Through the Leftist Glass – Bill Reader

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*My friend Bill teaches a branch of liberal arts, at a State University, which precludes his talking or even writing or possibly thinking too loudly about his opinions.  This means I’m almost his sole outlet for (usually text) rants.  When I say “a friend and I were talking” Bill is one of the two friends it might be.  Something about the migrant horde has got him the wrong way and he’s done a series of articles for me.  He says it better than I could, so I hope you don’t mind the guest posts- SAH*

Through the Leftist Glass

Bill Reader

            As someone who lives and works in a very liberal environment, I can’t help but hear their view on matters. That includes thing like the Migrant Horde. Sometimes, it’s difficult for me explain to my fellow conservatives why their arguments don’t seem to connect at all to either the Left or Left-of-Center independents. It’s not that the arguments are bad. It’s that there’s a whole other set of premises that even relatively rank-and-file Leftists accept without really thinking, and if you don’t even acknowledge those premises—more specifically, if you don’t bring fire on them—you aren’t going to make any kind of a dent.

Democrats will view this as a pure pejorative, and yet this is, as I hope to demonstrate in some depth, simply a description—the Democratic view of the world is Marxist. It’s not thoroughgoing in the same way that the average Republican does not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the federalist papers (or the anti-federalist papers, which I would argue are also an important part of that puzzle). It’s the sort of relatively superficial understanding of the term that leads Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to identify as socialists. However, there are certain ideas about how the world is organized that Marxism takes on faith and pigeonholes available data into the framework of instinctively.

Here’s something that I would lay excellent money on—while we’re happy to take the media to task for identifying the Horde as migrants or refugees depending on the convenience of the moment, I strongly doubt that the average person on the Left cares. The Left does not identify the suffering of people in 3rd world Hellholes as the result of the idiot social policies in those locales. Intuitively, that makes sense. They can’t, because from Cuba to Honduras, from Mexico to Europe, the social policies are largely some variation on, and to a greater or lesser extent represent, the desired social policies of the Left itself.

Rather, the Left sees these manifestations of radical Leftism as evidence that these places are run by the “good guys”. They look elsewhere for the source of the troubles that hound these places. And the place where Marxism cuts in, and organizes their world view, is that in doing this, they see the most prominently prosperous and least socialist place happens to be the same place— the United States. The obvious conclusion, in their minds, is that other places are poor, and the United States is not, because the United States stole its wealth from the places that are poor. Apply some window dressing to that fairly rudimentary cognitive bias, cover it to a depth of about twenty feet with out-of-context examples, arguments against a standard of perfection rather than a standard of existing alternatives, and friendly, one-sided peer-reviewing, and you have a whole field of study—cultural imperialism.

And while the Left will complain that calling this Marxist is an overreach, cultural imperialism itself, certainly its explanations for why it impoverishes the third world, indeed require you to accept certain core tenets of Marxism. First, that value is best measured in a combination of raw resources, and work. The organization of work, the direction of work towards specified goals, is either excised from the Marxist perspective or outright villainized. It is exploitation, surplus to requirements. A CEO can do nothing worth millions of dollars, including, for example, the careful, difficult, and successful stewardship of billions of dollars in resources that none of the workers in his or her (But not xir, because that’s idiotic) factories could not do. Rather, management is assumed to be valueless if the actual work to create the product isn’t done by the manager. It’s likewise why Marxists advocate for the constant hampering or obfuscation of free markets, which in turn removes the ability to direct work towards sensical goals and replaces it with work towards government-defined goals. The goals still succeed or fail in relation to how close their outcomes are to the underlying reality but, in their new context, officials have the ability to blame on their opposition failed results more rightly attributed to the social engineer’s own meddling.

Which is a problem, you see, because while places like the United States have considerable natural resources and considerable manpower, what we really provide is ideas. Which is to say, our success hinges on making it as convenient as possible to direct resources towards new and unexplored market exigencies, and to organize resources around filling them. Where the materials and the work come from that help shape these dreams into physical facts are increasingly incidental—they can and do come from everywhere. We may occasionally find ourselves in uncomfortable or uncertain positions. When we finally gave attention to China’s market hijinks— thereby addressing the trade war we were already in in earnest, rather than taking the calming panacea of assurances from what is at the end of the day a geopolitical enemy with a diametrically opposed philosophy— it shifted the economic landscape. The best relative value for work and raw materials may land elsewhere. The ideas are flexible, however.

Marxism can provide no insight into these machinations. To them, what is made rightly belongs to the most proximal people who make it, as do the tools that make the things. These people are meant, under classical Marxism, to rebel against the unnatural order where this does not obtain, to thereafter be organized first by a dispassionate central government, then later by themselves, through unspecified magic involving the government withering away. What this means in practical terms is that people who mostly could not name the major exports of Honduras on a bet, instinctively believe that exploitation by the first world, and more specifically by the US, is what has reduced them to abject poverty. The first world, and the United States, must be taking something from them that is keeping them poor. Whatever key thing they export, we don’t pay enough for it. And never mind that the sale price is a piece of information arrived at by indexing what a person’s competitors are charging and what the buyer will actually pay—which is to say, economically their true complaint is more that the relative value of the bananas, say, to the people buying them, only goes so high. Anyone talking seriously about trying to “fix” this economic “problem” ought also to be prepared to explain to Americans why bananas should cost twenty dollars a bunch. Not than any amount of explication would help, when Americans turned to experimenting with plantains and the effective price of a banana became zero dollars, because nobody would be willing to buy them anymore.

Or else the first world is exploiting the third world, by buying and using cheap labor in the area—ignoring the fact that if the labor were not cheap, then given the inconvenience of having the labor done abroad, the labor would not be practical to have done in the area at all. To the Left, it is generally better to have no economic opportunity, and not be “exploited”, than to have economic opportunity that pays less than, say, an American living in completely different circumstances on a different continent would get. Or I should say, this is true unless Donald Trump is talking about incentivizing hiring the American worker, in which case they complain about us not hiring the foreign worker they would then complain about us exploiting.

And in these examples you will note, thereby, the second underlying Marxist assumption, which is a natural extension of the first. If only work and raw materials constitute the value of a product, then value is absolute. It is detached entirely from what a person is willing to pay for the thing. It is detached from where it is done, occasionally excepting the work and resources required to move it somewhere else and other times not, depending on the regime. It is detached from the regulatory environment that makes it harder or easier to do. It is an inherent property of the thing, and how that original value is established only the good lord knows. [Adam. In Eden. When he named the animals he also fixed price tags to everything-SAH]

I have heard, and I know for a fact that you too have heard, the Left railing against the above two things for exactly these underlying reasons. The first generally comes under the heading of “fair trade”, and the second comes under the heading of “third world sweatshops”. These kitten fits don’t make an ounce of sense economically. Whether a person is apt to explicitly call the workers of the world to unite, or use these disguises, they are invoking the same concept. Namely: value is absolute, the world over. Competition is a lie— if people in the third world are paid less for the same work, it is not a representation of them offering services at a price that competes with what the US offers— the US companies that buy the service are exploiting them. And if you infer from this that applying this rule everywhere would make life unbelievably more expensive, uncomfortable, and difficult, and make items like tropical fruits from far-flung provinces virtually inaccessible, you certainly haven’t been listening to Leftist Millennials, who agree with you— but believe this is necessary to end exploitation. We would indeed be worse off, for our sins. The fact that we would, in all probability, still have all the microchips, the technology, and the commodities, but they would now be much more expensive and available only to the very wealthy is lost on them. That applies to the poor in the third world too, incidentally—those cheap phones that are becoming so ubiquitous that kids in Iraq have them are only available at the cost they are because of the globalized economy. They would likely never even be developed without economies that let people take risks on new technologies like smart-phones—meaning cooling it with the regulations and letting people compete to offer better or cheaper things. But even if they were, they’d be in the hands of el presidente and his posse, not the proletariat. But at least the third world, bless them, would still have all their tropical fruits.

That is one explanation they believe for poverty abroad.  Another, even more implausible, is that it is the fallout of years spent under colonial rule during the discoveries. Someone must have taken everything of value that was there and shipped it out, so that the people there had nothing to work with. In a world of economies run on fiat currencies and now on electronic blockchains, where gold is valuable mostly for circuit boards and jewelry, they continue to attribute modern-day misery to Spaniards digging up and shipping home shiploads of gold hundreds of years ago. Never mind that, in response to the iron laws of economics, all this likely served to do was reduce the relative value of gold in Spain by making it less rare. [Did. One of my history projects was tracing the devaluation of a particular coin as a result of the discoveries- SAH] Or was it years of the colonial boot keeping people on the banana plantations, oppressing them until they could not live an independent existence? Poor Canada, so subjugated under the British boot that when said boot tried to kick them out they remained permanently affixed to it, somehow miraculously dodged a bullet, I suppose, because they were as colonized as anyone. Speaking of gold, someone just remind me where the Yukon is located? And Japan, which didn’t really have much in the way of resources and was nuked besides—and then had military emplacements put in it by the people who nuked them, speaking of colonization—through some inexplicable mechanism, nevertheless became one of the world’s largest economies. The mind boggles. Benefits of a dark pact with the Hentai monsters, perhaps?

Or from yet another angle—we put a thumb on the scales in their elections, don’t we? We uphold one candidate or another, and so on. So really, they’re currently vassal states, and therefore all of the problems they face do not proceed from their social system or from hundreds of years of backwards culture, or modern adoption of idiotic Marxist principles of—well, funnily enough, of the kind increasingly encountered in StarBucks, so perhaps we ought to hold onto our lattes. No, the moment we supported so-and-so over whatsisface—whatever the latter believed, however insane or hostile or socialist—we inherited all the problems of their screwed up system. What we call “minimizing the damage” they call “policing the world”. Never mind that when we have policed local areas of the world, as noted above, it seemed remarkably stabilizing. Given the relative success of Germany and Japan one is tempted to ask if it would help to install some military bases.

It seems comical, and I make light of it. But the truth is, this is the organizing principle of the leftist mind. To them, by one or all of these routes, we have sown the wind. They believe we have, in fact, achieved the enviable position of putting all our proletariat some distance away, and erected a border as a kind of protection. Viewed in that light, the border is not a necessity to prevent the tragedy-of-the-commons dissolution of our way of life, and it’s not a peaceful and unambiguous way to establish mine and thine, but a barrier to justice. That is why the Left does not particularly care whether these people are refugees, or just out and out random South Americans come calling for all the stuff we “stole”. The Left is dandy with the concept of helping them redistribute the wealth. They don’t see themselves as giving other people’s stuff away, they see themselves as moving incrementally towards giving it back. If all of South America started marching North, demanding everything the US has down to the territory, at the root of everything? The Left would regard that as fair, just, and no more than we ultimately deserve for the years of “exploitation” as delineated above.

