Sunday, May 19, 2013

Will We Ever Learn?

Just how many more times are we going to have to witness the collapse of the same tired old belief systems?  It's as if mankind were condemned to watch the same movie over and over, without any recollection of how the movie ends.  Or with a belief that this time, somehow, the show will end differently, despite the same characters speaking the same lines, taking the same actions that result in the same ends.

The belief that Socialism, a completely altruistic society, can ever be instituted successfully is one of the most destructive of these belief systems.  The idea of "From each according to his ability.  To each according to his needs" is pure poison, yet each generation appears doomed to learn this lesson the hard way.  The latest of these "Schools of Hard Knocks" is Venezuela.

This week it was reported that the government was in desperate need of common, basic, everyday supplies for it's people and would be importing 50 million...........rolls of toilet paper!  That's right, the "people's paradise" of Hugo Chavez's Bolivian Revolution can't even provide people the ability to wipe their own collective asses.

Shortages of consumer staples is nothing new to the citizens of Venezuela, unfortunately.  During the reign of Chavez the people have suffered through shortages of such necessities as milk, butter, coffee(!) and cornmeal.  Disruptions in power and water supplies are also common, with some citizens utilizing water barrels to collect and store reserves in preparation for the next outage.  It is notable that the People's Palace never suffered the same shortages and deprivations as the commons.  Chavez came to power as a revolutionary proclaiming the rights of the workers to their share of the wealth of the nation, previously the exclusive property of the greedy, evil businessmen and corrupt government officials.  Odd then, isn't it, how it appears that he simply replaced himself as the country's overlord and replaced the old guard's cronyism with his own?

Mankind has borne witness to this scenario countless times throughout it's history.  Altruism does not exist.  It never has.  It never will.  Future tyrants always rise to power through their promises to the "disenfranchised" and the "exploited proletariat" of a "fair share" of the material possessions and wealth gained as a result of the "greedy" landowners exploitation of their labor.  What actually happens is that the workers simply replace one set of masters with another, often more brutal group.

We saw this in the revolutions in Russia and China.  The "evil rich", the farmers who owned vast expanses of land and raised the crops and food animals that fed their nation, had their properties seized, crops burned and animals slaughtered by marauding mobs goaded to action by their revolutionary "leaders" proclamation of both the evil greed of the landowners and the moral right of the people to take their property.  In many cases, once the farmers had been murdered, and after the land had been parceled out to it's "rightful owners" or claimed by the government in the name of the people, it was discovered that the new occupiers had no idea what they were doing.  They had no more idea of how to successfully run a productive farm than did their new overlords.  The practices of crop rotation and animal husbandry were a mystery to those who insisted upon the belief that the acquisition of wealth was nothing more than a matter of seizing the means of production, independent of the need to learn how to produce. 

The result was crop failure, food shortages, famine & death.  For the people.  For the revolutionaries, their existence was far less uncomfortable.  As the "great leaders" and "visionaries", tasked with the great responsibility of leading the people onward to Utopia, they were entitled to take their "cut" off the top.  It is no different in Venezuela.  It is no different in Cuba.  It is no different in South Africa.  It is no different in Argentina.  It is no different in Mexico.  It is no different in Chile.  It will be no different in Greece.  It will be no different in Cyprus.  It will be no different in the rest of the Eurozone. 

And, unless we learn from past history and present example, it will be no different in America. 

Socialism is for the people, not the socialists.

Damn, I hate re-runs.


  1. Sadly I would argue that altruism does exist and has for thousands of years. The belief that one should place the interests of others ahead of your own is the foundation of all religious and collectivist moralities. We see it everyday from the politicians calls for "shared sacrifice" to Pope Francis' recent calls for curbs on capitalism (which doesn't actually exist currenly, but if it did would entail a focus on the individual) and more focus on providing for "the common good." Whatever that is, it certainly isn't the individual.
    The fact that you cannot consistently apply the philosopy of altruism and survive as a human being, as noted in your post, has not deterred leaders from calling for the people to attempt it. Nor has it deterred people from believing that they should follow this philosophy with the resulting guilt when they cannot. This is why so many wealthy people support higher taxes and wealth redistribution since it is just the government forcing them to do what they "should" be doing anyway.

    1. Perhaps I should have said that altruism doesn't "honestly" exist. None of the promoters of the ideal ever actually believe it. It's ever and always a means of control of the masses. Even the most common exemplars, such as Mother Teresa, aren't perfectly altruistic and uninvolved. She did what she did because of the teachings of her religion and out of a desire to serve God. Thus, she had a personal motive driving her behaviors, while pure altruism demands one have no personal goals or agenda. It's an impossibility.

      As for so many wealthy supporting higher taxes out of supposed "guilt" for being rich? Nope. Look closer, and you will see their talk as nothing more than an attempt to insulate themselves from condemnation by the "have-nots" and government, while simultaneously promoting the erection of new barriers to wealth creation and accumulation by others. It's a way for them to protect the exclusivity of their own little club, sort of like a "cover charge" keeping out the riff-raff. If they truly believed what they profess, they'd argue for a wealth tax, since few if any of the truly wealthy actually have "earned income" or make an hourly wage.