Our terrifying great leap forward 1

Historian Niall Ferguson says that this time of ours, NOW, is one of the most dramatic ever in history. Because of the Technological Revolution. Because of the Internet.

As dramatic as the invention of the printing press. But “history today happens 10 times faster” than it did when the printing press was invented.

As dramatic as the time of the Reformation.

And in a way, that is “terrifying”. Books that did great evil – such as the burning of witches – were even bigger sellers than the mass-produced bibles on which religious reformers, such as Martin Luther, pinned their hopes for the moral improvement of mankind.  (Margin note: Luther was a giant of immorality, but that’s beside this point.)

Of course we value the Internet highly. Can’t think how we, or anyone, ever managed life without it.

Posted under History, Technology by Jillian Becker on Saturday, June 22, 2019

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The most that the Left can hope for 7

… and its weird idea of what constitutes liberty.

Yes, of course, the Left hopes to be in power, everywhere and over all of us. It is a vast ambition, to organize the entire human “community” – or organize the entire human race into a “community”, locked under its power.

But why? Surely it has a vision it considers beautiful?

We sometimes go looking for explanations of why the Left opposes individual freedom, free speech, free market prosperity, private property, the US Constitution, objective impartial justice, racial color-blindness, the nation-state and its military defense capability, the family, the rules of the English language, historical monuments and records, civility, and  – coming at last to a word that could be the title of the whole list – happiness.

And from time to time we find an article that gives us a glimpse of  – not a rational argument as to why – but an exposition of what the Left wants which, discussing some of its hates and dreads, clarifies some of its wishes, even though it still leaves the question why unanswered.

Here’s one such article. The Leftist author, reviewing the work of fellow Leftists, is convinced that Marxism is gaining popularity. He  thinks that the financial crash of 2008 brought about “the intellectual rehabilitation of Marx”.

Outside academic precincts, his ideas have been slowly, if not wholly, exfoliated of their association with dictatorship and state-sponsored terror.

Have they indeed? If so they need to be foliated in those associations again as quickly as possible!

What makes him think so?

Recent, if only partial, exonerations have been issued by the Economist and the New York Times …

No surprise there.

And a host of new “journals and websites [that] share certain characteristics. They express a loathing of the war on terror, and disaffection with the precariousness and austerity of millennial life. The London riots in 2010 and the student protests as well as the Occupy protests in 2011-12 were formative moments of dissent that produced new political imaginaries [sic]. Academics, writers, bloggers and journalist-activists began to describe post-capitalist futures …

Above all, these “little magazines” reflected a growing sense of political possibility, a belief that the future wasn’t locked in the image of oligarchic power, but looked simultaneously darker (inequality and ecological collapse) and more hopeful (a recrudescent left). …  [T]he left began to crawl out from the sumps of melancholia.

We derive a certain amount of Schadenfreude from thinking of the Left as in “the sumps of melancholia”.

How does its new hopefulness express itself?

The blurb advertising the article reads: “Bhaskar Sunkara, founder of Jacobin, offers a manifesto for socialism that is thrillingly non-utopian.”

“Thrillingly non-utopian”? So a vision not of an ideally beautiful human world, yet “thrilling”?

An irresistible temptation to read on!

The article, titled The rise of millennial socialism, is by Gavin Jacobson (commissioning editor for the Leftist New Statesman).

He writes at the NewStatesmanAmerica:

Across the world, young activists are turning to old ideas. Why? …

[Bhaskar] Sunkara’s vision is thrillingly non-utopian. When describing the ultimate goal of socialism, he alludes to one of its most brilliant, if saturnine, definitions: “converting hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness”.

Now that’s blunt! Not to be happy is the aim. Achieving “ordinary unhappiness” is the height of the socialist aspiration.

And the prospect is thrilling?

The author expatiates further:

The phrase was originally conceived by Freud, but was adapted by the political theorist Corey Robin in 2013. And while you wouldn’t put it on the side of a campaign bus, it gets to the heart of what a socialist economy might look like: helping people overcome, in Robin’s words, the “immense, and incredibly shitty, hassle of everyday life”.