Hence, you aren’t going to dissuade them even with robust arguments that these people are not refugees. On some level, you excite them. They would be quite happy to get confirmation that these people came with violent intent. You can hear it in the way they phrase things. Note the military imagery CBS paints for its audience when they say the migrant horde “marched on through Mexico like a rag tag army of the poor”, and consider for a moment that their readership is meant not to be hardened by the military framing of people marching towards what is technically said readership’s own border, but heartened by it, sympathetic to it. But even if they were merely refugees, they see us as the ultimate cause of what they are refugees from, so they think it’s our responsibility. And they don’t care about the expense, because they think ultimately in paying the expense we are paying them back. In point of fact, precisely because of the Marxist muddle-headedness they are suffering, they conveniently render themselves unable to process almost any cogent argument.

If you really want to start—or keep— taking this thing back, start going after the Marxist muddle-headedness itself.

 

325 responses to “Through the Leftist Glass – Bill Reader

  1. I don’t think the ideas are the crucial thing about the American economy. Ideas as such are just another productive resource; you need someone to get behind the idea and turn it into a product or service, and you need to be able to pick good ideas and dump bad ones. The United States has more and more vigorous entrepreneurship than other countries, and fewer hindrances to its exercise, and a system of property and contract law that enables entrepreneurs to earn more reliable rewards from their efforts. And in the last analysis, a swarm of entrepreneurs each trying to make local improvements is a far more powerful data processing engine than a board of expert bureaucrats armed with computers. That’s called “the problem of economic calculation” and it’s been the crucial issue in socialist theory since von Mises pointed it out in the 1920s. That hardly any pop Marxists are even aware of it is one of their big intellectual defects.

    • I think ideas are Bill’s short hand for “innovation” which in turn unpacks everything you said. He writes gargantuan essays as is.

      • I’m not so sure. I think Mr. Stoddard is trying to say that America doesn’t have a monopoly on ideas; but instead, we have one of the greatest opportunities world-wide to implement those ideas. After all, how many people have told you they have an idea for a story (probably countless), but never set themselves up to have the opportunity to write them? Successful writers, particularly the indie ones, strike me as being the entrepreneurs of storytelling.

        Or maybe my head’s screwed on backwards this morning.

        • A Brit discovered that coal tar had stuff in it that could be used for dye (analines). But that sparked the German chemical industry. It’s ALL about who is willing (and even CAN) “get their hands dirty” doing a job. The USA has (or had?) this amazing idea… that, for anyone, “getting your hands dirty” is a Good Thing… and not a Sin. Yes, there are exceptions… they might be rich… for now.

          • In many many cultures *doing the work* is shameful because it signals lower status. In some, even having a job means that you’re lower status, no matter what the job is, because it means you haven’t got family wealth.

            It’s not *absent* in our culture, because there are lots of people who value people differently because of their education or if they’re “white” collar instead of “blue” collar. Lord knows that my grandmother thought that anyone who was a Lawyer or doctor or PhD was a better human being than others. But even those people are admired if they work very hard. The store manager who jumps on a till isn’t assumed to be insecure, no matter that I’ve worked for (bad) managers who would never do it.

            And while it’s not always true, in *general*, we let the “maid” or anyone else in through the front door when we hire someone.

            • From the history I’ve read, the medieval monasteries, starting perhaps with the Rule of St. Benedict, took up the idea that labor was praiseworthy in the eyes of God. In many ways they were important precursors of a capitalist economy, even though their internal functioning was communistic.

            • And while it’s not always true, in *general*, we let the “maid” or anyone else in through the front door when we hire someone.

              Oh dear, this suggests an interpretation greatly undesired when I had to direct the plumber, roofer, etc. to the side door we were actually using. I really hope I didn’t make them think I didn’t consider them good enough for the front door. I think I apologized to most of them for having boxes in front of it….

              • I think you’re safe with “the door we use”. Just so long as you didn’t call it “the servant’s entrance.” 😉

                • Terry Sanders

                  I once had to explain to a nice (if slightly starchy) English lady why I’d come to the front door to ask where we should bring the item of furniture we were delivering.

                  Basically, l said, since few Americans have servants, we don’t regard back or side doors as “servant’s entrances.” Instead, because the lady of the house spends so much time in the kitchen it usually opens into, it’s the “informal entrance.” And I wasn’t entitled to that informality. Strangers come to the *front* door.

                  She unbent quite a bit at that point. Complimented me on the clarity of my explanation, and asked me how long I had been in the United States. And what part of England I had originally come from. I’d clearly been here a while–she couldn’t place what was left of my accent…

                • I think what actually happened involved my approaching the front door as closely as possible and miming at them through the window to go around the side. *laughing* Or going out and around to get them, depending on whether I could be seen adequately.

              • This is probably one of the few places that would make the connection.

                I know my figuring on doors is that being taken to the kitchen door is a good thing, because that’s where company comes in, not “guests.” Real stuff happens in the kitchen.

                If you’re hired? You go through the shortest route.

              • There was an older SF story by Jack Vance involving an amusing local called Kirstenville. (This was before the American Girl doll made the name Kirsten a household word. It used to be obscure in the U.S.)

                The “unusual” thing about Kirstenville was that it had aristos waited on hand and foot by an obsequious servants class. But! And! The reader soon learns that every few days they all swop places!

                And I read it thinking, “Congratulations, you’ve discovered middle-class America.”

                One of the great ideas underpinning the U.S. is that once you clear a minimum social bar, you can be a waiter bowing and scraping to your clientele, then go out to dinner and be the Aristo. And the garbage man and the Captain of Industry alike are dubbed with the honorific “My Lord”

                *someone named Sage pioneered this construction.

            • Best example of middle management I ever saw was a woman who worked for the Suncoast arm of Sam Goodey, back in the ‘90’s. Every year she worked one week in each of the stores in her district, during the Christmas insanity….and on the register, which was the most thankless position.

              As a society, we really need to revive the phrase ‘work-shy bum’.

              • “The customer is always right” is the Ultimate Proof Against Time Travel. Never mind physics, never mind energy requirements, etc. No need for any advanced mathematics. Here’s the simple proof:

                If time travel worked, at all, at least some (if not ALL) retail workers would build a time machine, buy a time, steal a time machine, hijack a time machine, whatever to get access… and go back and utterly clobber the nitwit who said that. You do not read histories of a such a thing happening, ergo… no time travel – save at the Standard Rate of 1 second per second, forward.

                • I had that not-so subtly beaten into my head when I got annoyed at a vendor who did a minor foul up. Turns out, this was the *only* vendor who did this type of stuff in the major metropolitan area, and If I pissed them off, it was going to cost us thousands a year to find, qualify and use another vendor.

                  They didn’t get pissed, but the lesson stuck. If I’m going to tell off a vendor, I make sure a) I’m really right, and b) there’s an alternative. More often, it’s “how do we make this work right?” with the original vendor.

                  On the gripping hand, I have walked away from businesses before doing any transactions. The one where a tractor dealership had been in a year-long negotiation with a rancher, and they were squabbling about a $100 delivery charge (implied, it was a tractor in the high 5 figures) said life wasn’t going to be pleasant dealing this those people. The idiot sales droid actually wasn’t embarrassed about discussing the delivery charge to us, while insisting that we really needed to buy what he had in stock, not what we wanted…

                  In the long run, we ended up with a much better machine for a considerably better price. I think we paid the delivery charge, but it was 50 miles from the dealership.

                  • Pa once went to a car dealer and after the usual show (“I need to talk to my manager” yeah right) a vehicle and price was agreed upon. Until the time came to get the vehicle. Then there was an another, previously unmentioned $%0 charge. Pa called him on it. No budge. And Pa walked away. Salesman, “You’re walking away from this for only $50?!” “You’re losing a sales over $50.”

                    • Delivery charges are normal. Hell, we’re 40 miles from the biggish city, so I expect to pay for that driving time. The gabberflasting thing was the sales-droid was happy to let an expensive (and time consuming) tractor sale go down the tubes over a $100 charge. The fact that he took the call while we were talking to him (and he was trying to sell us the inappropriate tractor he had on hand) pegged my “walk-away” meter. And, he actually admitted they had been negotiating a year. Sheesh, what a waste of time.

                      The dealership we went with was about 50 miles from us; I think we paid a delivery charge, either as a separate line item or built in the price. But, they had what we wanted (mostly in stock), and items that had to be ordered, no quibble. Annnnnd, the tractor is going strong after 15 years, with only field repairs.

                    • It wasn’t that it was (or was not, no idea) a delivery charge – it was that it was NOT mentioned earlier. The final price was said, and then a $50 fee showed up. The saleshuman(?) could have been up front and honest that there would be that charge during the first pass. He was not – and so… he lost that sale. And I think Ma is still driving the car they got instead – and she has NOT changed vehicles since Pa shuffled off this mortal coil and condenser.

                    • Yeah, understood. I figured that the tractor guy at [redacted] was trying to pull the same crap on the rancher, and if he’d do it on a big deal, we’d get worse.

                      $SPOUSE got annoyed when the auto/truck dealership tried the last-minute long term warranty attempt on our new pickup. I told them no (with a “Hell no, nada, nein, nyet!” as backup) and that was that. OTOH, most of the other dealers in town are part of a group that mysteriously avoided the great Auto Dealership Cutback in 2009 due to interesting political connections. There’s been a low grade boycott of them; it seems to be fading, but everybody notices that the town doesn’t have any GM dealerships. The Chevy dealer lost the last one, even though we’re 80-100 miles from the nearest others. It seems, he was a Republican.

            • Hence, whenever I express my problem with long sleeves — I have disproportionately short arms — it’s that I don’t like the Chinese mandarin effect.

              You didn’t even wear clothes that would LET you do work.

              • One memorable bit from renfaire stuff that went into at least a little detail:

                “Wasn’t that impractical?”
                “Yes, and that was the point. You were advertising that others did work for you.”

