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Let’s be blunt: classical liberalism is losing

I put this comment up on a group page on Facebook about the latest comments from the young Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, quoted approvingly by two academics in the US, and re-post them here, with some adjustments:

The problem, as I keep noting, is the zero-sum mentality. For such an approach, creating wealth is incomprehensible, and that therefore having much wealth must be evil. She carries the assumption that for A to be richer than the average, B must have been robbed in some way. There’s no sense of a rising tide of wealth, or any grasp of the division of labour, the benefits of innovation, anything. And then there is a sort of hatred of the good for being the good, a hatred even for people who have achieved great success. Even if her concern for poor people is sincere, she’s just treating rich people as means to an end (giving that wealth to others); she just assumes that their wealth was gained wrongly. (In case Paul Marks or others make this point in the comments, some of the rise in inequality in recent times is down to central bank creation of money, which has tended to benefit owners of real estate and equities, but I suspect that Ms Ocasio-Cortez isn’t going all Ludwig von Mises on the Fed.)

She’s not alone in calling for massive redistribution and it is obviously tempting these days to be patronising and poke fun at a not-very-smart young woman (she has a certain cunning in how to market herself), but we should not do so. I don’t pity her. I despise her and her revelling in what amounts to thuggery (which is what coercive state redistribution amounts to, stripped of the fancy language). The rot goes far wider. Prominent academics (such as the people quoted in that NYT article I linked to above), the likes of Thomas Piketty, newspaper columnists, TV broadcasters and arguably even the Pope all press the same, flat-Earth economic buttons. They haven’t been confronted enough. So many “right-wing” politicians aren’t any good at this; they behave all too often like rabbits caught in headlights. Since 2008, this has become worse.

This book, Equal is Unfair, by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins, is particularly good at skewering this egalitarianism.

Also I would argue that Robert Nozick’s renowned book, Anarchy, State and Utopia, and its chapter on egalitarianism and the flaws of Marxism contains just about the most deadly critique of this egalitarian mindset I have ever read. It’s now almost 50 years’ old, but it remains totally on target.

At some point, Ms O-C is going to over-reach, and make an ass of herself, as they often seem to do. Or she may be shocked at being outflanked by people even more collectivist than she is, and start to get a bit wiser. Who knows?

But the mindset she represents is not going away. And our universities and colleges are full of people who imbibe re-heated Marxist, egalitarian notions from their post-68 lecturers. There’s a huge task for genuine classical liberals to take up.

34 comments to Let’s be blunt: classical liberalism is losing

  • Paul Marks

    It is depressing to watch bad ideas being COPIED.

    This goes back to at least Frederick the Great in 18th century Prussia – his domestic policies were a horrible failure, but the world (or at least the “educated” part of it) was taught that his domestic policies were a success -so state education and so on started to appear in other lands.

    In the late 19th century the proto Welfare State of Bismark was held up as a success (it was not a success) and was soon being copied around the world.

    The British NHS was a direct copy of the Soviet health service set up in the 1920s – but to tell British people that would just make them think better of the Soviet Union (it would NOT make them doubt the NHS – which may NOT be questioned).

    The “New Dealers” in the United States copied FASCISM – they took Mussolini’s policies as a model for their “National Industrial Recovery Act” and “National Recovery Administration” (the Blue Eagle thugs) in 1933.

    In 1935 the Supreme Court struck down the FASCISM of Franklin Roosevelt – nine votes to zero. Today I have no doubt that the “conservative” Chief Justice John Roberts would find some excuse to uphold the unconstitutional National Recovery Administration – just as he found an excuse to uphold the unconstitutional Obamacare. And may well find another excuse to uphold Obamacare – even though the “tax” (penalty for not buying health insurance) that he used as the excuse last time has been repealed. And if(if) Chief Justice Roberts does (yet again) uphold the unconstitutional (and utterly insane) Obamacare – the collectivist scum of the Economist magazine will applaud. And yet the collectivist scum of the Economist magazine are held up as the defenders of the “free market” of “Classical Liberals” – and should tell anyone all they need to know about the decline and fall of Classical Liberalism.

