Friday, August 25, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

Questus Furore - A Plague of Red Ghosts
I wonder if we truly appreciate the blight left on the world by seventy-plus years of Soviet Communism.

Let's leave alone the succession of failed states and active terror movements that the Soviet Union built up and strung along during the Cold War. The growing conflagration of Islamic terror was stoked by Soviet cash and arms.

And then there are those persistent lies. Lies like this:
The concern [is] that, through mechanisms we're not entirely sure of, the very richest are siphoning off the economic growth before it flows through the middle and lower classes. The worry is about the distribution of growth, but the suspicion is that the distribution is being warped by the sheer level of inequality.
I'm not going to address this here; Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek refutes this delusion far better than I can. (He is also where you can find this conspiracy theory; I'm not going to dignify it with a link.)

The idea that the rich have some secret system for siphoning off wealth and denying it to "the people" is not a new one; as long as there have been Marxists, this idea has not been far behind. It was the popular refrain of Communists and socialists in the 1930s, an encouragement to the proletariat to rise up, seize control of the state, and smash capitalism and the bougeoisie. (Usually blissfully ignorant of the carnage necessary to effect such change.)

It is an idea that considers wealth a fixed quantity, that in order for one to have luxury another must do without. This is an idea that can be dispelled by a basic class in economics - but it is a legend that many desperately want to believe, so they do.

I am reminded of a time while I was attending the University of Utah, on my way to a business class. I started talking with a girl nearby, learning that she was a graduate student in economic. She then proceeded to tell me how she believed capitalism was a failed idea, that Marxism was the way to go. I didn't laugh in her face; I try to be more polite than that. I did not challege her assertion, either, though now I wish I had. For there I was, twelve years after Communism's demise, surrounded by the products of capitalistic society, products that Russia still hadn't managed to compare. All Communism had managed to accomplish was the efficient mass production of human misery.

The empirical results of Communism, Marxism, socialism, and their fellow travelers are all that are necessary to damn them forever. They operate on the assumption that men can be forced to be better, that wealth is fixed, and that government can fix all - as long as it is run by enlightened people.

Capitalism works because it acknowledges that men are not angels, and succeeds despite them.

Recommended Reading
VDH discusses communication.

Mark Steyn, "Espying the Jew."

Jonah Goldberg, "The Living Constitution's Double Standard."

Deroy Murdock, "Bull=Headed Greens."

What had been a relatively mild tornado year got ugly fast yesterday.

Thought of the Week
“What experience and history teach is this—that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.”
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Churchill Quote of the Week
"All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."
Sir Winston Churchill


At 7:00 PM, Blogger Tyler Farrer said...

I got chills reading that post. Well written--You must have plagiarized it. :)

Larry Kudlow calls the economic gains that we have acheived under George W. Bush's watch, "the greatest story never told". I'm amazed at the tenacity with which we hang onto myths that would damn us.


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