Wednesday, February 22, 2017

C-SPAN list of best presidents highlights historian malpractice

This is exactly why we need citizen historians. The "real" big time "historians" don't teach history because at the worst they do not want to, or at the best they are incapable of teaching it because they are ignorant of it. Most of the time, historians teach history as a series of unrelated events while memorizing who said what, when what was built, and what year did x happen. Instead of teaching Americans, the people of Liberty, about the story of Liberty that history has to tell. It's the greatest story never told.

C-SPAN's list of presidents is getting attention, foolishly, because Obama ranked 12th in the list. The problem is, this list says much more about the historians themselves and C-SPAN than it does about the 43 people it is intended to rank.

Look at the list, and then look at the categories. The categories are pathetic, and are designed to skew and bias the already left-wing historians to push it leftward even more.

"Economic Management"? Are you friggin kidding me? We didn't have central planners until the 20th century starting with Theodore Roosevelt and the rest of the progressives. There was no economic management. This question category is wholly rooted in big government progressivism, as well as rewarding it.

"Vision / Setting an Agenda"? This one is highly deceptive, until you see the results. Is there any wonder why two of the biggest government presidents America ever had, Franklin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, rank at 3rd and 4th respectively? If course they had a vision. Of a paper shredder!!! This idea of "vision" is in general a wholly progressive construct. "I'm going to do this to interfere in your life" "I'm going to do that to interfere in your life" "I'm going to do this other thing to interfere in your life". This question is designed to tamp most of the earlier presidents who let people live their own lives as they saw fit.

Look at the list. FDR at 3rd, big government. TR at 4th, big government. Eisenhower at 5th, big government. Truman at 6th, big government. Kennedy at 8th, big government. Perhaps smaller than the rest, but still big government. LBJ at 10th, big government. Woodrow Wilson, at 11th. Another big government guy. Obama at 12th. Big government. Bill Clinton, yet more big government, comes in at 15th.

15th! The man was impeached, and somehow he comes in more than ten places higher than Calvin Coolidge.(Coolidge is at #27)

Let's take another look at the categories.

"Public Persuasion"? The role of the presidency is not to be a propagandist. But why would any historians know that? And since TR reformed the presidency into its modern "be as big as you can" archetype, not one historian ever wonders or worries about the negative effect this has on the Liberty of the citizens. Go ahead, find me one historian who talks about the cult of personality that TR built around himself.

"Administrative Skills"? This might as well be the "big government" category, in which guys like Reagan, Coolidge, and any other limited government president is nuked by the historians. And sure enough, look at Reagan's score: 47.

"Crisis Management"? Let's be real here. This category is designed to give historians cover to jack up the scores of FDR, TR, and other big government presidents.

"Pursued Equal Justice For All"? This one is also offensive. The progressive presidents, all of them, do not believe in equal justice and are disdainful of it. They believe in social justice.

Moreover, this question in relation to "equal justice for all" is nothing more than creeping cultural marxism. Look at the scores for Woodrow Wilson. The only real reason Wilson is being dinged by historians is because of his racial beliefs. It isn't because of the administrative state! The administrative state is what Wilson was the most wrong on! Without the administrative state of Wilson and the radicalism of Theodore Roosevelt as President in Chief, you do not have the New Deal. Doesn't happen.

"Performance Within Context of Times"? “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” - George Orwell

This entire list is an exercise in historical malpractice, the fact that Obama ranked at #12 is the least of its worries.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where We Can Work With Socialists, by Theodore Roosevelt

Where We Can Work With Socialists

It is true that the doctrines of communistic Socialism, if consistently followed, mean the ultimate annihilation of civilization. Yet the converse is also true. Ruin faces us if we decline steadily to try to reshape our whole civilization in accordance with the law of service, and if we permit ourselves to "Be mislecf by any empirical or academic consideration into refusing to exert the common power of the community where only collective action can do what individualism has left undone, or can remedy the wrongs done by an unrestricted and ill-regulated individualism. There is any amount of evil in our social and industrial conditions of to-day, and unless we recognize this fact and try resolutely to do what we can to remedy the evil, we run great risk of seeing men in their misery turn to the false teachers whose doctrines would indeed lead them to greater misery, but who do at least recognize the fact that they are now miserable. At the present time there are scores of laws in the interest of labor - laws putting a stop to child labor, decreasing the hours of labor where they are excessive, putting a stop to unsanitary crowding and living, securing employers' liability, doing away with unhealthy conditions in various trades, and the like - which should be passed by the National and the various State Legislatures; and those who wish to do effective work against Socialism would do well to turn their energies into securing the enactment of these laws.

