Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Liberals: the worst form of communists

You probably heard of the communists, the ones who believed that the means of production should be in the hands of the government as it's an unfairly distributed resource and only the work done is added by people. This is fundamentally wrong, as committing capital is a decision that greatly affects the outcome: if we build a pyramid instead of homes, the materials will be used, the hours will be spent working, but the building will be unusable for the living. However communists still valued the second part of the creation process: work. It is indeed true that no amount of capital will make anything happen without a worker using the tools and transform the raw materials into product. The communists worshiped the worker and demanded everyone to work. In the communist states there was no involuntary unemployment (literally everyone was offered a job) and voluntary unemployment was a crime. The communism infested worker unions demanded no layoffs even when the work wasn't too productive.

The Soviet-Union is gone, the formal communists are gone, but the idea to hate the capital and their wretched demand "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" remained in the hearts of unsuccessful people. But then why there are no neo-Communists marching under red flags and fighting the riot police like neo-Nazis? Because the communists demanded people to contribute by working, at least as pretense (many jobs in communists states were obviously pointless, just existed to give someone a job). This idea doesn't fit into the wills of the rioting leeches. Communism is gone for good, replaced by liberalism.

Liberals don't believe in (or care for) the creation process. They don't know or care how a home is built. The merely declare that everyone has the human right for a home. Literally. Communists nationalized existing homes of the rich and distributed among the worker class. Since no homes are materializing from the air, there is no other way for the liberals if they want to give a home to someone who can't pay for it: it must be taken from those who have it. And, unlike communists, they don't even demand some kind of contribution in return. The recipient doesn't get it as a help to be able to work or as a long overdue reward for previous working, but as a basic human right!

The original human rights were "Do not X!" type, demanding people and groups to not enslave, kill, harm, rob or silence another person. But liberals keep adding rights which demand more than no negative action. They demand work do be done for the benefit of another person. Obviously I can't call this new or attribute this to liberals, just think of the Good Samaritan! But instead of an act of charity and goodness, liberals see such wealth transfers as mandatory without conditions for the recipient or "goodness" on the part of the donator (in the sense that merely not being a murderer makes no one good). This is extremely harmful as it doesn't even offer social rewards for being productive (the Good good Samaritan at least was rewarded by going to Heaven), therefore no one has the reason to lift a finger.

According to liberalism, both the capital-owners and the workers are obligated to hand over the fruits of their production to "the people". To hide the exploitative nature of their ideology, they insert "the state" or "the government". Theoretically no person is obligated to give up his food or home for a hungry or homeless, but "the state" is obligated to provide these "to everyone". Practically - as the states have no ability to create food or home from air - this obligation forces the state to tax the productive people and redistribute this wealth to the non-productive. As a bizarre twist, the liberals demand the decrease of power of the states as it limits the rights of people, despite the state is limiting the rights of people for the very purpose the liberals bestowed on it: to rob the productive and give the loot to the non-productive.

While taxation is indeed robbing, the beneficiary of the act isn't "the state", it's merely an enforcer for the non-productive people. Hating "the state" and demanding social human rights is like hating the bruiser while cheering to the mafia leader. So demanding "less government" is stupid, the government isn't big because it wants to be, but because it has to be to complete its task: transferring your wealth to those who have rights to it. The only way to effectively decrease the exploitation is demanding less rights to people, limiting human rights to "Do not X!" type, measured by the "alone-test". If you are alone, your right for life, your property, your body and your speech are automatically respected as there is no one to violate them. These rights are natural, as they are given when you are alone with nature. It's fair to demand that other people don't make your life worse than living alone by killing, beating, raping, robbing or forcibly silencing you. Social rights are bizarre when alone (imagine a guy on an island yelling to the sea "I want my health care!") and they are equally bizarre when among other people. Buy your damn health care with the money you earned with your work or capital! If you can neither, ask for charity instead of demanding!


Esteban said...

Rent-seeking behaviour by the rich (and corporations) is far more harmful than welfare leeching by the poor. I'd rather have an idle pot-addled youth get a free apartment than have an arms contractor secure a dodgy order for missiles because he bought some fundraising dinners for a legislator's re-election campaign.

