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Stoppit

Enough.

pudding

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87 comments to Stoppit

  • The Wobbly Guy

    And the regulatory state marches onwards.

    Where is your increasing liberty? I don’t see it, and I doubt I ever will.

  • Mal Reynolds (Serenity)

    Such open contempt for the entire population on display. How are so many people seemingly okay with the government doing this?

  • BladeDoc

    So let me get this straight, the government is going to publish a list of restaurants that serve “too much” dessert and they think this is going to be bad for them?

  • Jerry

    Been sayin’ it for years –
    These control freaks ( which is what they are ) will control &/or run EVERY ASPECT of you life, from what and how much you eat ( starting just like this – incrementalism – one little step at a time until …. ) to when you have sex to what time you go to bed to when and in which direction you are allowed to fart IF they are allowed to do so !

    Tell these overbearing a h’s to got take a flying f’ at a rolling doughnut or one day you might wake up and have to ask your totally ‘connected’ and interactive living quarters if it’s OK to get out of bed !! – or maybe the chip installed in your head will tell you !!

  • Fred Z

    Rope. Tar. Feathers.

  • lucklucky

    Politics are out of control. I am afraid this will go on until there is civil disobedience and violence.

  • lucklucky, September 30, 2016 at 6:09 pm, sadly it may go on until everyone pretends and “cheats” (i.e. breaks the “law”) while noone thinks it worthwhile to speak the truth.

    I get a litlke information from Greece via relatives of friends. I have the impression that their NHS is dying – that is, is being replaced by backhanders (or your operation waits till the Greek Kalends), but noone campaigns to abolish it openly, to admit that it no longer exists as advertised.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Fuck it. I want cheesecake and I want it now.

  • Stonyground

    “So let me get this straight, the government is going to publish a list of restaurants that serve “too much” dessert and they think this is going to be bad for them?”

    That was my immediate thought as well. If I had a restaurant and the government decided to ‘name and shame’ me for serving portions that were too generous, I would use this in my advertising. It is bad enough that these people think that they know how we should live our lives better than we do. But when you consider how stupid they are as well it is even more galling.

    There is an infuriating radio ad running at the moment featuring a lecture about how much you drink at home. I did the Hull Marathon a couple of weeks ago and there was a stall at the start/finish area inviting people to fill in a questionaire about their drinking habits. Obviously this was well targeted, at people who had spent the last few months training to run 26.2 miles.

  • Stonyground beat me too it. If I was a restaurant, I would APPLY to be on that list!

  • The people doing this are perverts who get their rocks off bossing other people around, with no regard to whether the other people actually consent. At least if they had a dominatrix kink they’d be doing it with somebody who’s consenting.

    And no, they’re not well-intentioned. They’re totalitarians, and totalitarianism can never be well-intentioned.

  • Roman Polanski could only rape one girl at a time. This people can damage an entire generation by bequeathing the next generation a totalitarian world.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    and totalitarianism can never be well-intentioned

    where to even begin

  • orcadrvr

    And, in other news:
    “Husbands ordered to put toilet seat down when finished”.

  • Hang on a minute…..

    Didn’t General Fraco have some sort of scheme like this ?

    Government mandated menus in restaurants ?

    Mr. Hunt has got to be trying to convince people that the junior doctors rhyming diagnosis of him is in fact correct!

  • Generalissimo Franco even

  • Phil B

    @tomo – Yes indeed. Franco mandated that restaurants and cafes have a “special” of the day for working men at a mandated price where a set menu including water etc. was served. The price was based on what an ordinary working man could afford. I am not sure if it was subsidised but when I holidayed in Spanish dependencies (Gran Canaria, Minorca and Lanzarotte) the “dish of the day” for want of a better term was much cheaper than the a la carte stuff and included a half litre of water too.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I’ve thought for a number of years that if I were rich, it’d be amusing to ask a federal court to prohibit allowing Brits into the US on the grounds that their own government considers them unable to handle the freedoms they’d have in America without harming themselves or others.

    Just imagine the UK government arguing against the injunction!

  • the other rob

    One aspect that hasn’t been touched on is the implicit assumption that high calorie meals are “bad”. While it’s true that if you spend your days behind a desk getting BJs from interns you might want to watch your caloric intake, those people who spend their days expending energy on hard, physical labour absolutely require a high caloric intake to survive.

    What are they supposed to do if these busybodies get their way? Buy two portions of everything?

  • Paul Marks

    “ordered”.

    It is not the function of government to give orders about the size of puddings in commercial establishments.

    This whole Blackstone thing that Parliament being able to do anything it likes, so government can do anything it likes, is vile.

    The Common Law knows no such “crime” as engaging in a trade or profession without a piece of parchment called a “license” (Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke Dr Bonham’s case – confirmed by Chief Justice Sir John Holt [of 1688 and all that] a century later).

