The biggest challenge facing Republicans in the 112th Congress is not Barack Obama. It is not Harry Reid and the Democrat-controlled Senate. It isn't high unemployment, repealing ObamaCare, the threat of Islamism and shariah in America, the deficit, or the looming insolvency of several (mostly blue) states. These, broadly speaking, are symptoms. The disease is socialism or, at the very least, a pervasive socialistic mindset.
According to a February 2010 Gallup poll, "61% of liberals say their image of socialism is positive" and "53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism." Overall, 36% of Americans view socialism favorably.
Winston Churchill aptly described socialism as "a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." As economist Thomas Sowell put it, "Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
If you watched the video at the end of this post, you should have few illusions left about the ultimate outcome of socialist systems. Unfortunately, the "intellectuals' that Sowell refers to are mostly in the habit of covering up for and rationalizing away the evidence of their own eyes, since they believe they support a "higher truth" than the rest of us ordinary mortals.
Victor Davis Hanson exposes these intellectuals for the sophists they really are. From the "brilliant" economists of the Obama Administration who, "assured us that record trillion-plus budget defects were critical to prevent stalled growth and 10 percent unemployment"; to the gurus of
One constant here is equating wisdom with a certificate of graduation from a prestigious school. If, in the fashion of the sophist Protagoras, someone writes that record cold proves record heat, or that record borrowing and printing of money will create jobs and sustained economic growth, or that a 223-year-old Constitution is 100 years old and largely irrelevant, then credibility can be claimed only in the title or the credentials — but not the logic — of the writer.[Read all of Hanson's essay, please. It is worth your while]
America is huge and diverse, but the world of our credentialed experts is quite small, warped, and monotonous — circumscribed largely by the prestigious university and an office in the incestuous Washington–New York corridor. There are plenty of prizes, honors, and degrees among our policy-setters and experts, but very little experience in running a business in Oklahoma, raising a large family in Kansas, or working on an assembly line in Michigan, a military base in Texas, a boat in Alaska, or a ranch in Idaho.
In classical sophistic fashion, rhetoric is never far from personal profit. Multimillionaire Al Gore convinced the governments of the Western world that they were facing a global-warming Armageddon, and then hired out his services to address the hysteria that he had helped create.
Now, I have nothing against personal profit, but in this case we are talking about scams and con jobs; snake-oil salesmen (and women) and your run-of-the-mill con artists who are posing as these "neutral", "truth-loving" and "reality-based" scientists and journalists. And, isn't it interesting that all these supposed 'intellectuals' (who are the ones most profiting off of the various hysterias and cons that they themselves initiated) also tend to be downright suspicious of the profit motive and capitalism--if not outrightly hostile to it?
You can look at it in this way: even the most dedicated socialist or communist tends to be a human being (though I could argue that a case could be made for the idea that some of the most infamous in history are rather less than human). Nevertheless, they are hardly immune from the inconvenient truth of human nature. And so I will say again what I have said many times and many ways before in this blog:
The problem with the underlying ideology of socialism/communism/Marxism--whatever you want to call it-- is that it inevitably breeds and encourages envy, that lovely human emotion that drives all such economic/political systems; and the envy generated in these totalitarian systems exists in a pure, unadulterated, undiluted, and particularly vicious form.
Yes, to be sure, capitalism also thrives on envy--and even greed. Those two emotions are part and parcel of human nature, after all. But there is very important difference between capitalism and all the other systems: capitalism does not condemn human nature or expect a "new man" to emerge in order for it to be successful for individuals or society as a whole.
Instead, unlike those other systems that seek to perfect human beings, capitalism offers a healthy channel for the redirection of negative emotions like envy and greed into something positive for both the individual and the larger society.
Capitalism does not pretend that those messy negative human emotions can be "stamped out" merely by the will of the State. It accepts human nature as a given and provides a system through which humans are able to sublimate and redirect those negative emotions to better both themselves and incidentally the larger society. As economic systems go, this is a miraculous psychological breakthrough; and it is why capitalism dovetails so nicely with political systems that promote individual freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Taken all together, democratic capitalism is about as close to "perfection" as humans are likely to get.
Without a political or economic framework that is able to incorporate what we refer to as "human nature" into its calculations, all so-called "perfect" societies and ideologies will at best simply fail in the real world; and at worse cause untold human suffering. With the best of intentions (this is perhaps debatable), the social engineers of philosophy, political science, and economics have caused so much more slavery, misery and death on a grand scale--that the grandiose CEO's of the largest corporations can be considered mere pikers by comparison.
The do-gooder leftist in all the various ideological incarnations--the antiwar crowd, the environmental crowd, the communists, socialists, and assorted collectivists--offers the rationale that he does what he does for the "common good" and for "social justice", "peace" and "brotherhood". His high-minded, self-righteous rhetoric justifies (to him anyway) imposing his will and beliefs on others for their own good; and he will not hesitate to use whatever coercive capablity he has at hand to get others to do what he wants and what he says.
The capitalist, on the other hand, is overtly out to pursue his own selfish profit, and understands he must use persuasion. That is, he must convince people that his ideas and the products of his mind are better than all the rest so that they will be willing to part with their hard-earned money to possess them. His desire for power over others is manifested in an indirect manner because people must want what he has to offer and believe that they will benefit from an interaction with him.
There are no parallel social limitations on the behavior of the leftist. This tyrant wannabe does not feel the need to convince others of the veracity or even the effectiveness of his ideas; nor does he accept defeat when others are not interested or resist their implementation. He knows in his heart what is best for everyone, and he will use coercion if necessary. He will not allow options; nor will he permit others do do what they think is right for themselves. Their feelings or concerns are a matter of complete indifference to him. Only his own matter.
The credentialed delusions of today's "intellectual elite" are simply the latest scam perpetrated by those who are willing to distort or fake reality in order to either profit monetarily from the chaos (and in a system where the rule of law protects people from this kind of fraud, they will eventually be held accountable); or to gain power over others. The latter goal is much more in keeping with the modus operandi of the political left.
Psychopaths are particularly good at pursuing both goals; and they will exist in all economic and political systems. But, in those lovely socialist systems an intelligent psychpath can make his wildest dreams of power over others come true. The rule of law won't stand against him; instead, it will give the psychopath the edge and make his manipulations --and his personal enrichment--much easier.
This is the underlying political sickness that must be treated aggressively; before the sociopathic elite, with their credentialed delusions of their own superiority, take complete control over our lives and our fortunes.