On Political Ideologies

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A couple of weeks ago, I looked at political societies and ways of organizing them. Today, I’ll take another slice from the same piece of wood, but along a different grain. I’ll look at the ideologies which have guided, and continue to guide, the tone and flavour of political societies.

 

The nation state

 

To re-cap what I said about the nation state in my earlier essay. The system was devised in the 16th century by a monarchist Frenchman called Jean Bodin. In this system, a “sovereign” or a ruling élite has privileges over the “subjects” or people. Among much else, it can make taxes, it can make wars, and it can make laws to bind the people. Further, it isn’t itself bound by the laws it makes. And it bears no responsibility for the consequences of what it does; also known as “the king can do no wrong.”

 

Today’s establishment, of course, will tell you that it isn’t like that any more. But it sure as hell is! Political governments still have the power to oppress, steal from and murder people, if they want to. And most of them will do just that, as long as they think they can get away with it.

 

The Enlightenment

 

The 17th century was the time of the “divine right of kings” par excellence. Buttressed by Bodin’s ideas, the norm back then was that a king or prince, along with his élites, ruled over a state essentially as he wished. Not surprisingly, people who weren’t part of the establishment weren’t happy with this at all. The results? War, revolution, and in time – Enlightenment.

 

The Enlightenment of the late 17th and 18th centuries affected primarily the European Christian cultures, and those derived from them. Though it spread to the Jews within a few decades, and its knock-on effects reached places like Japan and much of the Islamic world during the 19th century. However, its values set the tone for most political societies for more than two centuries.

 

What the Enlightenment did was free human minds from shackles, both religious and political. Here’s a brief list of some of its values. The use of human reason, and the pursuit of science. Greater tolerance in religion. Freedom of thought and action. Natural rights, natural equality of all human beings, and human dignity. The idea that society exists for the individual, not the individual for society. The idea of a social contract, to enable people to live together in a civil society and to protect their rights. Government for the benefit of, and with the consent of, the governed. The rule of law. A desire for progress, and a rational optimism for the future.

 

Liberalism and conservatism

 

In Enlightenment times, there were just two political ideologies. In England these were represented, in broad terms, by two factions: Whigs and Tories. Not all Whigs were always liberal; and not all Tories were always conservative. But these two factions tended to support the two opposing ideologies, of liberalism and conservatism.

 

Liberals – or what we might now call classical liberals – were the progressives of their times. They promoted the new Enlightenment ideas, such as reason, tolerance and natural rights. They wanted maximum freedom for every individual, consistent with a civilized society. And they saw societies, including political ones, as being for the benefit of each individual in them.

 

Conservatives, on the other hand, supported the state and its powerful élites – such as kings, nobles and church leaders. They saw these élites as possessing both rightful authority, and immunity from being held to account. And they resisted change. They sought to preserve the existing order both religious and political, and their own privileged positions in it.

 

Socialism and anarchism

 

In the early 19th century, a new ideology appeared: socialism. One of the difficulties in discussing socialism is that there’s no clear, widely accepted definition of it. For some, it means collective ownership and control over the means of producing, distributing and exchanging goods. For others, it means a social organization with an egalitarian distribution of wealth, and no such thing as private property. My 1928 dictionary calls it the “principle that individual liberty should be completely subordinated to the interests of the community with the deductions that can be drawn from it, e.g. the State ownership of land and capital.”

 

To be fair to them, the earliest socialists weren’t all bad guys. Often, they sought to create model communities, bound together by shared ideology. Robert Owen’s community at New Harmony, Indiana was an example. Of course, most – if not all – of these communities failed. And so, socialism started on its long slide down towards a militant collectivism, in which Society and the socialist agenda are paramount, and the individual is of no significance. Far from its intended purpose as a new and better form of liberalism, socialism became illiberal.

 

Another ideology, which began to grow at much the same time as socialism, was anarchism. The distinguishing feature of anarchism is its opposition to the state and to political government. But, just as socialism had done, anarchism began to degenerate. By the late 19th century, the anarchists had become little more than terrorist gangs.

 

Marxism and communism

 

Next came Marxism, and the communism it spawned. Marxism, so its adherents claimed, was scientific socialism; an attempt to apply the scientific method to social and political ideas. But Marxists saw capitalism – that is, ownership of property and of the means of production by individuals and by voluntarily formed groups – as leading, not to prosperity, but to inequality and instability. So, they fanned class war between working people and the classes they called “capitalists” and “bourgeoisie.”

 

The Marxists predicted that, once their system was in place, the political state would wither away. And yet, they set out to capture the state, and to use it to achieve their objectives! No wonder, then, that the result – communism – turned out so evil. Its results? Oppressions, famines, massacres and mass deportations; leading to nearly a hundred million unnecessary deaths. As to the economy, as one wag put it: “The problem of queues will be solved when we reach full Communism. How come? There will be nothing left to queue up for.”

 

Fascism

 

Then came fascism. In some ways, it’s hard to separate fascism from communism. Both shared an attachment to dictatorial power, extinguishing individual freedom, forcible suppression of opposition, social indoctrination and a lack of ethical restraints on the state. But in some respects, fascists went further. They were racists. They sought to make unpopular groups of people into scapegoats, and to purge those they considered inferior, such as Jews. But above all, fascists glorified violence and war. With predictable results.

 

Modern ideologies

 

In the course of the 20th century, other evil ideologies have also been established in various parts of the world. Notable among them have been racism, as in apartheid South Africa and Idi Amin’s Uganda; theocracy, as in Iran; and dictatorship, as in North Korea. In the West, however, we have been subjected to the unholy trinity of welfarism, warfarism and environmentalism.

 

The ideology of welfarism, also known as nanny-statism, has led the ruling class to try to bribe people into believing that the state is a benefit to them. They have set up elaborate, re-distributory schemes for welfare, health, education and the like; and commandeered resources to implement those schemes. But these resources don’t go directly from the payers to the recipients. Nor do the payers receive any thanks at all in return. Instead, everything is filtered through the bureaucracy that maladministers the system, and the politically connected cronies that feed off it.

 

Welfarism has had two main effects. First, it has dragged down into dependence on the state many who, if allowed the chance, would have been able to prosper through their own efforts. Second, it has taken away from productive people the resources they should have been able to use to safeguard their own futures. Welfarism, to use a metaphor, is like breaking people’s legs then giving them crutches – and expecting them to thank you for it.

 

A recent development of welfarism is what I call social engineering fever. Those affected by this ailment seem to think that they have a right to interfere in others’ lives, for no better purpose than their own social goals. These zealots like nothing better than to seek to change other people’s behaviour – for example, in their diet or means of transport. And they are adept at using state dominated education and politically correct media to promote their nefarious schemes.

