We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

The Walking Dead

“Walking Dead” and the rest of television and movie entertainment shows that the left still have not learned the lessons of the the colony the Mayflower founded.

In the “Walking Dead” the world is overrun by zombies – and the remaining humans are either brutal raiders and exploiters, or living in communes where people work together to produce food and so on for the common good. There is no large scale private ownership of anything and no large scale private employment – and it is NOT really because the zombie plague had destroyed the world, it is because the entertainment industry people (and the education system) hate large scale private ownership of the means of production and hate large scale private employment. The moral ideal of both the education system and the media (especially the entertainment media) is the caring-sharing community where everyone loves each other and works for the common good.

This view of humanity is not confined to the “Walking Dead” – it is basically the view offered in all popular entertainment. Either people are working together in little communal “communities” or they are being exploited by evil “capitalists” (“Big Business” – boo-hiss). To the left (i.e. the education system and the media – especially the entertainment media) a “capitalist” is not someone who invests and thus helps produce goods and services, a capitalist is a vicious sadist (such as Negan in “Walking Dead” or a million other “exploiter” examples in literature, television, film and school “history” books) who “exploits” people partly for loot (taking the “product of their labour” – Labour Theory of Value) and partly simply out of sadism, cruelty – the desire to inflict suffering for the pleasure of inflicting suffering.

To the left, the education system and media, a company is a “psychopath” because businessmen seek to maximise profits, and profit (in the minds of the education system and the media) means loot, the exploitation of the workers and consumers. That many media companies are, well, companies does not change this – even many high ranking business executives subscribe to the world view that business is evil as they have never been taught any other world view. Even if they went to a private school and university they were, mostly likely, taught that private property is evil (“selfish”) and that the highest good is a caring-sharing local commune – as we see in “Walking Dead” and a thousand other shows. In their own business dealings they are often indeed very treacherous and seek to cheat both employees and customers – as they have been taught that is what “capitalists” are like, and like the late Robert Maxwell they regard their own immoral conduct as proof that “capitalism” is evil. The obsessive, and dishonest, greed of many on “Wall Street” and their leftist politics are not in contradiction – they are mutually reinforcing.

Even science fiction shows such as “Star Trek” (and the spin off shows) show a group of people working for the common good under wise leadership (enlightened leaders, such as Rousseau’s “Lawgiver”, being good – businessmen are evil). Technology and complexity do not make private ownership and trade more necessary (as they do in the real world) – they make private enterprise (and money) unnecessary. All needs are catered for by the magic machines of the “Federation” and economic problems (in the words of Captain Picard of “Star Trek: New Generation”) “no longer exist”. The dream of Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Woodrow Wilson) is achieved – “greedy capitalists” are exposed as useless, indeed evil. Even physically repulsive – see “the Ferengi”.

It is not just Karl Marx. After all Rousseau did not need Karl Marx or “What Is Wrong With Kansas?” to tell him that private employment is evil – working for someone else is slavery (it is like being the victim of Negan and his “Saviours”), and communalism is good. For when someone is working for the collective they are “free” as they are part of the collective. The left refuse to see that a private employer (say Jon Huntsman senior of Huntsman Chemical) is nothing like Negan – that the private employer is NOT a slave master. To the left rich and poor (employer and employees) have opposed long term interests – and if poor people (such as me) deny this, it is because we are either lying “henchmen of the Kulaks”, or because we are suffering from “false consciousness” (what Rousseau called “the will of all” – rather than the true “General Will), leading us to “vote against our interests” and so on.

Nor did the Frankfurt School first bring this view to America in the 1930s – although they did massively magnify the collectivist ideas that were already present. As one can trace back this dream of the caring-sharing community (where everyone knows, and loves, each other – and all work for the common good) right back to the Mayflower and the Plymouth colony in 1620 – and to dreams of communal life in both religious and secular thought going all the way back to Plato (and, no doubt, before Plato).

The Mayflower “Pilgrims” tried to establish a communal way of life in the New World – it failed utterly leading to starvation. And Governor Bradford was forced to allow private property (especially in land) and private trade and employment – a market economy. The town of Plymouth was saved – and Plymouth Massachusetts was saved, and exists to this day.

This is, of course, not what American children are taught – they are taught that the town was saved by caring-sharing “Native Americans” (members of a local Indian tribe – shown as a caring-sharing group) who shared their food with the “Pilgrims”. Nor is this an solely Protestant vision – there has always been a faction in Roman Catholic thought also that goes from “fair” wages and prices (“fair” to be decided by “the community” NOT by supply and demand) to full communalism, see the monastic movement, or rather to those thinkers who thought that society at large could be “organised” on a caring-sharing basis. Many Jewish thinkers also fell into this form of thought (this throw back to the hunter gatherer pack that the late F.A. Hayek taught that civilisation evolved OUT of) – hence the high prestige awarded to communal living at the start of modern Israel, although never more than 5% of Jews choose to live this way, and these communes now reject such things as bringing up children in common. In real life the way of life of Plato’s Guardians (such as communal bringing up of children) does not work – not economically, and not morally either.

Liberalism? It is not true that American students are just taught collectivist thinkers such as (openly or second or third hand) the opinions of Rousseau and Karl Marx. The are also taught “liberalism” – but it is the liberalism of Thomas Paine and J.S. Mill and their modern day followers.

Large scale private landownership is evil (according to this view) – to be got rid of gradually by taxation (“Tom” Paine and then the Westminster Review crowd of Mr Mill and his associates, thought of this long before Henry George did). Lots of nice things (education, healthcare, old age provision…. )should be paid for by the collective, and for “humanity to progress” as Mr Mill put it (“progress” to what – the savage hunter-gatherer pack of the old stone age?) large scale private capitalists should be replaced by caring-sharing cooperatives – much like the good communities in the “Walking Dead”.

So whether American (and other Western) students follow Marxism or “liberalism” they arrive in much the same place – “capitalists” are evil (even the capitalists themselves are taught this), and the caring-sharing community is the ideal. Even if they become executives of large business enterprises this is the only moral vision they have been taught. Which may explain why even people who create large scale business enterprises (such as Microsoft, or Facebook) feel morally directed to donate money and support to the leftist, collectivist caring-sharing, political cause. They can only, partly, justify their wealth by supporting the political enemies of private wealth – George Soros is just an extreme example of something that is (in milder forms) rather common.

Where does it all lead?

It leads, eventually, to the “Walking Dead” – but not really to the caring-sharing communities. It leads to the herds of zombies (but with human cunning) eating the people they come upon. The dream of Heaven on Earth always, in the end, leads to Hell on Earth.

Can it be defeated? Yes I think it can – but not just by pointing out that it does not work in practice. It must be defeated in the realm of moral objectives. And that can only be done in relation to the education system (schools and universities) and the media – especially the entertainment media. A different moral vision, one that supports large scale private property and rejects material equality, must be presented and defended. And not just on “practical” grounds – on moral grounds, as a moral principle.

68 comments to The Walking Dead

  • Alsadius

    It’s also worth noting that even from a pro-capitalist point of view, many of the largest benefits of capitalism require a large amount of trade and trust relationships with strangers. Zombie apocalypses put rather a lot of strain on both of those. So while Hollywood may enjoy seeing communism, we can point out the fact that we’re watching a world where capitalism has been destroyed, and it’s a brutal life of bare subsistence. In other words, they agree with us.

  • Yerp

    Im a lurker rather than a below-the-liner here, but being a (not uncritical) fan of the walking dead, about the only tv show i can stomach watching, i feel compelled to offer my opinion.