There are more provocative theorists than Sunkara on the American millennial left, and more engaging historians, too. But few of them present the arguments against capitalism and for socialism better than he does. He writes with clarity and light-heartedness – something writers on the left hardly ever do well – and has shrewdly repurposed buzzwords from the liberal centre to make the case for the radical left. The usual socialist argot of justice, equality, class war, dialectics, revolution, the 99 per cent, and so on, is either absent or pared down. Instead, Sunkara emphasises how socialism enables greater choice, leaves markets intact, is about participation and democracy, is created through reform, and is ultimately about freedom – safe-words for the politically curious. In style and endeavour, then, if not in politics, Sunkara might be the heir to Michael Harrington, the founder of the Democratic Socialists of America in 1982, who did so much to promote socialism in the US. …

So this socialism “leaves markets intact”, “is created through reform” (ie. not through revolution – nothing new there, that brand of Leftism used to be called Fabianism) and is “ultimately about freedom”?

At which point we need Sunkara’s definition of freedom. It is not provided.

We are taken back to the familiar politics of the New Left:

Again, this draws on the work of Ralph Miliband, who argued in 1985 that “the exploitation, discrimination and oppression to which women, blacks and gays are subjected is also crucially shaped by the fact that they are workers located at a particular point of the production process and the social structure”.

The Left has not noticed that Europe is governed mostly by women and the men who are allowed to share the seats of power with them have “Feminist” hung round their necks. They have not noticed affirmative action; are unaware that Blacks are admitted to universities on lower academic grades than Whites and Asians. Or that we are forced every day of our lives now to be aware of homosexuality as if it were one of the most important issues in all our lives.

The New Left replaced (to use its own jargon) the Marxist “class analysis” with “race analysis” and – more recently – “gender analysis”.

But we discover here that “class analysis” has not been superseded, only enlarged to take in race and gender:

Prioritising politics over policies is why Sunkara favours Sanders over Elizabeth Warren, who has a plan for everything – “I have a plan for that!” has become her unofficial campaign slogan – but not an alternative politics. It isn’t enough to win the policy argument, nor is it enough to win elections. Today’s socialists speak of the need to win power – not for its own sake, but as the handmaiden of liberty – and that requires a mass movement based on class struggle.

So in that discussion, the Left wants power “not for its own sake” but because it will deliver liberty to women, blacks and gays who are at present – so it analyses – unfree.

No intention there of defining liberty. The author admits that in discussing Sunkara’s view he has told us who must be freed, but not what their freedom will consist of:

If Sunkara asks “Freedom for whom?” Aaron Bastani wants to know “who will benefit?” Specifically, who will benefit from what he calls the “Third Disruption”, when abundance and “extreme supply” in labour, energy, resources, health, and sustenance lead to a post-scarcity world? Just like information, these things “want to be free”, posing grave dangers for an economic system built and sustained by profit.

What? So the present system – capitalism – is  leading to all that “extreme supply”? To a post-scarcity world? Wonderful! Great! Odd that he expects even more of capitalism than we do ourselves. But then he seems to be saying that because there will be so much in the way of “labour” (does he means robots?), “energy” (from what?), “resources” (such as?), “health” (medical care, he presumably means), and “sustenance” (food”?) that they should be free to everybody, like the sands of the desert, the water of the ocean, the air we breathe. He or the writer he quotes expresses it badly,  saying that “these things ‘want to be free'” rather than that people want to have them without having to pay for them.

This desire on the part of these things to be had freely – or let’s be kind and say it the way it makes sense: the fact that there will be so much of these things that they will be freely obtainable by everyone without it costing them anything, will “pose grave dangers” for the capitalist free market system. He is implying that no one will be able to make money out of enterprises that employ people; or by selling coal, gas, oil, wind-power etc.; or by being doctors; or by growing or retailing food.

That is indeed a utopian vision! And that is what Bastani thinks of as liberty. You are free from having to work to earn money, because you do not have to pay for anything. Everything you need is “free”. So that’s what freedom means. In such a world, such a paradise, women, blacks and gays will no longer be “workers located at a particular point of the production process and the social structure”. They will be free when all things are free to them.

Ah, but in that case, women, blacks and gays must face a most disheartening truth – that they will never be free.

Women, blacks, gays – sorry, but there will never be a post-scarcity world.

