Leftism Doesn’t Work

In this season of political argument and division, I can understand arguing over relatively minor differences, like optimal tax rates or the details of how to best vet would-be immigrants. What I can’t understand is how we can still argue about the big picture, which (at the risk of oversimplifying just a wee bit) is that leftism doesn’t work.

Since the Russian leftists pulled off their revolution in 1917, we’ve had a century to watch the competition between the big ideas of the left (a gigantic, centralized government controlling most aspects of life from the cradle to the grave that will allegedly give the most help to most people) and the right (that government is best which governs least).

The leftist cause looked good on paper in 1917, and sounded more compassionate, but in real world practice, it was a dumpster fire.

Speaking of dumpster fires, look at the American cities that have been governed almost exclusively by leftist policy for decades – Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, DC. Sure, parts of each town are nice, and there are good people in all of them, and God bless them for swimming against the tide. But would you put your kids in the public schools of any of them? Would you buy property in any of them?

Look at the bluest states: NY, CA, IL, MA, NJ. Even with everything they’ve got going for them, they’re bleeding productive citizens, and their budgets are as unbalanced as Ashley Judd with a microphone in front of her.

Look at nations. When a free market democracy builds a wall it’s because tons of people want to get in; when a socialist workers’ paradise builds a wall it’s because the workers want to get out. When socialists take over an island nation, there is soon a small flotilla of desperate people scissor-kicking out into shark-infested waters, pushing vessels that look like Gilligan and the Skipper made them out of coconuts and twine.

And you can’t get a better empirical experiment than the one that happened in Germany. The same people – with the same culture, history, language and ancestry – are divided in two, with the East being run on leftist principles and the West on at least quasi-free market ones.

Forty years later, the West was prosperous and advanced, and crawling with BMWs and Mercedes. The East was an impoverished rust belt with gulags, crawling with… less pleasant crawling things. (And even those crawling things were crawling toward the wall, hoping to get out.)

In the West, adorable brunette lip-syncing women were going on about 99 luft balloons in a German-language video that you should all stop and watch on Youtube right now. I’ll wait.

There. Was I wrong about her being adorable? Sure, she spells “Nina” wrong, and the guys in her band have horrible 80s clothes and haircuts. And the keyboard player is a poor man’s Leif Garrett at best. (And has anyone anywhere ever been damned by fainter praise than “the poor man’s Leif Garrett?” Leif Garrett himself was the poor man’s Leif Garrett. He was seven iterations down the talent scale from Peter Frampton, and Nena’s guy was a notch below him. But in East Germany, the second-rate Leif would be a rock god.)

But here’s the thing: our bands had haircuts and clothes that were just as bad back then. Those were the best we could do, for some reason.

But how were they doing in leftist East Germany? Who was the (really, really) poor woman’s Nena on the other side of the wall?

Nobody. Because they couldn’t afford skinny jeans, or lip gloss, or sparkly, dangly earrings. (God, I love Nena! Has anything ever been cuter than the way she says, “Captain Kirk?” She brings an erotic frisson to German song lyrics. Which is a phrase connecting two things that you’ll never hear together again if you live to be 106.) Or smoke grenades. Or reliable electricity to power up that wicked keyboard. Or even balloons.

That’s the measure of leftism vs. free markets in a nutshell. Leftism produced a grand total of zero Nenas. And capitalism produced one, which is just the right number. (I mean, she was singing about her fears that the West was going to start a nuclear war, or something. Which is why no one has ever said, “As a sophisticated political thinker, that Kierkegaard is no Nena.”)

Anyway, I know that my leftist friends will dispute my contention that leftism produces a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland entirely devoid of Nenas, and thus does not work. But even they, when confronted with the old, hoary chestnut about “If you could choose to be born anywhere in the world, which country would you pick?” would have to admit that they wouldn’t pick a country run entirely by their fellow leftists.

