Showing posts with label Socialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Socialism. Show all posts

Saturday, May 2, 2020

The Return of the Perenniall

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
                              -Image by JacLou DL from Pixabay-

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering



Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." -Winston Churchill 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

Better warm up that coffee, campers, it's a long one.

The universe began with a big bang, and nothing was suddenly something. The Perenniall returned with a muted pop on Tuesday, 9/9/41, one day behind schedule. They were supposed to be here on Monday (the Bernies B-Day) but had spent a much needed mental health day at a day spa on the planet Tralfamador.

The Perenniall hadn't been to the Earth since 1917. The seed they had planted,  here (Socialism) had sprouted (the Communist revolution) and it was time to hit the cosmic road to plant more seeds, nurture more sprouts.

Mad Vlad Lennon (not the Pooteen, the current Mad Vlad) who had lost its last meat-based vessel in 1924 and had been trying to catch up with them ever since had only recently finally found them.

Somehow, its file had gone missing and the Perenniall  — always busy planting seeds, nurturing sprouts — had lost track of it.

While Mad Vlad is/was a RBFD here on Earth, to the Perenniall it was/is just another RS (revolution specialist), second class.

It was not authorized to foment revolution, not even pointless violence and disruption without specific orders. Dutifully following standing orders, it had been trying to check back in ever since.

It filed its report and then headed for Tralfamadore for psychological BC&R (bloodshed cleansing and realignment) and a bit of R&R while awaiting its next assignment.

Myriad myths and legends abound throughout the universe as to the origin of the demigod Perenniall.

I personally believe they were created from the combined energies of idealistic, adolescent and post-adolescent members of various and sundry species who have achieved self-consciousness from here, there, and even way over there.

It turns out that it's quite common in our universe for individuals at this stage of development to take a fresh look at the culture their parental units take for granted and exclaim, WTF!

[Wow! So F-bombs are exploding all over the universe at any given moment? I wonder if...] 

It's more nuanced than that, Dana. The F-bomb you're referring to, or at least the local equivalent (there are a lot of species out there) is often a sign of cultural decline.

There is, broadly speaking, another version, the one I prefer, wherein the local version of WTF is equivalent to Wow! that's freaky!


Hardly, but it would take an entire letter/column to explore that one.

Anyways, at some point over the course of the last million years or so the idealistic energies mentioned above, magnified by usually short-lived but powerful youthful optimism hit critical mass and the Perenniall was born.

[Where did the name Perenniall come from?]

They have many names. Perenniall references the fact that even though the utopia promised to the followers of the Perenniall has never actually been achieved, believers, especially fresh converts, cling to the notion it can be.

A significant cohort of disillusioned believers maintains their faith by adopting a canonically approved rationalization: Once, inevitably, socialism or communism is properly implemented — somewhere, somehow — a social and economic utopia will dawn.

The fact that democratic socialism (socialism light) exists helps them to keep the faith. Unfortunately, they tend to downplay or ignore the fact that such a system requires a vibrant, profit-hungry private sector to finance it.

The "Nordic countries" that the Bernie likes to point to learned this the hard way. Even he admits that the middle class foots most of the bill via high taxes. The poor have no money and there just ain't enough evil billionaires to cover the tab.

So that they don't feel marginalized, thus damaging their self-esteem, the poor, along with everyone else, pay high sales taxes.

These taxes are paid by the manufacturers and distributors, who then include them in the prices of their products. This helps to protect everyone from realizing how expensive all the freebies actually are and making them grumpy.

[Works for me, I think I like democratic socialism. We should try that here.]

Works for them, too, but it's not socialism. It's the same system as ours but with a much larger safety net and much higher taxes. 

[Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe.]

Hardly, Americans, as George Will has pointed out, want a dollar's worth of services for 80¢, thus the popularity of the let's eat the evil rich meme.

Also, we're already up to our necks in debt, and, unfunded debt obligations so...

[What are...]

Current debt, and, well... let's put it this way. "Vote for me now and I promise that you'll get a check later — paid for by your kids, grandkids, their kids, etceterids — after I'm retired or dead."