                So that showy estate and fancy car and tailored suit? Nothing new. It was so bad that that sumptuary laws came into to being to try to prevent people from appearing “above their station” (a concept I consider inherently evil – I like that there is, in essence, one class: American. Oh, alright, there is productive American, ‘unfortunate’ American [unproductive due to illness, injury, etc. — this does NOT include the once hard-working retired, those are the Very Fortunate perhaps] and then… jerks. I am being kind with only using that term.)

          • There’s two classes of workers in the eyes of the Left.
            There’s The Worker- the nameless ones of Socialist Realist art with the muscular limbs & small head, heroically staring off into the Glorious Future while holding some sort of heroic hand tool. Socialist love those types.
            Then there’s the guy who shows up to fix the drain. Socialist hate and fear this guy, because he’s probably an ignorant Trump supporter who owns guns, and may go berserk at any moment in a rage of homophobic racism.

            • I wish there were a like button so I could support this comment to adulthood. That’s exactly true. They like the Platonic ideal of the Worker just as they support The People ™. Comes to *actual* workers or people, however? Nyet.

            • That’s where the theory of Marxist labor collapsed. Its basic premise was that all labor was interchangeable. Which was fine when you handed someone a shovel and a chit in the morning and swapped the chit for a few pennies at the end of the day.

              By the time the intelligentsia started thinking Communism was a fine thing, the skilled labor class had emerged. If you needed an electrician, a steamfitter, or a toolmaker, you couldn’t just pick any reasonably healthy and obedient-looking contender out of the line; you had to deal with them like they were real people, or they’d take their skills somewhere else.

              • There’s always been a skilled labor class since people started chipping flint (maybe before). America is one of the few places that they aren’t looked down on. Skilled labor was the RIVAL of the intelligencia, in the form of Guilds, (And in some cases were the Intelligencia depending on how much skilled labor the top flight Guild folk actually had done to get there) therefore they weren’t ‘workers’ but they weren’t nobility either.

              • keep in mind we’re also discussing people who don’t think skilled labor requires any skills.

        • We also have a comparatively efficient mechanism for getting rid of bad ideas, though it doesn’t work as well as it used to. Consider how many businesses have failed through not adapting to changing environments. A system that carefully keeps all those businesses going because think of the lost jobs or whatever adds deadweight to the economy. Losses are as important as profits to a market system, and business failures may be more important than business successes.

          • Donald Campbell

            Capitalism works until Government gets involved.

          • one word in support. SEARS

            • Oh yeah! I hated shopping there! The prices were high and the merchandise was not worth the price. Except for hardware type stuff. Not sure of the word I mean. Except for hardware type stuff. Not sure of the word I mean. Kenmore washers, dryers, tools etc. Durable goods maybe?Kenmore washers, dryers, tools etc. Durable goods maybe?It was also difficult to find a salesperson to ring you up let alone help you. This is why I was willing to pay twice the price for good quality and helpful, plentiful salespeople at Nordstrom’s. It was a pleasant place to shop or merely eat.

              • They thought they were the phone company (Laugh-in version) that didn’t care because they didn’t have to? And thus “followed the path of least assistance” as I’ve seen it put.

                And had Sears kept in mind how they started and grew and what that meant… well, they could have been ‘Amazon’… but instead, Amazon is.

              • Going to miss Sears. Not that we need anymore tools. Already have as many as we need & they don’t break or quit working or …

                Appliances. On our 3rd set of *Washer/Dryers, first set lasted 18 years. Second 12, Third set is going on 10 years. Always go for simple models. Freezer is 33 years old, works fine. *Stove finally gave up after 28 years; replaced it with a Samsung through Sears. Dishwasher died after 15. Don’t know how that compares to other brands, but by price, Kenmore had always been less expensive.

                *As long as we can repair them (as in cost of parts), we keep them. As soon as we have to have someone into fix, usually because the parts aren’t readily available, we replace. We call in the Appliance Guy, he picks up used units. Either repairs them, or uses them for parts to fix appliances, for low income; etc.

                Anyone remember Montgomery Wards? Or as they were in the end, just Wards? S&S Green Stamps?

                • I do vaguely recall “Monkey Wards” and have faint memories of green stamps. Much as I remember when Regular meant the gasoline had tetraethyl lead and grandpa spoke of “white gas” that did not.

                • We’ve known Kenmore appliances are really Whirlpool for a while now, and Sears is selling off the Kenmore brand (as they did the Craftsman tool brand), so the old assurance of Sears quality & warranty is pretty much gone.
                  Monkey Wards was once pretty good – still have a wood kitchen range by them that was my wife’s grandparents’. They stocked spare parts nearly up until the company died… not a business model that’s popular any more.

                • …Anyone remember … S&S Green Stamps?

                  tto “Greensleeves”
                  Green stamps were all they gave
                  Green stamps were all she took
                  Green stamps were all she saved
                  and she pasted them into her green stamp book ”

                  Yes.

            • yeah, Sears ‘tried to adapt’ and did it wrong by killing their catalog sales and not pushing into internet sales early enough.

          • Best way to avoid large job losses when a business fails to adapt, is to keep businesses from getting “too big to fail”. Economies of scale don’t help all that much, percentagewise, beyond a certain size.

            • But Big Government absolutely loves, loves, LOVES Big Business. The bigger the business, the more campaign money can be extorted, the more favors one can get, the more Union members can be hired, the more asinine HR practices cab be forced, and so on.

              And it’s a mutual love.

              • Due to “regulatory capture” – make the regs so that they become a barrier to entry and BIG business prevents any small one from daring to compete… until someone innovate beyond their ken. Then there is panic.

          • That’s why I get annoyed at the whole “too big to fail” business concept. If they’re that big, and they suck at being a business that bad, we’re rewarding… failure.

            Of course when they have that much money, they buy the people who pass the bills to bail them out…

        • This.

          Anyone who has worked with ideas can tell you that an idea by itself isn’t that valuable. An idea plus the figuring out an implementation that works in the right way? Now that is valuable.

      • Donald Stephens

        I would propose that a better term might be ‘cultural capital’.

        Capital, in economics, simplified, is the tools we have to do things with. The term ‘cultural capital’ defines some of these tools as abstract ideas, customs, or rules.

        i was thinking about this yesterday when the discussion of musical temperament came up, particularly well and even temperament. It’s as abstract as you can get: a model for distributing a musical octave among a set of step tones in that octave, to accommodate the fact that a set of step tones won’t divide an octave evenly on its own. It enabled pianos, brass bands, modern trumpets, musical key switching, and other things I don’t even know about. That versatility allowed ‘western’ music to influence the globe, including places that were never actually colonized, like China, which has appropriated the toolkit.

        ‘Cultural capital’ can also be methods of settling disputes, of ownership of other abstract ideas (like copyright), or even social interaction. (not all such are cultural capital, but some are)

        The premise is that the United States has developed a robust store of cultural capital. This supply has allowed people who think and create, and those who work and self-manage, to do these things outside of the political – which always carries violence with it.

        The socialist, by contrast, believes that all proper management, all proper creativity, and all proper thought, is political. Doing so places violence at the apex of the social system, and that is why they are aristocratic, poor societies.

    • And entrepreneurship depends on an expectation that you’ll be able to enjoy the results of your innovation or hard work. Ownership of property, intellectual or otherwise.

      • Yes, that was what I meant by “a system of property and contract law that enables entrepreneurs to earn more reliable rewards from their efforts.”

        • And you also mentioned the “computing” power of a distributed decision making system, which will always make better decisions in aggregate than can be made by a centralized authority.

          It’s the inverse of “a person is smart but people are dumb”… which is true when the “people” aren’t actually making individual decisions or choices. Because an individual person might be very dumb, but in aggregate individual choices will be “smart”. In aggregate people can know far far more than any person or central authority can know about the world around them and they *always* know more about their own lives than someone who isn’t them.

          It’s frightening to *let* people make their own, and possibly very wrong, choices. But it works.

          • Yes yes yes. God I’ve missed you Synova 🙂

            Liberty is the right to make stupid choices. Sad, until we take the distribution curve and look at BOTH tail ends. Intervention by the Government or Nosey Nannies to protect the Stupid will also handicap the Atlases at the other end. It’s the lethal flaw of Socialism and redistribution: the murder of motivation and innovation, leading to a static society that cannot evolve or adapt it’s way out of trouble.

            Okay, now I’m just talking to hear myself, but I felt some need to state the obvious. Maybe just to organize my thoughts. Thanks. Hehe.

            • Truman got a few things correct. One of them was that when faced with a choice, “Make a decision.” And he admitted he didn’t always choose best, but “When I find I made a bum decision, I can make ANOTHER decision.”

              • One of the rules of crisis that I learned is When in doubt, do something. Because if what you are doing is helpful, people around you will not only let you keep going, but are likely to pitch in as well. And inevitably, when you do something that is unhelpful, there’ll be some harpy standing close by to point out what an idiotic thing you’re doing when this other thing needs to be done first. Which you can then take a moment to think on and change tacs if needed.

                • Military application is that making a decision gets you moving. A moving target is hard to hit, even if it’s going the wrong way. And going the wrong way can surprise your opponent, often enough for you to decide to either change direction to escape, or decide to carry through the charge to try for a victory.

                  • I think this is evolutionary reason that panicked screaming and running in circles still exists: Sometimes it works.

                    That said, if I’m ever in an emergency situation with someone screaming and running in circles, that person is going to get slapped.

                • When in doubt do something… (Yes!)

                  Corollary: If there’s time, and available, ask for help.

                  Took me decades to learn that part.

              • Pretry much the essense of leadership. More specifically, what people are looking for a leader to do. Pick a direction and go.

                • and a good leader is one who picks directions that usually don’t hurt his followers – NOT one who’s always perfect, or takes six months to study a decision about an urgent need

          • Yeah, but the flip side is your smart group might just as easily become a destructive mob.

      • And that is a major stumbling block for South and Central America (and maybe about Asia and Africa, I would need somebody who knew them to tell me). Land ownership and the right to keep your property is so tied up in Government favor that exploitation wins over husbandry almost,every time.

        • I’ve been saying pretty much the same thing. That’s why you see people hanging onto power, and voting according to their tribe. Because you don’t know when “your” people will be in power again, and you can’t rely on “them” to take care of your people. Nor can “you” be relied on to take care of “them”.