Thus, I will close with my illustration of that point, in the form of a conversation between God and a soon-to-be-born baby:

God: I’ve got two options for you. The first is The People’s Republic of—
Baby: I’ll take the other one.
God: What do you mean?
Baby: Let’s go with door number 2.
God: But you don’t even know what that second country is. Don’t you at least want to know its name, or where it is?
Baby: What difference would that make to me? I’m a baby over here – we’re horrible at geography.
God: Okay, we’ll just call it Country X. But aren’t you even a little curious about what daily life there is like?
Baby: (thinks about it) All right. What would be my over/under on life expectancy?
God: 22 years.
Baby: How is the infrastructure?
God: Dirt roads and open sewers.
Baby: What would I eat?
God: Plantains and crickets.
Baby: Would I get any skin diseases?
God: Probably.
Baby: Any local animals?
God: Two baby-eating big cat species, and a breed of snake that the locals call the “crib strangler.”
Baby: Yikes. What’s the local language.
God: A series of clicks and whistles.
Baby: GDP?
God: Three goats and an iron cooking pot.
Baby: Wow. How about entertainment options?
God: There’s a local game played with rocks and sticks. But there are seasonal stick shortages. So…
Baby: Ouch. Any colorful indigenous music?
God: No. But cover bands sometimes tour the mid-sized village that’s a two-day walk away.
Baby: Cover bands?
God: Yes. Myron Goldsteen and the Z Street Band came through last fall, and everyone is looking forward to the Fred Nugent tour this summer.
Baby: So if I make the two day walk, what kind of venue will I be able to see Fred Nugent in?
God: Well, it’s a crumbling concrete open-air soccer stadium, so the acoustics aren’t great. And don’t ask them to play “Stranglehold” or “Cat Scratch Fever,” whatever you do.
Baby: Because of the strangling snakes and dangerous big cats?
God: Exactly. It’s always too soon for infant-death-related lyrics in Country X.
Baby: That doesn’t sound so good. Any chance I could see Buddy Holly and the Bilingual Entomologists there?
God: No way – they’re huge. But they’ve got a cover band who came through last year. “El Chirpo.”
Baby: Are they any good?
God: Not really. There were a lot of walk-outs, and afterwards some of the locals said they should change their name to “Click whistle click click.”
Baby: What’s that mean?
God: That’s the sound the indigenous crickets make in an empty open-air soccer stadium. Right before the hungry local children devour them.
Baby: (skeptical) Are you sure this place isn’t a people’s republic?
God: I’m sure.
Baby: Because it sounds like a people’s republic.
God: I know. But it isn’t.

Baby: (after a long silence) Okay, let me make sure I understand. I’ll be choking down crickets, trying to keep from scratching my skin lesions, fighting off an angry panther with a series of menacing clicks and whistles and any sticks that might be in season, and my best case scenario is that I can walk for two days on a dirt road alongside an open sewer to see Fred Nugent play a bunch of B-sides, and I drop dead at 22?”
God: Yes.
Baby: But it’s not “The People’s Republic of X?”
God: Nope.
Baby: I’m in.

And, scene.

Best of January 2017

I’d like to introduce what I hope will be a recurring series of posts, in which I review my favorite things to happen in the previous month.

I give you The Best of January, 2017

1. Chuck Schumer crying. When Trump’s perfectly justifiable but badly handled executive order temporarily banning foreigners from terrorism-riddled countries rolled out, Chuckie actually cried about it. In public. I was raised in the Midwest a hundred years ago, where there was a code about grown men crying. A few tears were acceptable if your spouse died in childbirth, or your son died in battle, or you lost a limb in a farm accident. If my sister or I had ever seen my dad in tears and ran to tell mom, I can predict her response: “Oh lord! Which arm is it, and can we pull it out of the thresher so the doctors can re-attach it?!”

You know what she would NOT have asked in a million years? “Good God, how many foreigners have been momentarily inconvenienced at an airport?!”

2.Barack’s new rental. Shortly before the inauguration, media reported that the Obamas were going to be renting a big house in DC for a year or so while his youngest daughter finishes high school. News reports mentioned that a team of workers would be adding an architectural feature to the former president’s new rental. I assumed that it would be a bridge, which would obviously give the common people greater access to make their way right up to Obama’s front window, where they could press their filthy faces against the window like Dickensian orphans, hoping to catch a glimpse of the great man, muttering into his New York Times as he read about Trump dismantling his legacy.

Imagine my shock when I found out that it was – wait for it – a wall!