    We have all seen the success brought about by LIMITING government in such countries as South Korea – and we all now see these governments now adopting more BIG GOVERNMENT policies, more regulations government benefits. The Economist magazine (and the rest of the “free market” “liberal” international elite) applaud the ever bigger government polices now followed in South Korea and so on – the betrayal of the limited government policies (low taxes, lack of benefits and “public services”, and less regulation) that made these countries prosperous.

    Franklin Roosevelt and his Toytown imitation of FASICSM? Ask the typical international elite person (say the editor of the Economist magazine) if President Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal. They say YES Franklin Roosevelt was a liberal – a great liberal.

    So a person who wanted to replace the Bill of Rights with a New Bill of Rights – Cradle to Grave benefits from the government (turning the idea of a “right” from a LIMITATION on government power, to an EXCUSE FOR government power – inverting America), and who wanted with his “National Recovery Administration” (the Blue Eagle thugs) to control EVERY ASPECT OF THE ECONOMY (taking Fascist Italy as a role model) is considered a “liberal” indeed a “great liberal”.

    And that is taught in almost every school and university in the world – statism is liberalism, slavery is freedom, black is white, and water is dry. Not just with Franklin Roosevelt – but with everything.

    There is your answer as to why liberty (Classical Liberalism) is losing J.P.

  • pete

    Redistribution will increase sharply as advances in automation put middle class people out of jobs and we can no longer maintain the fictions that unemployed and poor people are feckless, work shy or both, and that hard work and a good education leads to a good job with a living wage.

  • Paul Marks

    However…..

    The laws of human action, of economics and society (sociology as that word was used in the time of Herbert Spencer) CAN NOT BE REPEALED.

    Not even the international “liberal” elite can repeal the laws of human action – which are a priori.

    So the plans of the international “liberal” elite will, eventually, fail. They will not create a wonderful new society from the ashes of the old society – the old society of private associations (such as churches and traditional families). They will just create ashes.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    @Pete Redistribution will increase sharply as advances in automation put middle class people out of jobs and we can no longer maintain the fictions that unemployed and poor people are feckless, work shy or both, and that hard work and a good education leads to a good job with a living wage.

    I see you buy into idea that tech makes humans obsolete, requiring things such as Universal Basic Income (a world of trustafarians looked after by HAL). That argument is highly debatable.

    You claim that the notion of people being out of work because they are lazy, etc, is a fiction. No, it is more the case that given the incentives now in place, and things such as minimum wage laws, tax rates, requirements that lots of even basic jobs require academic tickets, etc, etc, that a lot of work that people could do is not viable for them, so it makes more sense to be unemployed, bouncing from one “training” programme to another. Or not entering the workforce until the mid-20s, etc.

  • Paul Marks

    The comment of “pete” proves my point.

    He (assuming “pete” is a man) lives in a world where taxes are vast – and most of the money goes on “redistribution” (benefits and “public services” – only a tiny fraction of Western government spending goes on the military), what is his response to the crushing and TOTALLY UNSUSTAINABLE level of government spending?

    “Redistribution will increase sharply” – his response to the government spending that is economically unsustainable and which is destroying society itself (by, over decades, undermining voluntary association – even the family) is to demand MORE government spending. With justification blather about “automation” and “living wage”.

    So the response to an unsustainable and incredibly damaging level of “redistribution” is to demand “sharply” MORE of it.

    Thus the future wasteland of ashes and dried blood is assured. Unless, somehow, such people as “pete” can be defeated. And please remember such people as “pete” are NOT monsters from Hell – they are the products of the education system (which conditions them with collectivist principles), they are the result of this “good education”.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Here is another article contesting the claim that robots are going to create some dystopia only fixable if the State gives us all oodles of pocket money, a position in which we all attain a sort of coddled deferred adolescence out of Huxley.

