that it was a step en route to a globalized economy of low barriers to trade, a la David Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage.

Colonialism occurred during the period when European economies were mercantalist, but it is not a "subset" of Colonialism: the definitions of Colonialism and Mercantalism have nothing in common.

Harry's is completely at sea here. His definition of Dashizzle is so detached from reality, and so vague, that it can be used for every economic system that has ever existed, including barter.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Few, if any, actual capitalists (that is, people with capital) want free markets. So if Guy and Skipper want to imagine a fairytale named 'capitalism,' I cannot stop them. But the reality-based community knows what it is.

I am perfectly willing to acknowledge the antecedent; after all, it's true.

However, unmentioned, but absolutely required nonetheless, is the leap into fantasy that only the self-annointed (based on this thread alone, no one else is going to do it for you) reality based marxoid community can make: that economies consist of only one capitalist.

I don't know of any capitalist economy for which that is true, or even remotely close to true.

There have been other economies, though, which fit that description quite well: marxist.

Hey Skipper said...

And Skipper, go ahead and name for us all -- or even one -- fascist regimes that the US has failed to support since April 12, 1945.

Harry, you go first: define fascism. Because I don't want to address your question without knowing in advance that you aren't referring to Tweedledinkism instead.

I'm sure you can understand my concern, since anyone who refers to Clint Eastwood as a fascist is bound to be at least a bit dodgy on the basic concept.

(Oh, and that you asked that question in the first place is iron-clad proof that you cannot, irony abounds, discern your ahistoricality.

Harry Eagar said...

The monarch is the state? That will be a surprise to Elizabeth Windsor,I am sure.

And even more so to Leopold, who was not monarch of a state.

I would have thought all you experts would know the unusual constitutional arrangements of the Belgians.

Skipper, I am a latitudianarian. I'll entertain even a list of rightwing dictatorships. They don't have to be fascist.

Hey Skipper said...

The monarch is the state? That will be a surprise to Elizabeth Windsor,I am sure.

Not nearly as large a surprise as it would have been to Leopold to discover he was Belgian.

It appears you are having troubles with both time AND space here.

Skipper, I am a latitudianarian. I'll entertain even a list of rightwing dictatorships. They don't have to be fascist.

I'm not. You were the one who asked perhaps the most ahistorical question I have ever heard. So by all means at least start out by defining "fascist".

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Colonialism occurred during the period when European economies were mercantalist, but it is not a "subset" of Colonialism: the definitions of Colonialism and Mercantalism have nothing in common.
---
By "subset of those practices" I do not imply they should have similar definitions, but that one was a natural consequence of the other (hence the word "practices", as opposed to "definition").

Notice that Colonialism only died away after Mercantilism also gave us goodbye.


But back to Free Markets, maybe Harry also has a point. If you truly believe in Free Markets, tell me again why the US has decreed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, Russia and so on?

In a truly Free Market, if I don't like you, I am certainly allowed to refuse business with you - but is it a free market when I oblige everyone else to comply with my boycott to you?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

For the same reason the state can forbid you to buy stuff from a fence.

Also, it's not very interesting to show that bad things happened during the development of free markets (or what people other can Eagar generally call "capitalism") - you need to show that such things didn't happen in other economic systems. As usual you seem to be comparing free markets against theoretical perfection rather than reality.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
For the same reason the state can forbid you to buy stuff from a fence.
---
I thought you were interested in discussing really Free markets, where the state shoudn't have that power.

At this point, better to ask you to define what you mean by Free Markets here before we go on.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I am interested in discussing what is the normal meaning of "free markets", not what ever word game you think is cute.

A free market is one where people can trade as they will with as little coercion or fraud as possible (maximal consent) under rule of law and with property rights.

In response, perhaps you could find a definition of "free market" that doesn't outlaw theft, other than "anarchy".

Harry Eagar said...

Query: (Hat tip to Harry Caudill). If I own mineral rights under a cemetery, can I bulldoze the cemetery to get at the stuff?

This is not hypothetical, by the way.

Yes, Skipper, Leopold was a Belgian, but he was not the monarch of Belgium. (Look it up.)