But now confusion arises in the article. It seems that capitalism and the free market are not creating a post-scarcity world! We thought that view of our present system was too strange  coming from a Leftist.  No, no – he knows that capitalism is failing. Mark off the constantly repeated failures and disasters:

Bastani’s message is that climate change, resource scarcity, surplus populations, and technical unemployment, are syndromes of a dying socio-economic order.

So what will produce the post-scarcity world where everything and therefore everyone is free?

[T]echnological advances in robotics and AI, as well as renewable energies, gene editing, synthetic meats, cellular agricultures, and (eventually) asteroid mining, provide opportunities to achieve FALC [fully automated luxury communism]. This is when, under a realm of plenty, “labour and leisure blend into one another”, and where work is no longer a means of survival, but a “route to self-development… more akin to play”. …

Actually, Gavin Jacobson thinks Bastani may be a little too optimistic …

Bastani’s book isn’t a complete riposte, and load-bearing statements such as, “once the technical barriers are surmounted”, suggest his arguments require more faith from the readers than he might think. Nor does he contend with the fact that capitalism has so tightly bound our collective sense of meaning to work, that post-scarce societies might become more like JG Ballard’s dystopian leisure world in his novel Cocaine Nights than luxury communism.

… though not too unrealistic:

But in outlining the benefits of decarbonised economies, worker-owned businesses, people’s banks, planet taxes and universal basic services, Bastani is starting to put flesh on the spectre that might one day haunt Europe again.

Note the vocabulary: :”decarbonised economies” (think Green New Deal); “worker-owned businesses” (for the danger of which see our post Darkness descends on South Africa); “people’s banks” (loans without limit without interest, without repayment?) “planet taxes” (taxes paid to a world government?); “universal basic services” (everything free).

However, the author says, just hoping for such a utopian “post-scarcity” world has the power of dynamite. To hope is in itself progressive:

Both his [Bustani’s] and Sunkara’s books represent … “the dynamite of hope that blasts the dead load of ossified systems, institutions, customs, intellectual habits, and closed doctrines. The Left unites those dispersed and often hidden atoms whose movement is, in the last analysis, what we call progress”.

Progress towards “fully automated luxury communism”.

“Luxury communism” is the name of the new Marxist utopian vision.

It may be less believable, but it’s certainly less depressing than “ordinary unhappiness”.

Posted under communism, Feminism, Leftism, Marxism, Socialism, world government by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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The road to Venezuela 2

The Democratic Party has been led leftwards and has become, in all but official name, the Democratic Socialist Party.

It wants to change America into a socialist state.

Why? Do those who plan to vote for it want this country to go the way of Venezuela? Or do they not believe that that’s the way it will go?

Why would it not?

Can what has happened in once-rich Venezuela be explained by anything but Socialism and its inevitably accompanying corruption?

In October 2018 Rafael Acevedo wrote at the website of the Mises Institute:

Almost 4 million people have left this country in recent years — a country that is ranked on the 2018 Misery Index as the most miserable country of the world. Hyperinflation is destroying the hope of millions of Venezuelans that for many reasons continue living there and suffering the misery that socialism has achieved. …

At the end of July 2018, the National Assembly estimated that each week six Venezuelan children die of starvation. Some of the most important universities in Venezuela made a survey in 2017 and in that time 87% of Venezuelan households were poor; 9 of 10 Venezuelans could not pay for food; 8.2 million Venezuelans could barely afford 2 meals each day — meals with low nutrition and little protein; 6 out of 10 Venezuelans have lost at least 11Kg (24 pounds) of their body weight because of the lack of food. This is set to worsen as the crisis continues.

Recently, [Dictator Nicolás Maduro] has incrementally raised the minimum wage 3,000%, removed 5 zeros from the currency value, and eliminated some exchange control rules. Nevertheless those policies are ineffective because these measures do nothing about the root causes of the nation’s misery. The real causes, of course, [are] the socialism and a narco-terrorist regime.

Nearly 90 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty.

In 2016 the cost of a dozen eggs in Venezuela was the equivalent of $150. That would now be considered cheap.

By October 2018 inflation was an estimated 80,000% and projected to hit 10,000,000% in 2019.

Figures from 2018, collected in 2019, show that a roll of toilet paper was priced at 2,600,000 bolivares, or 40 cents; a kilogram of carrots was 3,000,000 bolivares, or 46 cents; a wheelbarrow of cash was need to buy a loaf of bread; a kilogram of tomatoes cost 5,000,000 bolivares ($0.76).