That’s right, the things that are despicable, and don’t work, and are Not Who We Are. Yet somehow, when it comes to his own family’s security, Obama is building not a bridge but a wall.

What’s next? Will we find out that the secret service team assigned to protect him for the rest of his life will be doing so not with sweet reason and strongly worded letters to the editor, but with filthy, horrible firearms? (And if so, can we say that he is going to be bitterly clinging to his guns, from behind his wall, the big racist xenophobe?)

3.Chelsea Handler insults Melania. When someone was inexplicably interviewing human train wreck Chelsea Handler, and asked whether she’d ever have Melania Trump on the show that she apparently has for some reason, Handler’s response was the ne plus ultra of unearned leftist condescension: “Melania? To talk about what? She can barely speak English!” Just for the record: Melania speaks five languages, while Chandler speaks almost one. Almost two, if you count “slurring” as a language.

4. How will the new CIA Director deal with global warming? When questioning the CIA head honcho nominee, brilliant Dem senators rose to the occasion by getting right to the question of the age: “What are you as our nation’s spymaster going to do about global warming?” I’m not making this up. The CIA Director. Asked about the weather.

Because you know how often you turn on the news and hear about the troposphere screaming “Allahu Akbar” before blowing itself to bits on a crowded street, or an occluded front blasting away inside an Orlando gay nightclub, or an extra degree of ocean temperature over a century blowing up the Boston marathon.

5. Inauguration day. And not primarily because of Trump. It was an amazingly great inauguration solely because the hand on the Bible was NOT Hillary Clinton’s. If you pushed me, I’d have to say that I’d rank the best inaugurations in our history as follows: 1. George Washington’s.

2. Abraham Lincoln’s.

3. Anybody’s who was not Hillary Clinton’s. (And yes, that includes William Henry Harrison’s, whose speech might still be going on right now had not a merciful God struck him dead 30 days into his inaugural oration.)

6. The Atlantic article about ultrasounds. Moira Weigel wrote an article in The Atlantic about how creepy right wingers have used ultrasounds as cruel political tools. The thrust of the article is that by showing more clearly and accurately the fetus in the womb, ultrasounds give the impression that the entity in the pregnant woman’s womb is a baby.

In other breaking news that is sure to shock the savants at The Atlantic: Telescopes give the impression that the sky is full of stars. And taste buds give the impression that ice cream is delicious. Also, functioning human eyes give the impression that Melania Trump is attractive.

Like many leftist attempts at persuasive argument, the article unintentionally insults its target audience, casting women as gullible dopes, susceptible to falling for deceptions at the hands of their wily, so-called “doctors.” (See also: “Of course African Americans can’t possibly be expected to attain photo id so that they can vote. Who do you think they are, sentient adults who can tell time and respond to verbal requests and find a DMV all by themselves?!”)

The best part of the article is the corrections list at the end. There are 5 corrections to this short article, and they’re not counting the part about saying that a baby is not a baby as an error. In the original presentation, each error was listed separately, with “We regret the error,” following it. But someone at the Atlantic must have seen how much that repetition hurt, so they re-formatted them – now all of the errors are listed in a long paragraph, with one, “We regret the errors,” at the end.

If political philosophies had mottos, you couldn’t do better than that: “Leftism – We Regret the Errors.”

Except that they don’t appear to actually regret the errors, I mean. (You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, etc.)

7. “Lunatics, start your engines…” In preparation for the announcement of Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, some leftists had pre-printed signs made up, with a red band across the top with the word “Oppose,” and a blank white band below. The idea was that the perpetually aggrieved lefties could just write the nominees’ name in as soon as it was announced, and thereby not lose any precious pre-protest time to wasteful, unnecessary processes like informing themselves about the nominee, or thoughtfully considering his or her judicial record.

8. More women’s march signs. Speaking of brilliance expressed on a poster, here is my personal favorite sign spotted at our local women’s march the day after inauguration: “Don’t like abortions? Don’t have one.”

Move over Aristotle, because that is one philosophically unassailable bit of magic marker on a piece of cardboard right there.

