Capitalism or not?

In the US, it is not often found bluntly stated that somebody thinks capitalism is a dead end. I do. Most Americans do not think that so, actually, and would strongly disagree with me. In fact, there are a number of Americans that consider capitalism to be the foundation of liberty. This philosophy is often called Libertarianism.
 
So what do you think? Dead End, or Springboard for All Freedoms? I personally think that besides the question of injustice that anti-capitalists have traditionally invoked, that now we have the situation where capitalism is so antagonist to the ecology of our planet, that that alone makes it a system that must be abolished totally, or we will not survive on this planet.

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25 Responses to Capitalism or not?

  1. You have throw down the gauntlet, Tony, and I must therefore take it up and slap you in the face with it. First of all, I am no Libertarian, altho I do agree with many of their principles. If anything, I am an Objectivist, committed to the understanding and discovery of the objective reality around us, through the use of rational means. My defense of capitalism has nothing to do with faith, which by definition is the acceptance of ideas without any evidence, or even in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    The very first capitalist may have been the man who discovered how to make fire. He made it for his own rational, selfish purposes, yet bestowed a great gift upon his fellow men, and all generations to come. And he most likely was burned at the stake he had shown his fellows how to make, because he had interfered with the prerogatives of his fellows’ gods. You most likely would have burned him because he had placed your precious ecology in danger of forest fires.

    The next capitalist invented the wheel, to make it easier to haul home the game he had killed for his family. But his fellows broke his back on that same wheel, to punish him for putting the game haulers out of work. You would break him for putting ruts in the meager dirt road, for fear that these wheels would disturb the habitat of the precious spotted owl.

    Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, for his own selfish, capitalistic purposes, and was able to feed and improve the quality of life of multitudes…..but this was evil, wasn’t it, because it took away the jobs of the poor Negro slaves.

    The infamous “robber barons” built railroads, steel mills, huge industrial complexes, giving jobs (and life) to poor, starving farm hands, and vigor to an economy that otherwise would not have been able to crush the fascist European dictatorships in the following century.

    You speak of the “ecology” as if it were your killer argument. But a truly rational, self-interested capitalist never wastes resources, not even natural, pretty ones. Have you never heard of the ecological disasters left in the wake of the socialists throughout the former Soviet Union? Chernobyl happened under socialist watch; rational capitalists are too careful of their investment in plant and material not to take the most stringent safeguards.

    OK, with all this dissing of capitalism, what system would you in fact advocate? Would you have Hillary and Nancy appoint boards of political pals to plan our economy, and legislate that better, more “earth-friendly” items be invented? Do you actually think that Al Gore invented the hybrid engine, rather than some profit-seeking scientist, working for a capitalist enterprise?

  2. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    First of all, Michael, nobody ‘discovered how to make fire’. Fire is made by nature, and for hundreds of thousands of years that is where mankind obtained fire. It was a communal process in guarding the flame. So your series of bizarre analogies got of to a poor start from the word GO.

    Your second analogy, that of a supposedly persecuted inventor of the wheel, who you bizarrely call the world’s second capitalist, doesn’t make that much sense either. Inventors are not capitalists, Michael. Especially not then. The way you picture it, we are to somehow believe that somebody said, “Hey let’s use the wheel to transport rocks!”, and then set up Wheels Incorporated, becoming a billionaire because everybody else were simply lazy, non-capitalist dolts like presumably I am today. The majority were envious folk back then according to Michael, so they went on to tortur the ever so nice capitalist and inventor of the wheel! We can see that Bush is not the only one with a cartoonish imagination, because that is what you presented us, Michael; a cartoon.

    Then you jump to Eli Whitney and the ‘robber barons’, who you claim were a group of Santa Clauses rather than thieves! These people built nothing, but made much profit off those folk who did build, did produce, and did work. You have no respect for the workers, so you give the real producers no credit for the hard work that built up America’s infrastructure. Instead you honor the robber barons. And Eli Whitney became rich not through the cotton gin, but rather from his contract to provide the US government with 10,000 muskets. Even then, capitalism was intimately tied up with military production. Is this what you consider the foundation stone of liberty, mass production of military weaponry?