But even if he had been, he owned property in the Congo as a private citizen -- what nowadays we would call a venture capitalist. Elizabeth Windsor owns cattle ranches in Texas as a private investor, but that does not make Texas a colony of England.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
A free market is one where people can trade as they will with as little coercion or fraud as possible (maximal consent) under rule of law and with property rights.
---
And where do you place the government to "forbid you to buy stuff from a fence" in that framework?

Hey Skipper said...

Yes, Skipper, Leopold was a Belgian, but he was not the monarch of Belgium. (Look it up.)

My mistake: preview really is my friend. Unscrewed:

[Harry:] The monarch is the state? That will be a surprise to Elizabeth Windsor,I am sure.

[Hey Skipper:] Not nearly as large a surprise as it would have been to Leopold to discover he was
English.

I did look it up, btw, Leopold was the king of Belgium. And speaking of looking things up, how about looking up how, and for what purpose, Leopold came to control that part of Africa.

Still standing by for that definition of "fascist".

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Notice that Colonialism only died away after Mercantilism also gave us goodbye.

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?

Mercantalism existed completely independently of Colonialism.

Indeed, had Europe taken comparative advantage on board sooner, the material superiority of Europe, and its ability to acquire and dominate colonies, would have been even greater.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Indeed, had Europe taken comparative advantage on board sooner, the material superiority of Europe, and its ability to acquire and dominate colonies, would have been even greater.
---

Making my point for me? Thank you. I'd only change one thing: "its ability" - and willingness - "to acquire and dominate colonies, would have been even greater".

The logic behind collecting colonies is hindered after you are no longer playing by simple mercantilist rules. And that's the point.

Harry Eagar said...

'Also, it's not very interesting to show that bad things happened during the development of free markets (or what people other can Eagar generally call "capitalism") - you need to show that such things didn't happen in other economic systems. '

Uh, I think I have -- all along -- been showing that as regards, say, Bolshevism.

Because, you know, more people were starved and whipped to death in Congo than in Ukraine, but you refer to one constantly and to the other never.

Why is that?

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] The logic behind collecting colonies is hindered after you are no longer playing by simple mercantilist rules. And that's the point.

Have to admit, I didn't think of it that way.

I think you have a point. Sort of by definition, mercantalism was beggar-thy-neighbor; the pie was only so big, so more for one country means less for the rest.

Which, it sounds like you are implying, colonies were sources of favorable trade balances that couldn't be had otherwise.

In contrast, one consequence of capitalism is learning, eventually, that buying is cheaper than stealing.

Here is where the internet But ordinarily appears.

Not this time.

You are right; I was wrong.

Harry Eagar said...

'The logic behind collecting colonies is hindered after you are no longer playing by simple mercantilist rules. And that's the point'

Makes sense if trade is all that is at stake. I suggest that, since 1945 at least, most colonialisms have had nothing to do with trade.

Query: When has America been capitalist? (Using your definition)

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] Query: When has America been capitalist? (Using your definition)

First things first:

[Harry:] Skipper, I am a latitudianarian. I'll entertain even a list of rightwing dictatorships. They don't have to be fascist.

[Hey Skipper:] I'm not. You were the one who asked perhaps the most ahistorical question I have ever heard. So by all means at least start out by defining "fascist"
.

Alternatively, you could avoid these semi-trollish comments and, instead, just come out and make your point.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
I suggest that, since 1945 at least, most colonialisms have had nothing to do with trade.
---

Since from 45 to the 60's is the period when most relics of colinialism ended, I guess you are talking about something else here.


---
Query: When has America been capitalist? (Using your definition)
---
There were a few different definitions given here. Which one should we use?

My point about Free Markets above, with AOG, was tentatively to point out the newspeak implied in all his talk about Free Markets. He looks to believe he lives in one, but just because he doesn't care for the meaning of the word "Free" up there. The irony here is that he often looks to take issue with the newspeak of progressives.

Harry Eagar said...

I thought everyone but me had agreed capitalism does not exist absent free markets. So I just want to know when America had free markets.

Skipper, I have commented more than once about fascism. Please pay attention. But I am so interested in getting your answer that I'll do it again:

Fascism: A political strategy in which a leader forms a party to seize the organs of a government, then suspending whatever constitutional limits the government had. Fascist parties either suppress civic, religious and social organizations, or subject them to party control.

