Years ago I was talking to a colleague from Sweden, and he was complaining about their insane tax system which makes it impossible for anyone to really consider more than two kids, unless they’re very rich or destitute.
Being a libertarian and all around evil person, I took the opportunity to point out that’s what socialism does.
And then he surprised me by coming back with “Yeah, but capitalism doesn’t work either. My great grandparents remembered cannibalism in famines.”
At which point I tried to explain that his great grandparents had never experienced anything like free minds and free markets, but, in the 19th century (he was about my age) lived under an absolute monarchy. Which is not the opposite of socialism, but its close cousin (as well as the end stage of every communist experiment ever.)
I couldn’t get it through his head. I just couldn’t make him understand the opposite of socialism is NOT absolute monarchy
I see this kind of dichotomy EVERYWHERE, and it’s crazy. It’s not just that they want you to choose between cake and death, is that they seem to assign cake and death arbitrarily.
For instance a colleague of mine (no, you don’t have to think very hard who) on a panel referred to the confrontation between Stalin and Hitler as the confrontation between socialism and capitalism. My reaction (after my head had spun around and I’d spit up pea soup in sheer shock) was “Those words don’t mean what you think they mean.” I mean, it wasn’t just that he was WAY maligning capitalism, he was even taking a hit on normal, run of the mill socialists, who are deluded and economic illiterates but not — as a normal thing — homicidal maniacs.
Then there is the snowflake in my comments yesterday. Apparently the opposite of “be an idiot national-socialist, who thinks that America belongs to anglo-saxons and capitalism is evil” is “be like Sweden and force people to accept unending hordes of unassimilated hostiles.”
Part of what makes my head hurt in that kind of statement is not even the distortion, it’s the simplification.
In fact, both of the behaviors are a subset of socialism, which assigns people a value at birth, which is dependent on the group they are identified with. Both national socialists (with extra racial identification sprinkles!) and international socialists think human beings are widgets. The ONLY difference is the values they assign to the groups. If you’re born with skin in a certain paint chip range, and you have hair and eyes this color, then you’re either extra evil or extra good. What you actually ARE as a human being doesn’t matter. It’s either cake or death, and what you do, what you think, what you choose don’t matter. Cake or death, and stay in line, and do what you’re assigned, peasant.
And this is why I’ve been sounding the alarm about kids being so maleducated in our schools they rebel against the status quo by embracing what is pushed as its opposite, but which is ACTUALLY another facet of the status quo.
Whenever people start saying they’re revolutionaries and what they’re actually doing is inverting the categories that the government “should” assist, instead of doing away with government assigning people “value” according to color, creed, orientation, I hear the refrain from A Canticle for Leibowitz “Yes, we’re simple. And we shall have a great simplification.” This of course ushered in a millenia long dark ages in the book.
As it does. Because it’s another of those things where if you’re not seeing reality and what is inside your head is so at odds with reality as to be another world, you’re not going to get the results you expect. And then you have to come up with conspiracy theories to explain why the world doesn’t conform to the pretty picture inside your head.
QUITE my “favorite” of those for lunacy as well as longevity is “the Jews done it to us.” It’s a hoot. And a scream, when you see what it leads to.
BUT my second favorite, far and above, is that “The US done it to us.” I first heard it expounded in ninth grade, while a classmate’s father, who was driving us somewhere, took it upon himself to explain to me why Portugal should throw in with the USSR. I can’t remember the entire chain of logic but it went something like this: Portugal doesn’t have its own computer manufacturers because the Americans won’t let us. We didn’t invent the computer because IBM put it in a treaty we weren’t allowed to. And then with America controlling the price of rice, the USSR is our only choice.
I wish I could assure you I’m exaggerating, but I’m actually not. It was the above, with a lot more shouting, and exclamations. It devolved into how the evil Americans were keeping Portugal from being the leader in scientific research.
It’s easy and simple to blame an “enemy” particularly when it’s one the press hates. It’s much more complex to analyze the real reasons, which in Portugal for a long long time are that regulation, bakshish and nepotism corrupt all possible good in the country and stifle all possible development. It has nothing to do with innate capaciy (Portuguese abroad tend to do very well) but with how screwed up the culture and government are and — alas, if you read history you find — since long before the US existed.
In the comments we got into the “US made us do it” part 194, give or take a million, in which we’re APPARENTLY forcing Sweden to open its door to Muslim refugees, give them full benefits and believe they’ll become Swedes without a century or so of concerted integration.
How and why we’re responsible for that, is a perfect puzzle, since you know, last I checked the most we’d do is give or cut subsidies, and frankly, if you’re a grown up country you should have moved out of the US basement long ago.
I could have taken an argument based on Obama said because heaven knows, the man does say the stupidest things. I could even take the “the influence of American media which is fundamentally socialist is distorting people’s thinking abroad” — though the solution to that is, of course, to have a media industry of your own. Again, take your Star Trek posters and move out of our basement. We’re tired of paying for your music and toking lifestyle anyway.
BUT the argument seemed to be “the USSR no longer exists to force them to do stupid things, so it must be the US.”
To quote an old friend long ago “The US doesn’t generally force people to do things. Not with weapons. Because you can’t sell to dead people, and that’s the source of our power.”
Also, ignored int he great simplification is that Russia seamlessly took up the agitprop that the USSR had implanted/arranged in… well, most of the west but particularly in Scandinavia. The fact that Sweden and the rest of the Scandinavian countries were uniform enough prior to the current lunacy that they could ALMOST make socialism work, because it was a great big family. (Almost. The immiseration happened slower and people didn’t seem aware of it or thought it was cool, hence “enough” or “just right” being praise in Scandinavian countries.) Other things ignored: those countries have been socialist for many years, and don’t actually get the concept of free minds and free markets and a government that is used to treat people as widgets doesn’t understand it can’t bring in more widgets and make them like other widgets.
But what we get is the crazy dichotomy: if you think Western civilization was built by people of many skin shades, that humans are far more mixed than anyone gives them credit for BUT that nonetheless however created Western Civ is the last greatest hope of man kind and should be preserved, then you want unlimited Muslim immigration, socialism/communism, and to destroy Western Civ.
This makes so much sense, that I feel tempted to run down the street with my underpants on my head, as a way to understand it better. “This thing you love and must protect at all costs, you really want to destroy, because you think individuals can swear allegiance to principles and also that what is inside your head has nothing to do with skin color.” Hey, it’s crystal clear and amazing reasoning. Cake or death? Want some Qaalude with that?
And meanwhile what the frigging marching morons are actually doing is forwarding the things that ARE actually destroying western civ: tribalism; group think; large government; government defined minorities. All the while patting themselves on the back for having rejected socialism and the errors of the 19th century mind.
Can you argue with people stuck in this dual mode? Sure you can. But like arguing with liberals, whose mental frame work they stole, it’s exactly the same as arguing with a wall. You can hope to salvage the uncommitted who can still think and listen to it.
But as Kate Paulk is fond of pointing out, 99% of the population would rather die than think. They like their simple dichotomies. So, cake or death. If you’re not with us, you’re against us.
They lurch through history repeating the mistakes of the past under another name, but utterly convinced this time will be different.
And they insist on taking the rest of us along for the ride.
Teach your children well. What can’t continue won’t. And changing the names and hierarchies won’t make this big government hierarchy thing work any better.
In the end we win, they lose. BUT the water is going to get mighty choppy on the way there.
This ain’t no pleasure cruise. Prepare whatever you think you need in the way of a life vest, and hold on.
Be not afraid, but be wary. The over-trusting do not survive.