Let’s Try Socialism

 

I’m serious. Let’s do it. This appears to be an idea whose time has come [again]. A lot of the people who tried it in the 20th century, 100 million or so of them, are unfortunately no longer alive to tell us that it didn’t work. And, also unfortunately, it seems that we are not teaching students that socialism didn’t work, and so they’re naturally enough assuming that maybe it does.

So let’s give it a try. We can chalk it up as a learning experience.

But let’s not start with those precious luxuries, food and medicine and toilet paper and hot and cold running water, that we have grown to take for granted. The people of Venezuela have learned not to take any of those things for granted. Let’s try not to repeat their mistake.

Let’s try socialism in the entertainment industry. Let’s try it in Hollywood first, and not roll it out to the rest of the country until we are satisfied with the results there. There are an awful lot of rich people in Hollywood, and a lot of them are socialism enthusiasts, so it seems the perfect microcosm in which to experiment with this old new idea.

I don’t care what flavor of socialism we try. Make it real socialism, or “democratic socialism,” or tax-all-their-money-away-and-spend-it-on-social-services socialism. Let a thousand socialist flowers bloom — but let them bloom in Hollywood.

Sure, it will tend to destroy everything it touches, but I am willing to make that sacrifice, if that’s what it takes to teach the next generation. I really, really like food and medicine and toilet paper and hot and cold running water. I can live without Hollywood.

So come on, Hollywood. Show us how it’s done. I can hardly wait to see what central planning produces in the way of great art.

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There are 37 comments.

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  1. Member

    I find it interesting that even Scandinavian nations that are upheld as models for “good socialism” are now collapsing.

    The government of Finland collapsed Friday due to the rising cost of universal health care and the prime minister’s failure to enact reforms to the system.

    Prime Minister Juha Sipila and the rest of the cabinet resigned after the governing coalition failed to pass reforms in parliament to the country’s regional government and health services, the Wall Street Journal reports. Finland faces an aging population, with around 26 percent of its citizens expected to be over 65 by the year 2030, an increase of 5 percent from today.

    Sipila’s reforms “intended to remove power from the 295 municipalities that currently oversee health and social care, and place responsibility within a leaner, more efficient system of 18 elected regional authorities,” according to the Journal. The prime minister also wanted patients to be able to choose from a range of public and private providers.

    Sipila said “there’s no other way for Finland to succeed” besides these reforms, which could have led to $3.4 billion in savings for the government.

    . . .

    Similar problems are bedeviling Sweden and Denmark, two other countries frequently held up as models to follow on health care. Finland’s crisis in particular comes as calls for universal health care have grown louder among Democrats in the United States.

    As the great lady once said, sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.

    • #1
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Contributor

    Henry Racette: Sure, it will tend to destroy everything it touches, but I am willing to make that sacrifice, if that’s what it takes to teach the next generation.

    It won’t teach them anything. They’ll blame us.

    • #2
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:22 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Thatcher

    I notice that our budding socialist seem to embrace the Hunger Games models with all the young living exciting lives in the cities while all those in fly over country are left with the socialism part.

    On the other hand I do understand why the under 30 crowd is upset. When you are raised as a child with mommy and daddy paying for everything until you are 25 or so you tend to get upset when at 26 you discover it is all over and that you are required to work for a living. Work real job where 40 hours a week is a vacation and you become alienated from your friends or family because you see them so seldom and not the Friends type of work in a cool coffee shop everybody gets to hand out and hook up in.

    • #3
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:27 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Coolidge

    To test my knowledge, we would give all the intellectual property and physical property to some controlling entity. This entity would pay talent a standardized minimal stipend and provide food, clothing, and housing. The products of the entity would be sold to consumers at levels just high enough to cover expenses. The controlling entity would choose all projects. 

    • #4
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  5. Member

    Let’s try socialism in the entertainment industry.

    Free cable? Movie tickets for less than $13? Sign me up. And then we stop there.

    • #5
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):
    The government of Finland collapsed Friday

    I like how this is stated, as if it happened suddenly and all at once one day. It is reported in the same manner as an announcement of a mudslide or an earthquake on Friday. 

    • #6
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:54 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Member

    DonG (View Comment):
    To test my knowledge, we would give all the intellectual property and physical property to some controlling entity. This entity would pay talent a standardized minimal stipend and provide food, clothing, and housing. The products of the entity would be sold to consumers at levels just high enough to cover expenses. The controlling entity would choose all projects. 

