A splash quite unnoticed

XIR3675

According to Brueghel
when Icarus fell
it was spring

a farmer was ploughing
his field
the whole pageantry

of the year was
awake tingling
near

the edge of the sea
concerned
with itself

sweating in the sun
that melted
the wings’ wax

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was

a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

 

William Carlos Williams – 1883-1963

I think you would agree with me that it would be a herculean task to respond to any video on youtube that is out there that requires one.  Addressing the flood would make a considered reaction almost impossible.

However, sometimes I feel that a response is required. And I felt this need regarding a video called Why they don’t tell you about Hitler’s “Shrinking Markets ‘.    The main reason for my unease with this video is that the maker of this video, a man who calls himself TIK, schools people on what history is. If you claim to know what history is, then leading by example would be a thing for sure.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating, though. So how edible is his course?

The case

It warrants to represent TIK’s argument in a proper manner. So let me lay out his case for you, so you can both check that I got it right and also understand the whole of his argument.

There are two ways to represent his argument. In a (very) short way and in the full way.

The short argument

Hitler was a socialist.

The long argument

They, the (Marxist-)Socialists who invaded the state controlled universities and schools since the Cold War era, if not earlier, want to prevent you from knowing about the shrinking markets because then they would have to tell you that Hitler was a socialist and that socialism, which means total state control of the economy and people – coupled with his racism caused the holocaust.
(note: I updated this long description to better reflect what was said on August the tenth)

I assume that you will agree with me that the short argument would be the easiest to respond to. The full argument is so complex in nature and raises so many additional questions that any response  will be very long indeed. So let me address the short version at the moment. That is, let’s see how TIK approaches this argument that Hitler was a socialist as a historian.

Screenshot - 7_9_2019 , 10_19_08 AM (1) Why they don't tell you about Hitler's _Shrinking Markets_ problem - YouTube - Opera

Socialism according to IEP

Before taking a look at TIK I want to point to another source first.  The reason is that the problem with the short argument is that we need to find a definition of socialism.  For this I make uses of the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy(IEP)   The IEP is a peer-reviewed encyclopedia. The reason I do so it not for the most obious reason, that is to show it conflicts with the definition that TIK gives, but rather to point out that there is no agreement even among socialists disagree on how socialism is to be realized. The IEP  gives the following definitions on socialism as an economic system and an ideology.

A socialist economy features social rather than private ownership of the means of production. 

Socialist ideology asserts the moral and economic superiority of an economy with these features.

But it adds a cautionary remark:

How, precisely, socialist concepts like social ownership and planning should be realized in practice is a matter of dispute among socialists. 

IEP points out that:

Considered as an economic system, socialism is best understood in contrast with capitalism.

Capitalism designates an economic system with all of the following features:

  1. The means of production are, for the most part, privately owned;
  2. People own their labor power, and are legally free to sell it to (or withhold it from) others;
  3. Production is generally oriented towards profit rather than use: firms produce not in the first instance to satisfy human needs, but rather to make money; and
  4. Markets play a major role in allocating inputs to commodity production and determining the amount and direction of investment.

An economic system is socialist only if it rejects feature 1, private ownership of the means of production in favor of public or social ownership. But must an economic system reject any of features 2-4 to count as socialist, or is rejection of private property sufficient as well as necessary? Here, socialists disagree

My point here is to show that even if there is agreement about the fundamental concepts of socialism, there is disagreement about how to realize it. And it is in particular important as we soon will see.

Socialism according to TIK

Now let’s have a look at how TIK defines the concept for us.

Socialism: you get money for free when you murder and steal from the bourgeoisie(or jews)(2:55).

Socialism: the technical definition is: the socialization of the means of production(4:14).

Socialism is the state control of the economy(8:03).

(Real)Socialism is the state(8:44)(23:09)

The true nature of socialism – total state control of the economy and people – totalitarianism(19:24)

The reason why I have listed all the definitions in is because TIK uses these different ones to make his argument.  I cannot find where TIK takes his definitions from as he doesn’t quote any sources. He names two books: Basic Economics and Economics in One Lesson. But neither Sowell nor Hazlitt define socialism. Nor do they refer to socialism in the way he does(thievery and murder for example), even though Sowell points out some of the traits of Socialist states, to which he never says that these traits are exclusive to those states.

Screenshot - 7_9_2019 , 9_55_36 AM (1) Why they don't tell you about Hitler's _Shrinking Markets_ problem - YouTube - Opera

It is perhaps of interest in this context to give a quote by Hazlitt. The underscore is mine.

