Individualism vs Collectivism

Episode 0 Podcast – Brandon and Jenn discuss Individualism vs. Collectivism


Why Can’t Hillary Clinton Stop Lying?



Why Capitalism Works and Communism Doesn’t


Recently, while visiting Cuba, President Obama said that we shouldn’t worry about Capitalism on Socialism, but just “choose what works.” Um, okay. Well, we know what works, and it isn’t Socialism.
Why is this so? It is important in this dumbed down age to be able to articulate why Capitalism is superior to Socialism. To the young and to the poor, Socialism sounds very enticing. A lack of worry, no struggle, no pain. Your needs met regardless of whether you work to meet them. An “Iron Rice Bowl.” The reality is far different. In China the promise of an Iron Rice Bowl turned into fifty million dead of starvation. Oppression killed tens of millions more. The same story unfolded in the USSR, Cambodia, North Korea, etc. etc. In Venezuela today we see the breakdown of their economy leading to shortages, unrest, and oppression – again.
“Why can’t Socialism work?” the true believers ask. Maybe it just hasn’t been done correctly, or by the right people? The truth is Socialism can’t work for a very basic and simple reason – it goes against human nature. It tries to break the sociological equivalent of the law of gravity: that each human being will seek their own good (which most often includes the good of their family.)
Capitalism succeeds and prospers because it aligns self-interest with the interests of others. Under Capitalism, one can only succeed and prosper by meeting the needs of others. You must make a product, or perform a service, that people need or want and are willing to pay for. By exchanging their money for this product or service, an individual makes a rational choice that MAKES THEIR LIFE BETTER.
In exchange for their “money,” their store of value, they now have food to eat, or clothing to wear, or a roof over their head. Their standard of living has improved. Only by providing these need and wants can an entrepreneur in a Capitalist society make a profit. The incentives are aligned so that, only by doing good for others, the capitalist does well for himself. The importance of incentives cannot be overstated.
Under Socialism, the incentives are reversed. Now, instead of giving to others – providing a product or service – the incentive becomes forcibly taking from others that which they have which you do not. If one is to receive without producing, what value is there in producing? And if one is a producer taxed more and more heavily the more productive one becomes – again, what value is there in that? The incentive becomes doing the least possible labor in exchange for goods. Relationships between the citizenry will always become adversarial because it is based on who is taking and who is receiving. Rather than mutually beneficial arrangements, jealousy, envy, and resentment reign. Because government becomes the arbiter of who gets what, large commercial interests focus their efforts on pleasing the government rather than pleasing their customers.
This is where industry begins to break down. The more producers are punished, the less, of everything, that is produced. The less that is produced the more prices rise, and the more unavailable products become. It’s a vicious cycle which has played out repeatedly.
Socialism pretends to appeal to the best in human nature, but in fact it appeals to the worst. The historical evidence of the last hundred years is crystal clear. Socialism is failure. It leads to misery, poverty, and oppression. Argue with people that claim to support Socialism (or Communism – they are one and the same for all practical purposes) and explain to them why it can’t work here – or anywhere.

And check out his NPR documentary, which lays out the history of collectivism and all of its failures.

Damn it feels good to be a Clinton

Nominated for the political ad hall of fame…

Students United

Conservatism in a Nutshell – the Benefits of Trade


Conservatism in a Nutshell – The Benefits of Trade

One Foundational belief of conservatism is the benefit of trade. I don’t say “the free market” because that then causes pointless arguments about what constitutes a “free market,” and the incorrect though oft repeated statement that “there’s no such thing as a free market” (oh really? – ever heard of a black market? It’s entirely devoid of regulation, a truly “free” market.)

So we’ll stick with “trade.” Trade occurs naturally. It is a natural human inclination. Trade is mutually beneficial. It has to be or it will not occur, absent coercion or fraud. Both parties benefit, and this is critical, both are better off than they would otherwise be.