          • And this is what we are now seeing in our pwn politics. It is all about rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies

            • That’s the practical result of damaging the high-trust society: more internal tribalism and warfare. But they’re arrogant enough to assume they’ll win…

      • People think I’m weird when I say that all true liberty flows through property rights. Without sound property rights, a people cannot be truely free.

        • Well, I don’t think you’re weird. You’re a kindred spirit.

        • It starts with owning yourself, right?

        • If you own a man’s property, you also own his life and liberty.

          • “Whoever possesses the house in which yoin which you ride or the income on which your freedom, or part of it. Freedom is indivibe happy, they must be free, and to be free, the possibility of satisfying their own needs. Whoever possesses the means of fulfilling your needs controls or exploits you.”

            – Muammar al-Qadaffi, in his “Green Book.”

            (the FBI would love my bookcase…)

          • cripes, the quote got mangled…

            “Whoever possesses the house in which you dwell, the vehicle
            in which you ride or the income on which you live, possesses
            your freedom, or part of it. Freedom is indivisible. For people to by happy, they must be free…” usw.

        • The people who think you are weird have never tried to live where property rights are really insecure. They may be in favor of the property rights of others being taken away (as in with most environmentalists) but they never for a minute think that the government might take away THEIR property. And, for the most part, they are right. And when they are wrong, they stop being Lefties, mostly.

        • I have heard someone insist that property rights MUST be subordinated to travel rights otherwise someone can keep you prisoner on his property until you starve to death.

          • Whatever they’re smoking, I don’t want any.

          • Sounds like a dishonest argument to me. Leftists tend to dislike the idea of property rights (mostly for others) because property rights get in the way of the revolution. How will they be able to confiscate everything from the bourgeoisie, if the bourgeoisie enjoys strong property rights? And as anyone who has ever argued with (or had a conversation with… but I repeat myself) a Leftist knows, they often just throw out anything they think will stick, whether it’s an honest argument or not.

            Besides, Property rights cover that scenario quite nicely anyway. As noted in previous comments, at the very base of property rights is the right to own yourself. If someone were to try to keep you prisoner, they would be violating that right. IE, taking unwarranted possession of your body, which only you can own. So, even travel rights flow from property rights.

            Yea yea… I can already hear the next argument coming. “Oh Yea? What about jails and prisons then? Huh?” Sigh… The dishonest arguments never cease…

            • Very dishonest. He would announce that he was asking a Yes/No question and if you didn’t say Yes, you were answering No.

        • I prefer Life, Liberty and Property to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I know the historical reason why it wasn’t property but…

    • Donald Campbell

      I think “ideas” is really, everything else. Marxists consider labor and resources. What they ignore is the skill-set to get the right resources to the right labor and minimize the effort.
      Wal-Mart didn’t become great because they were just another store. Wal-Mart perfected a just-in-time manufacture, storage, distribution system that minimized inventories, and transportation and matched demand with availability.
      Stocking the central warehouse costs, extra stuff in stores costs, having workers ready to work and no material to make widgets costs. These are the things that don’t fit in the ‘workers paradise’, including the absurd notion that workers trained in making Ma-Bell rotary-dial phones can turn on a dime and turn out iPhones.
      Marx -fixed pie, fixed bureaucrats making decisions. Smith -growing pie from greedy capitalists taking risks to make more. Also remember the Leftist phrase, “End of History”. How can you ‘progress’ past the end? Have no original thinking.

      • But… but Walmart is a symbol of vile, exploitative capitalism in action!! They don’t even let their workers Unionize!!!!
        Sarcasm, of course, but pretty close to what the schreechers believe.
        One of the more entertaining old eps of The Daily Show had an expose where it was shown that the union picketing Walmart was using underpaid, non-union day labor for the picket line.

        • Unions are a cancer upon business.

          • Well, at least a parasite. Occasionally, to be fair, they’re a relief valve to reduce explosive pressure before the whole enterprise is damaged; problem is (to continue the metaphor), their leadership often uses a heavy hand on the fuel to ensure the pressure stays high.

      • That’s why the plumber gets to present the $300 bill for kicking a pipe: because he knows which pipe to kick when, and when not to kick a pipe, because he’s already eliminated the other possibilities. Or has seen the same thing a thousand times. Not because he has some esoteric knowledge not available to everyone.

    • He does rather explain that ability to effectively use good ideas is required for us to export “ideas.”

  2. I wonder if this view of absolute value (or whatever term Bill used up there) is the reason why so many people seem utterly convinced that it doesn’t matter what is done by *anyone*, the wealth will keep on rolling in. Incentives or regulations or taxes or government direction of industry and business… none of it will change the bottom line in the least so there is no downside to opposing redistribution and no reason to oppose any of it except that you really hate poor people and want them to suffer.

    And yeah, saying it out loud sounds like perjoratives, because who could possibly be that stupid? And yet just yesterday I saw someone claiming that arguments about negative consequence and destroying the economy had no basis whatsoever because 70% income taxes bla bla bla. So yeah, people really do simply *dismiss* the concern of taxation or regulatory policies hurting the economy as if it was similar to worrying about the microwaves in the air and suggesting we ought to don tinfoil hats.

    • Yep, it is why they think they can pull down the walls and leave the roof up.

      • I love that analogy.

      • Works fine for sunny tropical beaches, as long as you leave the supports up for the roof.

        Not so good when the wind blows the snows from Ultima Thule through your wall-less living room.

    • No downside *to* redistribution… got an extra “opposing” in there.

    • The left likes to point back to those glory days when the top tax rate ran in the 80-90 percent range. What they ignore is that almost no one actually paid at such rates. If you had any measure of money you invariably also had a smart tax lawyer who knew all the intricacies of tax shelters, writeoffs, and such tricks and dodges.
      What typically happens in what I’ve observed in a fairly regular cycle is that the tax rates get cut but at the same time the deductions and exemptions also get reduced or eliminated. And inevitably the ravening maw of government, in particular leftie directed government, ever desperate for more revenue for their “essential” programs causes rates to increase minus the former breaks.

      • What typically happens is that rich people *always* can afford expensive tax lawyers (and I don’t begrudge them this) and will rearrange their financial strategies to be most effective. But Regular Joe or Small Business Sally can’t afford an expensive tax lawyer and Regular Joe or Small Business Sally get screwed.

        • By design. If it actually hit the truly wealthy it would hit the politicians and the people that they rub elbows with. The folks too poor to donate tens of thousands to the ruling class are just sheep to be fleeced.

          • Yup, going back to the original basis for “trickle down”, you find that the people who would be otherwise investing in businesses and paying taxes were instead investing in low yield municipal bonds that they didn’t have to pay any taxes on. Lowering the tax rate to where investing in business and paying the taxes still left you with more profit than buying the tax free bonds is what drove the rising in the economy.

            • It kinda reinforces my idea that there are two significantly different definitions of middle class. One is the folks who work in private sector and benefit from growing economy while the other is that the middle class is govt employees who benefit from draining more blood from economy.

            • On the flip side, most municipal bonds are rated somewhere near “toilet paper.”

              When you’re “the government” it’s simply too easy to default.

              • The original junk bond. If they are tax free then the low ROI is worth it. You get little return, but the government doesn’t munch on it.

      • This is the INEVITABLE result of any “let’s get the rich” regulatory scheme.

      • And then… well… let’s make sure that we don’t punish small businesses or normal folks so the new regulations will only kick in at 25 hours a week per employee and these other expenses only happen when someone has 30 employees or more… and now no one gets full-time hours and companies can’t afford to have more than 29 employees.

        Predictable. Inevitable.

        • Yes – the Law of Unintended Consequences is obviously anti-Marxist, so shouldn’t be studied by right-thinking folks! /s

      • Like in the EU, where the Value Added Tax (national sales tax) was supposed to replace income taxes and inheritance taxes. Now you have a 40% income tax, a 15% sales tax on groceries, 20% sales tax on manufactured goods, 24% sales tax on a meal eaten at a restaurant…

      • At no point in history has the US Gov managed to reliably take in more than 20 percent of GDP. Ridiculously high tax rates on the top tax brackets just make rich people get more creative about keeping what they have.

        • There ya go, pointing to data. You just gotta believe and clap harder and the money will come

        • The trick is to make it easier and cheaper to just pay the tax instead of trying to fight or cheat it. Which means a low tax rate.

        • I’d pay $100,000 in accountant’s fees to avoid paying $75,000 in tax.

          At least my money would go to someone who worked for it, as opposed to being extracted from me under threat of fine or imprisonment and thrown away at “social problems”, subsidizing enemies of our nation, or lining the pockets of politicians and their cronies.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Progressive taxation calibrated to rate of income is in practice tax farming.

        People who are numerate enough to understand that if plumbing were taxed at a rate of 2000$ per day worked, there would be less plumbing done legally and the poor would not afford it somehow seem unable to draw the logical conclusion.

        If you are being paid more, you have more economic leverage than people being paid less. If only you have an additional cost, you can try to pass it on to your customer, but may not be successful if your competition can undercut you. If you and everyone who competes with you have an extra cost, you all will be able to pass on that cost to your customers.

        Tax farming is where an intermediary collects taxes on behalf of the end government tax collector.

        • > progressive taxation

          …is the fundamental concept of Marxist economics. And they *looove* them some “screw the rich.”

          We won’t achieve equality until we’re all equally poor, you know.

          • And the Seattle influence at work is showing in a similar way. As ypu make more money you pay more of your benefits.

          • “We won’t achieve equality until we’re all equally poor, you know.”
            I doubt too many professing American Marxist are really willing to voluntarily step into equal poverty.
            The nomenklatura of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is owed the nice flats, the good food, the working cars- all those things because leading the Revolution is hard. Because some animals are more equal than others.

    • I’m taking a finance class right now focused on building wealth. One of the discussion questions was about taxes and whether it was possible to build a “fair” taxation regime. The number of people saying that rich people (never defined, mind you) either deserved to pay more taxes, or didn’t care about taxes, would make you weep. It certainly did me. Plus all the whining a

      • * whining about unspecified “loopholes” that meant “the rich” didn’t pay taxes.

        Stupid phone.

  3. And pretty danged soon you’re Venezuela and can’t buy toilet paper.

  4. With respect, the author is walking toward a cliff I’ve already climbed back up on. It’s how I came up with Fen’s Law to begin with:

    “The Left doesn’t really believe in the things they lecture the rest of us about”

    It’s a warning to not waste your breath on on arguments that assume they are acting in good faith. Those are just stalking horses they use as props, virtue signaling while masking their true motives.