[Why ya gotta be such a Debbie Downer alladamntime?]

The demigod Perenniall — not unlike what happens, over time, to the individual psyches and personas of which it's constructed — changed as they aged.

Once (if) an individual entity matures, that is to say, reaches the equivalent of roughly the age of a thirty-year-old H. Sapien and is no longer a callowyute, they take high roads and low roads.

Sometimes they find a comfy chair and stagnate (which is not necessarily a bad thing, it's very complicated).

However, individuals, although not necessarily easily, can change more easily and much faster than a demigod when circumstances, experience, and maturity calls for a change.

As you know, or should, Lord Acton pointed out that, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

To which I would add that the limited but substantial power of a demigod, in this case, power fueled by a seemingly righteous ideology and new believers (callowyutes) constantly coming online is hard to keep under control, nearly impossible to kill.

[Kill the demigod Perennial!]

You can't, and that's a good thing (HT: Martha Stewart).


The universe, this one at least, is one in which everything contains/generates its opposite, that whole yin-yang thing.

Bad craziness ensues whenever opposites get out of balance and stay that way for too long.

[O-kaaay, but you're already out of allotted words.]

Patience, grasshopper (fading Boomer cultural reference).

A policy of more or less free markets leads, and has lead, to unprecedented prosperity on the planet Earth, even the need for a weight loss industry.

BIG BUT: Despite the claims (and fever dreams) of your friendly neighborhood anarcho-capitalist, free markets not balanced by the right mix of ethics/real social security/the rule of law/spirituality/etceterality, are a recipe for disaster.

ANOTHER BIG BUT: Socialism, or socialism light, or communism — advocated by well-meaning, usually young idealists unaware of how and why better than 100,000,000 souls were murdered in the last century in the name of social justice — is also a recipe for disaster.

What we need is a hybrid system that harnesses the power of competition and the free market. That's what I mean by Real Social Security. The city-state of Singapore, as your probably tired of my pointing out, already has such a system that we could adapt to our needs.

It's based on actual money in real-time, works better than ours, and, the people, not just the bureaucrats, decide how their money is spent. Imagine what might happen if the healthcare/health insurance business was as lean and competitive as the car/car insurance business.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

Please scroll down to react, comment, or share. If my work pleases you I wouldn't be offended if you offered to buy me some cheap coffee.  

                                                   *     *     *

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. 

Cranky don't tweet.


Saturday, April 27, 2019


If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't yet, aka the Stickies) to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

[Blogaramians: Blogarama renders the links in my columns useless. Please click on View Original to solve this problem and access lotsa columns.]


                                  Who The Hell Is This Guy?

Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars 
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse  
Iggy -- My imaginary Sticky
Dana -- My imaginary Gentlereader

"The only way to save the world is through socialism, but a socialism that exists within a democracy; there's no dictatorship here."   -Hugo Chavez

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

I am a wild-eyed libertarian with a bleeding heart and conservative impulses; I have written about this before. Long ago, when I was still a callowyute, I identified as a socialist but only for about a minute, minute and a half.

Technically this statement is incorrect because at the time I called myself a socialist people did just that -- called themselves this, that, or the other -- as in I'm a socialist, or I'm an unrepentant ne'er-do-well. To the best of my knowledge the phrase, or at least as it's used (and used and used and used) nowadays, "I identify as" hadn't been invented yet. Just sayin'

I long ago abandoned socialism, which I confess was relatively easy since all that I actually knew about it was what little I learned in high school, but in my defense, socialism has an obvious appeal to many young people in general and to certain baby boomers who came of age in the sixties and seventies in particular.

As far as "many young people in general" goes, "A man who has not been a socialist before 25 has no heart. If he remains one after 25 he has no head." -King Oscar the II of Sweden, maybe...

As to certain baby boomers, identifying as a socialist was considered cool to those of us of a hippyish/leftward bent and served to upset many old people (defined at the time as anyone over 30) as well which made it doubly cool.