 

Then there are warfarism and its comrade, the security state. Warfarism is the ideology of the school bully. (It’s also very profitable, for those on the right side of it). Warfarists instigate “war on drugs,” “war on terror” and the like. They seek any excuse to use police or military force. Often, while decrying terrorism, they encourage – and even carry out – terrorist acts. At the same time, they pry into people’s lives, and monitor and record our actions in ever increasing detail.

 

Environmentalism, the third of the unholy trinity, is a large subject. So much so, that it demands a whole essay in itself. Here, I will only point out that, like welfarism and warfarism, environmentalism provides huge opportunities for cronies of the state to make themselves rich.

 

Democracy

 

Democracy isn’t, in the technical sense, an ideology. However, many in politics act as if it was. They present themselves as “democrats” of one kind or another; perhaps “social” or “liberal.” So, I’ll add here to what I said about democracy in my earlier essay. It’s my view that democracy, once implemented, will inevitably decay. I see it as going through four phases, each worse than the previous one.

 

Democracy-1 is the honeymoon period. People believe that they have a real say in what the government does. But it isn’t long before there emerge political factions, looking to take advantage of the situation; as James Madison warned way back in 1787.

 

In the next stage, democracy-2, two factions (or, rarely, three or more) attract cores of support, and promote policies designed to favour their own supporters. People start to divide along party lines. Those who don’t like any of the main parties will tend to vote for whichever seems less evil at the time. So, power tends to swing from one side to the other and back again. The social fabric becomes more and more stretched, and the tone of politics nastier and nastier.

 

In democracy-3, the main political parties and their respective cronies align with each other, and against the interests of the people. Here, different factions may spout different rhetoric; and their policies may, perhaps, be a little different around the edges. But their ideologies are essentially the same. Under democracy-3, policies are not made in the interests of the people, but to benefit the political class and their hangers-on, and to satisfy the agendas of special interest groups. And elections become largely irrelevant; for each time, the new king is much the same as the old one.

 

Democracy-4 is a terminal social illness; already into some countries, like Greece. The political state reaches a critical mass. Those dependent on the state, either for work or for benefits, become an absolute majority. Thus under democracy-4, a single interest bloc can forever outvote, and so oppress, everyone else. There’s no way out of this, short of exit or revolution.

 

The decay of politics

 

Except for Enlightenment liberalism, all the ideologies I’ve listed above are anti-Enlightenment, anti-individual and anti-human. In fact, it’s worse than that. Corruption and decay seem to be built in to all political ideologies. I already mentioned the negative changes that took place in both socialism and anarchism. And the word “liberal,” particularly in the USA, has been corrupted in its meaning; so that I find many of today’s self proclaimed “liberals” no more than vaguely socialist illiberals.

 

Some conservatives, on the other hand, have moved in a better direction. No longer are they merely supporters of the status quo. Some of them, indeed, have come to uphold the values of the Enlightenment! But there are also many far less benign conservatives, who want to forcibly return us all to a mythical past, when Gahd was in his heaven and all was right with the world. And many of them are warfarists, too.

 

Now, a radical question. Why should anyone have to suffer under someone else’s ideology? Why, for example, should conservatives have to suffer under socialism, or vice versa? Come to that, why should those of us, who hate politics of all stripes, have to suffer under any ideology at all? Why don’t we simply de-politicize life? Why don’t we set up a framework that maintains peace and supplies objective, non-politicized justice, and in which groups of like-minded people can get together and follow their own ideologies as they choose?

 

I think that all true liberals and the more benign conservatives – at least – could quite easily be accommodated in such a scheme. And those of us who don’t want politics at all can simply be ourselves, and make friends with whomever we damn well wish. Even socialists, racists and theocrats could have their own communes, as long as they behave civilly when outside them. Fascists and warfarists would, of course, have to be banned.

 

To sum up

 

We’re still living under a political system devised in the 16th century. In this system, anyone that can acquire enough political power can make taxes, wars and bad laws as they please. And they can force whatever political ideology they want on to everyone around them. Most of the ideologies that are extant today are evil. And democracy, far from fixing the problem, actually tends to make things worse.

 

This really isn’t good enough. That a species, which has developed nuclear weapons, is still using a political system from the age of the musket, is crazy. And scary. It’s got to change.

 

Comments

George N Romey Added Jan 1, 2018 - 3:05pm
Man has been fighting over ideology for centuries. Democracy sounds the best but very hard to administer. People don’t always choose in their self interest. America is a fine example of people voting against their own self interest.
 
I suppose the most perfect regime would be a wise, fair and benevolent king. If you find one let us know.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 1, 2018 - 3:12pm
"The idea of a social contract, to enable people to live together in a civil society and to protect their rights. Government for the benefit of, and with the consent of, the governed. The rule of law. A desire for progress, and a rational optimism for the future."
 
This 'rule is ignored by the left:
 
 From 2007  from the hallowed NYT
 
 
Arizona: A NYT Propaganda Lesson on the Abrogation of the Rule of Law for Illegal Aliens
 
We must always praise the New York Times, aka The Old Gray Lady, for its tautological insistence that the Rule of Law must [and must not] be followed. Today, they have convincingly convinced themselves that : Rule of Law may be set aside if certain conditions, defined by the Times, are not met. The example for the day is a maudlin assault on Arizona’s Fair and Legal Employment Act with an article entitled: Blazing Arizona. [1] Even the title is politically abrasive and signals the conclusion of the article from the start. The dedicated need not read past the title.
 
This little piece of sophomoric fluff contains two mandatory and classical-hence instructive-elements in the use of propaganda:
 
[1] The first statement, here that the law ought to be followed is proudly touted, and… “BUT”..
 
[2] In the next clause the first statement is abrogated by a set of leftist social and economics stipulations that disable the very law given in the first statement.
 
Thus, the law is unjust because of the criticisms by its critics! Translation: Ignore the Law.  The Rule of Law is an elastic entity subject to massage, extruding through small orifices and subsequent folding by the left.
 
Laura Ingraham[2] has called this form of propaganda the "But... Monkey" process, which is explored in her various Segments in her radio show The Laura Ingraham Show. The ‘but’ [pero] has been highlighted in red in the NYT article above for the benefit and clarification of certain Methodists, the mentally disnimble and illegal aliens laboring in the lettuce fields.  We have to allow for the (disproportionate) distribution of cognitive skills when we deal with the victims of the far left.
 
Amplifying the propaganda theme for todays little piece and, again, from Laura’s show we read”
 
“[It was]…Maya Angelou who said, "Don't let facts get in the way of the truth. You can tell so many facts you never get to the truth."[3] I call this the Angelou Formula in this article.
 
We can paraphrase this Jewel of Deep Thinking [4] as: Don't let the law get in the way of your politics. You can tell so many facts about the body of laws you will never get to the political solution.
 
