Ederik Schneider Online

Freedom or Totalitarianism

Freedom or Totalitarianism
Liberty or Death

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Philosophy Insights: The Open Mind With Richard Heffner- Milton Friedman: What is Actually Wrong With Socialism?

Source: Philosophy Insights- Professor Milton Friedman-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

What is wrong with socialism? Where should I start? First I guess I'll tell you what actually seems to work about socialism in other countries and to a certain extent in America even. Even though America has more of a pragmatic progressive approach to social welfare, instead of the welfare state approach that you see in Britain and Scandinavia where their social programs are universal instead of just for people who truly need extra financial assistance in order to pay their bills.

But there's a flip side to what actually works about socialism in lets say Scandinavia to use as an example. If Scandinavia were a country instead of a region that includes Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and even Iceland, if you include Iceland as part of this broader Nordic region of countries, Scandinavia would be one of the largest countries in the world, especially if you throw in Greenland, as far as territory. But with only twenty-five-million people which would make a fairly small country in population.

That is important because Sweden, Norway, and Finland, are all large countries as far as territory. Sweden is almost as big as Turkey as far as land and most people I believe don't realize that, but Sweden only has ten-million people and they're one of the wealthiest countries in the world as far as per-capita income and over living standards and there also one of the most socialist countries in the world as far as what their national government spend on their's people's behalf and the amount of money the Swedish Government spends on social welfare. Turkey on the other hand as over seventy million people making it a big country as far as land and population. Why is that?

Scandinavia is deep as far as natural resources including oil and gas. Norway and Sweden, are two of the largest oil and gas producers in the world and they both have very small populations, but with a lot of territory. Because of all the oil and gas revenue that Sweden and Norway bring in through taxation and interest their government's have in their energy sectors, they can afford to be very socialist with their people. Because even when they go through an economic downturn or slowdown they're still bringing in all of that energy revenue.

Unlike America which is third largest country in the world in territory, only behind Russia and Canada and with the fourth largest population in the world, we're still importing both oil and gas. We have to be more conservative with our tax revenue and expect our people to do more for themselves. Especially mentally and physically able people. That was my more positive take on socialism.

Again, what's wrong with socialism? Where should I start? How about with the presumptions that Socialists especially in America who want America to look more like Europe tend to make.

Socialists tend to look at the world as a big complicated place and that if you let all of the people enter the world with the freedom to make their own decisions, some people might make some really good decisions and do really well, but others and perhaps a lot of other people will make some really bad choices and do badly. Leaving the society having to pick up the slack for the people who haven't done well in the economy. So according to the Socialist you need to have a big centralized government with all of these progressive minded (as they see it) intellectuals in their central- planning offices, with the power to decide for everyone else most of those people they've never even met let alone know, what the people need to live well in their Socialist Utopia.

In other words a big welfare state there to take care of everyone so the people don't have to make impossible decisions like where to send their kids to school. Where to get their health care. Where to get their health insurance. Who should take cake of their kids when the parents are working. How people should fund their retirements. Pay for their family and medical leave. And these are just examples. Perhaps even where to live and where to work.

And then Socialists will say that, "hey, it works in Scandinavia and Europe, that means it will work in America as well." Socialists also tend to see the world as one place where there aren't many differences economically between one country or another and that if something seems to work in country, that means it will work everywhere else. Forgetting about cultural and economic factors from one country to another.

Like the fact that some countries have deeper natural resources than others. Or that Americans tend to be a lot more individualistic and freethinking than most other countries regardless of race and ethnicity and tend to want to do more for ourselves and expect more from ourselves than Canadians and Europeans tend to.

But I already explained why the democratic form of socialism seems to work in Scandinavia. Because you're talking about small countries as far as population, but large countries as far as territory and natural resources. Including natural resources to power their countries that so-called Progressives in America (Socialists in actuality) tend to hate and want to see outlawed in America. Like oil and gas.

