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  • Monkeywrenching socialism – Introduction

    Posted by TM Lutas on April 24th, 2009 (All posts by )

    I always thought that if we every got within shouting distance of a tipping point where we would become a socialist country somebody would start up an extended discussion on monkeywrenching socialism. Nobody else seems to have done so (feel free to educate me on other efforts in comments) so I thought I’d put in my two bits with a blog post series.

    Let me be clear as to what I am talking about. This is not about felonious conduct. It’s not a mirror image of left-wing monkeywrenching. It’s about exploiting a simple fact of life, that socialism doesn’t work and the socialist ideology makes headway only when the long-term effects are hidden or obfuscated. Monkeywrenching socialism is about improving society across the board from politics to economics to culture by introducing moments of clarity and insisting that there is no moral or ethical high ground for a wrong system that has caused as much damage in the world.

    Peacefully adopted socialism depends on people feeling a misplaced sense of loyalty to the corpse of the system that socialism is usurping. People know that something is wrong but they ‘play fair’ long after the socialists have started their long march through the institutions and played dirty pool to tear the guts out of the old order before anybody notices.

    More soon.

     

    36 Responses to “Monkeywrenching socialism – Introduction”

    1. happyacres Says:

      I eagerly look forward to this discussion.
      Civil disobedience is where I’m headed. It needs to be a learning moment.

    2. TM Lutas Says:

      Happyacres – civil disobedience is entirely unnecessary. Socialism fundamentally believes on robbing Peter, taking a cut to pay your cronies, and paying Paul and then robbing Paul, taking a cut, and paying Peter, all while convincing both Peter and Paul that they are making profits, not losses by these transactions. Tell the truth, educate Peter and Paul how they would be truly better off, and you’ve broken the system. Covering the details of the robbery and how best to expose it is the point of what I want to write.

      I should make it clear that civil disobedience may end up being entirely necessary, but it will be to cure a political system that is dishonest and runs crooked elections. I believe that civil disobedience is not necessary to fix socialism. Our tragedy is that we’re both suffering from corrupt politics (see the recent settlement on the Washington Gov race of 2004) and a bad move towards socialism at the same time.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      TM Lutus,

      Unfortunately, it’s quite possible short term for Paul to come out far ahead of the deal. Convince Paul that he is getting screwed over long term would be very difficult.

    4. TM Lutas Says:

      Shannon – We are living in Keynes’ long term. We’re all screwed over. It is not the case of one discrete bit of socialism going on but a web of thousands of programs of which even the most government dependent individual benefits from only a handful. We’re all losers, right now, today, every day.

      Can you identify a systemic winner today? I don’t think that you can. And even if I’m wrong in my first line belief, I would suggest that they will make up far short of an electoral majority.

    5. Tatyana Says:

      TM Lutas: systemic winner today is a government employee with community-college degree who is in charge of money that people with thrice his education depend on. Or an incompetent member of Teacher’s Union. And on, and on. And there will be more of this category in the future with the growth of government within society. Nomenclature is always happy.

    6. Jay Manifold Says:

      Tatyana, nomenklatura is more effective when left untranslated, but thanks for bringing up the public-choice aspect of this; TM is correct that there are no long-term systemic winners among the state’s clients — plenty of them among our “public servants,” though.

    7. Tatyana Says:

      Jay: thanks. I am never sure if certain foreign [borrowed into English] words mean the same to Americans as they do to me. Called someone “a lefty demagogue” recently and was mocked for “not knowing what the word means”. Turns out, the guy was sure the English usage only refers to “country leaders or politicians”.

    8. Robert Schwartz Says:

      I don’t think socialism requires monkeywrenching. It is so unworkable that the only way to survive in it by cheating. It will be spontaneously monkeywrenched by everyone who deals with it.

    9. renminbi Says:

      Expecting competent governance from an entrenched political class is about as sensible as expecting love from a prostitute. Don’t allow people on the public tit the franchise.Do allow the public the power to call juries to judge public agencies or officials. They could then impound the funds appropriated back to the Treasury or fire those unfit to exercise public office.