We must review the evidence from history in the arena of politics to arrive at the stark fact that: truth is not important in politics—only persuasion[5]. We can list hundreds of liars and criminals who were successful in politics without the use of the truth and some are even running for high office today in Iowa.
 
[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/18/opinion/18tue1.html. Editorial
Blazing Arizona Published: December 18, 2007
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Laura_Ingraham_Show. The but monkey mechanism is explained as: “The segment called "But... Monkey" takes a politician's sound bite and divides the words before "but" (usually something positive or complimentary) from the words that follow (usually something negative or critical) with a screeching monkey sound. Other variations of the monkey cited include the "Having Said That Monkey" and the "Double But... Monkey."
[3] Ibid. Quote from that reference
[4] Ref 2.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Jan 1, 2018 - 3:41pm
Neil - an interesting précis. A little biased in places. I could nit-pick.
Thank heavens for the enlightenment - we need another burst of it.
My response is that surely, with the knowledge and resources we now possess, it is not beyond the wit of main to create a society that is fair, incorruptible and not open to exploitation, and that works for the good of all. Too much to ask for?
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 1, 2018 - 3:45pm
 Opher,
 
" to create a society that is fair, incorruptible and not open to exploitation,..."
 
 How do the Clintons fit into this odyssey? They are fair, not corrupt and have not exploited the system?
 
Then, there is the Rule of Law  that Obama ignored to allow illegal aliens and criminals to run free in this country!
 
Looks like we have to drain a few more swamps first. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Jan 1, 2018 - 6:12pm
opher goodwin Added Jan 2, 2018 - 3:51am
rycK - aren't all Americans, apart from Native American Indians, illegal immigrants?
opher goodwin Added Jan 2, 2018 - 3:56am
rycK - from what I can see of the American political system there is not a politician in the Congress or Senate who hasn't feathered their own nest. People are merely selective about who they pick on.
It's the same in the UK. George Osborne, who said we're all in it together and imposed austerity on everyone now has a salary measured in millions.
There are some swamps that need draining but we're probably not talking about the same swamps.
Neil Lock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 4:39am
George: One of the problems with democracy is that when there are two candidates, one awful and the other god-awful, too many people will vote for the awful one. Instead of wishing, as they should, "a plague on both their houses."
 
As to the wise, fair and benevolent king: People have been looking for him since Plato's time. I don't think anyone's found him yet. And even if they did, he would either become corrupted or be murdered within a year or so.
Neil Lock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 4:43am
rycK: You raise the question of the rule of law. In fact, the political state as it exists today is in direct contradiction to the rule of law, because the "sovereign" isn't subjected to its own laws. That's a point I ought to have made in my previous article (the one on Political Societies and Political Governments). I have it on my list to add it in when next I review that article.
Neil Lock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 4:47am
Benjamin: Thanks for the link to your article on a similar subject. An interesting article and comment thread, too.
 
Isn't WB a so much quieter place without John G? :-)
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 2, 2018 - 4:56am
John who?
Neil Lock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 4:58am
Opher: Enlightenment - we need another burst of it. Yup.
 
As to a society that is incorruptible, not open to exploitation and for the good of every individual in it, of course it's possible. But only if all the people in it voluntarily agree to these as goals of the society. Those conditions can never be met in any political "society," since as long as a state exists, the worst individuals will seek to take control of it.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 2, 2018 - 5:21am
take all of the ism's away and it boils down to this. there are in fact two kinds of people: those who wish only to carry on with their own business and those who wish only to mind everyone's business. These of the latter category spend an inordinate amount of time anguishing over what is "fair". Their proposed remedies are always couched in some packaging touting how "fair" it is and this is where the fundamental disagreement begins.
 
Thus we should all begin by approaching any discussion of these matters in the common understanding of what "fair" is. First of all any definition of fair as determined by a human being is false. It is tainted because it can not avoid being subjective. For true "fair"ness there must be no partiality. The only thing on earth that is "fair" is nature. Some may choose to assign the god of their choice in this role. Fine, go ahead if you want, but the concept is the same. Nature does not care about your politics, your sex, your race, nationality, your intelligence or lack thereof. Nature does not give one microshit about any one of us in any way shape or form. 
 
So if your quest is fairness I say seek it where you may find it. If your quest is limited to the realm of man then end your travails for your search is futile.
Neil Lock Added Jan 2, 2018 - 5:36am
TBH: I take your point about "those who wish only to mind everyone's business!"
 
I did, in fact, address the question of what is fairness (or, in my wording, justice) in an earlier essay here, On Justice. My take is that justice is a condition in which each individual, over the long run and in the round, is treated as he or she treats others.
Dave Volek Added Jan 2, 2018 - 12:00pm
Neil
 
Another interesting piece.
 
Corruption and decay seem to be built in to all political ideologies.
 
A few months back, I read Issac Asimov's books on the prelude to the Foundation. He had a rather interesting prophecy: democracy has a life-cycle of only 2 to 3 centuries. He wrote these books in the mid-1990s, and I think we can see signs of this prophecy coming true.
 
I see my TDG as a system that might transcend this corruption and decay.
 
----
Your take on welfarism is far too negative. My anecdotal experience with Canada's welfare system is that it is great for helping people through some tough times and many eventually get back to being productive citizens again. Those on long-term welfare usually have something seriously wrong with them that they can't hold on to a 40-hour a week job to support themselves. If we dismantle welfarism, very likely people will starve, die early from easy-to-cure ailments, or engage in petty crime.
 
I believe our modern welfare system has bumbled into a state of "It's cheaper to keep 10 families on welfare than have one young man in jail." Or another way to put it: if cut those 10 families off, at least one person is going to jail that would not have gone to jail before.
 
 
 
 
 
Dino Manalis Added Jan 2, 2018 - 12:44pm
Ideology has to be flexible, not fanatic, to allow for change and improvements.
Thomas Napers Added Jan 2, 2018 - 3:59pm
Conservatives have never been “merely supporters of the status quo.” Liberals need conservatives to adhere to their ideology because they need our money to support all the crap they want government to do. 
Neil Lock Added Jan 3, 2018 - 6:15am
Dave: I'm not at all against welfare schemes. What I am against is politicized welfare - where the state gets involved - and that's what I mean by "welfarism." In the 19th century there were workable, private welfare systems, such as the friendly societies. But they were forced out of the way when the state took over welfare. I think private welfare institutions, based on insurance and mutual aid, deserve to make a come-back.
 
