I fought Hitler and all I got was eternal damnation??

tshirt-eternal-damnation.pngIf anybody out there in reality-based reality was searching for more proof that right-wingers use some pretty tortured logic, search no more.

This is an except from a comment that was left a few days ago.

“I’m reading about what they [by “they” he means the Republican/socialist side in the Spanish Civil War] did in Spain when the commies attacked the state it is scary. Especially when you read the stories vs hearing that they killed 10% of the population of madrid. Killing 10% sounds tame you hear that every woman between the ages of 10-50 had been raped and how they killed all the nuns is more a cult of satan.”

That’s right folks, you read that first part correctly.  Despite the fact that there were two sides in the Spanish Civil War — the Republicans who supported the national, democratically-elected socialist government versus the anti-democratic insurgent Nationalists who were supported by Hitler and Mussolini and led by future dictator Francisco Franco — it was the side which supported the government which attacked the government.

Then, did you know that every woman between the ages of 10 and 50 was raped?  I know, I was surprised to learn that too.  But I suppose we’re not supposed to think rationally about how plausible that is, we’re just supposed to have faith that it’s really true.

Now, I’ve skipped over the whole “10% dead” figure used — because I guess, considering the absurdity of the other claims in that paragraph, it’s comparably reasonable to assume that 100% of the dead in the Spanish Civil War were attributable to to Republicans and that the openly fascist Nationalist side, I presume, must have used flowers and daisies and marijuana to overcome the Republicans.  I also figure we’re just supposed to use faith and assume that since Spain, at that time, had a population of 23.7 million and since 500,000 were killed, that somehow that equals 10% of the population and not the 2% that our fancy reality-based mathematics tells us it should be (source: here and here).

But really, it’s the last phrase there that makes this guy’s comment truly art.

The Republicans — the people in the conflict who were fighting Hitler, Mussolini and the future dictator Francisco Franco, the people who were defending the democratically-elected republic against a fascist dictatorship-in-waiting — were more like a “cult of Satan” than the side supported by Hitler.

Who ever said right-wingers can’t be ‘creative’ with logic when it suits their purposes?

————- 

For those of you in the reality-based community who want to watch a really fantastic segment on the Spanish Civil War that Democracy Now! did a while back, you can find it here:

Democracy Now!  Fighting Fascism: The Americans – Women and Men – Who Fought In the Spanish Civil War

46 Responses to “I fought Hitler and all I got was eternal damnation??”


  1. 1 Liam Clarke 19 August, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    I love how you sidestep the bit about killing nuns. Classy debating technique. However deluded the commenter, the acts of violence against the clergy and property of the Catholic church are well documented. Perhaps you should read Wikipedia next time.

    The Spanish Civil War was a purely ugly affair through and through, and quite frankly, answering one dumbass simplification (“Commies are evil”) with another (“The Nationalists were supported by German troops supplied at the behest of Hitler, therefore they are evil, because, like, Hitler was evil”) is lazy as hell – for starters, the Republicans were backed by the Soviets. Pure bastions of goodness, them.

    In short, shame on you for intellectual laziness. Just because you’re responding to an idiot, doesn’t mean you need to stoop to his/her level. If you feel any remorse, feel free to actually research the Spanish Civil War.

  2. 2 paulitics 19 August, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Liam Clarke – I was being an idiot when I responded to those comments? Please, tell me, what did I say that was incorrect? What did I say that was naïve?

    I particularly liked how you implored me to “actually research the Spanish Civil War” all the while writing “Perhaps you should read Wikipedia next time.” That must be the single greatest paring of two completely contradictory sentiments I’ve seen since the “War is Peace”.

    So, you’ve read the Wikipedia article on the Spanish Civil War (which, incidentally, as have I) and because of that you’ve developed delusions of grandeur? You know, the wikipedia article was neither scholarly, nor a particularly difficult piece to read so you really shouldn’t feel all that proud of yourself because you read it. Really, it’s not that big of an accomplishment.

    The difference between you and me though is that, while we’ve both read the Wikipedia entry on the Spanish Civil War, I at least have the rationality to realize that that’s a pretty freakin’ incomplete corpus of research. That’s why I make sure that I read, you know, primary source documents and peer-reviewed documents. In the real world, those kinds of things are generally considered ‘substantive’. You should try them sometime.

  3. 3 Matt Silb 19 August, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    The Catholic Church was not an innocent bystander in that conflict, it was not simply a victim. The Church was intensely involved in Spanish politics and a major supporter of the Fascists.

  4. 4 Liam Clarke 19 August, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Well, I can tell you’re worth the effort. I recommended Wikipedia because it contains a certain baselevel of background information that you seem unware of, and is free to access. However, as you claim to have access to information far surpassing Wikipedia, then I can only guess that you’re willingly ignoring inconvenient facts, which is far worse.

    How are you being an idiot? Wasn’t calling you an idiot, but you were fast approaching it. Here’s a simple example:

    “the people who were defending the democratically-elected republic against a fascist dictatorship-in-waiting — were more like a “cult of Satan” than the side supported by Hitler.”

    Let me rephrase the above to indicate why I was very disappointed to read your entry, especially when combined with your sneering tone.

    “The side backed by Stalin were more like a ‘cult of Satan’ than the side supported by Hitler.”

    Can you see why this is such an irritating statement? If you’re going to define the Nationalists as “the guys supported by Hitler” then applying the same definition to the Republicans leads to the wonderfully incoherent point above.

    There were no good guys in the Spanish Civil War, stop trying to paint it as thus, it’s dishonest.

  5. 5 paulitics 20 August, 2007 at 12:21 am

    Liam Clarke – I actually don’t think our positions are too far from one another. I agree that, generally-speaking, there are no “good guys” in war. Thus, I would posit that war IS terrorism, which is why I steadfastly oppose ALL wars.

    That said, I don’t see any contradiction between my opposition to all wars and my contention that there is much much more which we should all find repugnant about the totalitarian, fascist side of the conflict than we should find about the pro-democratic, socialist side of the conflict.

    But to take that contention and claim that I tried to paint one side in the Spanish Civil War as angels is to be led greatly astray from the text’s original intentions, and is, quite frankly, a non-sequitur.

  6. 6 dinosaur 20 August, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    FYI I don’t think I’m on record as ever saying anything good about the National Socialists either.

    I’m actually reading 2 books that talk about the commies raping etc one on the Uk commando regiment who ended up with some commies who left Spain, to france then 70 ended up joining a mideast commando, and their british counterparts were surprised at how readily they would admit to taking part in the raping of nuns like it was natural.

    The other is pawns in the game by william Guy Carr.

    And if the commies were the government why did they manage to assasinate 2/3rds of the officers to initiate hostilities. Not counting the rank and file. Is that what a faction with the support of the state does.

    I’m going to be typing up the orders the commies used to launch the revolution. I’m sure you’ll be posting that too.

    The Church was intensely involved in Spanish politics and a major supporter of the Fascists.

    Gosh the commies on day one were taking out whole convents and killing them after raping and mutilating them why wouldn’t they support that? In one case just for the office space.

    Democracy Now! Fighting Fascism:

    LOL, theres a funny title when have commies ever fought for democracy? Like if they like the greens in china they can vote for them? More likely they will put them in jail and sell their body parts.

    Democracy now make me dictator for life.

  7. 7 paulitics 20 August, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Dinosaur,

    If you are that unfamiliar with the Spanish Civil War as to not even know the composition of the democratically-elected government, then there seems little point in carrying on further.

    The socialists were the democratically-elected government and the fascists were anti-democratic insurgents. The fact that you are confused by this makes it difficult for me to even know where to begin my response to you.

    Moreover, since you have failed to read anything I’ve written thus far, I don’t know why I’m continuing to try to explain these matters, but nevertheless I will try again.

    I’m surprised that you’d laugh at the name “Democracy Now!” without having actually read what it’s about (and, fyi, it’s not communism) especially seeing as how you were unaware of even the composition of the democratically-elected government in Spain. It seems to me as though a person with that little information wouldn’t be in a position to quite literally judge a book by its cover. But then again that’s just me.

    Lastly, I believe this is now the third time that you’ve posited China or the USSR as Marxist. Do you care to back up these rather bold and ignorant contentions? As a scholar of Marx, I can find very very little of similarity between what China is and what Marx wrote.

    Yet you’ve failed to address this rather serious flaw in your argument despite it being pointed out to you now on multiple occasions. How much longer do you think you can continue to ignore really basic points of historical and documentary fact? How much longer can you continue to blindly posit this and other falsehoods (like that China is an example of Marxism) before you begin looking even more ignorant than you already do?

    Seriously Dinosaur, need we recap the items which you have been so embarrassingly out to lunch on?

    How many women did you say were raped in Spain during the Civil War? All of them was it?

    How many people did you say were killed during the Civil War? And what percentage of that did you attribute to the Republicans? 100%? 125%? 200%?

    Who was the government in Spain that the fascist dictator-in-waiting Franco was trying to overthrow? You’re saying it wasn’t the socialists, so who was it then?

    What political orientation is the news programme “Democracy Now!”? Communist? Really?

    So Marxism is anti-democratic and actually doesn’t stand for the radical expansion of the democratic franchise in both traditional spheres and even into the economic sphere? Really? Then tell me, since you’re clearly an expert in Marx, what did Marx write then?

    I look forward to your response. This post has brought me nearly 1000 hits in the past 24 horus alone, so I could always use more material for another one.

  8. 8 Grif 20 August, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    There were many priests shot by the Republican forces during the war, some 6 to 8,000 is the number I remember. Some Nuns as well, no doubt. The claim for mass rape of Nuns is too silly for words. Clergy were shot by the Fascists as well.

    The Republicans were shooting right-wing priests and clergy and the Fascists were shooting left-wing priests and nearly every Protestant clergy (for heresy) they could get their hands on. The majority of the Catholic church in Spain was a medieval throwback to the Inquisition and was soundly hated by all but the upper classes, which the Church existed as a part of and to serve. Before the Fascist victory regular church attendance was about 10 to 15%, after the victory of Franco it skyrocketed. For if you did not attend mass om regular basis you would be denounced by the priest as a secret Red, taken out and shot.

    The difference between the killing of priests and by the Republican side and the Fascist side is a telling one: The killing by the Republicans was largely in the first six months of the rebellion by Franco. It was never official policy by the Republicans and always a populist outburst in the moment, although some high ranking officers at times shared the same sentiments. The central government made many efforts to stop it and eventually was able to quell most of it. On the Fascist side however it was official policy, openly enunciated by the Fascist leadership. It was a policy carried out throughout the war and long afterwards. But why this emphasis on priests and nuns?
    Are there lives more worthy than other? Are they somehow the epitome of innocence? According to Anthony Beevor, the British historian of the war, the total number of those (priests and all others) executed by the Republican side totals around 38,000, more than half in the first six months; the number of those executed by the Fascists is now listed at 200,000, and as the ongoing search for mass graves continues the number is rising.

    This idiocy about “commies” shooting 2/3 of the military officers in order to start the revolution is sheer nonsense. There is absolutely no evidence for any such idiotic assertions. No does it make any sense on any level. The left was already the government, already in control. Why would they purposively start a revolt against themselves, and one by the very institution, the army, they need to survive? Before the Fascist revolt the Communist Party in Spain was a small minority on the left and had little power in the government, and the Soviets were nowhere to be seen. More than half of the military remained loyal to the Republic. This was a class war; the traditional hierarchy of the Military, the Church, and the rich landowners were appalled by the very notion that anyone but themselves should rule Spain, that anyone should question or seek to remedy their long-standing seat of privilege. That was the park that drove Franco and his Africa Corp to overturn the government. That, and that alone.

  9. 9 paulitics 20 August, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Grif – Fantastic post. Well put.

  10. 10 antisocialist 20 August, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Being “a scholar of Marx,” as you describe yourself above – and I, for one, am fully prepared to believe you – you will doubtless recognize the following formulation: “In human affairs, the collective is the unit of reality and the standard of value…. The individual has reality only insofar as he is part of the group, and value only insofar as he serves it.” Or, as expressed on page 126 of Grundrisse: “The human essence is the true collectivity of man.” In this same work, Marx even refers to humans as “species-beings,” by which he means un-individuated “organisms,” or an “organic whole.” Meaning, obviously, that any individual life is not really possible apart from “humanity,” or, also in his words, is “dependent on humanity as a whole.”

    This belief is also known as collectivism, or sometimes statism.

    Collectivism, if you’ll permit us another quote, holds “that man’s labor and property belong to society as a whole … the state is intermediary.”

    The right to property, says Marx, is “vested in society as a whole.”

    The forgotten factor in all this is, of course, the individual: each individuated human being is regarded as a little more than a cog in that “great living organism” called “The Collective.”

    Thus, in the above-described Spanish Civil War, as in so many other wars, the rightwing and the leftwing are really just two sides of the same coin. It’s purely a question of form: death by poison, or death by the electric chair.

    The individual is subordinate.

    Or in the words of another famous socialist: “To be a socialist is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole.”

    This sentiment, however eloquently expressed, and even as much as it sounds like Karl Marx, was, alas, not spoken by him. This one comes to us from Herr Goebbels.

    Please don’t accept these false dichotomies. The individual life, and not the life of “the collective,” is the only proper standard of measurement. http://the-antisocialist.com/2007/08/20/what-is-capitalism/

  11. 11 paulitics 21 August, 2007 at 12:06 am

    Anti-Socialist,

    I must say that while I obviously disagree with much of your formulation of Marx’s work, it is almost like a breath of fresh air dealing with somebody who has actually done a modicum of reading on the topic, since no real debate extending beyond mere platitudes is possible otherwise.

    That said, there are several points at which I believe your analysis diverges from my reading of Marx on significant points.

    Firstly, while Marx’s undeniably used the phrase “species-beings”, you do make a couple of points which I believe should be corrected. Most importantly, it is worth noting that the phrase “species-beings” is actually not a Marxist phrase but rather is a liberal and Hegelian one which Marx employs at times (especially in his earlier works).

    This is not to minimize the importance of the phrase, but merely just as a minor point to remove any possible confusion and also to point out that many thinkers employed the term and that Marx himself actually used it and elaborated on how it fit in with his thinking in many places, not just in the Grundrisse.

    However your reduction of Marx’s use of “species-beings” as meaning “un-individuated ‘organisms’” is both simplistic and facile. To understand Marx’s understanding of species-being, it is first necessary to begin with his early, pre-Marxist works as it was during his left Hegelian days when he began his exploration of the issue – not the Grundrisse which is a not anywhere near his most in depth work on the subject.

    Now, my reading of Marx’s use of ‘species-being’ is something of a nuanced melding of a deeply Hegelian teleology and the development of the species into an ‘organic whole’ (to borrow your phrase).

    But, that said, I would agree with you when you write that ONE aspect of this is the contention that life is neither desirable nor is it possible or sustainable apart from humanity.

    Secondly, you next run into problems when you write that “This belief is also known as collectivism, or sometimes statism.”

    I don’t know of a single serious Marxist scholar today who would argue that statism means the same thing as either collectivism or Marx’s conception of communism. Most socialist scholars I’m familiar with would argue that Marx cannot be simply reduced to vulgar statism for many reasons, the most obvious being that, while he does posit the need for a temporary, statist transitionary phase between capitalism and socialism, both his and Engel’s writings advocate the ultimate dissolution of the state. Thus it is much more complex than your formulation and the way you worded it can easily cause confusion due to its parsimony. Now that said, there certainly have been readings of Marx’s works by some scholars (such as Kojève, for instance) which were more squarely statist, but Kojève et al are not generally considered mainstream socialists, at least as far as I can tell (but, admittedly, I am biassed on this front).

    Thirdly, I agree with you profoundly when you write that “The right to property, says Marx, is ‘vested in society as a whole.’” However, unfortunately what you fail to realize about Marx’s critique of capital is that when Marx argues that property is a profoundly social phenomenon he is not making a normative statement but rather is offering up a critique of capitalistic property rights.

    This is actually one of Marx’s oldest critiques of the right to property and it actually stems back to his earliest writings before he was a Marxist. For instance, in his work, On the Jewish Question, Marx writes:

    “The practical application of the right of liberty is the right of private property… The right of property is, therefore, the right to enjoy one’s fortune and to dispose of it as one will; without regard for other men and independently of society. It is the right of self-interest. This individual liberty, and its application, form the basis of civil society. It leads every man to see in other men, not the realization but rather the limitation of his own liberty.”

    Marx goes on to further build on this sentiment in his work On the German Ideology. Therein, he writes:

    “In civil law the existing property relationships are declared to be the result fo the general will. The jus utendi et abutendi [right of using and consuming or abusing] itself asserts on the one hand the fact that private property has become entirely independent of the community, and on the other the illusion that private property itself is based solely on the private will, the arbitrary disposal of the thing.”

    Thus Marx is saying that whether we like it or not, whether we advocate socialist policies or laissez-faire policies, the undeniable fact is that ‘private’ property has a profoundly social existence and that it is only by very specific juridical mechanisms that its social existence is denied. Now clearly you and I disagree as to whether we ought to see this as a bad thing or not, but that’s not the issue here and thus, your formulation above misses the point entirely.

    Fourthly, you write “Thus, in the above-described Spanish Civil War, as in so many other wars, the rightwing and the leftwing are really just two sides of the same coin.”

    Now this, in my opinion, is where your argument runs into the most trouble. You hold that socialism is the same as fascism (ie. National socialism) which, in turn, presumably for you is the same as all other putative forms of collectivism. All of which are equally undesirable.

    This, I think, is by far the most simplistic component of your argument. First of all, your labelling of Goebbels as a “socialist” is not only naïve, but is also a covert attempt at a tu quoque fallacy, which obviously therefore, doesn’t merit response. Second of all, your lumping of all collectivist ideologies together greatly reduces the heuristic value of the term itself and, by extension, reduces the usefulness of your entire formulation.

    The proof of the poverty of your formulation’s heuristic value is that there are any number of examples of weird collectivist groups which I would share with you in holding as profoundly undesirable. For instance, the North American Phalanx in New Jersey or the New Harmony Icarians. My response that I gave here to a commentor on this blog a while back on this point, deserves repeating here. I wrote:

    “…the examples of societies you mentioned have absolutely nothing to do with Marxism or socialism or communism. You seem to be confusing communitarianism with communism. This is a significant mistake as some of these societies you listed, such as the New Harmony Icarians, had some extremely weird ideas on the male orgasm and semen as well as toyed with the notion of raising children communally. Marx of course, thought both were stupid beyond belief.”

    But since you’ve gone and lumped all collectivist positions together, your formulation is unable to account for this important nuance.

    Lastly, there is one final very important and very real sense in which the ‘right-wing’ in this conflict and the ‘left-wing’ in this conflict are profoundly different. One was the belligerent, anti-democratic force supported by fascist régimes around Europe which sought to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Spain, and the other was the pro-democratic force defending itself against a fascist insurgency. Thus, while I steadfastly oppose ALL wars, I don’t have to think twice as to which side between the democratic Republican side, or the fascist, anti-democratic side, would have a harder time earning my sympathies.

    As for which side would have a harder time eliciting your or other people’s sympathies, well that’s for you and others to decide.

  12. 12 antisocialist 21 August, 2007 at 4:47 am

    The antisocialist does not credit Marx with coining the fatuous term “species-beings”; nor would he. He only says that Marx accepted it, used it, and believed in it.

    The antisocialist hates for discussions to bog down in minutiae, especially at the expense of principles. The point is only that Marx rejected the individual as the final unit of measurement, and he rejected it, moreover, in favor of the collective. But as has been observed many times before, and as we can observe firsthand without reference to any authority, the collective as such does not exist: what exists are individuals who make up the so-called collective.

    Neither is it the antisocialist who labels Goebbels a socialist; it was Goebbels himself. The full name of his beloved party, as you well know, is National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or, if you speak German, Nati(onalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei).

    This, then, I suppose is the part where you tell the antisocialist that no “serious scholar that you know of” regards Nazism as true socialism. But I say to you, and to everyone reading this: do not let yourself be distracted by pilpulistic obfuscation and hairsplitting. Stick close to the principles, we beseech you, stick close to the application of those principles in your quotidian life: collectivism by definition means the individual is subjugated to the collective; and the collective – you must always remember this – is only an aggregate of individuals. Statism, no matter how much it’s explicateed away, and no matter how many “serious scholars” don’t see it this way, means, by definition, that the individual is subjugated to the state. All the text louse in the world cannot equivocate this away.

    It is, as we said before, purely a question of form: the concretes may differ from case to case, country to country, but the principles remain the same – specifically, the individual is no longer the final unit of measurement.

    Marx and Engels did, of course, famously regard the state as only a temporary “necessity” that would soon “wither away under communism,” but ask yourself this: what happens in the interim? Why has no communistic nation state withered away yet? And when that great day does finally come when the state withers away like a scab under communism, who then protects this nebulous “collective” from the potential uprising of another state?

    And how?

    These questions may indeed be pleasant to speculate over, to tinker around with on the drawing board – or, then again, they may not – but their application in the real world is deadly, as history time and again shows. If you doubt it, take even a cursory glance at The Little Black Book of Communism, but only, we caution you, if you want to make yourself really sick.

    Reader, hear this: there is little doubt in the antisocialist’s mind that my good correspondent here will tell us next that Chairman Mao’s China was not true Marxist socialism; he will almost certainly tell us that the Khmer Rouge was not true Marxist socialism; likewise, he will say almost definitely that communist Russia was not true socialism (though we hate to presume), and we know, without presumption, from his previous comment, that he does not regard the National German Workers’ Socialist Party as true socialism. He may even tell us next that true Marxist socialism has not yet existed on planet earth. But the antisocialist says this to you once more: please do not take your eye off the ball; do not be distracted by the jargon and the hair-splitting, and do not founder in concretes, but remember always the principles that are at issue.

    Here they are quickly:

    Each human is an individual. Thus, each human is indivuated and sovereign.

    Politics – not to be confused with paulitics – is the theory of government.

    Governments are political bodies who have the power to make and implement laws.

    There is nothing in nature, or in society, that gives these political bodies called governments the inherent right to the individual’s life or, by extension, his property.

    Fundamentally, there are only two alternatives: either the individual is left free to pursue his or her life as he or she sees fit.

    Or a group of bureaucrats know as the government is, to varying degrees, granted power over the life and property of the individual.

    That is it.

    Never forget that.

    That’s all that is at issue here.

    “Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned” (Ludwig von Mises, Socialism).

    The only alernative to the above quotation is communal or governmental ownership. That is socialism.

    That is why Marx and Engels wrote in big capital letters in The Communist Manifesto that a prerequisite for socialism was ABOLITION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY.

    It is no accident that virtually every socialist thinker in the history of mankind, from Marx, to Engels, to Bismarck, to Hitler, to Tito, to Djilas, to Jeremy Bentham, and so on down the line, have thought the idea of rights to be, in the words of Karl Marx, “baseless.”

    But rights, in the words of Herbert Spencer, are “moral-politcal precepts defining and sanction freedom of action in a social context.”

    Rights are indispensible to freedom; so that if someone tells you that your absolute and inalienable right to life is “baseless,” ask them: who, then, rightfully controls my own life if not me?

    If you do not exist by right, you exist by permission. Ask yourself this: who’s permission do you exist under?

    Answer: who ever is stronger than you; whoever is best able to hold you under submission.

    The right to your own life, and only your own life, is nothing more, or less, than a formal codification of what is, for non-socialist thinkers, a self-evident fact: namely, that your body, your person, indeed, all that your are and all that you, through your own effort produce, are rightfully yours. You own it. Politicians don’t own it. Elected officials don’t own it. Government bureaucrats don’t own it. The nebulous “collective” does not own it (indeed, there is, in reality, no such thing as “group ownership,” since groups are only an aggregate of individuals). The first thug to come along does not own it. These people do not have moral primacy over you just because they might have physical primacy.

    So if you believe that as a human being you own yourself, then, perforce, you believe in the principle of individual rights. And that, by extension, means that you believe in the right to private property: one cannot, in any meaningful sense, be said to be free if one does not possess the right to those things necessary to sustain life.

    That is why socialism, in any of its varied and multifarious guises, is and always will be socialsim by any other name.

    The antisocialist does, in any case, thank you for your great indulgence here as far as space is concerned, and if anyone wishes to learn more about the profound intellectual achievment of indivdual rights, please visit the antisocialist here: http://the-antisocialist.com/2007/07/04/Rights/

    Best of all possible regards

  13. 13 dinosaur 21 August, 2007 at 8:54 am

    WOW so I gave you 1/50th of your hits ever, you should send money, course being a marxist I know where that would end up. You just like to take from the rich til well look at russia & China eh.

    My sources tell me the commies had 200 of 465 seats about where Harper stands now.

    Except the centre and right votes totalled 4,910,000
    Commies
    4,356,000

    ie the commies lost by 554,000 votes

    And for that shot 2/3rd of the militaries officers, raped & slaughtered nuns, etc etc.

    Maybe Harper should do the same so he could be a tolerant democrat vs a fascist dictator for life taking orders from washington until the next election.

    PS Marxists didn’t just get a shirt for fighting Hitler

    If you paid attention to reality they got Poland, East Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, N Korea, China, parts of Finland,…

    So tell me person who links to christian hating websites on the side bar when your revolution comes as an ex soldier will I be on the list for termination? Like 2/3rds of the ones in spain were? What will you do about the nuns? I presume they have it comming for all the hospitals and charities they run.

    Whereas well have marxists “what you I guess call the good religion” ever built a hospital, sent eyeglases, computers to third world countries? Have they done any good for the world? Fed the poor? etc?

    Anything anything?

  14. 14 paulitics 21 August, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Anti-Socialist,

    What’s happened to you? Your previous comment was at least quasi-academic and presented some reasonable points that you were right to put to me and that needed to be discussed. But with this latest comment, you’ve resorted to obfuscation and logical fallacy after logical fallacy to make your case. What gives?

    I thought I was civil with you previously, especially considering your tu quoque attack on me. Moreover, I responded to your comments in good faith, but apparently that isn’t something you’re inclined to reciprocate, so I’ll respond to this latest round of fallacious attacks against me, but I’m really at a loss for why I’m even bothering to do so since I’m sure it will merely be met by more fallacious attacks. I guess I’m a sucker for this sort of thing.

    Firstly, you seem to be confused as to what the term “Species-Being” refers to and you don’t seem to have done any further research into Marx’s earlier works as I suggested since we last spoke. What you don’t seem to understand is that the phrase itself is an ideologically neutral phrase which needn’t have a normative component. Thus your characterization of the phrase as “fatuous” is puzzling to me. You and I clearly disagree as to whether it’s ideal for humanity to progress towards an idealized ‘species-being’ wherein humanity, like all others species-beings would not behave in a manner which is anathema to its survival. But since the phrase doesn’t necessarily entail a normative project and, actually doesn’t even need to refer to humans, it’s wrong to merely assert that the phrase is ‘fatuous’. Biologists and Anthropologists would admit that most animals exist objectively as species-beings. Obviously humans are the exception. Now, you may arguue that Marx’s position that we ought to concern ourselves with achieving the ideal of a ‘species-being’ is ‘fatuous’ to use your phrase – and we can certainly have a debate about that since I take that to mean something rather positive – but it’s not really possible to have a debate about the concept of ‘species-being’ in a vacuum.

    Secondly, you write, “The antisocialist hates for discussions to bog down in minutiae, especially at the expense of principles.” I’ll ignore that you’re using the royal “we” and referring to yourself in the third person, however if I’m obfuscating the discussion by getting it bogged down in minutiae, please let me know which items of my post correcting your errors are minutiae and which are worth retaining? Please let me know because I’m trying to answer your criticisms as honestly and forthrightly as I know how to – and this despite the fact that you’re unwilling to entertain my responses and instead revert to these facile arguments.

    What I’m talking about here, I believe, ARE principles.

    Thirdly, you write that “Marx rejected the individual as the final unit of measurement… the collective as such does not exist: what exists are individuals who make up the so-called collective.” I, and every person who can think their way out of a paper bag, agree with you that individuals all exist and that they are the fundamental agents who make up society. But the fact that you believe that this ‘realization’ is somehow profoundly anti-Marxist speaks volumes and stems from the fact that, as you have demonstrated now twice, you do not fully understand the concept of ‘species-being’.

    Fourthly, now here you re-state the most outrageous of your errors more forcefully as if somehow that would make it more true. (Incidentally, this is itself a fallacy) You write “Neither is it the antisocialist who labels Goebbels a socialist; it was Goebbels himself. The full name of his beloved party, as you well know, is National Socialist German Workers’ Party, or, if you speak German, Nati(onalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei).”

    Again, every thinking person knows what the acronym “nazi” stands for and most thinking people also realize that just because a phrase has the word “socialist” in it does not make them socialists. I’m not sure whether you’re holding on to this falsehood because you genuinely believe it or whether you’re holding on to it because it’s convenient for you to demonize (true) socialists in your mind.

    If you’re so certain that Goebbels was as socialist, then why don’t you go on Wikipedia and, using your ample documentation to prove it, change the articles on him and on fascism and on Hiter to reflect this? I’m not holding Wikipedia up as an academic source because it’s certainly not, but it says something when even the idiots over there at Wikipedia deal with right-wingers who posit that Nazism was leftist and even THEY shoot the argument down as ridiculous.

    Saying Goebbels was a socialist simply because the word was in the acronym is so overwhelmingly naive. It’s akin to me saying that because my name is Paul, I am therefore the St. Paul that Catholics talk about all the time. Well why not? My name’s in the title isn’t it? Or it’s like you calling the PSD in Portugal ‘socialist’ when in fact they’re right-wingers and they admit to being right-wingers. In short, it’s the reasoning and the argument of a 10-year-old and, as I demonstrated above, it’s just as easy as a 10-year-old’s arguments to shoot down.

    Fifthly, you write: “This, then, I suppose is the part where you tell the antisocialist that no “serious scholar that you know of” regards Nazism as true socialism. But I say to you, and to everyone reading this: do not let yourself be distracted by pilpulistic obfuscation and hairsplitting.” Really? This is a matter of hairsplitting? Whether the fascists were socialists or not, whether I’m to be lumped in with the fascists as somehow in any way similar – that’s hairsplitting? I don’t think you’d take it as hairsplitting if I said that everybody who didn’t fight on, or sympathize with the Republicans’ side was a fascist, ergo you are a fascist.

    So not only do you fallaciously try to re-argue an already demonstrably untenable point; not only do you argue that my political believes are akin to Goebbels – which itself in real life would get you beaten up; not only do you resort to both an argumentum ad populum and an argument from emotion; but then when I correct your point, and when I correct it in a civil manner no less, you have the gall to say that I’m splitting hairs! No, sir, this is not a matter of splitting hairs and you’re lucky that I’m opposed to censorship in all its forms else I would moderate your further comments on this blog.

    Sixthly, you write “collectivism by definition means the individual is subjugated to the collective.” This is a non-sequitur.

    Seventhly, you once again repeat the fallacious claim that “Why has no communistic nation state withered away yet?” I’ve already posited that there haven’t been any Marxist states and you were unable to address this point, so you merely talked around it. If you’re not even going to engage me but are going to merely use your comments to talk over what I’m saying and promote and link to your website, then you will soon find yourself without a debating partner. Incidentally, I’ve noticed that the vapidness of your comments has not been enough to entice almost any of my readers to click on any of the hyperlinks to your site. I don’t think I’ve ever thought more highly of my readers than I do right now.

    Eighthly, you write “There is nothing in nature, or in society, that gives these political bodies called governments the inherent right to the individual’s life.” I couldn’t agree with you more on that front. But then you go on to make the most ridiculous assertion that somehow a right to property – and presumably by that you mean modern property as we have come to accept it in today’s society – is an EXTENSION of the right to life. This is sheer ignorance and the proof of its ignorance lies in the fact that conceptions of property have changed and evolved throughout time and that humans have existed throughout much of history without the relatively new invention (post-French Revolution) of what we now consider property rights to be.

    Ninthly, you write “Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.” This claim is internally contradictory. Does the capitalist system recognize the individual right to food and shelter? No. Does the capitalist system recognize the individual right to be free from economic exploitation? No. Does the capitalist system recognize certain parochial and very specific individual rights? Yes, it certainly does. But the issue at hand is not the simplistic “capitalism recognizes individual rights and communism doesn’t” false dichotomy that you’ve presented. The issue is which individual rights are recognized and the fact of the matter is that Marxism seeks to EXPAND on some individual rights (such as the ones I’ve articulated above) and to eliminate the ‘jus utendi et abutendi’ [right of using and consuming or abusing] while capitalism advocates other individual rights at the expense of the ones above.

    Tenthly, you write “That is why Marx and Engels wrote in big capital letters in The Communist Manifesto that a prerequisite for socialism was ABOLITION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY.”

    Well actually that wasn’t the part that was written in upper-case letters, what was written in capital letters was that bit at the end with “WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!”, but that’s neither here nor there. More substantively, however, you clearly don’t understand that when Marx and Engels speak of the abolition of ‘private property’, this does not mean that nobody will own, for instance, their own toothbrush or their own homes. Nor does it mean that everybody communally owns everything like some sort of horrible hippie commune gone global. What it means is that the uniquely private nature of modern property as established by juridical fiat, would be transformed to disallow the jus utendi et abutendi. Find for me even one quote in all of Marx’s voluminous writings where he says that nobody will have anything that remains their own and I’ll surrender now and shut down this website and stop calling myself a Marxist.

    Can’t find anywhere where Marx wrote that? That’s because he never did and your confusion stems from your ignorance as to the difference between property and private property.

    Eleventhly, you go completely off the deep end of your slippery slope argument and start rhetorically expounding on things that nobody, myself included, would be stupid enough to posit. You write “If you do not exist by right, you exist by permission. Ask yourself this: who’s permission do you exist under?” Marxism doesn’t stand for this. So what’s your point? We’re in completely agreement on this matter.

    Twelfthly, you write, “The right to your own life, and only your own life, is nothing more, or less, than a formal codification of what is, for non-socialist thinkers, a self-evident fact: namely, that your body, your person, indeed, all that your are and all that you, through your own effort produce, are rightfully yours.” No socialist in fact denies this, so again, I don’t know what your point is. So, again, we’re in completely agreement on this matter.

    Lastly, you reiterate, “So if you believe that as a human being you own yourself, then, perforce, you believe in the principle of individual rights. And that, by extension, means that you believe in the right to private property” This is another one of those non-sequiturs we talked about. You might want to look into avoiding those.

  15. 15 antisocialist 22 August, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Your sudden stridency, while undeniably charming, does not necessarily make for sound polemics, and the antisocialist wonders at the abrupt divestment of your professional courtesy. You started off so nice. Your change of tone does, we think, indicate something significant.

    Do not ask what is it?
    Let us go and make our visit.

    paulitics wrote: > Anti-socialist,

    Well, since we’re splitting hairs, there is technically no hyphen. We follow Chicago’s famous manual of style on this (14th edition).

    paulitics wrote: > What’s happened to you?

    Nothing, nothing at all! We are rolling.

    paulitics wrote: > Your previous comment was at least quasi-academic and presented some reasonable points that you were right to put to me and that needed to be discussed.

    Thank you very much.

    paulitics wrote: > But with this latest comment, you’ve resorted to obfuscation

    Well, let us see if we can clear some of this up.

    paulitics wrote: > What gives?

    Nothing, really. The antisocialist’s cup still runneth over.

    paulitics wrote: > I thought I was civil with you previously

    You were, you were. Honestly. And we greatly appreciated it. You were most kind and cordial, and that’s said in all sincerity. In fact, that’s why we were so astonished at your abrupt switch to stridency. And so if we seemed anything other than gracious, please do forgive.

    paulitics wrote: > Moreover, I responded to your comments in good faith, but apparently that isn’t something you’re inclined to reciprocate

    We promise you, that was not intentional. Candidly, friends sometimes accuse the antisocialist of having a rather unpleasant and abrasive disposition. Truthfully, though, it’s not something he consciously cultivates. Again, we apauligize unreservedly.

    paulitics wrote: > I guess I’m a sucker for this sort of thing.

    Well, we can’t really comment to that one way or the other.

    paulitics wrote: > you seem to be confused as to what the term “Species-Being” refers to

    No, not really. But it’s a fairly incidental point, overall. The term was only introduced to further corroborate that Marx was indeed a collectivist – not that any further corroborating was necessary. Anyway, we don’t really disagree on Marx’s collectivist spirit. And if we do, please read on.

    paulitics wrote: > What you don’t seem to understand is that the phrase itself is an ideologically neutral phrase which needn’t have a normative component.

    No, the antisocialist understands that: indeed, it’s the antisocialist, not Marx, who’s giving it this normative component. And the reason we’re giving it this component, and not, as you assume, ascribing it to Marx, is that we find
    the following quote from Marx antithetical to freedom: “Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations.” In direct reference to the species-beings: “Human essence is the collectivity of man.” That is what we’re calling fatuous.

    paulitics wrote: > But since the phrase doesn’t necessarily entail a normative project and, actually doesn’t even need to refer to humans, it’s wrong to merely assert that the phrase is ‘fatuous’.[sic]

    The antisocialist is unaware of it ever being used in a non-human context, but okay; if you say so. Please note, however, in the quotations above, Marx is clearly referring to “humanity.” As far as whether or not “it’s wrong,” as you say, the antisocialist is certainly entitled to his opinion, don’t you think? And of course you are entitled to yours.

    paulitics wrote: > Biologists and Anthropologists would admit that most animals exist objectively as species-beings.

    “Exist objectively” is, since we’re splitting hairs, strictly speaking, a redundancy: existence implies objectivity. As far as the questionable veracity of the actual proposition is concerned, we’d love to see the words of the scientists who use that fatuous phrase, not that we – any of us – necessarily doubt you. But just for interest’s sake. Nothing hinges upon it, either way.

    paulitics wrote: > Now, you may arguue that Marx’s position that we ought to concern ourselves with achieving the ideal of a ‘species-being’ is ‘fatuous’

    Yes. That is what the antisocialist is arguing. This whole “species-beings” thing, I’m afraid, has been a terrible misreading. The context seemed clear…. To be honest, having just gone back and reread it, it still does seem clear.

    paulitics wrote: > but it’s not really possible to have a debate about the concept of ‘species-being’ in a vacuum.

    Truer words, we think, were never spoken.

    paulitics wrote: > please let me know which items of my post correcting your errors are minutiae

    Well, see above. Strictly speaking, though, it’s not so much “errors” as misreading. To recapitulate: when the antisocialist said ” … that fatuous phrase …” he was not saying that Marx thought it was fatuous, for goodness sake!

    paulitics wrote: > and this despite the fact that you’re unwilling to entertain my responses and instead revert to these facile arguments.

