Monthly Archives: January 2015

Do you even know what you’re saying?

Socialism, and her inevitable offspring Communism, are gaining popularity once again.  Visions of Che Guevara swell in the hearts and on the T-shirts of the ‘working class’.  Students flock to the local Leftist “Equality” rallies, iPhones and Starbucks Gluten-Free-Mocha-Frappa-Caramelitos in hand.  Disgruntled workers, not feeling the love, covet their CEO’s bonus payout last year without the slightest clue of what it takes to run a company that may employ tens of thousands of workers.

And why not?  On the surface, there’s some appeal to the idea of Socialism.  Why wouldn’t we want everyone to have guaranteed food, shelter, education, medicine, clean air, pothole-free roads, high paying jobs, time and money for vacations on the beach, USDA Prime filet mignon for dinner every night, or blazing fast wifi?  Unless you’re a real sociopath, no one wants to actively prevent someone from having these things.

The problem is that in reality, everyone can’t simply have all of these things just because we want it to be so.  As I’ve written previously, the fundamental truth of economics comes down to 2 basic, opposing forces – the insatiability of our appetites vs. the scarcity of available resources.  You cannot completely satisfy even a personal insatiability because of the scarcity of resources, much less the desires on a national or global scale.

Don’t misunderstand.  That’s not to say individuals cannot find contentment in their situation.  We may resolve to be content with what we have.  But tomorrow, we will be hungry again.  We will need shelter again.  We will want electricity and heat and water again.  That’s what it means to have an insatiable Demand over time.

Despite these fundamental truths, modern Socialists want you to believe that it IS possible for a central planner to gather up all of the resources and equitably parse them out to the masses.  They also want you to believe that in this fairy tale, individuals will choose to work, not for selfish gain, but for the good of humanity.

Can a central planner actually accomplish this better than the free market?

This clip from Milton Friedman explains why no one can even build a pencil on their own.

What is Socialism?  How do they propose to distribute all these goods and services for everyone to enjoy?

Here’s a quote from MarxMail.org —

Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before.

There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are.

Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies.

More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism.

So first off, Socialists want you to have MORE private property by taking away your second kind of Private Property.

wait-what-meme

But let’s take a closer look at this nonsensical banality.  You have the right to your property for use and enjoyment, just not the things that will produce more property for use and enjoyment.

How many of you have 2 separate bank accounts – one for your use and enjoyment (say a checking account) and another for producing more money (say an IRA or Savings account)?  Well, that second account would become property of the Socialist State.

For those of you that are business owners or employers, how many of you sacrifice some of your “use and enjoyment” private property to invest in your business or to create jobs for employees?  Well, you might want to reconsider because the Socialist State would immediately seize your tools of exploitation and oppression.

So what’ you say?  As long as there’s equality and people’s lives improve, isn’t that good?

Let’s imagine if we measured the Total Global Production of Goods today, and declare it be equal to 100 units of measurement (let’s call them widgets).  So as of Jan 24, 2015, there are 100 widgets in the world today.  Socialist believe that if the global population equaled 100 people, well then each person would get, on average, 1 widget to consume.  (True Socialists differ from hard-lined Communists in that they won’t distribute the stolen goods equally per person, but that’s another topic).

So what happens when 100 widgets are consumed?  Will they all be replenished and can we continue to perpetuate this rate of consumption once we take away Private Property (Capitalism and Self-Interest)?  Will consumption remain constant or might it grow?

Ask yourself – what if you could continue to consume what you do today (or even consume MORE than what you do today) without increasing your workload?  What if not a single hour of additional labor would net you any additional benefit in compensation?  You get paid regardless of if you work 8 hours a day or 4.  Would you work as hard as you do?  Would anyone?

I don’t know if you’ve recently been to the United States Post Office.  Take a look at the floors, the walls, the supplies stations.  Even the self-service kiosks.  Unlike privately-owned businesses that are meticulously maintained in order to keep customers satisfied, most of the time the USPO is filthy, out of supplies, understaffed and totally run by clock watchers.  Try walking into the Post Office with a stack of packages at 5:01 pm when the place closes at 5:00.