    Then you go on to make a totally off the wall remark when you say that a truly rational capitalist supposedly never wastes resources! But that is just totally idiotic, Michael. They do it all the time and I have to say that you truly are not being real for you to posit the contrary. With you making such remarks, it has come down to being like arguing with someone that says that they were abducted by aliens from another planet into a spaceship. We have moved beyond the possibility of rational discourse here.

    And then to clinch that this is actually the case, you began with that idiotic dittohead thesis that Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Petosi are all part of some socialist organizing committee. Michael, there are just oodles of people that support the government doing social things for the people who elected them into office. They are not commies, marxist leninists, nor socialists. Many are not even liberals. They just want the government to govern responsibly, that’s all.

    Back to home plate. For you to discuss capitalism rationally, then you need to figure out first just what is a capitalist. You have not done that even, so it is hard to hope that you can follow any discussion beyond that point. Once again, a capitalist is not an inventor, Michael.

  3. It’s time to define our terms clearly. “Capitalism”, according to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (1983), is “the economic system in which all or most of the means of production and distribution, as land, factories, railroads, etc., are privately owned and operated for profit….”. The same dictionary defines a “capitalist” as “an upholder of capitalism”. As you have explicitly stated that this is “a system that must be abolished totally”, again I must respectfully ask: What system would you in fact advocate? Who should own and operate the means of production and distribution, in your view? The church (theocracy), the king (monarchy), the state or the “people” (call it socialism or communism or fascism, they are really all the same thing: statism)….all of these are alternatives, what is your pleasure? Or do you prefer simple anarchy, with roving gangs of thugs vying for control of the scant, dwindling resources (for no means of production could continue to exist in such a state). As much as you say you are against capitalism, I have seen not one word as to what you are actually for….what system would you replace private ownership with? Do you really think that Hillary and her political hack cronies would be better at running Microsoft or Toyota than the people who actually built these companies???

    You say that “inventors are not capitalists”. Thomas Edison was not a capitalist? Henry Ford not a capitalist? The Wright Brothers? The invention, production and distribution of new products and services is the essence of capitalism, and everyone involved in the chain (the inventor, the financier, the manufacturer, the distributor, the wholesaler, the retailer) are all capitalists…all are out to make and sell as many widgets as possible, in the most efficient manner, thus maximizing profits.

    The big error made by Marx and his followers was the refusal to recognize that the means of production must be created by some one. Factories and railroads may already exist to be seized in the newest people’s revolution, but they won’t last long, and new ones won’t be built without the incentive of the profit motive (again, just look at what was found in the former Soviet Union when it collapsed, or what exists in Cuba today). Unthinking workers on an assembly line do their part in making a product, but there would be nothing for them to do if some productive person didn’t invent and build the assembly line in the first place, and create the system to operate it. Tony (you ignorant slut), you fell into the same error when you said that “nobody ‘discovered how to make fire'”. Bullshit! Tell that to Tom Hanks in Castaway, when he tried for months to figure out how to start a fire. Sure, he could have waited for nature to make it (lightning, perhaps), but he probably would have starved or froze to death in the meantime. Note, I did not say “the first man to discover fire”, but rather “the first man to discover how to MAKE fire”…..a big difference. And that is the big difference between capitalists and others who have managed economies: capitalists create wealth, not seize or steal it. There is not a fixed, static amount of wealth in the world; this is not a zero-sum game. Whenever two traders voluntarily meet and exchange their goods, there is a net gain on both sides, and the entire world is enriched.

    Rather than just telling us what you are against, it’s time that you stated what it is exactly that you are for. Please define your terms, Mr. Logan.