A 2.4 kilogram chicken cost 14,600,000 bolivares ($2.22):

This pile of money was needed to buy a chicken for the pot in 2018. It costs even more now.

Socialism does not create wealth, it only consumes it. Socialism steals wealth from its owners and uses it up. For a while the gullible who voted for it enjoy getting a living, “free” education, “free” health care and whatnot from the government. A little later they starve, the hospitals cannot treat them, the schools close, and they are howling in the wilderness while those who led them there feast in palaces protected by armed guards.

In 2020 the choice for the American electorate is a simple one. Vote for continued prosperity and freedom, or a change to starvation and serfdom.

Posted under Socialism, Venezuela by Jillian Becker on Sunday, June 16, 2019

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The enemy within 18

For tens of thousands of years, fruitfulness was the highest good. For the rich harvest and the fecund womb, sacrifice was made to the gods of fertility.

Now the Left, which is in hot rebellion against Nature, makes sterility its ideal.

It is a cult of barrenness.

It fosters men who render themselves unable to procreate and women who kill their children.

Feminists, true to the doctrine of the cult, make the aborting of babies the righteous mission to which women must dedicate themselves:

Here is one of them preaching her crusade:

Her vision –

Armed with forceps and scissors, the brave army of Feminists fights a formidable enemy – babies in the womb:

The conservative Tribune reports and comments:

In a video posted by publishing house Verso Books, feminist writer Sophie Lewis, author of the book Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family, talks about protecting abortion access, defends the right to kill babies and claims fetuses are violent in the womb.

“We have very little to lose at the moment when it comes to abortion and I’m interested in winning radically,” Lewis said.

“I wonder if we could think about defending abortion as a right to stop doing gestational work. Abortion is, in my opinion, and I recognize how controversial this is, a form of killing. It is a form of killing that we need to be able to defend.”

Yes, you read that correctly. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you, unfortunately. From the language Lewis uses — “hemochorial placentation” to mean human pregnancy, “gestator” meaning an expectant mother, “gestational work” meaning bearing a child — it’s almost easy to forget that what she’s talking about is violently ending a human life through the “acceptable violence” of abortion.

But that’s exactly what she’s saying.

“But looking at the biology of the hemochorial placentation helps me think about the violence that, innocently, a fetus metes out vis-a-vis a gestator,” she said.

“That violence is an unacceptable violence for someone who doesn’t want to do gestational work. The violence that the gestator metes out to essentially go on strike or exit that workplace is an acceptable violence.”

Who will lose the war?

The human race.

Posted under Feminism, Leftism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 14, 2019

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We the conforming masses 3

In a recent post, 2+2=5 (May 27, 2019), we quoted this reference to George Orwell’s 1984:

The torturer O’Brien says, “Sometimes 2+2 are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy becoming sane.”                                                                                                                                                                                              

The fictitious torturer O’Brien has been incarnated as Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza of the New York City Department of Education. 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Breitbart reports:

The New York City Department of Education has instructed its teachers that “objectivity” and “individuals” are “white supremacist” concepts. …

Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza gave a presentation about “white supremacy” culture. In the lesson, Carranza claims that concepts like “perfectionism,” “paternalism,” and “objectivity” are part of “white supremacy culture.”

Surprisingly, documents from Carranza’s presentation do little to tie these concepts to “white supremacy.” A graphic from Carranza’s lesson explains why “objectivity” is a negative concept. “This can lead to the belief that there is an ultimate truth and that alternative viewpoints or emotions are bad, it’s even inherent in the ‘belief that there is such a thing as being objective’,” the graphic reads.

A separate section of the graphic explains why Carranza lumps “individuality” in with “white supremacy culture”:

This idea is found among people who have little experience of comfort working as part of a team. It can lead to isolation, and emphasize competition over cooperation.

Some employees who have attended Carranza’s training session have claimed that they were labeled “fragile” when they defended themselves against the accusation that they hold racial prejudices. “It’s good work. It’s hard work,” Carranza said in a comment to the New York Post. “And I would hope that anybody that feels that somehow that process is not beneficial to them, I would very respectfully say they are the ones that need to reflect even harder upon what they believe.”

In other words, “It is not easy becoming sane.”