Cut to me, using the time machine that I definitely do have (take that, leftist fact checkers!) to transport myself back to 1861, where the local Democrat great-great-grandmothers of the anti-Trump marchers are also marching, with pieces of slate on sticks, onto which they’ve written their brilliant thoughts:

“Don’t like Slavery? Don’t own a slave.”
“My chattel, my choice.”
“Get your rosaries off my n-words.”

The only way to make those marchers’ messages more convincing? You guessed it: vaginal bonnets.

Thoughts on the Inaugural Protest March

I’m sure that there were lots of well-meaning, good-hearted people who took part in the march in DC; I know at least one of my coworkers who did so, and she’s a good person. And I know that it’s probably tough to police the group yourself, and to keep idiots from joining your group and discrediting it.

But Man o’ Manischewitz, what a menagerie. The usual black-masked anarchists destroying property. Unattractive people of indeterminate gender carrying signs forbidding evil males from impregnating them or telling them what to do once they are impregnated. (I speak for all male-kind when I say, don’t lose any sleep over the possibility of the former. Because, nope.) Crude drawings of female organs, internal and external. Obscenity-scrawled signs alongside marching children who should be taught not to say those words. Shrieking celebrity harridans hollering about blowing up the White House. Formerly attractive actresses screaming poems about incest.

And by the way, no decent poet ever had to scream his or her poetry. No one in Christendom ever said, “Hey, you want to come down to the coffeeshop? Emily Dickinson is going to give a high-decibel poetry wail.” Or “Save the 15th, because Alfred Lord Tennyson is doing a standing-room only couplet yelping at the top of his lungs.” Or, “You know what I like about Shakespeare’s sonnets? They’re f**king deafening!”

(And yes, English majors, I’ve read self-proclaimed poet Alan Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and it’s no exception: it might as well be screamed, and it’s terrible. I’ve read the best minds of your generation too, and there’s a good reason they were starving. No one in their right minds would buy that crap.)(To get that last joke, you may have to re-read the opening of “Howl.” But don’t hold me responsible for any ill effects.)

Who exactly do the marchers think they are reaching with their subtle, persuasive message? Think about it: a bunch of women marching in vagina-simulating hats? Because if anything connotes well thought-out moral seriousness, it’s genitalia-evoking head gear! Can you picture the impact of a million male march, all of us wearing phallic-symbol chapeaux? (The ear flaps mimic testicles! Get it?) THAT would really make the matriarchy stand up and reconsider our point about the appropriate size of government!

Or would it just make us look like an army of un-telegenic lunatics? And launch a thousand late-night comics’ routines about whose hats were flaccid, and what the guys in the 10-gallon-size phallic hats were insecure about. And what that Jenner person was doing there in a phallic hat and a vaginal scarf?

I know that I’m biased. (“What? You?!” I can hear you saying.) And I know that both sides of the political aisle contain some good and bad actors. But it seems to me that the Left has a strain of bullying deep in its DNA, of which these protests were just one more example.

Consider: Many conservatives enjoy listening to right wing radio (Limbaugh, Ingraham, Hannity et. al.) and watching a right-leaning news network like Fox, just as lefties enjoy lefty radio (NPR) and tv (PBS). But it never occurs to righties to try to force non-righties to subsidize their radio and tv preferences, while lefties have for decades been forcing all taxpayers to fund their choices. (I’m not even running down NPR or PBS in their totality, since there is some good stuff on both.)

Or consider their approaches to the constitution. Conservatives are fond of the second amendment, but we’d never dream of forcing our fellow citizens to pay for our guns. Leftist are fond of the non-existent amendment that magically grants the right to abortion, but are they satisfied with the right to have their abortions?

Spoiler alert: they are not. The rest of us must be forced to pay for them, even if we have a basic biological understanding of what is being ended in abortion. And we have to pay for their condoms, which they were apparently using to make balloon animals at the birthday parties of the children they don’t have. Since we also have to pay for their abortions, I mean.

Or consider Obama’s unilateral wiping out of the country’s laws against illegal immigration. Faced with a congress and populace opposed to open borders, did Obama get down to the hard work of patiently reasoning with and persuading the American people to his point of view?

HA! He did not. Instead, he proclaimed, “I have a phone, and I have a pen.” He used the pen to scratch through the offending sections of our nation’s laws, and he used the phone to call Tijuana and holler whatever is Spanish for “Olly olly oxen free!”

