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Reblogged:Compare and Contrast

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Enemies of capitalism from the left are fond of (1) making caricatures of capitalism and (2) offering fantastic solutions to the alleged problems purportedly caused by capitalism. (Sometimes, the "problem" is actually not a problem; sometimes, it doesn't actually exist (sadly for Amazon); and sometimes the problem is not caused by capitalism.). We hear of wage slavery and the rape of Mother Gaia, as if workers aren't free to change jobs, or human beings, of all the animals on the planet, can survive without any effect on our surroundings. It might be worthwhile to flip things around in a couple of dimensions for a moment...

Let's consider in turn the actual legacy of communism -- and a proposed alternative that is known to work. First, consider the following, from a book review of Le Livre Noir du Communisme (The Black Book of Communism), source of the oft-quoted 100 million death toll (as of 1997) of socialism/communism:

Whole categories of people, real or imagined -- "Cossacks," "kulaks," "bourgeois," "reactionaries" -- were exterminated not for anything they had done, but just for being who they were. Concentration camps, forced labor and terror were elevated to a system of government. Communism transposed the language and conditions of wartime onto a civil and ideological "front," bequeathing to modern radical politics a paramilitary language of interminable "conflict." A permanent civil war of party-state versus society was inaugurated; its goal was a Gleichschaltung -- an atomized oneness -- different from that of Nazism only in its invocation of "class" instead of "race" and in its distinctive euphemisms: Nazis applied "special treatment" to the useless people they murdered, Communists "liquidated" those whom history, in their eyes, had already condemned. [bold added]
This legacy is with us today, and reminds me generally of the kind of political discourse satirized by "Titania McGrath." And I am reminded particularly of the Green New Deal, in both the tone of its delivery and the consequences, were we to act on it.

This is what we have gotten from these supposedly well-intentioned "idealists" in the past. Let's just briefly consider an alternative proposal, and let's go straight to a frequently-demonized source:
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images, via Pixabay, license.
The symbol of all relationships among [rational] men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit -- his love, his friendship, his esteem -- except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread -- a man of justice. [bold added]
Ayn Rand has the particular distinction of being caricatured and reviled even by people one would understandably think would embrace her.

One final interesting contrast. One of those "people" I alluded to in the last sentence said, disingenuously, of the very novel the last block quote came from, "From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber -- go!'" I certainly never got that, so I shall let Ayn Rand have the last word, from another page of that novel, about the choice we confront regarding how we treat ourselves and each other today:
Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of men. Blood, whips and guns -- or dollars. Take your choice -- there is no other -- and your time is running out.
Observe further of the pie-in-the-sky folk that they are doing their best to overwhelm you with specifics and rush you into a choice that will be very hard to undo, because it will be enforced by the government.

-- CAV

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