Monday, October 27, 2008

The bottom of the pit

Having scraped the bottom of the pit for anything and everything to throw at Obama, John McCain finally arrives at the "S" word: He accuses Obama of being a socialist.

OMG! Socialism! Why, if those nasty Obamacrats have their way, we'll be just like that horrible cesspool of misery and depravity called "Sweden"! The horror! Oh the horror! Swedish meatballs! World-class health care for all! IKEA! ABBA! Kick-ass SAAB fighter jets! A diversified economy providing living wages for pretty much everybody, and a first-class educational system, and everybody being healthy and happy about their life and about their government? The horror, oh my eyes just shudder in their sockets from the sheer horror of it all! No, clearly I must now change my vote to vote for John McCain, because most certainly I would not want my nation to become such a cesspool of evil as Sweden!

Okay, back to reality, folks. The reality is that all this talk of "isms" simply is a distraction. If there's things about the Swedish model that work, we should implement them here. If there's things about the Swedish model that don't work, we shouldn't implement them here. Same deal applies to any other nation and any other model of governance. Automatically filtering ideas into categories like "socialist" or "capitalist" is just nonsense. The only filtering we should do is "works" and "doesn't work".

The fact of the matter is that over these past 28 years, we've run the nation into the ground with all this "ism" this and "ism" that and listening to politicians tell us we can have all the benefits of good government (safe food and water, clean air, good roads and schools, etc.) without paying for it. We've mortgaged our future for a house full of cheap Chinese crap that will just break within a few years, all because we'd rather believe in invisible hands and other such imaginary things rather than practical pragmatic reality as can be seen with our own two eyes if we only open them up and look around and see. It's time to put all this fucking bullshit to rest and look at the dire straits in which we've placed our nation and then roll up our sleeves and get to work -- doing what works, regardless of whatever ideological tag the bullshit artists want to place on it. We've had too much goddamned bullshit and not enough plain practical pragmatic good sense. We're living in the post-ideological world today, where in most of the 1st world governments and peoples are more concerned with adopting best practices than in attaching ideological tags to anything and everything. The United States is being out-competed now by the Euro-weenies and the Chinese, and in large part it is because we're still stuck on stupid -- still stuck on ideology. The Chinese have moved past ideology and are busy building an economic superpower. The Europeans have their ideologies, but have a sense of proportion about them and don't let ideology keep them from doing what's right for their people for the most part. But the United States? It's all about what tag we can attach to things, not about what's right for our people and for our nation. It's killing us as a nation, and until we throw that bullshit under the bridge and adopt a policy of clear-eyed realism and pragmatism we're just going to keep going down, down, down until this whole ball of wax collapses into disaster.

-- Badtux the Pragmatic Penguin


  1. When you're riding around in Nature, in the Real World, do you spend a lot of time thinking about how you're going to talk to us, your imaginary friends, the ghosts in the machine?

  2. Is my view welcomed, even if I AGREE vehemently with you?

    What the developed world agrees on that works are capital markets and the fungibility of assets. In other words: capitalism.

    Sweden and Venezuela may call themselves "socialist" countries if they like, but so long as they do not practice full collective ownership of wealth and productive capacity -- and neither do -- they are capitalist countries.

    It so happens that aspects of the Swedish and Venezuelan implicit social contract call for a larger public sector with more direct transfers and greater government infrastructure and educational spending than Americans would like in their country.

    Sweden and Venezuela have capital markets and supermarkets.

    Sweden's economic strengths are in manufacturing, tech, forest products and fisheries.

    Venezuela's economic stregths are in crude oil, agriculture, and tech.

    The Swedes are good at hockey and soccer. The Venezuelans are good at baseball.

    Karl Marx would have considered both countries miserable failures as "Socialist" nations.

    End of story.

  3. The Scandinavians refer to their system as "market socialism". Which seems a contradiction in terms, but remember, around 50% of the Swedish economy is owned by the Swedish government, so you certainly can't call their system "capitalism". Socialism is where the government owns the means of production, remember. On the other hand, as you point out, the other 50% is owned by private individuals, so you can't call their system "socialism" either. Thus the Scandinavian term for their system -- "Market socialism". I.e., use the market (capitalism) for those things where capitalism works best, and use government ownership (socialism) for those things where socialism works best.

    Now, I doubt Americans would want the degree of government ownership of their economy that is true in the Scandinavian countries. But even here in the United States, we have "socialist" things like public education, public highways, public libraries, and so forth where we as a society have determined that private enterprise just does not work at providing these necessary services. In the end pretty much all workable societies end up with some degree of "market socialism", and saying that this is a bad thing is just silly.

    Now on to Bukko's question: Nope, wasn't thinking a d*mned thing about the blog while I was out there having a blast in the desert. But it does work wonderfully for clearing the mind.

    - Badtux the Market Socialist Penguin


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