    I dont disagree with your interpretation particularly; that the depiction is of base beastlyness due to the absence of the state. However Ive always felt TWD offered a depiction of society and human behaviour very much in tune with that which a non-leftist might recognise as being the harsh truth about humanity; namely that self interest and instinct are the primary motivating factors in all interactions, that there is little solidarity between competing groups, and that trust, loyalty and cooperation are earnt through merit alone.

    In fact judging by articles like this it seems the left deems TWD to be not very correct at all. I dont particularly disagree though, just interested in your perspective and thought id offer my own.

  • Paul Marks

    If the Walking Dead were an isolated case then one could make the argument that is the special circumstances (the zombie induced breakdown of society) – but it is almost every television series and film. Private property and business = boo-hiss in this culture.

    Marxist doctrine claims that the “ideological superstructure” (including the education system and the media) is there to back up the “economic base” (“capitalism”) – in this, as in most everything else, Marxism is not true. As the “ideological superstructure” works very hard to UNDERMINE “capitalism”. To destroy Civil Society – just as much (in the end) as by a zombie apocalypse.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    “But, Paul, who would watch or buy a show where capitalists are the heroes? Don’t most people, since they are not at the top, feel as though The System is oppressing them? don’t TV shows need to mimic this feeling if they want viewers? Shouldn’t you be blaming the viewers and their preferences, instead of the shows that cater to the tastes of the viewers?” Take it from there, Paul.

  • Cal Ford

    James Delingpole has recently been praising The Walking Dead as anti-lefty. Never seen it myself.

  • nweismuller

    Not being familiar with The Walking Dead- how is Negan identified with private enterprise, rather than just being some sort of gang leader or raider?

  • MadRocketSci

    I’m not even convinced that most companies (in their early first-generation stages) are doing anything so short-sighted as local optimization of profits. Learning how to build a working product, and who even wants it in the first place, is a creative process that requires a lot of variation, trial and error, and experiment. The sort of hard-convergence on a maximum that people suggest are a founder’s only motive would effectively preclude all of that innovation. Companies that do that for too long are going to get stuck on a local maximum and eventually outmaneuvered. (It’s a caricature though: optimization happens over time, but the process is, and should be, a lot noiser and nonlocal than a straight shot up some utility gradient.)

  • Art Vandelay

    Not being familiar with The Walking Dead- how is Negan identified with private enterprise, rather than just being some sort of gang leader or raider?

    Taking this one step further, can’t it be argued that Negan can be identified with Robber Barons or, indeed, government? Negan and his cronies don’t seem to produce anything so they are not exactly capitalists.

    Rather, they merely offer their ‘protection’ to their vassals in exchange for goods they have produced. And of course, if you don’t pay their taxes, there are negative consequences.

  • Taking this one step further, can’t it be argued that Negan can be identified with Robber Barons or, indeed, government? Negan and his cronies don’t seem to produce anything so they are not exactly capitalists.

    Indeed. In TWD we are starting again from scratch, and the desire of some humans to gain resources by political means (by use of force) has not gone away: it is ever-present.
    The heroes are trying to farm, trying to trade (gain resources by economic means) and have been beset by villains for several seasons (zombies having been relegated to the status of wild Beasts long ago).
    Absent government the heroes reluctantly have to defend themselves time and again, and it is important to point out that the existence of a government is not the victory of Rick’s group, it is the victory of Negan’s, government simply being the most capable of establishing a monopoly of parasitism. Governments do not stamp on Negans because it is morally good, they stamp on Negans because they are competition.

  • Taking this one step further, one could read into Rick’s current attempts to unite the various groups into an army to fight The Saviours as a parallel to the Revolutionary War.

  • Paul Marks

    Would shows and films that had businessmen as the heroes be unpopular?

    We are not allowed to find out – at the movie and television companies do not allow such films and television shows to make it to the screen. In the early 1960s the FCC passed regulations to forbid outside companies having editorial control over shows they paid for – this was (in Orwellian language) described as “protecting creative freedom” (by destroying it).

    Novels such as “Atlas Shrugged” are not exactly unpopular – when works that celebrate production and achievement (rather than caring-sharing) are allowed they sell in the millions.

    “Robber Barons” – exactly my point. People who did vast good (the great producers of the 19th and early 20th century) are presented as “robbers”

    See Burton W. Folsom “The Myth of the Robber Barons”.

    Even the term itself…..

    What does this say about the British aristocracy (the big landowners) of the 18th century – the time of the American Revolutionary War?

    It presents the Marquis of Rockingham (and the other pro American big landowners – who were pro American) as “robbers” or “exploiters”.

    British Whigism (and the American Founding Fathers also) was based on these so called “Robber Barons” – the rights of landowners, of property. The Westminster Review crowd in the 19th century (with their so called “Free Trade in land” – which was really a Trojan Horse to impose ever higher taxes on land) and their desire to create a Civil Service to control everything (rather than boo-hiss the landowners running everything) eventually became “liberalism” – at least in our times, in the 19th century the “Philosophical Radicals” (J.S. Mill and the rest of them) were actually a small MINORITY of liberals.

    In the end “Progressive Liberal” and “Marxist” is a distinction without a difference – as the demonization of “the rich” and “the landowners” and “big business capitalists” must end the same way. It is just that the Marxists favour blood thirsty Revolution – whereas the Progressive Liberals believe in the destruction of liberty by the instalment plan (Fabianism).

    By the way – it is not just politics, it is also philosophy.

    In the 17th century the great enemy of the Whigs in philosophy was Thomas Hobbes – he denied Free Will (his compatiblism is a sham), and destroyed the traditional meaning of words such as “law” and “justice” (replacing them with the WILL of the state).

    And in the 18th century the great enemy of the Whigs in philosophy was David Hume, with his compatiblism (see Hobbes) and reducing of the human person (the “I”) to a “bundle of sensations” and his “euthanasia of the Constitution”. Somehow the arch critic of the Scottish Enlightenment has been turned into the Scottish Enlightenment.

    And who did the Philosophical Radicals of the 19th century (J.S. Mill and co) prize?

    Philosophers such as Ralph Cudworth or Thomas Reid?

    Of course not. The Westminster Review crowd (who had been the Bowood Circle when Jeremy 13 Departments of State, Humans are just flesh robots, Bentham had been more active) loved Thomas Tyranny Hobbes (they put his books in every library – they did not do that with the words of Cudworth) and the “light” (i.e. darkness) of David Hume – as Mr Mill put it.

    Somehow the enemies of the Whigs ended up, eventually, in control of liberalism. You can not get to the philosophy of the American (or British) Bill of Rights via the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and Jeremy Bentham – they are its ENEMIES.

    This is why university academics and Hollywood types can get away with calling themselves “liberals”.

    Because liberalism has been utterly subverted.

  • TDK

    There are several issues here

    The left doesn’t know (or want to know) it’s history. There are plenty of examples of utopian communities, from New Harmony to Jonestown. They all failed, but to a leftist, if they are aware of them at all, they blame some other factor. So an early Christian Socialist experiment fails due to the Christian part. Fordlandia failed because Henry Ford was Capitalist. They are not aware that Marx broke with early utopian Socialists (who are ideological closer to modern Greens) and rejected their approach. To be a progressive, was until recently, to believe in the white heat of technology. Big industrial developments were sine qua non to socialism. Yet today they are regarded as evils of consumerist capitalism.

    All this certainly supports the idea that moral imperative supercedes theory. They want a sharing caring worlkd but they don’t care how it arises.