Moreover, we should always remember that Socialism is both a wide and a loose term, and that the self-styled Socialists are of many and utterly different types. If we should study only the professed apostles of radical Socialism, of what these men themselves like to call "scientific Socialism," or if we should study only what active leaders of Socialism in this country have usually done, or read only the papers in which they have usually expressed themselves, we would gain an utterly wrong impression of very many men who call themselves Socialists. There are many peculiarly high-minded men and women who like to speak of themselves as Socialists, whose attitude, conscious or unconscious, is really merely an indignant recognition of the evil of present conditions and an ardent wish to remedy it, and whose Socialism is really only an advanced form of liberalism. Many of these men and women in actual fact take a large part in the advancement of moral ideas, and in practice wholly repudiate the purely materialistic, and therefore sordid, doctrines of those Socialists whose creed really is in sharp antagonism to every principle of public and domestic morality, who war on private property with a bitterness but little greater than that with which they war against the institutions of the home and the family, and against every form of religion, Catholic or Protestant. The Socialists of this moral type may in practice be very good citizens indeed, with whom we can at many points co-operate. They are often joined temporarily with what are called the "opportunist Socialists" - those who may advocate an impossible and highly undesirable Utopia as a matter of abstract faith, but who in practice try to secure the adoption only of some given principle which will do away with some phase of existing wrong. With these two groups of Socialists it is often possible for all far-sighted men to join heartily in the effort to secure a given reform or do away with a given abuse. Probably, in practice, wherever and whenever Socialists of these two types are able to form themselves into a party, they will disappoint both their own expectations and the fears of others by acting very much like other parties, like other aggregations of men; and it will be safe to adopt whatever they advance that is wise, and to reject whatever they advance that is foolish, just as we have to do as regards countless other groups who on one issue or set of issues come together to strive for a change in the political or social conditions of the world we live in. The important thing is generally the next step. We ought not to take it unless we are sure that it is advisable; but we should not hesitate to take it when once we are sure; and we can safely join with others who also wish to take it, without bothering our heads overmuch as to any somewhat fantastic theories they may have concerning, say, the two hundredth step, which is not yet in sight.

There are many schemes proposed which their enemies, and a few of their friends, are pleased to call Socialistic, or which are indorsed and favored by men who call themselves Socialists, but which are entitled each to be considered on its merits with regard only to the practical advantage which each would confer. Every public man, every reformer, is bound to refuse to dismiss these schemes with the shallow statement that they are "Socialistic"; for such an attitude is one of mere mischievous dogmatism. There are communities in which our system of State education is still resisted and condemned as Socialism; and we have seen within the past two years in this country men who were themselves directors in National banks, which were supervised by the Government, object to such supervision of railways by the Government on the ground that it was "Socialistic." An employers' liability law is no more Socialistic than a fire department; the regulation of railway rates is by no means as Socialistic as the digging and enlarging of the Erie Canal at the expense of the State. A proper compensation law would merely distribute over the entire industry the shock of accident or disease, instead of limiting it to the unfortunate individual on whom, through no fault of his, it happened to fall. As communities become more thickly settled and their lives more complex, it grows ever more and more necessary for some of the work formerly performed by individuals, each for himself, to be performed by the community for the community as a whole. Isolated farms need no complicated system of sewerage; but this does not mean that public control of sewerage in a great city should be resisted on the ground that it tends toward Socialism. Let each proposition be treated on its own merits, soberly and cautiously, but without any of that rigidity of mind which fears all reform. If, for instance, the question arises as to the establishment of day nurseries for the children of mothers who work in factories, the obvious thing to do is to approach it with an open mind, listen to the arguments for and against, and, if necessary, try the experiment in actual practice. If it is alleged that small groups of farmers have prospered by doing much of their work in common, and by a kind of mutual insurance and supervision, why of course we should look into the matter with an open mind, and try to find out, not what we want the facts to be, but what the facts really are.

We cannot afford to subscribe to the doctrine, equally hard and foolish, that the welfare of the children in the tenement-house district is no concern of the community as a whole. If the child of the thronged city cannot live in decent surroundings, have teaching, have room to play, have good water and clean air, then not only will he suffer, but in the next generation the whole community will to a greater or less degree share his suffering.