    Forgive us for saying this, but it seems those arguments weren’t so facile after all, since you haven’t understood them, as we shall see shortly.

    paulitics wrote: > I, and every person who can think their way out of a paper bag, agree with you that individuals all exist and that they are the fundamental agents who make up society.

    Then Marx couldn’t argue his way “out of a paper bag,” if we may borrow your felicitous phrase. “Society,” said Marx, “does not consist of individuals.” Or, Karl Marx, again calling for the “the complete suppression of all perceived individuality and the total subjugation of individuality to social conditions” (Grundrisse, translated by D. McLellan, Harper Touchstone).

    paulitics wrote: > But the fact that you believe that this ‘realization’ is somehow profoundly anti-Marxist

    Yes, it is. It is the very essence of the issue. Collectivism is an assault upon the individual. All your stridency notwithstanding.

    paulitics wrote: > Again, every thinking person knows what the acronym “nazi” stands for and most thinking people also realize that just because a phrase has the word “socialist” in it does not make them socialists.

    Well, that’s certainly debatable, but okay. Let us, however, discuss briefly the subject of Nazism, if we may, and how, if at all, it is related to socialsim: “It is thus necessary that the individual should finally come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of the people; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the species as a whole … This state of mind, which subordinates the interests of the ego to the conservation of the community, is really the first premise for every truly human culture.” That is from a speech Adolph Hitler gave in 1933 in Buckleberg, extolling his socialist ideal. Here is what English historian Will Owen recently said (and presumably he didn’t get your memo about what “thinking people realize”): “The German right characteristically denounced socialism, while supporting the welfare state, demanding government supervision of the economy, and preaching the duty of property-owners to serve their country. The German left characteristically denounced nationalism, while extolling the feats of imperial Germany, cursing the Allied victors of the war, and urging the rebirth of a powerful Fatherland. Even the Communists soon began to substitute ‘nation’ for ‘proletariat’ in their manifestos. The nationalists, at heart, were socialists. The socialists, at heart, were nationalists. The Nazis took over the essence of each side in the German debate and proudly offered the synthesis as one unified viewpoint. The synthesis specifically: national socialism.” And here is a quote from Doctor DiLorrenzo (who also, apparently, did not get your memo): “The difference between socialism and Nazism is purely superficial and purely formal … but it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open…. The main characteristic of socialism (and of communism) is public ownership of the means of production, and, therefore, the abolition of private property. The right to property is the right of use and disposal. Under Nazism people retained the the semblance of property, but the government held total power over its use and disposal…. Under socialism, government officials acquire all the advantages of ownership, without any of the resonsibilities, since they do not hold title to property, but merely the ‘right’ to use it…. In either case, the government officials hold the economic, political, and legal power …” And this last one is from Leonard Peikoff (who didn’t get the memo): “In place of the despised ‘private individuals,’ the Germans heard daily or hourly about a different kind of entity, a supreme entity, whose will, it was said, is what determines the course and actions of the state: the whole, or the group. Over and over, the German people heard the idea that underlies the advocacy of omnipotent government: collectivism…. Collectivism is the theory that the group, or collective, holds primacy over the individual. Collectivism holds that, in human affairs, the collective – be it the community, society, the nation, the proletariat, etc. – is the unit of reality and the standard of value. On this view, the individual has reality only as part of the collective, and value only insofar as he serves it; on his own, he has no political rights…. It is obvious what the fraudulent issue of fascism versus socialism accomplishes: it sets up, as opposites, two variants of the same political system; it eliminates the possibility of considering free markets; it switches the choice of ‘freedom or government coercion?’ into ‘Which kind of coercion?’ – thus establishing dictatorship as an inevitable fact … The choice is: dictatorship of the rich (fascism) or a dictatorship of the poor (communism). The fraud collapsed in the 1940s, in the aftermath of WWII. It is too obvious, too easily demonstrable that fascism and socialism are not two opposites, but two rival gangs fighting over the same territory – that both are variants of statism, based on the collectivist principle that man is subordinate to the group.” But you know, without referencing to weariness all the historians or economists or philosophers (and these quotes from people who did not get your memo could literally run on for pages and pages here), let us simply instead look at the words of the doctrines themselves: both sides propound that the “I” is subjugated to the “we.” Stay tuned for more quotes on that.

    paulitics wrote: > If you’re so certain that Goebbels was as socialist, then why don’t you go on Wikipedia and, using your ample documentation to prove it, change the articles on him and on fascism and on Hiter to reflect this?

    You know, you may finally be onto something. But wait! Someone may have beat the antisocialist to it. Was it Doctor Dilorenzo?

    paulitics wrote: > I’m not holding Wikipedia up as an academic source

    No, you would not be wise to. Especially after your dithyrambic above. Still, it is interesting that you reference it at all….

    paulitics wrote: > I’m not sure whether you’re holding on to this falsehood because you genuinely believe it

    Yes. Only, it’s not a falsehood.

    paulitics wrote: > or whether you’re holding on to [sic] it because it’s convenient for you

    No. Actually, it’s been rather inconvenient.

    paulitics wrote: > Saying Goebbels was a socialist simply because the word was in the acronym is so overwhelmingly naive.

    Yes. That’s why the antisocialist didn’t say that. In fact, we quoted you a compendiation of his philosophy, entirely consistent with socialism in its content, as well as pointing out that the Nazi political philosophy is explicitly rooted in collectivism (see Hitler’s speech above), as is Marxism. Incidentally, since we’re splitting hairs here, Webster prefers you don’t use “so” before an adverb, as in “so overwhelmingly naive.” The reason is that the adverb will stand alone, and the “so,” parodoxically, has a way of cancelling out its force.

    paulitics wrote: > It’s akin to me saying that because my name is Paul, I am therefore the St. Paul

    Oh, my goodness, hardly! But in any case, we’re thankful that we didn’t say that after all, especially if that’s what it’s akin to.

    paulitics wrote: > In short, it’s the reasoning and the argument of a 10-year-old and, as I demonstrated above –

    Not very persuasively, if you don’t mind our interrupting. But you’re in a hurry, we understand. Sloppy polemics often go hand-in-hand with emotionalism.

    paulitics wrote: > Really? This is a matter of hairsplitting?

    Yes.

    paulitics wrote: > I don’t think you’d take it as hairsplitting if I said that everybody who didn’t fight on, or sympathize with the Republicans’ side was a fascist, ergo you are a fascist.

    In fact, the antisocialist has been heard to say those very words. Also, just for the record, the antisocialist is no republican. In fact, in many ways, that cuts right to the meat of the matter. The antisocialist doesn’t believe in either form of collectivism. He rejects them both outright and categorically, for the same reason. He believes in freedom. He is an antisocialist.

    paulitics wrote: > So not only do you fallaciously try to re-argue an already demonstrably untenable point

    We – and the antisocialist confidently speaks for all of us when he says this – have noticed a rather mannered tendency in your style of “argumentation” wherein you assume that by saying things like “demonstrably” or “fallaciously” they magically become so. There is something Chomsky-esque in this. Do you intentionally foster that? In fact, the tenable point was demonstrated by reference to the defining characteristic of collectivism: namely, “the individual is subordinated to the collective.”

    paulitics wrote: > not only do you argue that my political believes are akin to Goebbels

    Not just yours, my friend, but all collectivists. Please, don’t feel alone.

    paulitics wrote: > which itself in real life would get you beaten up;

    Well, now, that’s an interesting polemical technique. Although, just for the record here, since we are presumably still splitting hairs, this is real-life, my mine. Now live it, for God’s sake, before you get your ass kicked!

    paulitics wrote: > ad populum and an argument from emotion;

    This latter thing is called ad hominem. We only point this out because, we are, after all, splitting hairs, and, anyway, why stop there with the facile Latin terms?

    paulitics wrote: > No, sir, this is not a matter of splitting hairs and you’re lucky that I’m opposed to censorship in all its forms else I would moderate your further comments on this blog.

    I’m lucky? Well … we thank you.

    paulitics wrote: > you write “collectivism by definition means the individual is subjugated to the collective.” This is a non-sequitur.

    On the contrary, “it’s the entirely relevant,” to quote Auden. It’s the quiddity of the thing. The fact that you regard it as a non-sequitur, however, is exceptionally revealing.

    paulitics wrote: > I’ve already posited that there haven’t been any Marxist states and you were unable to address this point, so you merely talked around it.

    To quote the antisocialist in his previous post, and not, we assure you, in any sort of self-aggrandizing manner: “He [paulitics] may even tell us that true Marxist socialism has not yet existed on planet earth.” But how is that not addressing the point?

    paulitics wrote: > If you’re not even going to engage me but are going to merely use your comments to talk over what I’m saying

    Please, no. We’re not talking over you. See above. But the antisocialist wants to engage you. He’s attempting to stick to essentials, those which you regard as “non-sequiturs.”

    paulitcs wrote: > and promote and link to your website

    The antisocialist’s modest blog is of not of primary concern, and if you are opposed to promoting any antisocialist links, we entirely respect your property; we will not. All you have to do is say so. Primarily, though, the concern here is in fighting the collectivist tide, be very clear on that.

    paultics wrote: > then you will soon find yourself without a debating partner.

    Is that what you are?

    paulitics wrote: Incidentally, I’ve noticed that the vapidness of your comments has not been enough to entice almost any of my readers to click on any of the hyperlinks to your site.

    Yes, sadly this is true. On the other hand, you don’t bring a cock to a dogfight, as we say. It strikes us, however, that you were kind enough initially to compliment the antisocialist on being somewhat reasonable and worthy, and that has suddenly been replaced by “vapidness.” Now that is perhaps the most revealing thing of all.

    paulitics wrote: > I don’t think I’ve ever thought more highly of my readers than I do right now.

    Frankly, that’s not saying a helluva lot.

    paulitics wrote: > and presumably by that you mean modern property as we have come to accept it in today’s society

    No, I mean in its objective, economic-philosophical definition: “the right to use and disposal.” Here is another quote anent property: “Man has to work and produce in order to support his life. He has to support his life by his own effort and by the guidance of his own mind. If he cannot dispose of the product of his effort, he cannot dispose of his effort; if he cannot dispose of his effort, he cannot dispose of his life. Without property rights, no other rights can be practiced” (Bastiat, The Law). Or, again: “The right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object so much as to the action and the consequences of producing or earning the object. It is not a guarantee that a person will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. Private property is the right to gain, to keep, to use, and to dispose of material values.” That is what the antisocialist means.

    paulitics wrote: > [private property] is an EXTENSION of the right to life. This is sheer ignorance

    There’s that charming stridency again. But please see the comments directly above. And below.

    paulitics wrote: > the proof of its ignorance lies in the fact that conceptions of property have changed and evolved throughout time

    You call that proof? Please! In what court of law? That’s slack reasoning, is what it is. It would never hold up under even rudimentary scrutiny. Anyway, it’s not even true in the first place, regardless of what it purportedly “proves”: property has been mis-defined over the centuries, but the actual definition of what property is – “the right to use and disposal” – goes back to at least the Romans. The Roman jurist Ulpian, in fact, talks about it.

    paulitics wrote: > that humans have existed throughout much of history without the relatively new invention (post-French Revolution) of what we now consider property rights to be.

    See above. Anyway, even if there wasn’t ever a formal codification of property rights, which there was, before the French Revolution, humans can’t exist without property; so that what’s called “the right to use and disposal,” as with all rights, was either recognized or not. The right still existed; it was was still there, even if it was ignored and stomped upon.

    paulitics wrote: > you write “Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.”

    That is actually not the antisocialist formulation; that is a quote from Ludwig von Mises.

    paulitics wrote: > This claim is internally contradictory.

    Is it? Check your premises.

    paulitics wrote: > Does the capitalist system recognize the individual right to food and shelter?

    There is no such thing as the “right” to food and shelter, any more than there is such thing as the “right” to a job, or a “right” to a ride to the store, or the “right” to a spouse. By definition, by virtue of what rights are, there is only one right, and that is the right to your own life; all the others are consequences or corollaries. “Life is a process of self-sustaining, self-generating action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action – which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) The concept of ‘right’ pertains only to action – specifically, the freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men, including the government. Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive – of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his right” (“Man’s Rights” VOS). It is in this way that right are compossible.

    paulitics wrote: > Does the capitalist system recognize certain parochial and very specific individual rights? Yes, it certainly does.

    There is only one kind of right. By definition, by virtue of what rights are, there is only one kind of right, and that the compossible kind. Look: if you’re ever in doubt, there is a foolproof formulation for determining whether something is a right or not: your rights stop where another’s begin.

    paulitics wrote: > But the issue at hand is not the simplistic “capitalism recognizes individual rights and communism doesn’t”

    Actually, it is.

    paulitics wrote: > the fact of the matter is that Marxism seeks to EXPAND on some individual rights

    There is by definition only one type of right: the type that is compossible. If it’s not compossible, it’s not a right. Indeed, it logically can’t be: Your right, my rights, everyone’s rights stop where another’s begin. If you follow this formula, you’ll never confuse the issue again.

    paulitics wrote: > while capitalism advocates other individual rights at the expense of the ones above.

    No, on the contrary. That’s part of what’s meant by compossibility. There’s only one type of right. There’s not even “other” individual rights. There’s only rights. And they are by definition non-contradictory. Your rights stop where another’s begin.

    paulitics wrote: > Well actually that wasn’t the part that was written in upper-case letters

    The antisocialist thanks you for pointing this out.

    paulitics wrote: > when Marx and Engels speak of the abolition of ‘private property’, this does not mean that nobody will own, for instance, their own toothbrush or their own homes. Nor does it mean that everybody communally owns everything like some sort of horrible hippie commune gone global.

    I’ll tell you what: you sign that, have it notarized, and I’ll take it under consideration.

    paulitics wrote: > Find for me even one quote in all of Marx’s voluminous writings where he says that nobody will have anything that remains their own and I’ll surrender now and shut down this website and stop calling myself a Marxist.

    “The distinguishing feature of Communism,” said Marx, “is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property.” (Does that include toothbrushes? I mean, are toothbrushes bourgeois? we’re asking sincerely.) “But
    modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.”

    “In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

    “You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is
    already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.” (Does the phrase “any property” cover it? We’re asking.)

    “In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with all your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.”

    “The proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.” (How about the “in general”? Again, just asking. The antisocialist is no Marxist, and so he will leave it for you all to decide. There is certainly no need to shut down your excellent site, in any case. But you know, even if Marx were good enough to let us have a few of the things we rightfully own in the first place, like toothbrushes, it strikes us, especially when seen in such cozy propinquity with the above quotations, as very, very, very small consolation indeed. An incidental, really, compared with all the things he still gets to “expropriate.” And so that definitely clinches it: the antisocialist is absolutely, an antisocialist – meaning this: my life and all that I produce through my own effort are mine by right, not Karl Marx’s.

    paulitics wrote: > you go completely off the deep end of your slippery slope

    Yes, in many ways it is the story of the antisocialist’s life.

    paulitics wrote: > “The right to your own life, and only your own life, is nothing more, or less, than a formal codification of what is, for non-socialist thinkers, a self-evident fact: namely, that your body, your person, indeed, all that your are and all that you, through your own effort produce, are rightfully yours.” No socialist in fact denies this, so again, I don’t know what your point is.

    They don’t? And you don’t know what the point is? But what did we just read? Perhaps we missed something. Let us read it again: “You reproach us with intending to do away with all your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.” It sounds like he’s, as you say, “denying this.” I suppose that is the point.

    paulitics wrote: > Marxism doesn’t stand for this.[referring to the antisocialist’s statement: if we don’t exist by right, we exist by permission.]

    But tell us: if our property – whatever that property is – is not entirely our own, as Marx made clear above, from whom, then, do we get the permission to use it? Or how do we use it? Upon what authority? And who determines which of whose property goes precisely to whom? And when?

    paulitics wrote: > This is another one of those non-sequiturs we talked about.

    It is? Well, perhaps “that is the knell of capitalist private property sounding. The expropriators are expropriated.” (The Critique of Political Economy.)

    We once again thank you for your great indulgence here, and, as usual, we wish you the very best of all possible regards.

  16. 16 Will Daggart 22 August, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Hey,

    Long time reader and fan…

    Have you seen this video yet? It’s so bizarre and I’m not sure if it’s legit. I know this is up your alley….

    The website seems just as bizarre.

    -Will

  17. 17 paulitics 24 August, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    antisocialist – Since it is blatantly obvious that you’ve resorted to arguing in circles, I won’t bother wasting too much time on you since you don’t fully read what I’ve written and ignore the portions that address your criticisms. Moreover, I wouldn’t want to keep you from the time which could be better used by you to ‘push back the tide of collectivism’.

    However, I will address a couple of the more agregious points, starting with the crux of your argument, that all socialists are akin to all fascists which are in turn akin to all the crazy communitarians and that there is no essential difference between the three.

    While I oh so enjoy being called a fascist, I noticed that you just kindly skipped over the fact that I’ve already addressed this point and that you didn’t bother to respond to it, you merely reasserted your assertion more forcefully. If you recall, initially, I wrote:

    “The proof of the poverty of your formulation’s heuristic value is that there are any number of examples of weird collectivist groups which I would share with you in holding as profoundly undesirable. For instance, the North American Phalanx in New Jersey or the New Harmony Icarians. My response that I gave here to a commentor on this blog a while back on this point, deserves repeating here. I wrote:

    ‘…the examples of societies you mentioned have absolutely nothing to do with Marxism or socialism or communism. You seem to be confusing communitarianism with communism. This is a significant mistake as some of these societies you listed, such as the New Harmony Icarians, had some extremely weird ideas on the male orgasm and semen as well as toyed with the notion of raising children communally. Marx of course, thought both were stupid beyond belief.’

    But since you’ve gone and lumped all collectivist positions together, your formulation is unable to account for this important nuance.”

    Your formulation’s heuristic value remains poor at best, and laughable at worst and no serious person who studies these things that I’m aware of takes your contention seriously. This is exactly the reason why people you make your argument get basically laughed out of the room anytime they submit this stuff on wikipedia, because even the wikipedians have at least MINIMAL standards on, you know, sourcing claims on which your contention fails miserably. Quoting from DiLorrenzo, while providing an interesting insight into the inner workings of his mind, provides no insight into the issue at hand. If we’re going to take mere utterances as evidence of something solid, then we’d have to take the USSR as Marxist when just about everything they did was anti-Marxist, and we’d have to take the guy who lives on the street corner of Wellington and Colonel By Drive in Ottawa as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ since I once heard him utter that he was Jesus.

    We can further see the heuristic poverty of your formulation in your very name. The most ardent anti-socialists were the fascists not only in Germany (ever read Mein Kampf and the all-encompassing need to crush Judeo-Bolshevism?), but in Italy and Spain and elsewhere as well. However I have not taken you as a fascist, rather your name is merely a misnomer. What you are, I think, is an anti-collectivist. And that’s fine, I’m not going to change your mind anymore than you’re going to change my mind or have changed my readers’ minds. But I did present to you good reasons why you might want to correct the errors in this nomenclature and you ignored what I wrote.

    The vast majority of the remainder of your comment I have already addressed, if you care to read again. For instance, I wrote that you used an “ad populum and an argument from emotion” which you ‘corrected’ and said that “This latter thing is called ad hominem” when clearly, an argument from emotion is not an ad hominem. Also, you are still confused as to what is meant by “species-being, but on the grand scheme of things, these are rather minor points of your ignorance that I can live with.

