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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review; 'The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism', Kevin Williamson

And the evisceration of the Swedish model.

by StFerdIII

Williamson is a writer for the National Review Online. As such he is not inclined to view O-Messiah worship, the socialization of US Healthcare [and the little which remains which is 'market' oriented]; Globlaoney Warming state initiated corruption, subsidies and transfers, centralized planning, Cuba, German National Socialsm [called Fascism]; or Russian National Socialism [called Communism]; with much enthusiasm. I would guess he does not even watch Oprah. It is nice to know that such individuals still exist and still publish. In PIGS, Williamson plainly and rather elegantly destroys Socialism as a political and economic cult; and as an immoral construct of state or cult power. Thus the reality which is clear to anyone who has studied Socialism where we see that Hitler, who was a confirmed Marxist and whose National Socialism was the logical outcome of Socialist thought, was the standard bearer of what Mussolini, Stalin, Chavez, Castro, Pol Pot, the Chinese Communist Party, Mugabe, Amin, Hamas, Hizbollah, Iranian Islam and the central planners in socialized healthcare, daycare, education, welfare, housing and sundry other programs have all desired, namely; managing all aspects of existence to 'THE PLAN'. The plan is the key to Socialism.

In PIGS Williamson focuses on 'THE PLAN' to use his capital letters, as the one pithy description of what is Socialism.

...socialism is not principally about redistributing wealth or income from the rich to the poor. Socialism is about politicians planning the economy. Politicization of the economy, not redistribution, is the hallmark of socialism.”

Williamson is right. Marxian theory held that economics trumped politics. Like all tenets of Marxist irrationality, this is the opposite of the truth. Politics trumps economics – easily and always. Thus in the 80s and 90s we heard the screams and yelps of Marxists and Socialists against Globalization – a process they neither understand, nor can properly analyze. Globlalization was supposed to erase the nation state, crush welfare systems, obliterate the poor, and lead to various 'races to the bottom.' The opposite has happened. Government ownership is everywhere on the rise, program spending has blossomed and the nanny-state is all powerful. So much for Marxian forecasting. As a percentage of capital and total trade we have weak and very tepid Globalization which is much distorted and managed by governments of course. But even this febrile set of processes has lifted about 600 million humans out of poverty in Asia and improved and rebalanced the world economy. Consumer prices and inflation in the West have been held down, thanks to trade, meaning that our net incomes have actually risen. The benefits of trade are everywhere to be seen. If people desire more jobs, local manufacturing and an improved economy they must look to reduce their own domestically created Socialism replete with taxes, regulations, bankrupted governments, pensions, and huge apparati of command and control.

This sentiment – that we are Socialists – is the core of Williamson's book. I have long argued that the USA for instance is a Socialist state. There is little of a free market left anywhere in the USA. There hasn't been much of one since Coolidge [1928]. Williamson would agree with that I imagine:

Further the social spending usually is calculated as a percentage of GDP, but the GDP of the United States is far larger than that of the Scandinavian socialist countries. Accounting for differences in GDP, the tax system, and the tax treatment of welfare benefits, the United States actually ranks right in the middle of the European socialist utopias when it comes to welfare spending, at a far lower rate of taxation, with a much more robust and dynamic economy.”

American Socialism is properly called Statism. As Williamson rightly observes Socialisms [and its progeny Fascism] will always mutate according to national culture and circumstances. Thus the Juche philosophy of North Korean Communism, will differ in national objectives and nationalized socialism, from that of Hitler, Lenin or the central planning at US school boards. But make no mistake the Statist predilection of US Socialism is vibrant, growing and a menace to the world's political-economy.

Williamson goes through a long list of US programs which are socialized: healthcare [not including O-Messiah care]; energy, transportation and highways, schools, agriculture, and food. His discussion on all of the topics are illuminating. He could have added a discourse on Wall Street, Telecoms, Lumber and Fisheries. One reason why US politicians of both parties are interested in pursuing GloblaoneyWarming fantasies is of course to distort trade to the favor of the US and engage in protectionism. These hard-headed Bismarckian policies of real-politick never seem to impose themselves on the Greenist true-believers. Witness the disaster of US public education as but one example Williamson gives:

The spending on US education, Hanushek and Jorgensen find, has been driven by three factors; educators' salaries, reductions in classroom size, and spending on non-instructional expenses.”