In striving to better our industrial life we must ever keep in mind that, while we cannot afford to neglect its material side, we can even less afford to disregard its moral and intellectual side. Each of us is bound to remember that he is in very truth his brother's keeper, and that his duty is, with judgment and common sense, to try to help the brother. To the base and greedy attitude of mind which adopts as its motto, "What is thine is mine," we oppose the doctrine of service, the doctrine that insists that each of us, in no hysterical manner, but with common sense and good judgment, and without neglect of his or her own interests, shall yet act on the saying, "What is mine I will in good measure make thine also."

Socialism strives to remedy what is evil alike in domestic and in economic life, and its tendency is to insist that the economic remedy is all-sufficient in every case. We should all join in the effort to do away with the evil; but we should refuse to have anything to do with remedies which are either absurd or mischievous, for such, of course, would merely aggravate the present suffering. The first thing to recognize is that, while economic reform is often vital, it is never all-sufficient. The moral reform, the change of character - in which law can sometimes play a large, but never the largest, part - is the most necessary of all. In dealing with the marriage relation the Socialist attitude is one of unmixed evil. Assuredly woman should be guarded and honored in every way, her rights jealously upheld, and any wrong done her should be regarded and punished with severe judgment; but we must keep in mind the obvious fact that equality of consideration does not mean identity of function. Our effort should be to raise the level of self-respect, self-control, sense of duty in both sexes, and not to push both down to an evil equality of moral turpitude by doing away with the self-restraint and sense of obligation which have been slowly built up through the ages. We must bring them to a moral level by raising the lower standard, not by depressing the high. It is idle to prattle against the "economic dependence" of woman upon man. In the ideal household - an ideal which I believe, though very far from being universally realized, is yet now more generally realized than ever before - there is really complete economic interdependence, as well as the high spiritual and moral interdependence which is more nearly attained in happy wedlock, in a permanent partnership of love and duty, than in any other relation of life which the world has yet seen. Rights should be forfeited by neither partner; and duties should be shirked by neither partner. The duty of the woman to be the child-bearer and home-keeper is just as obvious, simple, and healthy as the duty of the man to be the breadwinner and, if necessary, the soldier. Whenever either the man or the woman loses the power or the will to perform these obvious duties, the loss is irreparable, and whatever may be the gain in ease, amiable softness, self-indulgent pleasure, or even artistic and material achievement, the whole civilization is rotten and must fall.

So with our industrial system. In many respects the wage system can be bettered; but screaming about "wage slavery" is largely absurd; at this moment, for instance, I am a "wage slave" of The Outlook. Under certain conditions and in certain cases the co-operative system can to a greater or less degree be substituted with advantage for, or, more often, can be used to supplement, the wage system; but only on condition of recognizing the widely different needs occasioned by different conditions, which needs are so diverse that they must sometimes be met in totally different ways.

We should do everything that can be done, by law or otherwise, to keep the avenues of occupation, of employment, of work, of interest, so open that there shall be, so far as it is humanly possible to achieve it, a measurable? equality of opportunity; an equality of opportunity for each man to show the stuff that is in him. When it comes to reward, let each man, within the limits set by a sound and far-sighted morality, get what, by his energy, intelligence, thrift, courage, he is able to get, with the opportunity open. We 1 must set our faces against privilege; just as much against the kind of privilege which would let the shiftless and lazy laborer take what his brother has earned as against the privilege which allows the huge capitalist to take toll to which he is not entitled. We stand for equality of opportunity, but not for equality of reward unless there is also equality of service. If the service is equal, let the reward be equal; but let the reward depend on the service; and, mankind being composed as it is, there will be inequality of service for a long time to come, no matter how great the equality of opportunity may be; and just so long as there is inequality of service it is eminently desirable that there should be inequality of reward.