New York school children must be taught to be collectivists. Only Socialists are sane.   

 

.

(Hat-tip to our contributing commenter liz)

Posted under education by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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Venezuela: the cost of socialism 7

Those (generally unreliable) opinion polls are saying that most Democrats – around 57% – now favor socialism over capitalism. It’s not implausible. Considering that children are indoctrinated by the public schools, most universities, TV, films, and the media to believe that socialism is the supreme and only political good, a mere 57% of Democrats seems an underestimation.

Daniel Mitchell, Libertarian, writes at Townhall Finance:

How do we measure the cost of Venezuelan socialism?

Is it people eating household pets?

Is it people dying of malnourishment?

Is it women selling their bodies?

Actually, it’s all of the above.

And there’s plenty of additional evidence. All of which shows that more socialism results in more misery.

Let’s review some examples.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. But with government running the industry, producing petroleum products has been a challenge. To put it mildly.

Venezuela — home to the world’s largest oil reserves — has started introducing in some areas to tackle extreme fuel shortages. For ordinary Venezuelans, it is a cruel joke without a punchline. A  driver recently died of a heart attack after waiting in line for days to fill his tank. …

Here’s another sign of Venezuela’s descent into third-world status.

The Center for Malaria Studies in Caracas is not immune to Venezuela’s economic crisis and is struggling to treat patients. … Scientists who would later work for this clinic contributed in 1961 to helping Venezuela become the first country to eradicate malaria. … Today the clinic is in a sorry state: yellowed microscopes, a dishwasher stained by purple chemicals, refrigerators corroded by rust. …According to the World Health Organization, Venezuela registered more than 400,000 malaria cases in 2017, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the Americas. .. The true extent of the epidemic [could be] close to two million people affected. …

Reuters reports on how parts of Venezuela are descending into autarky and barter.

At the once-busy beach resort of Patanemo, tourism has evaporated … These days, its Caribbean shoreline flanked by forested hills receives a different type of visitor: people who walk 10 minutes from a nearby town carrying rice, plantains or bananas in hopes of exchanging them for the fishermen’s latest catch. With bank notes made useless by hyperinflation, and no easy access to the debit card terminals widely used to conduct transactions in urban areas, residents of Patanemo rely mainly on barter. It is just one of a growing number of rural towns slipping into isolation as Venezuela’s economy implodes amid a long-running political crisis. …In the mountains of the central state of Lara, residents of the town of Guarico this year found a different way of paying bills – coffee beans. Residents of the coffee-growing region now exchange roasted beans for anything from haircuts to spare parts for agricultural machinery. …

What can you say about a country that’s so poor that even criminals are suffering?

Venezuela’s crippling economic spiral is having a negative impact on an unlikely group in society: criminals, who are struggling to afford bullets, and unable to find things to steal as the country’s wealth declines rapidly. …While bullets are widely available on the black market, many muggers cannot afford the $1 price tag anymore, a criminal known as “Dog” told the news organization. …Another gangster, “El Negrito,” who leads a gang called Crazy Boys, has found it increasingly hard to support his wife and daughter with assaults. Firing a bullet is a luxury now, he said. … [The] homicide rate  … went down by nearly 10% last year— though Venezuela remains one of the most violent countries in the world. The non-profit which aggregates the data from morgues and media reports, partly attributes this decrease to the reduction in muggings — because there is nothing to steal. …

What a perfect symbol of socialism! People are so poor that there’s nothing left to steal.

In a postscript, the writer adds:

Venezuela in 1970 was ranked in the top 10 for economic liberty.

Will it take less or more than 50 years for the US to become as poor as Venezuela if the Democratic Socialists come to power in both houses of Congress and in the presidency?

Posted under communism, Leftism, Progressivism, Socialism, Venezuela by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 10, 2019

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Weep for the oyster 8

The latest moral imperative preached at us by our betters is to feel sorry for shellfish.

“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”

      The Walrus did beseech.

“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

      Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

      To give a hand to each.”

 

The eldest Oyster looked at him,

      But never a word he said:

The eldest Oyster winked his eye,

      And shook his heavy head —

Meaning to say he did not choose

      To leave the oyster-bed.

 

But four young Oysters hurried up,

      All eager for the treat:

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

      Their shoes were clean and neat —

And this was odd, because, you know,

      They hadn’t any feet.

