Friday, October 01, 2004

Opening Comments

Liberal Thinking
It seems ironic that in the same batch of emails, I received the commencement speech made by Neal Boortz and a promotion piece from a consulting firm. The connection between these two is tenuous I admit but nevertheless there. These consultants are from some respectable Universities but a careful reading of their rather impressive resumes shows that they are “consultants”, have always been “consultants” and really don’t plan on doing anything beyond telling others how to work. And to me that forms a connection between the speech and the solicitation because Boortz is exhorting the graduates to go out into “the real world” and get a job. The implication being that they would start doing real work for which they would be compensated. Concurrently, he accuses the “gaggle of gowned academics” of leading sheltered non-productive (implied I admit) lives where they can wallow in emotional “caring” for those less ‘fortunate” than they are while infecting their students with this irrational thinking.

This position isn’t totally without merit because so many of the academics that staff the major universities have gone from kindergarten to PhD to professor with no stops in between to garner any real experience either in their field or in the brutal competitive environment of business life. In my opinion this lack of any practical experience does not qualify them to teach and certainly doesn’t qualify them to express opinions on business or the evils thereof. As Boortz says, the sheltered life of the average academic allows them the luxury of indulging in causes and caring about groups but what he implies but doesn’t say is that this non-competitive environment fosters their belief in egalitarianism, wealth redistribution, and the evils of capitalism (raw brutal competition). It is no accident that the academic community is not only the breeding ground for communism and socialism but it seems unable to grasp the realities of these ideas.

Consider that the Communist Experiment in Soviet Russia was an abysmal failure, that Communist Cuba is a failed communist society that has sunk into oppressive dictatorship, or that the socialist ideals of Scandinavia and Europe have left their countries sapped of their competitive will and economically weak. Nothing is said regarding these failures, instead they are excused on the basis of flawed leadership rather than a flawed concept. After all, it wasn’t communism that was bad it was Stalin and his successors just as it is the oppressive policies of the United States that have created chaos in Cuba, not communism and Castro. The whole idea of Socialism and Communism seems attractive since its objective is to care for everyone but in reality it is nothing less than wealth distribution, where the government picks the pockets of the rich to give to the poor. Of course the assumption is that the poor are poor for reasons totally out of their control but the reality is that only a small percentage fall into this category while the great majority are in that position due to personal choices. They have chosen to not go to school, not get an education, to have children prematurely, not to look for a job, or worst of all, find they can make more money by not working than by working. In effect a large percentage of the “poverty stricken” have been put into that position by the very people who are “caring” for them.

The “caring” group are in fact (unintentionally I’m sure) creating a permanent underclass because there are people in the world who are – lazy. These are people who would rather lay around in substandard (and subsidized) housing, living off of food stamps and welfare than go to work. Admittedly there are people who are in these situations through no fault of their own (well not totally but I’ll cut them some slack), but a great many are there because to them the alternative of acting as a responsible self-sustaining adult is worse. Most – if not all – of the support for wealth redistribution comes from people who are in non-competitive situations – universities primarily. I am reminded of a study that was done by one of my professors when I was an undergraduate. This study had to do with land reform in Mexico. It seems virtually every Mexican President since the French were driven out – (Santana, Juarez, Zapata, etc.) gave the land “back to the peasants”. The issue was if each President seized the land from the wealthy land owners why did the landowners end up with all of the land? The answer was there were too many peasants and too little land. When you gave each peon his own parcel of land it was too small to sustain him and his family. They were forced to sell their land back to the Patrons and the cycle renewed itself. Not quite the same as wealth redistribution so lets examine a point I heard made by a businessman. He stated that his business was worth roughly $12M and he employed 300 people directly and influenced the community even more. So if the government seized his business (think Lenin, communism, and socialism) and gave the proceeds to the population -- $100 to each person in the countryside then they would not have enough money to do anything effectively with it and 300 people would be put out of work. The same thing happened in the Roman Empire, the Emperor Septimius Severus taxed the rich so heavily that he reduced their total number and reduced his tax revenues thereby. So the paradox was the higher the taxes became the lower the revenues.

So what seems to be lacking today, in addition to the almost total absence of critical thinking, is any historical perspective. Even when confronted with irrefutable facts many of the internationalists and liberal thinkers seem to be in a state of denial. For example, with the rise of the Sandinistas in Central America the academic and liberal community in general applauded their ‘for the people” position and anti-America and anti-United Fruit stance. There was a general denial by the Democratic Congress and the liberal community that the Sandinistas were communists. There was great opposition to any support for the Contras because they were viewed as being “against the people”. Later when the Sandinistas admitted publicly that they were Marxists and intended to establish a Marxists government, there was general denial by US media and liberal community that ALL of the Sandinistas were Marxists. Of course the Reagan administration eventually forced a real election and the Sandinistas lost, but even then and continuing to this day, there is a general denial that the Sandinistas intended to establish a Marxist dictatorship. Such is the thinking of the liberal media and liberal community in general. In general the liberals tend to see the world as they want it to be not as it is.

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