no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Are You a Card-Carrying Socialist?

November 3rd, 2015

I’ve seen a lot of this meme lately, plastered about the Facebook by the Bernie Sanders Cult.

Card-carrying socialist?

This is supposed to silence anyone critical of “socialism” by demonstrating some sort of hypocrisy of deed or action: You have a Social Security Card, therefore you’re a Socialist, therefore your criticisms are invalid. QED.

Lel. And fuck off. No, I’m not.

Having a Social Security card (or, having been assigned a Social Security Number) doesn’t make anyone a card-carrying socialist. It simply means you’ve been enrolled (probably at birth, by your parents who either thought they were looking out for you, or were ransomed in to enrolling you to take advantage of the tax breaks that dependent children afford them) in what is ostensibly a social welfare program, which you can’t ever opt out of.

Also because words have meanings: card-carrying generally means that you’re registered with some association (which has subsequently issued cards to their members, as a sort of credentialing system), or as an adjective that means you’re dedicated to a particular cause. You can be a “card-carrying” Democrat if you’ve registered with the Democratic Party, or a “card-carrying” member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers if you’ve been admitted to that Union, or you can be a “card-carrying Environmentalist” in the sense that you’re pretty vocal about your support for all things “green” or whatever.

But simply having a government-issued card for a program you probably didn’t sign up for and can’t opt out of doesn’t make you either of those things. So while you may physically be “carrying” the card in your purse or wallet, that is not what “card-carrying” means.

On Moot Points: “47%” and the Romney Campaign

September 20th, 2012

I know Mitt made a foot-in-mouth statement about the “47%”, something that goes like this:

There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement … And they will vote for [Obama] no matter what …

The liberal faction of the mainstream media has a hard-on over this statement like it’s the writing on the wall, the beginning of the end for the Romney campaign. Even though his base – and that 47% is represented largely by southern “Red” states, I don’t think this really matters to them, and consequently to his campaign.

Taxes by state, percent of non-payers

You have to ask yourself do they give a shit? and more importantly do they even know or understand the difference?

Probably not, to both questions. I’d wager most people with zero tax liability still think they’re getting ripped off by The Man (and to an extent they are, but that’s a topic for another discussion). And the vast majority of people — no matter their party affiliation — are dangerously uninformed on matters of economic principles. They would be shocked, as I suspect Romney would also be, to learn that despite the argument that “the rich pay almost all of the taxes” (which is nominally true), that “the rich” are far greater beneficiaries of (corporate) welfare and redistribution than are the working poor.

Also, there’s the pesky fact that the 47% is basically bullshit.

At the end of the day, whether Mitt implodes doesn’t matter. In the charade of “election year politics” and the quadrennial popularity contest that elects the President, it does. But the point is that doesn’t matter. At all. In the grand scheme of things, your corporate masters don’t care whether you pick Obama or Romney as long as you pick Obama or Romney.

Do Businessmen Make Good Politicians?

February 28th, 2012

I hear a lot of people talking about how Mitt Romney would make a good president because he has been a successful businessman, because he knows how to make profit and turn things around, etc. For example, Pat Burke, a local self-employed entrepreneur says,

You need to vote for the most electable conservative. … We want someone new, someone who has business experience. It’s the economy, economy, economy.

A businessman doesn’t know how to run government. That’s a common fallacy. “Electability” is a different topic, but let’s talk about that business acumen and whether it translates to politicking.

Mitt Romney: businessman or career politician?

Mitt Romney: businessman or career politician?

The right-wing idea of making government “more efficient” or more business-like whatever is a canard. They romanticize “business” and then suppose that because a certain man is a businessman (whose business usualy bears no resemblance to the highly idealized caricature they extoll) that he will be able to bend the apparatus of government more to their liking, more businesslike. But because there is such a divergence between our ideas about government & business, and the reality of government and business, that’s never going to happen.

Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught. — Honore de Balzac

The sort of “successful” businessmen typically presented as political hopefuls are not necessarily savvy entrepreneurs, allocating scarce resources efficiently across a truly competitive freed-market economy. Instead, they are merely those most capable of navigating the spiders’ webs of laws and regulations which they use to browbeat their competition, and they are the most connected to politicians and the lobbyists who convince the politicianss to privilege some at the expense of others.

If businessmen like Romney become “successful” politicians, it has nothing to do with their “business” acumen, it will be because they already know politics. He is successful at business because he negotiates politics and he negotiates politics by fucking some portion of the population in order to appease the others. If they do this long enough, eventually they’ll get to come full circle, retire, get a 7-figure job on K-Street and write those laws.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics