Friday, August 31, 2012

Karl Marx Was a Goblin....

Frederic Bastiat called socialism "legalized plunder".  My friend Sophia, apparently an admirer of Karl Marx, disagrees.  She says this: 

  • Capital already exists and is already owned. Where did it come from?  It came from labour. All capital is the product of labour, therefore labour has a claim on all capital. It is not abstract means of production that the workers should control but the means which already exist.
The idea that all capital comes from labor seems to swim against the direction that money actually flows.  Capital (or profit) as far as I can see originates when consumers pay for goods and services.  The company uses that income to pay workers.  So if anything, capital comes from consumers and is passed to labor by capitalists.  The fact that labor is also a consumer doesn't change that. AND Management (those greedy old capitalists) are also consumers.

It's like the water cycle. Water evaporates all over the place, collects in clouds which rain on the land watering the fields.  The excess runs off into streams and from there to rivers and on to the ocean where it evaporates again and makes clouds. Money works like that.

Sophia and Karl would have you believe that the economy (the financial water cycle if you will) actually runs  counter to its natural direction. Capital is, they say, stolen from the workers to enrich the wealthy capitalists. Odd that they conveniently leave out consumers in this model, inserting them later when they want to look like populists. Classless society advocates would have you believe we can create a society where consumers deposit money directly into the pockets of labor.  Of course, the pockets of labor are on the other side of the same pair of pants.  When you need some consumer cash again, the worker must transfer money over to their consumer pockets, from whence they transfer the cash back to their labor pockets and so on, ad infinitum.  Of course, this all happens AFTER they've cut out the evil capitalists and eliminated them as large scale consumers and reduced them to pocket-swapping labor and monumentally screws up the economy.

Which confuses me, because they also believe there is an elite group of smart people who by virtue or their great brains, their pure hearts and their unbounded courage can centrally plan all our lives for us and create a utopian society where everybody is the same, no rich, no poor, no war, no religion.  The whole thing is either a John Lennon song or a Wizard of Oz sequel they're going for, I'm not sure which.
The Marxian model seems a classic double bind where two opposing beliefs exist in one man's head and it locks him up so he cannot move forward.  It could explain why liberals seem to be crazy. 

I had the same problem with the goblins of J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter books. The goblins, if you remember, are the bankers of the wizarding world.  They run Gringott's, the wizard's bank. The problem with the goblins is this. They make their living by taking gold from humans and making things for the humans.  They, however, believe that anything they make should revert to the ownership of goblins once the person who holds the object dies.  This makes perfect sense to them.  They made it, so it's theirs.

So what do they do for a living?  The goblins run wizard banks where the wealth and precious objects, many of goblin make, of generations of wizards are stored in highly secure vaults. These vaults, by the goblins own policy, are held to be inviolate, no matter that they believe that much of the treasure that they are protecting is of goblin make and therefore actually belongs to them.  It is a point of pride (and good business policy) that nothing is ever stolen from a Gringott's vault.

They may believe that everything they make still belongs to them in theory, but in practice they know that if they actually took back the things they believed were theirs, their banking and jewelry/weapon-making businesses would shut down. Customers would not keep their things where goblins would take them back so the bank would close. Customers would not order goblin-made items because paying for something wildly expensive that you could not even pass on to your heirs would not make sense to anyone but goblins.  Therefore goblin business rumbles along with a set of beliefs that contradict what they have to do in actual practice in order to keep making a profit off the wizarding world.

It's little wonder that the goblins of Harry Potter are devious, irritable little creatures. There is a conflict between belief and practice within the whole goblin economy that plants the seeds of insanity.  Goblins believe that wealth comes from goblins while in actual practice, goblin wealth, as they well know, comes from gold paid them for goods and services by wizard customers. If humans believed as goblins did, then, since the money collected by goblins, actually comes from humans, humans ought to have a perfect right to take back any money they have paid a goblin for a service or product from them when the goblin dies, since the gold originally came from humans. Goblins would have a real problem with this were wizards to actually try to put such an idea into practice.

Karl Marx had the same problem as the goblins. His philosophy hinges on the belief capital comes from the labor of the working class. At the same time it is obvious that unless the consumer buys those goods and services, labor would receive no capital for its labors.  The accumulation of capital in the hands of a few is supposedly evil.  So how does Marx propose we solve that problem?  By taking all that capital from the hands of those "few" capitalists who accumulated it and giving it to the government "few" to redistribute to labor.  So instead of rich people having control over all the capital, we give it all to bureaucrats.

Goblins if you will.

