Quote of the Day: Capitalism and Socialism

 

“Under capitalism, the rich grow powerful. Under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.” – Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit)

Why is socialism growing more powerful in the United States? Because it directly benefits the gentry class: those running the country and those supporting them. This includes not just the political elite, but also the upper-middle-class, credentialed workers who work white-collar jobs – management and technology. The folks who can work remotely and get all their wants and needs delivered to their door.

(If you have not already, listen to Peter Robinson’s latest Uncommon Knowledge: What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya On 19 Months Of COVID. While primarily about the Covid lockdowns, it addresses the same issues I address here: how an elite can advance themselves at the expense of others. Go on and listen, I’ll still be here.)

Some might say I am nuts. The upper-middle class is the group in the highest tax brackets – the ones on which the burden of paying for government falls upon the most heavily. The working class and poor pay little to no income tax. Except part of that burden is s sleight-of-hand illusion. The top 10% of income earners have many ways of sheltering their income from taxes, which are often entered into the tax code in the interest of “fairness.” (An example is the recent attempt to remove ceilings on SALT tax deductions,) But more than that, those high tax rates are how they maintain their position in society. We do not have wealth taxes. Those who “have theirs” do not get what they do have taxed. They only get taxed on their income. As do their potential competitors.

Those potential competitors are the ones to whom high marginal tax rates are targeted. These are the Horatio Algers of American society. Those that arrive in this country penniless and through hard work, intelligent choices, and a little luck, build a business and amass wealth. But making money takes capital. High tax rates slow the accumulation of capital. Until capital grows to a critical mass, it is difficult to take the risks associated with starting a business unless you are willing to gamble everything on a low-odds effort. High tax rates ensure most of those who could potentially enter the top ten percent age out by the time they get there.

Additionally, for the first time in our history we are developing a rigid caste system. It is disguised as meritocracy, but it really is not. Credentials are now far more important than capability, If you don’t go to the right schools, get the right degrees, and have the right credentials, you are often not allowed to compete in the marketplace of ideas. The gentry class is the ones best positioned to see its children go to those schools and get the appropriate credentials to assume influential positions. (Can you imagine the uproar that would ensue if someone without an Ivy League education and the appropriate internships were nominated to the Supreme Court? Has not happened since I was a child.) The children of the gentry class get into these schools and gain these credentials regardless of their abilities. Unless they are short-bus dumb they pass through on “gentlemen’s” A’s. (Since everyone gets an “A” nowadays, Except for those attempting to push in from the outside, who somehow slipped in. They are still graded on performance.)

We complete the creation of an aristocracy by discouraging those outside of it from gaining the tools to enter it. We sabotage the public education system (in the name of making it “better” for the disenfranchised), defund the police (allowing looters to prevent the accumulation of capital through theft – all while providing private security and gated communities for the gentry class), and increase regulation (again in the name of fairness, but in actuality to prevent individuals from working for themselves or any company not large enough to afford the overhead to deal with the regulation). Regulation has the double benefit of providing the gentry class with plentiful opportunities for graft – enriching themselves while reducing the capital of those desperate to start their own businesses.

What we are evolving to is the Soviet model, with an elite Nomenklatura lording over an impoverished peasantry. We are not yet there. (Ricochet will cease to exist once we get there – or become a completely neutered site posting only what the government approves,)  But we are approaching it. The peasants wear masks in public while the aristocrats preen for each other – maskless – on the runway. We are forced to accept vaccine mandates to keep our jobs, while the elite ignore them. And soon, we will have travel restrictions for the mass of the public, which do not apply to the elite.

Tell me, what is the difference between a socialist country and a medieval kingdom? I fail to see a substantive difference. That is why so many running this country and running its big businesses like socialism. It allows them to be feudal lords again – with divine right of kings replaced by socialist dogma.

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  1. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Seawriter: Why is socialism growing more powerful in the United States?