  4. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Michael, going to Webster’s dictionary is not going to substitute for putting some thought into our subject. ‘An upholder of capitalism’ does not make one a capitalist no matter what the dictionary might tell you. I could go get a passed out drunk lying on the street and ask him if capitalism was a great system or not? And if he replied YES that would no more make him a capitalist than I am. He would be ‘upholding’ the system,but that does not define being a capitalist. Webster be damned here.

    This point has to be made over and over to ideologues like you. I cannot count the number of times I have had discussions with Rightists who think that they are capitalists, when they barely own the clothes on their backs. And they usually go on, as you do, and describe a multitude of professional attributes as all being what are the supposedly essential ingredients in being a capitalist. At the heart of the matter, is simply that Right Wing ideologues believe that all invention and innovation automatically registers one as being a capitalist! And all those who work for a living are basically inferior forms of life. But that’s simply not so.

    Being a capitalist is defined by nothing more than simply being an owner of capital. But that too can be tricky, since the alcoholic lying in the gutter does not become a capitalist simply because someone hands him a dollar of capital. Your Dear Old Mom is not a capitalist, even if she holds some very nice stock, Michael. So it is more than just owning a smidgeon of capital that counts.

    Being an inventor or and innovator does not make one a capitalist automatically. Most capitalists are neither, but rather lucky folk that won the lottery at birth. They inherited their wealth. And most inventors and innovators die with little wealth to show for their abilities. In contrast, the capitalist has large blocks of CONTROLLING wealth.

    Once you figure out what a capitalist actually is, then maybe we can go on to discuss how capitalists make their money. But I have a feeling that we will be stuck here awhile at A,B,C Land. Let me just say now, that how capitalists make money has little to do with how innovative the capitalist may, or may not be. And capitalists make money not because they are ‘productive persons’. More often than not, they are destructive persons. And that is why capitalism has been such a destructive force on our planet. I would argue that capitalists are most productive at being destructive. And that’s why our planet is in crisis.

  5. Avatar Steve says:

    I like the ABCs. And I’d still like to hear how you propose to counter capitalism.

  6. Thanks for your support, Steve. I’m still waiting for Mr. Logan to actually define, in concrete terms, what he actually thinks capitalism is, other just just being “bad” (I’ve given up hoping that he will ever tell us what his alternative might be). But maybe we should speak a bit about this “planetary crisis”. The hot button and rallying point for the various tree-huggers and Gore-o-philes would appear to be global warming. Certainly it does appear that tempuratures may have risen slightly over the last hundred or so years that we have actually been measuring them. And it sure does seem easy to blame it all on “greenhouse gases” caused by industrial pollution, the primary greenhouse gas being carbon dioxide. But don’t any of you remember your high school biology? CO2 is what trees need to breath, that they convert into oxygen. A little extra CO2 may actually be good for the rainforests. Maybe Sting can enlighten us in that area, if he’s been following this string. But what I really want to focus here is on ice ages. The Gunz ice age began about 600,000 years ago, followed by an interglacial period (i.e., warming trend) of about 60,000 years. The Mindel ice age lasted about 100,000 years, followed by another interglacial of perhaps 190,000 years. The Riss ice age followed that, and then another interglacial period of about 60,000 years. The last ice age was known as Wurm, which reached three peaks, and ended about 22,000 years ago. These climatic changes are mostly caused by three astronomical cycles: 1) changes in the angle between the equatorial plane of the earth and the plane of its orbit, which cycles every 40,000 years; 2) variations in the season at which either hemisphere passes closest to the sun in the course of orbit (92,000 year cycle); and 3) the periodicity of a slight conical movement in the earth’s axis (26,000 years). Many scientists have cautioned that the end of the current interglacial period may come soon, and global warming be be the last thing we need to worry about.

    Has Mr. Gore even considered these factors in his calculations?

  7. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Steve, instead of me telling you what I ‘propose to counter capitalism’ with, maybe you should tell me how you propose to keep capitalism from eating away our planet? Michael tells us all not to worry, and to not follow Comrade Al Gore. Michael thinks that all the ecologic problems are a myth. He thinks it’s all overblown hype. So, it would be about as fruitful to discuss the issues with him as it would be to discuss Jesus with somebody while they are ‘talking’ in tongues. So, Steve, how do you think that we can contain capitalism’s destructive tendencies?