 

Four other Oysters followed them,

      And yet another four;

And thick and fast they came at last,

      And more, and more, and more —

All hopping through the frothy waves,

      And scrambling to the shore.

 

The Walrus and the Carpenter

      Walked on a mile or so,

And then they rested on a rock

      Conveniently low:

And all the little Oysters stood

      And waited in a row.

 

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,

      “To talk of many things:

Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

      Of cabbages — and kings —

And why the sea is boiling hot —

      And whether pigs have wings.”

 

“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,

      “Before we have our chat;

For some of us are out of breath,

      And all of us are fat!”

“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.

      They thanked him much for that.

 

“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,

     “Is what we chiefly need:

Pepper and vinegar besides

      Are very good indeed —

Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,

      We can begin to feed.”

 

“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,

      Turning a little blue.

“After such kindness, that would be

      A dismal thing to do!”

“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.

      “Do you admire the view?

 

“It was so kind of you to come!

      And you are very nice!'”

The Carpenter said nothing but

      “Cut us another slice:

I wish you were not quite so deaf —

      I’ve had to ask you twice!”

 

“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,

      “To play them such a trick,

After we’ve brought them out so far,

      And made them trot so quick!”

The Carpenter said nothing but

      “The butter’s spread too thick!”

 

“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:

     “I deeply sympathize.”

With sobs and tears he sorted out

      Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief

      Before his streaming eyes.

 

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,

      “You’ve had a pleasant run!

Shall we be trotting home again?”

      But answer came there none —

And this was scarcely odd, because

      They’d eaten every one. 

                                                                                                            – Lewis Carroll

 

Breitbart reports:

In its new crusade for veganism, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has rushed to the defense of oysters and other bivalves, insisting they should be respected and never eaten.

“Oysters are never vegan,” PETA announced in a short video presentation … “Bivalves are animals that deserve our consideration and should never be eaten or used in any other way.”

In its attempt to tug at the heartstrings of possible sympathizers, PETA underscored the cruelty with which oysters are treated just to feed undeserving human beings.

“Their shells are torn open and their bodies are cut up,” the video proclaimed.

“Oysters can sense danger and hide inside their shells….”

Heartless though we are towards oysters, and devour them with relish though we do, we are grateful to PETA for the comic relief – although Breitbart concludes with a gloomy prediction:

Once lettuce also becomes worthy of respect rather than appetite, say goodbye to the human race.

Posted under food by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 10, 2019

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Darkness descends on South Africa 3

In the early 1990s, the free world cheered as Russia threw off a Communist regime, and equally exultantly as South Africa fell under a Communist regime.

South Africa is mineral rich, and the world invests in its economy and buys what it has to sell. South Africa needs this to continue. So the Communist government, led at first by Nelson Mandela – the terrorist hailed as a hero by the free world – lets it do so. To the outer world South Africa is a thriving capitalist state.

But internally, it is a decaying Communist disaster.

Daniel Greenfield, the American journalist who knows more about South Africa than most South Africans do, writes at his website Sultan Knish:

Nearly 150 years after electricity came to South Africa, the country is in the dark. The blackouts can strike at any time and then lights, hot water and even major industries vanish into the darkness.

Storing perishable food in the fridge has become a gamble. The meat you buy today may be inedible tomorrow if the rolling blackout arrives and lasts long enough to destroy all the food you cooked.

With rolling blackouts that can last for as long as twelve hours, South Africans have grown used to eating by candlelight and heating water the old-fashioned way. Those who can afford it have been stocking up on generators. But the demand is so high that it can take a month to even obtain a generator.

It’s not just homes and small businesses. Factories and mines are struggling to maintain the country’s industrial base when power can vanish for the entire workday. Traffic lights run off the same power grid and when it goes into “load-shedding” mode, the roads become a snarled maze of honking cars.

South Africa is out of power. The load-shedding blackouts are a last-ditch effort to avert a national blackout that will send the entire country spiraling into a deeper and more enduring darkness.

At the center of the disaster is Eskom: South Africa’s state-owned power company … [which] had many scandals over the years, but its dysfunction reached epic proportions under the ANC. The African National Congress still carries a mythical luster in the United States due to the Mandela name, but it has thoroughly alienated both the country’s white population and its black middle class.