So now think about the 100 widgets being consumed.  Is there any likelihood those consumed widgets would be replaced or even grow past the current level when you take away the incentives to work harder and longer?

Of course not.  In fact, very quickly, the Socialist State has to scale back their promises of free goods and services, institute rationing and price fixing, and nationalize mandatory labor (e.g. slavery) in order to keep the State alive.  Forget about iPhones and free wifi or healthcare and education.  Now, you can’t even manage to keep everyone fed.

When this happens, you have gone from the Socialist’s Pipe Dream to the hard reality of a Communist State.

So what’s so bad about the Communist State?

Plenty.

Now, any lingering seed of individualism or free thinking is met with severe hostility, violence, persecution, torture, starvation, and death.  This account of the horrific genocide perpetrated by Mao Tse Tung on his own people should be a sobering wakeup call for those who live on some Fantasy Island thinking that we can just take everyone’s property for the good of the people, yet production will be able to keep up with the increased demand.

alewitz2

(okay, I added a bit of truth to this Socialist propaganda.)

Even more disturbing to me are the attempts by Socialist fan boys to re-write or ignore history.  Like Mao, the history of Stalin, Russia and the Soviet Union is written in the blood of millions of people, murdered and tortured by their own leaders.  This film of the Soviet Story is disturbing but must be shared.  If you watch to the end, what’s particularly alarming are the current trends in Russia under Putin to go back to the days of Stalin and ethnic cleansing.

You can also go here to see the film with full English subtitles.

Now I know there are still some naïve daydreamers out there, sitting in your dorm rooms, looking up at your Bob Marley posters, sipping your dandelion tea and thinking “we would never resort to killing and violence and torture in order to achieve equality.  We just want to stand up for the 99%.”

So to you, let me ask you this:  If I choose to ignore your demands on my Private Property, if I refuse to fund your regime with my taxes, if I protest anything that has to do with “contributing My Fair Share”, if I stand defiantly at the doors of my business and do not allow you to come in and take what I’ve created or earned – WHAT IS YOUR NEXT COURSE OF ACTION?

Will you leave me alone?

Will you go pick on someone else instead?

Will your master plan survive with the existence of Choice?

Thoughts on Marriage

I know many of my readers have been married much longer than I have, so I feel a little silly giving any advice to you. Of course, Marriage isn’t necessarily just about longevity as it is about depth. Feel free to correct me, young and old alike, where I need to be set straight.

My wife and I celebrated 16 years of marriage in the Fall. We got married, by today’s standards, at a fairly young age right out of college, though I would argue couples should get married even earlier (another topic for another day). It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. There have been countless times we’ve hurt each other, said things we’ve regretted, acted selfishly or tested the limits of our patience. There have even been times family and friends have encouraged one of us to consider throwing in the towel.

If you knew us while we were dating, many of our friends would have said we made the most unlikely couple. You couldn’t pick two people that were more polar opposites. Even in college, my wife was sophisticated, cultured, and refined. She appreciated things like art, fine dining, history, and literature. She loved entertaining and showing hospitality. Friends would gather in her apartment for coffee breaks and delicious treats at all hours of the night.

I, on the other hand, was rough around the edges to say the least. I hated school. I loved to party and eat fast food. I had a lot of anger and resentment in my heart toward the world, demons I still wrestle with today. I got through high school thanks to Cliff Notes and always taking the path of least resistance. I love Rock and Roll, especially music from the 70’s and 80’s. My wife couldn’t name the 4 Beatles before we got married.

But God put Jenny in my life for reasons I’ll never completely fathom. A former co-worked once told me “you know, you should never play the lottery. You’ve already hit the jackpot once. You’re never going to get a second.”

Amen.

I believe Marriage is an institution that was ordained by God. Now before my non-Christian readers get all twisted, let me explain. I DON’T believe God has given authority to the STATE to decide who should be allowed to marry. I’ve written numerous times that the State should get out of the business of sanctioning marriage altogether. For that matter, I also don’t believe anyone should get in the way of 2 people wanting to make the commitment of marriage to each other. That’s between them and God.

So what is it that has made our marriage survive (and even thrive) all these years?

The thing is, I didn’t marry my wife because of her looks, although she is very beautiful. But as my grandmother always said, beauty is fading. Eventually, we all turn out to look like dried up grapes.