  8. Well kids, it looks like Tony won’t play with me any more unless I agree with him that the blue truck is really red. What do you all think? Should I declare myself the winner, by default, due to his failure to provide even one cogent, rational argument? As much as I despise polls, I invite you all (if anyone is listening) to cast your votes. Should we end it here, or do I need to get into the epistemological arguments?????

  9. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Michael, who is saying they won’t talk to you? My last comment said simply that you were muttering giberrish when you deny that there is a current ecological crisis. FYI, global warming is just one aspect of the ecological crisis we face. I heard it from Comrade Gore myself. So there, you naughty silly boy!

  10. Sorry for my absence, kids, but sometimes we small-time capitalistic business owners have to work for a living, as was the case this week. OK, Tony, there are things that could be improved in the environment…but we have come a long way in learning to clean up after ourselves, and the lead has come from countries that recognize the concept of private property, and individual responsibility. When you start throwing around phrases like “environmental crisis”, you imply that the world is about to end, and give sanction to those who would use such crisis to seize power, for their own ends. Most of the ecological disasters have come about as the direct result of governmental, rather than private, action. Again, just look at what the Soviets did at Chernobyl, or the lack of planning reagarding the dikes around New Orleans (an Army Corps of Engineers project). Another project of the Corps, back in the early 20th Century, was to drain the Florida Swamps (ooops, wetlands)…so they brought in thousands of Ficus trees from Australia, which voraciously seek water. Now they are a blight on the Florida peninsula, crowding out native vegetation, choking off sewer systems, lowering the water levels in the wetlands, and smelling ever so much like stale bong water when they flower. Or the big sugar plantations of the Cuban Fanjuls in the Florida Everglades, which have choked the life out of this ecosystem….they couldn’t have done it without government assistance, aided by the Kennedy administration, which was too cowardly to just go in the take out Castro when they had the chance, at the Bay of Pigs.

    Tony, you have yet to define this “capitalism” to which you are so opposed, or to explicitly state what it is that you would replace it with. It is, as I have stated, simply the private ownership of the means of production…..on the lowest level (mom and pop’s grocery store) to the highest (Microsoft and Shell Oil). The only alternative is state ownership of all business enterprises, with rigid state control of all activities. And who gets the control under statism? Those who have developed a special relationship with the politicians currently in power, not those able to create such an enterprise in the first place.

    You refuse to recognize as a capitalist anyone who upholds that particular system, preferring instead to focus on financier types who won the birth lottery. Certainly, the possession of vast sums of unearned wealth can allow one to engage in rather irresponsible behavior….but isn’t this just as true of George Soros, Nancy Pelosi, the Kennedys, Theresa Heinz Kerry, and Barbara Streisand?

    Private enterprise is not the culprit…..it is when government gets involved that the monkey wrench is thrown in. Conservative government is just as culpable as liberal government. The Great Depression was not an example of the failure of capitalism; it was caused by governmental intervention in the money supply. The 1920’s equivalent of the Federal Reserve made it too easy to borrow money, and then when they cut off the supply, the stock market crashed. Same thing happened with the S&L crisis in the 1980’s: the government changed the rules with regard to valuation of commercial propery, and suddenly assets held by these S&L’s weren’t worth anything. Under a true capitalistic system, the role of government is extremely limited, allowing market forces to find their own balance. But no country in the history of the world has had the courage to just let this happen. It’s time we started……

  11. Avatar Tony says:

    Michael, as usual, your Ayn Randism has you spouting off surrealisms. In this world of the Waltons of WalMart stock reality, you posit your vision of a capitalist John Boy Waltonism off on us instead. It is like discussing current events with an adult who believes in Santa Claus, or a grown man who believes in the Noah’s Ark tale. Capitalism is the Big Fish eats the Little Fish, not your fantasy CandyLand beliefs about it.