    But your continued obfuscation (using some nice tricks by selectively quoting Marx was a nice touch by the way) on the issue of individuals and society which, among other things, needs to be addressed.

    You previously wrote that Marx held that individuals don’t exist or are illusory (a common misconception) however the quotes which you furnished to back up your claims do not, in fact do so. You quoted Marx as saying “Society does not consist of individuals” which obviously, does not back up your claim that Marx held that individuals do not exist. Moreover, it is a common misconception which right-wingers like to through at us Marxists that by ‘individuals’ Marx meant the synonym of the English word ‘people’. In fact, if you do some research (and I’m ashamed to admit that, for all my talk of not wasting time on this comment, I did go through both translations of the texts of the Grundrisse and found that in neither of the translations was the word translated as ‘people’, which is significant) you’ll discover that what Marx meant by ‘individual’ was not the synonym of the English word for ‘people’, but rather was closer to the definition refering to fully ‘independent agents’.

    in-di-vid-u-al: noun

    “-A distinct, indivisible entity; a single thing, being, instance, or item.”
    “-Biology: a single organism capable of independent existence”
    “-Single; particular; separate”

    The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Retrieved August 24, 2007

    You then go on to reiterate your contention that this ‘realization’ is somehow anti-Marxist, when, clearly, it is not and merely restating it forcefully does not make it so. And clearly nobody seriously disagrees that all people are shaped by other people from the time we are babies to the time when we ourselves have children and beyond. Thus none of us are fully independent agents as the only truly and fully independent agent is one who created themself which would be, of course, a god.

    If you want to see how unhelpful it is to merely restate something more forcefully, allow me to demonstrate.

    I originally wrote:

    “But the fact that you believe that this ‘realization’ is somehow profoundly anti-Marxist”

    To which, you childishly responded:

    “Yes, it is. It is the very essence of the issue. Collectivism is an assault upon the individual.”

    To which I now reply:

    “No, it’s not.”

    Care to hop back on the Merry-go-round and we can go for another round of this?

    See how unhelpful it is?

    The last item that merits a response is your continued ignorance as to what Marx means by private property and bourgeois property.

    The abolition of private property and the abolition of bourgeois property, as I’ve already discussed and as you’ve conveniently chosen to overlook, does not mean that the workers do not retain the right to their own homes, or their own toothbrushes I think was the example I used. I explained this, with quotes from two of Marx’s works as support, when I wrote that:

    “But the issue at hand is not the simplistic “capitalism recognizes individual rights and communism doesn’t” false dichotomy that you’ve presented. The issue is which individual rights are recognized and the fact of the matter is that Marxism seeks to EXPAND on some individual rights (such as the ones I’ve articulated above) and to eliminate the ‘jus utendi et abutendi’ [right of using and consuming or abusing] while capitalism advocates other individual rights at the expense of the ones above.”

    So I fully agree with all of your fully accurate quotes of Marx advocating the abolition of PRIVATE Property (aka the ‘jus utendi et abutendi’). And I would posit that I don’t believe anybody should be able to hold property at the expense of somebody else’s life and well-being which is precisely what Marx means by the abolition of PRIVATE property and the transformation of the characteristics of property to force it to account for its original social nature. If you’re interested in Marx’s most complete and first expositions of this idea, read On the Jewish Question and the German Ideology for more on how this is the true meaning of what Marx means by the abolition of private property. It would certainly be better than trying to mine his works for quotes without knowing what the phrase actually means.

    But, I suppose I can’t hold it against you. You’re just looking for something, some utterance to attribute to Marx all of these horrible values you oppose and, of course, doing some real reading of him would be anathema to your objective.

  18. 18 paulitics 24 August, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    P.S. – sorry for the lateness of my reply, but lately I’ve only been able to get on the internet from my computer at work and, obviously, writing a long essay, especially one about Marx at work is not the easiest thing to do especially when all of my Marx texts are at home.

  19. 19 antisocialist 25 August, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Hello paulitics,

    Thank you very much indeed for your penetrating remarx. The antisocialist wants you to know first and foremost that it was never his intention to send you through the roof.

    paultitics wrote: > Since it is blatantly obvious that you’ve resorted to arguing in circles

    It is perhaps true that the antisocialist has felt himself compelled to approach a number of these same subjects from slightly different angles, but he does not regard this as circular reasoning. And anyway, it was never intention either to tax you, any of you. Rather, his intention was primarily to help you grasp the precise link between property and survival. “Control the property, control the person?” The antisocialist wonders: are you familiar with that quote?

    paulitics wrote: > I won’t bother wasting too much time on you

    Take thy beak from out mine heart.

    paultics wrote: > you don’t fully read what I’ve written and ignore the portions that address your criticisms.

    My good friend, the antisocialist has sincerely endeavored to do precisely that which you chide him for not doing. He went through your vituperative letter with a fine-toothed comb. Indeed, even allowing for his indisputable inarticulateness, you surely understand that the reason for his embarrassingly prolix comments was to address you more thoroughly. He would, however, note, if only in passing, that a number of his own points have indeed gone completely unanswered. So does the raven chide his own blackness? Perhaps. But we’re not all up in your grill about it.

    paulitics wrote: > Moreover, I wouldn’t want to keep you from the time which could be better used by you to ‘push back the tide of collectivism’.

    You’re very considerate, paultics, and it’s just one of the many things the antisocialist loves about you. Although those were not exactly his words, but no matter, no matter. Hairsplitting is not on the agenda tonight. You know, though, the antisocialist is seeking to fight the rise of collectivism right here on your site. That is why he just rudely barged in. He is of course aware that he’s making a terrible nuisance of himself, and that does pain him greatly. Furthermore, unlike Karl Marx, he really does respect your property in full, and so if you ask him to leave, he will always comply.

    paulitics wrote: > However, I will address a couple of the more agregious [sic] points

    Again, thank you paulitics.

    paulitics wrote: > starting with the crux of your argument, that all socialists are akin to all fascists which are in turn akin to all the crazy communitarians and that there is no essential difference between the three.

    You are correct that this is the crux of the argument. But your formulation – and we’re not faulting you for this – is not quite precise enough to satisfy the antisocialist. In fact, while you’re all here, permit the antisocialist to elaborate on this very vital point: There are at root, as noted previously, only two alternatives in government. (A third alternative exists, of course, called anarchy, but we do not include it in the present discussion, mainly because anarchy is, supposedly, the absence of government.) The two alternatives are: a paternalistic government, which, to some degree, claims the “right” to the lives and property of the citizens. Or: a protective government, which has only one function – namely, protecting the citizens from the initiation of force. Here is a legal elaboration: “As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose – that it may violate property instead of merely protecting it – then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislator, and the struggle within will be no less furious.” Sound familiar? But here is the real point, and the antisocialist implores you sincerely, all of you, no matter your current political convictions, no matter how entrenched those convictions may be, please take a moment to truly consider the following: when the principle has been conceded, no matter how minutely, that the government has proper authority to any of your property or any of your person, the game is instantly up; the battle is lost. The only question that then remains is how long will it take before the government has total authority. The reason for this – please listen closely now, we speak from the heart – is not fundamentally political; rather, it’s philosophical. When, in logic, a fundamental principle is compromised, that principle can then no longer be logically defended. It’s been compromised; truncated at the roots. This is not just the opinion of this dumbass who calls himself the antisocialist. This is fact – observable, testable, repeatable. So, finally, if you concede that government does have the legal authority to X amount of your paycheck – for whatever reason the government gives – you can no longer argue that the government does not have a right to your money: because the principle has been conceded. The fight then becomes only one of “fighting at the door of the legislature.” This is also the reason that communism – and we’re not arguing here about the devilish intricacies of Marxism proper – has, in most of its attempts, resulted in so many millions and millions and millions murdered or imprisoned. It is why taxation in socialist countries invariably increases over time. Because the principle has been breached; it’s been severed. There is no longer a way to logically defend that your right to your own life and property, and only your own life and property, are absolute and inalienable. The cause is lost. In this sense, we fully agree that what you say above is the crux of the argument (one of three): the proper function of government can never be compromised. And that, for your information, is why the antisocialist “blatantly,” as you often say, lumps all forms of collectivism and statism together; because the common denominator among them all is just that: the state has lawful authority over the lives and property of the people, to whatever degree. The exact amount is relatively meaningless. Because if you concede even the least amount, you will not be able to successfully defend it when they come to take the rest. Hence, the stupendous failure rates of collectivism the world over, and hence also the humongous costs to individual human lives. What precisely is so objectionable about the antisocialist’s conviction that each human owns him or herself? And what is so controversial about its corollary: that we each own our property?

    paulitics wrote: >While I oh so enjoy being called a fascist

    More specifically, the antisocialist merely noted that the fascist Nazis were statedly and practically socialist in their politics (note, for instance, how their industrial economy was run), and that, therefore, by inference, the Nazis are fundamentally no different from any socialists, not just you. The difference is only one of degree. Why? Because the primary principle has been conceded, and so everything that follows is, given enough firepower, unstoppable. For the record, the antisocialist does not necessarily think that you yourself would order the mass extermination of an entire race of people, but in fact that is the very problem with conceding, as all socialists do, that government does possess lawful authority, to any extent, over the lives of the people. And that is why the Nazis were able to get away with their atrocities – which atrocities, we should observe, could never have happened under a system wherein the rights of each and every individual was clearly codified, systematized, and recognized, and backed also by an iron-clad system of checks-and-balances. That is all we’re saying. But, you know, even this whole fascist jag we got off onto is not of primary importance here – at least insofar as it too is only a single manifestation of a much larger principle: paternalistic government, or protective government. That, finally, is the only thing at issue here. And so having said that, we must ask one more time our most important question of all, which has so far gone unanswered: where does this notion derive that government does indeed possess rightful authority over the lives and property of the people? Who said so? Who said that we must be forced to all live for one another, even if we don’t want to? Upon whose authority? Upon what edict are we supposed to believe such an atrocious conception – that our lives belong more to bureaucrats and to others over and above ourselves? Wither this preposterous claim? If you answer only one question here, and if only to yourself, make it this one.

    paulitics wrote: > I noticed that you just kindly skipped over the fact that I’ve already addressed this point and that you didn’t bother to respond to it

    But the antisocialist did respond to it! And he did so again (above). Once more, the retort is very straightforward: all forms of collectivism possess one crucial common denominator; indeed, lexically speaking, it is the defining characteristic of them all: namely, that the lives of the people do not properly and entirely belong to themselves. We must, to some extent, live for one another. The difference is purely one of degrees, but the principle is indentical in every instance. The antisocialist is very sorry if he did not make himself clear on this.

    paulitics wrote: > no serious person who studies these things that I’m aware of takes your contention seriously.

    There are a great many people who take the antisocialist’s contentions seriously – indeed he is not even the originator of the majority of these “contentions.” Have you ever read the absolutely thorough refutations of socialism by nobel prize winner F.A. Hayek? How about the even more thorough refutations by another nobel prize winner Ludwig von Mises? How about the work of Albert Nock, or Bastiat, or Milton Friedman, or Mencken, or Machan, or Jean Baptiste Say, or Carl Menger, or a hundred others besides? Have you ever heard of the economic principle “bad principles drive out good”? That is what’s at issue here; it is by no means new, it is by no means heterodox, and it is by no means unheard of. And it is taken very seriously by very many people. That fact that you find it so outlandish only tells us what we’ve already suspected all along: that you and the antisocialist run in different circles. Except the antisocialist does make a great effort to cross over, as you can see.

    paulitics wrote: > This is exactly the reason why people you make your argument get basically laughed out of the room anytime they submit this stuff on wikipedia, because even the wikipedians have at least MINIMAL standards on, you know, sourcing claims on which your contention fails miserably.

    If you’ll permit the antisocialist another observation: you appear to have a peculiar thing with Wikipedia. Is it ambivelance? It seems a bit like it? It is most curious that Wikipedia comes up this much, and not just in our correspondence. But, mind you, this is not a criticism; just an observation. The antisocialist, to address your statments, is sincere when he says he doesn’t really know anything about Wikipedia, one way or the other. Is it a bastion of brilliance and objectivity? We’ll take your word for it. We do know, however, that the Nobel Prize committee has seen fit to bestow it’s award onto a great number of people who held onto the convictions espoused by the antisocialist himself, both above and elsewhere, and who also, incidentally, have shaped the antisocialist’s own political-economic views. If what you’re saying is that freedom is passe because Wikipedia deems it so; or if what you’re saying is that bad principles do not in fact drive out good principles because Wikipedia does not sanction this; of if what you’re saying is that there is no conceptual common denominator among all forms of collectivism because Wikipedia has not said it is so – well, the antisocialist must respectfully disagree. But here is one more response to your inexplicable dismissal of all non-Marxist thinkers. This is from Robert Heilbroner, an avid and lifelong defender of Marxism, admitted in September of 1990 to The New Yorker Magazine: “Ludwig von Mises had written of the ‘impossibility’ of socialism, arguing that no Central Planning Board could ever gather the enormous amount of information needed to create a workable economic system … It turns out, of course, that Mises was right.” And do you know that this man is not the only Marxist to concedet that. We dare you to read Socialism by Ludwig von Mises. Compared to the mind-numbing literature of Marx, it’s fast reading.

    paulitics wrote: > Quoting from DiLorrenzo, while providing an interesting insight into the inner workings of his mind, provides no insight into the issue at hand.

    The antisocialist would not go so far as to say “no insight into the issue at hand,” since the truth or falsehood of any propositions, including DiLorrenzo’s, must ultimately stand or fall upon the veracity, or lack thereof, of the words: specifically, how closely the words correspond to actual facts. And yet, having said that, the antisocialist agrees that too much reference to written authority borders, after all, on the sententious. But that’s exactly the point when your stridency hit one of its most fevered notes! The moment the antisocialist left the Marx quotations on the backburner, and even said “we need reference authority but can observe things firsthand,” your invective went wild.
    We genuinely hope that you’re not saying this, however: quotes have little or not merit – unless the quotes come from Marx and Engels.

    paulitics wrote: > If we’re going to take mere utterances as evidence of something solid, then we’d have to take the USSR as Marxist when just about everything they did was anti-Marxist, and we’d have to take the guy who lives on the street corner of Wellington and Colonel By Drive in Ottawa as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ since I once heard him utter that he was Jesus.

    Well, this seems overstate things somewhat. Ultimately, as we said before, truth or falsehood is determined by how closely the given thing corresponds to actual facts. Surely you would agree that there are some people who are genuine authorities on certain subjects, because they know that particular subject inside and out, and so you would surely agree that their “utterances” are not, as you say, “mere,” especially when compared to a lunatic babbling nonsense on the street corner. Utterances are not all equal.
    And Doctor Dillorenzo qualifies as an authority.

    paulitics wrote: > We can further see the heuristic poverty of your formulation in your very name.

    The antisocialist’s name was chosen with utmost specificity: true, collectivism is the genus of the species socialism; but it is specifically the political idea of socialism that is most in need of addressing today.

    paulitics wrote: > The most ardent anti-socialists [sic] were the fascists not only in Germany (ever read Mein Kampf and the all-encompassing need to crush Judeo-Bolshevism?)

    Collectivism by definition means “the subjugation of the indivdual to the group.” Short of changing the definition, there’s just no getting around that. Thus, it is only the concretes that differ; the abstractions remain the same.

    paulitics wrote: > What you are, I think, is an anti-collectivist.

    Yes, in any and all of its manifold infestations and multifarious variations, including socialism, as stated before.

    paulitics wrote: > Also, you are still confused as to what is meant by “species-being,[sic] but on the grand scheme of things, these are rather minor points of your ignorance that I can live with.

    Sir, you grow more magnanimous by the moment! You might be interested to know, however, that the antisocialist did find a definition of “species-beings” in his big unabridged dictionary, and that definition even cites Marx (though, interestingly, not Hegel). But we do not think this definition will satisfy you, and perhaps for good reason.

    paulitics wrote: > But your continued obfuscation (using some nice tricks by selectively quoting Marx was a nice touch by the way)

    There was no chicanery involved, my friend. Would you believe it if the antisocialist told you that he was even concerned about this very thing coming up? It is extraordinarily difficult to not quote someone as discursive as Marx “selectively,” as you say – in large part because you can’t quote him in full or else you’ll run into pages and pages. But the antisocialist was up against another obstacle: he was quoting much of this from his own notes and his own memory, because he did not then, and does not now, have access to his library or even a public library. So we’re afraid we must beg for your lenience in this regard only. If the antisocialist has been remiss, or has neglected things that you yourself would have included, he states – and he states this vehemently – it doesn’t matter: the principle is what’s at issue, and you cannot concede the principle that government bureaucrats have any legal, lawful, or rightful authority to appropriate any of your or my property or person; if you do, the game is lost.

    paulitics wrote: > You previously wrote that Marx held that individuals don’t exist or are illusory (a common misconception) however the quotes which you furnished to back up your claims do not, in fact do so. [sic]

    In many ways, the antisocialist is a little loathe to get into this again, mainly because, as you astutely point out, you’re not going to be convinced. We would only note further that a great number of sympathetic Marx scholars whom the antisocialist has, in the course of his dismal and debauched lifetime, come across (for instance, H.B. Acton, if we’re recalling his name correctly), state that for Marx “humanity was one organism; humanity entire akin to a single individual.” But it does seems likely that we will be able to agree that, whatever Marx’s actual conception of human individualism – and the fact that it is so hard to get right, the fact that it’s so misconceived, misunderstood, and miscontrued is, we think, indicative in the extreme, as “clarity is the hallmark of cogency” – it cannot mean the flourishing of individuals apart from all of humanity flourishing together. Do you agree with that? And it is this, argues the antisocialist, that’s provably false – by even a mere glance at the world around us, in which so many flourish through their own ambition and the cultivation of their own talents, while simutaneously many others, like the antisocialist himself, flounder in misery, profligacy, and penury. And yet the cold fact remains: the antisocialist would never in his wildest speculations imagine that anyone else was responsible for his own life and state of existence, nor, especially, would he imagine that government bureaucrats are entitled to tell him how to live, or to tell others that they must help him. We can also most likely agree that in order to avoid the problems of “human nature under the capitalist phase of humanity’s development,” in Marx’s words, and the impossible economic calculations under socialism (see the beginning of the antisocialists article “Part II: Response to my environmental critics” [no hyperlinks] for a fuller explication), that Marx conceived of his altruistic and entirely socialized ‘new man,’ whose appearence in humanity, as far as the antisocialist is aware, has not yet made itself felt. “The new man,” says philosopher Tibor Machan, “must be the kind of human being who constitutes the citizenry, otherwise there will not be proper motivation to achieve ‘from each according to his ability …” Blah-blah-blah-blah. And so can we agree, paulitics, that this new man is hypothetical in the extreme, at least inasmuch as he is utterly impervious to our quotidian economics – so much so that these economics do not impact him at all, yes? And can we then, perhaps, finally agree that in light of this fantastic hypothetical man, and in light of how vague Marx himself was on the issue of what precisely his brand of communism would look like in actual practice, can we agree, then, that constructing entire societies off this notion is, to say the very least, iffy? The question is put forth in all seriousness, and yet surely the fact that so many attempts at communism have failed stupendously … well, this must say something about its intelligibility, comprehensibility, and tenability, no?

    paulitics wrote: > I wrote that you used an “ad populum and an argument from emotion” which you ‘corrected’ and said that “This latter thing is called ad hominem” when clearly, an argument from emotion is not an ad hominem.

    ad hominem – 1. appealing to prejudice and emotion rather than reason. 2. attacking the character, motives, etc. of an opponent rather than debating the issue on logical grounds (Websters College, fifth Edition).

    paulitics wrote: > (and I’m ashamed to admit that, for all my talk of not wasting time on this comment, I did go through both translations of the texts

    No, no! This is to be commended, and nothing at all to be ashamed of. It’s certainly more persuasive than your rather puerile techniques last time of shouting at the top of your lungs and filling the page with “provably,” “demonstrably,” “obviously,” “clearly,” “blatantly,” “nobody seriously,” and so on, which ultimately wound up significantly hurting you. This technique will not work much beyond high school – at least, not in any legitimate give and take, which the antisocialist had hoped to have.

    paulitics wrote: > you’ll discover that what Marx meant by ‘individual’ was not the synonym of the English word for ‘people’, but rather was closer to the definition refering to fully ‘independent agents’.

