The Shotgun Blog
Monday, December 07, 2009
Not a bad way to describe it:
Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on December 7, 2009 | Permalink
Do you even read this board, Hugh?
Here, BTW, were my comments then:
1. I love it! We need more political debate in this format and less cable news talking heads!
2. Why is Conan O'Brien playing the farmer?
3. Isn't "capitalism" also an "ISM"? And "libertarianism" too?
4. Joe Doakes? An American inventor in the 1890s with the freedom to make a motor car? A good story, except the car was really developed by Karl Benz in 1885, a German living under the "freedom" of Emperor Wilhelm's German empire under Bismarck's leadership (who, incidentally, introduced publicly funded health care, old age pensions, disability and accident insurance while Benz was making his machine).
5. The unnammed "ISM" is bad beacuse it would make labour strikes illegal? So the cartoon promotes a system that protects unions' right to strike? Hmmm....
6. "... preaches race hatred ..." Interestingly progressive throw away comment ... especially since everyone in the cartoon is white....
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-12-07 11:24:36 AM
At 1:08 the cartoon depicts African Americans and says how freedom is about "all races, creeds and religions." But that hardly refutes what FC says. If this came out in 1949, it was a year after the US armed forces desegregated and 5 years before Brown vs Board of Education, Montgomery Bus Boycott and Emmett Till. But meh.
Once I read a Soviet 1960s textbook on US history. it was a standard Marxist appraisal, with bourgeois landowners oppressing the tenant farmers, workers and slaves. Yet it was remarkably positive and even-handed about Abraham Lincoln. They treated him like a hero. Marx himself was a big fan.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-12-07 12:04:20 PM
Nothing wrong with posting something twice. Particularly if it is entertaining. I will confess that I forgot it was posted 7 months ago. But whatever why is this such a big deal?
I agree that the ISM thing is a bit silly. There are plenty of good isms out there. But that doesn't really take away from the main point. And yes most libertarians would support the freedom of workers to unionize and strike. We also, however, also support the worker's right to refuse to join a union.
Posted by: Hugh MacIntyre | 2009-12-07 12:08:39 PM
Workers, through unions, have the right to strike. Their employers, however, have the right to fire their asses if they do decide to stike. As it is right now, employer rights are being violated.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-12-07 12:33:07 PM
"I agree that the ISM thing is a bit silly. There are plenty of good isms out there. But that doesn't really take away from the main point."
No, but the complete misrepresentation of the history of how the car developed and the fact that it actually was invented in a very non-libertarian country does take a lot away from the main point. The cartoon is very entertaining, but it used blatant lies and gross exaggerations to make its point. Any "point" that needs such deception to "make" it cannot be much of a point, can it?
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-12-07 1:40:44 PM
FC, the facts should be challenged, and thanks for pointing out the errors. The point did not need deception. It was deception or laziness on the part of the creators. The fact that car was originally developed in Germany still supports that point. America made the industry much bigger than Germany ever could, and they did it with Capitalism.
Posted by: TM | 2009-12-08 12:23:16 AM
"America made the industry much bigger than Germany ever could, and they did it with Capitalism."
That's just bullshit you just made up. The cartoon purports that it was only because of freedom and capitalism that the car was invented. This is a lie. In fact, the car was invented and developed in a different country under very different political circumstances. Now you claim, with as much credibility as the cartoon, that German could not possibly have developed the car as happened in the US. The fact is that developments of the automobile happened all across Europe in the early days. There is no reason to think that somehow America was the only place where this could happen.
But go on believing in fantasies - or cartoon version of history - if you want.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-12-08 7:07:35 AM
FC, calm down. Capitalism will win out every time in creating wealth for all. That's the point.
Posted by: TM | 2009-12-08 11:38:26 AM
"Capitalism" seems to be a moving target. If by "capitalism" you mean a system that also includes a very wide and generous welfare system - including government run health systems, government run school systems, a wide variety of other government run services in virtually all aspects of life that are free to the users and paid for by forcible taxation, then I agree. Such a system has proven over many decades to be one of great productivity. But then if that is what is being defended, most people who get tagged as "statists" or "socialists" are really just capitalists of this stripe.
