Here is American Patriot’s post in response to factose’s comment on his post, “Just wondering…“. Below is my response to all’o’dat.
American Patriot :
“As for this one, I am a 30 year student of the collectivist mind. I have many progressive friends as well. I think I can safely say that I know how the mindset works.”
– You’ve been a student in a capitalist society, and told your whole life that you would be as important as the few people that were successful coming out of the same schools as you (even Charles Taylor went to Bentley U, rep that one). I’m guessing it didn’t turn out that way, considering your busiest blog day was probably over the last 24 hours. Therefore, your whole life you’ve been told that capitalism is easily the best system, because it allowed so many people to become so successful, and you use the failures of extreme examples of progressive thought, at it’s most immature and vulnerable times, to reaffirm that belief.
“Ever since collectivist policy failures starting with the collapse of the Soviet empire, continuing with free market success stories in China and the U.S. of 1980s and 1990s, and culminating with the failure of european welfare states (PIIGS)”
– All of this thought lacks real merit. You use the Soviet Empire as an example. The Soviet Empire never instituted democracy. In fact, their knowledge of the evils of capitalism drove them away from the idea that democracy could be a legitimate form of government. That was because the United States had been a poster-child for capitalism by this time, and consequently, democracy went along with it. I’ll agree that totalitarianism is right up there with the worst of ’em (I’m not sure if I hate Kim Jong Ill any less than I hate Muammar Gaddafi). But, it is not fair to judge their failure and attribute it to any sort of economic regulation. It is an extreme example where a small percentage of the population had almost complete control of the country’s wealth (much like the current US).
Again, Chinese “free market success” has only been attributed to the fact that their markets aren’t COMPLETELY controlled by the government, which is communist. Their development is the exact opposite of the United States’ so far. To say that China shows that capitalism, in the same sense as capitalism in the United States (which is what you’re trying to say, even if you don’t directly say it) is the preferred system, is just absurd. In China, the government already owns all the wealth, not huge corporations that put almost no money back into the economy or government, so when they get wealthy the government prospers, not the people. China is moving to a Hybrid Market, which is allowing the people of China to pull themselves up off the ground (they’re a loooong way from that too, by the way).
Failed European Welfare States. Hahahaha. You’re naming Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Portugal has no industry to speak of to even come close to having a means of production. Ireland was ravaged by famine and civil strife with Great Britain during the time of the Industrial Revolution, and all of their intellect migrated to the United States. Italy, Greece, and Spain all have, what I like to call, a “commodities” economy. They all rely on tourism and small agriculture. Sound like good examples to compare the United States with.
What I find ironic is that you don’t make mention of the socialist systems that are working, and have been for quite some time. Sweden, Germany, Canada, China (tehe), not to mention the EU as a whole, all have social market economies, and they all seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. And they all have a fairly large means of production… weird how that works?
“as well as our pending financial collapse due to 53 trillion in unfunded obligations due to three progressive ideals – namely social security, medicare, and medicaid, the former Fabian socialists who pass themselves as progressives have been in search of a new strategy.”
Your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Our 53 trillion dollars in “unfunded obligations” come from capitalism (Reagonomics) and capitalist imperialism (Oil Wars, most recently in Iraq). Those are the two main factors behind our nation’s debt. The progressive ideals that you are naming – social security, medicare, and medicaid – are in fact funded. They’re just failing because the American public’s tax dollars can’t afford it any longer, and Corporations that have all the money aren’t funding them with their taxes.
“The new strategy that late 1970s gave birth to with likes of James Lovelock was environmentalism (which later evolved in to today’s green movement). The original movement was soon hijacked by likes of Dave Foreman and, later, Maurice Strong. Hope you are up on your environmentalists otherwise doing research on these fellows will keep you quite busy!”
– So, wait. We should discount environmentalism because it was originally a socialist plot? So, we should keep destroying the rain forest in the name of free markets? We should keep raising the temperature of the ocean effectuating climate change in the name of consumerism and pollution? I’m not sure where you’re going with this? Are you actually denying the effects of globalization and capitalism on the environment? We should stray from saving the planet because it’s associated with socialism, and we should keep letting unchecked capitalism deprive the earth of resources. Hmmm…?
Also, James Lovelock is a huge proponent for nuclear energy, so what’s your beef with him?
