Socialism’s Waterloo? *UPDATED*

Since you guys have been a little slow in offering your much desired as guest bloggers, I’m going to take advantage of some of the gems you leave in the comments section.  Today’s gem is from Charles Martel, which he wrote as a response to my “Good deal all around” post:

I think socialism may meet its Waterloo in the United States, and that Obama may be its Napoleon.

(Let me define socialism as an economic system where the government, through its power of coercion, expropriates wealth and redistributes it according to both stated (and unstated goals), such as equality and stability (and the maintenance of political power and wealth for the government elite via the power of the purse).

In Russia and China, socialism was imposed on desperately poor countries that were already used to privation, government theft and lack of freedom. With no traditions of wealth or liberty to guide them, the subjects of those sorry countries shrugged and assumed their masters’ yoke.

Once the administrative powers of socialism insured a true equality of misery for the overwhelming number of subjects at the bottom of the heap, there was a sense of resignation followed by a distorted sense of progress–“At least there is no more civil war.” “Now we’re all in the same boat. Chin Lee can no longer lord it over us just because he once owned 80 pigs.”

In Europe, which had a high standard of living but then destroyed it in two wars, socialism was a combination of idealism, pragmatism and opportunism. Idealism in the sense that perhaps the sharing of resources would prevent future wars; pragmatism because people whose cultures have always stressed the state over the individual could be more easily swayed to accept a regulated economy than the Americans’ wild and crazy free market economy; and opportunism because the same Americans were providing military protection that freed up billions and billions of dollars for investment and allowed Europe to remake itself as a giant theme park.

So far, socialism has had a good run—at least in the sense of acquiring power over all wealth, which is its goal.

But when you get to America, the soil for socialism is less fertile. Yes, there are hot-house experiments with it that seem to be working, such as San Francisco, or Berkeley, or Washington, DC. But like all hot-house flowers, they are very fragile. These ones depend on fools and outsiders for their sustenance: tourists in San Francisco; the American taxpayer in Washington, DC; and in Berkeley a self-hating, self-deluding professoriate on one hand and thousands of dependent, subsidized students on the other.

On a grander scale, large U.S. socialist experiments like New Jersey, Michigan and California are coming to an end. You cannot run an economy on a fantasy, namely that you can keep fisting the Golden Goose’s cloaca without at some point rupturing and destroying the poor thing. That so many people who should know better hold on to the fantasy that socialism can work is a result of the Europeanization of large parts of the U.S. population. Europeans have never had a firm grasp on how wealth is created. To them it’s either a matter of whoever is the strongest stealing somebody else’s wealth (eastern Europe) or a benign state redistributing wealth that comes from some mysterious source (France).

In America, though, where people have been free for several centuries to create their own wealth, there is a direct knowledge that a government printing press or power of taxation has nothing to do with generating it. There are tens of millions of people who understand that and who nod instinctively in agreement with Tea Party signs that say, “Honk if I’m paying your mortgage!”

Now add to that a tradition of healthy skepticism toward politicians and government. Although Obama would like to intimidate people, there are way too many of us who have not been beaten down or conditioned by Chicago-style politics to take his bait. Watching that cosseted nancy boy strut and act all hoody elicits laughter among us, not shivers.

Then add the tradition of a free press, now remanifesting itself in Internet blogs, and couple that with the technological savvy of millions of young men and women who have not sipped the Obama-Aid. They are marvelous tools for organizing political resistance, tax strikes and, if someday necessary, the disruption of an overreaching government.

Further, add the scores of millions of guns owned by Americans who are not statists, “progressives” or leftists. The wusses in Britain and Canada may lay down their arms just because the local or provincial dhimmi government says to, but that’s not going to wash with most Americans. For every gun that the nanny state confiscates, there will be 10 that go undetected and uncollected.

Top it off with the rising trend toward homeschooling, which creates truly educated—as opposed to schooled—citizens, and millions of magnificently disciplined and trained (and mostly conservative) veterans who will have something to say if The Narcissist suddenly decides he’s macho and wants to toy with martial law or a suspension of constitutional rights.

Finally, a law of limits. Just as you cannot exceed the speed of light, you cannot exceed the total amount of wealth the world has in your never-ceasing quest to pillage it under socialism. If the U.S. economy is dragged down by Obamaism, what is left to plunder? Once that realization hits all the droolers who think there’s such a thing as a free lunch, they will turn on Obama. Napoleon’s own soldiers will finally see through him.