    The antisocialist will defer to your translation of Marx’s “real” meaning, but we can agree that Marx was a collectivist, no?

    paulitics wrote: > And clearly nobody seriously disagrees that all people are shaped by other people from the time we are babies to the time when we ourselves have children and beyond.

    The antisocialist believes that this is the second of our three cruxes. “Everything we have belongs to humanity,” said August Comte, a notion, which we can see, harking all the way back to platonism. And yet each individual is a being of a self-made soul. We our defined by our own actions, and only our own actions, and, furthermore, our actions are defined by our thoughts. The fundamental choice we have is the choice to think or not. Our choice to think or not is ultimately what shapes our lives, all of us, though a coercive society, a society ruled by a paternal government, can, we admit, hinder this. But if humans are left free, humans then determine their own lives. Man is not a passive being shaped by the whims of “humanity,” which in turn is shaped by determined history. How does the antisocialist validate this asseveration? Simple: he challenges you to choose to not work, to not pursue goals, to not educate yourself, to not eat, to not drink, to not seek medical help when you need it – and then he challenges you to observe what happens.

    paulitics wrote: > Thus none of us are fully independent agents as the only truly and fully independent agent is one who created themself [sic] which would be, of course, a god.

    Well, even that’s debatable, as the provenance of God, of course, would also need an explanation at some point. But tell us: if you don’t believe that we each shape our lives, how do you account for the women and men who accomplish so much more in their lives than others, who accomplish great things? How do you account for the people who commit horrific acts of cruelty? Are you actually saying, as, indeed, many people do, that nobody is ever responsible for what they do, that we’re all guided by invisible forces of that mass called humanity? Do you not take credit for any of your own obvious accomplishments, for the work you’ve done? Do you really believe that it was all determined by humanity in general? What about all the countless people in the course of world history who have pulled themselves up from absolutely nothing to become something good or great? The antisocialist says to you that he shapes his own life, for good or bad. “It matters not how straight the gate/how charged with punishments the scroll/I am the master of my fate./I am the captain of my soul.”

    paulitics wrote: > I originally wrote: “But the fact that you believe that this ‘realization’ is somehow profoundly anti-Marxist” To which, you childishly responded: “Yes, it is. It is the very essence of the issue. Collectivism is an assault upon the individual.”

    But don’t you see? The antisocialist was not answering flippantly at all. The whole essence of the discussion is that individualism, of the specific kind the antisocialist speaks of, is “profoundly anti-Marxist” – if for no other reason than that it categorically rejects the notion that the state or anyone has the “right” to “expropriate” anyone else’s property, to any degree. That is why we keep restating it is the essence of the issue. Our lives are our own in full; they do not belong to humanity in general, or humanity in particular. Upon whose edict does this wild notion come from? Who says that your life and your property belong, to any extent, to others? Does God say it? Where do you and Mr. Marx derive your authority? This is the only real issue there is between us, and this is why it’s repeated so. But it is not meant to bore you.

    paulitics wrote: > The last item that merits a response is your continued ignorance as to what Marx means by private property and bourgeois property.

    My ignorance, as you say, is indeed extreme, and it may very well be, as you also say, to the distinction between the two types of property so named, but Marx’s own words on the subject are decidedly clear: the abolition of private property. It doesn’t matter to what degree. The specifics thereafter are irrelevant, because once the principle has been conceded that you property – any of it – is not entirely yours, an unstoppable appropriation can take place at any time. And, indeed, has too many times taken place for just this reason.

    paulitics wrote: > The issue is which individual rights are recognized and the fact of the matter is that Marxism seeks to EXPAND on some individual rights

    The reason individual rights are so specific and rigid and cannot, therefore, be “expanded” – and this is our third and final crux – is that rights by definition must all agree. Please listen; this is absolutely true, and whatever else you think of the antisocialist, hear this with open ears: compossibility is not only a feature of rights – it’s part of its very definition. Why? Because anything else besides this – i.e. anything else besides the right to your own life and property, and only that – will conflict perforce with someone elses right to these exact same things. Do you see? Rights will then be negated. If, for instance, you have the inalienable right to a job (which you don’t) that necessarily means that someone else will lose their right to hire whomever he or she wants. If some are entitled by right to the labor or the products of others, it means that those others are thereby deprived of their own rights; they are, in essence, under coercion, which is the very antithesis of freedom. The reason the antisocialist harps on the profundity of individual rights is because of their inherent compossibility. “Any alleged ‘right’ of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is and by definition cannot be a right…. No man can have a right to impose any unchosen” (emphasis mine) “obligation, an unrewarded duty or an involuntary servitude on another man. There can be no such thing as ‘the right to enslave’.” Let us add, “the right to enslave” is a literal contradiction in terms. Your rights stop where another’s rights begin. This is the only way that rights can exist without conflict; thus anything else is not a right. All of our polemics aside, this is a truth you must come to recognize if you seek to eradicate injustice in the world, as I believe we both do.

    paulitics wrote: > But, I suppose I can’t hold it against you. You’re just looking for something, some utterance to attribute to Marx all of these horrible values you oppose and, of course, doing some real reading of him would be anathema to your objective.

    No, no. That we be like the antisocialist saying to you: since all you give a shit about it Marx, reading Socialism by von Mises is not something you would ever do; it is anathema to your personal curriculum. But the antisocialist would never say this to you, regardless of whether it’s true, because, for one thing, he wouldn’t be foolish enough to presume that you could quote giant chunks of text by von Mises in a comment box at the end of someone’s blog; nor would he want you to. The antisocialist, incidentally, is more than passingly familiar with Marx, my friend, even if he is not as familiar with him as you are, and the antisocialist believes that your irrepressibly snide tone betrays a great deal; it also betrays your shakey ground. But do you know what? When you or someone learns that someone else – anyone else – advocates, to any degree, the legal plunder of the person or property of another, and when you learn, furthermore, that someone does not believe in or understand the compossibility of rights, you may dismiss that person. Because the only road they’ll lead you on is the road to ruin.

    paulitics wrote: > sorry for the lateness of my reply

    Really, there’s no need.

    paulitics wrote: > lately I’ve only been able to get on the internet from my computer at work

    Honestly, it’s okay.

    paulitics wrote: > obviously, writing a long essay, especially one about Marx at work is not the easiest thing to do

    Yes.

    paulitics wrote: > especially when all of my Marx texts are at home.

    You don’t need to justify yourself. Your argument here is actually a little better than your argument before, if for no other reason than that your stridency was not quite so obstreperous. And yet it seems also painfully clear that we’ve reached an impasse in the ultimate purport here. You are, of course, always welcome at the antisocialist dot com (no hyperlinks), any and all of you, paulitics especially, and the antisocialist will gladly buy you a glass of wine, or a beer, with your tax dollars that the government has expropriated and redistributed back to the antisocialist.

    Thank you once more for your great indulgence, and we bid you, as always, the very best of all possible regards.

  20. 20 RPJ 25 August, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Against my better judgement I am offerring this first and last reply to the long winded and pompous antisocialist. I hope it doesn’t result in another manifesto from him on his twisted logic. You build your house of cards on a very flawed foundation sir. You define government as either paternalistic or protective and then arbitrarily draw the line between capitalism and socialism/Marxism so that you lay claim to the entire protective half and relegate socialism to the remaining paternalistic half. With that being the basis on which you have built your political philosophy there really is no point in taking the argument any further. The truth is that there are components of both halfs in each of the political philosophies and there is a wide spectrum of policies that are embraced under either or both of them. Capitalism, as practiced in the USA for instance, has brought us the predatory practices of Microsoft, Enron, Haliburton, Exxon, Blackwater and I could go on and on. Mmmm what fine examples of a well running capitalistic society this is. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and ever so protected. Although Paulitics is clearly more of a scholar on this subject than I, please forgive me for offerring my simple explanation to you for what Marx was trying to do with “property”. It is not so much that he does not want “private property” but that he feels it should not have dominion over the rights of society as a whole or living beings as a group. The more you “crown this right” in your writings, and make it the keystone of your ideal society, the more it makes the rest of us cringe. For example, we don’t want your right to “property” to make it possible for you to take all the water in the stream for yourself and leave the rest of the folks downstream, high and dry. We don’t want your right to “property” to buy up all the (fill in the blank here with any commodity) because of your wealth so that we go wanting. We don’t want your right to “property” to allow you to exercise a monopoly in the marketplace so we all must endure the same computer operating system, oil prices through the roof so we can’t heat our homes or drive our vehicles, elected officials that only act for you because you have purchased them and now they are your “property”, or to buy up all food and water in a disaster area so you can charge injurious and prohibitive prices for life sustaining items. That is all we want. Surely that is not too much to ask. So yes, we will have our own property but it will NOT be at the expense of others and it will be the same as all our rights and freedoms, that we feel stops at the point it affects another living being. I speak as a small business owner myself just so you know that I am not in any way “anti-business”. Making corporations unaccountable for their policies and actions and allowing them, no even encouraging them, to become predatory, mega-sized global marauders is not a political system I can embrace. Many of these companies have now grown so large that they are beyond the control of any nation including our largest ones because they simply move their headquarters offshore or dry up the market in an area (or threaten to). This is cancer you are looking at that has been unleashed upon the world and unless you wake up to that sorry fact you are doomed. Corporations are not people with morals and ethics and compassion and they have been relieved of the need for their owners (now shareholders/stockholders) to bring those qualities to bear on them. Once they own all the commodities in the world, what do you think you will be paying for your precious tube socks, or your oil, or sadly your food and water???

  21. 21 paulitics 25 August, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    Antisocialist,

    While I profoundly agree with what RPJ wrote, I did want to give my own response to many of your particular points.

    Firstly, you wrote: “There are at root, as noted previously, only two alternatives in government. (A third alternative exists, of course, called anarchy, but we do not include it in the present discussion, mainly because anarchy is, supposedly, the absence of government.) The two alternatives are: a paternalistic government, which, to some degree, claims the “right” to the lives and property of the citizens. Or: a protective government, which has only one function – namely, protecting the citizens from the initiation of force.”

    Here, you give even further evidence that you have not read what I have written as you now are positing that there are three philosophies on government, when I have previously pointed out to you that on ANY standard two-axis (for an example, see: http://www.politicalcompass.org/ ) political orientation (usually x = economic, y = social, but I’ve seen it inverted), there are obviously FOUR overarching philosophical approaches to government.

    So this is why we’re arguing in circles. You’re adamantly opposed to an authoritarian state, but you are under the false impression that on a two-axis, four quadrant standard political orientation map, that there are only THREE philosophical approaches to government. It just so happens that the quadrant who’s existence you’re ignorant about and are unable to account for – the quadrant that can be called anything from non-statist socialism to anarcho-syndicalism, to libertarian communism, to what I call it: True Marxism – is also the quadrant I, and I believe, Marx as well, happen to belong to.

    I agree with you that we need to fear the uniquely authoritarian mixture of State Socialism/State Capitalism that was the USSR. Indeed I’ve agreed with you so totally and completely on this front that I’ve written it many times before. So I posit to you that I hate the state just as much, if not moreso than you do and I’ve posited to you that this is my reading of Marx and then you come back at me talking about how bad the state is and how bad Stalinism and fascism were. And then I re-explain to you that I’m not a statist and that Marx wasn’t a statist and moreover, I go FURTHER than you do in opposing state intervention. And then you come back at me talking about how bad the state is and how bad Stalinism and fascism were without having read anything I’ve written.

    So now we’re on at least the third time around with this thing. How many more times do you want to go around on this merry-go-round before you clue in that what you’re arguing against – a brutal authoritarian state – is not what I support. This is why I’ve ignored a huge amount of your comments… namely because I don’t disagree that an authoritarian state is undesirable.

    Secondly, you write: that communism “has, in most of its attempts, resulted in so many millions and millions and millions murdered or imprisoned.”

    I’m glad that you now acknowledge a the total disjuncture between what Marx wrote and what the USSR was. However just as a side note, if you wanted to chalk up death tolls between putative ‘socialists’ (really, mostly Stalinists and State Socialists which is not what Marx was) and capitalists, the capitalists win hands down and no serious death total for both sides would even comes close to that of the capitalists. And even if they were close, it still wouldn’t matter because authoritarianism has nothing to do with Marxism. See here for more details:

    https://paulitics.wordpress.com/2007/05/17/an-apology-is-owed/

    Thirdly, you write that the Nazi’s industrial economy was run as a socialist economy. “(note, for instance, how their industrial economy was run),”

    This is laughable. If you’d like a good source as to why this is laughable, read about the roll of the Krupp family and private enterprise in Nazi Germany. Specifically I recommend The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester. (Incidentally, if you’re wondering, he wasn’t a Marxist, but rather a capitalist, so you should agree with him that Nazi Germany’s economy was not socialistic under any definition of the term).

    Fourthly, you write the a phrase that I couldn’t agree more with and a phrase that I’ve been trying to get you to agree to for some time now. You write that “Ultimately, as we said before, truth or falsehood is determined by how closely the given thing corresponds to actual facts.”

    Thus, if you want to argue that fascism is the same as socialism, don’t back it up by utterances, back it up by economic proof. I’ve already presented you with reasonable arguments, both philosophical and economic, as to why they aren’t the same and you have been unable to present anything.

    Fifthly, you write:

    “For the record, the antisocialist does not necessarily think that you yourself would order the mass extermination of an entire race of people, but in fact that is the very problem with conceding, as all socialists do, that government does possess lawful authority, to any extent, over the lives of the people.”

    What? Have you ever read any amount of Marx? Marx’s whole contention is that the state does NOT possess lawful authority over the lives of people. Marx opposed the death penalty in all its forms precisely because he felt the state shouldn’t have that kind of power. Moreover, Marx opposed authoritarianism and sought the radical expansion of democracy (and not only the expansion of the franchise to include women and Jews for example, but the expansion of what would be included in the practice of democracy such as economics as well).

    So let me ask you then: Why do you hate democracy? Don’t you agree that the economic sector ought to be democratically controlled in order to guard against authoritarians there who are, after all, so similar to their state-authoritarian brethren?

    Sixthly, you write: “whatever Marx’s actual conception of human individualism – and the fact that it is so hard to get right, the fact that it’s so misconceived, misunderstood, and miscontrued is, we think, indicative in the extreme, as “clarity is the hallmark of cogency” – it cannot mean the flourishing of individuals apart from all of humanity flourishing together. Do you agree with that?”

    Yes I do agree with that fully and completely.

    Continuing on this theme of things you wrote that we’re not in disagreement over, you also wrote: “And yet the cold fact remains: the antisocialist would never in his wildest speculations imagine that anyone else was responsible for his own life and state of existence, nor, especially, would he imagine that government bureaucrats are entitled to tell him how to live, or to tell others that they must help him.”

    I agree with everything you have written here. What’s your point? Is that supposed to be somehow an anti-Marxist sentiment? Because if it is, don’t look now, but a Marxist is agreeing with it.

    Sevently, you wrote “We can also most likely agree that in order to avoid the problems of “human nature under the capitalist phase of humanity’s development,” in Marx’s words, and the impossible economic calculations under socialism (see the beginning of the antisocialists article “Part II: Response to my environmental critics” [no hyperlinks] for a fuller explication), that Marx conceived of his altruistic and entirely socialized ‘new man,’ whose appearence in humanity, as far as the antisocialist is aware, has not yet made itself felt.”

    Marx never held that the communist revolution would lead to a fully altruistic man nor did he argue it would create a perfect man nor did he argue that the communist revolution would solve all problems. He saw it as a very specific and necessary remedy for a very specific and necessary consequence of the capitalist epoch. That’s it.

    Moreover, you go on to write that “that this new man is hypothetical in the extreme,”

    But the problem with that is that, as all people who’ve read any Marx know all to well, Marx steadfastly opposed all manner of philosophical idealism. Thus extreme hypothetical naval-gazing was precisely what Marx hated and he wrote about that extensively. Seriously, do you know the difference between philosophical materialism and philosophical idealism? Do you know which one Marx was? Because if you did know which one Marx was, you wouldn’t have made such a mistake just there.

    Eighthly, you unbelievably take that avenue even further away from reality when you write: “how vague Marx himself was on the issue of what precisely his brand of communism would look like in actual practice”

    Marx was vague on this issue? Wow, that’s ignorant. First of all, as I’ve stated before, Marx hated utopian socialism, which is what you’re describing. Marx never said that we should follow his plan for humanity merely because it’s his plan – and in fact there are a great many Marxist philosophers such as Lukàcs, who hold that we can even throw out everything else Marx wrote so long as we keep in mind that Marx merely posited a reasoned, scientific basis for why socialism must occur (now, I think that’s going a bit far, but it illustrates my point nevertheless).

    This argument of yours more than any other demonstrates your ignorance of Marx. Marx wasn’t vague on the issue, Marx intentionally avoided the issue and intentionally only presented a few relatively minor policy statements – such as at the end of the Communist Manifesto – but for the most part, even these few minor policy statements were strategic and tactical in nature.

    This, if your interested, is also why there have been no Marxist states. Because Marxism is itself only a method – based on Hegel’s dialectic and on dialectical materialism. Thus to say that there have been Marxist states is a bit like saying there have been “Scientific method” states. Both are equally ridiculous and I’ve tried pointing out this fact to you and to dinosaur before and you’ve ignored it.

    Engels summed it up pretty well when he wrote:

    “Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion etc.” (Anti-Dühring)

    Now, what Marx was unclear about – and I fully admit that these are very important matters mind you – were revolutionary strategies. Should alliances between workers and other classes be permitted? Should alliances between communist and non-communist (ie. Social democratic) parties be permitted? Should revolutionary strategy be pursued by a vanguard of elites or by the masses on whole (and to that question, more than all the others, I stand firmly on the side of the latter). How long should the workers wait to abolish the state entirely after seizing power from the bourgeoisie? These are important things that Marx didn’t talk about and if you take a close look at far-left parties and far-left thinkers, these are the issues which have caused the biggest splits amongst the far left. The biggest splits, thank god, have not come from philosophically idealist naval-gazing as to what society will look like after capitalism.

    Ninthly, you write: “so many attempts at communism have failed stupendously”

    There have been attempts at utopian socialism but there have been no attempts at Marxism precisely because Marxism, by definition, can’t be attempted as if it were a utopian project. Seriously, antisocialist, we’ve been over this before. Must we keep going on and on about this? I’ve gotten you to admit that the USSR wasn’t Marxist, it doesn’t take much more of an epistemological leap to acknowledge this simple fact, does it?