    However, I think there’s a larger issue today which differentiates today’s idealists from earlier ones. Prior to this century, they thought we lived in a good society which urgently needed reform. Unfortunately now, they think we live in an evil society that must be destroyed.

  • Alisa

    Paul, I feel lucky for not having watched TWD, and possibly having to argue with you about its merits or lack thereof 🙂 I do agree with you that the entertainment media are not fans of business in general. However and unlike you, I don’t see their mainstream as necessarily hostile to business per se, nor do I see any such hostility on the Left in general, at least not in the US. I think that the American “Liberals” treat business just like any other thing that people happen to be doing: they are not fans of it, but they don’t object to it either – which is really the way it should be, I think. What many on the Left (again, the US variety – things may well be different in the UK) do strongly object to, and are in fact hostile to, is Big Business, and this is where I think they are not entirely off the mark. I know that their hostility to it is based on the wrong reasons, but that does not mean that I have to be pro-Big-Business just because they are against it – and I am not.

    I do think that absent government meddling, businesses would in fact be smaller, more local and more diverse (although there would still be, most likely, some large internationals, especially in the information industry). And yes, communities do matter, (as does caring, although maybe not so much ‘sharing’ – at least not in the sense the Left thinks of the term), and there are natural limits to their size. In reality, it does make more sense to do business with people you know, or at least know people who know them, etc. Of course with modern communication and transportation technologies one can know people across the Globe, and at times quite well, but this has still not reached the point of making physical proximity irrelevant (in terms of trust, reputation, and similar factors that are vital to real business world, as opposed to artificial one propped by governments), and I doubt it ever will.

  • Watchman


    I hate to raise the minor elephant in the room, but if we had a major outbreak of zombies (cue Cranberry’s track in my head…) of the rotting flesh variety would we not have to admit that the underlying economic systems that allow modern businesses to exist might well break down, and we’d revert to more primitive modes of organisation – so either mutually-supportive peasant economy or a quasi-fedual system with strongmen in charge, quite probably with the two systems fluctuating and interacting.

    To take one issue, that of private landowning. To protect private landownership requires the rule of law to be in operation, as otherwise there is no sanction for the breach of private rights other than force – which makes it a requirement to be a strongman to have land. And if land is defended by strength, not law, then how is land acquired other than the same way?

    So I dont’t think a critique of the Walking Dead works without addressing the fact this is a post-acopalyptic setting, and therefore the modern capitalist system no longer functions, and in particular the ability to function as an individual under law is no longer available. That’s not to say that your views on those producing the programme are wrong (I can’t speak to them) but simply that they are not testing political ideas in a neutral environment, but in a specific set of circumstances which have a recognised set of rules (find me a post-acopalyptic drama where there is a functioning capitalist system…).

  • RRS

    Is it not possible that the “Entertainment Media” is headed to the same fate as the “News Media?”

  • John B

    “To the left… a “capitalist” is not someone who invests and thus helps produce goods and services, a capitalist is a vicious sadist… who “exploits” people partly for loot (taking the “product of their labour” – Labour Theory of Value) and partly simply out of sadism, cruelty – the desire to inflict suffering for the pleasure of inflicting suffering.”

    The Left projecting.

    Two types of Capitalism and Capitalist: State and private. The former produces no wealth but takes by force the wealth created by others to enrich themselves and dispose of/redistribute at their whim to those whom they favour and wish to make dependent upon them; the latter in order to create wealth for themselves has to create wealth for others even though that may not be their intention, so wealth is distributed automatically but under nobody’s control.

    The State Capitalist is very much the exploiter and evil sadist… see USSR, Cuba; Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, North Korea…. so the Left’s definition is quite apt, just it applies to them.

    I managed, with effort… yawn… one and a half episodes of the Waking Dead before feeling like one, and concluding it was the usual un-original, post-apocolyptic dross, which would develop inevitably to be about decent, virtuous, trying-to-stay-civilised groups pitted against predatory, nasty, brutal selfish types – the usual alegorical tropes by which Leftie loonies view Mankind… the virtuous Left v evil others.

    Evidently it was so, and I am glad I dd not waste my time watching more of it.

  • AndrewZ

    The superficial leftism espoused by some of the rich and powerful contains a strong element of self-interest. Hostility to free markets is a convenient pretext for erecting barriers to entry that protect the incumbents from competition. Promoting more government regulation has the same effect, because large corporations can afford the additional costs but their smaller, nimbler competitors cannot. Singing the praises of the state provides cover for a sordid crony capitalism in which the wealthy and the powerful trade favours for mutual benefit. Perhaps most importantly, the moralistic language of socialism allows the people who are doing all these things to pretend that they are not just trying to rig the system to protect themselves from legitimate competition.

  • John B


    “I hate to raise the minor elephant in the room, but if we had a major outbreak of zombies (cue Cranberry’s track in my head…) of the rotting flesh variety would we not have to admit that the underlying economic systems that allow modern businesses to exist might well break down, and we’d revert to more primitive modes of organisation – so either mutually-supportive peasant economy or a quasi-fedual system with strongmen in charge…”

    What would happen over time is that those groups which adopted rules and a method of cooperating and organising that was best adapted to the prevailing and changing situation would be most successful at reproducing and therefore they and their socio-economic system would become larger, dominant and widespread.

    See North America after European colonisation started… there were two socio-conomic models, the aboriginal hunter-gatherer/semi-nomads v free market capitalist. Which population group grew fastest? Yes the European population part grew from immigration, but the aboriginal population had had many centuries to grow but was quite small; the European population grew because socio-economically it was best adapted.

    That is how evolution works.

    What would evolve in the Walking Dead scenario, we cannot predict.

    However it is the case that free market capitalism dominates today for a reason. It produces societies which are far better at survivng and reproducing than hunter-gatherer or nomadic societies. That does not preclude the evolution of different similarly or more successful systems given some other environmental conditions.

  • Watchman

    John B,

    I think we can predict pretty well that in the Waking Dead situation, once the zombies were under control (there is a very good case that a zombie outbreak is not a long-term threat), once there was a sufficient conglomoration of population in a few communities, commerce would develop, and judging by the story of western Europe, the socieities that evolved best to commerce by maintaining law and allowing flexibility would be the most successful. So yes, i think you’re right about your outcome, but not about evolution.

    What would deflect it is not competition from hunter-gatherer societies (I would treat nomadic societies differently – these are capable of high levels of complexity and interaction with non-nomadic socities (e.g. the mongols) and would be able to coexist if there is a markedly reduced population), but from societies where ideology (probably religion) is limiting innovation. These can at a low level of social development actually produce preferable outcomes to nascent free-market societies.

    I wouldn’t call this evolution though, as social systems are not exclusive genetic creations. Take Japan – a successful society now, that has merged over time a number of other social models (including capitalism). It has not outevolved other competitors but has simply adopted successive models as necessary, normally actually in the time of defeat.

  • Laird

    AndrewZ made an important, and all-too-frequently overlooked, point, and made it very well.

  • James g

    Perhaps the answer is that certain economic viewpoints lend themselves more willingly to fiction writing. Coercive economic models generate drama. Further, as Hayek would point out, the economic order under a market system is only discoverable by the market process actually operating. Hence a fiction writer cannot know what that could look like in advance. They are more akin to the central planner. They do of course have the advantage of not requiring their world to be tested against reality. And there are plenty of libertarian visions in sci fi. But a Walking Dead writer would have to show the evolution of a market system under a zombie apocalypse. Simply not possible for them to do that realistically. It’s the same reason why fictional bands are awful or old sci fi films look dated.