Anyway, food, home, health care and education are the very basics of existence for a human's short life. They're also the very basics of social mobility - if your skills are no longer in demand, you can't retrain for a desirable job while sick, penniless and homeless. This goes doubly for children: without a social safety net, a child ends up paying for their parents' mistakes or ill fortune from the moment they're born, and is pretty much screwed for life.

No liberal argues for unearned luxury or high status, and there remains plenty of incentive for aspiration in a compassionate society that also takes care of its weak.

S Riojas said...

Except for one point, I agree completely.

The term "limited government" as originated in the USA, has less to do with smaller government than a government limited in it's scope. In terms of the USA, this means limited to powers allowed to it by the Constitution. A government of limited power offers fewer opportunities for corrupt men to exhibit their corruption.

glenn.batuyong said...

This would sound so appropriate in the voice of a Warcraft goblin but I digress. Your concept of a "liberal" is quite extreme and pretty much describes flat-out communism, which is fine because what you describe is just that —however, in reality things are much different. There are many shades of gray on either end of the political spectrum. There are the pure takers (consumers) on either end. However, there are the producers and the eager in between the centers and their extremes, those who take action —each with their brand of optimism. I look at the label you gave to an entire demographic of people and I reflect, saying "nope, that doesn't at all describe the people that I know." They identify as liberals but in their own perspective. After an enlightening conversation, you yourself might call them libertarians, whatever. The point is, remember the shades of gray. Because that's where most of the people stand —they're not the fabled monsters that you vociferously attack here. Most believe in individual hard work. Most believe in participating in civics and volunteerism as a calling to benefit society. Most view government as a platform, one with potential to facilitate prosperity —not drive it. And lastly, most do believe in entrepreneurism, because it goes hand-in-hand with public service. Cheers.

Eaten by a Grue said...

You seem to ignore any possibility of societal benefits to these safety nets. For example, mandatory and free primary education helps ensure the next generations of people will be more productive members of society. This helps everyone, even people without children.

Guaranteeing everyone a home, well I am not sure that is feasible. But you cannot go from one example of what might not work to basically claiming that ANY rights beyond your "being alone" standard are wrong to assert.

Also, do not ignore the benefits of simple economies of scale. If you place the burden on the government to, let's say, provide clean water to all of its citizens (the second part of that UN charter article you site), this may very well cost less that forcing each person to try to set this up for him or herself. And if a certain part of a country is without healthy drinking water, this may just lead to a cycle of disease and poverty they may be unable to break out of.

I would suggest you use the concept of the Veil of Ignorance more in your analyses ( Imagine you are an unborn child, and there is a very real possibility you may be born to some impoverished village in India or somewhere without clean drinking water. You are basically doomed, barring some extraordinary luck. Now try to base some policies based on this possibility. Or are you willing to roll the dice?

Gevlon said...

@Esteban: they can do it because the money is already there. If the government would be smaller, there wouldn't be so much to be stolen.

I don't question that people - especially children - can get into need for help without being at fault. I'm not saying we shouldn't help them. But it must be clear that they are getting HELP and they must get it on our terms (like you get a free school, but you must pass exams or kicked out to the cold). Liberals say they have the right to get these resources without conditions.

@S Riojas: that's the same thing. The government NEED the big scope to find all kind of money at the productive people and to manage the distribution of welfare in various fields. Without them being everywhere, they couldn't do it. So you can't limit the government scope without limiting its job.

@glenn: I never said liberals are welfare leeches. Most of them are hard working people. They merely believe in the rights of welfare leeches.

@Eaten by a grue: The problem with these "good for society" rights is not that they are bad for society, but that they are rights. You can't take them away from those who abuse them. For example you literally can't kick the kid who beats other kids and rob them from school as he has the right to be there.

Actually giving everyone a home is feasible. I'm sure your room is big enough for one more bed. If we all let a homeless in, there will be no homelessness. Do you want that?