    And the Common Law knows no such “crime” as selling someone a pudding that is “too big”.

  • Why can I see BOGOF appearing on menus?

  • Rob Fisher

    I hope some restaurants do say they are proud to be on the list. But bigger businesses normally go along with this type of thing.

    I think this might be a sign that government has finished. All the problems are solved.

    And while there are many good points made here, the right strategy in this case might be to laugh and ask, ‘have you listened to yourself?’

  • CaptDMO

    Gub’mint will dictate how you’ll run your bisiness….
    Isn’t there a Poly Sci word for that?

    OT: SEE: “Banned in Boston”, and The Streisand Effect
    Booze is now ILLEGAL! Didnt go so well for the
    bitchy Suffragist Prohibitionists, I suspect a LOT of cash can be made with the violent, illegal, pudding (and ancillary ) trades.
    Could even finance your next Politiacal “Leader”, (If the feminine voting ilk deem him dreamy.

  • There’s never enough rope when you need it.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Had a little example of this at my little shop.
    We make trifles as a desert, proper ones with real cream, couple of capfuls of sherry per serve, sponge cake, jelly etc.
    We had a customer complain we should advertise the trifles contain alcohol as he was on anti-alcoholic medication (which makes you nauseous/sick if you drink).
    God forbid you might actually ask “does this desert, which is normally made with alcohol, contain alcohol”?

    He kicked up a stink on the shops facebook page, as a result we sold twice as many the next week.

    Id suggest a new item on restaurant menus the “council serve”
    Anyone who comes in and works for the government will be given an “approved size” serving at the full price, Id suggest giving them 10% of what they pay for.

  • David

    Trifle without alcohol. You wouldn’t, would you?

    I suspect Mole that your shop may be just a tad far from Oz to try your product.

  • Bemused

    The restaurants will all fall into line. Nobody has the fortitude to say enough. They will toe the “for the greater good” line not to mention take the oportunity to reduce product but charge the same, more profit for them.

  • Tim Worstall

    As the ASI has it this morning “THERE’S A POINT AT WHICH WE’VE GOT TO GIVE THESE PEOPLE THE ANGLO SAXON WAVE”

  • Henry Cybulski

    Of course, they will fall into line. Just think of the smoking ban. Sure, some establishments will defy the order for a while but when the government juggernaut advances on them (nice operating licence you have there, it would be a shame to lose it) they’ll fold, largely because most of the other establishments won’t join in the fight.

  • The Mighty Forks, Tim, the Mighty Forks!

    David_Niven_flicking_V_promo_still_Dinner_at_the_Ritz

  • TimR

    I knew it was only a matter of time before Spotted Dick was banned. I just thought it would be at the hands of the SJWs.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    We had enough of this sort of nonsense from the EU and voted Leave to be free of it.

  • Cristina

    Many people are still convinced they do not live under a socialist government in Europe and here. Amazing.

  • My first thought is that these restaurants must be vegetarian ones….

  • Stonyground

    the other rob:

    ” those people who spend their days expending energy on hard, physical labour absolutely require a high caloric intake to survive.”

    This is a very good point. Three and a half years ago I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic. I took all the medical advice, that the condition could be better controlled if I stayed fit, very seriously. I was later re-diagnosed as type 2. I took up triathlons and will be attempting my first Ironman next year. I am now completely free of diabetes medication. Some diabetics treat the condition by limiting their intake of carbohydrates. Although I avoid refined sugar, I require a lot of carbs to fuel my exercise programme.

  • Włodek P.

    Cristina, that’s because many people outside the USA have been unfortunate enough to have lived under a real socialist government and therefore know the difference.

  • Cristina

    Wlodek P., would you mind to explain the difference?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Wlodek P., would you mind to explain the difference?

    WE HAVE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE SO WE CAN’T BE SOCIALIST!!!!!!

    lol

  • Rob

    Can they name a SINGLE person who became ‘obese’ from eating restaurant desserts?!

  • This rule would seem very easy to evade. Presumably nothing can stop you from asking for two portions in any restaurant – or the restaurant from offering them. So any restaurant that wants off the list can redefine their dessert portion as half what it was and either note that the default serving is two portions and/or charge 90% of the old price for one portion and 100% of the old price for two, or whatever. Mr Hunt would need to be very capricious in choosing his list to put such restaurants on it.

  • Thailover

    I would opt for “named and shamed” and consider it a badge of honor, like being called “deplorable” by Satan. Er….I mean Hillary.

  • Cristina

    WE HAVE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE SO WE CAN’T BE SOCIALIST!!!!!!

    Right? 🙂

  • Simon Jester

    @Thailover: Tomayto, Tomahto.

  • Włodek P.