    Else, explain their hypocrisy of advocating for the current refugee caravan invasions while opposing Cuban refugees. The difference is that Cuban refugees vote Republican. There is no hypocrisy because the Left doesn’t really care about refugees.

    It’s simple – the Left wants to add more dependent slaves to the voting roles. Central American refugees will support the Democrat welfare machine and are predisposed to tolerate higher levels of corruption and incompetence in their elected leaders.

    I appreciate the effort the author took here. He makes good points. But he is shelling a hill the enemy is not occupying.

    • And here I thought it was because the images of Cubans floating across the shark-infested gap in increasingly improbable vessels in order to escape from the healthcare paradise into our exploitative capitalist hellhole sprung a hole in their narratives.

      • While I sort of comprehend the idea of the “wet foot dry foot” policy… anyone travelling via a (nearly) submarine converted from an ancient pickup truck has shown both ingenuity and determination and I would say ocean/sea/water be damned, that foot is DRY.

        • Having known a few Cubans (not Mark) I must say I agree there.

        • An uncle of mine who lived down by Miami told me about a neighborhood not far from where he lived that a bunch of Cuban refugees moved into because it was run-down so they could afford it. He said that within a few short years, those Cubans had transformed the neighborhood into one of the nicest neighborhoods in the area.

    • Except who is “The Left”? Is it Hillary Clinton and her handlers (who arguably know exactly what they’re doing, and don’t care about anyone else)? Is it Bernie Sanders and his Occasional-Cortex drones (who may or probably don’t know what the heck they’re doing, but they’re doing it for the best of intentions, our own good)? Or is it my neighbors and family members who out of perhaps misplaced compassion or fear believe the party line but aren’t interested in doing the skull sweat to figure out they’re being played for patsies?

      • This grouping kinda straddles the two. The mistaught are the ones that don’t connect cause and economic effect and thus push ‘it’d be nice’ laws like wage or free immigration. Doesn’t hurt that the ones who do typically either are not affected by the direct effects or only by the positive ones. The ones that push things tend toward the vindictive range, wanting to hurt the oppressors.

      • It’s a topic on which I have a lot of trouble keeping in mind the fact that intelligent people can reach difficult conclusions, except… except I know some of them. There is a point where I don’t trust them — I assume they’d turn on me if it came down to it — but. They’re not dumb about anything else. They’re generous with their own time and money and they work their tails off — and do it well — on the job. But they see anybody having any kind of trouble and they blame it on capitalism.

      • The mass of left voters, whom we try to talk to and get blank stares, which has caused the NPC memes to flourish.

    • See, I think it’s possible this one will bite them in the ass. The thing is they’re advocating for bringing in large numbers of people from countries (both Central/South America and the ME) that are WAY more socially conservative than your typical leftist/SJW. At some point of equilibrium, that is going to be more important to the folks coming in than the economic benefits. They will NEVER have the “permanent demographic majority” they keep thinking they will have if only they bring in just a feeeew more.

      • They’re not conservative like us, though.
        And yeah, but Gramsci promised them that tanned people were the real proletariat that would usher in socialism. They believe it. It’s a religion.

        • Yeah, and you can’t show them reality, like the large numbers of Latinos in the Border Patrol. It”s a religion, as you said, so they can’t believe their lyin’eyes.

  5. Ugh. Voting rolls not roles.

    And, if these refugees were potential Republican voters, you can be sure the Left would be giving them the Elian Gonzalez treatment, regardless of whatever justifications they pretend at the water cooler.

    • It’s even simpler than that. If Trump was for open borders they’d be against. In fact, they always were against open borders. And I agree that no one at all is actually *for* open borders now. (Except for crazy libertarians, who are the only ones who ever thought that was a good idea anyway.)

      The weird base assumptions about the economy seem right on though.

      • I saw a headline about how Trump was (allegedly) in trouble because the media (ha) said so. My take is that if they REALLY wanted to hurt Trump, all they need to do is… endorse. Of course, they won’t do that, so… be sure to have all your fire extinguishers and firearms ready to deal with the rioting when the election returns are reported.

        • The media keeps trying to relive 1972. Unfortunately, for them, they don’t have the kind of control they did then, and they also don’t have anythign real to get Trump on.

          And don’t worry, i have mags loaded.

      • Open borders worked pretty well in the 19th century; we only acquired a restrictive immigration policy under Wilson, as part of the Progressive movement (and accompanied by resurgent racism, eugenics, and the like). The only “crazy” is imagining you can have both open borders and a welfare state.

        • The borders weren’t really open, though. Maybe they didn’t check for more than tuberculosis but they most certainly did have someone there deciding who got to come in and who had to go home again.

          Not that immigration isn’t a pathetic mess that needs fixing. Of course it is.

          • TB, some infectious eye diseases, mental illness, and there was something else contagious. And later, if someone’s government sent word that a person was wanted for murder and a few other crimes, but that depended a lot on the countries involved.

            • Not only that, but they had no problem splitting families, or even only returning children. Don’t know if parents were rejected if the kids were accepted (probably not).

          • It was profoundly different from what Wilson and his Congress put in place, though.

            This is a point that one of the libertarian constitutional lawyers I’ve read made (it might be Randy Barnett): The Constitution refers to “regulations and exceptions.” In this phrase, “regulation” does not mean stopping people from doing something; that’s what “exceptions” describes, and the founders didn’t go in for redundant language. Regulation is providing a “regular” way to do something, that is, a standard procedure. If you want to get married, you go here, say this, and do this; if youi want to enter the country, you come to a border crossing and go through the established process. The intent is not to stop you, but to say, “Do it this way.” Of course, Wilson and then Roosevelt hopelessly perverted the meaning of “regulation,” and now it’s understood entirely differently.

            • Yep, This is what trips up a lot of folks on the ‘well-regulated Militia’ clause of the 2nd Amendment. It doesn’t mean a militia bound up in strictures and regulations, it means one that is *effective*.

              If I were to re-write the 2nd in modern language, it would go something like, ‘Since a populace armed to the teeth with the most advanced available weaponry *and* schooled in the use thereof is a requirement to keep the nation free, there shall be no restrictions enacted on the purchase, possession, carrying, or training in the use of weapons.’

              • It’s a perfectly clear concept if one studies history- the people with the weapons tend to be the people running things. If a part of the population gives up owning weapons, and knowing how to use them, they will eventually be under the control of the people who have them.
                Ponder the Romans when they started relying on German mercenaries to stock the legions. Pretty soon, the Germans were running Rome.

                Then, one can make the case that the advent of the firearm is what made modern popular government possible. The gun made it possible for a poor peasant with a little training to be the martial equal of the best trained knight. That large numbers of peasants with guns was to become the key to military victory became very obvious after Napoleon- but those peasants wanted political representation in exchange- and 1848 happened.

                • Aristotle observed that because iron was more plentiful than the metals to make bronze, it enabled the citizens of a city to arm themselves and gain power. (Especially since your neighbors could overrun you if you kept them disarmed.)

          • Plus, the immigration wasn’t coming across land borders as much. It was much easier to perform medical checks and suchlike at ports of entry.

            If only there were some way to direct people wanting to immigrate into actual ports of entry where they could receive medical examinations and assistance with paperwork. And where familial relationships could be verfied. Something like, oh, say, a wall.

        • “The only “crazy” is imagining you can have both open borders and a welfare state.”

          Well, that and the idea that we still have a “mass labor” economy that has jobs for all those workers. So far, we’ve managed to sop up that excess by multiplying the number of workers needed to take care of all the extra government regulations, laws, and lawsuit imposed overhead. That’s hit the inevitable brick wall.

          • THIS THIS THIS. IT’s not so much the “mass labor” even Steve. It’s the “unskilled labor jobs.” We no longer have that.
            Some idiot was on FB claiming that Trump’s grandfather came in as an unskilled 16 year old and Trump would deport him.
            Bullshit. At the time we needed unskilled hands and child labor was a de facto necessity/reality.
            NOW? NOW? That’s not how our economy works/is. And that’s the last thing we need.
            The idea a nation can pick and choose the workers it needs and let those in is apparently foreign to them.

          • Yes. Used to be folks who couldn’t hack it as Americans went home (Side thought deleted because BadThink and +dangerous). Now they stay because the benefits are too good, even though Usains suck and the old sod is better. (Actual conversation)

    • Democrats are registering baked goods as voters now?

    • Well, they’d be traitors then, wouldn’t they?

      Like how they support choice….*looks around at horde of kids, provided for by us, raised by us, and born into a marriage * Not THAT choice!

  6. Not that they’d ADMIT it, but here’s how it works:

    Leftist trickle-down: Soak the ‘rich’. The ‘rich’ slow buying. The average Joe making the stuff the rich would have bought, gets screwed. Misery trickles down.

    There’s a damn good reason Reagan called his policies “bubble-up” and MEDIA called it “trickle down.”

    • Oh heck, if you can afford to and do hire “domestic” labor, house or yard work, you’re not a great guy for employing people, you’re a horrible person of questionable morals who preys on others. Hiring someone to clean your toilet isn’t good because it gives someone an opportunity to make some money, it’s bad.

      And we see where even the “labor value of wealth” breaks down because I really don’t see much value given to *labor* on the left. Labor itself is shameful rather than something to be proud of. Crude men who break their backs are scorned for their lack of refinement rather than admired as pillars of civilization. Which… is a whole different rant and I will let that one go for now.

      • Between that attitude and the lawsuit-happy there is good reason that industrial robots are in ads that read, “Punches in at under $1/hour – never punches out.” (and doesn’t sue, etc. but that is.. implied.) And that was 30 years ago. Today? Even better robots!

      • You have just described why the Democrats are loosing the Working People. They STILL have the Unions because they HAVE the Union Bosses but they are loosing the members.

        The Democrats used to at least give lip service to the Workers. Now only the NON-White workers get any service at ALL. White workers are reviled and slandered, told they are racist, have always been racist, can NEVER be anything but racist and their children and grandchildren will be the SAME AS LONG AS THEY ARE WHITE!!!!

        And STILL some of them continue voting Democrat. Like Jews supporting Hitler.

        I just cannot understand it and don’t really want to. I am afraid it would rot my brain.

        • The Democratic Party and Unions are just part of the way things are done, old habit and routine. Think abused spouse that’s used to the abuser’s moods, and is more scared of the uncertainty of leaving what they know.