[Barton Swain on the current fascination with socialism: "After a long series of failures and moral debacles, it doesn’t suddenly make sense as an economic doctrine. But it does make sense, somehow, as a cultural attitude."]

However, If any old people that you know (defined as anyone you know that's even older than I am) claims that socialism was widely embraced in the sixties and seventies hit 'em with, "Oh yeah, well then what the hell happened?"

Let the sputtering, rationalizing, and etceterizing begin.

Most callowyutes of my acquaintance at the time, friend and foe alike, couldn't become hipper versions of their parents fast enough. Me? I chose an unusual path, I became a hippie with a job. I got over it, but it took a while.

[Sorry, an obligatory digression has just manifested in my consciousness. The famous boomer rallying cry, don't trust anyone over thirty, was/is backward. It should've been/should be, don't trust anyone under 30 -- including yourself.

If you're under thirty and the preceding paragraph triggers you, please accept my insincere apology. It's not an attack, it's a stone-cold fact. It's biology. I've pointed out before that H. sapiens brains don't reach maturity till about the age of 25, a fact discovered by car insurance companies long before science made it official. I should've said till at least 25.   

You're unlikely to understand just how true this is and just how important this is till you're 30, at least 30 (it's a catch-22 thing).  

Old people who care about you should point this out to you, in various forms and fashions, repeatedly, even though they know you're unlikely to believe them. It's part of the job. I wish I had been told this more frequently than I was although it probably wouldn't have done any good. Still, the right person at the right time... Oh well, wouldacouldashoulda.]

OK, where was I, ah yes, socialism. I think that Marie-Louise generated the digression. When I began I had only the vaguest notion of what I was going to say about why I have a problem with socialism but all is suddenly clear.

Arguing against socialism is a fool's errand because there are myriad definitions of socialism floating around that depend on who's at the podium. Not only that, most of the 39 of the people that are currently running for president on the Depublican side are also waving the socialist banner. But they tend to be light, and often variable, as to details.

They all have two things in common though. First, they all enthusiastically embrace the time-honored political tradition of promising a long list of freebies as well as secular salvation for all -- paid for with other people's money.

Second, when confronted with the nightmare that is Venezuela or the literally hundreds of millions of deaths generated by certain dictatorships of the proletariat of the last century they are suddenly not socialists, they're social democrats.

Ahh! socialism light!

Personally, I'd have no problem living in an America that was a social democracy (that's my bleeding heart part) that, like in the Nordic countries Uncle Bernie likes to point to, also had a thriving private-sector wherein a man person that wants to bust their ass to get rich is free to do so (this is part of my libertarian part).

Unfortunately, Uncle Bernie tends to not mention that the Nordic countries figured out (the hard way) this is absolutely necessary to help finance a social democracy.

Emphasis on help, because

Without everyone paying high taxes, it doesn't work. Uncle Bernie and his ilk don't like to talk about that because without the claim that the evil rich can pick up the tab there goes all that juicy resentment and demagoguery that gets people elected and fuels the Outrage Industrial Complex.

Tweet, tweet.

Oh, I almost forgot. Social democracies tend to be top-heavy with laws, speech codes, hate crime statutes, and have Rules&Regs out the wazoo. I've got a big problem with that (that's the other part of the libertarian part).

And while I'm at it, I'm all about the personal cultivation of the classic virtues in order to ascertain what's moral and ethical (as well as what's tacky and gross, that's the conservative impulses part). Poppa loves you.

Have an OK day. 
Please scroll down to react, comment, or share.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains. Just click on the Patreon button at the top or bottom of the page.

Your friendly neighborhood crank is not crazy about social media (I am a crank after all) but if you must, you can like me/follow me on Facebook. I post an announcement when I have a new column available as well as news articles/opinion pieces that reflect where I'm coming from or that I wish to call attention to.

©2019 Mark Mehlmauer As long as you agree to supply my name and URL and only minimally edit my content (scroll all the way up or down for my Creative Commons License) you may republish this anywhere you please.