“Here is the idea:
Use the green agenda as a tool to effectuate social change. Google Van Jones speeches and watch them. Ask yourself why so many in the green movement are avowed Marxists like Van Jones.”
– I would argue that they are Marxists because they also realize how corporations are exploiting resources under the guise of “free markets”. Why wouldn’t they agree with Marx?
“There’s no greater social power than the power to ration – an insidious form of leverage over the public. And, other than rationing food (and healthcare), there is no greater instrument of social control than rationing energy, the enabler of just about everything one does and uses in an advanced society like ours.”
– I agree, but I don’t agree that it needs to be a form of leverage over the public; instead, it could be an enabler of democracy. You said yourself that it’s a great way to bring about social change? Why isn’t there a push for true democracy in this country? Why do we just assume that a Republic is the best option of government? We have the internet now. Why can’t we utilize the fact that everyone and their dog has internet anywhere they want it? Thank you cell phones. Why don’t we actually run our government according to what people want? If you told the American people that they get to vote on issues of government in every instance, rather than just electing some douche bag who’s going to get paid off by special interest groups as soon as he gets to Washington, I would argue that many people would be much more politically motivated. Then, instead of energy provisions controlling society, you have society controlling energy provisions. That would probably be too “idealistic” or “pragmatic”.
“Control means power. As to how green initiatives would gradually transform to dependence on central government: the idea is impoverishing of people through policies that would render energy prohibitively expensive to use. With accompanying wealth destruction, human nature would take care of the rest – trading more and more of their liberties for more security in a vicious cycle until any semblance of free markets would eventually disappear.
– Can you explain this to me further? I feel as though you are making huge, critical leaps in logic here. I understand the concept, but I’m not sure there is any impact to the dissemblance of free markets. The markets are already established? Would they just disappear? The government would come in and shut down all of the businesses? I don’t understand why you think government regulation of the economy is such a terrible idea. Moreover, even in our “free market” system, there is government intervention when it fails. Look at the bailouts. I’d love to hear your opinion on the bailouts of investment banks and the auto industry.
“Look at the U.K. Prime example of the end result of such policies. I lived there 2 years. Poverty (compared to the U.S.) is stunning. Gas is near $10 per gallon. The government is now discussing energy rationing. Society is in disarray. If you like what you see there, you can defend the green movement all you like.
Don’t take my words, watch likes of Van Jones and Maurice Strong. Then, we can discuss this further.”
– I don’t believe that you can attribute poverty in the UK to “such policies”. If you get to do that, then I’m just going to argue that poverty in the UK is attributed to a widening gap between the rich and the poor from a reliance on capitalistic ideals.
Gas being near $10 dollars a gallon in the UK has nothing to do with national energy policies. The UK doesn’t have nearly as much of a strangle-hold on foreign oil markets as the United States, or the means of production. The UK doesn’t have oil underneath it’s own land to the same extent as the United States. The UK doesn’t have stock piles of oil reserves that compare to the United States’. One day, oil will run out. It is a finite resource, and the United States uses most of it up. So it shouldn’t be surprising that citizens of European countries have to pay so much more for gas than the American public. In fact, you should be more mad at the United States’ lack of energy policies if you’re complaining about the price of gas in the UK. Soon, the United States’ gas prices will be over 5 dollars. In the US, that is astronomical. It’s not because the government is making it that price, it’s because the price that they are getting it for is increasing. I don’t believe you can’t make that connection.
– You have confused so many things together in this response as a whole, it’s a bit much to respond to all of your points. I also want to point out that we were originally only showing you that your facts were completely wrong, and your conclusions misguided. However, you brought it to a-whole-nother realm. You assume so much in your argument, that there’s no way anyone could make sense of it rationally. I’m going to sum up the last four paragraphs into this. Environmentalist policies give too much control to the government, and that would snowball into dependence on a centralized government. You yourself are a proponent for a “Constitutional Republic”, correct? Isn’t that, in and of itself, centralized government? What’s funny, is that you are convinced that capitalism isn’t the reason we have strayed from the Constitution. If we didn’t regulate industries, starting with monopolies after the Industrial Revolution, the American public would have already had to exchange wages for securities, which you say is what they would have to do if the government gets too much power from economic regulation.