  • Paul Marks

    To the people who have said “well the zombies” or words to that effect – go back and read my post again, it has nothing to do with the zombies. Hollywood and the television companies present every situation in the same way. Whether it is on another planet or this one – whether it is in the past, the present or the future.

    Take the television series “Sherlock” – in this the father of Sherlock Holmes is a major character, and he is (of course) an evil businessman.

    Nor (Alisa) is about hatred of a particular individual – for example “Sherlock” says about “prepers” (people who prepare for a possible collapse of society).

    “There is a particularly vile subset of prepers – rich ones, they prepare against the possibility of an uprising of the poor, I think an uprising of the poor would be a rather good thing”.

    Or words to that effect.

    The idea that people (rich or poor) might prepare against the collapse of society by government being too big is (of course) not one of the (many) motivations for “prepers” mentioned in the show. After all one would not want the audience to doubt the nobleness of ever more government spending and regulations.

    It is NOT about zombies (no zombies in “Sherlock”) and IT IS about hatred of “big business” and “the rich” as such.

    Is it Marxism? Does that matter?

    After all “Progressive Liberalism” (John Stuart Mill and all that) will lead to much the same place – land nationalisation, “capitalists” replaced by “the workers” controlling industry, and on and on.

    In the end the choice between Marxism and Progressive Liberalism is the choice between being shot and being poisoned – and this is what the “education” of the schools and universities leads to the media people believing in supporting (society being shot or poisoned).

    “But at least there is no bureaucracy under John Stuart Mill and co Paul”.

    Actually there is – in spite of all the waffle about “democracy” and “worker coops”.

    Karl Marx and Frederick Engels said the state would “wither away” with the “socialist stage” being replaced by the “communist stage” – but in-practice they stood for the rule of a bureaucracy, made up of people like themselves.

    And the followers of Jeremy Bentham (the 13 Departments of State person) were much the same.

    J.S. Mill and co (the Westminster Review crowd) wanted to get rid of the “reactionary” Churches and landowners (and so on) but they did not want to replace them with nothing – they had very clear ideas about what to replace them with.

    An “enlightened” government at both local and national level – paying for all the “basic services” that humans need.

    Made up of educated administrators.

    People like themselves.

    An attractive prospect for the educated people who produce the Hollywood films and the television shows.

    Sir Francis Bacon’s “New Atlantis” – collective control of everything, under an enlightened and educated elite.

    But with a lot of waffle about “democracy” and “freedom” thrown in.

    As long as the people vote “correctly” of course.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Well, it’s all just people isn’t it?

    There seems to be a common myth that once the transition to a socialist utopia is complete, all the nasty evil people would either vaporize or undergo a Damascene moment of some sorts. We know that is simply not true, and we know that socialist doctrine tends to put too much power into too little hands*. We know the dangers of some obsessed idiot getting in charge and refusing to step down, stamping his boot forever, it has happened countless times in history and is happening today.

    Whilst we continue to shroud what are essentially groups of people into abstract entities such as “state”, “society”, “government”, etc, and then give those entities a will of their own, above those of individuals, and then appoint people absolute power over those entities, then the socialist dilemma will continue, as the nasty evil people will exploit a socialist economy far more easily than a capitalist one (as per AndrewZ’s point).

    To imagine the bad people will just “disappear” is delusional, what happens is the bad people make others “disappear” far more easily.

    * not a DJT reference.

  • Mr Ed

    “Walking Dead” and the rest of television and movie entertainment shows that the left still have not learned the lessons of the the colony the Mayflower founded.

    Yes, but what is so striking is that even with true believers, communalism (whatever you call it) still does not work. No matter how fanatical the believers, the clash of ideology and human nature leads to, usually, fewer humans, be it the Mayflower or Jonestown. Doublethink plays out with the communalists believing in sharing, and then revolting against the outcomes of their own actions, as well as not having the economic landscape needed, they cannot get over the practical horrors of communalism, and often will not admit what they are doing.

    Mind you, I suppose Zombies just carry on, but do they have any economic taxis? Are they not simply carnivores, beasts, devoid of economic insight, and why (assuming that they were real FTSOA) should humans be so afraid of Zombies, given that they are brainless flesh-eating monsters? Is it because they cannot tell them apart from socialists?

  • Alisa

    “Sherlock” is British, Paul – see the distinction I made in my comment.

  • Watchman


    Spoiler warning please – I still haven’t seen that episode of Sherlock…

    And, perhaps more usefully,the Sherlock character is not being played as a role model. He is distant and unengagable (it is the Watson character that is the everyman) so his utterances would be a strange place to put a view you want propogated. After all, suggesting that possibly intelligent but totally unable to interact normally people might support a socialist revolution is hardly going to be a shock to anyone who lives in a country like the UK which has a socialist party which has loads of this type of person in it…

    You are right that evil businessman is a favourite trope of film and tv though. I don’t think this is a problem (I don’t think we should be setting business figures up as heroes any more than politicians). You aren’t wrong to see in both the UK and US odd flashes of socialist assumptions underlying a lot of programmes and films as well. Note however the excellent job these attempts to influence people do at moving us towards a socialistic, non-corporatist, society…

  • James g

    I blame my being a lefty until my early twenties on The Raccoons cartoon.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    It can help, in plots, to have a well-defined villain. This can either be a rich (and thus powerful) business person, or a powerful government agency. Hollywood does regularly re-use both, so I think it’s not specifically anti-business; it’s just looking for plausible villains.

  • Paul Marks

    Sorry about lack of “spoiler alert” – but it is not as if I gave away who the killer was, it was just an off hand comment. Written by a script writer who (like nearly all Hollywood script writers) is a leftist.

    Not the character – the writer.

  • bobby b

    “Yerp – March 14, 2017 at 8:16 pm
    . . . Ive always felt TWD offered a depiction of society and human behaviour very much in tune with that which a non-leftist might recognise as being the harsh truth about humanity; namely that self interest and instinct are the primary motivating factors in all interactions, that there is little solidarity between competing groups, and that trust, loyalty and cooperation are earnt through merit alone.”

    Had to chime in to agree. I always saw TWD as being very realistic about the basic tribalism of humanity. We fight for our own, we protect our own, we trust no one outside of our own. This is anathema to those who insist that we can all work communally out of our love for each other. Communism might work if we were all selfless and other-oriented. We’re not.

    Altruism in TWD is limited to our children, and to those who help to protect our children, and to those who somehow have proven to not be hostile to our children. There’s no common humanity in the show at all.

    And look at Star Wars. This is the most self-interest-friendly set of movies out there. The heroes are the traders and the pilots-for-hire and those working for their own benefit on small out-of-the-way planets, while the evil force is The Borg (its Star Wars version, I mean), the Collective, the huge mass governed by the bad guys “for everyone’s benefit.” Alderaan was full of kulaks.

    The capitalist view is actually well represented throughout the world of entertainment – it just has to fly under the radar a bit to get past the popular censoring.

  • Julie near Chicago

    bobby, that’s a very interesting observation about Star Wars, and your final statement (have to mull that over). Thanks.

  • Paul Marks

    An interesting view of Star Wars.

    I wish George Lucas agreed with this political opinion.

    Sadly he does not.

    Still the leftism is only blatant in the later “Star Wars” films – with “big business” (the trade federation or whatever it called) being shown as evil.

    The earlier films just have “Jabba the Hutt” as the supposed “big business” type.