We recognize, and are bound to war against, the evils of to-day. The remedies are partly economic and partly spiritual, partly to be obtained by laws, and in greater part to be obtained by individual and associated effort; for character is the vital matter, and character cannot be created by law. These remedies include a religious and moral teaching which shall increase the spirit of human brotherhood; an educational system which shall train men for every form of useful service - and which shall train us to prize common sense no less than morality; such a division of the profits of industry as shall tend to encourage intelligent and thrifty toolusers to become tool-owners; and a government so strong, just, wise, and democratic that, neither lagging too far behind nor pushing heedlessly in advance, it may do its full share in promoting these ends.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Where We Cannot Work With Socialists, by Theodore Roosevelt

Where We Cannot Work With Socialists

It is always difficult to discuss a question when it proves impossible to define the terms in which that question is to be discussed. Therefore there is not much to be gained by a discussion of Socialism versus Individualism in the abstract. Neither absolute Individualism nor absolute Socialism would be compatible with civilization at all; and among the arguments of the extremists of either side the only unanswerable ones are those which show the absurdity of the position of the other. Not so much as the first step towards real civilization can be taken until there arises some development of the right of private property; that is, until men pass out of the stage of savage socialism in which the violent and the thriftless forcibly constitute themselves co-heirs with the industrious and the intelligent in what the labor of the latter produces. But it is equally true that every step toward civilization is marked by a check on individualism. The ages that have passed have fettered the individualism which found expression in physical violence, and we are now endeavoring to put shackles on that kind of individualism which finds expression in craft and greed. There is growth in all such matters. The individualism of the Tweed Ring type would have seemed both commonplace and meritorious to the Merovingian Franks, where it was not entirely beyond their comprehension; and so in future ages, if the world progresses as we hope and believe it will progress, the standards of conduct which permit individuals to make money out of pestilential tenements or by the manipulation of stocks, or to refuse to share with their employees the dreadful burdens laid upon the latter by the inevitable physical risks in a given business, will seem as amazing to our descendants as we now find the standards of a society which regarded Clovis and his immediate successors as preeminently fit for leadership.

With those self-styled Socialists to whom "Socialism" is merely a vaguely conceived catchword, and who use it to express their discontent with existing wrongs and their purpose to correct them, there is not much need of discussion. So far as they make any proposals which are not foolish, and which tend towards betterment, we can act with them. But the real, logical, advanced Socialists, who teach their faith as both a creed and a party platform, may deceive to their ruin decent and well-meaning but short-sighted men; and there is need of plain speaking in order accurately to show the trend of their teaching.

The immorality and absurdity of the doctrines of Socialism as propounded by these advanced advocates are quite as great as those of the advocates, if such there be, of an unlimited individualism. As an academic matter there is more need of refutation of the creed of absolute Socialism than of the creed of absolute individualism; for it happens that at the present time a greater number of visionaries, both sinister and merely dreamy, believe in the former than in the latter. One difficulty in arguing with professed Socialists of the extreme, or indeed of the opportunist type, however, is that those of them who are sincere almost invariably suffer from great looseness of thought; for if they did not keep their faith nebulous, it would at once become abhorrent in the eyes of any upright and sensible man. The doctrinaire Socialists, the extremists, the men who represent the doctrine in its most advanced form, are, and must necessarily be, not only convinced opponents of private property, but also bitterly hostile to religion and morality; in short, they must be opposed to all those principles through which, and through which alone, even an imperfect civilization can be built up by slow advances through the ages.

Indeed, these thoroughgoing Socialists occupy, in relation to all morality, and especially to domestic morality, a position so revolting - and I choose my words carefully - that it is difficult even to discuss it in a reputable paper. In America the leaders even of this type have usually been cautious about stating frankly that they proposed to substitute free love for married and family life as we have it, although many of them do in a roundabout way uphold this position. In places on the continent of Europe, however, they are more straightforward, their attitude being that of one of the extreme French Socialist writers, M. Gabriel Deville, who announces that the Socialists intend to do away with both prostitution and marriage, which he regards as equally wicked - his method of doing away with prostitution being to make unchastity universal. Professor Carl Pearson, a leading English Socialist, states their position exactly: "The sex relation of the future will not be regarded as a union for the birth of children, but as the closest form of friendship between man and woman. It will be accompanied by no child bearing or rearing, or by this in a much more limited number than at present. With the sex relationship, so long as it does not result in children, we hold that the State in the future will in no wise interfere, but when it does result in children, then the State will have a right to interfere." He then goes on to point out that in order to save the woman from "economic dependence" upon the father of her children, the children will be raised at the expense of the State; the usual plan being to have huge buildings like foundling asylums.