    For the same reason that a rock falls to the ground when you drop it. Tyranny is the default, natural government of humans. No less now than it was during the medieval times you mentioned.  If you stop trying to resist gravity, you fall. If you stop fighting against tyranny, you get tyranny (the modern name for which is socialism). Everything is always pulling toward tyranny/socialism. It doesn’t take any effort to get it. The liberal narrative undermines the ability of Americans to resist the gravitational pull of socialism.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Seawriter:

    Tell me, what is the difference between a socialist country and a medieval kingdom? I fail to see a substantive difference. That is why so many running this country and running its big businesses like socialism. It allows them to be feudal lords again – with divine right of kings replaced by socialist dogma.

     

    That is precisely what it boiled down to.

    • #2
  3. BillJackson Coolidge
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    This lines up with something that’s bugged me for awhile. It’s all well-and-good for Psaki to mock those who ordered a treadmill …. because she has her treadmill. Much in the same vein that a friend of mine wants to make travel to Europe more expensive, now that he’s been enough times to satisfy himself. As Dana Perino said one time when Warren Buffet came out in favor of a tax hike: “Of course he likes it now. He’s made his money.”

    I can’t answer the gentry classism, but for a start, we have to get back to a place where public service is seen as that. A. Service. To. The. Public. 

    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.” Can any of us see any of our elected leaders — in either party — saying the same?

    We can talk about the class conflict, sure, but I think it’s the sense of entitlement that those in government have that first needs to be addressed. They’re setting a horrid example. 

    • #3
  4. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Why is socialism growing more powerful in the United States?

    For the same reason that a rock falls to the ground when you drop it. Tyranny is the default, natural government of humans. No less now than it was during the medieval times you mentioned. If you stop trying to resist gravity, you fall. If you stop fighting against tyranny, you get tyranny (the modern name for which is socialism). Everything is always pulling toward tyranny/socialism. It doesn’t take any effort to get it. The liberal narrative undermines the ability of Americans to exert the effort that keeps socialism at bay.

    Regression to the mean?

    • #4
  5. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    In order to set up a caste system, groups have to be more important than individuals. I don’t have to describe the efforts of the Left to sort us all into groups, and their ferocity in attacking individuals who refuse to fit.

    • #5
  6. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.”

    Imagine her joy if somebody had actually been killed.

    • #6
  7. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Socialism, or socialist ideas, gain traction in populations that perceive themselves as poor with no opportunity to rise economically in a system designed to unfairly keep them down for other people’s benefit. Has there been an increase in this perception in the US? Because that might explain some of the interest in socialism.

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Socialism, or socialist ideas, gain traction in populations that perceive themselves as poor with no opportunity to rise economically in a system designed to unfairly keep them down for other people’s benefit. Has there been an increase in this perception in the US? Because that might explain some of the interest in socialism.

    In the US the interest in socialism is top down. It is our leaders pushing it, while those on the bottom prefer moving up through their own efforts. That is one reason Hispanics are abandoning the Democrats – and one reason why every Vietnamese I have met in this country prefers capitalism to socialism.

    • #8
  9. BillJackson Coolidge
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    Zafar (View Comment):

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.”

    Imagine her joy if somebody had actually been killed.

    Well, there’s a point in my comment. You missed it. So I”ll try again: It’s easier to follow leaders who show they, too, are sacrificing. 

    • #9
  10. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    BillJackson (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.”

    Imagine her joy if somebody had actually been killed.

    Well, there’s a point in my comment. You missed it. So I”ll try again: It’s easier to follow leaders who show they, too, are sacrificing.

    We’re all in it together. I understood. 

    • #10
  11. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    In the US the interest in socialism is top down. It is our leaders pushing it, while those on the bottom prefer moving up through their own efforts.

    I doubt there’s much interest in the State nationalising factories, true, but things like single payer seem to be genuinely more popular than before.