    It is not the socialists, communists, and liberals who are usually Big Government, which you see as the source of all evil. It is your capitalist Big Fish that are Big Government. Real capitalists concentrate government power in their own hands, not like what you would have your fairy tale version ones to do. Real capitalists like Big Government, simply because it is them that wield it most often. And ‘Objectivist’ nonsense is no opposition to them, because it is an ideology that praises the very same people, the capitalists, that form and control Big Government.

    Your nonsense about ecology knows no end. You would have us believe that it is not capitalists that run our world ecology into the ground, but rather government regulations that do so! If ‘objectivists’ had their way, there would be no enforcement of any government standards on any capitalist enterprise. No zoning, no regulatory agencies, no nothing. Sadly to say, that’s almost what we have now anyway. And it has the opposite effect that you say it would have. This leads to capitalist ecological pillaging of nature’s wealth, not conserving nature.

  12. OK, Mr. Logan, you win…I concede defeat. I have burned my copy of Atlas Shrugged. In fact, the cabal has been following this argument, and you have convinced them all. The Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court are all to be turned over to you. The UN and the Hague have voted unanimously, and you are now emperor, supreme commander, and uber-fuerher. We are all positive that you will be able to save the planet by strict adherence to the principles of Loganism. The CEO’s and Boards of all major corporations have resigned, and all shareholders have been directed to forward their stock certificates to you. Likewise, all real property is in the process of being deeded to you. We’re thankful that you have agreed to run the world economy for us, and optimistic that you will do a much better job than we could have done.

    The universities are anxious to begin teaching these principles of Loganism to the current students, and re-educating us older bourgeoisie that we may break the chains of our capitalistic brainwashing. Thus, we implore you, kindly emperor, that you enlighten us as to these principles. Since the capitalists are no longer in control, and you are, since we no longer hold the means of production, the workers need to know what to do. We look eagerly foward to your expert guidance and sound judgment.

    So, what are the principles that will replace capitalism, Mr. Logan?

  13. Avatar Tony says:

    Well, at least we are making progress if you have decided to burn your copy of “Atlas Shrugged’. You know, Michael, I can just imagine you making this very same speech 150 years ago ridiculing those who were opposed to the then supposed permanency of chattel slavery.

    “The slaves await your leadership now that you have relieved them of the burdens of having masters. Now what, Oh Supreme Deluded One? We await the chaos you would push onto our civilized world.”

  14. Emperor Tony, where are you? Now that you are in charge of all property, all means of production, decisions have to be made…how many hybrid cars should Japan produce this week? Where will you set the price of oil? Of gasoline? The French transit workers are on strike; will you grant them more francs? The workers are revolting! When we turned over the economy to you, we thought that you had a plan, a philosophy, at least some guiding principles, so that the miracle of Loganism could be passed down through the generations….but you have no principles, no philosophy, no plan, do you? You just wanted to abolish capitalism, and make decisions on an ad hoc, range of the moment basis. Now, as the lights go out for the last time, and we return to the caves, at least we can be comforted in the knowledge that the planet has been saved.

  15. Avatar Don Schley says:

    I have been perusing this exchange for some time, and what comes across is this: Mr. Logan can criticize capitalism, but he cannot offer anything better, or even comparable. Since the late 19th century, the only alternatives to Capitalism have been some form of radical statism, particularly Marxism, Marxist-Leninism, and various forms of socialism, including American social liberalism. What is clear from the praxis of these systems, however, is that their social, political, economic and human abuses are even worse than the abuses of capitalism. Morevoer, these systems, depending on a centralized State run by cadres deliberately selected because of their like-mindedness, cannot reform themselves or their system. They must simply be overturned from without (as was the Soviet system), overthrown from within (as Teng Xiaoping did ot Mao’s communism), or allowed to collapse on their own. Among these competing systems, only capitalism has shown the ability to reform itself. That fact stems from the ironic reality that the humane values that make life worth living–a clean environment, healthy forests, clean lakes, rivers and estuaries, clean air, beauty, quality food and drink, quality houses, cars, goods, and the like–all have real market values. Thus, capitalism possesses a driving force to preserve, enhance and maximize the value of such elements of reality.