        • Orthodox Jews don’t vote Left because they don’t need the pseudo religion of Leftism. This only applies to people who vote as individuals.

    • A Spanish designer once said, “We are poor, so we must make toys for the rich.”

  7. To the Left, it is generally better to have no economic opportunity, and not be “exploited”, than to have economic opportunity that pays less than, say, an American living in completely different circumstances on a different continent would get.
    Bear Archery. The Union considered it a Win when their strike caused it to close its doors in Grayling, reform a new corporation in Florida, and cost the jobs of almost all the the workers of that plant, as well as those lost in the community, due to the fact that now none of that income was in the area.
    Success! None of their people were being exploited any more!

    • I’ve heard people claim that local unions in steel country carried banners in local parades bragging that they’d put a big business out of business. “Look how powerful we are!”

      Well, okay.

      I’m not anti-union on the principle of the thing because sometimes it seems clear that a little unified bargaining is a necessary response to a bad situation. But there’s far too many hints of this “bottomless pit” idea, that there is no limit to what the business or industry can absorb… is that because “the money was never theirs so they don’t actually need a bit of it” as Bill was saying?

      I’d heard something or other about a Levi’s plant down here (haven’t looked it up or confirmed) that organized and demanded higher wages… not even that high either… but still enough more that the owners closed up shop and moved it to Mexico. So… success? If those making the demands don’t understand the economics of the business (or don’t care) they won’t get a “fair” deal, they’ll get no deal. And so why not just make a *choice* not to work there? The end result is that you don’t even get a choice. The only people who come out ahead are the union itself and the corrupt politicians… which is probably the whole point.

      • “UNION YES!”

        “Go book a flight on Eastern.”

        • Ask the former TWA rank-and-file about unions. Wear a flame-proof set of long-johns when you do. I accidentally made a comment about something tangentially related and got half-an-hour of ear-scorching. Wow.

      • Waco, Texas years ago had a General tire plant that employed 100s of people. It was doing OK. The Company decided that the Waco plant would be perfect to allow them to get rid of people they didn’t want. They were Union and it was almost impossible to fire people. So they started doing transfers. Good workers out to other plants, Others to the Waco Plant. Wasn’t cheap lots of costs but those costs were born by the Waco Plant. Well after about a year, what with people throwing wrenches into the machines because they wanted a few days off with pay and didn’t want to use their vacation. Had one tell me he did that. The plant wasn’t doing so well. So General Tire CLOSED the PLANT!! Because the plant was closing ALL the workers lost their jobs. General Tire got rid of the workers they didn’t want, also a plant that was not making a large enough profit. The COST of getting rid of those people was WORTH IT!

      • When I was a kid, my father worked in a coal mine. Most I knew about UNIONs when I was a kid was when my father would come home early one day and say “it’s another strike”, which meant my father might or might not be around more (depending on if he found temporary work during the strike). We never starved, because we lived on a little farm and we could feed ourselves. Some of my friends, who’s father worked with mine, weren’t so lucky.

        • And the really bad thing is that they never made up for the money lost during the strike. They Might get more pay but it would take years to make up for the money lost and before then of course there would be another strike,
          How else was the Union going to show its members that it was fighting for them if they didn’t strike?

          • The contract strikes we’re yearly like clockwork. The rest of the year it seemed like some of the workers looked for any reason they could find to walk out, and since it was union, if a few guys wanted to go, everyone had to go or they were a scag and would most likely find evplosives in their car. It happened to my father once when the union gave permission for him to go down and examine the mine during a strike for some reason, probably a bargaining thing, but forgot to tell the hot heads. When he came out, his car was rigged to blow. When he called the union rep, they sent someone to remove the explosives and tell people to chill out. Next time they asked him to do anything like that he said NO WAY!

      • Trumka and Hoffa got their mansions and will keep them if you’ve got a job or not

  8. The main advantage the US has is property rights. That’s the basis of every right. For many reasons, Latin American countries do not have our long history of property rights.

    • Well, to be honest, “property rights” presupposes you have property to have rights to. Worldwide, there are billions of people who have never owned land, a house, a car, or much of anything past the clothes they’re standing in.

      And it’s not just poor foreigners; it’s a big fad among the techie subculture. Live with half a dozen others in a rented apartment, take a bus or Uber to work, and not own much more than they can carry, proving they’re “not constrained by physical things” or whatever the current buzzword is. Sure, they “own” a bank account and a stock portfolio, but they’re not physical items they can see.

      • To be fair they are likely working in Silicone center & even at their salaries can’t afford their own place. Having to share living quarters, who would have more than they can carry? Beyond their cloths? Laptop &/or gaming system, what else do they need? Work covers everything else, including napping stations, showers, food, play, work … At least that is the rumor.

      • Don’t think too narrowly about “property”. Remember that report out of… oh golly, Tunisia?.. where someone who ran a shop that sold vegetables and fruit bought a *scale*… yes, a scale. And I forget the details, I think that the “police” shook him down for their share of whatever the scale was worth, or there were taxes or something or other that punished him for getting a scale and essentially, at the end of the day, stole the scale from him.

        That scale was “property” and if he saved up to invest in a scale he should have been able to have and keep and benefit from *his property*. Instead, I think he set himself on fire.

        In general our system tends to give tax breaks on investments in a business, on whatever is spent for the business, and usually taxes are annoying but not so great that people are afraid of loosing their stuff (though many people actually do). Because people won’t build or save if someone is going to just come along and take their stuff. And that can be something as simple as a bank account.

        • “I think he set himself on fire.”

          And started off the “Arab Spring”. Which, at least in Tunisia, appears to be going fairly okay. For now. We’ll see.

  9. If we REALLY wanted to be cruel, we would place guards around the CA-AZ border, forcing the marchers to go like a buzzsaw up the Western coast. Then, hold the line at the Eastern borders. Let those “sympathetic refugees” leach off the same people who are castigating the rest of the US for not LOVING our fellow man sufficiently.
    Bet Streisand, Ruffalo, and all of the other Leftists would be singing a new song after they had to deal with the consequences of their proposed policies.
    Oh, and DON’T allow any planes from the West to land – send them BACK to face the invasion.

    • Sarah’s MIL thought Latin women were submissive? Where in tarnation did she get that bizarre notion? Sure, the men in my uncle Donato’s family made the final decision; but they damn sure didn’t make it in a vacuum, and heaven help them if their wives didn’t agree with it!

    • Darn it Synova. You had to post that and now I have the term “Porkey Piggin’ it”, which it the term for running around in a shirt, but no pants, stuck in my head. (also used if someone is wearing a long shirt and shorts so it looks like they aren’t wearing pants).

      • I call that style Ilha Style. In the Portuguese ilhas (basically … well… like Roman Insulas. No, not updated) kids run around without pants till they are school age.

        • Gammergate in one sentence: Queen Bee feminists discover gaming is 50 billion per annum business: Demand the Native gamers pay them a cut and put on pants.

          • Yep. They’re doing the same in SF/F because they can’t cut it in mainstream lit, and sf/f must be easier. Then they come in and enforce mainstream lit as the “good” sf.
            I will not wear pants, even if they make me.

  10. Bill has missed a few key points:

    * What motivates the Political Left is what always motivates any great mass of wealthy morons; the firm belief, against all evidence, that they should be running things. This has been true forever. By ‘wealthy’ I mean ‘in no real danger of going hungry’. That used to be quite a small segment of society, but now it is most of us.

    * The Left favors Marxism because it promises a society run by chair-warmers. Since that is what they are, this naturally attracts them.

    * This is compounded by the intellectual laziness of people who aren’t actually good at much. Oh, a few really smart folks get pulled in by the social cachet, but most of the ‘Intellectual Left’ is made up of people whose intelligence has a very narrow and largely useless focus. See: Noam Chomsky. The Left does not understand the value of the managers or the marketers because they mostly could not do either job, don’t understand why, and resent it. The same behavior can bee seen in the British Aristocracy’s attitude to the industrialists, and in Confucious’s attitude toward merchants.

    • Haha… followed a car yesterday with a bumpersticker that said “Science is not a Liberal Conspiracy.”

      I wanted to put another sticker next to it that said something like “Liberal Ideology is not Science.”

      • Amsel, Matthew

        It’s not a liberal *anything*, since it cares not about feelings.

      • I once told a ranting envirotwit that he knew about as much science as a Westboro Baptist knew theology.

        He suffered a catastrophic sense of humor failure.

        • LOL… oh, that is so apt. And I’m laughing so maybe his sense of humor fell on me.

        • “Catastrophic sense of humor failure” is becoming more and more common on the Left side of the isle.
          Which is good- puritanical, self righteous scolds tend to lose culture wars.

          • They hate hate hate the NPC meme(s). Must’ve really hit a nerve.

            • It’s so much more descriptive than SJW because they aren’t warriors of any type.

              • Yeah, SJW is what they called themselves. But it’s auto-mockery.

              • I think the more pejorative use of “warrior” works– the one that’s out for personal glory. Individually a bigger threat than a soldier, to an incredible degree at times, but a half-dozen soldiers beat a dozen warriors.

                (That one gets messy because it’s more of an “you are only a warrior, unable to be a soldier as well.” Audie Murphy, y’all, nuff said. And my spellcheck somehow doesn’t have his name…for real?)

            • The funny thing about the NPC meme is that the Left believes something similar. That only people with correct Leftwing politics have actual souls, are solely compassionate (hence the term Woke), and only they are capable of artistic expression. Everyone on the other side is either super evil, or super stupid flyover cows.

          • On the other hand, it’s not new. There’s a joke that goes back to the 1980s, at least:

            How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
            THAT’S NOT FUNNY!

  11. The benefit of being a leftist is being gleefully able to slam their boot into the face of subhuman filth like me. Every person they can destroy is another notch. And as long as there is someone that can be looked down on they can be happy because they are able to kick soneone below them. Revenge and bullying are the quintessential components of the worst of them.

    • And then, one day,mthe worm(s) turn and we have President Trump. A large part of the country got up and told the Lefties “We don’t care what you think!”. And the Lefties have been having hissy-fits ever since.

      Less than a week to National Send In The Clowns Day, and I get the distinct feeling that the Left has sold themselves another Inevitable Victory.

      If they have, the stunned shock is going to be delicious.

      • I expect “spontaneous” riots in places. Even the left gets their way. Why? Who sets up a riot and then manages to quench it?

        • Either tantrums or the celebration of an invading army.