The reasons why socialism wouldn't work in America, again has to do with cultural more than anything else. Americans by enlarge (except for Bernie Sanders and his supporters and others) like being able to take care of themselves and making their own decisions and then being rewarded for those decisions when they do well. You start taxing income and production at high levels and you'll get less of it. Because Americans will say why should they work so hard and be so productive when Uncle Sammy is going to take so much of my money from me to give to his nieces and nephews.

So what will happen is a lot fewer of Uncle Sam's nieces and nephews will work hard and be less productive, because their annoying greedy uncle is taking away from them so much of what they produce. Which will be a drag on economic and job growth because our economy won't be as productive. Also it would hurt our education because Americans will decide why should they work hard in school and get a good education when their Uncle Sam will pay them well not to work when they're out-of-school with generous Unemployment Insurance checks. Which is also what you get in Sweden.
Philosophy Insights: The Open Mind With Richard Heffner- Milton Friedman: What's Wrong With Socialism?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Atlantic: Kurt Anderson- The Cultural Factors Driving America's Departure From Reality

Source: The Atlantic- Kurt Anderson-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I don't want to make this whole piece about Donald Trump and even not most of it and perhaps just a lot of it, but the way I look at America's Departure From Reality (to paraphrase Kurt Anderson) is way I describe Donald Trump's approach to politics and broader approach to salesmanship. Which is that it's not what's true that's important to him, but what's believable. And not what's believable to most people or intelligent people. But what's believable to enough people for him to accomplish what he wants.

In 2016 that was the presidency and perhaps now it's just about what's believable to his base so his presidency doesn't completely go under water. Right now President Trump's approval rating is somewhere between 33-37% depending on what non-Fox News and Rasmussen poll you look at. Even Fox News has him in the low to mid forties right now. And you take President Trump's base away from him he's probably in the teens right now and perhaps low teens. Not the Republican Party but just his base in the Republican Party. Which is about 4-10 Republicans.

President Trump believes for him to stay alive and not risk being kicked out of office or asked to resign even with a Republican Congress, he has to have his base with him. And to for hat he has to tell them things that are believable to them even if the rest of the country knows what he's saying his complete garbage. (To be kind) Millions of Americans perhaps have escaped the real world to break from reality and perhaps live in so-called reality TV because their real world is too scary for them. But so does their own President.

America's break from reality of course didn't start with Donald Trump. Right now he's just the overwhelming benefactor of it. Where he now represents people who believe that Russia had nothing to do with the 2016 elections and didn't try to interfere in them. Even though President's own intelligent agencies have told him that Russia tried to hack our elections. Climate change is a hoax, 9/11 was an inside job, Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and I could go on. But America's break from reality has nothing to do with Donald Trump. Again he's just the biggest benefactor of it.

We now live in a country where Americans believe reality TV is actually real and the people on these shows are like that in real-life. When in fact we now now (or at least some of us) that the cast members on those shows are encouraged by the producers of those shows to act out and be the biggest jerks they can and get into arguments with other cast members about nothing to draw the biggest ratings. Because conflict is what sells on TV.

Life in America can be tough and stressful and Americans sometimes need a break from that and be able to escape their own reality. Which is why we take vacations and a lot of us watch the tube and get online when we get home from work especially after we've completed everything we need to do that day. That's fine and I do these things myself. But it's when alternative reality takes over our lives and we start to live in those worlds and start seeing and hearing things that simply don't exist is where virtual reality becomes a problem and we look stupid as a result. Americans are only as powerful and free as we are educated and intelligent.

The smarter we are the freer and powerful we are because we'll make the right decisions for ourselves and people who depend on us. But the more virtual reality and so-called reality TV takes over our lives and we actually take those things seriously instead of the mindless entertainment that it is (like pro wrestling) the dumber we become and the less free that we are as a people and country.
The Atlantic: Kurt Anderson- Cultural Factors Driving America's Departure From Reality

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Retro Report: Prop 13- Mad as Hell: Howard Jarvis's Impact On California

Source: Retro Report-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Just to comment on this video and I don't blame Retro Report that much for this, but this story took place in 1978 and most of the TV coverage was in black and white. You would think you were watching some newsreel or documentary from 1955 or something instead of something from the late 1970s when color TV and footage was dominant and the only way you could see something in black and white was with a black and white TV or watching a movie from the 1950s or early 1960s.