      What we have now is a sham that is failing all over the western world,with the possible exception of Switzerland.Basically we get to choose our rapists, and if we our lucky we pick those with low libido.The best illustration is the UK,where all three parties espouse a nanny state which is a wreck; there is nowhere else to go.
      An interesting link below
      http://www.american.com/archive/2009/april-2009/the-coming-of-the-fourth-american-republic

    10. Tatyana Says:

      Robert: bingo.

    11. TM Lutas Says:

      Tatyana – Thank you for trying to find a winner. I’m not sure that you’ve found one though. The status of government workers is likely the closest to winners but for them to be actual winners, the lower share of the pie that they would have gotten in a more free market system would have to impact them more than the increase in the size of the entire pie would have benefitted them. It’s not self-evident that this is the case.

      Here’s a thought experiment for you. Would a government air traffic controller actually be worse off if we had privatized ATC and gotten our ATC modernized on time and all of us living in a world of flying cars? These are the kind of counter factuals that need to be sorted out to determine whether your assertion is true.

      The improvements in our society that we’ve foregone by sticking to government systems are immense and the losses are society-wide. I do not understand why even state functionaries are necessarily winners. Are mid-level bureaucrats in N. Korea or Cuba better off because they are firmly on the government teat? I think not. Why is it so obvious that the same logic is not true with us? Are we going to have to wait for Patri Friedman’s seasteading project to bear fruit before we realize how much economic growth we’re sacrificing with our present system?

      Renminbi – I suspect that if I were a franchise holder in the UK I would vote UKIP. In the US, the rise of replacement parties is only going to happen when the cost differential to elect somebody on a 3rd party ticket shrinks below a certain amount. There are technical issues that could be tackled but haven’t been. Americans Coming Together was a perfect example of a party in waiting but they got bought out and accepted being folded back into the Democrat party.

    12. david foster Says:

      I personally do not think the argument for privatized ATC is a strong one. The essence of “free market” is competition, and there are practical arguments against competition in ATC. You certainly don’t want competitive ATC vendors managing the same airspace!…and if you were to divide the airspace up among different companies geographically, you have the issue of who provides the common systems & procedures. What we would probably have in practice is a very large long-term contract award to a politically-favored vendor.

    13. david foster Says:

      Regarding systemic winners under greatly-increased government intervention: there are a whole lot of them, many of them already quite well-off financially. Politicians and senior government officials will find their value in the post-retirement marketplace (law firms, lobbying firms, consulting) greatly increased, since government relations and knowledge of how it operates become increasingly valued by business. University and nonprofit administrators will find more dollars flowing their way, some of which will stick to them. Executives of companies that are skilled in getting government contracts and positioning their companies to take advantage of “stimulus” programs.

    14. Tatyana Says:

      TM: I didn’t “try to find a winner”. I know who that would be, by experience. And no theoretical experiments are necessary. The experiment, quite a large-scale one, has been ran by a country (a few, actually) I emigrated from 17 years ago.

      Yes, the country overall would be poorer. Every person, working or not, will be poorer – compared to their relative wealth, all other conditions equal, if they were living in a country with capitalist market system. The only class that would benefit from omnipresent government and top-down planning system is nomenklatura, whatever the name local fashion has for it. Parasites will have freer regime, more opportunities to suck the life off the wealth-producing citizens. Who, after a while, realize they have no incentive to produce wealth for somebody else, and will start implementing the old Soviet “street rule”: you pretend to pay, and we pretend to work”.

      I don’t see a necessity in though experiments when results of one (conducted over 70+ years and on 250 millions of population) are available for anyone marginally curious.

    15. Wesley Linder Says:

      Socialism has been peacefully adopted in this country, because in robbing Peter, taking a cut, and paying Paul, we have made sure that a significant number of Peters are still too young to vote. I think it’s immoral to rob from your children and grandchildren to pay for current consumption, but it’s been done for years in America.

    16. veryretired Says:

      There is some confusion here, and I think it stems from the statement that there are no winners under socialism. In the long term, that may be true, in the sense that socialism is a scam, and eventually leads to the impoverishment of almost everyone caught up in it. Arguably, the rulers of the increasingly authoritarian political machine required to force everyone towards “equality” usually manage to steal some pretty hefty sums and live rather lavishly compared to the rest of the prols.