I think that is already happening, only it goes by another name. The American public is already trading liberties for security (ask teachers in Wisconsin). The credit system in our country makes everyone a slave to huge corporations, and huge corporations in turn have all the money. They make more political contributions to the media and politicians than 98% of the population could ever possibly make. In turn, they also run the government. Your beef is with centralized government, when really it should be with corporations. Corporations run the government, not the other way around. “Free Markets” encourage greediness, and greediness encourages corruption.
I would venture to guess that you place democracy pretty high on the list of importance when it comes to social philosophy, if not at the top. What you have confused, is that freedom and democracy are one in the same. They aren’t. In democracy, you aren’t free to do whatever you want, you are free to do whatever everyone else wants. The same should apply to our economic system. You are free to do whatever you want, as long as the general public isn’t being violated. That’s what capitalism and “free markets” allow. I suggest you look into what you value most, and then see what market strategy protects those values more. An economy that places society at the top or an economy that places capital at the top.
I don’t believe it is fair for you to confuse the two, and that’s why I disagree with all of your examples against “socialism” (if you are forcing me to tie the associated connotations in). In your examples, those “socialist” economies were either accompanied with civil strife, totalitarianism/communism, or corruption. I feel as though democracy is a check against all of those ills. If we had a true democracy in our country, not only would everyone want to be involved, because then their opinions would actually influence public policy, but there would be real accountability for the outcomes of the choices of the majority. A good example of this are businesses that are already being run completely democratically. The employees all own the business, and all share the profits of the company. What’s funny is that in these businesses, not only are the workers much happier, but they are much more productive as well, in turn making the business successful. Even more interesting, is the amount which some employee owned companies give back. (Here’s just one example, I’m sure you can do some research on your own as well.)
If this concept can work for a large business, why can’t it work for a nation as well? By the way, this is the only example of democracy and “socialism” working together in their truest forms. Your ignorance to just about everything blinds you from true progression. Instead, you for some reason would rather regress, return to an emphasis on the Constitution alone, and do it all over again. Well I’m sorry, American Patriot, it is your ignorance (which I don’t blame you for. You at least try to become informed, it’s just that you have no way of evaluating information on your own, evident in “Just Wondering…“) that limits your foresight, and contributes to the hindrance of this country’s evolution. Oh well, hopefully you can figure it out and join us in trying to bring about real change. Sorry this is so lengthy, but I prefer to actually share how I reach conclusions, rather than just make jumps in logic.
My intro is now posted on my blog (I am sorry but I am having trouble linking to it here).
I will respond to your post (probably in sections) as time permits over the week-end.
It will not let me reply on your blog, not sure why? So:
Not exactly the ONLY study of it’s kind. And this is what I meant estimates varying, I don’t say that this study is correct, only that opinions differ on the actual repercussions.
Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, Compiled by Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety. “On this 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we now realize that the consequences were far worse than many researchers had believed,” says Janette Sherman, MD, the physician and toxicologist who edited the book. Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths worldwide due to Chernobyl fallout from 1986 through 2004 was 985,000, a number that has since increased. By contrast, WHO and the IAEA estimated 9,000 deaths and some 200,000 people sickened in 2005.
I understand that both sides have differing views on it, and both sides can present evidence on their side. My only point was that the deaths from nuclear (even on a pretty conservative estimate) still outnumber wind power. I’d say the actual (unpoliticized) numbers are somewhere in the middle.
Part I of my response to “It has Begun” is now posted on my blog at:
(sorry can’t get the link to show for some reason)
It took a while because I think answering to many points on a great variety of subject matter is counter-productive and confusing. Lets try to stay on concentrated areas at any given time guys.
Probably a shorter (better be before my wife kills me) part II will follow tomorrow, before we get to some discussion on political philosophy.
Regarding the Chernobyl studies, there have been several smaller studies but the UN Comissioned WHO study is the longest and most comprehensive of them all. It says under 50 verifiale deaths since the disaster and potential of a few thousand.
I agree that even that is bad but come on, these were the Soviets, and since when did they ever put any value on human life? (or the Chinese for that matter) In totalitarian regimes, life is cheap.
0 deaths in the West is the real figure to look at.
Nuclear is clean as well as safe (unless you build it on a major fault line and a tsunami hits it, I guess)
Part II of my response has been posted at:
Part II will be forthcoming within a couple of days.
Good day gentlemen.