(I’m not too worried that they’ll turn on us. We’ll be armed—both with weapons and with the most devastating four words in the English language: “We told you so.”)

UPDATE: Tom Elia is also sees optimism out there.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    I agree with Charles The Hammer. However, people will not begin to turn until they feel real pain and that won’t be for a while, yet. My projection, based on the European experience, is that it will be a slow bleed from a thousand cuts. The real effect of the debt liabilities will take some years to hit home and I never underestimate the power of the Liberal Democrat Left to demagogue the issue in their favor, consolidate their wealth and power, and use violent coercion to defang the potential opposition (recall the Homeland Security memo) down.

    Of course, a major war (which I predict will soon happen) with the huge upsurge in even more debt that it would entail, could really hasten things along.

    Either way, the danger is that they will have done so much damage to the country by then that, like Argentina and Japan, it will take decades to undo the damage.

  • David Foster

    Also, there are scapegoats on which blame is likely to be placed, deflecting it from the Administration and the Democratic Party.

    See this disturbing item.

    (via ShrinkWrapped)

  • addison

    Aside from being a decent bit of writing (whether one agrees with it or not), I laughed until I could barely breath over the following line:

    You cannot run an economy on a fantasy, namely that you can keep fisting the Golden Goose’s cloaca without at some point rupturing and destroying the poor thing.


  • Oldflyer

    I find a small bit of optimism in the actions of some states. Texas, Utah and Montana notably have fired warning shots that they will not bend to the will of Washington when it tramples on their own authority.

    I see today that Obama is threatening California if the state tries to manage its own budget in ways that O does not approve. That is a big bite to digest. If Obama makes good on his threat, it could really come back to haunt him.

    My optimism is clouded by the fact that no state or locality has actually stayed the course as yet.

    If the Republican Governors would get together in a mutual assistance pact, they might actually turn the tide. Oh well, it is a nice thought.


    From T.O. to B.O. – the piece below is obviously about T.O.

    Just change the name, location and occupation and little tweaking here and there and adding Charles’ grand ending to a magnificently written piece (how do you do it with such panache and effluence?) the most devastating four words in the English language: “We told you so.”

    Terrell Owens: The Emperor Who Wore No Clothes!

    by John C. Sease, Jr. (Scribe)

    December 11, 2008

    Once upon a time in the great kingdom of the National Football League, there lived a mighty emperor who believed he was revered by many.

    This emperor was an imposing figure with many talents. His speed was magnificent, his field awareness was keen, and he was well-compensated for the many thrills he bestowed upon the subjects of the great kingdom.

    Everything was fine from the emperor’s perspective; however, all was not rosy within the ranks of the kingdom.

    You see…the emperor was actually despised by many.

    All subjects who opposed him every Sunday during battle disliked him because of the damage he would inflict upon their city. Furthermore, those who fought alongside the emperor secretly despised him because he was a rude, obnoxious, self-centered, and arrogant person in their presence.

    The problem was simply that the emperor believed he wore a magnificent garb of humility and selflessness; however, he was entirely naked and didn’t realize his horrible behavior.

    He bounced from city to city spreading his poison. With every new location he called his home, he failed to notice that his garb of humility and selflessness was just a mirage.

    Does this sound like a preposterous fairy tale? Well…it isn’t!

    The emperor…er…uh…Terrell Owens has landed in his newest location in Dallas and is up to his old tricks again.

    He is now accusing Tony Romo of secretly plotting to have all pass plays go through Jason Witten since the two are roommates and good friends.

    This accusation has caused much tension within the locker room and other players on the squad have attempted to become peacemakers. But in the end, this is a powder keg waiting to blow.

    When will the NFL teams finally let T.O. know “HE ISN’T WEARING ANY CLOTHES?”

    He continues to believe he is never the problem at any of his many stops and he is always quick to ignore the one common denominator as it pertains to all of his disputes—himself!

    He threw Jeff Garcia under the bus in San Francisco, Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, and he even threw Kyle Boller under the bus during his free agent year without ever playing a down for Baltimore. Now it is apparent that it is Tony Romo’s turn to get run over by T.O.

    How many chances will this diva continue to receive from various NFL teams just because he has the ability to “make plays”?

    When will general managers finally pass on his ability and realize that the emotional detriment he brings to every team on which he plays far outweighs his talent?

    For now, the emperor is still tolerated by many and is allowed to throw his ubiquitous tantrums.

    Until someone has the guts to tell him he “wears no clothes,” we will continue to be subjected to the idiocy he brings to the kingdom of the National Football League.