    I’ve no idea what this Shlomo person is babbling about in caps but I think he’s an American and thinks the the Declaration of Independence has some meaning world wide. It doesn’t. We didn’t declare our independence, Poland just managed to survive until the Soviet Union collapsed from its own absurdities and the Russians and all their tanks fucked off back to their vast shit hole of a country, leaving us to sweep away socialism and become a typical muddled European country, and pretty successful one now too. You think the west is socialist? You have no fucking idea what that means and maybe you should be thankful for your blissful ignorance. Don’t eat big pudding! hahaha. Yes, hoist the red flag of socialism, LOL.

  • Laird

    I have to say, I rather enjoyed the words in the headline to the online version of this article: “war on puddings”. That sounds so very British! 🙂

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I’ve no idea what this Shlomo person is babbling about in caps

    Then maybe ask.

    but I think he’s an American and thinks the the Declaration of Independence has some meaning world wide.

    Nope.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Just to recap, Cristina asked about the differences (or perhaps lack thereof) between versions of socialism. Mistaking an arrogant rant devoid of any facts for an argument, Wlodek P replied:

    We didn’t declare our independence, Poland just managed to survive until the Soviet Union collapsed from its own absurdities and the Russians and all their tanks fucked off back to their vast shit hole of a country, leaving us to sweep away socialism and become a typical muddled European country, and pretty successful one now too. You think the west is socialist? You have no fucking idea what that means and maybe you should be thankful for your blissful ignorance. Don’t eat big pudding! hahaha. Yes, hoist the red flag of socialism, LOL.

    Now I’ve only known Cristina for a couple years virtually, but… somehow I’m not convinced that Cristina will be persuaded by this “argument”.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    and totalitarianism can never be well-intentioned

    Yes it can be. A few political leaders with totalitarian leanings/policies/approaches who not only were well-intentioned but actually, on balance, rendered substantial benefit to the peoples of their nations:

    Francisco Franco
    Augusto Pinochet
    Abdel el-Sisi
    Engelbert Dollfuss
    Miklós Horthy

  • Then maybe ask.

    I would recommend he not bother but obviously that is up to him.

  • Cristina

    Goading me, Shlomo Maistre? 🙂

    Since this temper tantrum, interspersed with profanities, is not an argument, I’ll wait patiently for a well-pondered answer from Włodek P. If it ever comes, that is.

    I would recommend he not bother but obviously that is up to him.

    I’d love to read the answer to that question.

  • Shlomo thinks we are locked in a moment in time & thus the fixed quantity of wealth fallacy is not in fact a fallacy, and there is such thing as well-intentioned totalitarianism… not merely authoritarianism, but totalitarianism. If ever there was someone not worth engaging with, I now think Shlomo is the local poster boy. It would be like debating a flat earther.

  • Cristina

    There are some well-intentioned totalitarian regimes, Perry. Not the modern democratic regimes under which we live right now, though.
    Before you say it, yes, the democratic regime IS totalitarian. See the article linked just above for proof of this.
    No matter what or who we choose to blame for the charming decree of Mr. Hunt, the democratic organization of the government and the society inexorably tends toward absolute control of every aspect of life, imposed by force when needed. Did I mention uniparty government validated by sham elections, thought police, and massive propaganda?

    flat earther

    For shame, Perry. 🙂

  • Shlomo Maistre, October 2, 2016 at 4:24 am is mistaken.

    1) Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet were both standard military dictators, not totalitarians. Since Pinochet overthrew a communist government, he could more plausibly claim to have resisted than to have been totalitarian (albeit he was resisting “by other means” 🙂 ). Franco’s choices reflect those of a military dictator (totalitarians do not tolerate potential rival power structures such as the church, nor restore a monarch as their successor, etc.). Franco’s allies were totalitarian – as were the allies of his opponents. There are many objections to military dictatorships but let’s not call something totalitarian unless it is.

    2) Dollfuss is likewise much more your standard political strongman than totalitarian and more than any of the others could claim to have been resisting totalitarianism.

    3) Horthy called himself “Regent” but no-one in Hungary wanted a Habsburg monarch again, while a genuinely Hungarian monarchy did not exist even as a historical memory, so, to quote Hannah Arendt (from memory), “What [inter-war] Hungary was in terms of recognised forms of government, only Admiral Horthy knew.”

    4) I will leave Abdel el-Sisi to those who know more about him. 🙂

    5) Like Perry (his post immediately above), I think it ridiculous to say that the amount of money in the world is finite at a given moment – as if a salaried employee complained he was a slave because nothing was paid into his account on some mid-month day. We are all a lot wealthier than in the stone age, or in the year 1000 AD. Reasoning that ignores the past and the future make no sense.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Niall,

    1. Why can’t a military dictator be a totalitarian? Your history lessons did not disprove my assertion that those leaders had totalitarian leanings/approaches.
    2. In any case, I did not say that they were totalitarian; I specifically said that they had totalitarian leanings/policies/approaches, which is clearly the case.
    3. It makes no sense to say that the wealth gap does not matter.
    4. It makes no sense to imply that someone who cares about the wealth gap must, therefore, believe in the fixed wealth fallacy.