Mr. Pearson is a scientific man who, in his own realm, is as worthy of serious heed as Mr. Flinders Petrie, whom I mention later, is in his realm; and the above quotation states in naked form just what logical scientific Socialism would really come to. Aside from its thoroughly repulsive quality, it ought not to be necessary to point out that the condition of affairs aimed at would in actual practice bring about the destruction of the race within, at most, a couple of generations; and such destruction is heartily to be desired for any race of such infamous character as to tolerate such a system. Moreover, the ultra-Socialists of our own country have shown by their attitude towards one of their leaders, Mr. Herron, that, so far as law and public sentiment will permit, they are now ready to try to realize the ideals set forth by Messrs. Deville and Pearson. As for Mr. Herron, I commend to those who desire to verify what I have said, the article in the Boston Congregationalist of June 15, 1901; and to those, by the way, who have not the time to hunt up all the original authorities, I would commend a book called "Socialism; the Nation of Fatherless Children," a book dedicated to the American Federation of Labor. The chapters on Free Love, Homeless Children, and Two Socialist Leaders are especially worth reading by any one who is for the moment confused by the statements of certain Socialist leaders to the effect that advanced Socialism does not contemplate an attack upon marriage and the family.

These same Socialist leaders, with a curious effrontery, at times deny that the exponents of "scientific Socialism" assume a position as regards industry which in condensed form may be stated as, that each man is to do what work he can, or, in other words, chooses, and in return is to take out from the common fund whatever he needs; or, what amounts to the same thing, that each man shall have equal remuneration with every other man, no matter what work is done. If they will turn to a little book recently written in England called "The Case Against Socialism," they will find by looking at, say, pages 229 and 300, or indeed almost at random through the book, quotations from recognized Socialist leaders taking exactly this position; indeed, it is the position generally taken - though it is often opposed or qualified, for Socialist leaders usually think confusedly, and often occupy inconsistent positions. Mrs. Besant, for instance, putting it pithily, says that we must come to the "equal remuneration of all workers;" and one of her colleagues, that "the whole of our creed is that industry shall be carried on, not for the profit of those engaged in it, whether masters or men, but for the benefit of the community. ... It is not for the miners, bootmakers, or shop assistants as such that we Socialists claim the profits of industry, but for the citizen." In our own country, in "Socialism Made Plain," a book officially circulated by the Milwaukee division of the Socialist party, the statement is explicit: "Under the labor time-check medium of exchange proposed by Socialists, any laborer could exchange the wealth he produced in any given number of hours for the wealth produced by any other laborer in the same number of hours." It is unnecessary to point out that the pleasing idea of these writers could be realized only if the State undertook the duty of taskmaster, for otherwise it is not conceivable that anybody whose work would be worth anything would work at all under such conditions. Under this type of Socialism, therefore, or communism, the government would have to be the most drastic possible despotism; a despotism so drastic that its realization would only be an ideal. Of course in practice such a system could not work at all; and incidentally the mere attempt to realize it would necessarily be accompanied by a corruption so gross that the blackest spot of corruption in any existing form of city government would seem bright by comparison. In other words, on the social and domestic side doctrinaire Socialism would replace the family and home life by a glorified State freelunch counter and State foundling asylum, deliberately enthroning self-indulgence as the ideal, with, on its darker side, the absolute abandonment of all morality as between man and woman; while in place of what Socialists are pleased to call "wage slavery" there would be created a system which would necessitate either the prompt dying out of the community through sheer starvation, or an iron despotism over all workers, compared to which any slave system of the past would seem beneficent, because less utterly hopeless.

"Advanced" Socialist leaders are fond of declaiming against patriotism, of announcing their movement as international, and of claiming to treat all men alike; but on this point, as on all others, their system would not stand for one moment the test of actual experiment. If the leaders of the Socialist party in America should to-day endeavor to force their followers to admit all negroes and Chinamen to a real equality, their party would promptly disband, and, rather than submit to such putting into effect of their avowed purpose, would, as a literal fact, follow any capitalistic organization as an alternative.