The number of people in western countries today who believe in soviet-style central planning is negligible. Most "statists" and "socialists" quite like capitalism of the type I described. You can chase straw men and cartoon villains, but in reality it is the modern "statist" system that produced the massive growth in wealth in the west in the 20th century. Libertarian fantasy land has never existed and so never produced squat. Except in cartoon versions of revisionist history.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-12-08 12:21:28 PM
FC, thanks for that. You may be right that it has never existed. But I think you are wrong. Let me do some research and get back to you on that. Until then I would guess that the pockets of freedom we have enjoyed that have been without government interference have produced amazing results. The distribution of food is an example of almost no government involvement, and is more important than healthcare. Yet it works very very well. Anyway, I have my homework to do...
Posted by: TM | 2009-12-08 12:44:32 PM
I must admit to finding this debate very strange. Wealth is created by savings being invested by capitalists to increase the production of goods and services in the economy.
There is no logical argument to back the claim that government involvement in the economy creates wealth. The only conclusion then, is that capitalism succeeds despite our current level of government involvement in the economy. It also should be quite obvious that with less government involvement, we'd have more wealth creation.
Now obviously, Canadians citizens think we are better off with this type of system. Some seem to be ok with the fact that there is less wealth creation. Others seem to erroneously believe the government can create wealth. Still others just don't seem to care.
The ironic part is that whenever there is a debate about rising income inequality, healthcare and education costs, etc.; capitalism always gets the blame.
Posted by: Charles | 2009-12-08 4:02:21 PM
FC, I spoke to a respected economics professor. At least I repsect him. Here is his reply to your comments:
It would be more accurate to state that the tremendous growth in wealth arose not because of, but in spite of, the massive corporatist-statism of the last century. As one economist put it "as long as the Schumpeterian horse of innovation and the Smithian horse of gains from trade outrun the Government horse of stupidity, the winners will continue to be us, and our children and grandchildren, even if the stupid horse is running a bit faster than it used to."
Both innovation and voluntary exchange are largest when individuals are free to make their own decisions. More importantly, they also depend on a stable regime of private property rights. It is hard to see how the corporatist-statist regime that exists today contributes to either of these. What it does, however, by its inevitable drive to corporate protectionism and ever expanding restrictions (regulations) on voluntary exchange, is slow down the wealth creating process. It is a testimony to the power of the unfettered market to create the kinds of wealth, that notwithstanding repeated, continuous, and growing onslaughts from the corporatist-statist government, continues to amaze.
One last thought. There is a fallacy of logic called the "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" fallacy. This Latin term translated might read, "after which, therefore because of". Just because one event is correlated with another, or follows another, does not entitle you to conclude causation. Further scientific inquiry is necessary to determine cause and effect. You can suggest that because the state has grown over the last century and wealth has also grown, that the state caused the wealth creation. This is an elementary logical error, that first year economics students are taught to be on guard for. It is pervasive in the media and in most people's thinking.
An amusing example is the Preachers and the Drunks. If observation shows you that there is a high correlation between the number of drunks in a town and the number of preachers, what can you conclude about cause and effect? Nothing! Here are some of the theories of cause and effect.
1) Preachers are attracted to towns with the most drunks. Why preach to the choir!
2) Drunks move to towns where there are preachers. Secretly they want to be saved from their addictions.
3) Preachers drive townspeople to drinking.
4) Preachers are Drunks!
The relevant comparison isn't that we are doing better than, say, Bosnia, or even than we were two decades ago, but rather that we could do even better without the horse of government stupidity. F.A. Hayek made this point in his "Road to Serfdom" when he said that the free market system can handle a lot of government stupidity and still create impressive wealth. However, at some point when the stupidity gets too onerous, the wealth creation process grinds to a halt. Check out the history of the Roman Empire and the causes of its ultimate undoing.
True, throughout most of history the predominant form of government was some form of statism, under which citizens rights were non-existent. There was, however, one brief moment in all of this history when the Libertarian philosophy (or something very close to it) prevailed. That was at the time of the US Declaration of Independence. For reasons I won't go into here, the statists, even early on, won the battle for the "hearts of the citizens".
Most citizens would trade off freedom against security. This however, is a false tradeoff. Was it Benjamin Franklin who said "those who are willing to trade away freedom for security deserve (and get) neither?”
Posted by: TM | 2009-12-08 4:58:40 PM
Communism was a failure, so was Capitalism, it went broke as well, and both have to be bailed out with social welfare
Posted by: Nose job | 2009-12-09 8:34:19 AM
Nose job, I'm not sure if you are joking or not. Where does social welfare come from? It has to be confiscated from those who create the wealth. That is capitalism. "The only problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money."
Posted by: TM | 2009-12-09 8:21:34 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.