Key figures in the ANC, including Nelson Mandela, were members of South Africa’s Communist party. And under ANC rule, Eskom, the largest state-owned enterprise in South Africa, suffered massive thefts. Earlier this year, a government investigations unit tried to track down $9.6 billion in stolen Eskom funds.

And that may only be the tip of a melting iceberg. …

Eskom is dominated by the Union of Metalworkers which has its own political movement, the Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party, founded due to ANC proposals to break up Eskom. The SRWP is a Marxist-Leninist movement whose manifesto calls for abolishing private property ownership.

“We will nationalize the land and place it under the control of a worker state,” its national chair, Comrade Irwin Jim, the general secretary of the Union of Metalworkers, declared. “Under a Socialist government, no one will own land, therefore allowing for the worker-controlled state to decide how land is allocated, farmed and used.”  

Considering how well South Africa has done with state and worker control over electricity, giving the SRWP control over all the land would lead to famine and the deaths of millions.

South Africa’s power supply is in the hands of Marxists who are fighting the more moderate Marxists. The SRWP doesn’t care if Eskom’s debts bankrupt South Africa or its blackouts leave the country in the dark.

The ANC [government] knows that it if it doesn’t find a way to keep the power on, it will lose the middle class.

The Marxist SRWP is fighting to maintain Eskom’s failing coal plants while the ANC has proposed bringing in private companies to supply renewable energy. The power struggle puts South Africa in the unique position of being the only country where the Left is fighting against solar and wind power.

That’s because the comrades of the Union of Metalworkers fear losing control if solar power comes in.

The ANC tried to cope with power problems by building two huge coal plants. Medupi and Kusile instead became hugely expensive boondoggles that continually break down because of overuse, staff incompetence and poor planning. Eskom’s engineers and brass were unqualified ANC cronies brought in through affirmative action, and were incapable of managing a project of this scale. The power plants that were meant to provide for South Africa’s future are rated as being only 40% reliable.

While the SRWP is calling for massive investments in Eskom, there’s no more money left. A $5 billion bailout hasn’t helped. The only remaining hope for the failing socialist utility is huge loan from China.

The ANC is fighting to retain political power against even more radically Marxist movements, chiefly the  SRWP and the Economic Freedom Fighters, led by the firebrand Julius Malema who wants to kill all the Whites.

To cling on to power the government is dealing with the discontent of the tens of millions who are unemployed, ill housed and ill fed, in true Communist style with “a program of nationalization, redistribution and socialist terror”.

Daniel Greenfield concludes his article by pointing to the lesson the South Africa descent into darkness teaches:

Socialism promises everything and instead takes everything leaving you in the dark. Socialism doesn’t work. Like South Africa’s power plants, it’s only a matter of time until it breaks down.

Posted under Africa, Socialism, South Africa by Jillian Becker on Friday, June 7, 2019

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President Trump’s D-Day commemoration speech 2

Today, on June 6, 2019, President Trump delivers his very moving speech commemorating D-Day in Normandy:

 

“This beach, codenamed Omaha, was defended by the Nazis with monstrous firepower, thousands and thousands of mines and spikes driven into the sands so deeply. It was here that tens of thousands of the Americans came. The G.I.s who boarded the landing craft that morning knew that they carried on their shoulders not just the pack of a soldier, but the fate of the world.”

Posted under Miscellaneous by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 6, 2019

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Freedom forever? 0

These words were spoken by President Trump today (June 6, 2019) in France, in his speech commemorating D-Day (June 6, 1944):

Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization. And they showed us the way to love, cherish, and defend our way of life for many centuries to come. Today, as we stand together upon this sacred Earth, we pledge that our nations will forever be strong and united. We will forever be together. Our people will forever be bold. Our hearts will forever be loyal. And our children, and their children, will forever and always be free.

Stirring, exciting, memorable words. And we wish they may be true. But the free world, our nation, our civilization are facing a threat to-day at least as grave as they faced in 1944. And now the enemy is within our gates, in our midst, inside our government. It’s name is still national socialism, now allied with globalism. It again has an ally in Islam. Will we defend our way of life for centuries to come? Will our children, and their children, forever and always be free?

The whole of the President’s speech can be read here.

Posted under liberty by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 6, 2019

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