  • Laird

    I’m not entirely clear on the distinction between “totalitarian” and “authoritarian” (and, for that matter, I’m not sure everyone here is defining those terms in the same way anyway) so I will forbear from entering into that particular debate. But I will observe that I think that the growing wealth gap* is a serious issue, and I certainly do not believe in the fixed wealth fallacy.

    * Which is completely different from any sort of income gap.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Cristina,

    I’d love to read the answer to that question.

    My blogwife brings a smile to my face.

    I’m more than happy to oblige.

    By any reasonable definition America is socialist. Period.

    The simple reality of twenty trillion dollars in national debt indicates not just a grossly dysfunctional economy but a fundamentally distorted culture, a demented spirit, a sick society.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch; the twenty trillion dollars must be liquidated. But the twenty trillion dollars in debt symbolizes and even, in a sense, is American sovereignty. And history teaches us that when sovereignty is liquidated there is hell to pay.

    The debt is going to be paid off with a combination of dollars and blood. Mostly blood.

    What was the question again?

    Oh yeah, “shlomo in your beneficent wisdom what did you mean by that all caps comment?”

    Answer: many people tend think America is some sort of beacon of freedom and liberty. Perhaps relative to many other modern nations it is (a very low bar). America was founded on those ideals but insofar as Americans are currently able to experience freedom it is as a consequence of the stability, order, and centralized control afforded to the world’s only superpower. In other words, the social tenets that are antithetical to the American founding are those that permit Americans to enjoy the meager liberty they still do enjoy.

    Just one example: the enormous annual welfare payments that keep the peace in dozens of urban centers across America are only possible in a country able to run up a national debt of twenty trillion dollars. Watch what happens to America’s precious ideals of liberty, self-governance (lol) and limited government once there is not even the pretense of law and order.

  • Tim Worstall

    “By any reasonable definition America is socialist. Period.

    The simple reality of twenty trillion dollars in national debt”

    Debt does not socialism make. Henry VIII went rather a long way into debt. We tend not to think of him as a socialist.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Tim – I didn’t say that debt proves socialism. I said that by any reasonable definition America is socialist; a point which you appear less than eager to dispute. I then went on to talk about the twenty TRILLION dollars of debt in the “land of the free”.

  • Darin

    Shlomo Maistre

    Tim – I didn’t say that debt proves socialism. I said that by any reasonable definition America is socialist; a point which you appear less than eager to dispute.;

    Only by very non-standard definition of socialism.
    Are means of production owned by working class? No. Are they owned by state? No.

    I then went on to talk about the twenty TRILLION dollars of debt in the “land of the free”.

    yes, there seems to be correlation, the more free the country, the heavier the debt.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt#/media/File:Government_debt_gdp.jpg

  • Włodek P.

    By any reasonable definition America is socialist. Period.

    So US high tech companies are actually state design bureaus? Moving jobs requires permit? Internal passports? State run collective farms? All land owned by state? Your ignorance of what socialism is indicates you’ve never lived in a real socialist country.

  • Laird

    I’m with Shlomo on this: The US is clearly socialist today. Admittedly it’s not as strong a strain of socialism as, say, Venezuela, but it’s certainly moving in that direction. We have high taxes on the productive by which means the state can subsidize the nonproductive. This is the essence of socialism, at least as I conceive of it. Communism is state ownership of the means of production; socialism is merely state direction of the profits of that production. Most of those arguing against that observation (viz. Wlodek P) are using as illustrations manifestations of communism, not socialism.

    [Side comment: It appears that the “Preview” button is no longer working now that we have the long-desired edit feature. I suppose that’s a fair trade, but I’m greedy: I want both! But if there’s to be no Preview feature you should remove the button.]

  • Shlomo Maistre

    So US high tech companies are actually state design bureaus? Moving jobs requires permit? Internal passports? State run collective farms? All land owned by state? Your ignorance of what socialism is indicates you’ve never lived in a real socialist country.

    Um, communism is not socialism. You don’t need any of those things for the country to be socialist.

    America is socialist according to any reasonable definition of the term.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Are means of production owned by working class? No. Are they owned by state? No.

    Socialism does not, of course, require the state or working class to own the means of production. Communism is not socialism. The fact remains that America is socialist according to any reasonable definition of the term.

    yes, there seems to be correlation, the more free the country, the heavier the debt.

    Still drinking the kool-aid, I see.

