The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Socialism


As I was playing Monopoly, my thoughts went to a recent poll on how socialism is viewed in the US (and, especially, in Iowa).

You should realize that much of my life has been lived during the Cold War and socialism was equated with communism. Very few people would admit to liking it in those days and there was no way any candidate stating he was socialist would have garnered any votes. These were in the 50's, 60's, and 70's... candidates offered by the Socialist Workers Party... and they didn't have the proverbial snowball's chance.

Now, we have one Bernie Sanders labeling himself a "Democratic Socialist" and he is gaining popularity against his principle opponent, Hillary Clinton. He is not, as far as I know, a member of the afore-mentioned Socialist Workers Party but an Independent running for the Democratic presidential nomination. The other important choice is someone facing scandals about fund-raising for the Clinton Foundation and using a private email server for her job job as Secretary of State under president Obama.

I heard someone say he blames the public education system for the favorability of socialism seen in those polls. I tend to disagree, though he could be right. It's also possible, and he said as much, that people might have confused social media or being a sociable person with being a socialist. That could also be the fault of our education system.

Anyway, Bernie Sanders would like to revive the 90% tax bracket that we once had. He often, as do Democrats, says that the rich "should pay their fair share" of taxes. What he doesn't say is that this "fair share" is determined by the government and those that, I think, dislike the rich. There is nothing voluntary about our taxation, you pay or you face punishment, including prison time. Consider it robbery, if you like, just because the robber is government doesn't make it any less than the forceful taking of your money.

6 comments:

Tom Sightings said...

Well, I'm more of a capitalist than a socialist, for precisely the reason you state: choice vs.force . . . acknowledging, however, that we also have a social contract for the govt. to set some rules for appropriate behavior, like we can't kill people we don't like, and also to provide things that we can't provide for ourselves, from fire protection to national defense to roads and bridges, etc. I guess all our arguments are where to draw the line on these two issues.

However, for the last cpl of weeks, it's not the govt. "stealing" my money. It's Wall Street that's "stealing" the resources I've set aside for retirement. So that's what I'm worried about right now.

Douglas said...

Tom, you're blaming the wrong people. Wall Street is not stealing your money. Cheap oil (which we like) is part of the equation, as is the final year of a presidency (traditionally, the market drops in an election year)as the president's policies finally start to take effect. We'll see an uptick next year in the market which might (no guarantees)result in those losses you are now experiencing to disappear. Just as they did in 2009. We always pay the price for the government interfering with the market.

T.C. said...

"that we also have a social contract for the govt. to set some rules for appropriate behavior, like we can't kill people we don't like,"

That's not a 'social contract' (and I take this to mean the 19th century version) with the government but one basic principal we accepted way before the existence of the nation-state. It formed the base of organized religion, for example, in ancient times. The all-knowing state really is a coercive thug and I'm not interested in this ephemeral 'social contract' I never even saw or signed.

In my view, to add, you can't be 'more of a capitalist than socialist.' You either are or not; just like you're either for freedom of speech or not. There's no such thing as a mix or balance.

I agree about WS. I would add it's dangerous rhetoric and helps to give way to populists like Sanders.

Just my thoughts.

T.C. said...

Re the social contract. My mistake; 18th century as it relates to Rousseau.

Douglas said...

T.C., and excellent thoughts they are. very astute, as usual.

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