It is not necessarily a part of the party strategy to be racist or Christian, but many fascist regimes have been both. Many were also monarchist.

Fascism is not inherently wedded to any economic theory, although historically it has worked closely with capitalism and has always been opposed by socialism.

This is pretty much Nolte's analysis.

Harry Eagar said...

'Since from 45 to the 60's is the period when most relics of colinialism ended, I guess you are talking about something else here.'

Neocolonialism. Colonies acquired less for economic than for ideological exploitation: eastern Europe, South Vietnam, Grenada, Iran etc.

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
Neocolonialism. Colonies acquired less for economic than for ideological exploitation: eastern Europe, South Vietnam, Grenada, Iran etc.
---

I disagree. All those cases had both economic and geopolitical reasons, ideology being of secondary importance.

It is true the Cold War was founded as a race between two opposite ideologies, but I believe that became minor compared to the survival aspects it took with the advent of the nuclear age.

To wit, ideology is no longer into play, yet there you have Russia invading Ukraine these days - and the nuclear-related reasoning is all you need to explain that, with very little ideology in play here.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

where do you place the government to "forbid you to buy stuff from a fence" in that framework?

Property rights. Now it's your turn to provide a common definition of "free market" that doesn't have that feature. Otherwise you're just being deliberately obtuse.

My point about Free Markets above, with AOG, was tentatively to point out the newspeak implied in all his talk about Free Markets. He looks to believe he lives in one, but just because he doesn't care for the meaning of the word "Free" up there. The irony here is that he often looks to take issue with the newspeak of progressives.

Yep, deliberately obtuse. I'm not using Newspeak, I am using the command and standard meaning of a term. You, in contrast, are playing word games with "free". Why not go ahead and claim that if anybody charges a fee for a product, it's not a "free" market? That would make just as much sense.

Uh, I think I have -- all along -- been showing that as regards, say, Bolshevism.

Not as far as I can tell. In fact you seem to out of your way to mitigate and excuse such things. My impression is that there are any bad results, you find a way to blame capitalism for it. The Congo issue being an excellent case in point. Or the evils of the Tsars.

you refer to one constantly and to the other never.

Why is that?


Because I do it in response your apologism for Bolshevism, in which case that (and not the Congo) is relevant. This is second time I have answered exactly this question in this comment string (March 26, 2015 at 7:22 PM).

I thought everyone but me had agreed capitalism does not exist absent free markets.

Which definition of capitalism? Yours or the standard one?

So I just want to know when America had free markets.

Mostly, for most of its history. I'm making a bet with myself on which bizarre excuse you'll use in response.

A political strategy in which a leader forms a party to seize the organs of a government, then suspending whatever constitutional limits the government had. Fascist parties either suppress civic, religious and social organizations, or subject them to party control.

Isn't that the Obama Administration in a nutshell?

Clovis e Adri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Yep, deliberately obtuse. I'm not using Newspeak, I am using the command and standard meaning of a term.
---
Well, when you lower the level by use of belittling adjectives, I know I've hit a nerve.

You are using the standard meaning of a term for a subset of people. Just like most of the newspeak you laugh about concerning progressives, and their PC terms, is very standard to their world.

---
Now it's your turn to provide a common definition of "free market" that doesn't have that feature.
---
I would never willingly apply that term for an economic system where government has almost absolute control about what, how and when something can be commercialized between borders. I am not denying the possibility of govt. to outlaw some set of products (e.g. drugs), but once something is allowed, it should be freely allowed between borders as long as individuals wanted it, if it aspired to be called "free". Otherwise the term, as you accept it, is just hocus pocus.

Now, by the onset of the 2008/9 crisis, I do remember the US took quite some protectionist measures. I wonder, where were all its free marketeers by then? Any post at your blog about it when it happened? No one around so deliberately obtuse to mention it?

Harry Eagar said...

'Mostly, for most of its history. I'm making a bet with myself on which bizarre excuse you'll use in response.'