I could also point to Douglass Adams' Vogons to illustrate the hazards of handing power and money to bureaucrats, but I think the point is made.

Karl Marx is a goblin.  Perhaps that's why he looks devious and cranky in all of his pictures.

Just one man's opinion,

Tom King

Monday, August 27, 2012

There You Go Again....

  • Maybe I should just quote Ronald Reagan and tell these folk who are trying to "educate" me about the coming "classless" society, "There you go again."  It would certainly save time.  My friend Sophia on Google Plus has been patiently lecturing me on how what's good for the rich is always bad for the poor and how the economy is a zero-sum game in which the only way I do well is if you do poorly. She waxes most poetical on the subject of the classless society and how if we're all the same class we'd all share the same interests and things would be hunky dory.  The whole thing is just more of the simplistic, Politics 101 sort of piffle you get in a typical leftist university.  Here is my answer to her. It's long-winded, Sorry about that, but she lit a fire under my boiler.....

I wonder how many leftist women so busily pushing
for the classless society are really going to hate the wardrobe.
It is in the interest of what you call the "capitalist class" to busy the proletariat with fighting among themsleves. Congratulations, you've bought their argument. I, myself, am a capitalist though not of the group you prand with that name.  I recognize no classes. So long as I have the right to trade, manufacture or do any danmned thing I can to make a living no matter where I was born or into what circumstances, there is not group I cannot hob knob with on an equal footing. Therefore, classes do not exist except in the minds of those for whom it is important to create such classes and assign themselves to loftier ones to boost their own self esteeem.

Are there rich people who own large pieces of big companies? Of course there are. Do they have more than me? Of course they do. Because of my circumstances (family members with bipolar) I am limited as to what I can safely do for a living. A free market economy allows me to figure out ways to make a living other than by putting on the party worker's uniform and leaving my loved ones unattended for 60 hours a week.

I do not believe that one man selling his goods and making money from it, in any way takes money away from me. I subscribe to the "rising tide lifts all boats" theory of economics. When rich people become richer, so do I.  Rich guys pay more taxes than I ever will. They create more jobs than I ever could. Good for them I say. The idea that what benefits one takes from another sounds reasonable, but it's not. It's a false belief that the voodoo priests of socialism teach in order to create class envy so they can bring on the revolution that puts them in power. Read it. It's in all their books.
So called anarchists and socialists claim their one class revolution will create a single class society and that all will then be good because we will all share the same interests (your words). That's balderdash. The truth is that many of the old money wealthy have embraced socialism as a way to create a nice safe monochromatic worker class to protect themselves from the consequences of their own excesses. Why do you think people like Barak Obama have so much money pumped into their campaigns? It ain't coming from the poor.  It's because the wealthy think that he and the ideas of people like his teachers and friends will protect their wealth, positions and power. They fear the rise of a true free market capitalism.
Under free market capitalism, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Behr Stern and GM would all have collapsed under their own weight of corruption. Executives would NOT have had their bonuses protected and the ruin of those businesses would have helped pay their creditors. And we taxpayers would not be on the hook for the trillions it took to save their sorry butts.

