BUMPED: from APRIL 17, 2016. I was searching for something else (there’s a lot that turns up with over 36,000 posts in here) but came across this about New Harmony – America’s SECOND run at Socialism (the Plymouth Pilgrims were first, IMHO) that failed horribly because all attempts at Socialism fail. Why? There will NEVER be “the right people to implement” because they refuse, unlike our Founders, to recognize that we humans can’t (or won’t) be “evolved”. They view us as mere parts of their “social machine” to be moved around as THEY want. Have a read because BERNIE SANDERS!
If you are always reading, you will learn something new all the time! And this I didn’t know, that socialism (and the tendency of Progressives to try (force?) to “perfect” others arrived here on our shores much earlier than the late 1800s in this piece labeled “The Character of a Socialist” (emphasis mine, reformatted):
Upon initial inspection, Bernie Sanders’ near monolithic appeal to America’s youngest voters is perplexing. Why would the first generation of the 21st Century gravitate toward a living relic of the 20th Century who has made it his objective to rehabilitate the very worst idea of the 19th Century? Some say that it is a lamentable aspect of the modern age that history is poorly taught, and its lessons must be eternally relearned. The appeal of Bernie Sanders-style socialism may, however, have as many roots in the simple absence of a degree of prudence and wisdom, qualities that cannot be conferred in a classroom.
Nope, sometimes you need “failure experience” – something that these youngers haven’t had the time to get (and still quite full of themselves to boot). Certainly, a form of Socialism was practiced by the Pilgrims – every Thanksgiving I put up this post to show, in an object lesson, that socialism failed and that ONLY once a turn to private property and individualism saved that nascent colony. But there was another attempt, fairly early on, to implement a form of communism / socialism, New Harmony, that utterly failed for about the same reasons. Why is it that socialists won’t learn from history – or why don’t we Free Marketers talk about these two (and loads of other failures) more often?
A number of surveys have demonstrated that younger voters under the age of 30 have maintained an infatuation with the ideal of socialism. “In fact, millennials are the only age cohort in which more are favorable toward socialism than unfavorable,” wrote The Federalist’s Joy Pullmann and the Cato Institute’s Emily Ekins. They present a compelling litany of reasons that seek to explain why the socialist project fails to repel the Millennial generation as it does their elders. The end of the Cold War, the deferred costs of education, historical whitewashing, a culture that rewards participation rather than achievements, and simple ignorance, they contend, have rehabilitated the collectivist idea. This is all fair, but a factor that they fail to note and which cannot be divorced from the appeal of socialism is the romance inherent in any dramatic social upheaval.
“Caring is sharing” – collectivism masked as being nice – is the phrase that these youngsters come out of school knowing. We’ve seen that the education “Self-Esteem” movement has been a failure, rewarding students as if they had actually earned something even as all that has happened is to show up to get their trophy. And given all the videos I’ve posted, they seemingly have received these trophies without actually showing any aptitude at all – a perfect storm to create the “Entitlement generation” – and socialism is now just the next step?
Chicago Tribune reporter Ron Grossman performed a service with a recent confessional in which he revealed that his youthful attachment to Marxist ideology never truly abated. “Perhaps it is impractical. But it’s enchanting,” he noted in an effort to explain the present political moment. “And socialism has gone from a dirty word to the virtual lapel button of a grandfatherly senator who packs them in like a rock star.” In confessing his own attachment to the exciting allure of collectivist governance (as opposed to its efficacy), he exposes the socialist’s fatal conceit.
Yeah, really enchanting for the 100s of millions that died last century “for the collective” at the hands of their own governments. How about those in Cuba and Venezuela – how’s their standard of living in those “worker paradises”? I just don’t understand the romanticism associated with the idea that your “democrat apparatchiks” (I know, an intended oxymoron) will determine all of your choices in life for you. Ask those that lived under those regimes about this (have a bookmark around here somewhere with a few bon mots of those that survived such totalitarian States and are looking in horror that someone like Bernie is running so well as an open socialist).
Grossman indulges in Marxian fantasy of historical inevitability [Ah yes, that twisted phrase “the right side of history” -Skip]. He contends that the middle class is shrinking and, as a result, socialism’s good name is being restored. The Middle Class is shrinking, but this is not altogether a lamentable condition. “[I]t’s important to note that the middle class is shrinking not just because more people are poor but also because more people are rich,” observedFiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman, citing Pew Research Center data. He noted that the data supporting what Pew dubbed “the hollowing out of the middle-class” reveals that most demographic groups have seen their income status rise since 1971, with the exception of Hispanics – a predominantly immigrant group that has inflated disproportionately in this period.
It has always been noted that as Government grows bigger, individual freedom diminishes. The only historical inevitability is that unless Government, its enabling politicians and bureaucrats, is continuously beaten back with sticks (machetes?), it will grow. And lately here in the US, even with eternal vigilance, it just keeps growing in size and intrusiveness (and as we discussed on our GrokTALK! show today, the feckless Republican are part and parcel in allowing it to grow). Allowed to grow much more, we will reach that point where we will have reached the pinnacle of what the Socialists / Communists want – The State fully in control.
Grossman, the nitwit, hold onto his fantasy even as we watched beaten down people, truly oppressed people, throw off such systems at the end of the last century. If they were all that wonderful, why would they have done so?