As to Asimov's take on democracy, it looks as if he was right. But I don't think it is democracy per se that is the cause of the failure. It's just one of the things that is bringing down the outdated institution that is the political state.
Neil Lock Added Jan 3, 2018 - 6:17am
Thomas: You're right. Illiberals need to force everyone else to pay up for their schemes, because those schemes could never possibly survive in a free market.
Micahel Dolan Added Jan 3, 2018 - 9:14am
Corruption-Politicians sitting in DC-Politicians sitting in seats of government rule manage to become very rich. As the working class gets the middle finger-day in and day out, as the politicians become are enemy. Wake Up and smell the SWAMP-swamp filled with Dirty Politicians.
 
We must fight for ourselves and we must go after the politicians who take bribes in corrupt foundations that take millions of dollars from enemies of America. The political state is the enemy.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 3, 2018 - 9:16am
I need to go back to my old The Young Ones days and dig out Rik Mayall's SMASH THE STATE tee-shirt!
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 3, 2018 - 9:17am
Come on! Surely one of you lot has one o' them squirreled away someplace!
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 3, 2018 - 9:51am
Neil
 
"Thomas: You're right. Illiberals need to force everyone else to pay up for their schemes, because those schemes could never possibly survive in a free market."
 
Notice that they are always asking for money from others thus acting like parasites?
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 3, 2018 - 10:27am
And the smart parasite knows: never kill your host. only weaken it
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 3, 2018 - 10:37am
TBH
 
I wonder how losing control of Congress, WH, SCOTUS,etc is a weakening process?
Dave Volek Added Jan 3, 2018 - 1:57pm
Neil
My understanding of private welfare in the 19th century was that it was not that effective.
 
But I have to agree that politicized welfare is not a good thing. Social assistance should be for the betterment of society, not just the direct beneficiary. When votes can be bought (or more likely placated from voting) with welfare, something is not right.
 
Politicized welfare will not happen in the TDG.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 3, 2018 - 2:10pm
Because, JFK Dem, those that you mention are only the figureheads of the government. The parasite resides in the government itself, the multiple agencies and bureaus and entrenched political appointees. In the old Soviet system there was a perfect name for these types: Apparatchiks
 
You can kind of get the idea from the sound of the name, but its closest equivalent in todays vernacular might be that they are "tools"
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 3, 2018 - 2:24pm
The function of a society is ailing whenever burdens are placed upon it.  When the public sector ( that would be the part backed by the government and all of its legitimized punitive authority ) takes an ever increasing share of capital available out of the private sector, where it may be put to such frivolous purposes as paying for orthodontics or college or a new business start up.
 
When the public sector grows ever more obtrusive in it's regulatory regime this is again a drag upon growth and productivity. The denizens of these various agencies (they exist at the state level too) have no vested interest in actually solving the problem for which the agency's very existence was prescribed.  This is no mystery. Need I ask the obvious? So you see this class of vermin need the illness to maintain their host. Curing the illness would be the equivalent of killing the host
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 3, 2018 - 4:03pm
TBH
 
"The function of a society is ailing whenever burdens are placed upon it.  When the public sector ( that would be the part backed by the government and all of its legitimized punitive authority ) takes an ever increasing share of capital available out of the private sector, where it may be put to such frivolous purposes as paying for orthodontics or college or a new business start up."
 
 Have to agree with most of this. Burdens can be handled by  growth , and regulation of excesses and  minimizing crime. 
 
"... takes an ever increasing share of capital available out of the private sector,..."
 
 We need to inspect the efficiency of any system, business or government with respect to how capital is utilized.  Government is usually full of bureaucrats who do not know or care about efficiency.  As that  happens, capital is wasted. 
 
opher goodwin Added Jan 3, 2018 - 6:20pm
rycK - well for once I might even agree with you. I despise waste and too much red tape. We should eradicate it from the system and spend money wisely. The trouble is that there has to be money there in the first place.
George N Romey Added Jan 3, 2018 - 7:29pm
Scandinavian countries have very good hand up programs as well as good protections to prevent its people from falling into dire circumstances and being dependent upon the state.
 
Its why I’m for guaranteed employmen not BI. When all able body men and women (exceptions like caretaker) are fully employed the result is a better economy and society. Ultimately over the long term it pays for itself. The state by natural is a terribly inefficient and costly way to sustain individuals.
A. Jones Added Jan 4, 2018 - 12:00am
Scandinavian countries have very good hand up programs as well as good protections to prevent its people from falling into dire circumstances and being dependent upon the state.
 
No they don't.
 
According to this site, Sweden has a poverty rate of 14% for children, 15.9% for adults aged 18-64, and 18.3% for seniors aged 65 and over. Total poverty rate in Sweden: 16%. Out of a population of about 10 million, that means 1.6 million people in Sweden live in poverty.
 
According to the same site, Denmark has a poverty rate of 15.7% for children, 20.9% for adults aged 18-64, and 9.9% for seniors aged 65 and over. Total poverty rate in Denmark: 17.7%. Out of a population of about 5.7 million, it means that over 1 million people in Denmark live in poverty.
 
According to the same site, Norway has a poverty rate of 13.7% for children, 17% for adults 18-64, and 9.2% for seniors 65 and over. Total poverty rate in Norway: 15%. Out of a population of about 5.2 million, it means that over three-quarters of a million people in Norway live in poverty.
 
The latest total poverty rate figures for the U.S.A. are 12.7%. Out of a population of about 325 million people it means that about 41 million people live in poverty. According to the Census, the total poverty rate in the U.S. has declined several years in a row.
 
Just considering the percentages, I don't think Scandinavia looks so good.
 
So much for the much-vaunted "hand up" programs.
Neil Lock Added Jan 4, 2018 - 2:10am
Chris C: I didn't say anything about welfarism causing crime. It was Dave Volek who first mentioned crime on this thread.
 
The government takes money away from wealthy citizens and gives it to poor citizens. If only that was true. It would still be immoral; for wealth which has been fairly earned represents part of the life of the individual who earned it, and to take away that wealth is to take away that part of his or her life. But the reality is, that governments today steal wealth from those who earn it, and give a lot of it to highly paid apparatchiks, or to rich, politically connected cronies like landowners that erect wind farms. Worse, through their policies they put obstacles in the way of people earning wealth in the first place.
Neil Lock Added Jan 4, 2018 - 2:14am
As to environmentalism, I said that it "is a large subject. So much so, that it demands a whole essay in itself." Watch this space!
opher goodwin Added Jan 4, 2018 - 6:03am
Neil - why do you assume that this wealth is fairly earned? I think a good portion of it is gained through ruthless exploitation, corruption, nepotism, privilege and immoral methodology. A lot of the wealth in Britain's aristocracy was based on slavery, exploiting and extracting wealth from the empire, running factories on starvation wages without regard to health and safety, child labour and swindling people. It was only the advent of trade unions and social legislation coupled with full voting rights that changed things. People wrested some of this power from the ruling class, overcame injustice and created a more moral society and fairer world. No rights have ever been given up lightly by the elite. It has had to be taken from them with blood and protest.
The same ruthless practices still exist. The Third World is being exploited with sweat shops and poor health and safety. Automation is maximising profits for a few while putting multitudes out of work. The environment is being trashed for profit without thought for the future. Workers are still being paid low wages while profits increase. Prices charged for concerts and goods are excessive and exploitative.
How moral is all this?
I would say not moral at all.
A good portion of the rich and powerful are ruthlessly exploiting the world, evading paying taxes and using repulsive means for gaining their wealth.
 