    As an aside and further response to pete, I should point out that in evil neo-liberal countries such as the UK, unemployment is low. (Of course, there is also the issue of the labour force participation rate, which is affected by a host of factors.)

  • Paul Marks

    Ordinary people tend to move in the right way – there is no flood of people from Texas going to Big Government California, rather the reverse. Just as people do not rend to flock to Big Government States such as New York, New Jersey and Illinois. But that does not mean that people know WHY the failure they are fleeing from occurred.

    Famously people who moved to New Hampshire from Big Government States near by carried the cause of the failure with them (in the ideas in their heads) – and they were soon supporting a high Property Tax in New Hampshire (with all the terrible harm that has caused) – to “finance good education” of course. There was the start of a similar thing last year in South Dakota – with an increase in the Sales Tax to pay the government teachers more, because (horror of horrors!) some leftist teachers were, allegedly, leaving the State and there might be a shortage of teachers to try and teach the children to vote Democrat – why a Republican State Legislature and a Republican Governor should want the children to be brainwashed into voting Democrat is hard to understand, till one grasps that “Education Is A Good Thing” (T.M.) and neither the Republican Governor or the Republican State Legislature actually asked themselves “what are the children actually being taught?”

    In the case of the State of Colorado it was a formal Project – the “Colorado Project”. The left (who control just about everything) noticed that people were fleeing to Colorado from as far away as statist California – and so decided that Colorado should be made more like California, and changed the politics of Colorado.

    They formally set out what they (the left) were going to do to Colorado – they wrote this out as a formal Project, and then they did it. One can not accuse them of a “conspiracy” because a conspiracy implies some hole-in-the-wall secrecy – and this was quite open.

    Why did it work? It worked because no one seriously tried to DEFEAT it.

    “Practical” people tend to try and “work with” everyone, assuming that everyone “means well”. or “we can get along”.

    One can not “work with” (“live and let live”) the sort of people who wrote, and carried out, the Colorado Project – one might as well try and “coexist” with “pete” – it can not be done.

    You defeat such people or you are defeated by them – there is no “work with”, or “live and let live”, there is no “coexistence”.

    They understand that, they understand that very well. It is time we understand that.

  • Redistribution will increase sharply as advances in automation put middle class people out of jobs (pete, January 24, 2019 at 11:37 am)

    Automation has been putting middle-class people out of work since scribes smashed up printing presses in the 1400s, but without destroying or weakening the middle class. Quite separately, the middle class has been destroyed (or at least, much weakened, to the grave danger of its host society) in several places on several historical occasions, the later Roman Empire being a classic (please excuse pun 🙂 ) example. As in the later Roman Empire, and in California today, its cause is political power, not mere economics. The middle class are an obstacle to power projects. As C.S.Lewis has his devil say, “If ever there were a bunch of tall stalks that needed cutting down, it is them.” So they tend to find themselves in the firing line.

    (My quote above is from memory of that line in the essay ‘Screwtape proposes a toast’, and I know – as C.S..Lewis did – that it should be ‘it is they’ but I think he has Screwtape commit the solecism, whether because the devil is the father of bad grammar as well as all other evils or because his readers would find the right form affected. 🙂 Or I may well be misremembering the exact phrasing.)

  • David Roberts

    For those here who despair remember:

    Adam Smith’s “ there is a lot of ruin in a country”,
    Julian Simon’s “there is no end to human ingenuity”
    and now the Jordan Peterson phenomenon.

    Second attempt at this comment, first one disappeared.

  • Mr Ed

    I don’t read Pete’s comment as a demand, but a prediction of the direction of the political winds. The middle classes need jobs, and are more likely to have the ‘skills’ or ‘attributes’ for jobs in the State-funded or mandated apparatus. It is a simple fact that the Guardian readers of this world who are not independently wealthy need jobs, and are unlikely to have the skills of the traditional entrepreneur, although they may be the sort to fill actually useful jobs in medicine, accountancy and even the useful law.