    George Lucas made many millions of Dollars from Star Wars – and has since often given the world the “benefit” of his political opinions that “capitalists” and “capitalism” are-is evil

    In your case that may be true George – after all you are the creator of “Yar Yar Binks” (however spelt).

  • Paul Marks

    I am very sorry Alisa – I have now (finally) worked out what you meant.

    You meant that the name of the American Sherlock Holmes series is not “Sherlock” it is some other name.

    Please remember that to me all these series and films (and schools and universities) are interchangeable.

    There may indeed be minor ideological factional differences between a British series of X and an American (or whatever) series of X – but they are too minor to really matter to me. As all of it is leftist propaganda – starting with the schools, then the universities, and constantly backed up by the media (especially the entertainment media). It is all just a blog.

    Still I named a series falsely – and I apologise for that.

  • Penseivat

    No idea about the political implications or viewpoints of this programme as have only watched 3 episodes before realising it’s a load of tosh. The zombies are dead, so their flesh should still be rotting. So where are the dogs, cats and carrion eaters which feed on rotting flesh? Did the zombies, existing to consume living flesh, bite them, therefore making them zombie dogs, cats and crows? If so, how come they are never shown, unless they are after episode 3? However, British TV authorities could show “The Walking Dead, UK” and show live coverage of the House of Lords. Now, can we move on to a serious TV question? Ant and Dec. Why?

  • Alisa

    No Paul, that was not what I meant at all – I was referring to the latest British version of Sherlock Holmes (written by Steven Moffat, who is British – Scottish, in fact), and to the part of my comment where I wrote that in the US there is no inherent hostility towards businesses and business people per se, not even among those on the Left, the Democrats, the “liberals”. It is only Big Business, the mega-corporations to which they are generally hostile, and with good reason. I might add that if there is any hostility towards small and medium-sized business in the US, it is mostly on the part of the very fringes of the radical Left – which I doubt is the majority even in Hollywood (universities being a different matter – but they are not the ones making films and TV shows). I also wrote that in the UK the attitudes may be different – hence, the Sherlock example was totally beside my point.

    Please remember that to me all these series and films (and schools and universities) are interchangeable.

    And yet you feel informed enough to comment about their content?

  • bobby b

    “Paul Marks
    March 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    I wish George Lucas agreed with this political opinion.

    Sadly he does not.”

    I think Lucas gets a bum rap in this regard.

    He favors democracy, and he favors capitalism. What he dislikes is purchased government.

    He’s said many times that he does not favor “capitalistic democracy”, and he goes on to define this as the rich buying government.

    That’s his condemnation of corrupt government, not of capitalism.

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    That’s nice to hear, but when I hear people complaining of the rich buying the government, my Babel Fish whispers to me that they mean ‘the rich voting against them being taxed into penury’ and fending off the mob, rather than corrupting the government to their aid.

  • bobby b

    Generally true, Mr. Ed, but when the words are being uttered by a Merchant Prince, I think the meaning changes.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Jabba the Hutt? No, only a “big-business type” in the same way that Al the Capone had a large and thriving business.

    Jabba (especially in the scene with the chained-up Princess) is pure Golden-Age-Pulp-SF-Cover Art. There was always a beautiful damsel, Pearl Pureheart so to speak, being chased by or ravished by some Dreadful Creature from god-knows-where (I’ve always wondered how this latter activity would work, given presumably different anatomies of the principals), don’tchasee. (Fay Wray being about to be mooshed or smooshed, whichever, by King Kong is in the same vein.) Especially when it’s Jabba with Leia in chains. (Surely not to titillate the moviegoers…. *g*)

    However, Jabba is also a hugely succesful gangster, with his own Criminal Empire to run.

    Of course, there’s a whiff of the Oriental Pasha in there.

    I thought that J-L scene and the scenes of the low-life, longshoremen’s-style, anything-goes bars were absolutely inspired. Perfectly done! (Dives of that sort I remember as rather a fixture in the old B-&-W gangster films.)

    Speaking of, Has anybody else around here been struck by a certain similarity between the very varied musicians’ music in the bars and the animated combo that play while the Jeeves and Wooster credits roll? To me, the Wooster crew would be like that if they were Space Aliens. :>))

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, of course correction must needs be made. Last para improved, at least somewhat:

    “…between the music played in the bars by the very varied musicians and the animated combo’s ditty that plays while, &c. ”


    Oh, and speaking of Group Nouns, “the animated combo that play” should be, “the … combo that plays … “; or else, thinking of the several* players individually, we might say, “the … combo who play….” But I do think the first alternative is far less jangling to our minds’ ears, in this lax post-grammatical era. ;>)

    *Is that the right usage of “several”? Inquiring American minds want to know. By the way, I heard Prof. Barnett in a UT video say that he thought he really shouldn’t have gone on about “several” property in whichever book it was. He said, “But I just liked the sound of that word.”

  • Laird

    Julie, I had never noticed that similarity, but you’re correct (not so much at the beginning, but when the muted trumpet enters). Thanks for pointing it out. I always loved the J&W theme song (and the series itself).

    As to your grammar questions, “combo” is singular, so the formulation I would use is “the animated combo which plays . . . .” (Note that I prefer “which” to “that” in this context.) And I’m fine with “several”. A common legal formulation is “joint and several liability”, in which “several” is basically another way of saying “individual” (or, perhaps, a relation to “severable”). That’s how you used it (as I read it, anyway.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, Laird, I like “which” better than “that” myself, in a case like this one anyway. We are in agreemnt there.

    By the way, the remarks on the group noun “combo” (a shortspeak that I somewhat detest, by the way, I think for purely personal reasons) weren’t intended as a question but more as a way of trying to elucidate the nature of the Group Noun by example, and the fact that such nouns can be treated as either singular (the whole group as a unitary entity) or as the bunch of individuals constituting it. Not that I would ever, by any means, Pontificate! Perish the thought! Pure rumination only, you see, so as to help everyone’s English-language digestion. ;>)


    “Several”: Maybe it comes of being legal eagles, podden my cliché. To me it’s something these benighted Britishers say when they can’t think of a better word. [ /tease ] Actually, it seems to me they use it to mean “private property” in general, so not restricted to individual private property. Do you know? 9UPDATE: Quick glance at the OED prods me to reflect that it probably had “sever” as its root, way back in some long-dead language. Hence, non-severable. Which goes along with your theory, rather.


    Speaking of muted trumpets, that’s one of the jazz sounds I do love (not a big jazz fan in general). And the sound of the sax.

    And I used to love the bass-&-brushes going in the background. But maybe that’s really more Early Rock & Roll more than jazz.

    Do I remember your saying that the French horn is your instrument?


    J&W BBC series: Well *sniff*, I really much prefer the originals — I knew them first as inked black marks on this thinnish stuff inspired I guess by papyrus, chronicled by somebody known as “Plum.” For my money, the best casting in the entire series was Elizabeth Heery as Madeline Basset. “Every time a wee fairy blows her nose a baby is born.” Oh dear, hilarious. The very essence of the Girl Who Dwells on the Ethereal Plain. And that rather wispy voice. Perfect!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Er, “Ethereal Plane,” of course.

  • Laird

    Julie, your memory serves you well.

    I loved all the casting in J&W. To this day I can’t see Hugh Laurie as anyone other than Bertie Wooster, or Stephen Fry as anyone other than Jeeves!

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Alisa – I know the British Sherlock Holmes set in the modern day called “Sherlock”, it appears that the American Sherlock Holmes series set in the modern day is called something else. It has a female Dr Watson (if that helps).