When did America ever have a free market in labor? Not up to 1865 (slavery). Then not up to 1935 (antisyndicalist laws). And, since then (according to rightwingers) not now because workers are allowed to organize.

I can offer other reasons, but tat will do for now.

When have I ever apologized for Bolshevism? Did you, for example, read the review of 'Soviet Agriculture'?

Your remark about Obama explains why I no longer read your blog. I can get that stuff unfiltered at WND.

Clovis, you write 'ideology being of secondary importance.'

I cannot agree. It's true that the US paid more attention to places where there was US investment, but I think that, eg, the conquest of the Dominican Republic was purely ideological. Ditto for the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

Harry Eagar said...

And perhaps of China's conquest of Tibet as well, although economic issues were prominent.

India's invasion of Sikkim, Goa etc. were not economic but purely ideological.

Annoying Old Guy said...

when you lower the level by use of belittling adjectives

Less than by silly word games.

You are using the standard meaning of a term for a subset of people.

No. I am using the common standard. You are using a definition that, as far as I can tell, exists only for you, created by a silly word equivalence.

it should be freely allowed between borders as long as individuals wanted it

Which isn't the case with regimes like North Korea. It is not really possible to trade with individuals or know if they want to do so.

I wonder, where were all its free marketeers by then?

Could you specify any of those?

When did America ever have a free market in labor? Not up to 1865 (slavery).

Ah, I win my bet, you went with the "one drop rule". I wasn't aware the slavery was legal in the entire USA until 1865. Interesting that in this case any deviation from a pure free market makes it not a free market, but in other cases (such as Congo) any thing that's part of a free market makes it a free market. After all, there was de facto slavery in the Congo, doesn't that invalidate your previous claims?

Harry Eagar said...

I never claimed Congo had a free market, just that it was pure capitalism.

If you wish to belittle the impact of slavery on labor -- even at the time, it was argued that slavery in the South damaged the rights of non-slave labor in the North -- be my guest. But I don't think many people are going to come away from your position with a high opinion of capitalism.

In any event, the antisyndicalist laws were common all over.

Hey Skipper said...

These comments from Harry all suffer the same the fatal error:

And Skipper, go ahead and name for us all -- or even one -- fascist regimes that the US has failed to support since April 12, 1945.



As for selling the rope, by 1942 virtually all of Europe was fascist, thanks to the shortsightedness of the German rich who bankrolled the Nazis. (And who opposed the Nazis? Commies)



Then not up to 1935 (antisyndicalist laws).



Neocolonialism. Colonies acquired less for economic than for ideological exploitation: eastern Europe, South Vietnam, Grenada, Iran etc.



When have I ever apologized for Bolshevism?


The error being conclusion ex nihilo. The purported US support for fascist regimes, the shortsighted German rich, the anti-syndicalist laws, South Vietnam, Grenada, all came from nothing, they were not the effect of some other cause, they weren't Hobbes choices.

Which makes you a full-throated apologist for Bolshevism.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Less than by silly word games.
---
You may not realize, but mine was a reaction to your own word games, when you equated capitalism with free market in order to bypass Harry.

Capitalism is way older than Free Market, and to the extent that Free Markets is a word to define "markets freer than New Deal status quo but yet so, so far from being really free", you are the one being disingenuous between us two.

---
Could you specify any of those?
---
Buy American. And "place sky-high tariffs in truly competitive ethanol in order to save our corn-based trash". Among many others.

Harry Eagar said...

uh, Skipper, you left out one, didn't you?
Because it blows you up.

Hey Skipper said...

Harry: stop being a troll; just come out and say what you mean: what did I leave out?

And how could whatever it is absolve you of conclusions ex nihilo?

Harry Eagar said...

You're very gnostic, Skipper, but there were not just two choices. I support democracy.

And you don't, nor has our government, almost all the time.

erp said...

The U.S. is a Republic.

Hey Skipper said...

Has Ace of Spades HQ been reading Great Guys?

It's really not that hard, if you just visualize a continuum. On the far left you put the label “Collectivist”. On the far right, “Individualist”. Alternately you could label the right side “Freedom” and the left side “Order”. Or “Liberty” and “Control”. Once we have constructed this graph, what does it tell us?

...