      But there are many, many short term winners, which is why this rotting corpse keeps getting resurrected by the peddlers of economic and social voodoo every time it tanks. David Foster mentions some of those above.

      When Americans think of business, it is generally in the form of a private company, large or small, producing a product or service that was developed by the founders of the enterprise. The classic example either prospers and grows, or fails for one reason or another and folds up.

      In general, underhanded tactics or using political pull to outmaneuver others by receiving “backdoor” contracts, ala the developing Murtha scandel, is frowned upon.

      We must keep in mind, however, that for most of history it was exactly the status of a business owners’ relationship with the ruling political powers that determined success or failure. We have seen it repeatedly in the current system, in which the ongoing attempt to influence legislation or capture a regulatory agency’s enforcement arm to use as a club against a rival often seems more important for investment than the R&D department.

      It is the idea of commercial enterprises operating without government sponsors and influences that is unusual and radical, not the chicanery of the bribe disguised as a campaign contribution, or the revolving door process of politically connected executives shuttling back and forth from government agencies to related businesses, or the ex-pol who reappears as a high priced lobbyist based on his access to previous colleagues.

      Socialism and the other variations of collectivist flummery operate like sea lampreys gaining access to one of the Great Lakes filled with big, juicy lake trout. The parasites attach themselves, feed, and scatter eggs for the next generation of little lampreys, until the trout population begins to die off. Then the grisly suckers migrate to the next body of water filled with healthy fish and repeat the process.

      The lampreys are here now, in greater and greater numbers. What is required are steps to disrupt the process—prevent them from attaching, stop them from feeding, and killing the eggs before the new, more numerous generation of parasites can destroy the healthy population.

      To invert Instapundit’s humerous tagline, I do not welcome our new, bloodsucking masters. Some realistic ideas about thwarting their plans woulod be very, very welcome.

    17. Tatyana Says:

      Of course the bureaucrats on government teat are better off!
      They have absolute job security (regardless of performance), they have power, all their (and their family’s) whims are taken care off. They don’t personally pay for all benefits that come with their status (according to nomenklature ladder). City party and Komsomol leaders and the managing administration of local industry never paid for their entertainment in “banyas” out of their own pocket. They used the funds the rest of the population was not even aware of. They don’t need the money, or knowledge of how much, exactly, they have summarily on their accounts. Money is a tool for buying goods and services. When one obtains goods and services without in-between assistance of money, one have no use for them.

    18. TM Lutas Says:

      David Foster – The FAA is currently targeting NextGen ATC for 2018. I was reading about NextGen ATC in the 1990s and how it would have already been deployed by now. We still don’t have a system that could handle the additional load that would be generated if anybody was marketing flying cars. But not being able to execute an upgrade plan for (by my count) going on two decades does not make a strong case for privatization, not even on the concession model that seems to be a success with roads.

      As for systemic winners, until you’ve run enough iterations, some people will have had their turn as being Paul without ever being Peter. But the socialist system has everybody, even government workers, playing Peter more often than Paul.

      Tatyana – The Soviet system ended when the nomenklatura realized that they themselves were losing out. This is why there was precious little need for violence all over the E bloc to get rid of a totalitarian system. Yes, there was a practical test, but the data supports me in the end. Why didn’t the winners fight to suppress the losers? Do you really think that they were too moral to shoot? Have they showed that sort of high moral character in the new Russia? Your thesis has a problem of the missing shooters. The nomenklatura provoked the end of the USSR. The nomenklatura in the form of the siloviki are still in charge. Why would they ever do that that gut wrenching change if they were winners?

      Wesley Linder – Unfortunately, the moral objection to impoverishing future generations does not hold a durable electoral majority. My aim is to develop enough alternate motivations so there is a sensible roadmap to the creation of such a durable electoral majority. It’s about winning elections and implementing policies that are better, not worse. We haven’t had that for awhile.

      veryretired – as I said in my 8:23a comment we are living in Keynes’ long run. We are all losers based on foregone growth and entire industries strangled in their cribs. Awakening people to the fact that they’re already screwed and that the choice is to either build a better foundation for the next generation or to screw that next generation even more is a major component to breaking the ratchet. But more on the ratchet later.