I didn’t marry my wife because she had money. We both started out broke.

I didn’t marry my wife because she promised me a lot of children. Readers will know that when we first got married, she didn’t want to have any at all.

I didn’t even marry my wife because she was already an unbelievable cook, though I won’t lie, it’s SUCH a nice perk. I haven’t had Taco Bell in years and I used to live on the stuff.

When we were dating and talking about marriage, the one thing we knew was that our priority, our PURPOSE in life, was to love and obey the Lord. As long as we were willing to obey Christ no matter where He would take us, we knew that everything else would follow.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13.

The only other thing we knew was that Marriage meant forsaking all other people and things. My job as a husband is to put my wife second only to Christ. That includes giving my wife preference over my career, my finances, my health, my hobbies, my friendships, my casual acquaintances, and even my children. Now, this doesn’t mean I can’t have hobbies or friends or a career. It simply means that they have to be secondary or tertiary considerations after Christ and my wife’s wellbeing.

This is something, by no means, I’ve mastered. I still fall short and have to be reminded when I neglect my duty to my wife. And when I do, I’ve repented countless times and asked her to forgive me. My wife is gracious and quick to forgive.

We have been told by friends that we are a fun couple. Fun, as in, we seem to have a good time together. We enjoy each other’s company. We make each other laugh. We genuinely embody 2 individuals that have become one flesh.

But we are still distinct. We have different interests and tastes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard young couples break up because they have different interests and I think “if I had to like everything Jenny enjoyed and vice versa, we’d be doomed to boredom“. Now there are some things we enjoy doing together. But we certainly don’t have everything in common.

The core of our Marriage, our dedication to following Christ and putting each other first, will always remain the secret to our success. If you can get that part down, the rest will fall in line.

A word on intimacy. Next to finances, this is an area that leads more married couples to divorce than any other. Scripture instructs us that we should never withhold physical intimacy from each other (1 Corinthians 7:1-5) for so many reasons, not the least of which is to quench the temptation to look elsewhere. I’ll just say that this is such an important part of married life for both men and women. I can’t speak from any empirical evidence, but I get the feeling that married couples are not sharing enough intimacy with their spouses.

Talk to your spouse. Let her know your needs and desires. If you can’t talk to her about it, then who can you talk to and what does that say? If you are too tired or too busy, then you are not forsaking all others for your spouse’s needs. Make the time. Turn off the TV or the computer earlier. Put the kids to bed earlier or get a sitter. Do whatever you need to do. But do not sacrifice this critical part of your marriage.

Without Freedom of Speech, We Are All Slaves to the Mob

Did you ever completely lose your train of thought because something much bigger or terrifying came along and overshadowed your first thought?

I was actually thinking of writing about Freedom of Speech toward the end of the year when today, the horrible news broke out that 12 journalists and policemen were shot and killed by Islamic fascist terrorists in Paris over satirical cartoons of their prophet Muhammad. My heart and prayers go out to the victims and their families.  I would hope peaceful Muslims around the world would do the same.

I completely reject censorship of any kind. To me, any individual or a group of people trying to silence your voice through the threat of violence is reprehensible. That means taking the good with the bad. Even the most offensive hate speech, slander or liable, racist rants or ‘artwork’, sexist banter, or anti-religious propaganda has to be allowed expression in order to remain a Free Society. (As always, the limits of expression have to be where physical harm is involved. Violating the Non-Aggression Principle is not a moral excuse in the name of Free Speech.)

What this does NOT mean is that I have to pay you any mind or provide a venue for you to express your thoughts. In other words, Free Speech is your Negative Right and does not create Positive Rights on me to listen. Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean the taxpayers have to allow porn on their library computers. It doesn’t mean teachers in public schools have to teach every single religion or theory of how the universe began. Freedom of Speech doesn’t mean I have to allow you to march your parades thorough my place of business. It doesn’t mean I have to put up with your plans to stage a “Black Lives Matter” protest during the SuperBowl.

Our Negative Rights to Freedom of Speech simply mean that any attempt to silence our voices or opinions is immoral. But do it on your own dime.

For more information on Rights, read my previous post on Positive vs. Negative Rights.