    As I said before, there are sundry benefits afforded to the world’s only superpower which permits it to run up enormous quantity of debt. Order, stability, massive centralized control, premier propaganda system (the source of your kool-aid). When the debt is called there will be blood. America is socialist, but it will probably get a lot worse. As I’ve said before – in 40 years libertarians will be yearning for the good old days of President Barack Hussein Obama.

  • Socialism does not, of course, require the state or working class to own the means of production.

    Of course it does. I grew up in 1970s UK where great swathes of the economy was directly nationalised and it was creeping ever deeper as Britain circled the drain economically: that was a time in which avowed self-described socialists were trying to incrementally turn a mixed economy into an outright socialist one. Harold Wilson was a muddled socialist with some fluorescent socialists in his cabinet, but Tony Blair was absolutely not, he was a post-Thatcher regulatory statist. I am in agreement with Wlodek, you do not know what socialism means. American regulatory statism (and indeed modern western regulatory statism generally) has more in common with fascist economics than socialists economics (i.e private ‘ownership’ of the means of production, but only provided you use them in a manner the state approves of… thus decoupling ownership and control). But unless there is extensive nationalisation of previously private assets (be it land, labour or capital), it is not actually socialism. And yes, communism is simply end-point socialism. I assume you know what the letters USSR actually stood for.

    The fact remains that America is socialist according to any reasonable definition of the term.

    You sound like an Objectivist trying to pin a definition on ‘altruism’ that no one other than other Objectivists actually use.

  • [Side comment: It appears that the “Preview” button is no longer working now that we have the long-desired edit feature. I suppose that’s a fair trade, but I’m greedy: I want both! But if there’s to be no Preview feature you should remove the button.]

    The preview feature works fine for me for the original comment (I am using a version of Firefox), but it does not seem to work once you post it and then use the 5 mins edit option.

  • Laird

    Well, if “socialism” does indeed require state (or “working class”, whatever that means) ownership of the means of production (per Perry and others), two questions: (1) How do you distinguish it from communism? They’re different words; they must have different meanings. (2) What do you call the system we have now? It sure ain’t “freedom” or “free markets”, and it’s a lot more than mere “regulatory statism”. And it’s not Fascism either; that requires state direction on the uses of private property, not merely theft of the profits.

    As to the “preview” button, it doesn’t work for me even before posting the comment and using the edit feature. (And that’s on three different computers.) But I’m using Internet Explorer, not Firefox, so you’re probably going to tell me that I’m just getting what I deserve!

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Of course it does. I grew up in 1970s UK where great swathes of the economy was directly nationalised and it was creeping ever deeper as Britain circled the drain economically: that was a time in which avowed self-described socialists were trying to incrementally turn a mixed economy into an outright socialist one. Harold Wilson was a muddled socialist with some fluorescent socialists in his cabinet, but Tony Blair was absolutely not, he was a post-Thatcher regulatory statist. I am in agreement with Wlodek, you do not know what socialism means. American regulatory statism (and indeed modern western regulatory statism generally) has more in common with fascist economics than socialists economics (i.e private ‘ownership’ of the means of production, but only provided you use them in a manner the state approves of… thus decoupling ownership and control). But unless there is extensive nationalisation of previously private assets (be it land, labour or capital), it is not actually socialism. And yes, communism is simply end-point socialism. I assume you know what the letters USSR actually stood for.

    Just to clarify, even though state or working class control of the means of production qualify an economy to be socialist does not mean that either MUST occur for the economy to be socialist.

    Two solid, reasonable definitions of socialism are: when most of the means of production are democratically controlled or when a hefty proportion of the profit of productive economic activity is diverted to unproductive people via the state on an ongoing basis (as Laird notes). The USA and UK both qualify as socialist according to both definitions.

    You think that just because a couple efforts at nationalization were successfully repelled in the UK few decades ago that it therefore is not socialist, but you fail to see that these industries could be nationalized whenever the people want them to be. This is because the means of production are mostly democratically controlled. Private owners can be dispossessed of their property on a moment’s notice – and only because the likes of Bernie Sanders garnered enough votes this cycle.

    You call the UK a mixed economy but mixing sewage and water produces sewage.

    Healthcare, education, energy, transportation, utilities, banking/finance – all these industries are to varying degrees either formally/effectively controlled by the state, operate at the behest of the voters or at the mercy of the state’s regulatory bodies (EPA, Federal Reserve, NHS, Obamacare).

    Your point regarding the decoupling of ownership and control is a good one. But again, you miss the fundamental reality underlying this: democracy is what rules. The people control who owns what, who can sell what, what can be produced, and at what price. All these things can be changed – and are changed – at any time for any reason. It did not start with Obamacare and it will not end there. This is socialism in my book.

  • The Jannie

    Hunt the cunt is an expert on puddings; he only needs to look about himself in the commons.