    Conversely, in the various socialist systems, nothing has value unless the State declares it to have value (as with Soviet-era Olympic athletics), so that no spontaneous redress from within exists. In fact, attempts at reform and redress in these systems are considered forms of rebellion, so that the perpetrators are jailed, tortured, killed or sent to “psychiatric hospitals” to be permanently robbed of the mental stability.

    So I am glad that Michael has had the temerity to debate Mr. Logan, and I laud Michael for his clear articulation of these issues. The only sad part is that Mr. Logan does not appear to have understood any of the exchange.

    DS

  16. Avatar Tony says:

    First, let me welcome you to the debate, Don. You have improved somewhat on Michael’s argumentation, and I congratulate you for that. Michael’s only ‘clear articulation of these issues’, as you label it, was to repeatedly declare that capitalism was definitely the natural order of things, and therefore by defintion all was bright and rosy. I compared that ‘clear articulation’ to slave owners defending slavery with their Bibles in hand less than 150 years ago. They thought that an entirely different economic system from the capitalist mode of production was NATURAL and God’s will that short a time ago.

    What happens any time pro-capitalists defend the current economic system, is that they also get as religious as the ministers of the Old South were in defending the slave holders. Those pastors of another era, spoke in syrupy terms about the benefits of slavery to those enslaved by it. They, too, wore rose colored lenses when they advocated an economy that benefited them, but not so many others. You got that good ol’ time Southern religion, too, Don. Capitalism, as you described it, was about as accurate a picture as the description of chattel slavery that was painted, when described by their cheerleaders in those times. It is not for nothing that socialist author, Howard Fast, wrote the book ‘Spartacus’ to give insight into the psychology of present times by examining the past history of slavery. Great movie, too, Don. Have you thought much about it before?

    Let’s pause here, and look at your description of capitalist incentives. You say that capitalists have market values for elements of nature and therefore ‘capitalism has a driving force to preserve’ . Oh bullshit, Don. Everything that has been seen the last several hundred years, is that the capitalist has a driving force to loot and run as it pertains to nature. And, too, just as the slave holder had a ‘driving force’ to loot the labor of his slaves, so too has the capitalist to loot the labor of his work force. You would have us believe that the capitalist is some humanitarian Green, rather than the corrupt sociopath that most often cares not to how the money is made. Today’s constant problem of war is connected to that essential capitalist reality, but you have your rose colored lenses on, I am afraid. Capitalist enterprises see nature as theirs, to do with as they can and will. Nature has been their great freebie, and there is no desire to preserve when profit is made by looting that social common, which is nature.

    Let’s stop here, and let maybe Michael, the lawyer, once again let loose with his ‘temerity’ to ‘articulate’ with the mighty Emperor Logan, as he calls me. I can just imagine his courtroom personae.

  17. Avatar Don Schley says:

    You apparently don’t read, Tony, and you don’t get around the world. In fact, capitalist countries are far more environmentally friendly and conservative in terms of resource management than are non-capitalist countries. Moreover, your claim that all capitalists do is “loot and run” is a better description of what happens in non-capitalist countries. In capitalist countries, where land has value, looting results in real losses in capital assets. That is why today, the US has more trees than in 1900, why Lake Erie again has fish, why the Nature Conservancy can buy up entire stretches of polluted rivers and marshland (such as the Illinois River) and restore them to their natural state: because the land has real, tangible value. Your baseless claims in this regard show that you have never, ever been in a socialist country and witnessed the environmental destruction and looting on grand scale that has taken place. AS one German engineer who was on the ground in East Germany after the wall came down, “Love Canal a thousand times over.” Capitalist countries actually put in place mechanisms to punish the sort of thing you describe, but in those systems opposed to capitalism, no such mechanisms are put in place, because the looters are the idealists in charge–persons such as yourself–and they are not going to make themselves pay for anything. What you are propounding here is no more than the ill-informed rhetoric of the SDS radicals of the mid-sixties.