When analyzing fallacies, I have thought it still less advisable to mention particular names than in giving credit.
To do so would have required special justice to each writer
criticized, with exact quotations, account taken of the particular emphasis he places on this point or that, the qualifications he makes, his personal ambiguities, inconsistencies,
and so on I hope, therefore, that no one will be too disappointed at the absence of such names as Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Major Douglas, Lord Keynes, Professor Alvin
Hansen and others in these pages. The object of this book
is not to expose the special errors of particular writers, but
economic errors in their most frequent, widespread or influential form. 

Economics in One Lesson, page IX(1946 version).

In other words: where TIK uses Marx and Keynes, Hazlitt declines to do so because he knows very well that he would have to address each of them extensively. Sowell refers to Keynes a few times(six results on two pages). Marx is mentioned more. Hitler is hardly mentioned by either, and not in the context of socialism.

I supply this to point out that TIK doesn’t quote the sources he bases himself upon and that two books he mentions do not supply the definitions he uses. It follows that his definition must be his own. And his definition is has quite a certainty: socialism is the state. In others words: where IEP defines that socialist have a dispute.. TIK offers certainty. Unsourced, unfounded and unsupported certainty.

TIK vs the rest of the world

Now let me be clear here; TIK can, without restraint, claim that Hitler was a socialist. However, to make his argument TIK has to come up with a definition and one that at least most people can accept. Why? Because otherwise we cannot communicate concepts. If you define green as red and do not communicate that you do so, you will be in a traffic accident in no time and if you have followers believe the same, they will be too.  We have to agree on definition not only to communicate, but also to make the arguments work. And you have to stick to that definition.

Screenshot - 7_9_2019 , 10_15_47 AM (1) Why they don't tell you about Hitler's _Shrinking Markets_ problem - YouTube - Opera

And here is where TIK sinks his own boat. To argue his case he gives at the beginning of his video a list of  people whom he calls Marxist-Socialists. These people, so Tik explains,  all believed in shrinking markets.. just as Hitler did. Then when he defines socialism as state control of the economy or, to drive the nail home, the total control of the people and the economy, Marxist-Socialists by this definition are no longer socialists. As IEP states: Not only will communism (unlike socialism) do away with class, material scarcity, and occupational specialization, it will also do away with the state.  In other words. Marxist-Socialists cannot therefore be used to support his argument regarding socialists. He has refuted himself.

His arguments are shaky in another way too, as he when he defines socialism as totalitarianism. In other words: socialism has become synonymous to totalitarianism.  If socialism is the same as totalitarianism then it has lost any meaning as a separate concept. In other words: anyone striving for totalitarianism has now become a socialist too and any socialist has become a totalitarian. It might again be important that in this TIK doesn’t support what he says with sources. Again, he must be using his own definitions.

You could of course argue that socialism and totalitarianism share common traits, but then you have to argue that point where they differ. Or you can argue that socialism is a subset of totalitarianism, but then you have to argue that point. TIK does neither. He makes a blanket statement by making the one equal the other.

Another way he digs a hole to fall in himself is by defining socialism as the state. Again this includes a lot of people who support the idea of a state but who might not see themselves as socialist. Take conservatives. And again, he doesn’t name any sources.

Screenshot - 7_9_2019 , 11_28_01 AM (1) Why they don't tell you about Hitler's _Shrinking Markets_ problem - YouTube - Opera

TIK further expands on this idea in his slide where he equates group to tyranny and the individual to liberty.  And he explains this via etymology: Public is the same as the State. And the group is the same as tyranny.

Screenshot - 7_9_2019 , 10_50_35 AM (1) Why they don't tell you about Hitler's _Shrinking Markets_ problem - YouTube - OperaScreenshot - 7_9_2019 , 10_50_50 AM (1) Why they don't tell you about Hitler's _Shrinking Markets_ problem - YouTube - Opera

Now this creates another problem. Just like Marxist-Socialists are no longer socialist, anyone who strives for the common good now supports tyranny by definition.  As he says: there  And would it be superfluous again to point out that he doesn’t name any sources for his claims?

The result of his redefinition of terms is now that some people are no longer socialists, while a lot of other people have become socialists.

The point

To drive this point home: TIK is totally free to claim that Hitler was a socialist. My post is not to respond to that claim.

Most don’t even know the meaning of the terms, and when, you point them out – backed by a host of sources and examples from their own literature(actual evidence) you get told that you don’t know what you are talking about(23:35).

As pointed out: TIK’s  definitions are totally his own and keeps being changed by him during his 28 minutes of diatribe.  He hasn’t presented any ‘host of sources’ to support his definitions. TIK refers to books by Sowell and Hazlitt, neither used in his video, nor does he illustrate that they support what he says. The  Marxist-Socialists cannot be used according to his own definitions as they are no longer socialists. He fails to make a coherent argument by playing fast and loose with definitions and failing to source them.