  • The USA and UK both qualify as socialist according to both definitions.

    Then your definitions are rubbish. Socialism has specific meanings, and an economy where regulatory statism exists to gum up a largely privately owned and capitalistic economy ain’t it. Go find yourself another term, socialism does not fit: my guess is Wlodek’s hilarity comes from seeing the real deal and then comparing it to now. NHS is socialist, for sure. But that is just the NHS. Could the US or UK vote themselves into/back into overt socialism? Yes it could in theory happen. And if we had a ruling monarch rather than merely reigning monarch, the same people might cut said monarch’s head off and the same could happen (although the last time that happened in England we ended up with a few years of religious proto-fascism rather than any kind of socialism).

    But that is not what the situation is now in the UK, fortunately, and the Labour Party is coming excitingly close to a political event horizon. But things across the First World are fucked up enough without mis-labelling them as socialism. Venezuela… THAT is genuine socialism and it was even voted into office.

  • Cristina

    an economy where regulatory statism exists to gum up a largely privately owned and capitalistic economy ain’t it

    But that is exactly what Venezuela have in place and you just called it “genuine socialism”!

  • Darin

    What is socialism? When is economy socialist? Let’s see what Friedrich Engels had to say.
    I think he is bigger authority than Shlomo Maistre.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/ch03.htm

    Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

    But of late, since Bismarck went in for State-ownership of industrial establishments, a kind of spurious Socialism has arisen, degenerating, now and again, into something of flunkyism, that without more ado declares all State-ownership, even of the Bismarkian sort, to be socialistic. Certainly, if the taking over by the State of the tobacco industry is socialistic, then Napoleon and Metternich must be numbered among the founders of Socialism.

    If the Belgian State, for quite ordinary political and financial reasons, itself constructed its chief railway lines; if Bismarck, not under any economic compulsion, took over for the State the chief Prussian lines, simply to be the better able to have them in hand in case of war, to bring up the railway employees as voting cattle for the Government, and especially to create for himself a new source of income independent of parliamentary votes — this was, in no sense, a socialistic measure, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously.

    Otherwise, the Royal Maritime Company, the Royal porcelain manufacture, and even the regimental tailor of the army would also be socialistic institutions, or even, as was seriously proposed by a sly dog in Frederick William III’s reign, the taking over by the State of the brothels.

  • Alan H.

    But that is exactly what Venezuela have in place and you just called it “genuine socialism”!

    They have agricultural labour conscription (literally). They have complete price and wage controls in all key sectors. They have rationing of essential products by edit. The Venezuelan state has directly appropriated hotels, service industries and supermarket chains to prevent “economic sabotage and profiteering”. By no measure is their agriculture or major areas of business even nominally privately owned.

  • Laird

    Then could someone please provide an explanation of the difference between socialism (as Perry and others here are defining it) and communism? Because that this point they sound identical to me, and if that’s the case something is very wrong with one of the proffered definitions.

    Under the Soviet Union Poland was communist, not socialist.

  • Cristina

    In the passage above, F. Engels said what is not socialism, not what truly is socialism.
    Marx and Engels believed that the state ownership, needed during the transition from capitalism to communism, was not socialism if, and only if, the state was not a “proletarian dictatorship”. If the state is by and for the workers, the ownership is appropriate. Remember that for this two guys everything revolved around economic class struggle. In the strict definition given by Engels, no, we are not fully socialist yet.

    Alan, that is the natural progression of every socialist state. We’ll be there on due time, make not mistake about it, if we do not correct the present course.

    Under the Soviet Union Poland was communist, not socialist.

    No really. The easiest way to grasp both concepts is this (by the creator’s definition):

    Socialism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his work

    Communism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    NB: The state disappears under communism

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Alan H – you are making a comparison that does not account for many things and also overlooks historical actions the US government has taken.

    They have agricultural labour conscription (literally).

    Not literally. It’s a proposal Maduro put forward a few months ago and has yet to be fully implemented. If it actually happens then people will work on farms for periods of 60 days because at the moment Venezuela is unable to afford sufficient food for its people largely due to the country’s heavy reliance on the energy industry and the massive drop in the price of oil. The workers would still be paid their normal salaries from their real job – its just a 60 rotation to fight hunger. FDR implemented numerous massive works programs to boost employment and “save” particular sectors of the economy. The Works Progress Administration alone accounted for 7% of the entire US economy in 1935 and that is only ONE SINGLE GOVERNMENT AGENCY. While Venezuela is trying desperately to increase production, FDR paid farmers not to plant crops through the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Even before the Great Depression the US compensated farmers for farm products to stabilize prices. The US has had no problem directly shaping supply and prices of various products in agriculture and other sectors historically, which is again a quite reasonable definition of socialism.