    • #11
  12. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    In the US the interest in socialism is top down. It is our leaders pushing it, while those on the bottom prefer moving up through their own efforts.

    I doubt there’s much interest in the State nationalising factories, true, but things like single payer seem to be genuinely more popular than before.

    I’d say single payer would bankrupt us, but we’re already bankrupt.

    • #12
  13. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    In the US the interest in socialism is top down. It is our leaders pushing it, while those on the bottom prefer moving up through their own efforts.

    I doubt there’s much interest in the State nationalising factories, true, but things like single payer seem to be genuinely more popular than before.

    I’d say single payer would bankrupt us, but we’re already bankrupt.

    Regarding the question, “Are we bankrupt?”: (a) what’s your definition of “bankrupt”? and (b) who is “we”?

    • #13
  14. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    I’d say single payer would bankrupt us, but we’re already bankrupt.

    I’m not sure it would. Every country is different, but Oz has single payer and spends about half the proportion of GDP on healthcare that the US does – with arguably similar health outcomes. It might bankrupt private insurance companies, but comparing expenditure what value are they adding?

    • #14
  15. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.”

    Imagine her joy if somebody had actually been killed.

    I can’t imagine such a thing. You must have a special talent. 

    • #15
  16. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Zafar (View Comment):
    I doubt there’s much interest in the State nationalising factories, true, but things like single payer seem to be genuinely more popular than before.

    For the State to leave businesses nominally private, while simultaneously directing the parameters of their behavior in detail, is Corporatism or Economic Fascism…and it has significant benefit to the politicians compared with Marxist-style government ownership.  When things go wrong, there is always a lawyer of institutions and people to behave.

    Biden & co are now on the hot seat re the container shipping crisis, but that seat would be a lot hotter if the government owned the railroads, ports, trucks, etc outright.

    • #16
  17. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Seawriter: listen to Peter Robinson’s latest Uncommon Knowledge: What Happened: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya On 19 Months Of COVID.

    Thanks, I did listen.  Everything Dr. Jay said was simple common sense, with a foundation in science.  But all of this was being debated from the beginning. What I appreciated was his being willing to state what we all knew, that the lockdowns disproportionately affected the lower wage earners, while the elites ordered delivery service and enjoyed 18 months of working at home, without sacrifice. 

    Peter Robinson must be one of the worst interviewers I have ever endured.  His dumb act is insulting. “I’m just a layman, please say this as simply and slowly as you can, so i can understand it:” is simply code for “my audience are imbeciles, bring this down to 3rd grade level. ”  And then he nods like a bobblehead as though there was some great revelation.   Peter, you read the reports, you quoted the reports, and you want us to believe you are stupid.   It feels insulting. 

    • #17
  18. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    In the US the interest in socialism is top down. It is our leaders pushing it, while those on the bottom prefer moving up through their own efforts.

    I doubt there’s much interest in the State nationalising factories, true, but things like single payer seem to be genuinely more popular than before.

    I’d say single payer would bankrupt us, but we’re already bankrupt.

    Regarding the question, “Are we bankrupt?”: (a) what’s your definition of “bankrupt”? and (b) who is “we”?

    Standard definition.  Debts greater than assets.  And by we, I mean the US.

    • #18
  19. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Zafar (View Comment):
    with arguably similar health outcomes

    Arguably by what argument?  This is the first time I’ve seen the idea suggested, but I would be surprised if it could be argued except with false facts. (Based on the misinformed arguments that I HAVE read about the “great” outcomes in England, Europe, and even (heaven help us) Cuba.)

    Fudged stats on infant mortality, maybe?

    • #19
  20. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.”

    Imagine her joy if somebody had actually been killed.

    I can’t imagine such a thing. You must have a special talent.

    Imagine thinking that some minor damage to (one of) your palace(s) puts you on the same footing as an East Ender who’s lost their home to a bomb. Special talent indeed. 

