In a narrative portion of his latest (and characteristically riveting) novel the author has written the following sentence that prompts me to wag my finger at him a bit. “Now it was a Western-style shopping mall stuffed with all the useless trinkets capitalism had to offer...” Daniel Silva, The English Girl (2013). (Read more...)
Discuss this Article(8 messages)
The mall under capitalism is a reflection of the varied desires that spring up in a culture. To exist, the mall requires that there be freedom for the people in that culture to pursue their desires. I think what the statists hate is the culture, not in total, but those parts they don't agree with and they most hate that freedom that lets the parts they disagree with exist and gain expression. They make arguments about the undesirability of this, or the desirability of that, but they never admit that under all of their arguments the real motive is to impose their will in a way that stops others from expressing their will.
Statists are control freaks that won't admit to their disorder... some are motivated by fear, others by hate, but all insist on moving away from freedom towards control.
It's not called 'shopping' under communism; it is called "scrambling for the not so rotted potato."
The difference between socialism and national socialists and/or communists:
A communist or national socialist is a socialist who finally got tired of asking and began to start telling.
Both anathema to freedom in a nation of peers living in freedom.
Be crystal clear about what the difference is between "socialism" and "national socialism." They are not the same thing. Socialism, fettered by the rules of free association in a free nation, is and always was possible in a free America. Folks freely form co-ops and non-profits all the time under rules of free association, side by side with capitalists. When fettered by the concept 'free association', America truly is a mix of socialism and capitalism. To each his own, and more power to them.
Now, compare with 'national socialism.' That is socialism impressed upon a entire pluralistic nation from above.
The most glaring indictment of socialism transforming to national socialism is, "Why is socialism fettered by free association insufficient? Why must it be impressed -- by force -- by the ethics of a gang rape, 51% to 49% down the throats of the unwilling?"
National Socialism (what else can you call socialism impressed on a national scale?) is totally dependent on forced association to exist.
It wasn't the brown shirts that made Nazis 'NAZIS', nor brown shorts that made them Totalitarians. It was the Totalitarianism.
Don't be fooled for an instant by sweet reassurances of 'what is wrong with socialism?' Nothing is wrong with socialism fettered by free association; but that isn't national socialism.
“Now it was a Western-style shopping mall stuffed with all the useless trinkets capitalism had to offer...” Daniel Silva, The English Girl (2013).
I don't know the context of this quote, so I'm going to play devil's advocate here, just to be fair to the author.
If the author is writing from third-person omniscient point of view, then he is expressing his own opinion here, and we're fully justified in criticizing his misunderstanding.
If, on the other hand, he's writing in the more common third-person limited point of view, then he is giving us a view of the world as seen and understood by that character. A character's thoughts, feelings, or beliefs don't necessarily reflect the author's in any way.
This view of capitalism is still wrong, but from this quote alone (again, without context), it's not clear that the author necessarily espouses that view.
I just read Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth (von Mises, 1920) and was fascinated by how devastating a critique it is -- and also by how large is the difference between Hayek (who was in error) and Mises (who was, in this essay at least, completely free of error).
In the foreword, Yuri Maltsev mentions how the Soviets attempted to set 22 million prices for things (along with 460,000 wage rates) -- without the ability to ascertain the effects of those prices and wages on actual people over any length of time (because without exchange there can be no effective appraisal of what is next needed, or of what is a good next step in production). In the postscript (p 56), Joseph Salerno gives the not-so-pretty picture of a planned "economy":
In the Soviet Union, for example, in the midst of a dire undersupply of food products, new and unused tractors stand rusting in fields of unharvested grain, because there does not exist sufficient fuel to power them, labor to operate them, or structures to house them.
After an initial "centrally planned" allocation of resources, the socialist-communist, statist-collectivists couldn't tell what was needed next, or what was a good next step in the production of values -- and tens of millions of people paid with their very lives for that avoidable mistake.
Silva, who in an interview with the book report radio show (see archived section on the show's website) conceded that he uses recent headlines to form the base of his stories (in this case the Russian spies caught on US soil) deserves a pat on the back at least for writing an exhilarating book that's become more topical by the day. See where Snowden is sitting, and the current debate in congress about the NSA's powers and our privacy.l
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]