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 6:26am
Opher - Right back at ya friend. Why do you automatically assume that the wealth wasnt earned? 
opher goodwin Added Jan 4, 2018 - 8:45am
Burger - because it wasn't and isn't. I look at the history of the wealthy people and how they got their wealth. Trump senior is a classic example - ruthless racism and government handouts.
I do agree that some might earn their wealth but most do not.
I do not think it is right to sell things at excessive profit margins, exploit the workforce, evade taxes, have unsafe working conditions or gain advantage through privilege.
why do you assume they have achieved this inordinate amount of wealth legitimately and morally?
George N Romey Added Jan 4, 2018 - 8:51am
In the 19th century people typically lived on a farm. When husbands died prematurely women were left with no children but unable to run a farm on their own or secure adequate employment in order to care for children. Private charity was used to assist these women.
 
While welfare is needed long term it causes people to become state dependent and develop bad habits. Welfare then becomes generational in nature. Women in the US are encouraged to have more children because it’s a bigger welfare check.
 
Along with welfare we need steps to self sufficiency and the prevention of having children that mothers cannot care for without state assistance.
 
However, despite what some conservatives might think welfare is not this huge expenditure blowing a hole in the budget.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 8:57am
And who, in your esteemed opinion Opher, is the worthy arbiter in determining whether the wealth is earned or not? To whom do you trust this Solomonic task? Cant wait for the answer. This should be good
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:04am
CC
 
" Indeed, causation is impossible to demonstrate, because it concerns internal mental states that are beyond the reach of measurement."
 
How about drugs, sloth, crime? Any of these influence the welfare state?
 
Your argument is therefore nullified.
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:08am
Man! How does one get that privilege? A nullification card! How cool! I haven't had one of those since, uhh..... fourth grade?
 
I wonder. Does it come with a cape too?
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:16am
TBH
 
Ask CC....
 
[Apparently, if there is no definitive 'study' describing the problem that is acceptable to the left then comments are rejected on negative evidence. ]
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:25am
We're grading grammar now? All of this amusement and grammar coaching too! Ho-Lee Shit (my Korean herbalist) says "Happy Day!"
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:29am
Maybe you should do that :)
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:31am
CC
 
You slink away from the central thought  because  you cannot provide some known nullification axiom for  your phony claims. 
 
"...the logical rule that correlation does not imply causation .."
 
Your 'rule' is nonsense and exists only in the minds of the left, therefore your argument is obviously nullified according to  your own phony 'rule.'. This sounds like an oblique reference to the famous all or none rule the left always uses. 
 
Welfare is a money maker for the left as they buy votes with taxpayer's monies. 
 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:47am
no and there is no such rule. 
Dave Volek Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:51am
Welfare is a money maker for the left as they buy votes with taxpayer's monies. 
 
There might be some truth to this statement, but I don't think most people on long term welfare are politically active in that they don't go to the polls.
 
If we apply logic--and given that some WB contributors feel America is rife will millions of social assistance abusers, Donald Trump should never have become elected if the welfare recipients were politically motivated to make a trip to the polls.
 
Rather, we have created our modern welfare systems for social order (hungry people will not stay quiet) and with genuine attempts to reduce of the effects of abject poverty. There is only a little of buying votes.
 
 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 12:21pm
Use better grammar. Then stop the negative evidence nonsense. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 12:34pm
"CC [from above]
 
[cc] " Indeed, causation is impossible to demonstrate, because it concerns internal mental states that are beyond the reach of measurement."
 
How about drugs, sloth, crime? Any of these influence the welfare state?"
 
So, we must conclude that since 'causation is impossible to demonstrate'  that drugs, sloth, crime do not affect welfare rolls because of you assertion of "internal mental states that are beyond the reach of measurement?"
 
 A not-so-clever circular argument  that appears to show that either we do not know why welfare rolls grow or that it must be something other than drugs, sloth, crime.
 
 So, what does?? Oh!, Yes!! capitalism!!
 
 Did I guess right?
 
It seems plausible that the  internal mental states  of the liberals  are beyond the reach of comprehension or elementary reason.
 
 Did I guess right?
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 1:23pm
Well that and a dollar will get you.....
The Burghal Hidage Added Jan 4, 2018 - 1:25pm
I would say more, but I dont wish to tie up any more thread on what is, lest we should forget where we are, a very fine piece from our friend Neil
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 4, 2018 - 4:21pm
CC
 
"Since you seem unwilling to engage in honest discussion, Mr. Democrat, I am placing you on my growing list of people here who have no interest in honest discussion"
 
Okay, suppose I accept your rules about correlation and causation and move over to the subject of Global Warming or, now, Climate Change for which they use numerous data sets and 'correlate'  that with certainty to prove that CO2 or methane or other contribute to rises in air temperature on the earth. 
 
Using your system how can we believe that CO2 causes rises in air temperature??
 
Also note that many 'successful' correlation graphs have a coefficient of only 0.2 or from scatter plots where the data seem to fly hither,thither and  yon. You, presumably, know all about correlation coefficients and and degrees of confidence?
 
Why should we believe their data using your system??
 
How about an honest answer?
 
The Democrat
A. Jones Added Jan 4, 2018 - 11:59pm
I caution readers to examine the page cited by Mr. Jones. What Mr. Jones calls "poverty", the website calls "risk of poverty or social exclusion".
 
You're quite uncivil, Mr. Crawford, and not behaving at all like the gentleman you tacitly claim to be. A case in point of your incivility:
 
You claimed that for the Nordic countries (Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden Denmark), the "material deprivation rate" is around 1%.
 
If you check the numbers at the site, the average for those five Nordic countries is 2.0%, not 1%. It's twice what you claimed it was. Did you lie? Or were you unable to add up five numbers and divide by five? Neither option inspires much confidence.
 
Another case in point:
 
The "Material Deprivation Rate" in Europe is completely different from the "Poverty Rate" in the U.S., so you cannot compare the 2.0% in the Nordic countries to the 12.7% in the U.S. because the numbers represent different things. It's apples and oranges.
 