Crescendo

Vidal (loftily): As far as I’m concerned, the only pro- or crypto-Nazi I can think of is yourself. Failing that—

Smith: Let’s, let’s not call names—

Vidal: Failing that, I can only say that—

Buckley (snarling, teeth bared): Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in your goddam face, and you’ll stay plastered—

Gore Vidal vs William F. Buckley 

And then this final thing. What to say about a man who complains about his ideas being suppressed, but showing himself all too eager to hamstring the free exchange of ideas? If you deny that Hitler is a socialist, you deny the holocaust is the kind of argument that has no place in history.  TIK goes even a step further. He claims that socialists actually promote the holocaust(22:06).  History works when it allows for the free exchange of ideas. TIK has done himself a great disservice, he shows himself not to be the historian he claims to be.

The irony

TIK mentions a world wide socialist conspiracy to dominate the narrative, but doesn’t name the people involved, nor explains how it works on a global level, nor how it works  for privately owned  universities or for countries run by non-socialist governments for decades. He never supports anything he says.  But most ironical is it that he references men as David Glantz and Rainer Zitelmann in t and his other videos, both whom have studied at the same state controlled universities. But then I guess, checking his sources isn’t his strong suit.

David Glantz
Born in Port ChesterNew York, Glantz received degrees in history from the Virginia Military Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff CollegeDefense Language Institute, Institute for Russian and Eastern European Studies, and U.S. Army War College.

Rainer Zitelmann
Zitelmann studied history and political sciences at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences and completed his doctorate in 1986 under Prof. Dr. Karl Otmar Freiherr von Aretin with the grade of “summa cum laude”, the subject being the goals of Hitler’s social, economic and interior policies.

Stefan Molyneux! Because paying taxes sucks!

freeloaders3

Philosophy is like lighting a room with cigarettes: not very practical and possibly unhealthy(and it makes you smell bad).  It is a bit of a forced statement, but it reflects how I feel after having seen some philosophical discussions. These discussions tend to become quoting contests in which the one who can quote the best or the most wins the contest. And I suck at remembering quotes, that is why I prefer to make them up myself.

I guess that philosophy might have it’s uses, but it can be used to reason the non-existent into existence and that is why it sucks as well. The apologist William Lane Craig gives a showcase example of reasoning a fictitious being into existence.  It his god of course, not yours(because only his god can be reasoned into existence). A philosopher isn’t required to give proof, he is just required to string words into sentences that sound okay. It is why religion likes to don the cloak of philosophy, because in philosophy, like in religion, anything can be said and nothing needs to make sense because nobody can agree on what sense is..

Another example is the ‘philosopher’ Stefan Molyneux. He is styled as an anarcho-capitalist or styles himself that way. Molyneux strikes me as a spokesman for the disgruntled members of the lower middle class and those teens who think Ayn Rand’s writings are pearls of wisdom. While the teens might eventually grow out of their fantasies, the disgruntled ones are condemned  to perpetual wailing because they have to pay taxes each and every year and everyone knows: paying taxes sucks..

In anarcho-capitalism the state is evil because it amasses wealth and power and gives that to a selected group of people who use it for their own selfish goals. These people are called politicians and they are as dangerous as the Illuminati are and probably in league with them! Therefore the state should be abolished. Those who hold to Ayn Rand’s writings will readily agree because Rand sees the state as parasite limiting progress.. And of course a lot of tax payers agree as well, because they don’t want to pay taxes and without a state you don’t need to pay no taxes. Cause you know: paying taxes sucks!

Of course, someone must have asked at one moment: “but who is going to take care of all the stuff that the state does?”
“Like what?” (insert condescending tone).
“Like education, research, exploration of the universe(nasa), firefighting, policing, health care, the furtherance of the common good, protecting the weak, feeding the poor, disaster relief, providing justice, maintaining the infrastructure, settling disputes, sponsoring art, protecting the environment, protecting historical sites, making sure that the coin in your hand is worth something tomorrow and..”
“Capitalism!”
And there is the solution. The free market will arrange everything through the never failing system of supply and demand all perfectly organized and overseen by companies who are, of course, pinnacles of talent promotion and efficiency. And so the people don’t have to pay taxes anymore because the free market will take care of everything that you paid taxes for. So you don’t need to pay taxes anymore cause: paying taxes sucks!