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Zafar (View Comment):

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Zafar (View Comment):

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    One of my favorite stories is how, at one point, the Germans bombed one of the royal palaces, causing only minor damage, and Queen Elizabeth said, “I’m glad, because now I can look the East End in the face.”

    Imagine her joy if somebody had actually been killed.

    I can’t imagine such a thing. You must have a special talent.

    Imagine thinking that some minor damage to (one of) your palace(s) puts you on the same footing as an East Ender who’s lost their home to a bomb. Special talent indeed.

    Not the present Queen Elizabeth.  She became queen in 1952.

    • #21
  22. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    “Unnoticeably, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West ceased to stand for anything more lofty than the pursuit of ‘happiness’, a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use.

    Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hate for their own society. Amid all the vituperation, it has been forgotten that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, freed from all limitations. Such incitements to hatred are coming to characterize today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even abundance, the more vehement, paradoxically, is this blind hatred. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.”   A. Solzhenitsyn, 1983

    Solzhenitsyn saw the decline of the West as a result of turning away from God. It’s worth noting that increased enthusiasm for socialism in the US has paralleled a rise in atheism.

    • #22
  23. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Unnoticeably, through decades of gradual erosion, the meaning of life in the West ceased to stand for anything more lofty than the pursuit of ‘happiness’, a goal that has even been solemnly guaranteed by constitutions. The concepts of good and evil have been ridiculed for several centuries; banished from common use.

    Atheist teachers in the West are bringing up a younger generation in a spirit of hate for their own society. Amid all the vituperation, it has been forgotten that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, freed from all limitations. Such incitements to hatred are coming to characterize today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even abundance, the more vehement, paradoxically, is this blind hatred. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money. A. Solzhenitsyn, 1983

    Solzhenitsyn saw the decline of the West as a result of turning away from God. It’s worth noting that a rise in socialism in the US has paralleled a rise in atheism.

    I think it was Churchill who said the problem with capitalism is capitalists, the problem with socialism is socialism.

    • #23
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Arguably by what argument?  This is the first time I’ve seen the idea suggested, but I would be surprised if it could be argued except with false facts.

    Why would you be surprised?

    (Based on the misinformed arguments that I HAVE read about the “great” outcomes in England, Europe, and even (heaven help us) Cuba.)

    Fudged stats on infant mortality, maybe?

    I don’t know how accurate this is, but here’s data on the world’s countries:

    https://www.infoplease.com/world/health-statistics/infant-mortality-rates-countries

    imho there’s a lot of variation within countries – and that’s probably more visible in large countries like the US.

    https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/infant_mortality_rates/infant_mortality.htm

     

    • #24
  25. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    Lenin once said that the world would not be truly reformed until the last capitalist hung from a rope. When asked where the communists would get so much rope Lenin said not to worry, the capitalists will sell it to us.

    • #25
  26. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    Amy Coney Barrett does not hand an Ivy League education.

    • #26
  27. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    Lenin once said that the world would not be truly reformed until the last capitalist hung from a rope. When asked where the communists would get so much rope Lenin said not to worry, the capitalists will sell it to us.

    Didn’t Lenin also say of himself and his cohorts that they should all be hung at the ends of stinking ropes?

    • #27
  28. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Not the present Queen Elizabeth.  She became queen in 1952.

    The Queen Mother was also (confusingly) Queen Elizabeth.  And apparently five staff were injured, one of whom died – so….[eats crow].

    • #28
  29. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Are the horrors of socialism ever taught in school?

    Even way back when I was a kid, we learned about “Robber Barons” during lat 1800s and learned nothing about the Holodomor, the great leap forward or the killing fields

    I suspect it is much worse on the robber baron and nothing about the other

    • #29
  30. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Not the present Queen Elizabeth. She became queen in 1952.

    The Queen Mother was also (confusingly) Queen Elizabeth. And apparently five staff were injured, one of whom died – so….[eats crow].

    What did the young woman who became Queen Elizabeth II do during the war? 

    • #30