    The U.S. has used conscription for emergencies for war (and Venezuela is in the midst of a genuine economic emergency probably more grave than the US Great Depression) and there’s no doubt that if the US were not the world’s only superpower with the best military on earth, tremendous natural resources, a diverse economy (that does not rely on oil prices so heavily) backed by the reserve currency of the world then the US would use conscription as it has in the past to solve an agriculture production problem too if America were to face the prospect of mass starvation like Venezuela is now facing potentially.

    So lets not mistake different sets of circumstances for different economic systems.

    They have complete price and wage controls in all key sectors.

    Source? Venezuela is in the midst of economic crisis and yet what they are doing is not all that different than what FDR did in the Great Depression in many respects, even though the US was a much larger, economically diversified, and resource rich country. Comparing Venezuela now to the US now is not a fair comparison. How about comparing Venezuela now to the US of the Great Depression.

    They have rationing of essential products by edit.

    So has the US at times of economic emergency.

    The Venezuelan state has directly appropriated hotels, service industries and supermarket chains to prevent “economic sabotage and profiteering”.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by this? Also what is your source? In any case, my guess is that FDR did largely similar things. Anyway, even after WWII (in the 1950s) there were income tax rates as high as 90% in the USA – that’s an extremely effective and socialist way to prevent profiteering.

    By no measure is their agriculture or major areas of business even nominally privately owned.

    False. Article 112 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Constitución de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, CRBV) — adopted by popular vote on December 15, 1999 — states that “all persons may freely engage in an economic activity of their choice . . .” Article 115 states: “the right of ownership is guaranteed. Everyone has the right to use, occupy, enjoy, and dispose of their private property.”

    The United States according to the NYT:

    During World War II, Washington seized dozens of companies including railroads, coal mines and, briefly, the Montgomery Ward department store chain. In 1952, President Harry Truman seized 88 steel mills across the country, asserting that unyielding owners were determined to provoke an industry-wide strike that would cripple the Korean War effort.

    In banking, the U.S. government stepped in to take an 80 percent stake in the Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust in 1984.

    Yet the nearest precedent for the plan the Treasury is weighing, finance experts say, is the investments made by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in the 1930s. The agency, established in 1932, not only made loans to distressed banks but also bought stock in 6,000 banks, at a total cost of about $3 billion, said Richard Sylla, an economist and financial historian at the Stern School of Business at New York University.

    A similar effort these days, in proportion to the current economy, would be $400 to $500 billion, Sylla said.

    There are dozens of other specific examples of the US government directly interfering in industries by effectively nationalizing industries (FDIC for example) or creating so many bureaucratic rules and regulations to render the prospect of new entrants impossible or meddling in the prices and/or supplies of various products directly in virtually every industry at one point or another. America has maybe done to interfere in free markets that Venezuela has not yet done.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Darin is making an appeal to authority, which is not a valid argument. I can be convinced by logic, evidence, and revelation.

    I will also note that he fails to indicate how the quote he cites contradicts my assertions.

  • Alan H.

    I’m puzzled why Shlomo is pointing out that FDR tried to turn the USA into a socialist country, which he did indeed try, that is for sure. The Soviet Union was also socialist then, whereas Russia not now. How is any of that relevant to 2016?

  • Then could someone please provide an explanation of the difference between socialism (as Perry and others here are defining it) and communism?

    Communism is just “late socialism” 😉 Genuine question: have any communist countries not called themselves socialists?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Perry,

    Then your definitions are rubbish. Socialism has specific meanings

    And how would you define it? I have offered two definitions that I think are reasonable.

    Could the US or UK vote themselves into/back into overt socialism? Yes it could in theory happen.

    It’s about control. Do people really own their private property or private businesses if a simple vote can dispossess them of those properties overnight? Nominally, yeah, I guess. Temporarily.

    Anyway, notice what has happened to the US coal industry recently? How about the healthcare insurance sector? Heard of TARP? Do you consider Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac examples of free market businesses (saved by the 2008 stimulus)? Or what about the $787 billion stimulus package in 2009? These are only a few of the recent instances. Socialism can and does happen in the US all the time without explicit votes on the matter (though many of these actions are largely quite popular with the people anyway once CNN does their work).

    Departments of Labor, Energy, Housing, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, EPA, FAA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc etc. These are agencies run by unaccountable bureaucrats who do what they want and screw who they want for any reason or no reason at all. Their areas of purview, budgets, and confidence are ever-rising and the regulations they enforce are ever more numerous, unwarranted, and incomprehensible.

    It’s not just state control of (or direct, gross, ongoing, and distorting state interference in) the healthcare, education, energy, transportation, utilities, and banking/finance industries. These huge industries encompass large portions of the US economy, but it’s also job training programs and scientific research and food banks and AmTrak and parks and educational grants and student loans and public housing and museums and law enforcement and the arts and space exploration that the government largely controls and/or directly interferes in on an ongoing basis. The list goes on and on.