The video is right about where Howard Jarvis got his political inspiration for his political movement. It was from the movie Network 1976 and the Howard Beale character (played by the great Howard Finch) and to understand that movie you have to not only understand and be aware of the 1970s, but the mid 70s especially. America goes into recession in 1974 and that goes through 1975 and that is on top of the energy crisis and oil embargo of 1973 making energy in short supply and very expensive in America. Which goes on top of high interest rates and inflation of that period.

The Vietnam War is ending which was a great thing in many ways, but you end up with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of American military personal coming home from Vietnam and leaving the service, but having a weak economy and economic outlook to return to and having a hard time finding work. And add that to the rising unemployment of from the recession and you just have a weak economy. And that is not enough you have a shrinking middle class because of the recession and a shrinking blue-collar base in America who are paying a lot in taxes and seeing their taxes go up even as their income goes down and finding themselves working less then they're accustomed to.

So when the movie Network comes around in 1976 and the movie being made in 1975 at the heart of that recession, it was perfect timing. You have a Howard Beale character who gets his national talk show in the movie and uses that platform to talk about how pissed off he's at the state of affairs in America with so many middle class Americans now finding themselves working and making less and that is if they're working at all. And he's saying he's mad as hell about seeing big wealthy corporations continue to make millions if not billions as the little guy is struggling just to survive in America. And that it's time for America to step up and tell their politicians that they're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

And California just happening to be the largest most populated state in America perhaps feeling the brunt of the recession of the mid 1970s and poor recovery of the late 1970s the most and being one of the highest taxed states in America. California becomes the perfect proving ground for anti-tax economic Conservatives in America with Howard Jarvis being their spokesmen. You want to know what caused the start of the Regan Revolution of 1980, there isn't any one thing. But the movement for tax cuts and lower taxes really got going in the late 1970s. And Ronald Reagan who just happened be be Government of California right before Jerry Brown was one of the leaders of this movement. And they were successful in getting their tax cut in 1978.
Retro Report: Prop 13- Mad as Hell

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?

Source: The Atlantic-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

What makes things cool? A very good question especially since America is such a trendy what's hot now and cool society where everyone who wants to be cool seems to follow whatever the latest trend is even if they look ridiculous, (like wearing cowboy boots and running shorts with a mink coat)  talking or looking like that, or could feel like they're dying when they try to drink the latest drink or eat the latest dish.

Americans by enlarge and there some exceptions of people who have a healthy degree of self-confidence and are very comfortable being themselves even if their best friends are following their favorite celebrities like cult followers follow their leaders. And even with some Americans who are simply cool, because they are themselves even if that makes them different, but by enlarge feel the need to be like everyone else who is considered cool at the time.

With Jim Morrison of The Doors from the late 1960s being a perfect example of an exception to this rule. Marilyn Monroe from the 1950s would be another great example of that. Sean Connery at any point of his career has always been Mr. Cool, or is that Steve McQueen, but both of these men were always themselves. With the personal attributes, looks, intelligence, charm, humor. These two men were always themselves and if anything drove other men to be like them. Instead of these two guys trying to be like some other hot celebrity of that time.

Pop culture and what's seen as cool drives Americans more than just about anything else. We have a lot of Americans especially young Americans who rather be seen as stupid, instead of intelligent and willing to step out on the ledge (in pop culture, not in actuality) and risk not looking and sounding cool. And young adults and even teenagers if they're into something, than people who are just older than them and even much older than them try to get into the same things. And what drives young people today in pop culture is new technology, because it makes their lives much easier and the ability to communicate so much easier than it was even more my Generation X when I was growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s. And the other thing being celebrity culture including talentless celebrities whose only ability has to do with cursing people out and expressing deep anger in public.