Think about how the left would feel if right after Trump got sworn in, he went on tv to announce that since the GOP believes that our corporate tax rates are too high, and inheritance taxes are immoral, he’s using his big gold pen (“It’s huuuuuge. The gold is the best quality ever. You’ve heard of 24 carat? This one is 25 carat, believe me.”) to write an executive order eliminating both taxes?

The MSM talking heads would explode, and rightly so. But how did they react when Obama pulled his pen-and-phone routine?

“El chirpo. El chirpo.” (Which, as the bilingual entomologists among you know, is the sound made by a Mexican cricket, in a village that is silent and empty because everyone got Obama’s phone call and vamoosed for ”El Norte.”) (Which is also Spanish.)
(For “the north.”)
(You’re welcome.)
(Also, I defy you to think of a better name for a band than “Buddy Holly and the Bilingual Entomologists.”)

And there’s my entry for “Best Comedic Use of Parentheses in a Political Facebook Page.”
Please vote early and often.

Addendum:

After the above post appeared, I received a great deal of positive responses, along with an aggressive fact-checkers who insisted that I was wrong about Planned Parenthood getting taxpayer dollars.  I wrote the paragraphs below as a follow-up:

I can’t tell you all how gratifying it is to read your kind comments – I really appreciate them all!  For years I’ve dashed off little rants like this for my own amusement, and for that of a couple of friends.  But when the Great and Powerful CO asked if he could share them on his site, I jumped at the chance, and it’s great to know that other people are enjoying them.

Because I’m nothing if not a humanitarian — Ask my fellow cabal member Mr. Trump: “Simpson’s a huuge humanitarian.  The best.   Mother Teresa looks like H.L. Mencken next to him.  He really puts the ‘human’ in ‘humanitarian,’ believe me!”  — I also feel compelled to share a few words with the tireless left-leaning citizen who took time out of his busy schedule to fact-check my last post.

Sir, let me confess a few errors, to save you some valuable fact-checking time:

  1. There is no such thing as a “vaginal scarf.” Nor is there a fallopian cravat.  But I’m almost certain that there IS an ovarian sweater.   I think Lady Gaga wore it on stage during her last tour.
  2. Emily Dickinson never yelled her poetry in a coffeehouse.
  3. Mexican crickets do not in fact chirp in Spanish.

However, I made one point that apparently stuck in your craw, and that I feel compelled to defend.

Planned Parenthood does receive federal funds (i.e. taxpayer dollars) from sources such as Medicaid and Title X.  And contrary to its name, “Planned Parenthood” is not a think tank filled by people in lab coats, working with charts and graphs and protractors and space-age polymers, engaged in a tireless pursuit to unlock the mysteries of how one becomes a parent.  (“Dammit man,” they do not say to themselves in frustration, “we’ve put a man on the moon, we’ve refined the 46 defense, we’ve developed the spork.  But we just can’t crack this ‘where do babies come from’ conundrum!”)

No, contrary to your confident assumptions, that’s not what they do at P-squared.  They do abortions.  Lots of abortions.

And before you say it, I know: the federal dollars never, ever go to fund an abortion.  Those dollars  parade through the front door, chastely averting their eyes, and take a hard left down the hallway, where they swan dive into neatly stacked piles to pay for tongue depressors and utility bills and mounds of “I’m with Her” posters, while totally, pristinely separate dollars pay for the abortions.  (wink, wink.)  If I can interrupt your fact checking, could I humbly suggest that you google “money is fungible?”

And then, hold on to your non-genitalia-evoking hat, because you are going to be shocked to learn that… wait for it… taxpayer dollars pay for abortions.

Best of the First Post-Election Month

Today marks the one month anniversary of the election, which seems as good a time as any for an installment of the “Best and Worst of the Month” awards:

Best Symbolism:  The jeep carrying the late progressive mass murderer Fidel Castro’s ashes breaks down on the way to the cemetery.  Perfect!  In an island prison where El Jefe died with a $900 million net worth, nothing worked.  You know that they rounded up the best jeep in all of Cuba for the high honor of carrying his remains to the big breadline in the sky.  Which means that the best jeep in all of Cuba… could not even carry a bag of ashes and half-burnt pubic-hair-like beard to a graveyard.  Well done, socialism!