    This sounds like a horrible business model. 

    • #7
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    DonG (View Comment):

    To test my knowledge, we would give all the intellectual property and physical property to some controlling entity. This entity would pay talent a standardized minimal stipend and provide food, clothing, and housing. The products of the entity would be sold to consumers at levels just high enough to cover expenses. The controlling entity would choose all projects.

    Hey, slow down. The point here is to let socialists be socialists. Let’s not tell them what to do. I’m sure whatever it is will be fine with the Hollywood elite. And I’m sure it will lead to terrific movies.

    • #8
    • March 12, 2019, at 11:56 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’m sure whatever it is will be fine with the Hollywood elite. And I’m sure it will lead to terrific movies.

    Haven’t we already had enough movies about life under dystopian societies?

    • #9
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Member

    Who thinks our present approach we like to refer to as ‘free market capitalism’ needs no corrective action? I’m of the view that a large measure of what those leaning socialist see as an imbalance in the wealth distribution in our current system results from corporate influence on government. Maybe those of us who support free market capitalism should take a look at that. The Manafort investigation, what little we can see, makes it look as if the lobbying on behalf of foreign entities is not really monitored even though there are numerous laws and regulatory requirements involved. The handling of the 2008 financial crisis showed that our free markets are controlled somewhere but not at the grassroots. A small measure of integrity in business and government will go a long way.

    • #10
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:05 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’m sure whatever it is will be fine with the Hollywood elite. And I’m sure it will lead to terrific movies.

    Haven’t we already had enough movies about life under dystopian societies?

     Apparently not, given the resurgence in enthusiasm for something with “socialism” in its name. 

    • #11
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  12. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who thinks our present approach we like to refer to as ‘free market capitalism’ needs no corrective action? I’m of the view that a large measure of what those leaning socialist see as an imbalance in the wealth distribution in our current system results from corporate influence on government. Maybe those of us who support free market capitalism should take a look at that. The Manafort investigation, what little we can see, makes it look as if the lobbying on behalf of foreign entities is not really monitored even though there are numerous laws and regulatory requirements involved. The handling of the 2008 financial crisis showed that our free markets are controlled somewhere but not at the grassroots. A small measure of integrity in business and government will go a long way.

    Bob, I would love it if the new socialists really just wanted to get government out of the market place and would be satisfied if we were to do that.

    I would also like it if I could fly.

    • #12
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:12 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  13. Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who thinks our present approach we like to refer to as ‘free market capitalism’ needs no corrective action? I’m of the view that a large measure of what those leaning socialist see as an imbalance in the wealth distribution in our current system results from corporate influence on government. Maybe those of us who support free market capitalism should take a look at that. The Manafort investigation, what little we can see, makes it look as if the lobbying on behalf of foreign entities is not really monitored even though there are numerous laws and regulatory requirements involved. The handling of the 2008 financial crisis showed that our free markets are controlled somewhere but not at the grassroots. A small measure of integrity in business and government will go a long way.

    Bob, I would love it if the new socialists really just wanted to get government out of the market place and would be satisfied if we were to do that.

    I would also like it if I could fly.

    That sounds like you think we are ok where we are, nothing needing to be fixed.

    • #13
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  14. Member

    Not sure I could get behind your proposal Henry. Instead, maybe we should start with a call for the rich, starting with Hollywood, to “…pay their fair share” with the re-imposition of the 1940’s era 20% excise tax on movie theater gross receipts as per Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit).

    • #14
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Member

    For it to be a full and genuine experience, California would need to prevent emigration. If they need help doing so, I’m sure some other states would volunteer.

    • #15
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  16. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who thinks our present approach we like to refer to as ‘free market capitalism’ needs no corrective action? I’m of the view that a large measure of what those leaning socialist see as an imbalance in the wealth distribution in our current system results from corporate influence on government. Maybe those of us who support free market capitalism should take a look at that. The Manafort investigation, what little we can see, makes it look as if the lobbying on behalf of foreign entities is not really monitored even though there are numerous laws and regulatory requirements involved. The handling of the 2008 financial crisis showed that our free markets are controlled somewhere but not at the grassroots. A small measure of integrity in business and government will go a long way.

    Bob, I would love it if the new socialists really just wanted to get government out of the market place and would be satisfied if we were to do that.

    I would also like it if I could fly.