    I recall encountering an obviously bright graduate in his mid-20s working in a bakery in a prosperous English resort town for over a year on most likely £7.50 or so an hour, and thinking that if he does not get a start on a career, he will begin to slide into the life chances of the ‘working class’, with only his accent as a keepsake, barring any inheritance, most likely a share in the sale proceeds of the parental home, at some point in his 60s. Not a pleasant thought, clearly working was better than not, but if he didn’t get out or find his own way to make good money, he had few prospects. Multiply that possibility a few million times and you might see how Pete’s comment arises, I specualte.

  • One can not accuse them of a “conspiracy” because a conspiracy implies some hole-in-the-wall secrecy – and this was quite open. (Paul Marks, January 24, 2019 at 12:13 pm)

    Three remarks (two of them slightly contradictory).

    1) I know not the ‘Colorado Project’ (all a very quick websearch found was some ‘legalise pot’ people – or that’s how they presented themselves).

    It’s been suggested that, just as many a refugee fleeing across a border brings their problem culture with them, so Californians who fled to Colorado brought their Californian politics with them, and consequently – again like many a refugee – began turning Colorado into a place from which they will one day have to flee again. (Noting my ignorance) I wonder if ‘The Project’ was as much parasitic on this as the main cause.

    (Instapundit has repeatedly urged Texans to prepare and give to newcomers from California a ‘welcome wagon’ leaflet pointing out that they either leave their politics behind or else will one day have to move on from California-in-Texas for the same reasons they left California.)

    2) Hannah Arendt describes totalitarian parties as conspiracies in broad daylight, groups that ape all the methods of conspiracy without having a secret. I doubt ‘The Project’ was more open than ‘Mein Kampf’, or Bolshevik assurances that “Truth is what serves the interests of the party”, etc.

    3) If such a project was so open as not to use the classic lefty entryist technique of deploying people whose affiliation was (at first) not acknowledged (so candidates not in the group could be quietly bad-mouthed by seemingly independent voices, while candidates who were in the group could be similarly praised), then that would be surprisingly restrained of them.

    My thoughts, for what little they are worth on this subject of which I am ignorant.

  • CaptDMO

    “At some point, Ms O-C is going to over-reach, and make an ass of herself,…”
    Um, THAT ship sailed on the tide of folks that voted for her because young, cute, female.

  • Surellin

    And Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is supposed to have minored in economics at university. How?

  • I’d like for pete to be wrong.

    Unfortunately, government intervention in the economy is more than just wealth redistribution; it’s also regulations prohibiting people from working without credentials, favored cronies getting better contracts & deals, and many things that require cutting-edge knowledge of financial regulations to simply envision.

    An ideal free market would have several ways for people to improve their prospects whether or not more jobs were being automated. A market tightened by cronies and credentialists usually requires eliminating the currently-ruling politicians who empower the cronies and credentialists.

    Once you’ve gotten voters to look at politics as a way to improve their prospects, what incentive do they have to stop at “eliminating politicians who pay their friends at your expense” without moving on to “empowering politicians who pay you at others’ expense”? Especially since they probably feel they’re owed restitution from the current batch of cronies. Plus, there’s a very good chance that some third party will swoop in and empower politicians who pay them; as long as politicians are enriching their cronies, it may as well be you, amirite?

    Obviously, most of the politicians who promise they will redistribute wealth to their constituents fail to deliver, whether or not they’re conscious of the fact that all they’ll do is prop up a few powerful people. However, if you’re a voter who has to choose between “Somebody ascendant who promises they’ll take money from rich people and give it to you” and “Somebody who talks a lot about freedom but keeps their cronies in charge”, well, might as well take a gamble on the “new” guy, no matter how old their ideas might actually be.