Clear water and other government SERVICES are not welfare as the recipient pays for it.

The "impoverished village in India" is a straw man argument because the kids in an impoverished village in India DO NOT receive your tax money (unless you are a rich man in India). See also:

Anonymous said...

What if these services are more economical overall?
"In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker.
It sounds like Utah borrowed a page from Homes Not Handcuffs, the 2009 report by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and The National Coalition for the Homeless.
Housing is not only more human, it’s economical."

Gevlon said...

Housing over prisons comes from another liberal nonsense: the extreme amount of rights of convicted felons.

Also, prisons serve as a deterrent, while housing is a motivator. So we can hope that someone who was in jail might stop being a criminal. Someone rewarded with a home will surely continue whatever he was doing and even teach his children to follow his path.

Anonymous said...

"Housing over prisons comes from another liberal nonsense: the extreme amount of rights of convicted felons."

You mean the right for food? Water? Or are you saying that jails for drug offenders and homeless in a backwater (no offense) US state are all as lenient and well equipped as those for white collar criminals?

Jail time is expensive because people (like you?) in their infinite wisdom have put private companies in charge, which are, of course, interested in making profits, the same way as people are interested in getting bribes so that the bad contracts stay in the hands of those companies. :)

Anonymous said...

The people have given consent to their government, one who has given consent to an act can not be harmed by an act, i.e. taxation can not be "robbing".

Secondly, say, under some constitution, you have a right to speech, and some institution, acting as an agent of said constitution, renders you unable to communicate, lets say it threatens you with death if you speak certain things. Do you still have a right to speech? No of course not.

Say you have a right to self defence, but, for whatever reason(s), you're starving, and suffering from exposure, i.e. you're incapable of defending yourself under any circumstances. Do you still have a right to self defence?

There's plenty of accessible literature on these sorts of topics, as analytic philosophy isn't, generally, that hard to read. You should read it, if only to help arrange your own views in a way that is logically consistent with itself.

LazinessEvolved said...

Generally love this blog, especially the business posts, and even the GRR project. That being said, you're painting with a very broad brush here. I am a liberal American that creates and works hard every single day. I don't don't do it for some communistic goal either: I support my family and do well enough that I can help others. Some of us just experience compassion in different ways, Gevlon. Where you see lazy moochers, I see potential. Sure, some of those people will always abuse the system. It's not ever going to be perfect. But some of the people that received help go on to repay that investment many times over. I am one of them, and I know I'm not the only one.

Eaten by a Grue said...

As to your response, it is mostly true that you cannot take away rights, such as free education, from those that abuse it. There are ways to deal with it, however. In your example of the school bully, violent kids often get segregated into special groups. But honestly I think we want that kid to continue his education track in the hopes he becomes a useful adult.

So I would say the benefits to society from many of these programs outweigh the harm from abusers. Just because they are abused, does not mean such programs are undesirable. But of course there is such as thing as too much welfare, so your view has merits, but it is just too extreme.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: Actually no living person gave consent to the bill of rights or the constitution in any country I know of. They were installed long before we were born and there is no non-revolutionary way for us to change them.

While we "consented" for tax (in a sense that we voted for the government that set the tax rate), my very point is that this vote had no power because the government is forced by the social rights of the wealth transfer recipients and couldn't do anything. I mean if a president would run with a "cut taxes to half" platform and get overwhelming majority, he couldn't make this program true, as whenever he tries to cut the budget, someone walks to the Supreme Court (or to the European Council or whatever), files a lawsuit and the proper court forces the government to "respect his right" to the wealth transfer.

@LazinessEvolved: and I've never said you shouldn't support people who you see potential in. I'm saying you can't force me to do the same. It's not just greediness, I believe that a successful person is better in pointing out potential than a bored bureaucrat or an automated "give to everyone" system. Ergo, the same $ has better effect in charity than in welfare.

Anonymous said...

"Buy your damn health care with the money you earned with your work or capital! If you can neither, ask for charity instead of demanding"

So social darwinism at its finest? "If you are unable to work, you are screwed, get begging peasant", or the "I am all right, Jack", because of course, it would never happen to you, and you have enough money to pay all your costs for the rest of your life if you suddenly had one of those curve balls life can throw at you?

