It is 3:30AM, Sunday, October 22, 2017. Here I sit at this computer struggling for words. Well, actually, struggling for words is not correct. I’ve got words. It is the struggle to arrange them into something useful or entertaining that is the problem. I’m not seeing much to write about that is entertaining. I’m just seeing trouble, pestilence, and a famine of the soul out there in the public at large, a lunacy that has embraced the world, or even worse, a lunacy that has always embraced the world but no longer ignorable due to an ever increasing amplitude.
I don’t reckon the lunacy has always been there in quite the quantity it seems to be today, though it has ebbed and flowed all throughout the course of civilization. Civilizations rise from the dust and return to it according to the lunacy. New ages and epochs begin amidst turmoil and struggle, and order arises from the chaos in the minds and hearts of men, go through their growth to maturity cycle, then turn soft, self-serving, and destructively narcissistic, only to yield order to chaos, returning to the dust from whence it arose. The world is full of artifacts of civilizations and empires, great nations, and sprawling cities, once filled with human activity and commerce that grew fat and lazy, both physically and intellectually, and fed upon its own corruption until it consumed itself, or weakened itself until it was consumed by those who knew that a people too soft and lazy could not, would not defend itself, welcoming its own destroyers into its borders with open arms filled with bribes.
We yield our national common sense to youth who long to have a voice, are adamant about their voice and wanting to correct the ills of the world but without having the experience to be able to do so. It is so with every generation. They don’t know anything about the world or what makes it run, they just know about their own self-fulfillment, or self-indulgence, encouraged in many instances by those who claim to educate them. Each senior generation feels this way about the generations that come behind it. This is as old as man’s ability to record it.
Long before there was an internet and hand held devices that gave every illiterate voice, every untoward ideal, and every sanctimonious, toxic politic a platform for instant, worldwide distribution, Socrates said, ““The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” I suspect he had it right then. I suspect it is still right, today, even more right today. I didn’t live in the time of Socrates, so it’s easy for me to say that he exaggerated the problems he saw with the youth of his time. Being alive in this epoch, it is far easier to think that Socrates gave the youth of his day more credit than they deserved, witnessing, as I am, the demands, choices, and claims that youth would make for themselves. I think they deserve better than the desires they claim for themselves and the means by which they would have them, but the truth is that they get what they deserve; they inherit themselves.
The decay of civilizations comes slowly at first, until suddenly they collapse under their own weight, the core that supported having been hollowed out much earlier, leaving the people in utter surprise at its sudden, violent collapse. Looking for order out of the resulting chaos, dictators emerge with great fanfare and support from among the people, promising peace and safety, and it is peace and safety, and most of all personal comfort that the people would have above all things. They will gladly trade tomorrow’s freedom for today’s comfort. When tomorrow’s freedom is suborned to the will of one man, there is no more personal comfort unless one becomes part of the machine that grinds men into the concrete. The true artists, intellectuals, thinkers, poets, writers, musicians, and scientists get ground underfoot by those envious of the talents and property the others have. Intellectual property is not nearly so easily appropriated. By destroying those who have it, the bar is lowered so that the common becomes the excellent, which means that excellence ceases to exist, or exists but is suppressed to the point of practical extinction. By some measures, this is considered a fair exchange. People are embracing the growing tides of progressive socialism.
Now, for a few poignant quotes about socialism. Yes, there are beautiful quotes about the virtues of socialism, but you will not find them here. You must get your own blog and publish them there. This blog belongs to me. I have purposefully omitted any quotes by famous thinkers that embrace the philosophy of socialism. I am slanted. I am skewed. Unlike the news, I am telling you so right now. Proceed at your own risk.
Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. — Winston Churchill
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. — Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 22 October 1945
I do not at all wonder that British youth is in revolt against the morbid doctrine that nothing matters but the equal sharing of miseries, that what used to be called the ‘submerged tenth’ can only be rescued by bringing the other nine-tenths down to their level… — Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 13 June 1948
Socialism has taught many people that they possess claims irrespective of performance, irrespective of participation. In the light of the morals that produced the extended order of civilization, socialists in fact incite people to break the law. — Frederich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
The wise way to benefit humanity is to attend to your own affairs, and thus give other people an opportunity to look after theirs. — Elbert Hubbard, in “The Better Part” (1901).
It is the common error of Socialists to overlook the natural indolence of mankind; their tendency to be passive, to be the slaves of habit, to persist indefinitely in a course once chosen. Let them once attain any state of existence which they consider tolerable, and the danger to be apprehended is that they will thenceforth stagnate; will not exert themselves to improve, and by letting their faculties rust, will lose even the energy required to preserve them from deterioration. Competition may not be the best conceivable stimulus, but it is at present a necessary one, and no one can foresee the time when it will not be indispensable to progress. — John Stuart Mill, “The Principles of Political Economy”, Vol.2, Book IV, Chapter 7.
Socialism itself can hope to exist only for brief periods here and there, and then only through the exercise of the extremest terrorism. For this reason it is secretly preparing itself for rule through fear and is driving the word ‘justice’ into the heads of the half-educated masses like a nail so as to rob them of their reason… and to create in them a good conscience for the evil game they are to play. — Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human
The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency. — Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (1991).
The trouble is with socialism, which resembles a form of mental illness more than it does a philosophy. Socialists get bees in their bonnets. And because they chronically lack any critical faculty to examine and evaluate their ideas, and because they are pathologically unwilling to consider the opinions of others, and most of all, because socialism is a mindset that regards the individual — and his rights — as insignificant, compared to whatever the socialist believes the group needs, terrible, terrible things happen when socialists acquire power. — L. Neil Smith, in “Cambodian Road Trip,” (15 March 2009)
In different places over the years I have had to prove that socialism, which to many western thinkers is a sort of kingdom of justice, was in fact full of coercion, of bureaucratic greed and corruption and avarice, and consistent within itself that socialism cannot be implemented without the aid of coercion. Communist propaganda would sometimes include statements such as “we include almost all the commandments of the Gospel in our ideology”. The difference is that the Gospel asks all this to be achieved through love, through self-limitation, but socialism only uses coercion. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Interview published in St. Austin Review, 2 no. 2 (February 2003).
Socialism of any type leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death. — Alexander Solzhenitsyn, commencement address speech (“A World Split Apart”) at Harvard University (June 8, 1978)
Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it. — Thomas Sowell, The Thomas Sowell Reader, New York: NY, Basic Books (2011) p. 144, Forbes magazine, “The survival of the left” (Sept. 8, 1997)
As for me, I am deeply a democrat; this is why I am in no way a socialist. Democracy and socialism cannot go together. You can’t have it both ways…socialism is a new form of slavery. — Alexis de Tocqueville, “Notes for a Speech on Socialism” (1848).
The champions of socialism call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight! — Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucrac
And ultimately and finally, we give way to this:
Socialism…must have a dictatorship, it will not work without it. — Mao Zedong, as quoted in Dikötter, Frank, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945–57 (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 1st U.S. ed. 2013 ISBN 978-1-62040-347-1, pp. 236–237
In the end, there is nothing but socialism by dictatorship, which enriches the few at the misery of the many. Eventually, we will all be living in Venezuela, the land where everyone is on a diet, and toilet paper is a luxury available only in governmental palaces.
Welcome to the brave new world where we numb our minds with chemicals to make our lives bearable. Soma, anyone??
Oh, no? We are racing towards this with the medical and recreational use of cannabis. We already have plenty of alcohol, which has ruined more lives than one can measure. We tried to make it illegal but only increased the riches of mobsters and some well connected political families who made fortunes large enough to carry them through generations of politics and privilege. Now, we are careening towards the legal erasure of brain cells with cannabis, all while claiming it is good for us. Well, morphine has its legitimate clinical uses, and studies show (those famous, ubiquitous, endless studies) that cannabis does, too. Shall we make morphine as readily available? Of course, things worse than morphine are readily available on the street, but do we grant license to it?