The US to quote Williamson has a Prussian-styled 19th century school system. Indeed it does. Central planning which includes no competition, no price points, no vouchers, no accountability, massive overheads, huge pensions and benefits and no pay for performance. This is Socialism. And it always fails. The Americans rank near the bottom in any comparative study of student skills and knowledge between the richer nations.

One aspect of the book that is truly enjoyable is the evisceration of Sweden. This Socialist-Communist state is a laughingstock in my view. In the 1960s the still free Swedish political economy had a per-capita GDP higher than that of the USA and Canada. Market forces allowed Swedes to be employed in dynamic firms, with good incomes, and to provide a basic welfare state, which is nothing less than coerced charity of course, to lower income Swedes. But this proper balance was eradicated during the 1970s. Now more than 60% of the Swedish economy is directly controlled by government. Taxes as a percentage of GDP have never been below 50% in the past 25 years.

A big part of the reason for that is high levels of taxation; whereas the Sweden of 1960 was taxed at levels approximately equal to those of the United States today, the country's tax rate is more than 52 percent of GDP – half of all economic output is seized by the state.”

Keep in mind that US governments take 44% now of all US economic output.

It is clear that for 30 years, the Swedes have crushed themselves under the black boot of Socialist irrationality. The results are hardly compelling. Sweden is a poster boy alright – for the demerits and immorality of Socialism. Williamson quotes the famous Swede economist Norberg on one derivative from this central planning Communism:

Unemployment problems in turn result in de facto segregation...the labor market is more segregated than in America, Britain, Germany....[leading to] much higher crime rates and inferior school results....”

Thus Socialism, which purports to aid the poor, actually in most cases does the opposite. It hurts those who would benefit most from a free market in jobs, prices, and program choice. Low income Swedes and especially immigrants, now find themselves in physical and existential ghettoes. Most of the 'at risk' immigrants are of course Muslim. Sweden's Muslim population, unable and unwilling to assimilate and comprising now 7% of the total population, has an unemployment rate of about 40%, and a crime rate that is many times that of native born Swedes. Liberal Socialists blame the Swedes. The Muslims themselves are of course at fault. But the Communist system does little to motivate assimilation. It makes it too easy for Muslims to stay Muslim. For the Islamic immigrant it is far too comfortable to stay in your ghetto and receive welfare and state support, including guranteed incomes, free health and day care, food money, and access at no cost to education. Why work, why study, why learn Swedish? Muslim Family 'reunification', only adds to the welfare burden for the 50% of Swedes who actually work. Malmo is now famous as Muslim enclave. Rapes, crime and attacks on police are a common blight there. Jews are rightly existing the country, fearful for their lives. So much for the Socialist racially blind nirvana. It creates static inertia and does little to force immigrants to become Swedish.

Worse of all, of course is the fact - the unmitigated undeniable fact -- that comparatively speaking, Sweden is poor:The average income for a Swede in Sweden is $36, 600, while the average income in the United States is $45,500—and the average income for a Swede in the United States is $ 56,900 – 55 percent more than the Swedish average.”

Low incomes, high taxes, people shuttered in small apartments with a poverty of appliances and opportunity and as Williamson comments, if Sweden were a US state, it would be the poorest in the union. So much for the blessings of central planning. But for the Leftists Sweden is the Communist example par excellence. Interestingly Sweden also has the 'sickest' workforce in Europe, even though it has 'free' socialized health care, with 20% of its workforce not working on any given day. Considering that only 60% of employable Swedes actually work, this means that the daily emploment rate is less than 50%. In other words, more than half of those who could work are being sustained by the half who actually do work. This is not only insane, it is immoral.

Williamson's demolition of Sweden – always portrayed as the greatest state in the world – makes this book worth reading. Williamson's summary of 'Spending more, getting less: Swedish socialism looks a lot like American public schools', is an appropriate indictment of what is going to neuter and topple American exceptionalism. More from Williamson later on.


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