  • morsjon

    The fight of today appears to be between localism/traditionalism and internationalism/cultural marxism. Redistributionist policies may be followed under either model.

    Unfortunately it seems like internationalism is attracting all the wrong people – remoaners and the international socialists of the Economist magazine among them. No doubt many of these will some day soon call themselves libertarians. Indeed, Reason magazine increasingly reads like it was written by Democrats with a grasp of market economics.

    In this fight I think I must prefer localism. Whilst I would have preferred the slogan of ‘taking away control’ to ‘take back control’, control at a local level is better than at a bigger level. At the local level at least decisions are more likely to reflect our values, and, if local enough, I may be known by my name rather than an id number. By contrast an Empire will do the little necessary things badly (or not at all) and the bad things bigly.

  • James

    “she just assumes that their wealth was gained wrongly” – only those we in the UK would term the middle and upper middle classes, I’m sure she has no intention of going after the hedge funders who fund her and helped elevate her to power.

  • You have to have a path for young people. The trouble with explaining freedom, is you are kind of promoting anything, not something. Anything and nothing seem awfully similar to folks who don’t know any better. So, folks show up and talk about redistribution- and that seems to make sense to the young, because they are young and don’t have anything.

    The conversation doesn’t really work. We didn’t get on the internet and start converting people- we got on and found people who kind of sort of thought like us. And with billions on this globe, we are not enough.

    Most need to see a path forward. Not necessarily the best way forward, but some way forward. Otherwise redistribution will seem like a way forward. The pretense that it’s not stealing is actually optional. They might even know it’s stealing and not care.

  • David Roberts councils us not to despair, above, including with Adam Smith’s:

    Be assured young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.

    Yes, but everything has limits and significance. In Smith’s day (1723-1790) UK government expenditure ran at at around 12% of GDP. Since 1950, the UK figure has been more like 38% of GDP. While it’s only approximate, I think we risk being ruined several times faster (or for wasting several times less a proportion of the economy) than was the risk for Adam Smith and Sir John Sinclair.

    Best regards

  • ragingnick

    exactly so morsjon,though in truth I think that the real fight has been between globalism and nationalism/patriotism for a long time.
    The traditional dichotomies of left/right, neoliberal/socialist are often a red herring. I think people see more clearly today that ‘big business’ or international finance and Marxism are not antagonists but more often on the same side: they share the goal of destroying the nation state and national identity, of replacing religion with secularist materialism and of promoting cultural marxism and degeneracy in order to destroy the moral foundations of western civilization.

    for proof that cultural marxism and international finance are linked one only needs to look at the culture, and the advertisments and films produced and disseminated by multinationals, at the ugly and degenerate contemporary ‘art’ sold for millions, at the architecture that surrounds us which eschews any beauty or sense of cultural identity in favour of a bland, ugly and souless ‘international style’.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Redistribution will increase sharply as advances in automation put middle class people out of jobs and we can no longer maintain the fictions that unemployed and poor people are feckless, work shy or both, and that hard work and a good education leads to a good job with a living wage.”

    Automation generally results in unskilled jobs being automated and disappearing, skilled jobs being automated and becoming unskilled, and impossible jobs being made possible to the skilled with the aid of automation.

    But people only look at what’s going to happen to the job they’ve got now, not what new job they could have in the future. So they’re always going to see automation as a problem in need of a political solution.

  • neal

    Poor people replaced by tractors. Smart ones by subroutines at C.
    They do not stink on ice or haunt.
    Yet.

  • Mr Ed

    At some point, Ms O-C is going to over-reach, and make an ass of herself,

    Hasn’t Diane Abbott over-reached many times? Yet she is still the Shadow Home Secretary, and could yet take the actual post. Her party got over 12,000,000 votes at the last GE.

    What would it take for Ms O-C to be discredited?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed — When you find out, please, please let us know.

    .