  18. Avatar Tony says:

    Your claims for capitalism have no reality to them, Don. You make totally off the wall comments and hold them up as self evident. Lets take first your nonsensical statement about there being more trees now than 100 years ago. And then we can look at your idiotic description of the Berlin Wall with having been supposedly 1,000 times worse than Love Canal.

    First of all, the US is only one component of the overall capitalist world. Much of the worse pollution is outsourced to the capitalist countries in the Third World region. But even so, America has been left a total mess over the last 100 years. There is little of nature left, and entire regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf have been turned into dead zones. Though our soils have not been degraded as rapidly as capitalism has degraded them elsewhere, we have severely dmaaged them and have overused our fresh water resources to the point of impending catastrophe. Mining, often for production of military products that themselves pollute around the globe when used, has left much of the countryside well contaminated. We could go on, but this is enough to easily show how your rose colored lenses have you spouting pure nonsense when it comes to examining how capitalism has impacted the US. The impact elsewhere in the capitalist world is quite a bit yet worse still.

    Now let’s look at idiot statement Point 2. I have never heard of the Berlin Wall being compared to Love Canal, but you Right Wingers are certainly resourceful when it comes to making bullshit statements. Instead of comparing the Berlin Wall though to a neighborhood soaked in pollution, let’s just compare it to another wall, Don. The wall that is the US/ Mexican Border. Maybe you haven’t traveled there?, though I have, despite you being so well the world traveler, and me being just a provincial hoe, static in locale, and unread. What a presumptious and arrogant guy you are, aren’t you, Don?
    So let’s take the Berlin Wall, and America’s Wall. There is not even the slighest comparison to which wall has been more deadly to both people, and nature, Don.

    Each year more people are murdered trying to cross this wall, than were murdered the enitre existance of the Berlin Wall. Bet you haven’t lost too many tears over it, have you Don? And for the pure stink of it, have you waited in line to cross that Wall before? Multiply your exhaust, and the exhaust of jillions of other folk forced to do the same wait. Throw in those chicklet selling kids’ health, too, Don, while you are at it. Begin to get the picture? Not so rose colored at all, is it? It certainly is a Wall worse than the Berlin Wall, and it is constructed between one capitalist country and another. Go figure, Don? I guess capitalism’s strongpoint is not so much in getting peoples to cooperate and work together.

  19. Perhaps it’s time to approach this debate from a different perspective. How about the nature of consciousness, and which system allows that to work in its natural course? The study of consciousness, and concept formation, is know as epistemology. We are born into the world helpless, our minds a blank slate, or tabula rasa. We are exposed to various stimuli, which, assuming our sensory organs and brain are functioning properly, cause percepts….at first unrecognizable flashes of colors and shapes, but these soon begin to resolve themselves into patterns, and we realize that these patterns have a relationship to us, and we can relate to them. Bundles of these related percepts keep occuring together, and we have formed our first primordial concept, “mother”. Other bundles of percepts are exposed to us, that we notice similarities across them, and we form the concept “person”. But we are beings of volitional consciousness; the process of concept formation is not automatic, it takes mental effort. We have to choose to form concepts, to think, to begin acting as human beings. As much as philosophers and scientists have debated whether it is “nature” or “nurture” that determines who we are, they usually forget the most important element, that we must choose to think, to form concepts in the first place. Within the paramenters of our personal DNA sequences and home environments, which undoubtedly influence us, we largely create our own unique personalities via the choices we make, the fundamental choice being to think or not to think, which is what Hamlet was really implying when he asked, “to be or not to be”. We must think to be, to be human….or we can choose not to think, to merely go along with the “collective consciousness”, or collective soul. But when we do that, we lose our capacity for free, independent thought. Collectivist systems, such as socialism, discourage independent thought and individual initiative….all decisions are handed down from the ruling elite, to be obeyed without question. That is the nature of your “getting people to cooperate and work together”, on the latest five year plan. Capitalism, on the other hand, is the only system that allows, even encourages and rewards, this type of free thinking, this “rugged individualism” that made the US the land of greatest opportunity. The Berlin Wall was built to keep people in, against their will. The wall along Mexico is designed to keep people out. I say, build it as high as possible.