It is not accident that makes thoroughgoing and radical Socialists adopt the principles of free love as a necessary sequence to insisting that no man shall have the right to what he earns. When Socialism of this really advanced and logical type is tried as it was in France in 1792, and again under the Commune in 1871, it is inevitable that the movement, ushered in with every kind of highsounding phrase, should rapidly spread so as to include, not merely the forcible acquisition of the property of others, but every conceivable form of monetary corruption, immorality, licentiousness, and murderous violence. In theory, distinctions can be drawn between this kind of Socialism and anarchy and nihilism; but in practice, as in 1871, the apostles of all three act together; and if the doctrines of any of them could be applied universally, all the troubles of society would indeed cease, because society itself would cease. The poor and the helpless, especially women and children, would be the first to die out, and the few survivors would go back to the condition of skin-clad savages, so that the whole painful and laborious work of social development would have to begin over again. Of course, long before such an event really happened the Socialistic regime would have been overturned, and in the reaction men would welcome any kind of one-man tyranny that was compatible with the existence of civilization.

So much for the academic side of unadulterated, or, as its advocates style it, "advanced scientific" Socialism. Its representatives in this country who have practically striven to act up to their extreme doctrines, and have achieved leadership in any one of the branches of the Socialist party, especially the parlor Socialists and the like, be they lay or clerical, deserve scant consideration at the hands of honest and clean-living men and women. What their movement leads to may be gathered from the fact that in the last Presidential election they nominated and voted for a man who earns his livelihood as the editor of a paper which not merely practices every form of malignant and brutal slander, but condones and encourages every form of brutal wrong-doing, so long as either the slander or the violence is supposed to be at the expense of a man who owns something, wholly without regard to whether that man is himself a scoundrel, or a wise, kind, and helpful member of the community. As for the so-called Christian Socialists who associate themselves with this movement, they either are or ought to be aware of the pornographic literature, the pornographic propaganda, which make up one side of the movement; a pornographic side which is entirely proper in a movement that in this country accepts as one of its heads a man whose domestic immorality has been so open and flagrant as to merit the epithet of shameless. That criminal nonsense should be listened to eagerly by some men bowed down by the cruel condition of much of modern toil is not strange; but that men who pretend to speak with culture of mind and authority to teach, men who are or have been preachers of the Gospel or professors in universities, should affiliate themselves with the preachers of criminal nonsense is a sign of either grave mental or moral shortcoming.

I wish it to be remembered that I speak from the standpoint of, and on behalf of, the wage-worker and the tiller of the soil. These are the two men whose welfare I have ever before me, and for their sakes I would do anything, except anything that is wrong; and it is because I believe that teaching them doctrine like that which I have stigmatized represents the most cruel wrong in the long run, both to wage-worker and to earth-tiller, that I reprobate and denounce such conduct.

We need have but scant patience with those who assert that modern conditions are all that they should be, or that they cannot be improved. The wildest or most vicious of Socialistic writers could preach no more foolish doctrine than that contained in such ardent defenses of uncontrolled capitalism and individualism as Mr. Flinders Petrie's "Janus," a book which is absurd, but which, because of this very fact, is not mischievous, for it can arouse no other emotion than the very earnest desire that this particular archaeological shoemaker should stick to his early Egyptian last. There are dreadful woes in modern life, dreadful suffering among some of those who toil, brutal wrong-doing among some of those who make colossal fortunes by exploiting the toilers. It is the duty of every honest and upright man, of every man who holds within his breast the capacity for righteous indignation, to recognize these wrongs, and to strive with all his might to bring about a better condition of things. But he will never bring about this better condition by misstating facts and advocating remedies which are not merely false, but fatal.

Take, for instance, the doctrine of the extreme Socialists, that all wealth is produced by manual workers, that the entire product of labor should be handed over every day to the laborer, that wealth is criminal in itself. Of course wealth is no more criminal than laboF. Human society could not exist without both; and if all wealth were abolished this week, the majority of laborers would starve next week. As for the statement that all wealth is produced by manual workers, in order to appreciate its folly it is merely necessary for any man to look at what is happening right around him, in the next street, or the next village. Here in the city where The Outlook is edited, on Broadway between Ninth and Tenth Streets, is a huge dry goods store. The business was originally started, and the block of which I am speaking was built for the purpose, by an able New York merchant. It prospered. He and those who invested under him made a good deal of money. Their employees did well. Then he died, and certain other people took possession of it and tried to run the business. The manual labor was the same, the good-will was the same, the physical conditions were the same; but the guiding intelligence at the top had changed. The business was run at a loss. It would surely have had to shut down, and all the employees, clerks, laborers, everybody would have been turned adrift, to infinite suffering, if it had not again changed hands and another business man of capacity taken charge. The business was the same as before, the physical conditions were the same, the good-will the same, the manual labor the same, but the guiding intelligence had changed, and now everything once more prospered, and prospered as had never been the case before. With such an instance before our very eyes, with such proof of what every business proves, namely, the vast importance of the part played by the guiding intelligence in business, as in war, in invention, in art, in science, in every imaginable pursuit, it is really difficult to show patience when asked to discuss such a proposition as that all wealth is produced solely by the work of manual workers, and that the entire product should be handed over to them. Of course, if any such theory were really acted upon, there would soon be no product to be handed over to the manual laborers, and they would die of starvation. A great industry could no more be managed by a mass-meeting of manual laborers than a battle could be won in such fashion, than a painters' union could paint a Rembrandt, or a typographical union write one of Shakespeare's plays.