AND after the collapse, new smaller, leaner, more efficient businesses would have risen from the ashes and absorbed their markets and replaced them in a matter of months. Where once there was a monolithic corporation there would have sprung up dozens of new, more flexible, better planned companies doing the same thing. The pain would have been quick and clean like ripping a bandage off. Then we'd be back up and running and the fools that took government protections as a license to be greedy would have been in jail or broke and starting over.
Wealthy people have for a long time been paying government to protect them from the consequences of their own actions. That's not capitalism. That's totalitarianism at its worst and we paid for it. The super-rich are gutting the businesses and fortunes of the working wealthy who make all the jobs and grow business in this country in order to protect the fortunes their fathers built and they have squandered; fortunes that are so huge they've become, in their own minds, kings of the world. Buffet gave lip service to the "rich should pay more taxes" meme and what did he get from it? Wild profits from hauling oil from Canada on his railroads after President O canceled the Keystone pipeline. Soros brought down the Bank of England in order to make a buck.
And who pays Warren Buffet for his kind words about President Obama's tax the rich rhetoric? You and me every time we go to the gas pump, because we're paying twice as much to have crude shipped in on Warren's choo choos as we would via the pipeline AND 26,000 people didn't get jobs building it. Wouldn't those jobs have been nice about now?
You CANNOT allow anyone, much less politicians, the kind of central planning and control required to implement socialism's one class society. It will inevitably wind up a two class society - basically the poor working for the elite rich central planners. The middle class becomes part of the lower class and that's all she wrote.
You're mad at the wrong people, Sophia. I'm mad too, but I'm mad at people who think they have a right to tell me what to do for "the greater good". Power inevitably corrupts anyone who decides to take upon him or herself or even upon his or her elite "class" the godlike power necessary to legislate all that peace and light they are promising you.
It won't be a classless society whatever you call it. The rich and powerful will still have their country homes and servants. The only ones who will be struck down are the would-be wealthy - the ones who actually create jobs and new wealth and who threaten the hold of the old rich upon power and prestige. As the working wealthy prosper, so do those who work for them and from whom they buy things like yachts and airplanes and vacation homes. The only ones the rise of the upper middle class threatens are the old money elites and the threat they represent is not on their money, but on the only coin that matters to them - POWER!
You see many rich people also buy the same "zero-sum" game logic you do. They really believe that their wealth comes from stealing from others because for many, that's exactly how they got what they got (or at least how they protect it).  Instead of participating in trade and creating jobs, they sit like fat dragons on their hereditary piles of money, protecting it with a steady stream of bribes, manipulations and outright swindles.
A smaller, more localized system of government terrifies them because as power gets distributed, it gets harder to bribe enough people to protect their butts. The "filthy" rich, the ones who gained their wealth by greed and exploitation are terrified that those they cheated will come after them and take their things from them. So they have to control the revolution. So how do they do that? They buy it off!
Your socialist revolution has already been bought and paid for by the very people you have been instructed to hate. When all of you angry volunteers get your lists of who to hate, people like me will be on it too. We will be considered traitors to our class. We will be called dupes. You will be told we are in the pay of the evil capitalists despite the fact that there is no evidence of that. I certainly don't get a paycheck from the Koch Brothers.

In the new one class/one party world, people like me will be struck down because we don't toe the party line, we won't live where we're told, work where we're told or applaud when the applause sign lights up.

They've lied to you and since it's an easy lie to believe, you guys will go along with it. This is how the world will end - greedy people protecting their wealth and status and exploiting those they believe lower and stupider than themselves. They will enlist foot soldiers with promises of bread and circuses and an illusory worker's paradise built upon the spoils they take off the rich.

Trust me, Sophia, you won't like the gray pajamas of the worker's paradise. I've seen it and it's not a nice place to live. You cannot improve the quality of a field of corn by lopping off the heads of all the stalks that dare to stick their heads up a little taller and grow larger ears of corn. All you'll get is uniformity at a level rather below the average of what it was before.

I didn't think I'd live to see so many people in America willing to give up freedom and opportunity for the illusion of security and a set of guaranteed minimum standards paid for with wealth stolen from others. I suppose our ancestors carried the genes for cowardice with us from the Old World and it's catching up with us. Like the Israelites of old we're setting up a golden calf for ourselves because we're afraid to follow a God we cannot see.

Capitalism is an act of faith. You trust your fellow man to deal fairly with you. If he doesn't, you don't do business with him anymore. In socialism, the government eventually owns all the business and you have to trust government bureaucrats to deal fairly with you.  Given their history, I know who I'd rather trust.

I am not going to do well in the classless society.  I'm not afraid to object.  How do you enforce a classless society?  You can kill me or jail those who disagree. Like Patrick Henry, I say,come on. Give me liberty or death - whichever.  You have nothing to fear from me. I'm not even armed. My hair is white. I've done the best in this world that I could to leave it better for my having passed through it. Do with me what you will. I defy you and your bogus classless society and your gilded smart people and your "heroic leaders'. When I am bidden to dance for the Dear Leaders that will surely arise and demand obeisance, you may shoot me where I stand. I will not dance.

A tad dramatic perhaps, but no more so than the anarchy of the Occupy movement and the Occupy movement, my dear Sophia, is exactly what the bad kind of revolution looks like. I just pray Americans are still made of sterner stuff than you seem to think they are and don't fall for the "poor little me" rhetoric of the socialists.

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's Not About Race; It's Not Even About Politics.

Good vs. Evil on the Eve of the Apocalypse.
(c) 2012 by Tom King

Hiroshima 1945 - US Archives
It's not white people vs. brown as some claim.  It's not progressives vs. conservatives, East vs. West, Christian vs. Muslim, Jew vs. Gentile or even left vs. right..  It's a question of good vs. evil pure and simple. The agents of Satan are among us, insinuating themselves into every corner; using every means available to confuse, agitate and sabotage every decent thing we try to do. Left, right, Democrat, Republican and Libertarian, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist and Jew. The devil has his representatives everywhere.

