June 24, 2010
When the Right wants to antagonize the Obamaniancs, they draw a picture of Batman’s Joker with the word Socialist below it. This makes the Left particularly incredulous because they don”t see that word as a bad thing. As the Ethicist put it in last Sunday’s New York Times, “How does it defame a person to call him a “socialist” “ a set of ideas many advanced Western democracies find congenial, what with the accessible health-care, affordable higher education and good public transportation?” Come on, Randy. You don’t really believe that do you? Surely, this is another case of, as Orwell put it, “Left-wing parties making it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy.” Nobody really believes socialist policies are good for us. Deep down, we all know getting laid isn”t even almost as fun when your mom set you up with her and that’s assuming dates like that even get you laid in the first place.
I”m not going to deny socialism is the cooler looking of the two. They have those neat-o pins with the hammer and the sickle and let’s face it, Che Guevara is about the handsomest revolutionary since Malcolm X. It makes you feel like an intellectual to discuss Marx’s dialectic and giving money to the poor puts you in the same peer group as Santa Claus. Capitalism has no pins, no fancy books, and the heroes look like my dad’s beta-male golf buddies. Has anyone ever worn a Milton Friedman shirt? His name sounds like the guy from Mad Magazine.
Capitalism is not even remotely cool but it works. And it’s fun. Being part of a new enterprise that’s going somewhere is a rush the big government lackeys need prostitutes to synthesize. I took my family to Brooklyn Bowl the other day. This is a local business some maverick recently poured his savings into and business is booming. The place was packed as managers, busboys, and waitresses enthusiastically ran around the place with such vigor, I didn”t get to place one empty drink on table without it being swooped up. When our lane broke down, it was repaired in a matter of seconds. I”m not exaggerating. These people weren”t paid by commission and they weren’t living in a climate of fear. They were just excited to be part of something that was new and thriving. They smelled opportunity and it invigorated them.
Compare that to an all-inclusive resort in Cuba where glum servers will literally drop your gray dinner on the table and walk away without even looking up and it becomes painfully obvious what gets people out of bed in the morning: culpability. As the Alfred E. Friedman put it: “The effect [of big government] is to instill in the one group a feeling of almost God-like power; in the other, a feeling of childlike dependence.”
The “no pain no gain” philosophy of an unregulated economy is what made America what it is today. It’s also what made America’s Got Talent what it is today. I don”t care if you”re an adorable old lady with breast cancer singing The Star Spangled Banner with all you”ve got. If it sucks, the buzzer goes “brrrrnk” and you”re out. No bailouts. No second chances. The fans don’t enjoy seeing her fail but it’s that failure that makes the fat, black opera singer’s victory so damn victorious.
Throwing money at a problem sounds cool but like giving a stripper your paycheck, it never gets results. No matter how much money we give schools for example, the grades stay exactly where they”ve been for decades. Even sluggish bureaucracies like the IMF admit, “A tax induced distortion in economic behavior results in a net efficiency loss to the whole economy.” Go to an Indian Reservation and talk to some of the locals about their plight. After a few beers, most will admit free money is the new blankets with small pox. My kids are American Indians and I dread the checks they’re going to get when they turn 18. Free money at that age is more damaging than heroin and I”ve seen it permanently swallow ambition time and time again. Eating out of the garbage in your early 20s and taking any job that even almost pays is not just a great lesson. It makes you feel alive. It’s Darwinian. The employees of Brooklyn Bowl were pumped because their DNA was reminded of the times we were on a successful hunt and knew catching this wooly mammoth was going to be a feast beyond feasts.
We”re told Northern Europeans are the happiest people in the world and a heavily socialist system is to thank for this bliss. When I ask about their preposterously high suicide rates, I”m told that’s only the very top of Europe and it’s due to lack of sunlight. Well, Estonia is on the top of Europe and they’re too busy having beer festivals to slit their wrists. They”re also one of the only countries to make it out of the USSR alive. Know why? Because Estonia is about the only European country to let the invisible hand of capitalism’s fingers do the walking. Meanwhile, the rest of the continent is moping around cafÃ©s in socks and sandals talking about how scary America has become. Pussies.
Does anyone really believe this European utopia anyway? Does anyone really want to move to Denmark? DENMARK! Despite socialism’s delusions of grandeur, a recent Harris Poll shows Americans are in fact, more optimistic and happier with their present standard of living than Europeans. This is confirmed by Europe’s hatred of babies. After all, Isn”t bringing more of you into the world a good indication of how happy you are to be here?
Fashion trends like socialism are a lot of fun but the Third World doesn’t have time for fun right now. Genetic food sounds as gross as it sounds square and Norman Borlaug looks like a dead racist but “Frankenfood” saved a billion lives. Swallow your pride and let them eat cake for fucksakes. In the past quarter century, only about four countries have been stupid enough to resist economic liberalization and they have remained as poor as they are a bummer. On the other hand, since 1950, extreme poverty has been reduced from 20% to 60% in developing countries and this is almost solely based on their ability to trade with movers and shakers like us. The World Bank also attributes an open market to the remarkable 200 million people pulled out of absolute poverty in the past twenty years. I hate the World Bank too but I hate bullshit more. Would Vietnam be where they are today if they hadn”t abandoned their Socialist ideals? Nope. They’d be North Korea. I want to blame corporations and sweatshops for Third World suffering as much as the next guy but India is poor because it can’t work, not because it works too hard. There’s something about Adam Smith’s tough love that no government program can duplicate and if India had a Guy Fawkes to blow their parliament into the sky, there’d be a lot more George Jefferson’s there with “deluxe apartments in the sky.”
The Free Market is exhilarating because people get a good feeling when they bust their ass. The ones that didn”t get this rush are extinct. If the Lefties really cared about the poor, they”d ignore capitalism’s ugly heroes, focus on freedom, and let the poor control their own destinies. It may sound as uncool as Crocs but big business is not holding back the poor, big government is. So, step out of the way, Obama. As the great Chairman Mao said, “It’s time to let a thousand flowers bloom.”