The "Poverty Rate" in the U.S. lumps together all households that fall below a certain threshold income (such threshold varying with the number of people in the household). It does not measure "material deprivation" by reference to some arbitrary 9-point criteria. In fact, as U.S. government surveys have shown, many U.S. households falling below some given poverty threshold meet most of the 9 criteria the EU28 uses to define "material deprivation".  According to U.S. government surveys, many households defined as "poor" by U.S. standards have cars (often more than one), color TVs (often more than one), DVD players, an Xbox or PlayStation, air conditioning, heating, refrigerators, washing machines, tumble dryers, microwave ovens, stoves, and mobile phones. These poor households, therefore, are not "materially deprived" by EU28 standards. Therefore, you cannot compare the numbers that represent them.
 
Here are some more comparisons between the three Scandinavian countries considered in my previous post (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) and the U.S.:
 
Mean and median income by household type - EU-SILC survey
A "household" = 2 adults and 2 dependent children (i.e., 2 children under the age of 18).
 
Instead of comparing incomes in euros with incomes in dollars, I converted everything to dollars (1 euro = 1.21 US dollars).
 
Median household income in Sweden (2016) = €27,456 = $33,142.41
60% of that = $19,885.45. If a household is below that income in Sweden, it is defined as "at risk of poverty".
 
Median household income in Norway (2016) = € 41,742 = $47,764.14
60% of that = $25,045.20. If a household is below that income in Norway, it is defined as "at risk of poverty".
 
Median household income in Denmark (2016) = € 32,296 = $38,984.82
60% of that = $23,390.89. If a household is below that income in Denmark, it is defined as "at risk of poverty."
 
Median household income in the U.S. (2016) was $59,039. 60% of that is $35,423.40, which is well above the U.S. poverty threshold of $24,339 for a household comprising 2 adults and 2 dependent children.
 
So if we use $35,423.40 as a benchmark for comparing Scandinavian households that fall below 60% of their national median income, then:
 
A household in Denmark with an income of $23,390.89 would be defined as "in poverty" in the U.S. (not "at risk of poverty", as it would be called in the EU28);
 
A household in Norway with an income of $25,045.20 would be defined as "in poverty" in the U.S. (not "at risk of poverty", as it would be called in the EU28);
 
A household in Sweden with an income of $19,885.45 would be defined as "in poverty" in the U.S. (and not "at risk of poverty", as it would be called in the EU28).
 
Aside from debunking the myth that generous "hand up" programs in Scandinavia guarantee that there's little poverty there — "poverty" as we define the term in the U.S., and not as the EU defines "material deprivation" — I think it shows something more fundamental: A European's expectations of what constitutes middle-class affluence are lower than an American's expectations of what constitutes middle-class affluence.
 
Those lower expectations are precisely the reason the EU resorts to a cumbersome bifurcation: one threshold for asse
A. Jones Added Jan 5, 2018 - 12:00am
Those lower expectations are precisely the reason the EU resorts to a cumbersome bifurcation: one threshold for assessing "at risk of poverty" and another threshold for assessing actual poverty, i.e., "material deprivation". It's a weird distinction. It's weird, too, that the EU lists the lack of heat as one criterion for material deprivation but not lack of air-conditioning . . . despite the fact that hundreds of seniors in France died from heat-stroke one summer 15 years ago precisely because they lacked air-conditioning. Also, given that we are almost two decades into the 21st century, I fail to understand why the EU did not include lack of Internet access and lack of a computer as additional criteria for assessing "material deprivation." I mention those last two points to illustrate the ultimately arbitrary nature of that 9-point list of criteria.
Neil Lock Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:00am
Chris C: By "fairly earned" wealth I mean wealth that has been acquired through voluntary transactions with others, without any use of violence, threats, fraud, deception or any other kind of bad faith. By "steal" I mean take away by use of violence, threats, fraud, deception or bad faith.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:02am
CC
 
"Okay, suppose I accept your rules about correlation and causation and move over to the subject of Global Warming or, now, Climate Change for which they use numerous data sets and 'correlate'  that with certainty to prove that CO2 or methane or other contribute to rises in air temperature on the earth. 
 
Using your system how can we believe that CO2 causes rises in air temperature??"
 
No response  to this query??
 
Here we view the constant theory of using different systems to address various problems. Liberals tend to compartmentalize subjects into what is allowable to discuss,  or refute, and what cannot be commented upon, such as welfare, busing, The Great Society and so on and so forth. 
 
Thus we see a strict 'rule' backe up by nemerous 'studies, that do not describe reality. A good example of this was the phony Club of Rome :
 
Science has progressed to lofty heights since Aristotle mismanaged the thought processes necessary to mathematically describe and unravel the laws that govern our environment. We have impressive mathematical theories and models that give us predictions like what we were prepared to experience from the Limit to Growth published at MIT in the 70s. Here, using the best minds and the power of the computer the ‘Club of Rome’ was able to confidently advise us that we would run out of oil and natural gas by 1992 and other disasters. This should have been a warning. This was hatched from hokum and blow from the beginning.
 
The details of phony science in this instance:
 
This  famous and phony ‘computer study’ was conducted by MIT in 1970  and published in a book title: Limits to Growth [1] whose sophistical computer models clearly predicted, with ringing praise from the ‘scientists,’  that we would run out of oil, copper and lead by 1992 by and natural gas reservoirs by 1993.  Apparently, they missed a few inputs as their GIGO[2] reward is all they have left as material results. I confronted the original authors in person in the 90s in an ‘innovation conference’ attended by many scientists from some major corporations where they proudly announced that they were working on a second book. They could not seem to apologize for the implausible predictions in the first book and refused to admit that they were scientifically foolish, at best, so I failed to buy and read this second essay on the extended political corruption of science and dropped the matter.  Here, we get a peek into the inner sanctum of the politically driven ‘scientist’ of the leftist persuasion: they carry a mandate to compel the findings of any scientific study conform to their sleazy, left-wing political prejudices.  Thus, they can make weightless cars that run on cold fusion or other magical propellants and prevent the rest of us from greedily destroying our planet during our sordid lust for money. They know what Nature wants for us. They are wonderful.
 
But, we cannot say that the publication of this scientifically hollow piece of political fluff was not without its fanatical praise and song from the left, a bunch always looking for a new way to lose.  It was a sensation.[3] The liberals need ongoing stimuli from dark follies and hand-wringing chronicles like Silent Spring[4] to keep their fevers high and their morale low.[5] That may explain why so many liberals are drug addicts, sodomites and alcoholics.[6] I offer Tim Leary and Carl Sagan as examples.
 
So, that problem is with us and is apparently part of the genetic makeup of the left.  It must be like grits in the Carolinas: it just comes on the plate.
 
[1] The Limits to Growth in 1972. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limits_to_Growth.
 
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_in,_garbage_out
 
[3] Like that mysterious feeling in Chris Mathews’s leg during the Obama Philadelphia speech.
 