        • Remember, Fidel Castro offered to send Cuban troops to help Florida secure its polling places during the 2000 elections. He pointed out the US had performed that service to many (sometimes unwilling and unappreciative) South American countries in the past, so why not return the favor?

          As he said, neither candidate had any proposed policy as far as Cuba, so they had no skin in the game…

          While most people either looked blank or curled a lip in disdain when hearing of the offer, I ROFLed for days. Who knew Fidel had a sense of humor? Though I’m sure he would have made good on the offer had it been accepted…

          • If any nation in the developing world or under the auspices of the UN had the US voting system they would not certify the elections. Fidel was right, albeit for wrongbreasons.

            • It is likely unworkable due the the alleged popularity of vote (fraud) by mail and such, but be rid of that, and add proper voter ID or at least “dip a finger in ink” and ideally BOTH… so if get mixed up in some other country’s elections, we can say “We’re not suggesting you do anything we do not ourselves do.” But since that would minimize (NOTHING eliminates) fraud, it won’t on… until the Party of Fraud is powerless to the point of irrelevancy. Not holding my breath.

      • And the propaganda stream turns up to 11, still manages to fool many if not most people and shows those in public ‘we can send mobs against you and destroy you in lies. Meanwhile we protect our friends.’ The fact that many of these elections are even competitive (between corruption, extremism and sheer blatant lying) is because there are still plenty of happy mushrooms.

        And so far haven’t seen any indication that that is still in effect. They learned to throttle and choke off anyone that doesn’t sing the right tune so that the people don’t learn there is another option

  12. Destroy me and all you do is strike the chains of civilized behavior from my hands. You fear me now while only my mouth and my mind are free? You have no concept of what terror is should I be freed to act without restraint. And I am but one man. What will you do against 10, 100, or 1000 like me? You don’t know, do you? Which means you also don’t know that in reality, there are over a million like me. But then, reality was never your forte’, was it?

    • What I always find curious is how EASY it would be to bring big cities to their knees. I would think most on the Right would have no problem looking around and figuring out how to do it. It’s not HARD. Not like most ways are even dangerous, except for the Police maybe after the fact. Lots of people would die of course but you wouldn’t Directly kill them, most would die days and weeks later.

      Look around, think and you will see the points of failure. Our civilization is FAR more fragile than most believe, especially Progs.

      The major problem in the Democrats not knowing this is that they are likely to bomb or destroy something and have NO IDEA that it will kill thousands or more. They just don’t think things through.

      Example stopping power from a Coal power Plant, because COAL BAD! Only they take out the cities power, which takes out the water pumps. No water pumps no water. If it takes more than a couple of days to fix, people will run out of water then it gets mean. People start to die not for lack of water but because of Fighting over water. If it is longer, then they start to die for lack of water, you CANNOT truck in enough water for a city. And all this doesn’t even count the deaths because the power is out.

      • “THIS valve doesn’t need to be open.”
        “THIS contactor doesn’t need to be closed.”
        And that’s leaving infrastructure in place.
        Substations, a bit of… squirrel… and… you have a Real Mess.

      • Water is also necessary for fire fighting.

        Some water utilities do have backup generators, but I’m not sure how common this is or what % of normal capacity they can replace.

        • You start getting unrest and it doesn’t matter how much water you have. Buildings gonna burn unless they can keep shots off the firefighters

      • > how EASY

        “The experts” keep telling us they have plans for every eventuality, but then another news story comes along about a hobo’s campfire melting unprotected fiber optic cables and cutting most of a city’e network connectivity, bridges collapsing because they had been condemned decades before, dikes failing because the repair money evaporated to nobody-admit-where, etc. No enemy action required.

        The infrastructure urban civilization depends on is ad hoc, delicate, and easily disrupted.

      • Remember Kirk’s words at the end of “Mirror, Mirror”? “Civilized men can behave like barbarians. But barbarians don’t know how to act like civilized men.”

        • Close!

          Spock: “It was far easier for you as civilized men to behave like barbarians, than it was for them as barbarians to behave like civilized men.”

      • Food supply is also extremely delicate, given that most food stores only keep about 3 days worth of inventory on hand. If the trucks can’t get from the distribution centers to the stores…

        Back when I worked in The Supermarket, we had one winter where the region got slammed with at least least one moderately severe snowstorm a week for at least two months, and the area where our distribution center and most of our suppliers we’re got hit even harder. The roads were completely screwed up, so the suppliers couldn’t get product to the company, and the company couldn’t get trucks to any store in the region on a regular basis. We never completely ran out of inventory, but we were out of our most popular items for quite a while. None of our customers were in any danger of going hungry, but we still had our lives threatened (literally: I personally witnessed one furious customer try to get behind the counter and heard reports of several similar incidents) because we didn’t have the specific product the customers were demanding. Because God forbid they be forced to subsist on store-brand yellow American cheese for a week instead of the name brand low-fat white American cheese they normally buy.

        Actually, I take it back: take out the distribution centers for two or three different supermarket chains in the same area and you’ll have the entire REGION rioting in less than a week.

      • Calexit. Brilliant book. It has an original Lawdog story in it

    • Two things the Left doesn’t grok: Unintended Consequences, and Opportunity Cost.
      The Left’s goal of striking down the Rule of Law is that the Proletariat will finally arise and start the Revolution. The Unintended Consequence will very likely be a lot of Leftist Revolutionaries hanging from lamppost.

      • Unintended Consequences, a very good book that the Left defiantly doesn’t GROK. BTW: If feral hogs are around, do you NEED to keep pigs?

  13. Open page: read. Get to bottom, 8 comments. Rspond to one.
    80 comments…..

    • Hee. I have the same problem. I opened the page in the morning on my US phone using home wireless. For some reason, my work computer doesn’t like this blog and won’t let it load, so no checking it at work. I get home and there”s a bunch more stuff.

      • There are a few archived pages on this blog that have something on them that locks up my web browser. Probably some nasty Java/Javascript embedded in the source.

      • A favorite SJW tactic is to report non-Leftist sites like this one to the various ant-virus and firewall companies as malware sources. The companies seldom bother to check before adding the site to the blacklist, and that allows censorship on the sly.

  14. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Strictly speaking, there is international buying and selling going on with price disparities in our favor that makes the third world poor.

    Kids come here to a high status place, try to learn how to make things happen, and get handed leftist ideology, not the deep culture that is really responsible for making things happen.

    • I’m pretty sure that the kids who come here to go to school at our “prestigious” universities will never ever risk having “deep culture” discussed or examined at all. Not even something as simple and obvious as the need to share expertise which many cultures inhibit because your expertise gives you high status and no one wants to lose it, or the value of doing the labor you intend to manage or direct, leading from the front, or making the best possible use of the technical expertise of your lowest ranked member, or half a dozen things that a US military NCO could rattle off the top of their head from observing what is done with military training here and there and elsewhere.

  15. RAH pretty much destroyed the Marxist idea that Labor had inherent value in “Starship Troopers” with his kitchen analogy. Give a chef and a non-cook the exact same ingredients and tell them to make something in an hour.
    The chef will very likely make a master piece worth far more than the individual ingredients; the non-chef will most likely make an inedible mess and destroy the original value of the ingredients.

    There’s a reason Income Inequality exist, and it’s a good thing- not all labor has equal value.

    • The thing is, when the Industrial Revolution starts somehwere you DO have people being paid far less than their labor adds to the value of the materials….but what the Left cannot grasp is that they are lkely being paid far MORE than teir labor was worth in a pre-industrial setting. The Left looks at 19th Century Industry in Britain and the United States and sees semi-literate, dirty, malnourished workers, working in dangerous situations. What they DON’T see is that the farm workers who belonged to the previous generation were starving, filthy, completely illiterate, and more likely to die on the job. Study after study shows this, but the Left doesn’t know it because they ‘know’ that that generation lived in pastoral felicity.

      Pastoral squalor is more like it.

      Moreover, as manufacturing brings down the price of goods, the workers become potential consumers. And you get something hitherto inconceivable, like poor people who own NEW CLOTHES.

      The pig-ignorance of the Progressive Left is amazing.

      • History, to the Left, is the study of oppression. Since they’re more progressive and more advanced/evolved than those horrible oppressors of long ago, there’s nothing they really need to learn from history.

      • “Ok, Mr. Leftist, if it was that bad, why didn’t the workers just go back to farm life?”

        • The thing is, farm life was changing at the time. Bring up that question and a Leftist who has even a glancing acquaintence with the history of the period will hring up the Enclosures. They won’t know much detail, but they WILL know that wealthy landowners were ‘throwing’ small farmers off the commons. And never mind that one of the reasons this was happening was that the little ice age was beginning and it was no longer possible to make a living as a small farmer; new technologies of farming made it possible to feed the nation – mostly – but degredation of the quality of the land (tragedy of the commons) and cooler climate meant that farming had to change.

          And because the Leftist won’t have the depth to understand the issues, he will stick with ‘rich oppressors’.

          • You can use that same argument with folks decrying “sweatshops” in the modern era, too. Yeah, regimented factory work in Vietnam or China sucks viewed from our perspective, but viewed from the perspective of the workers there? Miraculous.

            What’s that? They can’t purchase what they are assembling? Who says they WANT to? Just because they watch American televation and see the abundance here, and then are told by do-gooders that they are entitled to the same thing, and the only reason they don’t have it is because they are being exploited?

            • Yep. Exactly.
              Actually what we’re seeing in these countries puts the lie to the left’s depiction of our industrial revolution.

            • Sometime in the 1980s (I think) some black actress died and there was coverage of that and bits of her life (alas, I forget who…) but one thing was quite memorable. She had almost invariably played a maid role. Someone, later in her life, asked why she put up with that. She replied that at that time her choice was to actually be a maid, or to play a maid on film – and so she took the maid roles and was in pictures.

            • I worked on military aircraft. Can I buy one?

              (note: technically, I fixed the stuff that fixed it. Pretty sure I couldn’t buy the torque wrench calibrator, either.)

            • An acquaintance of mine who leans Leftish once asked me to justify the wages Nike was paying its workers in some Third World toilet. I pointed out that in addition to $1 a day they had (moderately) clean barracks to sleep in and were fed in a company cafeteria. And that the alternative was to work all day, waist deep in a rice paddy that was fertilized with human dung, in exchange for a rice ball or two and space to sleep on a dirt floor.