  • Charles Martel

    SADIE, nice tie-in between Owens and Obama.

    There was a great car salesman in the 1960s, Joe Girard, who sold 1,500 new Chevrolets a year, thanks to his ability to always know what his customers could afford (and when—he had a great tickle file), and then going out of his way to give them the best possible deal and after-sales service.

    His best insight was his “Rule of 250,” which was based on the average number of people that show up at a funeral. He reasoned that every Jane or Joe knows about 250 people and has some power over their opinions, no matter how indirect. So, if a salesman like him alienates one customer, he stands to actually lose 250. Thus, Girard’s unstinting efforts to make sure his clients had only good things to say about him.

    Obama’s problem is that he is alienating one small group here, such as U.S.S. Cole attack next of kin, and there, such as Congressional Medal of Honor winners, without understanding that word gets around. For every person he lies to or manipulates, there may be as many as Girard’s 250 who will hear about it.

    If I were The One, I’d be worried about the quiet rumblings and second thoughts that are spreading out across the land.

    Very worried.


    Great story, Charles, and you weave it with great insight.

    I am sure there is a script here, you know the one where Obama is a used car salesman, the antithesis of Joe Girard and poor Joe Schmo, who’s looking for great value at great price only to be sold a lemon.

    There may be a lot of sour pusses on the horizon.


    Betcha Caldera is wearing a sour puss this weekend.

    WASHINGTON – The White House official who authorized a $328,835 photo-op of Air Force One soaring above New York City resigned Friday just weeks after the flyover sparked panicked workers to rush into the streets and flashbacks to Sept. 11. Louis Caldera said the controversy had “made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office,” which is responsible for presidential aircraft.

    “Moreover, it has become a distraction in the important work you are doing as president,” Caldera wrote in his resignation letter to President Barack Obama.

    An internal White House investigation found missed messages and portrayed an out-of-the-loop Caldera, clearly the administration’s fall guy.

  • Mike Devx

    My confidence and agreement with Charles depends solely on how I feel about the American People on any given day; will enough of us wake up in time to smell the coffee and perceive the truth?

    You take almost any EU country and they’re further down the road towards the collapse – or even in the midst of the collapse – than we are. And yet they simply cannot see what is all around them.

    Or you look at Russia, beset with social and cultural problems on every front, and most of them are due to their adherence to various parts of the socialist ideology. Can they see this? They truly are in the midst of a catastrophic collapse, and yet they on the whole cannot perceive it, and thus fail to lay the blame where it belongs.

    Is there any reason to have confidence that the American People are any better than this, and will be able to perceive the truth, and lay the blame where it belongs? In time for 2010, or 2012, or even 2016? Heck, it could be 2024, and we could be in the midst of a catastrophic leftist/Statist collapse… and 55% of the American People might still be unable to perceive the true causes of their misery. Befuddled and misdirected by media campaigns that blame other causes, deliberately deceived by their politicians…

    Today I am unsure that the American People will perceive the truth, and abandon this disastrous experiment with Statist fiscal policy and leftist social policy in time to send Obama back to Chicago and turn out enough others in Congress to make a difference. I’m hopeful but not exactly optimistic. On other days I’m actually optimistic, even for 2010!

  • highlander

    The real America is very different from the America we see in the media. Of course, all of you who are regular visitors here already know that. But what you may not know is how big that difference really is.

    What we see in the media is not the tip of an iceberg. It is a dirty little snowball perched on one side with a couple dozen television cameras zoomed in on it.

    When I retired, my wife and I spent a couple years touring America in a motor coach. What we found was a very big, very beautiful country with a whole lot of very good people in it.

    What I am sensing now is a growing, smoldering, pent up, deep felt anger among those very good people with what is going on these days in Washington. The Tea Party movement was a straw in the wind which showed just how deep and widespread that anger has already become. I believe that it will only take a spark for that anger to burst forth and a leader to channel it.

    What event will provide that spark, and when it will occur, I do not know. It might be a decision by the Obama administration to hold show trials for former Bush administration officials, or it might be something else. Whatever it is, I pray that when it happens and the American people finally say, “Enough!” an articulate leader will appear who can show us how to reestablish the principles that made us great — not in a sense of moving back, but in a sense of moving forward.

    America is the only country in the history of the world to be founded on principles. Those principles are still embedded in the hearts and minds of most of the American people, the media not withstanding. I pray that Charles is right and that those principles will be the rock upon which the ship of socialism founders.