Well, the first thing about our graph is that it is useful for dispelling common misconceptions. Fascism isn't in any sense a “right wing” philosophy. Calling someone who favors the limited government of a Republic(right of Democracy, left of Anarchy) “Fascist” makes as much sense as a bunch of self proclaimed Anarchists (They're not, they're Marxists who believe that humans will magically stop being human once they've overthrown The Man.) wearing the mask of someone who fought for a Theocratic Monarchy (to the right of Socialism, left of Democracy).

Harry Eagar said...

Who were in the collective in Fascist Italy? How does that work with the leader principle?

erp said...

This will explain it for you.

Hey Skipper said...



[Harry:] And Skipper, go ahead and name for us all -- or even one -- fascist* regimes that the US has failed to support since April 12, 1945.


* Fascism (per Harry): A political strategy in which a leader forms a party to seize the organs of a government, then suspending whatever constitutional limits the government had. Fascist parties either suppress civic, religious and social organizations, or subject them to party control.


While I was trolling around for info on fascism, I came across these tidbits:

Fascism as an insult:

Following the defeat of the Axis Powers in World War II, the term fascist has been used as a pejorative word, often referring to widely varying movements across the political spectrum. George Orwell wrote in 1944 that "the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless ... almost any English person would accept 'bully' as a synonym for 'Fascist'". Richard Griffiths said in 2005 that "fascism" is the "most misused, and over-used word, of our times"

Harry is an expert at this.

Communism v. fascism, distinction without difference:

The fascist leaders’ antagonism to communism has been misinterpreted as an affinity for capitalism. In fact, fascists’ anticommunism was motivated by a belief that in the collectivist milieu of early-twentieth-century Europe, communism was its closest rival for people’s allegiance. As with communism, under fascism, every citizen was regarded as an employee and tenant of the totalitarian, party-dominated state. Consequently, it was the state’s prerogative to use force, or the threat of it, to suppress even peaceful opposition.

Whatever. Here are some fascist regimes that the US hasn't supported since the end of WWII:

The DPRK. North Vietnam. Chavismo. Albania. Romania. The PRC.

How am I doing so far?

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] You're very gnostic, Skipper, but there were not just two choices. I support democracy.

And you don't, nor has our government, almost all the time.


For someone who annoints his own historian credentials, along with unearned moral preening, that should be enough to pitch them both in the dirt.

No doubt the US supported authoritarian governments, but better them than the totalitarian alternative, of which you are so fond.

Oh, by the way, when you say "nor has our government [supported democracy] almost all the time" you have somehow managed to write off all of Western Europe.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
No doubt the US supported authoritarian governments, but better them than the totalitarian alternative, of which you are so fond.
---

The assumption you make is that the US has done so only when faced with those two choices. That's not true.

I suppose you can make a case that the US was justified in its overreaction when it deposed non-totalitarian democracies in favor of dictatorships. But to deny it happened at all is quite other thing.

Harry Eagar said...

Just repeating that fascism is no different from communism doesn't make that so.

The US support for democracy in western Europe was -- shall we say? uneven?

Even Skipper will have to admit that Spain and Portugal were fascist. We supported a fascist regime that overthrew a democracy in Greece. We subverted Italian democracy by corrupting it.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] The assumption you make is that the US has done so only when faced with those two choices. That's not true.

I suppose you can make a case that the US was justified in its overreaction when it deposed non-totalitarian democracies in favor of dictatorships. But to deny it happened at all is quite other thing


Specifics?

[Harry:] Just repeating that fascism is no different from communism doesn't make that so.

Which reminds me. I left the USSR, which we supported until April 12, 1945, then opposed afterwards.

Back to what you said. I think you definition fits perfectly the examples I chose.

Tell me how I got them wrong.

Even Skipper will have to admit that Spain and Portugal were fascist. We supported a fascist regime that overthrew a democracy in Greece. We subverted Italian democracy by corrupting it

Once more, ex nihilo rears its ugly head.

For at least the fifth time in this thread. I suspect there is a common factor running throughout.

Hmmmmm. Wonder what it might be.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Specifics?
---

Brazil. We were never on the verge of becoming communists, when you gladly helped a dictatorship down here.