Best Sports story: On December 4th, America-hating multimillionaire 3rd string quarterback Colin Kapernick starts against the lowly Chicago Bears, and throws for less yards (4) than the number of sacks that he suffers (5).  For comparison, in case you’re not a football fan:  my 14 year old daughter threw for only 4 less yards than Kapernick, and the Bears didn’t manage to sack her even once!  And she has less hand-eye coordination than my other daughter.  Who also avoided getting sacked in that game.    And both of them have enough sense to stand up when the national anthem is played!

Worst sports-related cliche: “Kapernick is entitled to express his opinions, because Free Speech!”  Yes.  Obviously.  Just like the rest of us are entitled to point out that his opinion is idiotic.  And that Superfly is calling on a big, 1970s rotary phone, asking for his Afro back.  Because Free Speech.

Worst economic prediction:  At a little past midnight on election night, when it was clear that Trump had won, Paul Krugman – who inexplicably once won a Nobel Prize for Economics – said this:  “It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging.  When might we expect them to recover?  …a first pass answer is never.”  Quick cut to noon, the next day: the market has recovered.  A month later, we’ve had a dozen record high market closings in a row.

Which reminds me: What was the least-deserved Nobel Prize ever given?

  1. Barack Obama’s Peace Prize, awarded 20 minutes after he was sworn in, for not being George W. Bush.
  2. Rigoberta Menchu’s (look her up) prize for Literature, for an autobiography that she didn’t write, filled with details that never happened.
  3. Yassar Arafat’s Peace Prize, which I am not making up.
  4. Paul Krugman’s for Economics.
  5. All of the above, in a 4-way tie.

All of a sudden that Literature prize for Bob Dylan, for rhyming “complete unknown” with “rolling stone” and “femur bone” and “traffic cone” – that’s what I think I heard, anyway – is looking pretty damned impressive.

Best financial decision:  This one goes to Jill Stein and Hillary Clinton, for collecting $6 million to spend on a recount that netted Hillary an extra 23 votes.  As economic genius Paul Krugman could tell you, that comes out to more than $1000 per vote.  Why would that be the best financial decision, you ask?  Simple: it took $6 million dollars out of the hands of gullible Democrat contributors.  You just know that before they heard about the recall effort, they were torn between bidding on a first edition Rigoberta Menchu book, and a used Cuban jeep.  So, yeah.

Worst Trump decisionRunner-up: meeting with Al Gore in Trump Tower.  (There is no reason a self-respecting person should ever meet with Al Gore.  Unless it’s at a Global Warming conference being held in a snow storm, in which case you should hit him in the face with a snowball, and laugh and laugh.)

Winner: The Carrier Deal.  I like the results, but as a free marketer, I don’t like a president either bullying a company or getting snookered by a company into giving special favors to keep jobs here.  Just cut tax rates and 71% of the regulations for all American companies, and then lie down with your ear to the ground, to hear the massive rumbling of new jobs being created.

Best Karmic Come-uppance:  Three years ago, Harry Reid and arrogant Dems gut the filibuster rule, to ensure that the Senate (which Democrats will always control) can easily force through any nominee, regardless of the minority party’s objections.  Three years later, the six remaining Dem senators watch as Trump parades through their midst in a toga with a laurel wreath on his big dopey orange head, accompanied by a harem of Ivanas and Ivankas, followed by a procession of Scalia clones dressed like professional wrestlers, holding copies of the constitution over their heads like they were gaudy championship belts as they mount the steps to the Supreme Court.

Worst post-election self-flattering delusion, Republican:  “Trump has a historic mandate!”  (You lost the popular vote, and only won in the battleground states by 100,000 votes or so.  Be bold, but don’t get cocky.)

Worse post-election self-flattering delusion, Democrat:  “We only lost because the Trump voters are racist neo-Nazi Klansmen!” (You could fit all of the neo-Nazis and klansmen in the country into a mid-sized community college gym.  Trump got 60 million votes.  Even Paul Krugman could do that math.)