The vaunted working class that so frustratingly refused to develop a revolutionary consciousness in the early 20th Century is today just as irritatingly married to the promise of capitalism. The solution to this problem for socialists is today the same as it was in 1905: these obdurate fools who vote against their best interests require a “vanguard” to lead them toward the salvation with which they appear so disinterested. According to Grossman, this revolutionary spear point of the socialist movement will be a class of entitled undergraduates who have been robbed of the “enhanced earnings they were promised when they went to college.”
Enter in, stage Left, is Occupy Wall Street. And Democracy Spring (which would result in, here in the US, the Republic Long Night and Winter). At long last, we see this cadre of embittered, entitled, and lazy cretins demanding that they get things to which they have not earned.
But we have a long history of this – remember, if it was not for Engels being Marx’s patron and financial support, he would been an unknown lost in history (drat).
It is a historical accident that the ideals of socialism enumerated by Engels and popularized by Marx are linked to the drama of revolutionary sentiment as they were birthed in the tumultuous year of 1848. It was in this year that a wave of popular revolutionary sentiment swept the European continent and, through some clever public relations work, was coopted and linked to the idea of revolutionary progressivism. This brand of radical social reorganization was not the work of Marx or Engels alone. Before progressivism was popular, there was Robert Owen.
SEE? For years I have pointed out that our current day Progressives are just renamed, relabled, smoke and mirror Socialists. And so when Hillary, and the rest of the pack of Progressives say no, we should say yes.
And here is the dreary tale of yet another failure of “shared prosperity” and “people perfected”:
Born in 1771, Owen suffered the same messianic complex that so often afflicts revolutionary socialists. He was, however, by no means initially anti-capitalist. The Welsh-born industrialist made a name for himself as a mill owner in Scotland, where he not only produced goods but produced a new way of life. The employees who lived on his property were accrued the benefits of a variety of reforms that were, in the early 19th Century, quite radical; the abolition of child labor, an eight-hour work day, and other social reforms. He also imposed on his employees a variety of codes of personal conduct, to which they were expected to conform or be punished.
Owen was a believer in a philosophy that has characterized so many revolutionary movements and which ultimately led to their downfall. Owen was an environmental determinist. He believed that mankind could be remade and his worst impulses abolished forever if he were raised in a sufficiently regimented society. Unlike the American Revolution, the product of which was a system that recognized the basest elements of human nature and sought to constrain it through a series checks on power, Owen’s philosophy was that of the French Revolutionary. It is the idea that mankind can be remade into a creature capable of realizing utopia.
Which absolutely requires, once the subjects figure it out, that a totalitarian system be employed to keep order. After all, how many people do you know LIKE being told how to do and think about EVERYTHING all the time? And the more that people complain or rebel, the more “The Man” is going to tighten down the screws – it MUST or it fails immediately.
Owen took his vision to Indiana where he pursued a radical new experiment in social organization. In 1824, he purchased an existing settlement and founded the town of New Harmony. This was a truly socialistic society in which private property itself was done away with. The fate that befell New Harmony is a familiar one. The idealists who were attracted to this communal society were intellectuals and experts, and not the workers whose lots he had so hoped to better. Productivity collapsed. Industries that had once thrived under Johann Georg Rapp – a German philosopher and leader of a religious sect called Harmonists who initially founded the settlement – withered or collapsed entirely. Within two years, and following a substantial amount of instability and tumult, the experiment failed. To account for this disaster, Owen did what all revolutionary socialists have done ever since in order to exculpate themselves for failure: he blamed the ignoble character of the participants in his great experiment.
Let me translate into current Socialist parlance: gosh, we just didn’t have the right people doing this. Hope springs eternal with these kind that are bound and determined to make life miserable for others. And that is THE main issue – those wishing to implement socialism REALLY don’t respect others.
Owen’s son was better able to diagnose the problem with New Harmony and, in so doing, identified the key failure of socialism. “All cooperative schemes which provide equal remuneration to the skilled and industrious and the ignorant and idle must work their own downfall,” he wrote, “for by this unjust plan, they must of necessity eliminate the valuable members and retain only the improvident, unskilled, and vicious.”
And there is never a “gentle” socialist, is there?
Who are Bernie Sanders’ supporters? While they are growing in number by the day as Hillary Clinton’s campaign limps toward the finish line, their demographic profile is relatively consistent. They are predominantly male, white, younger, have at least some college education, and reside in the middle of the income spectrum (making between $30 and $74,000 per year, according to Pew’s latest survey). This is a demographic profile that would be familiar to any of the utopian socialists who struggled with popularizing their vision over the course of the last 200 years. They are imbued with the imprudent self-assuredness that leads them to believe themselves capable enough to drag the unthinking masses into a better future, whether they want it or not.
THere is no “asking” in Socialism. Think of when Democrat politicians talk about “asking” more from those “more fortunate amongst us” – there never is a chance of saying “no”. In this, we see the beginnings of Socialism – the ever present need to take more and more since there is NO recognition of others’ Right to Private Property. As we talked about on the show today, the Democrats always talk about the US as a wealthy nation (forgetting for the moment our $20 Trillion in nation debt) – they are always eyeing the property (cash) of private citizens as considering it their own for Government to take and spend THEIR way.
Surely there are unique historical factors that have led to the rehabilitation of socialism in the United States, but there are also timeless traits of human character that have created this circumstance, too. There will always be those who are convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority; who lack the wisdom to be cognizant of their own limitations. Perhaps no amount of education can ever change that.