I suspect of other cases, but will keep to the one I know better.

Harry Eagar said...

Iran is another good example. Chile also. And despite what Skipper just said, Spain.



Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

mine was a reaction to your own word games, when you equated capitalism with free market in order to bypass Harry.

That might be reasonable if the equivalence of "capitalism" and "free markets" wasn't very common. My experience is a majority of people use these interchangeably. Second, my real point was not their equivalence but that Eagar's definition of "capitalism" is extremely idiosyncratic. As one example I provided the OED definition which is radically different from Eagar's.

Buy American. And "place sky-high tariffs in truly competitive ethanol in order to save our corn-based trash".

Both of those things long predate 2008/2009. I haven't commented on the "Buy American" because it wasn't a law and was just silly. I've openly opposed tariffs on corn and sugar, although perhaps not in that time frame since it's be a problem since the 1980s at least.

We were never on the verge of becoming communists

Heh. I was speaking with a Brazilian just yesterday and this came up. He was of a somewhat different opinion than you.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Heh. I was speaking with a Brazilian just yesterday and this came up. He was of a somewhat different opinion than you.
---
I see no surprise there, as we can see very different opinions from Americans too in this smal forum here, as exemplified by you and Harry.

What your friend would be very challenged to present is any fact corroborating that Goulart was trying to subvert the Constitutional order to implement communism. For he was not.

One reason the Coup here was so easy (to the point the war ships sent by the US were not even needed) is that Goulart's group wasn't taking any military action seriously - for they were not considering taking that option themselves. They were doing things by the book, even if they were polemical - like trying to do a much needed (by then) agrarian reform, since land concentration here was in fact a drag in the economy then, as I hope to have cleared a few times before.

Probably the acts taken by the Lula govt of the last decade were,a ll in all, much more "leftist" than anything Goulart was contemplating then. If your friend tought we needed a dicatorship back then, do me a favor and ask him why isn't he asking for one right now.

Harry Eagar said...

'ask him why isn't he asking for one right now.'

Maybe he is.

I can well believe that most people Guy talks with equate capitalism and free markets, in which case capitalism has never existed. But to say that most people over all think capitalism needs free markets to operate is just silly.

Most people think Rockefeller was a capitalist, but no one thinks he believed or practiced free markets.

Jay Gould once filled out a form that asked his status, and he wrote "capitalist," but no one believes Jay Gould operated in a free market -- or wanted to.


I understand that my definition of capitalism is more pointed than most, but it gets at the heart of the matter.

Still waiting for an explanation of how antisydicalist restrictions can exist in a free market (let alone a society that takes the Bill of Rights seriously)

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Brazil. We were never on the verge of becoming communists, when you gladly helped a dictatorship down here.

I suspect of other cases, but will keep to the one I know better
.

Sounds good. Could you provide us with some background?

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
Could you provide us with some background?
---
What kind of background?

If you mean things from the point of view of the US and the world by then, I've done so in this very same thread (up above).

Or do you mean our internal background?

Harry Eagar said...



I have been wondering how Skipper, br4t etc. define collectivism, since thy seem to consier it th root of evil.

I had planned to adduce three examples of collectives that probably occupy different points on the bad/good spectrum: B'nai Brith, the National Association of Manufacturers and the KKK.

But while reading some essays by America's preeminent historian of liberty (David Brion Davis), he alerted me to an example I had not thought of, one that seems more than a little problematic for the collective = fascism/communism/pure evil school of thought: Mormons.

It first comes up in his review of F. Merk's "History of the Westward Movement," where he writes:

"Merk's admiring treatment of the Mormons provides a clue to the book's central meaning [which may be summarizd as the origin of American exceptionalism]. Under the Church's leadership, he writes, 'Mormonism was an experiment in cooperation and in social planning, one of the most succcessful large-scale examples of it in American history . . .' "

In a later essay confined to Mormonism, Davis revives the idea:

". . . Young's efforts to separate God's chosen people from the corrupt Gentile world and to build a self-sufficient society based on cooperation, as opposed to the individualism and privatism of American society at large. . . . He also promoted the ideal of highly organized communitarian settlements . . . "



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