    Tenthly – on a more minor point – you wrote that ad hominem means the same thing as an appeal to emotion when it actually doesn’t. An appeal to emotion is not an ad hominem, but ad hominem can be a type of an appeal to emotion. There are many types and thus these two are not the same thing (incidentally the kind of appeal to emotion I was speaking of was not an ad hominem anyway). Check out any first year university informal reasoning textbook for a more detailed definition and list of fallacies.

    Eleventhly, you correctly pointed out that: “But if humans are left free, humans then determine their own lives.”

    You’re right and I agree with you fully. The only problem is that human’s aren’t free right now.

    As Simon Linguet wrote in 1767: “It is the impossibility of living by any other means that compels our farm labourers to till the soil for food they will not eat, and our masons to construct buildings in which they will not live. It is want that drives them to those markets where they await masters who will do them the kindness of buying them. It is want that compels them to go down on their knees to the rich man in order to get from him permission to enrich him. What effective gain has the suppression of slavery brought him? He’s free you say. That is his misfortune. These men, it is said, have no master. They have one, and the most terrible, the most imperious of masters, that is need. It is this that reduces them to cruel dependence.”

    Now, both Marx and I would hold that the progression from slavery to feudalism and from feudalism to capitalism were good ones and necessary ones, we just hold that capitalism is not the perfection of human society and that more progressions are necessary beyond capitalism.

    Twelfly wrote that: “if you don’t believe that we each shape our lives…”

    Come now, antisocialist, must you resort to distorting what I said. I never said that we shape our own lives (in fact even Marx said almost that exact same thing – he said that “men make their own history.”).

    Thirteenthly, you wrote “How do you account for the people who commit horrific acts of cruelty? Are you actually saying, as, indeed, many people do, that nobody is ever responsible for what they do, that we’re all guided by invisible forces of that mass called humanity? Do you not take credit for any of your own obvious accomplishments, for the work you’ve done?”

    I don’t know whether this is intentionally gibberish or if it’s a straw-man but either way I don’t know if you actually think that there are people out there who believe any of this, but if there are such amazingly simple-minded souls, neither Marx nor I are among them. Seriously, if that’s what you think a natural consequence of Marxism is, then you really need to read a book.

    Fourteenthly, you asked: “Upon whose edict does this wild notion come from? Who says that your life and your property belong, to any extent, to others? Does God say it? Where do you and Mr. Marx derive your authority? “

    Again you confuse philosophical idealism – which concerns itself with edicts and the such – and philosophical materialism.

    Fifteenthly, and most importantly, you wrote: “The reason individual rights are so specific and rigid and cannot, therefore, be “expanded” – and this is our third and final crux- is that rights by definition must all agree…[if] someone does not believe in or understand the compossibility of rights, you may dismiss that person.”

    This make shock and surprise you, but I both believe in and understand the compossibility (despite my distaste for Leibniz, I do concede that this specific word has utility). It’s just that, surprise surprise, unlike you, I do not succumb to the what Lukàcs called reification – namely the idea that the way we live is the only way, that the values of the capitalist epoch are the only values et cetera.

    Moreover, if we’re going to be honest and if we actually care about Leibniz’s compossibility, we would have to acknowledge that Marx’s concern for the jus utendi et abutendi demonstrates MORE fidelity to this principle then your uber-capitalist formulation which allows for the exploitation of labour power and wage slavery of those without property by those with property.

    On this front, you can take a look at Rudolf Rocker, who, in writing about the classical liberal (libertarian) theorist Humboldt, noted:

    “He (Humboldt) did not see that democracy with its motto of equality for all citizens before the law, and liberalism with its right of man over his own person, would both be wrecked on the realities of capitalist economy.”

    But the fact of the matter is that I do dismiss you but not because you frame your discourse around the ‘compossibility of rights’ — it would be rather hard to dismiss you on these grounds as we are in fundamental agreement on this issue — but rather, I dismiss you because you believe that the way we have structured our parochial rights and institutions is the only way that it is possible to do so. Just as the feudal lords felt that feudalism was the only way to structure a society, and just as slave owners felt slavery was the only way to structure a society.

    It is for that reason — and maybe your idiosyncrasy of speaking in the third person (seriously, what gives? Do you think it makes you sound intelligent or funny or likeable?) — and a whole host of others discussed above, that I dismiss you.

    Now, lastly, I see that you’re still sticking to the naive false dichotomy that “capitalism recognizes individual rights and communism doesn’t” (and I’ve already discussed this with you as well and you’ve ignored it as well… see a pattern here?).

    I presume you’re not going to listen to anything that I’ve written or anything that Marx or Engels has written because we’re all dirty commies. But perhaps you’ll take the words of the conservative business historian Alfred Chandler to heart.

    He notes actually that the U.S. has maintained a ridged set of government institutions of corporate welfare to subsidize corporations and further increase the power of the central government over even the private institutions you value oh so dearly. Chandler wrote of the fallacy that the U.S. government was serving predominantly as a protector of capitalist property rights. Rather, Chandler – and keep in mind Chandler’s your type of comrade, not mine – wrote that during WWII:

    “The government spent far more than the most enthusiastic New Dealer had ever proposed. Most of the output of expenditures was destroyed or left on the battlefields of Europe and Asia, but the resulting increased demand sent the nation into a period of prosperity the like of which had never before been seen. Moreover, the supplying of huge armies and navies fighting the most massive war of all time, required a total control of the national economy. This effort brought corporate managers to Washington to carry out of the most complex pieces of economic planning in history. That experience lessened the ideological fears over the government’s role in stabilizing the economy [in the post-war economy].”

    So just like with most simplistic dichotomies, yours is naive and both ends of the political spectrum from conservatives to Marxists acknowledge that regardless of what you erroneously think of Marxism, our governments in the West are not serving as a protector of capitalist property rights as you proclaim them to be innocently doing. But, like most people who make overly simplistic dichotomies, I imagine you’ll probably continue sticking to this one and ride that Titanic down all the way to the seabed, and I will have wasted just that much more of my time on a person who refuses to even read what I’ve now written multiple times. Sigh.

    Hope you enjoy the ride.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  22. 22 antisocialist 27 August, 2007 at 1:14 am

    Hello paulitics,

    The antisocialist is in all seriousness beside himself. He just spent over ten hours, no fucking joke, his entire afternoon and all night, composing a thorough response to you and RPJ. He then submitted it, and it has completely vanished. Do you know why, or where? Seriously, you’re not being accused of anything, but my God, man. Do you know what that’s like? Does your blog have space restrictions for the comments? I’m asking in all sincerity. In many ways, this was the most detailed response of all. It cost me so much damn work it’s unbelievable. It you can look for it, please – where, I don’t know – and let me know, even if it’s in a private email. Our differences aside, from one writer to another, help me find this work.

  23. 23 paulitics 27 August, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Antisocialist – That has happened to me before and I can definitely sympathize – it’s more frustrating than words can express. Unfortunately, I don’t know why it happens sometimes and not others and moreover, I’ve found that there’s no way to recover the message once it’s been lost (however, just to be sure, I did check to see if I had any ‘comments awaiting approval’ or if it found its way into my spam container and your comment was nowhere).

    I do think though that it might be a problem with blogspot blogs and wordpress blogs because I’ve experienced the problem at both places. Now I always compose my response in notepad and then just copy and paste it over just incase something goes wrong. Using notepad has saved me once or twice, so I do recommend it.

    Paul

  24. 25 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:03 am

    Hello again paulitics,

    What follows is a revised version of the antisocialist’s response two days ago, which was lost not once but twice in cyberspace. For future reference, if any of you out there want to completely take the wind out of the antisocialist’s sails, you needn’t resort to Gestapo tactics and cheesy half-assed physical threats; nor need you blast the antisocialist in the face with loud and specious reasoning, circumlocution, equivocation, or authoritarianism ostensibly meant to show the antisocialist how tough and pissed off you are. Rather, it turns out all you need do is take something that the antisocialist has put hours of his labor and soul into, then make it disappear; just take it away – not, come to think of it, so very unlike the Marxist axiom that one’s property may be legally plundered – and you will thereby make the antisocialist want to curl up in a big ball in the corner and not say another word.

    He does, however, realize that neither paulitics nor anyone else had anything at all to do with what he’s come to regard as The Lost Manuscripts.

    Well, back to the drawing board.

    The antisocialist tried putting his foot through the floor to Rammstein’s Du Hast the other night and is still reeling over it, but to answer your parenthetical query, paulitics: have you ever heard of Yevgeny Zemyatin?

    The antisocialist, to be clear, is not just against “brutal authoritarianism,” as you say, but all authoritarianism, even if it’s relatively benignant, as in, for instance, Norway.

    Deplorably, the antisocialist will not recompile his protracted list, including an even more protracted bibliographical apparatus, concerning Nazi interventions into all manner of private industry, even the outright expropriation thereof, which expropriations, somewhat to the antisocialists surprise, run into the thousands, as compared to the one cited by paulitics.
    He will, however, quote from an essay written his old buddy Doctor Long:

    Where Communism seeks to substitute the state for private ownership, fascism seeks to incorporate or co-opt private ownership into the state apparatus through public-private partnership. Thus fascism tends to be more tempting than Communism to wealthy interests who may see it as a way to insulate their economic power from competition through forced cartelization and other corporatist stratagems.

    Second, where Communist ideology tends to be cosmopolitan and internationalist, fascist ideology tends to be chauvinistically nationalist, stressing a particularist allegiance to one’s country, culture, or ethnicity; along with this goes a suspicion of rationalism, a preference for economic autarky, and a view of life as one of inevitable but glorious struggle.

    Fascism also tends to cultivate a “folksy” or völkisch “man of the people,” “pragmatism over principles,” “heart over head,” “pay no attention to those pointy-headed intellectuals” rhetorical style.

    But these contrasts with Communism should not be overstated, of course.
    Communist governments cannot afford to suppress private ownership entirely, since doing so leads swiftly to economic collapse. Moreover, however internationalist and cosmopolitan Communist regimes may be in theory, they tend to be just as chauvinistically nationalist in practice as their fascist cousins; while on the other hand fascist regimes are sometimes perfectly willing to pay lip service to liberal universalism.

    All the same, there is a difference in emphasis and in strategy between fascism and Communism here. When faced with existing institutions that threaten the power of the state—be they corporations, churches, the family, tradition—the Communist impulse is by and large to abolish them, while the fascist impulse is by and large to absorb them.

    Power structures external to the state are potential rivals to the state’s own power, and so states always have some reason to seek their abolition; Communism gives that tendency full rein. But power structures external to the state are also potential allies of the state, particularly if they serve to encourage habits of subordination and regimentation in the populace, and so the potential always exists for a mutually beneficial partnership…

    The [superficial] respects in which fascism differs from Communism might seem to align it rather more closely with the traditional aristocratic conservatism of the ancien régime, which is likewise particularist, corporatist, mercantilist, nationalist, militarist, patriarchal, and anti-rationalist. But fascism differs from old-style conservatism in embracing an ideal of industrial progress directed by managerial technocrats, as well as in adopting a populist stance of championing the “little guy” against elites—remember the folksiness. (If fascism’s technocratic tendencies appear to conflict with its anti-rationalist tendencies, well, in the words of proto-fascist Moeller van den Bruck, “we must be strong enough to live in contradictions.”)

    The progress … meant that plutocracy could hope to triumph only by donning populist guise; hence the paradox of an elitist movement marching forward under the banner of anti-elitism—a prime example in U.S. history being antitrust laws and other allegedly anti-big-business legislation being vigorously lobbied for by big business itself.
    (“War Collectivism in World War I,” Paul Weaver’s The Suicidal Corporation: How Big Business Fails America, Gabriel Kolko’s Railroads and Regulation, 1877—1916 and Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916, Butler Shaffer’s In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918-1938, Roy Childs’ “Big Business and the Rise of American Statism,” Joseph Stromberg’s “Political Economy of Liberal Corporatism” and “The Role of State Monopoly Capitalism in the American Empire,” Walter Grinder & John Hagel’s “Toward a Theory of State Capitalism: Ultimate Decision-Making and Class Structure,” etc.)

    Hence fascism’s odd fusion of privilege and folksiness; one might call it a movement that thinks like Halliburton and talks like George W. Bush.

    The partnership between the official state apparatus and the nominally private beneficiaries of state power was a familiar theme for 19th-century thinkers like Frédéric Bastiat and Gustave de Molinari, who extended and radicalized Adam Smith’s critique of mercantilist protectionism as a scheme for benefiting concentrated business interests at the expense of the general public. In Molinari’s words, businesses “asked the government to safeguard their monopolies by the same methods that it had put into effect for protecting its own.” (“The Evolution of Protectionism.”)

    …Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer had developed an entire pre-Marxian theory of class conflict, according to which the key to the position of the ruling class is not, contra Marx, access to the means of production, but rather access to political power. (Cf. David Hart’s Radical Liberalism of Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer, Leonard Liggio’s “Charles Dunoyer and French Classical Liberalism,” Ralph Raico’s “Classical Liberal Exploitation Theory,” Mark Weinburg’s “Social Analysis of Three Early 19th-Century Classical Liberals,” etc.) When Marx called the French government “a joint-stock company for the exploitation of France’s national wealth” on behalf of the bourgeois elite and at the expense of production and commerce (“Class Struggles in France”), he was only echoing what [these men] had been saying for decades.

    Herbert Spencer likewise complained of the influence of “railway autocrats” in American politics, “overriding the rights of shareholders” and “dominating over courts of justice and State governments.” (“The Americans.”) And Lysander Spooner denounced the financial and banking elite, writing as follows:
    Among savages, mere physical strength, on the part of one man, may enable him to rob, enslave, or kill another man. . . . But with (so-called) civilized peoples . . . by whom soldiers in any requisite number, and other instrumentalities of war in any requisite amount, can always be had for money, the question of war, and consequently the question of power, is little else than a mere question of money. As a necessary consequence, those who stand ready to furnish this money, are the real rulers. . . . [The] nominal rulers, the emperors and kings and parliaments, are anything but the real rulers of their respective countries. They are little or nothing else than mere tools, employed by the wealthy to rob, enslave, and (if need be) murder those who have less wealth, or none at all. . . . [The] so-called sovereigns, in these different governments, are simply the heads, or chiefs, of different bands of robbers and murderers. And these heads or chiefs are dependent upon the lenders of blood-money for the means to carry on their robberies and murders. They could not sustain themselves a moment but for the loans made to them by these blood-money loan-mongers. . . . In addition to paying the interest on their bonds, they perhaps grant to the holders of them great monopolies in banking, like the Banks of England, of France, and of Vienna; with the agreement that these banks shall furnish money whenever, in sudden emergencies, it may be necessary to shoot down more of their people. Perhaps also, by means of tariffs on competing imports, they give great monopolies to certain branches of industry, in which these lenders of blood-money are engaged. They also, by unequal taxation, exempt wholly or partially the property of these loan-mongers, and throw corresponding burdens upon those who are too poor and weak to resist. (No Treason VI.)”

    (To be continued)

  25. 26 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:16 am

    The antisocialist will, additionally, not send you further through the roof, paultics, by telling you in detail how even anarchy inevitably results in one of the two only possible forms of government, including non-statist anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, egalitarian communism, and all the other variations upon this rather tired theme, which Mr. Chomsky and his ilk have ushered into the mainstream, or very nearly. Nor will the antisocialist address Marx’s vagueness on his “new man” – or, to be fair, his precision, as you think of it (though you did to an extent seem to argue yourself around a bit on that). Nor will the antisocialist address, more than cursorily, at any rate, your hurtful, and, frankly, rather bizarre, insistence that he “has not read a thing” you’ve written (just for your information, the antisocialist respects you far too much to ignore your sophistry), in large part because you have already, as you stated in no uncertain terms above, “dismissed” the antisocialist.

    Why bother?

    Also, your final sigh concerns the antisocialist a great deal; and so the antisocialist will not bother addressing your own reliance on the very thing you lambasted him for not long ago – namely, the written authority of someone not Marx or Engles but Rudolph Rocker, of all damn people, as if we’re now supposed to say “Ah!” – nor will he bother pointing out that after jumping on the antisocialist for “selectively quoting Marx” you yourself, in virtually the same breath, proceed to do precisely that thing. So know now beforehand the principle has been breached.

    Nor will we divagate unnecessarily upon the fact that classic liberalism and libertarianism are hardly synonymous – none of that really matters anymore to the antisocialist.

    Because when the dust has finally settled after losing over ten hours of work, we find ourselves still faced with the overwhelming question: by what right does anyone have proper claim over the property and person of another?

    So for something like clarity sake here, the antisocialist would like to flense through some of your more flabby rodomontade, as it were.

    Arguably, the thing that troubled the antisocialist most of all in your response above – and that’s saying a lot – is the statement that philosophical materialism is the answer to his critical query concerning the origins of compulsory public property. The antisocialist is prepared to accept that it’s his old nemesis – inarticulateness – responsible for the strangeness of the response. So let us put forth the question again, but in a slightly different form: Where derives your and Marx’s axiomatic principle that our lives and property are not absolutely our own? What is the ultimate basis for the philosophy that humans must be compelled to live for others?

    Let us phrase it a different way: Marx, like Scripture, means many different things to many different people. How, then, does one “completely ignorant” of him, like the antisocialist, as you wisely point out, validate Marx’s espousal of expropriation? To what in reality does this correspond? From what does it derive?

    To put it another way, if you, paulitics, come up to the antisocialist and say: “Look, I’m afraid we’re going to have to take some – just some – of your property, not much, mind you, you’ll still get to keep your toothbrush, but still, we are going to have to take from you some of your own property, because we are, after all, rightfully entitled to it…” and the antisocialist, “completely ignorant” of Marx, asks you, as he surely will: “But why?” What is the answer? What in reality gives rise to the putative axiom? What, in other words, is the ultimate justification for authoritarian expropriation?

    Or, to put it yet another way, let us say that hypothetically the antisocialist is truly ready to convert to Marxism – your brand of it specifically – but wishes to know first where derives the axiom that men must be compelled live for others, and that others therefore may legally and rightfully take from him “some” of his property. What gives rise to this? Where exactly does this “necessary fact” of legal expropriation originate? Who says so? How, fundamentally, is it defended that my property is not by right entirely my own?

    We do agree, I think, that whatever else he was, Marx was a collectivist; as such, he statedly advocated the “abolition of private property.” The antisocialist will even grant you, just for the sake of argument, that Marx did not mean, as you say, “all property.”

    This doesn’t matter.

    The antisocialist says that you cannot rightfully or lawfully take from another anything without their permission.

    Property is the right of use and disposal.

    Please do the antisocialist one, and only, favor: read Socialism by von Mises.

    The antisocialist does not agree that there’s a “total disjuncture” between Marxism and the USSR, as we shall see. But now that the dust has begun to settle, it seems, suddenly, an irrelevancy compared to the bigger questions, such as those above.

    The antisocialist would like to address your “Fifthly “- at least, the only part of it that represented him accurately: why do you hate democracy?

  26. 27 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:20 am

    (continued) [Do forgive, this is very obnoxious. It appears your blog won’t take the whole comment in one chunk.]