              He demanded to know how I knew that, amd I pointed out that National Geographic had recently run a story on living conditions on farms in that country.

              *shrug*

              What it amounts to is, the Left doesn’t care about the sufferings of the poor, save as a tool to achieve total control.

    • You are being RACIST, using something from that NAZI RAH and from that Badthink violent, human centric, peaceful alien killing, anti-democracy book “Starship Troopers”. You Militarist, anti-freedom storm trooper. The cruelty to those poor indigenous aliens, who had done NOTHING to humans, because of IMPERALISTIC Humans.

      All labor has equal value because Marx has told us so and it would be cruel and badthink to believe otherwise.
      ————————————————————————————————
      I think I got the tone right. From my reading of Anti-“Starship Troopers” comments from people that obviously never read the book. Reading implies having SOME knowledge of what words MEAN.

    • > not all labor has equal value.

      But it MUST! Socialist economics says all labor is interchangeable!

      • “Socialist economics says all labor is interchangeable!”
        Until it’s time to grant tenure at a university, that is.
        Even the most Red of Communist College profs wants to be paid more than his TA’s.

        • The new governments tried to reorganize the Red Armies (both the Soviet and People’s Liberation ones) into a flat command structure. They both met with outright revolt from their militaries, who were determined to hang on to the traditional officer/noble, soldier/serf system. A lot of those officers were purged during the Terror, but they walked out to the Black Marias rather than give up their perquisites.

  16. As I was driving home from work today I was cogitating on this post, and started to wonder how much a belief that economics is a zero sum / fixed pie system plays in to all this. It seems to may that not only did Marx subscribe to that view, but many modern leftists appear to share it, consciously or not. I’ve heard some claim they don’t yet make supposedly-rational arguments that make sense only if one assumes a fixed pie economy. (Personally, I think a chocolate creme pie economy is much more appealing.)

    • Karl Marx was to economics what Groucho was to tragedy. I mean, one could make a case for a connection, but close scrutiny defeats it.

      The thing is, the idea that the merchant does nothing worthwhile is OLD. Confucious believed it. It is part of the foundation of the Catholic Church’s opposition to usury. The Progressive Left may or may not believe it. They certainly appeared to believe that the Communist apparatchiks earned their perks, when called on them, and I’m unable to see how that is different from Management.

      What they deeply believe is that they should be running things. In this they are no better and no worse than the Roman Senatorial Class, the European Aristocrats, or the Plantation Aristocracy who preceeded them. The Moguls of The Gilded Age, who the Left so despises, at least actually CREATED wealth. John D. Rockefeller took over an industry in which everyone was losing money (the money was made in transport) and turned it into a financial empire before gasoline became important. The hardest hitting attack on him, by Ida Tarbell, was written by the daughter of a man who had nither the smarts to bet on Rockefeller (and take Standard Oil stock for his company) not the guts to fight. He took cash, and so Ida hated Rockefeller and is case in point of the kind of ‘reporting’ you get from the Progressive Left.

      Not that he Moguls of that age were Cherubs, but unlike the would-be Aristocrats that came before and after, THEY expanded the pie.

      • “Not that he Moguls of that age were Cherubs, but unlike the would-be Aristocrats that came before and after, THEY expanded the pie.”

        They were a hell of a lot more fair and more kind to their employees than the most kind of Communist People’s Republics ever were.

      • Whatever their failings, men like Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Flagler, Coffin, Gary, etc. helped grow the economy and turn this nation into a powerhouse.

        • Didn’t they also give large amounts of charity? Carnegie Mellon U. NYC libraries, and lots of other things. Good things done from bad motives are still good things and vice versa.

          • Many of them did – Carnegie and Rockefeller being particularly prominent examples. The stately yet functional Carnegie libraries scattered about the nation, and in Rockefeller’s case Grand Teton and Acadia National Parks, are among the more obvious examples of their public largesse.

      • Karl Marx was to economics what Groucho was to tragedy.

        *SNARF!*

      • I’m not Catholic, but you may be doing them a disservice in representing their views. The objection to usury crosses many religious lines. The barrier to merchants is inevitably tribal (See anyone belonging to the “Africa always wins” fellowship, Dr. Sowell, and Hallpike’s fascinating Ship of Fools”.)

        For the Christian (and maybe Catholic, but definitely Usaian heritage) objection to usary, John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” (not actual name) sermon.

        • As I had it explained to me– it’s abuse of power, like requiring someone to sell his daughter for a drink of water.

          Kind of like the Company Store for getting the idea across.

          The actual reason that the Catholic Church didn’t allow lenders to charge interest is because the Jewish faith forbids it.

          For other Jews. I think Christians were allowed to charge interest to non-Christians, too, at least in theory, so same thing.

          Now that not all borrowing is a matter of life or death, “usury” is a separate category from interest.

    • Silly. The pie isn’t just fixed in size, it’s getting SMALLER!

      “The country is going to hell, just as fast as we can drive it there…”

      Remember, wealth isn’t “stuff.” Wealth is the DISPARITY between rich stuff and poor stuff. And it’s easier to kick people down the ladder than it is to haul yourself up.

      If I have a Cadillac and you ride the bus, then I am wealthy. If I have a Cadillac and you have a Chevy, it takes someone who knows the difference to tell who’s higher on the total pole. (even though they both do the same job, and often come off the same assembly lines…)

  17. Never mind that the people who make up the caravan and all the other large numbers of people from Mexico, Central and South America who the left believes are entitled to come to the USA and “get back what was stolen for them” are themselves descendants of the Conquistadores, who made English and French colonial adventurers look like mild mannered pikers by comparison. So please, leftists, lecture me about how the descendants of Pizzaro and Cortez are simply taking back what was stolen from them?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Yes And No.

      In Latin America, the Class System is based on percentage of “European” ancestry with plenty of the “lower class” folks having little or no European ancestry.

      So these “poor little refugees” might not be descendants of the Conquistadores or if they have any “European” ancestors, then their ancestors might just have been common-born soldiers who took Indian brides.

      • Or were born on the wrong side of the bed.

      • I’ve seen the claim that in the Latin American population, most men have mitochondrial DNA similar to that of tribal peoples with minimal European interaction, but Y chromosomal DNA similar to that of Europeans. That suggests a lot of native women getting pregnant by Spaniards (or Portuguese, depending on location) while their men were being told “You! Out of the gene pool!” one way or another.

        • When the Americas were taken, the Portuguese were occupied by the Spanish. A lot of conquistador shock troops were troublemakers from the North (natch) of Portugal sent to conquer other lands so as to get them out of Portugal where they were fomenting rebellion.
          I was reading an account of Pizarro? Cortez? and one of the guys captured and killed by the Aztecs was from my region, probably from whatever there was around the village at the time.

        • Going by the amount of research that’s looking into various “Native American” Y variations to figure out what waves happened when, probably an escaped factoid that’s gone feral.

          That said, I did run into this study that might be the original habitat:
          Evaluating Self-declared Ancestry of U.S. Americans with Autosomal, Y-chromosomal and Mitochondrial DNA
          Quote:
          We found that self-declared U.S. Hispanics and U.S. African Americans tend to show variable degrees of continental genetic admixture among the three genetic systems, with evidence for a marked sex-biased admixture history. Moreover, for these two groups we observed significant regional variation across the country in genetic admixture. In contrast, self-declared U.S. European and U.S. Asian Americans were genetically more homogeneous at the continental ancestry level.
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051415/

          I think that translates as “when we checked the sex-linked genetics of folks who say they’re Hispanic or Black, in some areas there was strong evidence that mom and dad didn’t match, a LOT.”

          Hm…. trying to make heads or tails of if it’s pure garbage, it has over six hundred samples total so it’s not like they did five of each or something, but an awful lot of their Hispanic is Miami.

  18. Given how many of the natives that the were slaughtered, I suspect that caste system has more to do with descendants of people from Africa rather than native tribes of Central and South America, although no doubt there is part of the population that fits that bill. But how are the descendants of common Spanish soldiers (i.e. European colonialists) any different from descendants of those in the USA?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      I suspect that disease did more damage than the conquest itself but Mexico (for example) still has plenty of people whose “birth language” isn’t Mexican Spanish but one of the native tribes.

      As for “what’s the difference between descendants of Spanish soldiers and descendants of Europeans in the US”, logically not much difference (beside culture) but the SJWs don’t think logically. 😈

      • There was a bit difference in the way the Spanish/ Portuguese/ French went about colonizing the new world, and the way the English went about it.
        The Spanish were in it for a quick buck. Put in a few decades, then retire rich to the homeland.
        The English were pretty much there to stay, so there was far more long term thinking and the desire to improve things to pass on to one’s descendants.

        • Things were a bit more complex in New Spain. Some of the conquistadores settled in for the long term, and the king ennobled some of them, and quite a few of the native leaders and warlords as well. The New World was a huge new set of provinces.

          There were two big problems: the old aristocracy hated the new aristocracy with a passion, and the new ones wer both numerous and filthy rich. And the flood of silver and cheap goods from New Spain was wrecking Spain’s economy.

          So, in a case of “shooting yourself in the foot”, the king withdrew most of the patents of nobility, then instituted some truly nasty economic policies designed to keep New Spain as dysfunctional as possible.

          [many complex issues truncated for blog posting]

  19. Yay my xfactor gene just mutated! I shall now eeaz Sarah’s thoughts…

    Something something something which permit this norm to be exceeded — something something
    — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (something something. ) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.

    …..

    No? Maybe my portfolio is instead flight? Do the stairs here go to the roof? Brb…

    • You should not listen to that un-pc Badthink non-person Lazarus Long,.
      But remember Strong Drink can make you shoot at Liberals and MISS.

  20. One minor quibble is the fact that Spanish colonialism is largely responsible for how utterly messed up most of Central and South America are.
    It’s not because they took all the resources, though–it’s because the laws and norms of the countries are set up to keep the old colonial families on top, as much as possible, and prevent competition.

    • Yeah. It’s responsible for what a mess all Latin countries are. It’s Roman rules.
      So, if they want to rage against ROMAN colonialism, be my guest. But they don’t.

  21. Adam. In Eden. When he named the animals he also fixed price tags to everything-SAH

    Everyone chez Foxholt got a good laugh: Thank you!

    To Mr. Bill: You’re even more deeply embedded than I. Have you noticed a shift from “racism” to “Hate”. And if so, what do you make of it?

  22. c4c –

    Baby is finally home. Adjustment commences.