    The politics of both is the same – the British series has the character ranting against Mrs Thatcher and so on.

    American leftists not hostile to private business?

    Yes they are – see them on “economic democracy”.

    This is what the ever higher taxes and (especially) ever more regulations are intended to achieve.

    The poison method – rather than the Revolutionary bullet-in-the-back-of-the-head method.

    And many of the very richest people are in favour (or sort of in favour) of this.

    Capitalism is evil and must be destroyed – think the Progressive capitalists.

    Caring-sharing is the way – and anyone who does not think so is evil and must be destroyed.

    See the Walking Dead, or Star Trek – or anything.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Julie.

    But to the leftist (such as George Lucas) Jabba is business – like the Walking Dead with Nagen, or Star Wars with the “Trade Federation” (with their silly robots).

    It is all the same.

    They (the leftists who control the culture – and the education system) believe that big business is criminal – plundering and exploitation.

    It makes no difference if we are talking about Britain, or America – or anywhere else.

    At least I can not think of a place where is endless propaganda is not done.

    The Islamic television stations push “the people” owning XYZ and so do RT – ditto the Western stations.

  • Alisa

    American leftists not hostile to private business?

    Yes they are – see them on “economic democracy”.

    How many of them have you actually met? As to movies and TV shows, so far you have not shown a single example displaying hostility to small and medium businesses – you just keep repeating your assertions, based on what, exactly?

  • Alisa

    I have been living in/visiting the US for over two decades now, and over the course of all these years I have known a lot of Democrat voters. And I am telling you that I have never known any of them to be hostile to business in general and to business people in particular – within the context of small and medium business. Never. I also cannot recall any mainstream movie or TV show made in the US displaying such hostility – again, within the context of small and medium-sized business. I am not saying there is none (I obviously have not seen them all, not even close) – so you are still welcome to provide mainstream examples, preferably several, so as to support the pattern you claim exists. Saying ‘they are all the same, so I don’t bother watching them any more’ does not support the case you are trying to make – quite the opposite.

    Of course the Left has its radical fringes, the shop-window smashing thugs – but they are a small minority (see radical and fringes).

    What there is plenty of, in the US, is hostility towards Big Business, and I have already addressed that point. Their false premises notwithstanding, those who are resentful and even hostile towards Big Business do have a point, as anyone who has ever witnessed eminent domain, and and other big-business-friendly regulations in action will understand at least to some extent.

  • Paul Marks

    The American show is called “Elementary” Alisa.

    As for American leftists not being hostile to small and medium sized business enterprises.

    Well I have not actually covered that – I have talked about their hatred for “Big Business” and “the rich” – even if they are rich and control big business enterprises themselves.

    However, I will answer your question – of course they oppose privately owned medium sized business enterprises.

    The Federal income tax hits them specifically – most small business enterprises file under the Federal income tax (not the Corporation Tax).

    Nor is the hostility recent.

    After all as far back as 1620 (how far back am I supposed to go?) the Plymouth Bay Colony did not have private farming or business – it was intended to be a caring-sharing place. Governor Bradford only abandoned this policy in the face of starvation.

    Yes the American left no longer believe in God – but their political-social objective has not changed. It is still John Stuart Mill style community people sitting around in a meeting and deciding economic life. Freedom = this, to them.

    Much like the communes the good guys live in – in “Walking Dead” or other shows.

    It is true that Plato allowed private farming (although strictly controlled by the state – and limited in scale) in his “Republic” – but that was for the “iron and brass” people, not the “Gold” Guardians or their “Silver” enforcers.

    I am NOT arguing with you Alisa – I do NOT deny that Hollywood (like Plato – of “Lenin’s” New Economic Policy, NEP, in the 1920s) would allow small scale private farming and business – at least for the transition to the caring-sharing society.

    But, as you will remember, Lenin was forced into this policy by the near collapse of his regime (just as Governor Bradford was forced into his change of policy) – and it was only intended to be a temporary retreat from “War Communism” (which was NOT meant just for wartime).

    “Lenin” always intended, in the long term, to get rid of all private property in the means of “production, distribution and exchange”.

    I have no reason to suppose that the American (or British) “Critical Theory” people (who control the universities and so on) are fundamentally different in their long term aims – and the entertainment industry reflects this.

    Why else should “Sherlock” in the British series rant on about “something evil this way comes” when looking at a bust of the late Margaret Thatcher, or the same character in the American “Elementary” savagely attack “rich preppers” and argue that the poor should rise up against the rich.

    The leftism is not exactly hidden – although YES they do NOT say “and all small business people should also be exterminated”.

    Big business to be exterminated first – “kulaks” (small scale private farming and business enterprises) to be got rid of in the long term. That is a fair presentation of their position.

    Almost every show presents the caring-sharing commune as the ideal – even if the show is set on another planet.

    The ideal is always “the community” in charge.

    The leftists elected in 2020 (as they most likely will be) will have the same political-social objectives (although YES they will NOT have the theology) of the Plymouth Colony of 1620 – or of Plato a couple thousand years before.

    Of course the culture supports this – after all Plato was quite clear that only “poets” (there were no films and so on in his time – you know that) who supported his political aims should be allowed.

    Karl Marx held the same opinion on culture – as did Hollywood in the 1930s.

    The “Spike” for scripts that did not fit the political agenda.

    Hence “Red Star over Hollywood”.

    Have they changed?

    I do not believe so.

    Of course there are exceptions – actors and so on who are not leftists. I hope I have never denied that, and I apologise if I have implied that there are no exceptions.

  • Paul Marks

    People will remember that the original cry of the October-November (depending on whose calendar you use) 1917 Revolution was…..

    “All power to the Soviets”.

    What was a “Soviet”?

    A “Soviet” was (yes) NOT Plato style Guardians (which is the policy “Lenin” really supported) – a “Soviet” was a popular meeting of local people (“the workers and the peasants”) to decide all local matters.

    That remains the aim of ABC, CBS, NBC (and the BBC and so on – including Fox entertianment) to this day. NOT the dictatorship of a mass murderer such as “Lenin” (a false name of course – just as “Stalin” and “Trotsky” were fake names) – but caring-sharing “local democracy”.

    Would the American television writers go around shooting small business owners if they (the television entertainment writers) took power?

    NO they would NOT – if I have not made that clear, I (again) apologise.

    But small business enterprises would have no long-term place in such a society.

    The intention would be to use taxation and regulation to gradually (over time) replace them with cooperative economic activity – organised on the basis of the caring-sharing community.

    As the teachers in my primary school showed when they organised a party and asked us to bring food from home “to share with your friends” – the food was then taken (by force) and given to my enemies. As the teachers definition of “friend” was “member of our community”.

    The television writers (British or American – or whatever) would nod with gentle agreement.

    The purpose of the “poetry” and “plays” (as Plato would describe the entertainment) is to promote caring-sharing local collectivism.

    After all these people are well “educated”.

    For example, the writers of “The Simpsons” studied under the collectivist political philosopher Sandel (spelling alert) at Harvard.

    They believe that they can best promote caring-sharing and delegitimize “capitalism” via popular entertainment on television.

    “GOT YOU” cries Alisa – only “Mr Burns” and Big Business are really attacked on “The Simpsons”, small business is NOT.

    Listen carefully when the show is dealing with such things as the local bar, or even the local store (run by the Asian gentlemen) certain things are woven into the narrative.

    It is subtle (as one would expect from those educated at Harvard) – but the objective is clear enough.