Let’s say we’re in a classroom. I have two pencils, but no paper. You have two sheets of paper, but no pencil. We each trade one of our goods for the other. Now we are both better off, not just because we have something we didn’t have before, but because that something now allows us to take notes, to be productive, to accomplish a task.

Not only are we each individually better off, but the world is better off, because it now has two citizens which are better educated and more productive than they would otherwise be.

The division of labor and specialization allows people to do what they are best at. Adam Smith’s example was of a native who was particularly good at making spears. Rather than hunt for his food, which he was no good at, he stayed home and made spears, at which he excelled. Those who were good at hunting could hunt and then trade meat for spears. The spears are better quality because they are made by a master. Hunting takes less time because it is done by an expert.

Not only are both better off, because by doing what they do best they can trade their surplus for necessities and have free time as well, but “society” is better off because their ability to focus on what they do best creates higher quality and surplus goods which can then be traded to others in the community.

The division of labor and innovation allows humankind to enjoy an ever increasing supply of goods and material comfort. Charity does not exist in societies of subsistence living, charity exists in societies of abundance, and abundance can only be created by trade.

My response to Irfan Khawaja

Irfan Khawaja, who was involved in the Donald Trump / Muslims celebrating kerfuffle, and I have had an ongoing debate online. This is my latest contribution to it.

You can find the back and forth here, and the Glenn Kessler post which is referenced here.

Hi Irfan,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my post. This will be a long post as I am going to really try to unpack this, so that it’s as clear as possible, and try to avoid hostility, although I am as frustrated as you appear to be.

I believe you are sincere in your belief that Trump is “lying” and sincere in your belief that you are unbiased and unemotional regarding this topic. I’m taking the time, because I believe this topic is extremely important and consequential for our nation, and I want to make the effort to help the media see things from the average American perspective. I also want to be clear that the issue to me here, the thing I’m really focused on, is not the celebrations themselves, but on the media’s biased treatment of candidates and issues in a way that distorts reality for the average news consumer.

I will post a list of links at my blog and link it at the bottom here. It may be necessary to view those links as a prelude to what I’m saying, for context.

Ok. So, you defined some narrow parameters which makes sense to keep the conservation clear. You limit the area to Patterson, New Jersey, in front of the public library on South Main Street, on the day of September 11th, and I wholeheartedly agree that there were not thousands and thousands of Muslims celebrating. So far so good.

In Jersey city there were other protests, and in New York City, and apparently in Dearborn. An FBI agent told an ABC affiliate that the FBI received quote “stacks and stacks” of reports. All of this is linked below. So my judgment, just as an average consumer of information, would be that it is likely there were hundreds of people celebrating in New Jersey, and certainly hundreds across the country, and countrywide it is possible there were thousands. We just don’t know. So for the sake of argument, to be conservative, let’s say dozens or even tens. I think that’s fair.

Now obviously, if we are using the dozens figure for argument, then what Donald Trump said was clearly inaccurate, and I have never argued that it wasn’t. But here is the catch. In my mind that still doesn’t qualify as a lie. A lie is something which has no truth to it whatsoever, which is intended to deceive. To use Glenn Kessler’s Pinocchio standard, if I were in charge I would give Trump’s statement two or three Ps, depending upon the amount of evidence I was able to accumulate that celebrations actually occurred. I did very little research and was able to come up with quite a bit.

Members of the media have made unequivocal statements such as “it never happened” “he’s delusional” “he’s making it up.”

To say “it never happened” is a binary statement. It’s a one or a zero. To say he’s making it up, is again, to my mind, binary, because the average person consuming that information is going to assume that that means that nothing of the kind ever happened in any way, whatsoever. Which is also not true. Can I call that a lie? On the scale of dishonesty, I find it to be a bigger deviation from the truth than what Trump said.  Trump merely exaggerated, or mis-remembered, but they denied that any such event ever happened at all. They would get at least three, if not four, Ps from me. And worse, neither Glenn Kessler, nor any of the others who made such statements, have come out to correct them, to my knowledge

So let’s talk about the weight of the evidence. Rudy Giuliani, Former police chief Bernie Kerik, former New Jersey Police officer Walter Zalisko and others have corroborated that there were indeed celebrations. I really don’t know what else needs to be said about that. These are multiple confirmations from people who were in positions of authority and present at the time. There were multiple other witnesses. Smart phones weren’t ubiquitous  then, as they are now, so I don’t think that having video is a fair standard. If the testimony of multiple witnesses were not sufficient, there would be very few criminals prosecuted.

Now, why is this important? If the media had addressed this issue correctly, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If Glenn Kessler had done his homework, and found the media mention in his own newspaper, people would not be continuing to discuss it. Just last night I read Chris Cilliza piece in the Washington Post where he repeats the lie that Trump “lied” about the celebrations. Forgive me if this drives me batty. I think people are being deceived.

But for many of us, this is a very familiar phenomenon. The media has a narrative. Anything which fits the media narrative is trumpeted, anything which does not is suppressed. It’s that simple. Thankfully, we now have alternative sources, particularly the internet, where we can do our own fact checking, and cross reference.

I said I believed that you believed that you were unbiased. And I do, believe that you believe it, but here are some statements which, for me, call that into question:

“What this really proves is that people like you are uninterested in the truth. You can’t think, you can’t read, and you can’t handle complexity. You just desperately want it to be true that there was a Muslim celebration in Paterson, because it re-affirms all of your prejudices about Muslims–and apparently, reality has to take a back seat to your wants and ultimatums. Well, I’m sorry I can’t help you. The help you need is not help of a kind I can give.”

“<b>”As a personal matter, I just found it very hard to believe that such an event would take place.” </b>

It sounds to me as if you desperately <b>don’t </>want it to be true that Muslims celebrated.

“Well, fantasy is what it is, at best. At worst, it’s a cynical lie intended to turn people against Muslims and equate them all with terrorists.”

You not only again refer to events which did occur, to a much lesser degree, as fantasy, but also assign bad motives.

“I haven’t shouted down the people questioning me and tried my best to distract them from the totally legitimate questions they’ve asked. I also don’t have a long track record of bullshitting about everything I talk about, whenever I open my big mouth to talk about it.”

<b>” If anything, the media has played softball too long with him. The media would better serve accuracy if they held his feet to the fire until he really felt it.”</b>

That pretty much speaks for itself. :)

I understand why the idea that Muslims were celebrating might be offensive to you. I understand why you might have an inclination to dismiss the evidence. I even understand why you would have a pre-disposition to assume Trump has the worst of intentions.

Whether  Muslims celebrated is not a critical fact, but it is something that Americans have a right to know. Particularly now, when the crisis has passed, and with decisions that need to be made regarding immigration. Yes, put it in context. Report it accurately, but do not try to imply that it never happened, when in fact it did.

I think the media believes their intentions are pure. They think of themselves as adults, protecting children from the whole truth, or tell what are considered to be “little white lies” to keep their behavior in line. This is wholly inappropriate and offensive as far as I’m concerned. It is not their place. They have a duty to the FACTS, without spin, without “interpretation,” nothing more. Commentators can comment, but reporters should report. Without letting what they wish to be true become the actual truth in their minds. The media has a duty to the people to be accurate in their reporting, even when that truth is unpleasant.

I can’t quite put my finger on why, but to even have to write this makes me profoundly sad. What is happening in the media is destroying their credibility, and dividing the nation. There may come a time in the future when the media is needed to impart true information to the people and they may not be believed. I don’t think this is a good thing for our country. We all have biases and we are all human. What I am asking of you, Glenn Kessler, Tom Brokaw and the rest of them is to stop, take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and examine your own biases, because it’s getting out of hand. You have a responsibility to the people.

Want to know what Cultural Marxism is?

The best, most succinct, explanation of cultural Marxism I’ve seen.

Created by “RockingMrE” on Youtube.

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