    That sounds like you think we are ok where we are, nothing needing to be fixed.

    No. I don’t think that. But, to use an analogy, socialism is cancer, and government intervention and corporatism are somewhere between obesity and diabetes. All are serious, all diminish our lives, but only one of them needs to be crushed fast lest it destroy us. 

    • #16
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  17. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    For it to be a full and genuine experience, California would need to prevent emigration. If they need help doing so, I’m sure some other states would volunteer.

    That’s the spirit! I like your style.

    One of the few virtues of socialist countries is that they like secure borders. Of course, their guns point inward. But that just makes sense.

    • #17
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who thinks our present approach we like to refer to as ‘free market capitalism’ needs no corrective action? I’m of the view that a large measure of what those leaning socialist see as an imbalance in the wealth distribution in our current system results from corporate influence on government. Maybe those of us who support free market capitalism should take a look at that. The Manafort investigation, what little we can see, makes it look as if the lobbying on behalf of foreign entities is not really monitored even though there are numerous laws and regulatory requirements involved. The handling of the 2008 financial crisis showed that our free markets are controlled somewhere but not at the grassroots. A small measure of integrity in business and government will go a long way.

    Bob, I would love it if the new socialists really just wanted to get government out of the market place and would be satisfied if we were to do that.

    I would also like it if I could fly.

    Free market capitalism, as many of us view it, operates effectively within a representative democracy, such as the U.S., when the governing power rests with the people. This has not been the case for a while, but it did get us President Trump, and a similar reckoning is underway involving the UK and the EU. I think many fellow travelers of the socialist movement in America are not as much sold on socialism as they are disappointed with the results of our existing approach.

    • #18
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    government intervention and corporatism are somewhere between obesity and diabetes.

    This is where the recent combination, last few decades, of Democrats and GOPe has led us and most Americans have not been pleased with the result. I think if the New Democrat Socialists get a leadership position in the 2020 election, they will be put down hard. But something better needs to be forthcoming from Trump winning. 

    • #19
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  20. Contributor
    Henry Racette Post author

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Who thinks our present approach we like to refer to as ‘free market capitalism’ needs no corrective action? I’m of the view that a large measure of what those leaning socialist see as an imbalance in the wealth distribution in our current system results from corporate influence on government. Maybe those of us who support free market capitalism should take a look at that. The Manafort investigation, what little we can see, makes it look as if the lobbying on behalf of foreign entities is not really monitored even though there are numerous laws and regulatory requirements involved. The handling of the 2008 financial crisis showed that our free markets are controlled somewhere but not at the grassroots. A small measure of integrity in business and government will go a long way.

    Bob, I would love it if the new socialists really just wanted to get government out of the market place and would be satisfied if we were to do that.

    I would also like it if I could fly.

    Free market capitalism, as many of us view it, operates effectively within a representative democracy, such as the U.S., when the governing power rests with the people. This has not been the case for a while, but it did get us President Trump, and a similar reckoning is underway involving the UK and the EU. I think many fellow travelers of the socialist movement in America are not as much sold on socialism as they are disappointed with the results of our existing approach.

    I’m sure there is some truth to that. For example, I think calls for socialized medicine ultimately spring from way too much government intrusion in medicine.

    But I also think socialists gotta be socialists.

    It’s like identity politics. You can root around trying to figure out who it is you have to placate to make it go away, but I think you also have to just flatly oppose it. 

    • #20
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:41 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  21. Member

    Let’s throw in pro sports for good measure.

    • #21
    • March 12, 2019, at 12:43 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  22. Thatcher

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    I’m sure whatever it is will be fine with the Hollywood elite. And I’m sure it will lead to terrific movies.

    Haven’t we already had enough movies about life under dystopian societies?

    Follow this plan and I’m sure there won’t be many more.

    • #22
    • March 12, 2019, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Member

    Henry Racette: I don’t care what flavor of socialism we try. Make it real socialism, or “democratic socialism,” or tax-all-their-money-away-and-spend-it-on-social-services socialism. Let a thousand socialist flowers bloom — but let them bloom in Hollywood.

    Shortly after Stalin’s death, a 20-year-old Lyudmila Markovna Gurchenko became a star in Eldar Ryazanov’s first big film, Carnival Night, which made fun of the stifling Soviet bureaucracy and which was the first of the genre of New Year’s Eve movies. She quickly went on to make too much money to be deemed acceptable in the Soviet system. She continued to work, but was held down by social media criticism, which attacked her not only for the money she made, but for being too western and not Russian enough. Some of her films didn’t receive wise wide distribution.