    19. Tatyana Says:

      TM: I don’t know if we speak in the same terms. There was no totalitarian system to get rid of in Eastern European bloc. There was a planned socialist system, but totalitarianism was dead with Stalin’s death (and his appointmentees in Eastern Europe lasted only few years after him). Khrushchev’s or Brezhnev’s regimes were not totalitarian.

      As you said yourself – nomenklatura is alive and well in ex-SU, just changed their colors. Why would they shoot the branch they were comfortably seating on? Just like Lenin in 1921 realized there is nothing to redistribute anymore and announced NEP, to increase the stock of goods to divide later, same was with Gorbachev in 1985. The country had exhausted all their productive resources. There was no right to private property, even to one’s own dwelling; no incentive to work productively. The authorities acknowledged the problem for a long time – they had even introduced a “socialist competition” program (with separate net of professionals running it, a cross of economists and social workers), which rewarded increased production with selection of bonuses and additional benefits, like a discounted cost vacation in a Black Sea resort. That didn’t work either.

      The economy of 1/6th of the Earth’ Continents, as propagandists loved to call USSR, was a colossus on crumbling feet. It went bankrupt.

      They didn’t need to shoot anyone – all they needed was to show the donkey a carrot of private property (securing the biggest piece of the pie for themselves, of course) – and they were safe forever after.

    20. veryretired Says:

      Yes, TM, I agree. I wasn’t implying that you were confused, but that some of the reactions seemed confused.

      And yes, Tatyana, bankruptcy is exactly the issue.

      What all these dreamy, allegedly idealistic fools rushing us toward the corporate state never seem to understand is that the laws of economis don’t go away just because some group of pols can vote themselves all sorts of power over their fellow citizens.

      The vast majority of these characters couldn’t manage a corner drugstore or fast food franchise successfully, but, because they’ve been elected or appointed to a political position, suddenly see themselves as skilled and knowledgeable managers of the vast economic entities that statist controls and regulations create.

      The advantage of a private system of ownership and control is that bad management may affect companies, or even segments of the economy, if the companies are big and influential enough, but no one entity can tank the whole system.

      When you create a corporate state, as any collectivist system does, regardless of how it’s labelled, the political masters become commercial managers, usually without even the most rudimentary experience in that very demanding field. And, then, as the incompetence of these poseurs begins to collapse the economy, you observe the endless parade of scapegoats and “wreckers” and invisible saboteurs trotted out to disguise the responsibity of the pols who actually caused the problem.

      The ludicrous sight of Barney Frank or Chris Dodd condemning the greed of the bankers or stockbrokers for the evening news, when their actions were directly responsible for the collapse, and then taking enormous “campaign contributions” from those very same people, is a defining example of the entire problem.

      I am looking forward to further installments in this series.

    21. david foster Says:

      TML…I don’t think flying cars are very likely, and don’t think the ATC system should be designed around them.

      Also, I don’t think you can conclude that just because a galactic overhaul of the computer systems has not taken place that no improvements have been made in these systems. It is very often better to improve systems on an evolutionary basis, and the track record of projects with names like “advanced system” and “system X” and “NextGen” is not very good. This is true in business as well as government.

      You might be interested in my post the story of a software failure, which is about the attempted implementation of the “advanced automation system” for ATC by the FAA and IBM.

    22. Jose Angel de Monterrey Says:

      Tatyana
      Nomenklatura is still alive in Russia, but I also believe Nomenklatura continues to survive in many nations of the world in the form of partitocracies and monopolies.