    Thank you Charles for a magnificent post. You have rekindled my hope.

  • Ymarsakar

    If I were The One, I’d be worried about the quiet rumblings and second thoughts that are spreading out across the land.

    That’s what he has his Jugend Civilian “Volunteer” Force For, Charles.

  • suek

    >>America is the only country in the history of the world to be founded on principles.>>

    You know…I never thought of it that way. Of course, you’re right. Of course, it’s obvious. I just never thought of it that way.

    It needs to be carved into something _big_ somewhere!

  • Ymarsakar

    All too often the people of this world and especially in America hear only negative things about America. Never about the strength, the virtues, or the courage of America. Never the accomplishments, only the failures or the setbacks or the negatives.

    If a child was raised under this kind of teaching in respect to the child’s accomplishments and failures, how would that child develop? And how does the Left justify it to the rest of us, successfully so even, that we should treat children and educate them so that they have a high degree of confidence, when the Left has sought to decrease humanity’s confidence in America from day one with an endless psychological campaign of pillaging and burning?

  • Ymarsakar

    If you want my answer, then it is pretty simple. So long as Leftists remain human and do not become super men ala the Planned Parenthood eugenics philosophy, then there will never be a 100% perfect state of existence with 100% full of positive things. There will always be negatives.

    On the other hand, as a corollary, there will never be something with nothing but negatives. This kind of purity does not exist, not even in the laws of the universe.

    Diversity is the name of the game, but diversity within strict and unmoving laws.

    And the law of human nature is that human beings cannot always do wrong just as we cannot always do the right thing. So long as an opposite exists, both shall exist. And so long as opposites exist, matter and anti-matter, perfection will never come into existence.

    The Left, however, they want to change this. They want to equalize things. This is an arrogant and megalomaniacal grab at power that was never meant for their hands.

    The hypocritical Left talks about how we aren’t worthy or responsible enough or the rewards don’t outweigh the risks, in terms of having the citizens of America be armed with the fearsome “gun”. (shivers, fearsome)

    But the Left, the Democrat corrupt murderers and wannabe murderers, they, and they only, believe that they are worthy of the power to equalize things in human beings. They attribute to themselves the virtues and powers of a God, a state of perfection that is only marred by the imperfection and the increasingly non-uniform and non-conformist/pliable opposition, that would be us.

  • Ymarsakar

    I agree with Charles The Hammer.

    Nice reference, Danny.

  • Mike Devx

    highlander #10,

    You heighten my hope and my optimism! Thank you!

  • George Bruce

    Danny, I think the pain may get here a little sooner than you think. The current recession will end, although not because of anything Obama does. People with secure income, (that is, most of us) have put off big ticket purchases, such as houses, cars, living room furniture, etc. As cars and sofas wear out, purchases of such items will resume. However, the employment picture will not improve and probably will worsen. The Democrats tax and regulatory policies all but guarantee that no new production facilities will open in the US. Worse still, the movement of industry to China, India and Brazil will accelerate. There may be a pick up in jobs for store clerks and cashiers, but industrial employment will further decline. The trade balance will grow worse as demand picks up, but production goes down. Our energy dependency will worsen as the Democrats repress coal use, continue to block offshore drilling and prohibit new nuclear plants. The decline of the dollar will accelerate. And if the Dems push through any meaningful carbon cap/tax, the economic recovery will come to a screeching halt.

    The decline in Europe was slowed somewhat by the strength of the US and the enormous defense subsidy they got from us. I don’t see anything to slow our decline from the damages of socialism, especially considering that we were already half way there before Obama.

  • George Bruce

    Highlander #10

    I think you are right, but it might not matter. There are six billion people in this world. At any one time, many hundreds of millions of them would come to the US, if given the chance. While the Dems have been distracted by the economy and the perceived need to further demonize the Bush administration, they will soon get to “comprehensive immigration reform.” I am afraid that the Dems will, in time for the 2010 and 2012 elections, import as many new voters as necessary to maintain their grip on power.

    Bertolt Brecht, who I otherwise have no use for, wrote this poem about the 1953 East German uprising:

    After the uprising of the 17th of June
    The Secretary of the Writers Union
    Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
    Stating that the people
    Had thrown away the confidence of the government
    And could win it back only
    By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
    In that case for the government
    To dissolve the people
    And elect another?

    With their ability to import millions of voters, and get ACCORN to manufacture more as needed, the Dems can determine the outcomes of most elections in advance.

    I don’t know how this will all play out, but I am not optimistic.