Education should be paid for too right? After all, who are those scrubs to demand to be taught how to read and write?

Gevlon said...

Health insurance is a thing you know, you pay it while healthy and get paid for medical expenses or when you are disabled.

Student loans are also a thing. I'm sure it would be one of the most profitable ventures to finance education from the repayments of the educated. Why is it better than "human right"? Because you can lock out those who don't study or even harm the studying of other students.

Anonymous said...

You're talking about socialist whom pretend to be liberals.

Liberal refers to those than prefer free markets, with government interfering only for moral, ethics, and environment protection.

Anonymous said...

"If you place the burden on the government to, let's say, provide clean water to all of its citizens (the second part of that UN charter article you site), this may very well cost less that forcing each person to try to set this up for him or herself."

I've heard this argument so many times, even though it's so easily defeated. There is no reason why the government shouldn't be allowed to act freely on the free market, as long as it plays by the same rules as everybody else. This means as long as the government charges for providing clean water independently, and doesn't use money from mandatory taxes for it, there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn't do it. After all, that's a net win for everybody involved, the very essence of capitalism.

This doesn't keep other companies from providing clean water either, as they can simply try to be competitive by either cutting costs or providing a better quality of water that the consumer wants.

Jim L said...

Gevlon, how long have you lived as an adult in your country? I am pretty sure you are not being held hostage by your country and are perfectly free to leav if you choose to. Yet you don't. Why is that?

Perhaps it is because you enjoy the benefits of living in your country?

The fact that you have lived in your country for years since you were old enough to give consent despite being perfectly free to choose not to means you have consented to live under the government. Taxes are not robbery. They are the cost of the benefits one gets on living in a civilized society.

People who whine about taxes being robbery while continuing to enjoy the benefits of society are just people who want a free ride. They are trying to justify not having to pay for the benefits they receive. It is a rather childish viewpoint.

Gevlon said...

@Jim L: and where exactly could I go? To the Moon? Because welfare is everywhere, exactly because human rights are universal.

Anonymous said...

Well, the USA has a pretty ineffectual welfare state. You could go there. Very little in the way of socialised medicine, a dreadful safety net. People dying of broken legs and of their teeth because they can't afford basic first aid. Sounds like your utopia.

Anonymous said...

I think you've got your definitions wrong. The behavior you decry is called socialist in my book. Caring, kindness and welfare anre not on the front pages of the liberals I know.

"Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.The former principle is stressed in classical liberalism while the latter is more evident in social liberalism. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programs such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, and international cooperation."

Especially the belief in free markets contradicts your percieved liberal behaviour.

Anonymous said...

" There is no reason why the government shouldn't be allowed to act freely on the free market, as long as it plays by the same rules as everybody else. This means as long as the government charges for providing clean water independently, and doesn't use money from mandatory taxes for it, there is absolutely no reason why it shouldn't do it."

This kinda a fallacy (water is not electicity, the thought of every provider having his own set of pipes is amusing, moreover the goverment is not in the business to be profitable, it is in the business of providing its service to ideally everyone), or more modern corporate incompetence speaking, it is not enough for you to provide a better product (cleaner water) and not having to bother with unprofitable areas, you also want your competition to be at a greater disadvantage (having to build waterworks from comparably meager profits from just adequate quality water it provides, sometimes at a loss in some areas).

Attempting to be a Skeptical Thinker said...

So demanding "less government" is stupid, the government isn't big because it wants to be, but because it has to be to complete its task: transferring your wealth to those who have rights to it.

Let's not commit the fallacy of believing "government" as some monolithic entity with its own volition. Government is simply a aggregation of all the various politicians and bureaucrats currently in office. Government grows by accretion over time. Positive "rights" as you have described are offered by office seekers to openly purchase votes with taxation and fiscal deficits soon to follow.