  20. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    As usual, your religion of ‘objectivism’ gets you going all ass backwards again, Mike. Some of the most creative people in the world have been socialists, and some of the most conformist people in the world have been pro-capitalists. Capitalism does not encourage rugged individualism at all. Capitalism blocks off free thinking and free choice at every opportunity it gets. And with trungeons, too.

    I can just imagine Mike The Lawyer on the assembly line being all the rugged individualist he is! Your butt would be fired in 2 seconds flat, Comrade. And your support for border walls sez it all. It can be fairly be said that you don’t have an ounce of free spirit about you. You’re just a supporter of capitalist cages that’s all. And a rank conformist at that.

  21. Avatar Marie Walden says:

    Guys, we know that you disagree about Capitalism. What do you think about the other C word? I heard it was back in vogue but when I worked it into a recent conversation with our new elementary school principal, it didn’t go over well. I am a rather militant femi-Nazi and I embrace my inner C. Perhaps she is not as liberated as I am. She has an Air Force background which could explain her stunned look. I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed to use that word in military settings.

  22. Finally, Marie, the voice of reason! Tony and I fighting ad nausaeum, never agreeing on even the basic definitions of our argument. But the only reason that men argue, or invent, or even create economic systems, is precisely to gain that C-word of which Ms. Walden alludes. Altho in this context, I prefer that it be spelled with a “p”. I went to see “The Vagina Monologues”, and believe that to be the more PC version (at least among the strippers with whom I have been associated). Marie says enough already! (But I believe that both Tony and I would agree on it’s primacy, whether spelled with a “p” or a “c”).

  23. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Did you really call that principal a cunt, Marie? Why shame on you! And Michael, are we now to have a conversation about the economic theories of author John Norman, instead of Ayn Rand? Well why the Hell not I say. He’s got his fans, too.

  24. Avatar Marie Walden says:

    Okay, boys, you can go back to your discussion of capitalism. I just wanted a momentary distraction. Thanks for weighing in. And, Tony, of course I didn’t call the principal that (I can’t even make myself write it let alone say it)!

  25. Avatar Don Schley says:

    Correction: Socialism does NOT have property rights, so land has no value.

    Here’s what I gave him, Michael:

    Idiot statemnt number 2. Tony shows his ignorance of the world by saying that he has never heard of the Berlin Wall being compared to Love Canal. And of course not, because nobody said that. What I said was that one of the first (West) German engineers on the ground in East Germany after the wall came down said “Love Canal, a thousand times over.” Tony really is an ignorant ass, and I will say so, because he started this name calling. The point is, the wonderful socialist, anti-capitalist states of the east carried out industrial practices that would be inconceivable on that scale in a capitalism, simply on account of the permanent destruction of land, which in capitalism has value–on account of private property rights, but which in socialism, does NOT, since no one save the state may own land. Moreover, that Tony, in his narrow leftist world has never even heard of such a thing says only that he is ignorant of the basic facts of socialist practice–historical and otherwise.

    It is a shame that such a person might be held as literate by even one reader. let alone several. How widely has he traveled? How many languages does he speak or has he learned? How many times has he been in a foreign country, on the ground, incognito, speaking the language, living off the economy, leaning something outside his own chosen circle? I will not venture to count, but surely the number is not high.

    Anyway, Tony’s writings are empty rhetoric, and have nothing of fact or knowledge in them.

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