But even the likes of a Molyneux realize that unbridled capitalism might not solve everything and so they start reasoning things into existence. First they come up with voluntary organisations that will regulate the market based on voluntary participation and arbitration.  Next they give limitless self healing properties to the free market in which the consumer, well informed through the internet, will punish those companies that  fail to meet standards by no longer buying from them. Companies will deliver these services off course against cut-throat prices thanks to the power of the internet and all will be well, so we don’t need to pay taxes. Cause you know: paying taxes sucks!

Happiness becomes a commodity and profits and margins become the main principles for making decisions. And if you  fall by the wayside because you happen to be too poor to pay for education, too ill to work for your money, too crazy  to make sense or just someone who can’t keep up with the rat race: though luck, live is a bitch. I don’t  care as long as I don’t have to pay taxes! Cause paying taxes sucks!

“But uh…, what happens if  that someone then is going to get a gun and rob you or goes on a killing spree? To get the things through violence?  Who is going to prevent him or her from doing so?”
And now Molyneux turns into an advocate of the  extreme interpretation of 2nd amendment: everyone gets to have a gun. And he sees firms and organisations of armed people protecting each other, protecting of course, not robbing or blackmailing or racketeering.  Not like those gangs do, but benevolent voluntary organisations of the kind that you have never seen in the course of history.  Thus society becomes an armed society in which anyone can be shot by anyone, especially when they suck or nobody is watching or they are outgunned a hundred to one. Is that the wild west? Yes.. But who cares… as long as I don’t have to pay taxes. Cause paying taxes sucks!

“But what happens when a foreign country makes use of the now largely disorganized organisation of this country?”
“Army!”
“What?”
“We have an army of volunteers to protect us against foreign aggression.”
“Just like they had at the start of the American Revolution?”
“Yes!”
“Like that army made up of local militias that was unable to defeat the English until it was reformed into the continental army?”
“Yes!”
“So why would that work now?”
“Because of the internet.”
“Say what?”
“Because the internet makes everything different.”
“I see.”
Of course anarcho-capitalists will play the internet card again and again.
“Who will prevent those abuses that unbridled capitalism caused in the 19th century such as working days of 14 hours or more?”
“The internet!”
“What about the abuses that now occur in some countries where some people and even children are treated as no better than slaves?”
“The internet!”
“What if a company pollutes a place and pays off people or just moves elsewhere rather than cleaning up or changing their production methods?”
“The internet!”
“What if companies form a monopoly?”
“The internet!”
Monopolies are a cause for reasoning things into existence. Both Molyneux and Ayn Rand follow two tracks:  they attack government and babble. Rand goes on a tangent arguing that it is governments that cause monopolies and she finds ample proof in history.  Of course she does. History is full of bad behaving governments(and companies). When however she has to argue how this not will happen  with a truly free market economy she has only on thing to offer: trust me on my word.  And so does Molyneux. You see, as much as Rand and Molyneux give examples of how monopolies were caused by states or the law,  they can not give you any proof that a free market prevents them, because there has never been a free market economy such as they want: one without state interference, and therefore they have no proof to offer. And if they can argue a perfect system into existence based on zero proof then any system, including those that did exist and failed(communism, absolutism and fascism) can be declared to be perfect by downplaying the parts that are not.  So just take their word for it because when you do you no longer need to pay taxes. Cause you know….Yeah, you know the drill.

It is funny that the internet actually started out as a government project. Would a company have been able to do it? Let’s have that answered by Neil deGrasse Tyson when he is talking about space exploration.  He is asked in his reading about his book on the video: The History and Future of NASA and Space Travel: Neil deGrasse Tyson – Space Chronicles (2012) whether private enterprise could have done it and he answers that private enterprise requires investors who want to see a return of investment that can be quantified. And the frontier of (space) exploration poses unquantifiable dangers to investment and therefore will scare away investors.  Exploration has always been something  that governments have done and  companies come in after to reap the benefits.  Nothing wrong with that, but that is the way it has worked and not the other way around. Be sure that anarcho-capitalism will not be a way to the stars: there is no profit in it. But who cares about the stars anyway.. as long as you don’t have to pay taxes.
Would the internet have come about without the state? It might have, but it also very likely it wouldn’t.

There is no perfect system because every system can be abused, twisted and corrupted because every system is a system made by fallible humans, but people want to find this self-healing perfect system(so they don’t have to pay taxes) and the likes of Molyneux  cater to that desire by dreaming up perfect systems out of thin air. It is perfect, because it hasn’t existed and thus has not been tarnished by reality. And it will never exist. It is a philosopher’s stone.  That is the power of philosophy. It creates things that do not exist: gods or stateless non coercive societies based on market capitalism.  And history be damned! For history sucks. Just like paying taxes does.

Did I tell you I was an historian?


molyneux