    This is not free market capitalism with just a bit too much regulatory statism. It’s socialism according to pretty much any reasonable definition.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I’m puzzled why Shlomo is pointing out that FDR tried to turn the USA into a socialist country, which he did indeed try, that is for sure. The Soviet Union was also socialist then, whereas Russia not now. How is any of that relevant to 2016?

    Though there were obviously some socialistic policies implemented in America pre-FDR, the USA was largely turned into a socialist economy by FDR, his “brain trust”, alphabet soup of government agencies, and fundamental transformation of the US economy. Though Venezuela is in some ways further along in the socialist continuum at the current moment (primarily due to circumstances I elucidated earlier), Venezuela is doing some socialist things now that the US has already done. You brought up things that make Venezuela in your opinion socialist. Since the US has already done those things (and would again if faced with what Venezuela now faces) then the US would be socialist too according to your own argument.

    But everyone from Sean Hannity to Paul Krugman to Charles Krauthammer to Bernie Sanders labels the US economy as basically a free market system (they are all wrong) so I sympathize with your confusion; swallowing this red pill may require relaxation of the gag reflex.

    Thanks for addressing all my points, by the way.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    The American free market capitalist economy strutting its stuff:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3819927/Pentagon-pay-transgender-soldiers-gender-reassignment-surgery-retirees-family-service-members-not-covered.html?printingPage=true

    The U.S. military has announced it will now pay for gender reassignment surgery for transgender soldiers.

    Bastiat, Friedman, Mises, Schumpeter would be proud.

  • Darin

    Then could someone please provide an explanation of the difference between socialism (as Perry and others here are defining it) and communism?

    Simple. Communism is the final stage of history, when everyone works according to their ability and receives according to his needs, where is no alienation, no exploitation and no suffering of any kind.

    No actually socialist countries called their system “Communism”, just like no Christian or Muslim country called itself “Heaven” and no Buddhist country called itself “Nirvana”.

    The countries ruled by communist party called themselves socialist ( “developed socialism” or “actually existing socialism”) and progressing towards communism. In the beginning, under Stalin and Kruschev, it was promised that full communism will be achieved in few years (Kruschev gave 1980 as the exact date). Later it was denounced as overtly optimistic and it was recognized that building of communism would take many thousands of years.

    No wonder people gave up working for bright future they would never see.

  • Darin

    If you want to call the modern Western system “socialism”, if you want to say that capitalists can build and run socialism much better and more competently than communists, go ahead. But the reaction of normal person will not be “down with socialism”, but “socialism is good!” 😛

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwZV0vl7GiE

  • Fraser Orr

    Paul Marks
    > The Common Law knows no such “crime” as engaging in a trade or profession without a piece of parchment called a “license”

    You know I was recently thinking about doing some business in China (on the web.) As you probably know in China you need a license from the government to set up a commercial web site.

    You tell most people that and their jaws drop in horror at the tyranny of such Web censorship and control. Yet somehow they think nothing about demanding licenses from people who manicure your nails or sell you a cool refreshing beverage, or to make a nice bouquet of flowers for your beloved.

    The marge majority of people are horrified at stuff that is different than they are used to, not what they think is logically abhorrent to their moral framework. And I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised since that is really evolution’s methodology for moral code development.

  • Cristina

    Paul Marks, do you really manicure your nails with a licensed professional? 😯

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Don’t tell any Australian government, but I changed the washers in my shower without a licence, and without calling in a licenced plumber! I think I broke lots of laws, but the shower works quite well.
    As for definitions, Totalitarians try to control every aspect of life- they are authoritarians on a mission! Ordinary authoritarians might just be your garden-variety dictator, whereas totalitarians have a goal for their societies, and won’t leave you alone.
    I think that societies come in three flavours- anarchic (like Somalia), totalitarian (like North Korea), or mixed (Like most other countries). Mixed means having some freedoms, but not all. Socialism is a movement to centralised control, libertarianism is a movement away from such control. We are all already in the third way, but parties have to keep offering a vision to get elected, so the centre keeps getting more powers. So all non-anarchic, and non-totalitarian societies are, to some degree, socialistic. The Union of soviet Socialist Republics was aiming to become Communist, but could never reach the goal.

  • Darin, October 4, 2016 at 11:23 am, took the words out of my mouth. His comment is a good explanation of how the words ‘communism’ and ‘socialism’ were distinguished by people like Lenin and Stalin – and Khrushchev, who promised circa 1956 that, yes, things had been just a tiny bit wrong in the past, but this time the party would work towards communism – and would take about 15 years to achieve it, so if everyone could just put up with the yet-again-renamed and now-not-so-savage secret police for just a little longer, the state would soon wither away as predicted …