    23. TM Lutas Says:

      Tatyana – My closest experience with the eastern bloc is Romania whose last stalinist ruler died in 1989, quickly put up against the wall after he threatened to go public against the local nomenklatura during his ‘trial’. I admit that this may color my perceptions in a way different than yours. I think you are a bit more forgiving than is called for regarding the nature of Soviet post-stalinism. I would call what you described profoundly cynical totalitarianism. If one were to go out in Red Square even as late as the Andropov period and hold up an anti-communist sign, not disturbing the peace, not a call to revolution, merely expressing an unacceptably diverse thought in a way that could not be ignored, even the cynical totalitarians were not willing to provide for true, public, diversity of thought.

      What you term “show the donkey a carrot” is a cynical, insulting, but not necessarily wrong way of describing capitalism. The technicians talk about incentives instead of carrots and the advocates of the system don’t generally call the people jackasses but that’s not an essential criticism, more a stylistic quibble.

      I suggest you compare and contrast the current system in Russia with America’s gilded age. They have remarkable similarities and, hopefully, similar outcomes, the creation of counterbalancing structures that permit the creation of honest fortunes to be made. But this is getting far afield. Socialism is dying in Russia but it’s on the march in the US and in the US we have a problem with effecting a proper reversal without putting blood in the streets at a level nobody wants.

      David Foster – I only use flying cars because they represent the extreme possible load on an ATC system, widespread personal air transport. If you can handle that scenario, you have the problem of ATC solved.

      You seem to think that the ATC system is improving. You have not provided any evidence for it. In fact, you’ve linked to a testament as to how bad the government system is.

      My own observation is that ATC has been and continues to be a limiting factor in normal economic times on the commercial business of flying. The business of the FAA is to provide a framework where safe ATC is not a limiting factor in the air travel sector. They are failing at that business and have been failing at it for decades. Something else might do better. But this is also beside the point.

      Defending my particular example is fun but I really would prefer to talk about the general point. Do you think in general that we’re going in a socialist direction (national or internationalist variant) economically and do you agree that we should be reversing that trend in a sustainable way as soon as possible?

    24. Tatyana Says:

      Cynical, insulting?
      You “suggest” something to me? “Getting far ahead”?

      You seriously think you can offer something for my education?

      Wow.

    25. Tatyana Says:

      TM, for how many years you lived in Romania? In what age? How many years ago?
      Where did you get your notion that totalitarianism is merely “not providing diversity of thought” for someone holding anti-communist sign on Red Square?

      Gorbanevskaya, Bogoraz and six others – 15 years before they would vanish even before they think up the protest. As millions vanished before them.

      What, exactly, you know about going to the Red Square with signs of all kinds? And about living in communal apartments, 1 bdrm per family of 5, for decades? Of waiting for hours in a line for groceries for sister to come from school to take your place – and wait 2 hours more? About necessity of holding one’s tongue instilled in from the age of five? Of drunks vomiting in the stairwell of your apartment block? Of the lying newspapers? Of TV, showing endless footage of “proletarian struggle in countries of Western capitalism”? Of daily “political information hour”, in every workplace and in every school? Of Young Pioneer camps? Of the joy of a pair of new boots (imported from Romania, if extremely lucky)?
      About studying till midnight for tens of years – including “scientific communism” and “history of KPSS” subjects, as the only ticket to get you out of the slums – and then to be told after passing the draconian entrance exams into capital’ university that they can’t accept you, not with your[Jewish]last name? Of black market, of nepotism, of hypocrisy, of double-speak, of humiliation of changing one’s child ethnicity for a passport, so he could have better prospect than you? What do you know about all that?

      More importantly – do you know about happiness of living that life? Of sudden discovery that your grandparent used to have 5 brothers and sisters – vanished without a trace, with only couple of photographs remaining of their existence, hidden in depths of a home-made sofa? Of neighbors, gratefully repeating every day: “At least we are not in War”? Of gratitude that there are stores, and schools for children and movie theaters you’re allowed to enter and that one could find work, after all – not in anything needing security clearance, of course, but work nevertheless, where they hand you money to live, once a month? About enthusiasm of that life? OF joy, joy of passing, escaping the worse fate – because every family had a dark shadow (not everyone had a closet, so I won’t talk about skeletons); every family had an intimate memory of the times passed.

      Nobody who lived that life has any confusion what totalitarianism is. We know the difference; it’s in our bones, in our genes, in our bloodstream.