    To delegitimize small business – not just big business.

    “You are saying that that the writers of The Simpsons would shoot the Kulaks”.

    No I am NOT saying that.

    They would work for the day when there would be no Kulaks.

    Not the same thing (I fully admit that) – but the same long term objective.

    And if they (the writers) can get rich at the same time – well that is an added bonus.

  • Alisa, a friend of mine is married to a member of the ACLU and lives in a left-leaning state. A few years ago, I discussed with her how far the modern ACLU was friend or foe of freedom. She said they would defend even right-wing free speech, would take cases defending the 1st amendment rights of real-deal-racists (e.g. KKK members) and similar. I noted that*, then observed how the ACLU literature lying around the marital house made me think the ACLU hated economic freedom. “Yes, that’s true”, she instantly replied, with some regret. She made not the slightest attempt to deny it but simply agreed, and showed she had some problems defending their consistency or justice in that area. Given her stance and motivations, and the points she would defend – e.g. she offered arguments for the ACLU’s position in the ‘voter suppression v. voter fraud’ debate – I found her instant regretful concession on economic freedom more persuasive than many a right-wing essay could have been.

    The ACLU’s hatred was not at all confined to big business; I knew from several ACLU publications I’d seen lying around over several visits that victimising very small businesses with not new-fashioned-enough owners had been a sport of the ACLU since 2000 at least, their triumphs gleefully reported in their press.

    So, whatever may be true of most Democrat voters, it seems to me that many of those who have actual influence over the Democratic party, rather than just voting for it, are not friends to business, large or small.

    * FWIW, I have the impression that such commitment as the ACLU had to the free speech of right-wingers diminished somewhat during Obama’s second term, responding to the general trend of left-wing thought on the issue. (I may get the chance to review this with my friend mid-year.)

  • Laird

    Niall, there is no single correct answer to this, but on the whole I agree more with Alisa than with you or Paul on it. The ACLU is not a monolithic organization; there are significant differences among the state affiliates. In my state (SC), while the ACLU is an organization I would like to support I cannot, because it consistently takes fringe positions with which I simply disagree. (I have a friend who once served on the state affiliate’s Board of Directors who quit for that very reason.) But I haven’t seen any special animus here toward small business. Perhaps because your friend’s state is “left-leaning” it’s different there.

    But to the extent the ACLU (writ large) generally isn’t interested in defending economic freedoms, I would note that our own Supreme Court has long drawn a distinction between “real” constitutional rights (1st and 4th Amendments, etc.) and rights having an economic component which it views as inferior and for which it is thus far more tolerant of governmental intrusion. There is no rational justification for the distinction, but it exists nonetheless and we’re stuck with it (just like its wholly ahistorical and utterly irrational expansion of the meaning of the Interstate Commerce Clause). I view all constitutional rights as equally important, but since the Supreme Court doesn’t it makes some sense that organizations like the ACLU (which seems generally most interested in the 1st Amendment anyway) wouldn’t waste resources on the disfavored ones.

    For most people, “small business” is the neighbor who owns the heating and air conditioning company or auto repair shop, or even a small engineering firm. They work hard, employ a handful of our friends, advertise on the local radio station and in the town newspaper. Those people are not denigrated; they are celebrated as the core of the community. We can oppose the excesses of such as Citibank or General Electric without also opposing small business. And, in general, in my experience we do just that across the political spectrum.

  • Alisa

    So, whatever may be true of most Democrat voters, it seems to me that many of those who have actual influence over the Democratic party, rather than just voting for it, are not friends to business, large or small.

    Indeed, Niall – that was in fact one of the important distinctions I was trying to make, to moderate Paul’s rather sweeping statements about “leftists”. Left-wing politics have been undergoing increasing radicalization in the West in the recent years, and neither the US nor the Democratic party itself (rather than its traditional voters – many of whom, BTW, have abandoned it in droves during the last elections) are an exception – see Obama, Corbyn, Trudeau, et al.

    Regarding ACLU specifically, I am not familiar-enough with their members to comment with any competence, but I would nevertheless presume that people who belong to such organizations are by definition activists, which should make them a minority among the general left-leaning US voters.

    Leaving the US aside for the moment though, I am curious how the average lefty Brit sees small-to-medium-sized businesses and their owners. I am guessing that Paul’s response would be along the lines he has already expressed above, so I’m wondering what the others’ take on this might be.

  • Alisa

    Paul, I have only now seen your two most recent comments – I will now read them carefully.

  • Alisa

    Which I now did (read Paul’s two last comments), and found very little pertinent to what I wrote. The little bit I did find was this:

    As the teachers in my primary school showed when they organised a party and asked us to bring food from home “to share with your friends” – the food was then taken (by force) and given to my enemies. As the teachers definition of “friend” was “member of our community”.

    The television writers (British or American – or whatever) would nod with gentle agreement.

    No, they would not, nor would most Americans, including those who subscribe to the caring-sharing notions you so despise, and including most Democrat voters. Note that I don’t personally know any Hollywood producers, but they have a product to sell – and a product that would condone such views, or hostility towards small and medium businesses and their owners, would not sell well in the US, not even among Democrat voters.

    Sorry Paul, but you don’t know Americans all that well. Very, very few Americans are truly hostile to private property as a concept, and that – again – includes those who think of themselves as the Left. What you keep talking about are the activists and the politicians – because that is what you see on your TV and read on your computer. These are not the Americans who actually live in America, and these are not the majority of Democrat voters, their many follies notwithstanding.

    Yes, many (far too many) among these people keep voting for the terrible lefty policies that do in fact cause great damage to everyone, and especially to small business-owners – but they are doing so out of true ignorance, and (are you ready for this?) out of truly good intentions. Telling these people that they are evil will achieve nothing, other than real hostility that may not yet be in existence now.

  • Julie near Chicago

    A quote from Paul worth swiping: “Just because I am not commenting does not mean I am not reading.”


    Personally I think there are a great many Dolores-Umbrages-of-the-spirit within the ranks of the Dems. And the Heffalump rank-and-file have theirs as well. Although I hope fewer — not sure about that. I even suspect the Independents have a contingent of them!

    The question is, how far do they go to emulate her in real life?

    Paul’s story about the incident of the school-teacher rings true to me. There’s a great deal of that mentality about in the world, and it’s particularly notable in grade schools and in do-gooder groups of various origin. Still, there are two things to note here. First, the words and actions of the teacher (and if he or she really did wrestle the food away from Paul, that was plain out-of-line and he’s absolutely right to be infuriated still). Second, the state of Paul’s own temperament, out of which he responded as he did (in thoughts and state-of-mind and judgment of the teacher and the whole mindset of the school that is).

    Don’t most of us reflexively feel somewhat enraged by rules or demands that seem to us silly or based on shallow reasoning, hence unreasonable? (Maybe not. Even the Ancients noted the Phlegmatic Temperament). At any rate I do.

    There is a scene in Atlas in which some woman slaps (verbally or physically? I forget) some silly parent who is trying to make her kid share or give to some other kid (I forget which) his “best toy.” (The attitude that this forced “Sharing” is morally correct, of course, an important theme in the book and indeed a Root Cause of its dystopian nightmare world.) Also, there is a scene in my favorite Thriller series (about Butch Karp & Marlene Ciampi) in which young Lucy, their daughter, is playing in the park sandbox, with her toy, and some kid comes over to her and attempts to rob her of it. So Lucy introduces a knuckle sandwich into the drama. Several other parents are shocked and highly vocal in their disapprovement, but Marlene says Lucy’s response was entirely appropriate. Me too. At the Kid level, anyway….