    Yes, Paul, the refugees from Taxachusetts took their rotten politics & policies with them, and there they are. Meanwhile the libertarians of the Free State Project were moving up north so they wouldn’t be plagued by these infestations.

    Goodbye Free State. Any fool, even I, coulda pointed out that their project wouldn’t work unless they stayed around the area of the influx to keep the state relatively free.

    (Meanwhile, the Free Staters got some pushback from the native New Hampshirites, who saw them as dangerous entryists. Not without some reason, say I.)

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    All of this was predicted years ago, in the book “Future Shock”. The author foresaw the need for continuous re-education, as technical advances made lots of technologies redundant. (And who hasn’t worried about buying a new computer one week, only to find it’s been made obsolete the next?) Maybe a solution will be to become specialists in a niche- light bulbs have been around for over a hundred years, but we still have candles. We have computers connected to printers- and white-out is still on the shelves.

  • bobby b

    “The problem, as I keep noting, is the zero-sum mentality. For such an approach, creating wealth is incomprehensible, and that therefore having much wealth must be evil.”

    What I think people misunderstand about the left’s focus on wealth disparity is that it has nothing to do with need or want or wealth or poverty.

    The “rising tide lifts all boats” explanation sways them not at all, because it fails to address what actually motivates them in this discussion.

    It’s the fact of disparity existing at all that maddens them. It’s the idea that, no matter that even those at the bottom of wealth rankings have sufficient food and clothing and entertainment – bread and circuses, as it were – to have good lives, there are people who have more.

    It truly does devolve to Ms. Thatcher’s pronouncement in the House of Commons back in 1990:

    “What the honorable member is saying is that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich . . . So long as the gap is smaller, they would rather have the poor poorer. You do not create wealth and opportunity that way. You do not create a property-owning democracy that way.”

    She called it out exactly. It matters not that every “poor” person is fed and clothed and sheltered and given the tools with which to make life better. It’s the bare existence of a disparity, and a possible ranking by wealth, that is unjust to them.

    You cannot address that concern by making life better for everyone. The only way to address it is to “equalize” all outcomes. Thus, we get the left’s “let’s band together all of us and get our clubs and go and take for ourselves what we want.”

    It might carry the day in the short run, but it cannot be sustained in the long run, which is why every attempt to institute it eventually fails, in an ugly way. Stating that classical liberalism has lost is too pessimistic. We’re just in the stage of the unending cycle where it isn’t popular enough to save society by itself. Society has to have the opportunity to remind itself that envy ought not control.

  • Itellyounothing

    Politicians can’t be trusted and their failings have been on display to all with eyes.

    The public should be open to ideas to deal with that.

    Chartists got almost everything they wanted in the end.

    If £350 million a week for the NHS won the Independence question what could a similar notion do for a Britain?

    Spend your money on your kids, not politics…..

  • QET

    Regarding New Hampshire and Massachusetts: you will note that while the invasion of the former by the latter’s progressives has managed to turn NH’s entire Congressional delegation Blue, as well as the State’s own House and Senate (making it just like Massachusetts, which also has a “Republican” governor although NH’s Sununu is probably a real Republican given his lineage), yet these progressives still have not voted themselves a State wage income tax, and last year the NH legislature was considering repealing the long-standing NH tax on interest and dividend income. Like all progressives, NH’s and MA’s send Democrats to Washington to increase taxes only on other people; they instruct their own local Democrats to consider no such thing.

    MA does have a State income tax on both earned and unearned income, but the former has been reduced every year for the last number of years. The amount of wealth concentrated in the Greater Boston area is immense and getting immenser. I moved to MA in 1981 and the effects of the policies that gave it the nickname Julie near Chicago mentions were everywhere visible; the place was a dump.

    MA has been under the unshakable control of the Democrats forever. If ever there were a place where all progressive policy desires could be implemented, it would be here. Yet the Democrats here learned long ago to govern like Republicans when it comes to economic matters. That kind of governance has resulted in an amazing prosperity for the State (during the recession following 2007, the number of people who moved to the Greater Boston area, whose economy was still strong, was quite large).