      Don’t you tell me about inappropriateness of my metaphors. I know of what I speak.

    26. TM Lutas Says:

      Tatyana – I’m sorry but I will not compare the pruning of my family tree to yours. It is too personal and frankly, your family tree is your own tragedy and not my business. All I will say is that I am sorry for your loss and I wish you and yours the best.

      I also am not going to play I was more oppressed than you so I know better. That too is not a proper comparison. Frankly, I did more work in putting my relatives and family friends back together after they escaped this supposedly non-totalitarian post-stalinist system. That gives me a different perspective, of an EMT more than an accident victim, but that difference in perspective does not invalidate my observations and prescriptions for a cure.

      I am open to hearing your testimony and your ideas. I think it would be quite valuable. But if you want a monologue. If you think I have nothing to say to you, then please just do not read what I have to say. It will only make you upset that I do not bow and scrape and say mother-may-I to just about anybody.

      In case you’re still reading, The idea that the people are not-quite-human, a lump of clay or a dumb animal, is a part of the mindset that permits the enormities that neither of us would like to see as government policy ever again. By itself, it’s not going to get anybody killed. On the other hand, according basic human respect and decency to all is a barrier to socialist thinking, a barrier that has long been eroded out of convenience by people all along the left-right political spectrum. I’d like that barrier, among many other barriers built up again, alongside the offensive tactics of monkeywrenching that this series will discuss. So I end up a bit pedantic about metaphors. I realize this but just hope it is forgivable.

    27. Tatyana Says:

      TM Lutas,
      -What makes you think I was talking about MY family tree? I was not blind and deaf; I absorbed information and made conclusions.
      -You were the one who started with your “experience in Romania”, as if in some HS c**k-measuring contest. I’m telling you, yours – and whole of Romania’s, except for Romanian Jews and Gypsies, betrayed by their own co-citizens – experience is nothing compared to average family from post-Soviet territories. We know it in practice – but also in theory, much more thoroughly than an average American book-reader.
      -I’m not here to “give testimony”. Whatever experience I had, I lived through it, I transformed it, it transformed me – that’s enough. No epileptic fits necessary.
      -I retain the right to read anything I want – and give my opinion of it as I see fit.
      – A metaphor of carrot and stick: I see the confusion is, once again, of a linguistic origin.
      Wiki in English tells me it was first noted in 1948′ article in Economist. However, I had in mind its Russian equivalent, which in turn is a calque of German expression Peitsche and Zuckerbrot (literally, a horse whip and a sweet jingerbread), means the same {combination of incentives and punishments as method of management) and was widely spread in Russian polemic since XIX century. Lenin was particularly fond of this expression and used it in an article he wrote in 1899 (A draft for Program of our Party).
      In my comment I compared Lenin’s NEP with Gorbachev’ “liberalization” of economy (more Eltzin, actually, but that’s besides the point) and the expression came to mind exactly because small steps towards economic freedom were employed as a decoy by Soviet authorities in both cases.
      Hope that clears up your confusion.

    28. Tatyana Says:

      As a footnote:
      that was a totalitarian regime in Romania. However omnipresent and horrible Securitate was, and however depressing and full of shortages life under megalomaniac Ceausescu, there is no comparison to mass murder. Bulbs of 40wt and “Heroine mothers”…big deal. Welcome to the club.

    29. virgil xenophon Says:

      People here should consider the example of Italy, which has staggered along for well over half a century under socialist governments of varying shapes and degrees of dysfunction, wherein the general populace has learned to “work-around” the inherent inefficiencies of the system by off-the-books work, double-bookkeeping and bribery of govt officials; trading off greater wealth for lower productivity as a product of a leisure society based on the enjoyment of minor pleasures. The closest American equivalent is another analogous Mediterranean culture–New Orleans. I should know–I live here. Try to get in contact with any businessman or professional in his office after lunch on Friday.

    30. virgil xenophon Says:

      PS: I should have added that with luck everything will turn out like New Orleans or Italy–they’re worse places in the world to live. OTH, these societies only work because there is a more productive greater world to provide the framework within these cultures can exist. Having a single city like New Orleans (or even several–try an entire region like SW Louisiana) in this nation is great and causes no great drag on general society–not so much if the whole nation goes that route.