Derek Thompson in his video gives you the more scientific explanation of why things are cool and things become trends. But when it comes to Americans it's about trends and faddism. What are the cool people doing meaning the popular people in pop culture and that is who people who are not famous, but perhaps want to be or just want to be part of the cool and party scene in their local community and where they work and so-forth.

And most pop culture today has to do with new technology and people feeling this need that they may die if they don't get the latest iPhone the day that it comes out, watch the last episode of their favorite reality show or drama on cable, or what have you. And keeping up with the pop culture tends and having this feeling of coolness and being in is what drives the happiness of a lot of Americans. Way too many from my point of view.
The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Week: Opinion- Ryan Cooper- 'Democrats Should Embrace The Freedom Not To Choose'

Source: The Week-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

I'm not trying to sound insulting here (but don't mind if I do) but what Ryan Cooper wrote in The Week this week (ha, ha get it) could've been written over at The American Prospect, Salon, The Nation, AlterNet, or even over at In These Times and Common Dreams. Where the writers there are not just Socialists, but proudly so and proud to be Socialists. One of those New-Left (to be kind) publications that have argued that problem with America is economic freedom and capitalism in itself. That we expect Americans to make their own decisions with their own lives, at least once they're grown up and are out-of-school and then hold them personally accountable for their own decision-making.

Their argument being that Americans simply have too many decisions to make and as a result make too many bad decisions that the rest of society has to deal with. And that you need that big centralized welfare state big enough to manage the economic affairs of everyone and in some cases even personal affairs financed through high taxes. That Americans supposedly would get back in those so-called generous welfare benefits. That individuals are somehow too stupid to make their own decisions. But big government has all the right answers for them.

The Democratic Party led by their Congressional Leadership led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, did release an economic agenda that Democrats will be pushing for the 2018 mid-terms in hopes of winning back the House or Senate and perhaps even the entire Congress next year. And it was about economic development that included infrastructure investment, tax credits to incentivize more economic expansion, and anti-trust laws to break up current corporate monopolies so Americans would have more consumer choice, because there would be more competition and Americans would actually have to make more personal decisions on their own. (What a terrifying thought!)

But this is the Democratic Party and not the Green Party. Because if they were the Green Party or Democratic Socialists USA, they wouldn't be the opposition party in America and within reach of becoming the majority party in both the House and Senate. And instead would be in court simply trying to gain ballot access so they could be on the ballot in more elections. Let alone actually holding any seats in Congress.

If you want to be part of a party that is anti-individualism, thinks choice is a bad thing and that somehow economic freedom is not only dangerous, because leave millions of Americans to have to manage their own affairs and make their own decisions and that is also selfish, because a lot of people actually make very good decisions with their own lives and end up becoming very successful in life, the Green Party is for you. Just don't ever expect your party to ever hold any real power in America.

But the Democratic Party at it's best is the party that doesn't bash capitalism, economic freedom, and wealth. But instead says that those things are good, but the problem with it is not enough people benefit from capitalism and not enough people have economic freedom and have achieved economic independence. Because quality education is not available to enough people and our infrastructure system is underdeveloped and because of that there isn't enough economic development in the country. Which is why Congressional Democrats are pushing for infrastructure investment in America.

As a JFK Liberal Democrat (a real Liberal Democrat) I believe once people have the skills and education to make their own decisions that they'll end up doing that. And be able to get good jobs and be very successful at them and in life in general. Which is a much better economic plan and better financial outlook for the country, because not only more people will be working, but with good jobs and paying income taxes. Which would also make government cheaper in America lessen the need for taxation, because you'll have all of these educated Americans with the ability to pay their own way in life.

And as a result government will end up collecting more in taxes that they can use to see that as many Americans as possible can get the skills that they need to do well in life. As well as to see that as much incentive as possible is there to incentivize the most economic development as possible. An educated society is an opportunity society that produces a free society. People with the ability to make their own decisions and then be held personally accountable for them. For better or for worse. Enjoy the fruits of their own labor and pay for their own mistakes.
Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung: Welfare State and Social Democracy