    Obliquely, paulitics, this hits upon one of our three cruxes discussed before. Democracy is finally rejected – and this is why all forms of anarchy must finally be rejected – because democracy means majority rule. The antisocialist, as you know, believes that neither the life nor the property of even a single individual can or properly should be subject to vote. The antisocialist has written about this extensively on his own site, but as his dismissal has already been pronounced, the antisocialist will not bother directing your attention to anything specific. Why bother? Let it suffice that the rights of each and every, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, color or creed, must be constitutionally codified and protected, and also guarandeed by, as stated before, an iron-clad system of checks-and-balances. Anything less will, in the short or long run, end in the suppression of the minority, even if that is only the minority of one, which in the antisocialist’s view, in addition to being the loneliest number there is, is too many.

    Related to that, though it is jumping across the map on your ordinal numbering system, the antisocialist – and this is something he most emphatically wants you to know – does not believe that the current U.S. system is a capitalistic system – not at all, in fact, and that is why he does not support it. It is, in reality, an embarrassingly mixed bag of many variants of socialism with, it is true, some vestiges of capitalism mercifully extant. The antisocialist believes in pure, unadulterated laissez-faire, meaning that all government, including the rule of the majority, however agrarian and peaceful that majority may be, stays out of business, just as government stays out of religion, and for the exact same reasons: because we are each born free. That means that we are free to trade with anyone willing, and no matter how wealthy any one person becomes that freedom remains inalienable and immutable. What they may not do is initiate force upon another. Their rights, including their property rights, are guaranteed because each person, by virtue of being human, possesses the absolute right to life and property. That is what the antisocialist believes. Accordingly, he rejects any and all forms of mercantilism, which is, in part, what you describe above, including trade restric

    tions, protectionist tariffs, and all manner of arbitrary taxation. Please know that the antisocialist does not in any way support a mixed economy. He is a purist. It is here that you will find the simple solution to your other misrepresentation of the antisocialist: he does not believe that any person may lawfully initiate force upon any other, be that force direct, as in rape or assault (as, for instance, when you “beat up” the antisocialist for saying that Nazism is socialism, which is presumably what you’re referring to above when you say: “I’ve already presented you with reasonable arguments, both philosophical and economic”), or indirect, as in extortion or fraud.

    But here is the answer to your real question: all justice, which the antisocialist believes in with his whole heart and soul, must – indeed, can only – be predicated upon a single principle: that each individual possesses the absolute right to her or his own life and only his or her own life, property included. That is how individuals are protected, and not through the rule of the mob or majority (i.e. democracy), which amounts to the same thing. Courts, police, and arbitration are necessary. Conservatives, by and large, hold the view that our society without a government is chaos, while liberals, by and large, believe in internationalizing their version of a domestic welfare state under seizures of property – i.e. legalized plunder.

    The antisocialist of course rejects both of these for what is ultimately the same reason: our rights in either case are neither inalienable nor absolute.
    He believes in John Locke, Frédéric Bastiat, Lord Acton, Alexis de Tocqueville, and, in the 20th century, in the work of Menger, Mises, Hayek, Freedman, and many others. The thread that connects all these thinkers is the idea that individuals are more capable than government elites shaping a prosperous order. In the same way that Locke believed that the nation-state was a threat to human rights and social peace, so these others envisioned an international order unmanaged from the top down but rather generated its own order.

    “What was critical for Hayek in the liberal tradition was the conviction that liberty and law could exist in harmony with each other. Law itself emerged spontaneously from within society as its members sought better ways of managing their own affairs. The law of which Hayek speaks is law adhered to as a matter of voluntary contract, or what we more commonly refer to as rules. We have rules that govern the management of subdivisions, or civic organizations, or businesses, or churches. Or think of merchant law that emerged over many centuries of international trade. This law exists apart from the state, and reflects the desire of individuals to cooperate toward their own betterment, and the rightful conviction that their own betterment is consistent with the flourishing of society.

    “In contrast, writes Hayek, there is another tradition of law that sees all rules in society as rising from the state, and always and everywhere must amount to a restriction on the liberty of individuals. The exponents of this view include the tyrants and despots of the ancient world, and, in modern times, Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx. The writings of the latter two are the preeminent influence over what we today call the right and the left.
    “It is impossible to understand this view of government without first understanding the illiberal view of society. The illiberal view regards society as essentially unworkable on its own because it is riddled with conflicting interests….

    “[The left] believes society has fundamental flaws and deep-rooted conflicts that keep it in some sort of structural imbalance. All these conflicts and disequilibria cry out for government fixes, for leftists are certain that there is no social problem that a good dose of power can’t solve.” (Lew Rockwell)

    Most spectacularly of all, paulitics asserts that rule of individual rights and voluntary non-coercive exchange and private property are responsible for more bloodshed in world history than all of a collectivism combined.

    contactomagazine.com/cowboycapitalism1027.htm.

    The above link has nothing whatsoever to do with the antisocialist, and he is not affiliated or associated with these people in any way. We only include here because it provides invaluable data, meticulously researched and painstakingly documented, for you to check and recheck. Also, if the antisocialist can quote at length from an article he may also not have had some small part in:

  27. 28 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:21 am

    (continued)

    “Many will tell you that socialism is a moderate form of Communism. Others claim them to be two distinctly different and opposite theories, communism being a cruel and harsh failure and socialism being an enlightened and successful theory. Both of these notions are false though. A recent popular distinction defines one as government controlling the means of production and the other as “the people” controlling the means of production. This too is false considering that the pursuit of either such definition is prone to developing government management of human activity. Though theory may claim distinctions between the two, in practice they become one in the same. The idea of the sharing of incomes and government management of resources exists with little distinction from communism and its euphemistic partner socialism. In practice though the same problems plague both as freedom becomes necessarily usurped and trampled on due to abuse of power, economic impossibility, and unforeseen and unintended variables among other things. Because of socialism’s inherent failures, it tends to resort to extreme measures. Communism is essentially Marx’s name for socialist like systems. The only reason communism is equated with more extreme is mostly due to its acquaintance to the Soviet Union.

    What is Communism? Again to many this definition is often a matter of great confusion. Some think it means socialism with force, others think it is socialism gone bad. A better definition is a utopian plan to enforce complete economic equality and achieve this by means of forced income redistribution and economic management. In short it is the same idea of socialism operating most often under a smaller branch of the socialist following known strictly as the communists. The ideas are practically the same only the name “communists” tend to attract more ideologues due mostly to a desire among them for alienation from a dissenting opposition, the capitalists, and for a hope of haste in implementing their utopian schemes. As displayed below, communism is in essence and in practice the same thing as its euphemized sister socialism.

    The Differences Between the Two: It is hard to fully explain the idea of communism compared to socialism (due much to the fact that communists and socialists have never been able to agree upon and solidly establish exactly what distinguishes one from the other) but a few truths are undeniable:

    (1) Both communism and socialism have a goal of equality in their ideal state.

    (2) Both communism and socialism employ the practice of centralized economic managing and income redistribution as their primary means of working toward this so called “equality.”

    (3) Both communism and socialism experience the same types of problems in accomplishing this economic managing – the unintended side effect.

    (4) Both socialism and communism are structured in such a way that an inherent inequality develops from the administrative top of the power structure for such is necessary to enforce compliance. Such compliance must be mandated in a socialist system due to the fact that human nature creates skepticism, opposition to the control of others, and a desire for free will.

    (5) In both systems when this unequal elite inevitably emerges, the concentration of widespread power in a single space must intensify. This naturally attracts individuals seeking widespread power, or it corrupts individuals already in power with the lure of the same widespread power.

    (6) As a result of the government structures found in both systems, the intensification of power and control on the upper level necessarily translates into the usurpation of remaining personal freedoms during its expansion.

    Communism’s failures in practice: Communism’s main failure in practice comes from the failure of a centralized economy to function. Though socialists often attribute it to problems elsewhere, the simple reason behind this occurrence is the mathematic and physical impossibility of managing an economy from a centralized form. One of communism’s main ideals is complete control over industries. In order to efficiently plan industries, communism must simultaneously account for all industries (there are billions of different industries) and their relationship with each other at the same time. Within each specific industry certain goods are internally consumed to produce more of a certain product. An example of this occurrence, which is true in any economic system, is the market for oil. For instance, to drill more oil requires the use of gasoline for transportation, generators, machinery operation, refinery operation, and a dozen other things. Therefore to get more gasoline and drill more oil wells, some existing gasoline must be used up in the process, or internally consumed. This occurrence exists in every industry to varying extents resulting in a massive structure of interlining and constantly changing relationships between all industries. Further, if production in one industry changes, this change effects all other industries in one way or another due to inter linking relationships and internal consumption. On top of these complex internal relations exists a tendency of change relating to substitute and complementary goods effecting related markets and further entangling the complex relationship between industries of a large economy.

    This great complexity provides the root of the problem that inherently dooms communism and socialism from the start. To efficiently manage a centralized economy, all variables of that economy must be accounted for mathematically. This means that internal consumption must be fully compensated for and tightly controlled at optimal level by the government. In that case a centralized government would have to develop methods to accurately calculate the internal consumption rate of all other goods by any one particular industry. The only non free market way to do this is through the form of Leontief input-output equationing where detraction rate relations for one particular industry to all other goods are calculated. Taken that an economy can often have several hundred thousand distinct industries, businesses, and goods, a great deal of information must be accumulated to form an equation for one single industry. This would then have to be repeated for every other industry in the economy. Your result: a million distinct equations with a million distinct internal consumption relationship figures within each of these equations (in other words a million large polynomial equations each with a million variables to be solved for i.e.. 0.3x+2y+0.6z+…..=X, large X being the optimal level of production for that particular industry X as desired by the centralized government). Therefore at any given time the centralized economy could require 1 million squared pieces of information, or 1,000,000,000,000 distinct relationships between specified goods in an economy.

    The greater problem arises as things are complicated more. Not only must these trillion figures of information be researches and related, but this must be done simultaneously. In other words, the established input-output equations for each industry must be solved in a simultaneous multiplication of matrices incorporating the equations of each and every distinct industry at once (remember solving 3 equations together with 3 variables, x y z, in high school algebra? Imagine that only with 1 million equations and 1 million variables). On top of that, this process must be repeated constantly as relationships change due to external conditions (i.e.. a bad crop or striking a new oil well). Since all markets are tied together in varying degrees of relationships, a change in the corn market due to a bad crop necessarily changes each and every other market on varying degrees. Therefore when one market changes in even the slightest form, the entire process of equationing must be repeated and adjusted.

    Taken that such massively complex mathematical relationships are far beyond the capabilities of even the strongest and most modern super computers, it is practically impossible to manage an economy through a centralized government and succeed in doing so (for as has always and will always happen, a non accounted for variable destroys any attempt to manage an economy).

    Fortunately there is a system where all factors are accounted for by natural forces and are adjusted for by the forces of self interest working in check to each other requiring no mathematical relationships to be established. The capitalist free market automatically does what socialist managing attempts and fails at doing mathematically. Natural forces of self interest drive a natural and efficient use of resources and natural compensatory adjustment when a change in one industry spreads through all others. The Soviet Union and other socialist countries failed due to the physical impossibility of managing the complex relationships of industry and resources yet capitalism has survived and thrived by naturally carrying out these tasks for they form the very root of the capitalist system.

    Communism’s Theoretical Failures: Communism strives for the complete equality of all incomes, and therefore, everything. As income approaches complete equality, productivity disappears. For example: people work so they can make money to support themselves. They work driven by the incentive of making more money and succeeding. In capitalist systems, he who chooses not to work suffers the consequences while he who works receives the incentives, money, which he is working for. Human nature includes a desire to “do better” and, therefore, make more money or advance in a job. In an attempt to make more money, people are driven naturally work harder and longer, seek further education for themselves, and develop skills which distinguish them as rare talents among that labor which is available as supply. Under true communism, income is equal. When there is nothing to achieve by working harder or longer, people begin to become idle. People begin to work less or not work at all because there is no longer the incentive of making more money or advancing in job. When there are no workers, production drops to nothing. It will then be true that all incomes are equal but this equal income will be zero.

    Marx misjudged the middle class:
    Communism’s original and most basic principles deal with the rich owners and the workers or proletariats. Unfortunately for Marx’s cause, a third order was coming to power and it would prove to be the larger and more powerful than either the proletariat or the capitalist aristocracy. This third middle grounds was completely misjudged by Marx and incorrectly lumped in with the bourgeois rich. Marx’s entire theory was based on class struggle and a difference in these classes forcing a revolution to be followed by an “equality” of all classes (the irony: Marx and Engels were factory owners when they published the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital!). The petit-bourgeois, Marx’s term for the middle class, was only to further divide the upper and working classes by an irreconcilable rift. In reality, the opposite happened and the middle class actually bridged any “rift,” that is to say if there was one in the first place! The arrival of the middle class practically ruins any chance for this revolution as well as any need for it. Further it presents a variable unaccounted for simply because it fits incorrectly into the communist and socialist theory. Strange that people put faith in a theory that completely misjudges the majority of the population!

    Free will cannot be suppressed: Communism attempts the impossible: to control human individualism by making a society of inherently individual people uniform. Thought is free and independent and, no matter how hard anyone tries, can never be fully controlled. Communism and socialism depend upon ideological compliance with their theories, yet human nature prompts inevitable dissention from such theories. As a result, communism and socialism may achieve full compliance only through coercion, which in turn translates into communism and socialism’s great failure. This failure led to the disastrous massacres of communism which were often attempts to combat opinions different from the communist governments. Try as it may, socialism and communism has never been able to destroy dissenting free thought and form a universal thought: one accepting of the communist/socialist theory necessary for such a theory to be implemented and succeed. It is simply human nature to ask questions and to look for the new and the alternative.

    The Bad Always End Up on Top: Due to the fact that free will exists even under the strictest attempts to oppress it simply due to human nature, compliance with socialism and communism becomes a major problem in a communist or socialist state. In order to combat this free will, noncompliance, disagreement, and dissension it often becomes necessary for an inherently unequal elite to assume authority and power in a communist state in effort to combat this problem. A concentration of widespread power arises at the top among those elite as a natural result of there existing a superior few. Just as Lord Acton noticed “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” large amounts of power intensified in a small area tend to attract those hungry for power while corrupting those in power.

    Examples of “the bad” on top in control economies:
    Josef Stalin, Soviet Union
    Pol Pot, Kmehr Rouge
    Adolph Hitler, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers Party (nazi in short)
    Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet Union
    Fidel Castro, Cuba
    Mao Zedong, China
    Kim Il Sung, North Korea
    Tito, Yugoslavia
    Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
    Huey P. Long, communist leaning governor of Louisiana in the 30’s famous for ‘removing’ opposition

    Communism’s Death Toll: Communists and socialists will often tell you that capitalism “kills” the poor. Statistically, though, it is communism that is the cause of the greatest massacre in the history of the world. This results from starvation due to failed central economies, political killings of those defiant of the system, and killings due to the abuse of power and tyranny inherent and encouraged by an unchecked system. Approximately 100 MILLION deaths by direct murder worldwide can be traced to communism.

    Communism’s massacres:
    – Soviet Union: between 20 and 50 million were put to death at the hands of this evil empire. (some estimates exceed upward of 50 million. As people were sent to camps, the Soviets often deleted all records of that persons existence making exact totals hard to find) Intentional starvings and man made famines were a major killer in the USSR. Worse were the gulag concentration camps (the Soviet equal to Hitler’s concentration camps). At one point in 1940 Stalin held over 10 million people in the gulag camps. Enemies of the government were enslaved here then worked and tortured to death. Others were lined up in forests, shot, and buried in unmarked graves. In one Polish site from Stalin’s occupation of Poland after treaty with Hitler in 1940, almost 5 thousand captured Polish POW’s were lined up and shot at one time. Other cases involved 10 to 15 thousand being lined up and shot. The majority of these killings took place under Stalin’s regime, often referred to as a “reign of terror.” Stalin is estimated to have put 20% of Russia’s population to death.
    – Cambodia: Under the Kmehr Rouge and regime of Pol Pot in the 1970’s, one of the most extreme forms of communism ever was attempted. 2 million were massacred in killing fields in attempts to move toward this “equal form of communism.” The reason behind these massacres came from an attempt to build an “equal” society though the only equality which resulted was death. Those who had distinguishing differences from the government’s planned economy of farmers were murdered. Scientists, doctors, laborers, and teachers with non-agricultural professions were targeted and murdered because they differed from the agricultural profession and created inequalities in jobs. Pol Pot murdered an estimated one fourth of the population of Cambodia.
    – China: Mao Tse-Tung’s “Great Step Forward” is widely known as the greatest disaster in attempt of a centralized economy. Countless millions were murdered and starved to death in China during this period. China also established a series of gulag concentration camps under Mao, complete with slave labor employing over 10 million people on numerous occasions. In fact, China still employs widespread forced labor today. Estimates on China suggest the total to be about 40 million dead.
    – Vietnam: Though the totals on Vietnam are unknown due to poor record keeping and the fact that Vietnam remains communist today, several hundred thousands were murdered in Stalinist fashion of execution and slave labor camps.
    – Others: other death tolls caused by communism by failed schemes in communist China and other communist countries add to the count as do the political prisoners of communism: many who only dared to think freely and differently from the government. Tito’s Yugoslavia has estimates of around 1 million deaths to its credit. Mass murders occurred under the communist/socialist regimes of Fidel Castro in Cuba, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Sandinista’s in Nicaragua, Laos, and Ethiopia. In many of these places we will never know the extent of death caused as a DIRECT result of communism and socialism.

    (For much much more, please visit, online, the Museum of Communism, which documents atrocities from many different forms of collectivism.)

    Every attempt at Communism has either failed or is failing:
    Failed Communist and Socialist Societies: Went down with the Berlin Wall, failed due to overthrow by other forces, abandoned by inhabitants.
    -Brook Farm and other Utopian Communities
    -Soviet Union
    -Eastern Bloc
    -Yugoslavia
    -Sandinista’s Nicaragua
    -Cambodia
    Failing Communist and Socialist Societies: Forced to abandon their theories for moderation, pushed to the brink of failure.
    -Cuba: all but abandoned socialism due to poverty, has become a dictatorship
    -China: seeking capitalist-like reform with an expanded free trade ever since Mao’s failures
    -North Korea: on the brink of starvation due to disastrous failure

    (The antisocialist realizes, of course, because you’ve stridently stated so, that none of the above regimes bear any resemblance whatsoever to your own brand of Marxism. Indeed, this is a very common objection, almost a cliché, you could say, and we do hear it all the time – not insignificantly from many disparate Marxist true believers, who do not at all agree with other true believer Marxist. Please read on.)

    Modern Communists and Socialists: A Movement of Fraud
    This list explains some of the psychological motives behind the neo-socialist/communist motives as well as identifies some major sub movements within the socialist/communist movements as well as the thinking, and fallacies, behind these movements.

    Possibly accounting for over 90% of the people who claim to be socialists or communists, the poser movement is typically followed by those of younger age groups. Most who follow this movement tend to adopt socialism for the sole purpose of social deviance and protest of society’s values. In other words, they hear that communism conflicts with freedom, morality, and other mainstream societal values so they claim to be communists to protest exactly such. Poser followers rarely demonstrate any actual knowledge themselves of the communist and socialist philosophy, though openly claiming to endorse the philosophy. The poser commie movement is not one of true socialism as it adopts only a title of “socialism” with limited and extremely shallow substance behind it. This movement’s motives tend to be limited to a mentality that communism and socialism are against what America stands for and what society teaches one to stand for and therefore must “cool.” Based almost entirely on a desire to find a method to “defy” and “protest” freedom and democracy with a seemingly obvious opposition to it, poser communism is little more than a following of fraudulent foolishness.