The fact is that this kind of Socialism represents an effort to enthrone privilege in its crudest form. Much of what we are fighting against in modern civilization is privilege. We fight against privilege when it takes the form of a franchise to a street railway company to enjoy the use of the streets of a great city without paying an adequate return; when it takes the form of a great business combination which grows rich by rebates which are denied to other shippers; when it takes the form of a stock-gambling operation which results in the watering of railway securities so that certain inside men get an enormous profit out of a swindle on the public. All these represent various forms of illegal, or, if not illegal, then anti-social privilege. But there can be no greater abuse, no greater example of corrupt and destructive privilege, than that advocated by those who say that each man should put into a common store what he can and take out what he needs. This is merely another way of saying that the thriftless and the vicious, who could or would put in but little, should be entitled to take out the earnings of the intelligent, the foresighted, and the industrious. Such a proposition is morally base. To choose to live by theft or by charity means in each case degradation, a rapid lowering of self-respect and self-reliance. The worst wrongs that capitalism can commit upon labor would sink into insignificance when compared with the hideous wrong done by those who would degrade labor by sapping the foundations of selfrespect and self-reliance. The Roman mob, living on the bread given them by the State and clamoring for excitement and amusement to be purveyed by the State, represent for all time the very nadir to which a free and self-respecting population of workers can sink if they grow habitually to rely upon others, and especially upon the State, either to furnish them charity, or to permit them to plunder, as a means of livelihood.

In short, it is simply common sense to recognize that there is the widest inequality of service, and that therefore there must be 1 an equally wide inequality of reward, if our society is to rest upon the basis of justice and wisdom. Service is the true test by which a man's worth should be judged. We are against privilege in any form: privilege to the capitalist who exploits the poor man, and privilege to the shiftless or vicious poor man who would rob his thrifty brother of what he has earned. Certain exceedingly valuable forms of service are rendered wholly without capital. On the other hand, there are exceedingly valuable forms of service which can be rendered only by means of great accumulations of capital, and not to recognize this fact would be to deprive our whole people of one of the great agencies for their betterment. The test of a man's worth to the community is the service he renders to it, and we cannot afford to make this test by material considerations alone. One of the main vices of the Socialism which was propounded by Proudhon, Lassalle, and Marx, and which is preached by their disciples and imitators, is that it is blind to everything except the merely material side of life. It is not only indifferent, but at bottom hostile, to the intellectual, the religious, the domestic and moral life; it is a form of communism with no moral foundation, but essentially based on the immediate annihilation of personal ownership of capital, and, in the near future, the annihilation of the family, and ultimately the annihilation of civilization.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New audiobook release: The Challenge of Waste, by Stuart Chase

It's that time again, another audiobook has been finalized and ready for download.

The Challenge of Waste

What's interesting about this 1922 book, is that Stuart Chase, who would a decade later coin the term "New Deal" and be an adviser to FDR, based much of his opinions for this book on a study about waste which was commissioned by Herbert Hoover.

That's because Hoover himself didn't stop being a progressive until seeing his own failures as president and Franklin Roosevelt doubling down on what clearly did not work.

Hoover, like any other early 20th century progressive, was utterly obsessed with the concept of efficiency. Chase was no different. Chase details how wasteful it is to have a competitive enterprise, a monopoly is so much more efficient.(A government monopoly, of source) He also details how much more efficient life would be if some products simply didn't exist. Additionally, he proposes that solutions can be found in World War I era policies.

The Challenge of Waste is only 30 pages long, it's not a long read nor a long listen; it's just under an hour and ten minutes.

For the continued effort to understand progressivism, this is a worthy item to have at the handy.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Planning always fails. But then why do the planners never give up?

