2016-03-04

Socialism and libertarianism: The two idiots

Following up to my previous post, here is what socialism and libertarianism get wrong. This post is harsh because responses to content in my previous post were harsh. Not on this blog – but elsewhere.

Socialism


"Socialism" refers to at least two different things.

Adherents of true socialism use the word to refer to an economic arrangement where all of the means of production are socially owned, and large-scale private property is abolished. These people scoff aloofly at others, who use the word to refer to a charitable state; often accusing such folks of ignorance.

The reason we use "socialism" loosely is not because we lack your clues. It's because the idea of "true" socialism is so stupid, we would prefer to ignore that people take it seriously.

The central failure of true socialism is that it takes an effective leadership promotion system, and replaces it with nothing. At best – it suggests to replace it with democracy.

Democracy does not select good leaders. Examples are frequent and many, at all levels. If George W. wasn't proof enough, Trump is going to be next. There's a mathematical model of democratic elections which shows that, if Dunning-Kruger is correct, democracy selects for mediocre leaders at best.

Those of us who grew up in socialist societies have personal experience how economies with social ownership failed because they selected for mediocre leadership, not just in politics but in business, everywhere and at every step.

Capitalism is bloody in its fangs and teeth, but there is one thing it does very well. It takes power away from people who invest it poorly. This is the single most important reason why capitalist economies have been so successful. The rules of capitalism are cruel and indiscriminate. But as long as they are respected, people with bad economic judgment don't get to waste a whole lot of resources. Unless appointed or elected, they're simply not put in charge of big heaps of money. The two exceptions are inheritance and lottery. In both cases, people usually tend to waste the money – but it's a one-time opportunity.

True socialism proposes no way to deal with these problems. Until it does, it's as good as a pie in the sky. Without a mechanism for leadership selection that's immune to Dunning-Kruger, socialist economies elect mediocre leaders, who appoint mediocre managers, who drive whole economies into the ground. Routinely. This has happened with literally every country that has attempted to adopt 100% social ownership.

Then there are those who think a true socialist economy doesn't even need leaders. That the economy is just going to coordinate itself: as if problems of coordination are not in fact very difficult, and lacking even theoretically efficient solutions that do not rely on central parties. Such people may think that businesses are just going to run themselves democratically; ignoring the vulnerability of committees to Parkinson's law of triviality (bike-shedding), or ruin via Dunning-Kruger (people not knowing the degree of their incompetence – e.g. when it comes to business planning).

This is why a lot of people, when referring to socialism, actually refer to a charitable capitalist state. The alternative is too absurd to contemplate.

Libertarianism


In contrast, libertarianism is a whole bunch of man-children – indeed, mostly men – in pursuit of a Fata Morgana of liberty.

Absolute liberty is not achievable. Not while we are humans, at least. As humans, we are dependent on work and resources. Our very existence is slavery. We need resources to live.

Libertarianism is the attempt to free ourselves of coercion via ideology. It is the pretense that property rights aren't coercive in themselves – practiced by those who can't imagine not having property.

If the entire Earth had been appropriated, and all the resources we need were private – there would be nothing for a newly born person to do, except to whore themselves out, in exchange for what they need to live. The price would be dictated by those who actually have property.

It seems to be no accident that most libertarians are technologically competent males. Being competent, we are in high demand. Being self-centered, we try to pretend that everyone has the same opportunity. Why don't the other people just learn programming? Oh, they could be hampered by a disability? Either physical or mental? They might lack the IQ? Hey – maybe our talents are actually rare; and that's why we're in demand, to begin with?

Well, that's inconvenient. It's much more pleasant to pretend that everyone could be in demand like us. If only they wanted, damnit.

And then, for the other part. Males. Why is libertarianism not as popular with women?

Here is my suggestion why. Women have periods. As a woman, you benefit from a monthly reminder that there are aspects of your body over which you have no control. Aspects which cause you real pain and disability. With a reminder like that, it's hard to forget how we're slaves to nature.

Competent young men have no reminder like that. We're healthy and free of hindrance. So we imagine taxes as oppression – because it's the only oppression we have.

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