Brought over from Assistant Village Idiot. I am bringing over about one out of five this week, more than my usual one out of ten.
A young friend among my wife’s FB friends posted a meme about blank supermarket shelves, comparing the empty shelves of socialism, which conservatives decry, and “late-stage-capitalism” empty shelves during the TP-and-disposable-wipes crisis of 2020. He did not say that this proved equivalency, merely noting that he had seen the two posted near each other in some way online. He is a polite young man, a middle-school teacher whose wife is homeschooling, and I think he doesn’t want to offend. I have seen other posts that suggest he is very sympathetic to socialism.
His first two commenters, both also young, were thorough opposites. The first noted that under capitalism, the shelves would be restocked tomorrow. I thought that an efficient argument, and am grateful that there are young people who can manage such things on short notice. The other made the comparison that “if you don’t like people hoarding toilet paper, then imagine how much damage it does when an extremely small fraction of the world’s population hoards so much of its wealth.” I am no longer on FB and don’t like to drag my wife into such discussions, so I wrote nothing. I did begin to think about what, exactly, I might theoretically say, reasoning that I might have to answer this in some context sometime. The first young man got in very quickly, while I was looking at the page: “Hoarding. lol”
I thought that similarly efficient. That is the key problem. I should research who that young man is and put his name forward as someone we should elect to something. Except politics would be a waste for him. Perhaps I should sneak over and just let him know I’m impressed. He may need encouragement. There is a sizable group who thinks that the wealthy are in some sense hoarding, a good communist accusation that is thoroughly inaccurate. The mental picture is of Scrooge McDuck.
(embedded gif of Scrooge McDuck diving into a pile of gold coins)
I suggest that this is not just a humorous exaggeration on my part. They may be sophisticated enough to think that it is in bank accounts (Narrator: It’s not in bank accounts), or in stocks or property (not in the usual sense, no), but they still think that it is sitting somewhere, not doing any real work. Their picture is that other people have paid money into their various accounts, and this could be readily disbursed to others, if we could just pry it loose. That it might be the estimated value of a company that is employing people and providing a service or product others are interested in does not enter into their imagination.
For those who think I am being unfair to such folks – let us call them Bernie Bros, though the thinking permeates even the more reasonable Democrats like Yang – please notice he wrote “hoarding.” I didn’t make him say that. He thinks that. And I have heard such things enough times that I feel confident they are a significant portion of the Democratic Party. Are they a majority? A significant minority? Only 20% of that group? It doesn’t matter. This is a sizable group that is batshit crazy and they have power. (They don’t think they have power because they do not relent until they have control, and then move the goalposts until they have even greater power. I gather that even the Scandinavians outside the major cities have had just about enough.)
It will be argued that plenty of Democrats believe in capitalism. Look at
Hunter Joe Biden, of Dunder-Mifflin fame. John Kerry liked capitalism well enough to marry it. Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama – all of them started out with deep suspicions of capitalism but came to love it. Notice that they like the old-fashioned plutocrat capitalism part, not the free market per se. But still, it’s not really socialism, except as a hybrid. Jimmy Carter was a medium-sized business owner, and that may have provided the reasonable grounding he maintained, even as his hatred of conservatives became more fevered and fanatic. Bloomberg likes that brand of capitalism as well. Yes, yes, there are many who try to keep a foot in both canoes.
So what? There are enough crazies that they have to be accounted for at this point. It’s not like 1992 when Bill and Hillary could sell themselves as this modern, draft-dodging, Fleetwood Mac, marijuana-brownie-eating sexual-equality* couple, keeping all the Wall Street Democrats chuckling into their sleeves in the background. (See also Obama, Barack.) Carthago delenda est! (Gore was the man from Carthage, btw. The irony is delicious.)