I like to think of economies like ships on the ocean that gather barnacles over time. The ship operators monitor fuel consumption over time and once the drag of the marine life gets large enough to impact operating costs the ship has its hull scraped to remove the growth. The longer you wait, the slower and more inefficient the ship becomes. We're about due for a serious scraping...

Phelps said...

I'm going to again direct you to the Anonymous Conservative and his blog, because everything you have observed is explained by r/K evolutionary selection.

(r)abbits can't even conceive of the notion of there being limited resources. They have been in a situation of "free" resources so long, the connection between work and product is completely broken. To them, you have something and they don't because you "took" it, not because you earned it. Their concept of earning is COMPLETELY different than yours, as different as it would be to a space alien (perhaps even more so, since an interstellar alien race would have to be (K) selected to accomplish that state.)

My other point of disagreement is more of a quibble -- the Good Samaritan wasn't REQUIRED to help the fallen traveler. He did it for his own reasons -- making it charity. What the socialists want to do is to punish the Samaritan for NOT helping -- at spearpoint. The point Jesus was making was about who is a "neighbor" -- meaning someone in your community. His point was that it was more about how people lived and treated each other than who your parents were and where you live. I think you would agree that Goblins are Goblins, regardless of where they came from, and you would rather be around other Goblins if you had a preference.

Anonymous said...

I generally enjoy your writing (even when I disagree with it). This article demonstrates several flaws with your worldview though. Wealth comes from a strong middle class (it always has). Having a progressive taxation policy to bolster the middle class drives demand for products/services that fills the pockets of the poor, middle class, and the wealthy and stimulates demand for labor. Flat/low taxes and small government fail in practice. Look at the libertarian "small government" wonderland of Somalia, the Tea Party paradise of Kansas, or the joys of America's Guilded Age to see how these policies hurt the middle class and ultimately the wealthy in the long run.

I completely agree with your criticism of full-blown communism (It's actually the most succinct/articulate deconstruction I think I've ever read). Having said that, I disagree that the rejection of one extreme necessitates the adoption of the opposite extreme. Some of the most prosperous times in American history saw taxes on the highest tax bracket exceeding 70% tax rates. I'm not advocating that we return to those levels, but I think it's an important counterpoint to the argument that high taxes crush the economy and innovation.

Furthermore, Government regulation of the markets is healthy for the economy. Having government prevent monopolies, collusion, insider trading, dangerous/unsafe products, and practices that obscure/confuse the public about the actual products/services being sold are what allow the free market to shine. The free market works best when companies are forced to compete through innovation and improving efficiencies. When they're allowed to merge into a small group of large corporations, they no longer have market pressures to innovate and begin consumer unfriendly practices (look at telecoms, and banks for example).

Also regarding your assertion that jails are effective deterrents, I'm pretty sure the data disagrees with you (I think the studies are pretty conclusive on that point). Incarceration can be an effective deterrent for certain kinds of property crime, but violent and drug crimes usually aren't deterred by the risk of a long incarceration. It's probably a lot cheaper to fund an after-school program if that prevents x% of participants from becoming criminals and costing upwards of $50k/year to keep in prison (not to mention the lost opportunity cost of their labor, and the cost of any victims of their crimes--such as the productivity of the shop owner they killed in a robbery). Most "liberal" tax policies tend to be more fiscally responsible than the "conservative" tax policies advocating voodoo economics (which consistently lead to massive deficits).

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: and where did I claim anything that you debated?

Anonymous said...

The way I would argue you deserve a home, is generally you should try to afford one and buy one, but they are very expensive where I live, and scarce (with huge waiting lists, of 10+ years). So when a building isn't used for a year, it can be squatted ie. temporarily used by people until the owner does use the building. This is considered "left wing" or "liberal" thought. The "right wing" or "conservative" way to deal with the problem is to allow all the rich people to speculate on the price, thereby raising the rent or the price of the house by sale. Its smart for the person themselves or their business, but not for the society. You see, if we'd all live selfish (think about our infrastructure and environment for a moment) we wouldn't have a society left for our offspring. You can see how that goes in a movie like Idiocracy.