We are told by prophets of every stripe that the whole thing is coming to a bad end and we are at best fighting a holding action.  Throughout history we have seen the tide of the Great Controversy come to a bloody head in vast explosions of violence.  In the 1800s we had the Civil war.  In the 20th century it was two world wars. We've held off the coming orgy of killing that is the wages of sin now for more than half a century.  Small wars (by modern standards) have bled off some of the urge to violence, but not nearly enough. Organized mass murder in Russia, China, Cambodia, Rwanda and throughout the third world has reduced the population for a time, removing the meek by and large, apparently for the purpose of guaranteeing they do not inherit the Earth - at least not while it lasts.

You see it's a geometry not arithmetic.

If you have one person you have relative peace although that person may resort to suicide.
Two people and you have two possible vectors of aggression A against B and B against A
But add a third and you have 12  possible vectors of aggression
  1. A against B
  2. A against C
  3. B against A
  4. B against C
  5. C against A
  6. C against B
  7. A&B against C
  8. C against A&B
  9. B&C against A
  10. A against B&C
  11. A&C against B
  12. B against A&C
(c) public domain Striking workers circa 1922

For every extra person you add to this overcrowded world, you geometrically increase the number of vectors of aggression and possible combinations of aggressors.  Think about billions of people on Earth today and how much worse it gets when you add more people. Add into the mix the fact that many of those people choose to be evil and are thus unscrupulous about who they attack and periodically the whole thing builds up to an orgy of killing.  So far most of those orgies have merely reduced the number of trained killers along with slow-moving or slow-witted noncombatants who didn't see it coming and get out of the way in time - at least enough to take some of the pressure murder their fellows off the survivors.

Paul in Romans said, "The wages of sin is death." I think he was being literal.  I think the apostle was trying to tell us that choosing to serve yourself first (which is the essence of sin) leads inevitably to death. Every notice how vigilant self-lovers tend to come to a bad end rather earlier than one might expect.  Sadly and too often they take good people with them. The innocent may die. They may even fight to defend their home or loved ones, but it is inevitably the sinners who are behind all the death.

As Creedence Clearwater Revival once sang, "Two hundred million guns are loaded. Satan cries, 'Take aim!'"

It's not religions or political parties that do evil. It's people. Parties and religions are merely the tools bad people use to accomplish their aims.  To those who reject political parties, churches or even families, your withdrawal from these institutions won't help. They will do their bloody work without you if evil men are allowed to take them over. You can never change a church or an organization or party from without except by destroying it altogether and doing that makes you just another killer and robs you of your soul. If you abandon these institutions which may have been established for quite noble purposes, you merely hand them over to evil people.  You by your abandonment are as guilty as those who stayed and cooperated in the heinous actions of their leaders.

It remains best for us, I believe, to trust in God and treat our neighbors as we would wish to be treated and to stand for what is right wherever we are called to stand.  "They that wait upon the Lord," says the Psalmist, "shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles."

So wait and be strong. Help where you can. Do good so far as you're able. It'll all be over soon.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Karl Marx Meant Well......

He just didn't know his human race very well.
(c) 2012 by Tom King

Got into a debate with an economist the other day over Marxism vs. Communism. He took a swipe at Ronald Reagan for not understanding that Marxism and Communism are two different things (according to economists). No matter that Marx wrote the Communist Manifest (and yes, Engels helped, but he gave all the credit for the ideas to Marx).  Apparently the pure Marxist ideology is that the ideal worker's paradise should be a virtually leaderless society where the collective makes all the decisions and no strong leader exists.  That is actually an idea a died-in-the-wool capitalist could get behind actually. 

Karl Marx's great difficulty was that he looked to create a heaven on Earth. It was an admirable dream, but it does not work here on this planet. Marx's utopia requires a couple of things that Marx never accepted as necessary.  Marx later got involved with communism because he hoped to work out his worker's paradise in the real world and had, I believed, figured out that some system of authority was essential to make it work, whether he wanted to admit it or not.

The truth is, the ideals behind collectivism only work if all the people in the collective are good and altruistic people. There is no such group of people. The progressive movement still believes there is despite abundant evidence to the contrary. 

I'm pro capitalist because it seems the most effective way to create a healthy economy in a world where  the baseline is greed and self-interest. 
We live in a sinful world, let's face it. With capitalism, if you over-extend and get piggish, you fail unless some government decides you're too big to fail and protects your depredations upon the system by bailing you out with tax dollars.