    The inequality index in MA is very high, yet so far from taking progressive-approved action, the Democrats controlling MA generally seek to lower taxes. Some years ago when I wrote my Democratic State rep to complain about some sales tax increase proposal, he replied by advising me that he himself (a Democrat!) had personally sponsored legislation that reduced the taxes on corporations here by more than $200MM.

    In lieu of raising state-level taxes to fund progressive redistribution schemes, which they could easily do, our progressives here raise property taxes at the local level, by a great deal. Progressives will tax themselves silly when the money stays in their towns, but given the ability to raise taxes at the state level to fund progressive redistribution, both in NH and MA they refuse to do so, as they understand what consequences will follow. Like some here have observed, they understand full well that wealth–their wealth–is created, and they have no more desire to see it expropriated and handed to someone else than the most ardent Republican. So instead they content themselves with hollow rhetoric about inequality, and spend their political energies on progressive social causes like transgender bathrooms and personal pronouns.

    None of this means for certain that AOC’s Green New Deal nonsense has no chance at passage, but I think the odds are very low, as with Elizabeth Warren’s proposal for a new “wealth tax.” The Democratic party donors are the super-rich, and they want to stay that way while banning their enemies from Twitter and hating on Catholic high-schoolers.

  • Julie near Chicago

    QET,

    “…[T]hey want to stay that way while banning their enemies from Twitter and hating on Catholic high-schoolers.”

    Priorities are important. :>)

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Let’s be blunt: classical liberalism is losing

    Let’s be blunt: classical liberalism has already lost.

    FTFY

  • Shlomo Maistre

    What’s more likely in the USA:
    1. Within the next 50 years the tax rates in America fall to the level King George levied on the American colonists
    2. Within the next 50 years a universal basic income and Green New Deal and wealth tax are passed and implemented (say like Elizabeth Warren’s proposal which is a 2% blanket tax on all wealth held by American citizens in excess of $50 million anywhere on earth)

    Hmmm….

    You think you are losing now. just wait another 50 years. The current USA will look like a classical liberal paradise in 50 years. Enjoy democracy !!

  • bobby b:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for that January 25, 2019 at 5:44 am contribution. I’ve been trying to puzzle through the envy nexus and you’ve done it for me.

  • doug g

    is it any wonder why people are drifting towards socialism? our self styled masters in the political and economic spheres have decided that we are a wholly replaceable people. flooding western labor markets with cheap foreign labor has flattened real wages for decades. the younger generations are the first to do worse than their parents. why wouldn’t they flock to an ideology that sounds nice so long as you don’t think to deeply about it? not only that, but the very people being imported en masse into western nations come from places where rule of law and free market ideals are unpopular. you’re not going to unlock the inner Mises-ian in every Somali that you import by virtue of placing them in Oslo or Minnesota. Put them in a situation where they can live off their host populations and they have even less incentive to support free markets. I still consider myself libertarian in nature but libertarian leaning people seem have an avoidance of even trying to understand what makes a nation.

  • Our self styled masters in the political and economic spheres have decided that we are a wholly replaceable people. Flooding western labor markets with cheap foreign labor has flattened real wages for decades. the younger generations are the first to do worse than their parents. Why wouldn’t they flock to an ideology that sounds nice so long as you don’t think to deeply about it? (doug g, January 29, 2019 at 7:01 pm)

    Doug, these youngsters would have to think very undeeply indeed not to notice that the people selling socialism are the most aggressive supporters of flooding western labor markets with cheap foreign labor and flooding western elections with cheap foreign voters. A blatant element of calling yourself a socialist is the free “We’re more anti-racist than anyone else” card you get with it, and ‘no borders’ is a loud part of that today. So, while the “doing worse than their parents” bit is relevant, I don’t think your analysis is right as phrased.

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