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Spring.
Neil Lock Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:19am
Opher: You listed some means of acquiring wealth which are NOT fair: "ruthless exploitation, corruption, nepotism, privilege and immoral methodology." I couldn't agree more! But are you not aware that in the UK at least, the entire taxation system, of which you are so fond, is rooted in privilege and immoral methodology? Not to mention ruthless exploitation.
 
As the theory goes, a silly rich old woman called Lizzie Windsor has the right to tax anyone in her "realm," because she's the "sovereign." (In practice, a criminal gang, of which May is the current chief mafiosa, use her as a figurehead and an excuse to screw as much out of people as they think they can get away with). I don't have a right to tax Lizzie; so where does she get the right to tax me? That's privilege for you! 
 
So if we get rid of these unfair means of acquiring wealth, one of the first things that will go is taxation! Instead, government would have to price its valid services (such as courts, police and a defensive military) in ways that people will be voluntarily willing to pay for. And that, to me, means in proportion to the benefits each individual gets for them. I really like that idea! But I don't expect you will agree...
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:26am
NL
 
"..."ruthless exploitation, corruption, nepotism, privilege and immoral methodology."
 
Sounds like the preamble of the Party of Democrats to me. 
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 5, 2018 - 10:58am
Caught  as a hypocrite and standard leftist coward in your lies. 
 
 But, your double standards are very amusing!
 
"..but I shall require a promise of future civil behavior. "
 
My promise is to refute the sodded sleaze of liberalism where I might find it. I could extract more information from reading the pigeon droppings at 59th and Lex in NYC. 
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 5, 2018 - 12:27pm
"Most of the ideologies that are extant today are evil. And democracy, far from fixing the problem, actually tends to make things worse."
 
Indeed Mr. Lock. As I develop a better understanding of the corruption on the Left and Right. Treated as proper nouns rather than common ones implies that they are not truly distinct sides any longer. Don't be distracted because it looks superficially semantic, it's a substantive observation. And what you have delineated helps make that point. How can you tell who is really on which side by look at only the lapel pins they wear and take that at face value?
 
I pray it becomes clear why I claim those labels are even more defunct for maintaining political dialogue than the political systems you lament are for maintaining a just society.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:10am
Pascal: I agree, there's not much difference between "left" and "right." Myself, I don't set much store by those terms anyway.
 
As you said on the other thread, the real divide is between those who want to be left alone to do their own thing, and those that want to interfere in other people's lives. I like to call them "bottom uppers" and "top downers" respectively. An article on that subject is on my list, but it isn't imminent.
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:33am
Someone once said that the great thing about democracy is that you can employ one half of society to destroy the other half. I don't recall who said it, other than the fact that he was Jewish. I read a lot of stuff on what Jews say.
  Your stages of democracy are described in excruciating detail by Aristotle in his dry and exceedingly long treatise, "The Politic".
  Try breaking the socialism vs capitalism ideal down as two basic conflicting ideas: (1) Equality of outcome or (2) Equality before the law. Equality of outcome often oversteps the law and this creates havoc within the laws and as Plato describes in book 4, everything falls apart with even the best of intentions.
  I've been thinking and reading along the tract of Equality in law vs Equality in outcome. I've been reading Roman law and law books on Jurisprudence. Its been very illuminating.
  Our Jewish central banks do not have the best of intentions. Our economy was created to make war and war is used to bring Jewish central banks to every functioning economy.
  re " They sought to make unpopular groups of people into scapegoats, and to purge those they considered inferior, such as Jews. "
 Jews were never purged because they were viewed as inferiour. Jews have always used the idea of Equality of outcome to create revolutions and destroy societies from within to work toward the Jewish ideal of world domination. Judaism IS communism, they are the same. Crony capitalism is just another way of getting us to the Jewish New World Order. To say that Jews get kicked out because of jealousy or prejudice is just infantile thinking. People did not use infantile thinking to direct thought until education got destroyed and we were blessed with television. People have always had rational reasons for political action. Sometimes they work from bad information.
  Capitalism cannot work in a technological era - it does until someone makes a machine that puts you out of a job. The successful are on career treadmills that leave little room for anything else, unless they are exceptionally bright and good and motivated. Some kind of wealth redistribution will be needed for us to survive. But the PTB have different ideas than us surviving.
  What do you think of my equality breakdown?
 
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 5:47am
The West was built on Equality before the law and the idea started to materialize with the Romans and Christ. Those who push the modern "equality of outcome" want to destroy the West without knowing anything about it. All roads lead from / to Rome. Rome was not perfect, but even the Justinians were trying to make it that way. For a thousand years all the smart people went to Rome to study law. Law was the technology of the day and it was and still is very good - until it gets destroyed by those who push equality of outcome to make their dream and goal a reality.
  The world war  (NATO occupies over 150 countries, only a few don't have Jewish central banks- N. Korea, Syria, etc - you get the idea) is a war against the common law. Everything can be explained along that thread.
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 9:18am
Doug: I already wrote up my own ideas on equality. They're here: http://writerbeat.com/articles/19317-On-Equality.
 
And I'm getting ahead of myself a little bit here, but I don't agree with you that capitalism (in its true sense, private ownership of the means of production) can't work in a technological era. My own means of production is my mind. The idea that "society" or some other such object owns my mind, is preposterous!
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:08am
Mr. Crawford: This is my thread. It is up to me whether or not I call out Mr. Democrat's behavio(u)r here. It's also my decision as to whether I should allow Mr. Plumb to air his views on Judaism on my thread. In both cases, I choose not to delete off topic material when the same commenter is also offering some worthwhile ideas.
 
I might also mention that on this thread you belittled me, without providing any evidence to back up your claim: so distorted by political prejudice that it bears no semblance to the reality. It's also arguable that you behaved similarly in the way you dismissed Mr. Romey. Furthermore, you imputed to Mr. Democrat something he had not at the time said - that he believed that the logical rule that "correlation does not prove causation" is false. (The fact that he then fell into the trap you had laid for him actually worsens your case, in my eyes). And in my opinion, Mr. Jones was quite right to call you out in the way he did. Pot, kettle, black?
 
Finally, my name is Neil; and I prefer the use of first names on my threads for those who are willing to supply them.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:33am
It seems CC cannot cobble  together a suitable response to posts here. Perhaps he needs more 'rules'  to  wave about. He should also inspect his own responses for specious comments. 
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:43am
re "Well, Mr. Plumb, you certainly bring a new flavor of ugliness to this website. " Thank you.
Doug Plumb Added Jan 6, 2018 - 11:45am
re "My own means of production is my mind."
 
But with robots and AI you have a billion other people producing with their mind. The top 1% will make money at it. (Pareto distribution (stats)). AI and robots will turn everything upside down and most people simply won't have to do anything - huge problem.
 