Our problem here is that we are trying to blend two system - one that believes that, if you meet a baseline of needs, people will be basically good and another that believes people are basically bad.  As a Christian, for instance, I believe the latter. I also believe that our experiences here and with the help of God, a goodly number of us will one day achieve that altruistic goodness that Marx mistakenly thought he could bring out in people by sharing the wealth around.

What Marx did not understand was that  free will is a wonderful, but double-edged sword.
The communists hoped to somehow control free will and negate its effects. At first they tried through providing everybody's baseline needs as equitably as possible.  When that didn't work, they created the KGB and attempted to create altruism through fear and the gulags - Communisms own brand of hell.

It is tempting to intellectuals to believe that smart leaders can somehow create a centrally planned society where everyone is content if not truly happy.  Even Einstein, as smart as he was, wondered why we couldn't manage it.

The problem is in man's nature.  He does have free will (despite BF Skinner's assurances to the contrary).  He is born with two contrary natures.  The new born child knows how to love without reservation - he loves himself.  Sadly, many children never get far beyond that. It is the work of a lifetime to become a selfless person - the kind of people you absolutely must have in order to maintain Marx's leaderless collective. 

To base a political and economic system on the hope that  somehow you can somehow create rules or provide sufficient bread and circuses to cause people to spontaneously become self-less is an exercise in wishful thinking.

Marx had an admirable goal. It's just not achievable without two things.
  1. People who want to be good above all things.
  2. An all-knowing, all-caring leader to manage the details.
#1 is, I think, what will occur at the  Second Coming.
#2 I believe, requires the existence of God.

If neither of those elements are in place; if God does not exist, if people people who want to be good are not separated from those who choose to be bad, then we're well and truly hopeless because we're trying to make up flocks of sheep that include hungry wolves as members. Inevitably, this takes a terrible toll on the poor sheep as last century's experiment in Marxist sheep herding clearly demonstrates.

Just one man's opinion,

Tom King

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Conservation vs. Environmentalism

I think I would describe myself as a conservationist rather than an environmentalist. Conservation suggests an active human role in caring for our planet - the role God gave us in the Garden of Eden when he told us to name the animals and care for the garden. Environmentalism suggest a religious or political "ism" a worship of nature itself rather than nature's Creator.

Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham has a bit in his Achmed the Terrorist routine where he asks Achmed what he does.

Achmed replies, "I'm a terrorist."
"What kind of terrorist?" Dunham asks.

"A terrifying terrorist!" says Achmed.

Well I'm a conservationist.

"What kind of conservationist?" you ask.

"A conservative conservationist!"

I'm just saying. You may now talk amongst yourselves....

Monday, August 13, 2012

How's That Gun Control Working Out for You?

Restrictive Gun Laws in Mexico Make It Open Season on Women and Children
(c) 2012 by Tom King

This past weekend, a large band of armed men (some of them law enforcement officers) descended on a church youth campout near Mexico City, raping 5 women and girls and sexually abusing and brutalizing an unknown number of youth in a lengthy rampaging attack on the camp. Seventeen of the attackers have been rounded up so far - cold comfort for the traumatized kids and their sponsors. 

Mexico's constitution, like ours guarantees its citizens the right to bear arms, but no one at the camp had any means to defend themselves. Despite its constitution, Mexico has already done what progressives want to do in the US.  They have piled on such heap of restrictive gun ordinances that owning anything larger than a 22 caliber popgun is nearly impossible - unless you're a gang member or drug cartel member of course.

Mexican citizens who obey the laws are sitting ducks for the heavily armed and increasingly brazen gangs of thugs that roam the countryside raping, robbing and murdering ordinary Mexican civilians. The death toll has been horrific. It's little wonder so many Mexicans are willing to risk swimming the river to escape.

With recent rash of mass shooting in the US, there has come the predictable calls for new, more restrictive gun laws ostensibly to prevent such events. As groups like the NRA continually point out, taking guns from the innocent leaves only the authorities and criminals armed.  A liberal friend of mine pointed out it only takes minutes for police to get to you if you call 911 for help.  Unfortunately, most shootings are over in just seconds.  The Colorado theater shooting was over in less than two minutes including time for the perp to reload.  While it's nice to catch the bad guy, catching a mass murder as he attempts to run away doesn't help the dead much.

If advocates of restrictive gun laws would like to see the consequences of a government legislating disarmament of its citizenry, one need look no further than Mexico. I don't know about your church, but when mine takes its kids camping, we take along our men and many of them go well-armed - just in case there are bears, you know.

I'm just sayin'

Tom King