“When I grow up, I want to be a socialist cannabis user,” said no child, ever.
“When I grow up, I want to be a fireman,” said many a child.
“One can’t have firemen without government socialism,” said many a pseudo-socialist.
Of course, governments render necessary services which require the payment of taxes to support them. Men must be governed, and for that, governments must have authority rendered to them by the people. Bernie Sanders’ sort of government, though, is one that through his own words decides for me how many brands of toothpaste I get to choose from. Will there just be one brand on the shelf? Will it be in a plain white tube, labeled, “Government Approved All Purpose Toothpaste”? I suppose the day that occurs is the day one will look at a store shelf and see only the place where the toothpaste is supposed to be. Once more, welcome to Venezuela.
”Eat more rabbits” the rapidly thinning Venezuelans are told by their loving government leaders. I expect the Venezuelans would eat as many rabbits as they could get their hands on. They’d likely prefer to exchange money they worked to earn for food from the store shelves, but there is no food on the store shelves because the money is worthless, decreasing in value at about the same rate as a helicopter decreases in altitude after a catastrophic engine failure.
I’m sorry. I wanted to write something funny. My mind is as far from funny as it can possibly be. Every time I think of funny, in my mind I see the faces and hear the words of famous politicians who have the gumption to say negative things about others that we all clearly see applies foremost to themselves. Their exceeding hypocrisy blinds them to their own folly. The real folly is that we send them back into office to serve themselves.
I think of our own senior senator from Mississippi, Thad Cochran. Thad has served Mississippi long and faithfully, if earmarks are considered to be faithful government service. Thad later served himself, desiring to keep the trappings of power. Now he has grown to an age where it is important for him that he remain in office so that his staffers can serve themselves, keeping their nice, cushy Washington jobs. Cochran’s continued service to the country is far more urgent to his staffers than it is to the average Mississippian, and certainly than it is to the rest of the nation. He certainly won’t run again, but he should not have run the last time. He is as relevant to our nation as Nancy Pelosi seems to be. She, like Thad, seems to be having trouble making it completely through a coherent sentence. If that is true, then how do you suppose they think their way through comprehensive legislation? Do they simply rely on their staffers? Are the bureaucratic staffers the ones who really run the country?
It is time for an entire generation of politicians to step aside and let a younger generation step up to the helm of power. At sixty years old, I realize that I am of that waning generation. That’s OK. I lack the energy to change things. I, too, just prefer to keep the status quo. My real hope and dream is that a younger generation will have its eyes opened to the alarming tenacity of reality, and face it head on rather than retreating to its safe space, since, eventually, safe spaces will be mandated by the government. Then, there will be no safe space. They will have vanished along with every semblance of of privacy in a world where every 1 and 0 of information is captured and available for playback on demand having been stored in a vast cloud of eternal remembrance (the heavens, as it were), furnished to us by Google and other high tech firms whose principals are the equivalents of the Carnegies, Vanderbilts, and Morgans of a newer age.
At last, men have finally succeeded in making gods of themselves. Maybe they always did. It is hard to tell. Even if they didn’t, men sure put a lot of effort into it to no good end.
Some may say that I write this from a position of privilege. I admit it. It is my great privilege to bring this to you, one that I am thankful for. It is also your privilege to read it, or not.
For some strange reason, I find that remarkably funny.
Men have contemplated all this for a long time. Ultimately the answer lies in our own labor to provide for ourselves. In the quote below, no where is it mentioned that we are fed by what we can forcefully take from the sweat of another man.
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. — Genesis 3:19
That’s not funny at all. But it is timelessly profound.
Profundity is its own reward.
©2017 Mississippi Chris Sharp