Tag Archives: socialism

History and “Presentism” and Other People’s Money

[Camille Paglia says,] “‘Presentism’ is a major affliction—an over-absorption in the present or near past, which produces a distortion of perspective and a sky-is-falling Chicken Little hysteria.’

This is a point that deserves repeated amplification. It explains, for instance, much of the indignation we see and hear on college campuses, wherein twenty-year-olds decry twenty-first-century American racism and sexism. The first response to their charges should not be to debate present conditions. It should be to ask them about actual conditions of the past—Jim Crow, the franchise for women and blacks, poverty rates and public health in former times . . . The answers will demonstrate that the only way to believe that America 2017 is a particularly vicious time for certain identities is to know nothing about the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And we know, of course, how little history young Americans actually possess.

Paglia believes there is a causal connection between young Americans’ ignorance of history and their dim view of present conditions. At a conference in Oxford, Paglia stated again, in response to a student who criticized her and others for telling youths not to be so sensitive and snowflaky, “There is much too much focus on the present.” Thanks to the (presumed) sensitivity of modern youth, Paglia says, students have not had a “realistic introduction to the barbarities of human history . . . . Ancient history must be taught . . . . I believe in introducing young people to the disasters of history.” Without that background, she implies, our only standard of appraising current circumstances is current circumstances plus a few utopian dreams. We have so much material prosperity, they think, so why don’t we have more perfect people to enjoy it?

Not only does this outlook produce a dangerous parochialism and fervor among the young. It hampers their education. When people judge the present solely in present terms, not in relation to the past, diversity becomes not the pursuit of knowledge of other cultures, religions, and civilizations. It becomes, Paglia says, a “banner” under which we presume to “remedy” contemporary social sins. At that point, we should realize, education has turned into indoctrination.

Camille Paglia’s Teaching

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana (a rephrasing of what he said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”)

Innocents Betrayed

For example, what’s happening in Venezuela is just “bad luck”….
– “Castro, Chavez, and ‘bad luck’
– “Venezuela’s descent into anarchy is only beginning

Also seeAs the Left Surges Back, Marxism’s Bloody Legacy is Covered Up“, by Roger Scruton

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Robert A. Heinlein

When socialism runs out of money and has no more free stuff to give, it wreaks havoc on a country’s economy and its people. Just ask Venezuela.

If You Want Medicare For All, Get Used To Eating Rabbit Now

Roger Scruton on socialism

“Let them eat rabbit”

[Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro, who doesn’t appear to have lost any weight despite the prolonged food shortage in his country, came up with a plan to solve his nation’s hunger problem. He went on state TV recently to announce “a ‘rabbit plan’ had been approved,” so Venezuelans should breed and eat rabbits as an important source of animal protein.

Apparently, one thing Venezuela doesn’t have a shortage of is delusional leaders. Opposition leaders immediately called the Maduro’s rabbit plan a “bad joke.” Perhaps it never occurred to Maduro that if ordinary Venezuelans are searching dumpsters for food, they won’t have anything to feed rabbits.

. . .

Maduro’s “let them eat rabbit” proposal reminded me of Mao’s China. During the famine (1959-1961), Mao’s minions told Chinese people to eat sweet potato leaves, a product that was used to feed pigs, to fill up their empty stomachs. Come to think of it, like Maduro, Mao was probably the only person in China who didn’t lose weight during the famine. Isn’t it interesting that the “dear leaders” of socialist countries are all well-fed while their people lose weight and die due to starvation? So much for equality.

Whether you consider the former Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Kim’s North Korea, Fidel’s Cuba, or Maduro’s Venezuela, there’s undeniable evidence that socialism, no matter where it’s practiced, always goes down the same way. And it always begins with great promises of free stuff.

Margaret Thatcher once said, “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” When socialism runs out of other people’s money and has no more free stuff to give, it ends with an economy in shambles, widespread shortages, hunger, and misery.

If You Want Medicare For All, Get Used To Eating Rabbit Now

Subsidiarity and Healthcare

It is certainly the case that aspects of ObamaCare represent a tyrannical attack on religious freedom. Its legal requirement for Christian employers to violate their consciences and commit a grave sin in paying for the provision of abortifacient drugs for their employees was an egregious example of Big Government metamorphosing into Orwell’s Big Brother. On the other hand, Christians, mindful of Christ’s great commandment that we love our neighbor, are not at liberty to leave the weakest and poorest members of society without adequate care. We cannot take what might be called the Scrooge option, leaving the weak to die “and decrease the surplus population.” This apparent dichotomy between the rights of the individual, on the one hand, and the responsibility of caring for the weak and the sick, on the other, is the palpable tension at the core of all good political philosophy.

In the political philosophy of the Catholic Church, more commonly called its social teaching or social doctrine, the rights of the individual or family are enshrined in the principle of subsidiarity, whereas the responsibility of the individual towards the care of the weak and the sick, or towards the common good, is enshrined in the principle of solidarity.

A Healthcare Solution: Solidarity, Not Socialism

Samaritan Ministries, health care sharing

Secularism Will Fail

St. John Paul II, whose feast we just celebrated Saturday, said and did many things that will long be remembered even outside the Church. But I just came upon a remark of his in Michael Novak’s engaging 2013 autobiography “Writing from Left To Right” that brought me up short. After a dinner in the Vatican, Michael congratulated the pope on the fall of Communism. JPII replied (more or less, says Novak, quoting from memory), “Getting rid of that Mickey Mouse system was no miracle. It was a matter of time. It was built to fail.”

. . .

At present, an aggressive, ideological secularism has taken hold of America, and appears likely to become the shape of the West indefinitely – a slow-motion advance towards another inhuman socialism. (The current electoral spectacle doesn’t offer anything remotely like what it would take to thwart it.) So it’s good to recall why such systems are, probably in the short rather than the long term, “built to fail.”

. . .

[A]s someone who came to Washington in the 1980s when religion was on the upswing, I’ve seen how quickly trends can change. The Spirit blows where it listeth and as the lives of “nones” get more and more undeniably blank, as is already true in parts of Europe, we may be surprised by sudden revivals.

. . .

– Without a belief in human dignity as rooted in the Creator, as our Declaration of Independence proclaims, there’s no rational basis for a free society except a limp “live and let live” mentality, which will fail the moment one group or person is powerful enough to say, live this way – or die.

– This is, in fact, precisely what we’re seeing in advanced democratic societies, an authoritarian regime of rights – some absurd and new like “marriage equality” and bathroom regulations – that denies not only history, reason, religion, and biology, but mere common sense.

– As in the former USSR, the regime will make more and more aggressive efforts to prop up a self-undermining view of person and society, but it’s a losing proposition. (As even the ancient pagans knew, “You can drive out Nature with a pitchfork, but she keeps on coming back.”)

Secularism: a System Built to Fail


Violence is always at the end of the socialist enterprise, as the poor people of Venezuela are discovering. Our friends on the Left assured us for many years that Boss Hugo and his epigones in the regime of Nicolás Maduro were democratic socialists, not the mean Stalinist type, and the praises of that so-called democratic-socialist regime were sung by everyone from Democratic congressmen such as Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia to progressive celebrities such as Sean Penn.

The democratic socialists in Venezuela have just introduced slavery into their workers’ paradise.

. . .

A dynamic capitalist economy such as Switzerland’s or Singapore’s or Canada’s can carry a lot of welfare state.

But it cannot really carry all that much socialism. The great American socialist experiment — the government school monopoly — is a shocking failure. The government’s attempt to operate a socialist pension system is collapsing and will never pay out its promised benefits at their real present value.

Venezuela Reaches the End of the Road to Serfdom