    The system wasn’t free of outright censorship, too, but this shadow-banning was a common way of dealing with politically incorrect work and people. Some of my favorite Russian films of the 60s are hardly known to Russians to this day, judging by discussions I’ve had with movie fans from Russia. It’s not because they were banned outright, but because the Facebook/Twitter mechanism of that time shadow-banned them.

    Ryazanov continued to make films that contained social commentary, but he seems to have had good judgment as to just how far he could go, and remained openly popular. In 1982 Lludmila Gurchenko played the female lead in his film, Railway Station for Two, with the result that she was a big star again, 25 years after her first big success. But the Soviet Union was on the brink of a lot of other changes by then. This film also contains a humorous segment that extols the benefits of free markets as compared to state-controlled production and distribution.

    Moral of the story: If you want to impose socialism on the entertainment industry it’s more important to control the social media than the government. Of course, in the Soviet Union the government exerted more influence over the social media than in our country, but Obama took us far in that direction here, too.

    • #23
    • March 12, 2019, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  24. Coolidge

    Let me know if this is a real thing so I can stock up on beans and bullets.

    • #24
    • March 12, 2019, at 2:46 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Member

    Cool! 

    My suggestion: All members of the Screen Actors Guild (they can be found) are required (as a condition of continued membership) to deposit all their earnings into a single account. Audits, including inquiries of studios validate earnings claimed. Later debate on whether waitressing and bar tending tips are included. The accumulated amount is then distributed evenly among all members of the SAG.

    • #25
    • March 12, 2019, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  26. Member

    It reminds me of when some pro-union Hollywood hippies got together during a writers strike to make a web series outside the usual filmmaking structure. 

    Do as I say, not as I do.

    • #26
    • March 12, 2019, at 3:52 PM PDT
    • Like
  27. Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    That sounds like you think we are ok where we are, nothing needing to be fixed.

    I see lots that needs to be “fixed.” I just can’t think of anyone less qualified to “fix” it than the government.

    • #27
    • March 12, 2019, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Member

    Larry3435 (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    That sounds like you think we are ok where we are, nothing needing to be fixed.

    I see lots that needs to be “fixed.” I just can’t think of anyone less qualified to “fix” it than the government.

    How about the disappearance of some of that government? That’s the fix I’m looking for.

    • #28
    • March 12, 2019, at 5:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Lincoln

    I think it California just keeps California-ing on in the direction they’ve been going for the past 20 years, you’ll end up with a de facto socialist experiment the Hollywood elite living in the Golden State can be participants in, without need of burdening everyone else.

     

    The unfunded state mandates, imbalance between public and private sector average salaries, exclusion of needed service, pension liabilities and pandering to non-productive members of society in exchange for votes will create growing income disparity that will eventually force the politicians to raise state taxes on the rich to confiscatory levels to finance their plans, if they can’t go to Washington and somehow get the taxpayers from the other 49 states to bail them out (and I’m sure the Hollywood elites living across the continent in New York can get their state leaders to try the same thing and go full AOC, though I think after the Amazon HQ debacle, the state leaders aren’t wild about her because she scuttled their crony capitalist deal).

    • #29
    • March 12, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    I think it California just keeps California-ing on in the direction they’ve been going for the past 20 years, you’ll end up with a de facto socialist experiment the Hollywood elite living in the Golden State can be participants in, without need of burdening everyone else.

     

    The unfunded state mandates, imbalance between public and private sector average salaries, exclusion of needed service, pension liabilities and pandering to non-productive members of society in exchange for votes will create growing income disparity that will eventually force the politicians to raise state taxes on the rich to confiscatory levels to finance their plans, if they can’t go to Washington and somehow get the taxpayers from the other 49 states to bail them out (and I’m sure the Hollywood elites living across the continent in New York can get their state leaders to try the same thing and go full AOC, though I think after the Amazon HQ debacle, the state leaders aren’t wild about her because she scuttled their crony capitalist deal).

    The difference from a socialist sovereign nation is that California’s wealth producers can leave (I know it’s not easy to leave such a nice climate) and eventually will. 

    • #30
    • March 12, 2019, at 8:23 PM PDT
    • Like
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