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Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Adulation of Dopes

Have you had a sanity-checkup lately?

OSWATOMIE, KS - DECEMBER 6:   U.S. President B...
OSWATOMIE, KS - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the economy at Osawatomie High School December 6, 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. Obama described the middle class struggles as the defining issue of our time in the speech. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Related source » Issues 2012 | An Audacious Promise: The Moral Case for Capitalism: 'via Blog this'
[This related source is recommended in its entirety.]   h/t Newmark's Door

“The market will take care of everything,” they tell us…. But here’s the problem: it doesn’t work. It has never worked [!] It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory. [emphasis added]
— President Barack Obama, Osawatomie, Kansas, December 6, 2011

“Milton Friedman once said that every time capitalism has been tried, it has succeeded; whereas every time socialism has been tried, it has failed. Yet President Obama has oddly claimed that we’ve tried free-market capitalism, and it “has never worked.” This is rather remarkable. Since 1800, the world’s population has increased sixfold; yet despite this enormous increase, real income per person has increased approximately 16-fold. That is a truly amazing achievement. In America, the increase is even more dramatic: in 1800, the total population in America was 5.3 million, life expectancy was 39, and the real gross domestic product per capita was $1,343 (in 2010 dollars); in 2011, our population was 308 million, our life expectancy was 78, and our GDP per capita was $48,800. Thus even while the population increased 58-fold, our life expectancy doubled, and our GDP per capita increased almost 36-fold. Such growth is unprecedented in the history of humankind. Considering that worldwide per-capita real income for the previous 99.9 percent of human existence averaged consistently around $1 per day, that is extraordinary.

What explains it? It would seem that it is due principally to the complex of institutions usually included under the term “capitalism,” since the main thing that changed between 200 years ago and the previous 100,000 years of human history was the introduction and embrace of so-called capitalist institutions — particularly, private property and markets. One central promise of capitalism has been that it will lead to increasing material prosperity. It seems fair to say that this promise, at least, has been fulfilled beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Yet people remain suspicious of capitalism—and more than just suspicious: as the Occupy Wall Street movement is only the latest to have shown, we seem ready to indict capitalism for many of our social problems. Why?

A widespread consensus is that capitalism might be necessary to deliver the goods but fails to meet moral muster. By contrast, socialism, while perhaps not practical, is morally superior — if only we could live up to its ideals. Two main charges are typically marshaled against capitalism: it generates inequality by allowing some to become wealthier than others; and it threatens social solidarity by allowing individuals some priority over their communities. Other objections include: it encourages selfishness or greed; it “atomizes” individuals or “alienates” (Marx’s term) people from one another; it exploits natural resources or despoils nature; it impoverishes third-world countries; and it dehumanizes people because the continual search for profit reduces everything, including human beings, to odious dollar-and-cent calculations.

The list of charges against capitalism is long. But some of the charges are not as strong as might be supposed. Take community. Capitalism gives us incentives to trade and associate with people outside our local community, even complete strangers, not on the basis of our love or care for them but out of our own — and their—self-interest. So capitalism enables people to escape the strictures of their local communities. But is that bad? Capitalism creates opportunities for people to trade, exchange, partner, associate, collaborate, cooperate, and share with — as well as learn from — people not only from next door but from around the world — even people who speak different languages, wear different clothing, eat different foods, and worship different gods. The social characteristics that in other times and under different institutions would lead to conflict — even violent, bloody conflict — become, under capitalism, irrelevant — and thus no longer cause for discord. Capitalism encourages people to see those outside their communities not as threats but as opportunities. It gives us an incentive to look beyond our narrow parochialisms and form associations that would otherwise not be possible.” [emphasis added]
— James R. Otteson, No.12 May 2012 (

OK; I get it. No, really, I do get it. You, your parents, and probably your grandparents, too, have always voted Democrat. Most likely, you have voted Democrat because, as "everybody knows", Democrats are for the little guy, the poor sap who struggles and toils just to put food on the table, gas in the car, and electric charge in all the family iPhones. And all the while, you're ducking the bill collectors, because you charged your maxed-out credit cards an extra spur-of-the-moment trip to Disneyland.

But just stop and think for a moment. How does "everybody know" that Democrats are for the little guy? Well, for one thing, all those "little guys" in Holyshitwood, whom you admire and adore, keep telling you it is so. Is Barack Obama really for the little guy? Or is he for the little guy's vote, so that he, his wife, and his kids can continue living like the so-called "fat cats" he continues to denigrate in his non-stop reelection campaigning?

You don't have to be a poor sap all your life. You can do much better; not by voting for Obama, but, rather, by understanding that Obama is playing you like a sap, and all the scumbags in Holyshitwood are, too.

Obama is a charlatan; that is, "a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception". And what is the specific trick that Obama makes use of? Lying. He is a bald-faced liar. And how does he get away with it? Well, you poor sap, because you are too lazy to invalidate the bullshit that emanates from his mouth every time he opens it.

I do understand you, you poor sap. But I have no sympathy for you. That may sound harsh. But my bluntness is well-intentioned. Because I know you can do much better, if only you weren't intellectually lazy.

Get a grip. More importantly, get a life. Stop asking for hand-outs from Obama, and stop seeking advice from Holyshitwood. None of them are your friends. They simply get off on your misplaced adulation.

Post 1,825 The Adulation of Dopes
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