    Still, the little dears do have to know how to behave as social beings, when that’s required. I mean, your average hermit doesn’t have much need for the skill, or the habits….


    People always have a Good Reason for summarily taking other people’s stuff. And for taking over other people’s lives, come to that. As long as they don’t have to look the fact in the face and admit it.

    And there are some with the decency to be very aware of and uncomfortable with the fact that they do this themselves. Or so it appears to me….

  • Alisa

    Paul’s story about the incident of the school-teacher rings true to me. There’s a great deal of that mentality about in the world, and it’s particularly notable in grade schools and in do-gooder groups of various origin.

    Yeas Julie – only there are far, far fewer of them in the US than anywhere else I know of.

  • Julie near Chicago


    For the sake of humanity in general, I hope you’re wrong. Excuse me now, I’d better be sure I have plenty of hemlock tea on hand. :>((

    But even though I know we Americans are on a most dangerous path and have already been ravaged several times as a result, I still think I’m lucky to be an American. Even more so, to have been born no later than I was.

  • Alisa

    Oh yes, very much so.

  • bobby b

    I don’t think there’s true hostility to “business”, large or small, in the USA.

    But there is a lefty-dominated feeling that business of whatever size must play its proper role in society, by serving leftist values (of diversity, progressivism, etc.) at least as emphatically as it pursues private profit.

    Apple, Google, Amazon – each is a huge profit-making business that has clearly aligned itself with leftist thought. Each is also somewhat loved and admired by the progressive world.

    Chick-fil-a, Exxon, Walmart, Tyson Foods – each is also a huge profit-making business that has clearly NOT aligned itself with leftist thought. Each is hated and reviled by the progressive world.

    Small and medium-sized companies also find themselves on one side of this line or the other – hated or loved by leftists – based primarily on how they serve leftist goals.

    So I don’t believe most Americans of any stripe have a visceral dislike for business qua business. Rather, everyone chooses sides, and hates everyone on the wrong side. Some businesses are on our side, others are on the other side.

  • Paul Marks

    The ACLU was founded by socialists back in the 1920s – who decided to “wrap ourselves in the flag” and pretend to love a Constitution they despised.

    It is still controlled by people with the same objective – collectivism (caring-sharing – COMPULSORY caring-sharing). The extermination of the very Constitution they pretend to serve – like so many judges as well.

    No doubt there are also many innocent dupes – but there we go.

    Meanwhile – right now on television.

    “Elysium” on Channel Five – Communist Class War stuff from Matt Damon (with a bit of Science Fiction thrown it).

    Syfy channel has something about water turning people into monsters. With Red Neck types making everything worse – and they (the Red Neck types) are local police and shop keepers. Even children with a lemonade stand are evil in their effects – the left hates children running lemonade stands. Many places now demand “business licenses” for this – although (as far as I know)the lemonade has not turned anyone into a flesh eating monster.

    What could be more small business than children running a lemonade stand? Still if this evil capitalism really does turn people into flesh eating monsters I suppose the left must take action.

    And of course there is that great philosophical classic “Supergirl”.

    This has turned the American individual Superman – into a group operation.

    Supergirl works with a caring-sharing group of friends – as no individual can do anything on their own, or even in a private association. The group of friends are part of a government agency.

    Supergirl has a sister – who is in a loving lesbian relationship.

    And the baddies are evil businessmen who are trying to deport illegal aliens.

    Real aliens.

    None of this is played for laughs – it is all deadly serious.

    It is what young children are taught about the world now.

    Meanwhile on the British Doctor Who the Frankfurt School stuff is equally unsubtle.

    I fondly remember a sidekick being told by the Doctor that her clothes (from modern Earth) were made “by slaves” (wage slaves of course).

    Meanwhile great stress is put on Gay Rights and so on. Although when a Muslim character appears – they are always lovable.

    Frankfurt School types would pretend there is no contradiction in this.

    Badly written? No.

    Badly acted? No.

    Many of these people (actors and writers) are talented.

    They just serve a political agenda – as well as being talented.

  • Paul Marks

    bobby b – American literature (with a few obvious exceptions – such as Ayn Rand) has been dominated by hatred for business since the early 20th century.

    Ditto much of the plays and films – and, of course, the schools and universities.

    Nor is it just big business.

    Sinclair Lewis, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser – all were filled with utter contempt for the “Babbitt” type small businessman and “small town Republican” values of family, church, respectability and so on.

    My father used to collect American literature – when he (Harry Marks) was a Communist.

    Hollywood used to pretend to love these things – but it always had many people within it trying to subvert them. As well as some people who really did support America.

    These days the balance is very much on one side – the hatred for traditional society (on which all business, small as well as big, ultimately depends) is overwhelming and savage. Especially in the schools and universities.

    Alisa once asked if I had ever met an American leftist.

    Actually I have met many.

    In my youth (cue self pity for lost health and life) they used to deeply regret they had met me.

  • Paul Marks

    Even in the early 20th century American literature academics who were anti leftist were considered weird – Irving Babbitt (I wonder if Sinclair named his character “Babbitt” after him) and P.E. Moore (the tutor of T.S. Eliot) were hardly mainstream.

    These days the only jobs they would get in a university would be such things as cleaning the toilets.

    Or they could come and work with me at Wicky Park (if I have a job at all – it is unclear, I have not been paid since Christmas) and get bored by my stories.

    As for the internet zillionaires – most of them seem to be busy funding organisations controlled by people dedicated to the destruction of capitalism.

  • Julie near Chicago

    By the way, Paul,

    I just noticed your distinction between the two S.W. triple-deckers. Important, and valid. (The second one, the backstory, was rubbish on stilts, except for the Special Effects, some of which I really enjoyed. You just have to turn your brain off, shut up, and not ask questions.)

  • Julie near Chicago


    As far as I can tell, Tyson in particular is a corrupt organization and has been for a very long time. The word is that they did the Crony thing, and the Payoff Thing, bigtime with our Mr. W. J. Clinton back when he was Governor, and that they’ve gone on doing it when it suits them.

    They also have a very bad reputation for animal cruelty in the stockyards and slaughterhouses.

    And do you remember all the flap some years back when their Muslim emplyees refused to play by the management’s rules, loudly insisting on foot-baths, Muslim holy days off (and never mind things like Christmas and Passover, important to people of other religions), special provision of time and space for prayers, etc.)? They knuckled under and folded, by all accounts.

    That is one outfit I won’t support with my food money.

    (I hope it goes without saying that if anyone cares to present exonerating evidence, I would be glad to see it.)

  • Paul Marks

    On the fiction I think you are right Julie.

    On business – yes Bobby, some business enterprises still stand against the left.

    I must not totally despair.

  • Alisa

    Not sure whether this supports Paul’s notions or not, but it is an interesting read:


  • Paul Marks

    I tried to follow your advice and read the article before commenting Alisa.

    However, the “pop ups” drove me to distraction – and what I could read of the article (about cocaine and so on) seemed flippant.

    However, the assumptions of most (not all – just most) of Hollywood are not liberal, they are socialist.

    Ditto the teachers and so on.

    They may not use the word “socialist” – but they believe in compulsory caring-sharing and everyone sitting around to “organise the community” (compulsion of course).

    They do not need to use the word “socialist”.

    This is the point of the education system and the media – especially the entertainment media. Most (not all – just most) of these people work on socialist assumptions – even if they do not use the word.