    Socialist and Communist Ideologue Movement:
    Typically comprised of those who have extensively studied Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky’s writings (and often little more), this movement rarely acknowledges the dismal failures of the communist and socialist philosophies when instituted in practice. Often claiming “True communism has never really been instituted” and insisting that if it were, it would work, the ideologue movement often follows dreams rather than recognizing the flaws of its reality. Numerous ideologue web sites promising a better society while claiming to sympathize with the workers in an effort to make everything fair and just have sprung up recently with links to this movement. This ideologue movement is often too deluded to realize flaws exist in the socialist and communist theory and therefore it speaks of a utopia physically unattainable due to inherent flaws and simple impossibility. This highly dogmatic ideologue movement often propagandizes communism and socialism with the writings of Upton Sinclair, John Steinbeck, and Leon Trotsky while trying to force this type of thought on others.

    Demagogue Movement:
    This small movement is mostly limited to those who seek to use communism and socialism as a facade for achieving power. Many of histories great communist dictators such as Stalin and Castro are perfect examples of demagogues. Quoting communist theories while working their way to power behind the scenes, demagogues often prove extremely tyrannical when finally on top. The demagogue movement is in its own right an uninvited and unwanted branch of communism/socialism that draws to the theory inevitably for communism and socialism often entail wide, unchecked power consolidated in a very defined few plus a resulting need to encroach upon freedom and liberty, as is inherently necessary for implementation of communist and socialist systems.

    Old Guard Communist Movement:
    The Old Guard Communist Movement is typically a reactionary one comprised of Soviet Union leftovers. Endorsing a return to old Soviet way, though in reality that way was a disastrous failure, as a solution to transition problems in the economies of former Soviet states has become a rallying cry for the Old Guard Movement.”

    (This preceding comes to us, with grateful acknowledgement, from our Tripod and the Capitalist Conservative.)

  28. 29 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:23 am

    (continued)

    You’ve all been very patient, paulitics in particular. Indeed, while we’re on this subject, thank you for your repeated, not to say strident, statements regarding the antisocialist’s “complete ignorance,” which, if we may again borrow from one of your stock phrases, is “so overwhelmingly” glaring: thank you, and again, thank you, it certainly has helped strengthen the position, however weak to begin with, that my property does not entirely belong to me.

    And so taking my “complete ignorance” as absolute truth, which the antisocialist is perfectly willing to do, let us ask once more why is it that others, whomever you deem those others to be, why is it that they have lawful and legal right to any amount (you tell us) of my property and my person? Just in a nutshell. To a person such as the antisocialist “completely ignorant” of Marx, who “clearly hasn’t read or understood any of it” (or was it “obviously” or “blatantly”?), how do you defend that my property and my person are not entirely my own? Please keep always in mind that, being “blatantly ignorant” (or was it “flagrantly” – it seems, retrospectively, there were four or five cycled through with some regularity, but perhaps the antisocialist is still thinking of Rammstein), we’ll want to know where all this is grounded – nature, God, Karl Marx’s authority – where does it come from?

    In response to RPJ, thank you, first of all, for your input. Thank you also for your kind words in calling the antisocialist pompous and long-winded, which, unlike the antisocialist’s name, does get a hyphen. You all are very, very kind, and from all this kindness, “so overwhelmingly” great, the antisocialist has learned a truly eye-popping amount about the socialist motives, methods, and agendas. He really has. That was part of the point.

    You won’t, in response to your first concern, RPJ, get a manifesto from the antisocialist, exactly, but you do bring up an excellent point: there’s an book, rooted in fact after fact after fact after fact, actually called The Capitalist Manifesto, by Andrew Bernstein, which if you’re truly interested in the subject, will answer – and we say this without hyperbole – every single concern you voice above.

    Your fears about predatory pricing, while admirable, are, we assure you, totally unfounded – under, that is, a true laissez-faire economy where the principles of competition and free-trade reign supreme. In fact, it is government intervention, especially antitrust legislation, as well as tariffs, taxes, protectionism, and mercantilism that create these coercive monopolies you fear, RPJ, and with good reason. The antisocialist fears them too. But in order to avoid that manifesto you don’t want, we must simply direct your attention to some fine literature on the subject, including, of course, Socialism by von Mises, which we are embarrassed to keep bringing up as if it were the Communist Manifesto, or something. And yet it does remain, arguably, the most thorough refutation of Marxism and socialism ever offered from an economic standpoint, as many Marxists themselves have stated. Even if you walk away from it not agreeing, we promise you, if you give it an honest read, you won’t walk away from it viewing socialism, in any variety, the same again. At the very least, you’ll be forced to confront his hard and undeniable data. It wasn’t for nothing that von Mises won the Noble Prize, but perhaps Wikipedia would tell us something different. There’s also Human Action, by von Mises, and also How Capitalism Saved America by, dare we say, Doctor Thomas Dilorenzo, which is a fast and fact-filled read that addresses your important concerns above. A brief excerpt here, since you specifically mentioned predatory economic practices (so-called), might be in order:

    “True, on might say, the trusts were dropping prices” (Mr. Dilorenzo is referring to how trusts, roughly what you call corporations, dropped product prices across the board to prices lower than the world had ever before seen, for products the world had never before seen, all of which is a fact not in serious dispute, even among most socialists, to our knowledge.) “But weren’t they just doing this temporarily in hopes of driving all the competition from the market? This, of course, would have been the height of economic suicide – to drop your price below cost for several decades in hopes of someday making a monopoly profit. And remember, even John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil faced hundreds of competitors” (in free markets there are always competitors, RPJ, and there are always thousands more waiting in the wings),”so it would have been rather difficult to drive out all competition…. According to the theory [of predatory pricing], a ‘predatory firm’ or business that possesses a so-called war chest of profits will cut its prices so low as to drive all competitors from the market. Then, when it faces no competition, it will charge monopolistic prices. It is assumed” (please pay close attention)”that at that point no other competition will emerge, despite the large profits being made in the industry. Journalist Ira Tarbell did as much as anyone to popularize this theory in her book on Standar Oil, in a chapter entitled “Cutting to Kill.” (It should be noted that now even most socialists, of which party Ms. Tarbell was one of the loudest members, present company notwithstanding, consider her work too propagandistic to count as scholarship, and yet her very ideas are still espoused by many such as, we presume, you) “To economists, however, predatory pricing is theoretical nonsense and has no empirical validity, either. It has never been demonstrated that a monopoly has ever been created this way, and certainly predatory pricing was not a tactic used by Standard Oil, which was never even a monopoly anyway. In a now-classic article on the topic in the prestigious Journal of Law and Economics, John S. McGee studied the Standard Oil antitrust case (among others) and concluded not only that this company did not practice predatory pricing but also that it would have been irrational and foolish to have attempted such a scheme (Journal of Law and Economics, John McGee, “Predatory Price Cutting)…. As an investment strategy, predatory pricing is all cost and risk and no potential reward. The would-be ‘predator’ stands to lose the most from pricing below its average cost, since, presumably, it already does the most business. If the company is the market leader with the highest sales and is losing money on each sale, then that company will be the biggest loser in the industry. But there is also great uncertainty about how long such a tactic could take: ten years? twenty years? No business would intentionally lose money on every sale for years on end with the pie-in-the-sky hope of someday becoming a monopoly. Besides, even if that were to occur, nothing would stop new competitors from all over the world” (he’s talking about in a laissez-faire system, where your big benevolent left or rightwing governments do not interfere) “from entering the industry and driving prices back down, thereby eliminating any benefits of the predatory pricing strategy…. Finally there is a logical contradiction in the theory. The theory assumes a war chest of profits that is used to subsidize the money-losing strategy of predatory pricing. But where did this money come from? The theory posits that predatory pricing is what creates a war chest of ‘monopoly profits’ but at the same time it simply assumes that these profits already exist….” (How Capitalism Saved America)

  29. 30 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:24 am

    (continued)

    Of course this is only the tip of the iceberg, as you can imagine, and no doubt you’ll have many other environmental and economic questions and concerns anent capitalism. To quickly address only a handful of those:

    “To the brooding leftist, it is inconceivable that people can work out their own problems, that trade can be to people’s mutual advantage, that society can be essentially self-managing, or that attempts to use government power to reshape and manage people might backfire. Their faith in government knows few limits; their faith in people is thin or nonexistent. This is why they are a danger to liberty.

    “The remarkable fact about the conflict theory of society held by the left is that it ends up creating more of the very pathologies that they believe have been there from the beginning. The surest way to drive a wedge between labor and capital is to regulate the labor markets to the point that people cannot make voluntary trades. Both sides begin to fear each other. It is the same with relations between races, sexes, the abled and disabled, and any other groups you can name. It is the same with international relations. A tariff or trade sanction is nothing but war by another means. The best path to creating conflict where none need exist is to put a government bureaucracy in charge.”

    “This view is the very heart of the old socialist vision. They believed that the key conflict in history was between those who owned capital and those who worked for capital. The gain of the capitalists always comes at the expense of labor; similarly, the advance of labor can only come from the expropriation of the capitalist class through a revolution that is just because the laborers are only taking back what was expropriated from them.

    “Now, as time has passed, we’ve come to see the error of this view. Capital and labor do not exist in fundamental conflict. Their relations are managed by contract in the same way that relations between laborers and capitalists are managed by contract. Moreover, these two groups are not hermetically sealed off from each other. Capitalists are workers, and workers can be capitalistic owners of their own property. Only in the most primitive stages does it appear otherwise.

    “Once it became obvious that Marxism had mischaracterized the workings of capitalism, the left looked for other forms of conflict to confirm their worldview. Most recently, they have begun to advance the idea that man’s interests can only be pursued at the expense of nature. The flourishing of one occurs at the expense of the other. Thus it is that a seemingly happy and prosperous people could in reality be doing deadly damage to the earth, the interests of which can only be advanced at the expense of prosperous consumers and producers. The left accepts the reality that this will make everyone poorer, as all forms of socialism do, but they tell us that this is good for us and good for the planet.

    “The traditional and correct answer to the conflict theory is that there is essentially nothing government can do to improve the workings of society. During the Great Depression, for example, most everyone on the left thought that government was the only way out. The hard left favored Communist revolution. The soft left favored the New Deal. The old liberals pointed out that it was government itself that brought about the crisis, and that more government intervention could only make matters worse. This was a rational response, but it did not carry the day” (Rockwell, 2006).

    To avoid a full-fledged manifesto here, the antisocialist must again refer you to some of the aforementioned literature. The good news is this: you’ll like these books. Honestly. You’ll like them if for no other reason than that you’ll see the precise way your socialistic concerns are addressed, even if you don’t end up agreeing with them. We must, after all, at some point read more than Karl Marx; must at some point hear more than that frozen dogma.

    Finally, to clarify one more time what the antisocialist is for: “Free-market capitalism is a network of free and voluntary” (i.e. non-coercive) “exchanges in which producers work, produce, and exchange their products for the products of others through prices voluntarily arrived at.”
    So-called “state capitalism” consists of “one or more groups making use of the coercive apparatus of the government … by expropriating the production of others by force …” be it direct or indirect.

    The United States Pilgrims, for instance, “encountered what is often called ‘the free-rider problem’ which is difficult to solve without dividing property into individual or family-sized units. And this is the course of action that William Bradford wisely took.”

    The antisocialist only quotes this latter thing because if you really want a fascinating glimpse into a real-life example of “some” property being expropriated for “the rest of society” read Mr. Tom Bethell’s book The Noblest Triumph (1998), and you’ll get a good idea too of the fruits of anarcho-synicalism at work in real life.

    paulitics wrote: > Now, both Marx and I would hold that the progression from slavery to feudalism and from feudalism to capitalism were good ones and necessary ones, we just hold that capitalism is not the perfection of human society and that more progressions are necessary beyond capitalism.

    Well, the antisocialist urges you all, paulitics included, to rethink, even if only briefly, the notion that rights are neither timeless nor immutable, but are, rather, more akin to “slavery and feudalism” (as my perspicacious correspondent rather remarkably states) out of which we will all soon evolve. We promise you that this just one more assault upon individual freedom. This one thing alone is reason enough to reject Marxism, because once the principle is conceded that each human is not the rightful owner of his or her own self and property, one thing only will result.

    As Richard Feynman said: concede the principle and the game is lost.

    Remember that survival is not possible without property; that the life and the property of every individual is entirely her own – by right; that the only alternative to this, no matter how “advanced” and “sophisticated” and “expanded” the society or the philosphy, anything less is coercion.

    The only way to “expand” individual rights is to deny the natural right of some other individual or individuals. It’s a logical checkmate. There can by definition be no such thing as the “right” to the person or property of another – to any extent – just as there can, by definition, be no such thing as the right to enslave – and for identical reasons. Your life is absolutely your own. And so is mine. Your property is absolutely your own. And so is mine.

    “Life, faculties, production – in other words, individuality, liberty, property – this is man. These precede all human legislation and organization, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place. If the purpose of the law is the protection of each, no law or person may – without contradiction – infringe upon the same rights of another. Such a perversion of force would be contrary” (The Law by Frederic Bastiat).

    It would be, if we may put the point paradoxically, unlawful law.

    “The evil of the initiation of force lies in the fact that force is the negation of the mind. It makes the victim act not by the guidance of his independent perception, but by the dictates of coercion. Only if reason is a virtue, therefore, can force be a vice. But to uphold reason as a virtue requires a specific code of morality. It requires a morality the standard of which is man’s life, and which recognizes that human survival depends on human rationality. With that as an ethical base, one can demonstrate that the initiation of physical force (including the expropriation of property) is anti-life and thus immoral. In this approach, liberty is indeed a prerequisite of virtue” (Peter Schwartz, Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty).

    We can even, if you prefer, do away altogether with the term “compossible rights” and stick to inalienable. Rights are inalienable in this sense:

    “Persons unaccustomed to attach exact meanings to words will say that the fact that a man may be unjustly executed or imprisoned negates this proposition [of inalienable rights]. It does not. The right is with the victim nonetheless; and very literally it cannot be alienated, for alienated means passing into the possession of another. One man cannot enjoy either the life or liberty of another. If he kills ten men he will not thereby live ten lives or ten times as long; nor is he more free if he puts another man in prison. Rights are by definition inalienable; only privileges can be transferred. Even the right to own property cannot be alienated or transferred, though a given item of property can be. If one man’s rights are infringed, no other man obtains them; on the contrary, all men are thereby threatened with
    a similar injury.” (Isabel Paterson, God of the Machine.)

    Well, we once again thank you all so much for your blinding graciousness and hospitality.

    Do remember, though, that no matter how sophisticated any argument may seem, nothing in the universe will ever change the fact that your life, your whole body, your whole soul and your whole person, are yours by right. You own them. You absolutely own your property. “If one wishes to advocate a free society, one must realize that the indispensable foundation is the principle of individual rights…. And if one wishes to gauge the relationship of freedom to the goals of today’s intellectuals, one may gauge it by the fact that the concept of individual rights is evaded, distorted, perverted, [‘expanded’] and seldom discussed … ‘Rights’ are a moral concept – the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others – the concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social context – the link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law…. Every political system is based on some code of ethics. The dominant ethics of mankind’s history were variants of the altruist-collectivist doctrine which subordinated the individual to some higher authority, either mystical or social. Consequently, most political systems were variants of the same statist tyranny, differing only in degree, not in basic principle, limited only by the accidents of tradition, of chaos, of bloody, strife and periodic collapse. Under all such systems, morality was a code applicable to the individual, but not to society. Society was placed outside the moral law, as its embodiment of source or exclusive interpreter – and the inculcation of self-sacrificial devotion to social duty was regarded as the main purpose of ethics in man’s earthly existence…. Since there is no such thing as ‘society,’ since society is only a number of individual men, this meant in practice that the rulers of society were exempt from moral law; they held total power and exacted obedience – on the implicit principle of: ‘The good is that which is good for society (or for the collective, the race, the nation), and the ruler’s edicts are its voice on earth….’ This is true of all statist systems, under all variants of the altruist-collectivist ethics, mystical or social…. Their common characteristic is the fact that society is above moral law … The principle of individual rights represents the extension of morality into the social system – as a limitation on the power of the state, or as man’s protection against the force of the collective … All previous systems regard man as a sacrificial means to the ends of others” (emphasis mine) “and society as an end in itself…. All previous systems held that man’s life belongs to society … that any freedom he enjoys is only by favor, by the permission of society … not that man’s life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only moral purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights” (“Man’s Rights” CTUI).

    Best of all possible regards.

  30. 31 antisocialist 28 August, 2007 at 2:36 am

    I do again beg your pardon for multiple posting like this. Seriously. I know it’s tacky as hell. I would very much like you, paulitics, to read it, but feel free to delete it afterwards. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t have even bothered responding if I’d known it was going to come to all that. But it was already all written again, you see, before I even tried to submit. And when your blog wouldn’t take it in one chunk, after I’d already spent another 10 hours once more today rewriting it, I thought I might kill over. In any case, you won’t be hearing from the antisocialist anymore.

  31. 32 Lina 28 August, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    Paul,

    I wanted to commend you on your extraordinary patience when responding to the-antisocialist.com. Although it is vital to allow political discussion and debate, I was rather surprised, insulted even, by some of his/her/their remarks. I am an avid reader of paulitics.com because it offers refreshing insight on a plethora of topics. I do not, however, visit this site and become inexplicably “distracted by the jargon and the hair-splitting,” and turn promptly into a sheep. Pardon me, that’s Comrade Sheep. I do not need to be reminded “to not take [my] eye off the ball.” If I want in-depth anti-socialist data, I will, and in fact do, go to forums that sustain anti-socialist ideals. I found it presumptuous and intrusive for him/her/them to assume that your readers do not seek out conflicting opinions to strengthen their knowledge.

    Anti-socialist,

    Paul noticed that no one had taken advantage of your handy hyper links, and you responded that “you don’t bring a cock to a dogfight.” Well, Paul’s original post was 446 words, while your combined responses were no less than 21809 words (including three links to your website). I’d say you certainly brought your cock out.

    With the warmest regards,

    Lina

  32. 33 Big Guy in TB 29 August, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    To the antisocialist:

    Good!! What an incredible windbag. If he / it wants to get a message thru, then quality of what is said is better than quantity.

    I do enjoy reading much of the information on this site, even tho I am not “this far to the left”, and so I glaze over obscenely lenthy ramblings such as his. His message, whatever it is, didn’t get thru my thick skull.

    Keep up the good work Paulitics.

    BGITB

  33. 34 Terry 1 September, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    I can’t add anything further to this debate, but I can comment:

    “It’s akin to me saying that because my name is Paul, I am therefore the St. Paul that Catholics talk about all the time. Well why not?”

    – That was great. I’m so sick of responding to that question as well. Keep up the good work, Paul. You nailed him very appropriately – that’s one of the most dedicated arguments I’ve ever read.

    I’m sure these guys are on the Empire’s payroll. They crop up all across cyberspace like little clone warriors, defending capitalism with bloat and bollocks. Seriously, well done Comrade!

    T.

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  1. 1 Marginalized Action Dinosaur » Text Of Instructions for the Red Militia, Spain 1936 Trackback on 22 August, 2007 at 6:14 am
  2. 2 Paulitics will be troll-free for the month of November « Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations Trackback on 3 November, 2007 at 11:36 am

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