Authors Susan S. Fainstein and James DeFilippis wrote a book titled Readings in Planning Theory, which is all about centralized planning. In the book, the two authors spend a lot of time focusing on early planners Ebenezer Howard, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier, and here's their conclusion about the three men: (page 23)
"Many people dream of a better world; Howard, Wright, and Le Corbusier each went a step further and planned one."

This is what we're up against. If it was really "better", it wouldn't keep failing.

"The more the planning fails, the more the planners plan." - Ronald Reagan

It's all about proximity. They never give up on planning because the planner is the closest to utopia of any utopian.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Its going to be a very long semester

In my most recent class for student government(its required), the professor stood up and proceeded to tell the class about themselves, including that they(the professor) is a "Social Justice Catholic".

Great. That's just what I need. It's going to be a very long semester. Sigh. I just hope that not sharing the views of the professor doesn't negatively impact my grades.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Who is the grandfather of fake news?

I recently wrote an entry about Walter Lippmann, in which I made the case that his book "Public Opinion" makes him the founding father of fake news. It's important to understand, "fake news" does not end with "journalistic objectivity", fake news begins with "journalistic objectivity". It has to, because if "fake news" doesn't begin with "We are objective, you can trust us" then you'll get lost in the quagmire of thousands of years of people who, while they did report things inaccurately, did not do so because it was their ideological drive. They either lied because they were told to do so by the king, or they lied because they wanted to sell more papers.(which doesn't make it right, but neither helps us understand journalistic ideology)

With that very important fact laid out, there is another critical name to understand when it comes to using news as a source of manipulation. That's William Thomas Stead, he is the grandfather, or godfather if you will, of fake news. Now, Stead was a tabloid man. He didn't proclaim objectivity, he was honest that he was manipulating people. That's a hugely important distinction to enunciate and understand. Manipulating people through the news was his deeply held ideological belief. Still, Stead authored a piece called "Government by Journalism", which, unlike "Public Opinion", it's not a 400 page book. It's only an essay,(22 pages long) which means that its easy to read, and also quick to listen to.

Now, Stead's work "Government by Journalism" is full of mind-blowing quotes, such as this one:

They decide what their readers shall know, or what they shall not know.

Yes, he means journalists. Journalists decide what their readers shall know, or what they shall not know. I told you he was honest about his ideology.

But why would I care about a tabloid man, the sensationalist? He's not proclaiming objectivity! The tabloid man is only important, because of who his protege was. William Thomas Stead's protege was William Randolph Hearst, and Stead was very proud of this. Stead wrote that: (alt)

I have been long on the look out for a man to appear who will carry out my ideal of government by journalism I am certain that such a man will come to the front some day, and I wonder if you are to be that man.

Stead writes that after his discussions with Hearst:

It was almost immediately after that midnight talk that Mr. Hearst began to realise the ideal of a journalism that does things. He took up the question of municipal ownership. He engaged Arthur Brisbane, the son of Brisbane the Fourierist, to write editorials. He began the battle against the Trusts; he made the Spanish-American war. For weal or for woe Mr. Hearst had found his soul; for weal or for woe he had discovered his chart and engaged his pilot, and from that day to this he has steered a straight course, with no more tackings than were necessary to avoid the fury of the storm.

The final crucial point to understand, is that "Objective journalism" was a reaction to Hearstism, which really didn't exist. Hearst was merely implementing Steadism, and Hearst spread Steadism around the globe. But if you read Walter Lippmann, here's the one thing you won't read:

"We realize that Hearst is manipulating, and we want the manipulation to stop".

Instead, Lippmann spends 400 pages obsessing over stereotypes, and obsessing over how to manipulate people without them realizing that they're being manipulated, how to employ those stereotypes to profound effect.

The "why" is important. That, I believe, is a reasonable and fact-based reason as to why "fake news" begins with "journalistic objectivity". Or else, if we do not nail down journalistic ideology, we'll be chasing our tails and discussing John Norvell or any others who, while again, they got plenty of things wrong, they didn't set out to manipulate people and they certainly didn't claim to be objective in the process. And that's the point.

When it comes to today's "objective journalists", we need to nail these S.O.B.s down and use their own history against them. As you can see, they are very adept at using their institutions to spread lies and propaganda. Notice how they omit "objective journalism"? The ideology must be protected at all costs.