    31. virgil xenophon Says:

      And Italy only works because the world has other nations pulling the wagon–like America on defense matters for example.

    32. TMLutas Says:

      Tatyana – I was trying to be nice to someone who I understood to have personal cause to feel hurt and to wave the bloody shirt. As this seems not to be the case, we’re done. As the pruning of your family tree is not my business, my own is certainly not yours. I will not be justifying myself to you. All the communist countries had gulags. All of them had unmarked body dumping sites. Russia’s dead deserve better. So do Romania’s. Let us not belittle either one, shall we? Please stop being uncivil. You do not know me and you are taking liberties as if you did. Stop it.

      Virgil Xenophon – You live in a city that survives from day to day because the corruption you acquiesce to is not quite bad enough to let the waters come in and wipe out the city. One day they will unless New Orleans gets its act together. You should consider that this situation is not stable as the willingness of others to “pull the wagon” is not infinite. I hope your current governor has success in turning things around. It looks like he wants to.

    33. Tatyana Says:

      TM Lutas:
      You were not nice, you were patronizing, and without a basis to be. If anything us, ex-socialist state slaves, learned is not to take abuse silently.
      You completely misrepresented my [very civil] comment from the beginning, or rather didn’t understand what I said – but continued to pile up more offensive language and text. What if the experiences I mentioned are not of my own family (or they might be, it’s nobody’s business): they are real, all that I listed – happened; as well as the facts and claims in the links I offered. The point is that you’re confused in your definitions; what you call totalitarian state was not, at the time. It was dangerous, and oppressive, and dissent was considered a criminal offense – but this criterion is not enough to call a state totalitarian. Throwing around labels like that only proves, to the contemporary proponents of socialism, that its opponents are ignoramuses, easy to dismiss.

      You have to know the enemy thoroughly, if you’re determined to fight it.

      Your idea of “monkeywrenching socialism” is not very attractive, if a familiar one.
      I can say that as someone who lived under socialism for 2/3 of my life. That was one of the choices some of us selected – but there is a difference. We already lived UNDER the system, from the day we were born. The range of resistance was much smaller for us – either confirm to the rules and become the biggest cynical head-stepping cad of them all; or to produce tiny squeaks of indignation, either to yourself, reading a piece of coarse propaganda de jour, or sharing it with like-minded individuals (knowing that 50% of whom were snitches) around the kitchen table. That’s the equivalent of what you call “monkeywrnching”, or what we call “a fig in a pocket”: impotent blathering that doesn’t change a thing, only at best turns a few minds off socialistic mindset.

      I thought the tradition of freedom in this country allow people to be a bit more powerful that helpless “monkeywrenching”. After all, there are mechanisms here to ensure liberties are not taken off people’s hands. Or are there?

    34. TMLutas Says:

      Tatyana – You jump to condemn what you have not even heard, filling in the blanks with others’ failed ideas and rerunning your criticism of others. Your description of what I will be elaborating later bears little resemblance to my actual plans. And with that, I leave you to argue with the echoes in your head. Just please do not do it on my threads in future.

    35. tyouth Says:

      “You seriously think you can offer something for my education?”

      Tatyana, This is a recurring theme in your comments. I’ve seen it repeated in your replies to comments and posts.

      Are you a genius, or what? Perhaps you know it all. Perhaps you’ve seen it all. (Perhaps you’re half way to being a troll). Good for you.

    36. tyouth Says:

      I think that the success of this country, until recently, descends most directly from Elizabethian England. The pope (and top-down thinking) was replaced in the Anglosphere, largely, by a more personal relationship to God and the world. The moral requirements of Protestantism and Puritanism lent a firm social structure in the United States and created an environment which suited capitalism. I’m wondering, TM, if capitalism can survive (or revive) when the interpersonal trust, and other ideals, engendered by these religious beliefs has withered away.

      I suppose that, if socialism is “monkey-wrenched”, that the next wave will be authoritarian, in any case, if the current trend continues.