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 1:22pm
Doug: I think you have the right words, but in the wrong order. You should have said, "most people simply won't have anything to do." Which should enable them to unleash their creativity!
 
But you're right; we need a new social order in order to make that possible. I don't know of anyone here, beyond myself and Dave Volek, who is actively working towards such an order. We need more - irrespective of "political" viewpoint.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 6, 2018 - 3:21pm
Neil
 
"..we need a new social order in order "
 
Why not try  communism one more time?? I has the proper ideas embedded in the theory?
Neil Lock Added Jan 6, 2018 - 3:26pm
rycK: I'm as strongly against communism as Opher is against religion. Probably far more so. And there's a (tiny) taster of my ideas in the essay above; look at the last two paragraphs before "To sum up."
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:04pm
Neil, Just to let you know, I only recently thought that Intruders was a good label for the Statists of the sinister and dexterous aisles. They simply won't leave the rest of us undisturbed until we are forced to fight back.
 
I have myself referred in similar fashion as yours. Those who want to suppress humanity as downers and the few who have caught on as uppers. It was inspired by the words in "A Time for Choosing." Unfortunately, that speech went unheeded.
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:06pm
...sinister and dexterous sides of the aisle...."
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:26pm
Nell
 
"rycK: I'm as strongly against communism as Opher is against religion. "
 
My response was partly facetious.  Theories about progressive governments and such have  been the subject of trillions of hours of debate with no resolution that satisfies even a majority. My thoughts are that capitalism is an ancient and natural form of government:
 
The Pyramidal Theory of Capitalism
 
There is no equality in this world although such a nostrum is the ongoing basis for speeches and politics and grand systems that purport to change the world in such a manner as to achieve this unattainable attribute for all of us.  If we inspect a randomly assembled group of humans in a cluster no larger than 10 it is difficult to show that all members are equal in any respect. It is even more difficult to find two specimens in this cohort that are ‘equal’ in more than a few basic attributes. The physical differences and age of the members are enough to demonstrate that equality in any form can exist for long. If the cohort was expanded to 10,000 and sorted to form smaller groups of the same age, weight, cognitive skills or any of a host of attributes these smaller groups would, again, shows that although many are similar but there is no broad equality in this biased selection.
 
Since there is no equality that can be demonstrated in even small groups we then come to the abrupt and perplexing question: who, then, can work the levers of capitalism and provide the leadership and structure for the group? The answer to this question is really not amenable to description or even analysis and cannot be answered because of the variations in capitalism itself. If we inspect a primitive society that consumes mostly fish for food and their health and future depends upon gathering fish using boats or nets or spears in some water space then we quickly notice that some are skilled in one or more aspects of the fishing process. Here, equality is not even desirable because if the group only had one basic skill it might not survive due to various tasks not being accomplished to standards that would support the ongoing existence of the group.  Such a group as this spontaneously forms a pyramidal structure as there is a need for a central planner and work force director and a need to distribute tasks with some efficiency so that the output of the group exceeds the sums of the collective harvest of individuals who would have to do every fishing task by themselves. Thus, by sharing diverse duties in a group the means of production is made more efficient and all potentially benefit from the cooperative work process.
 
Variants on capitalism include anarcho-capitalism, corporate capitalism, crony capitalism, finance capitalism, laissez-faire capitalism, technocapitalism, Neo-Capitalism, late capitalism, post-capitalism, state capitalism and state monopoly capitalism. There are also anti-capitalist movements and ideologies including Anti-capitalism and negative associations with the system such as tragedy of the commons, corporatism and wage slavery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism#Variants_of_capitalism
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 6, 2018 - 4:28pm
Neil, Here's a link that may provide more grist for your mill.
The Tragedy of Consensus
Doug Plumb Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:04am
re "But you're right; we need a new social order in order to make that possible. I don't know of anyone here, beyond myself and Dave Volek, who is actively working towards such an order. We need more - irrespective of "political" viewpoint.  "
 
We need understanding first, politics is how we administer laws and laws are the foundation of society. Without that we are lost in the dark. The Western way is fully comprehendable for anyone who chooses to look and think. This has been the way of everyone north of the Equator for thousand or more years at least, the Romans, The Prussians, the Chinese (up until 20th century they were confucionists). It is the best way.
  Communism has been fully discredited.
Neil Lock Added Jan 7, 2018 - 6:17am
Pascal: Thanks for the link. Your "Uppers" and "Downers" seem more to be like optimists and pessimists than my "bottom-uppers" and "top-downers," which are more like individualists and big-government freaks. But I'm sure there is at least a degree of correlation between the two. (If not also causation...)
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 8, 2018 - 2:22am
Neil: You're quite perceptive. I have indeed linked the Downers with the ultimate in pessimism, and I won't bore you with more links emphasizing how. And what I called Uppers or Upsiders may be more optimistic, but that remains to be proven by our future reality.
 
However, what I will link to you fits well here (On Political Ideologies) with what you and are a batting about. Ronald Reagan's Political Model.
 
The following is a portion you may already be familiar with from the "A Time for Choosing" speech I mentioned earlier.
 
You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: up to man's ages-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motive, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
 
You will find at the link a remembered expansion of that 1964 speech of another speech from the early 1980s. It was that which has influenced my thoughts. Who knows, it may have influenced yours too. As you can see, the Up or Down instead of the Left or Right is the key element. I hope you find it useful.
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 8, 2018 - 2:29am
Sigh.
...with what you and [I] are batting about...
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 8, 2018 - 1:29pm
Pascal
 
" As you can see, the Up or Down instead of the Left or Right is the key element. I hope you find it useful."
 
I agree but this tends to eliminate political factions, hence, not reasonable. 
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 8, 2018 - 1:35pm
That very funny rycK. Please expound.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 8, 2018 - 1:51pm
Pascal,
 
To implement either the left or right presumes that one, or both, parties or factions evaporates. Not possible.  The left does like UP because that sanctions capitalism, the enemy of the left. 
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 8, 2018 - 2:02pm
rycK, you ought to make a video of this response. Making a mockery of the mockers is great sport.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 8, 2018 - 2:23pm
Pascal
 
" Making a mockery of the mockers is great sport."
 
 Making a mockery of the lefties is great sport.
Pascal Fervor Added Jan 8, 2018 - 2:29pm
But you repeat yourself.
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 8, 2018 - 3:24pm
But, of course. Reinforcement is necessary for some. 
Neil Lock Added Jan 9, 2018 - 3:38am
rycK: Eliminating political factions would be a good thing, not a bad! Or, more accurately, separating them from each other. Then we bottom-uppers could have our own parts of the world, and the top-downers could have theirs (until their economy collapses).
rycK the JFK Democrat Added Jan 9, 2018 - 10:32am
Neil,
 
A noble plan, indeed.