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        History and Economy according to Weinstein (Part 1)

        September 6th, 2008 by Alexei Zoubov

        Here is a condensed excerpt from Leon Weinstein‘s “Open Letter to Senator McCain” with some comments of mine along the way. This post is long, but I hope to keep your interest going.

        The letter starts with Leon’s version of Barak Obama’s program that Leon thinks will lead to socialism. A little later it becomes clear that for Leon McCain is way too far to the left. Well, everybody who is a little bit to the left of Weinstein is ether a socialist or even a communist and obviously anti-American. It is impossible to be to the right of Weinstein, so almost everybody is anti-American. I suspect that Leon is a reincarnation of senator Joseph McCarthy.

        The most important and largest part of the letter is Leon’s take on American history, development of American economy and American values. Remember, this is an open letter to McCain, so he is essentially teaching the senator, assuming that this candidate for the President of the United States doesn’t know crap about all this.

        The main revelation you get from this part is that there is a complete mess in Leon’s head (not new to me). In addition it reads like a story for pre-school children, written by a teenager with D’s in history and social studies.

        Here comes Leon…

        About two hundred years ago for the first time in the history of mankind a totally new system of social order emerged. Prior to capitalism, people’s property, freedom and even their lives had been taken from them by the will of a leader, king, tsar, party chairman, revolutionary guard, religious sect or a strongmen of any kind. It was possible to do so because the will of the State was always more important than the life of an individual. For the very first time in recorded history of mankind the life of a person, his desires, dreams and his property were proclaimed more important then the State. The Individual, not the Group he belongs to, was proclaimed as having the highest value of all. An individual under this system received a right to do what he wanted to do. Individuals received the right to produce wealth and keep it for themselves and their families.

        The first glaring mistake: capitalism didn’t start in America, it existed prior to the emergence of American state. Secondly, capitalism as a system of economic relationships, capitalism as a social order and capitalism as a theory are overlapping and to some extent interdependent, but not necessary completely determining each other. Just compare American capitalism with the capitalism in Canada or some European countries.

        The rest looks more or less OK, until you remember that The Founders praised the ability to set aside private interest and personal advantage to exercise the public virtues that advanced the common good.

        In other words, along with with their devotion to personal freedom and property rights, the founders understood the necessity of a balance between private and public good. Leon is so obsessed with “What is in it for me?”, that the notion of public or common good never appears in his writings.

        And a miracle happened! In a record period of time this system created wealth for millions of people and allowed this country and a handful of other countries, to create a bearable life for most of their citizens. Millions of people now dream about immigrating to America. Billions envy us and do not understand how this country was able to so quickly to become the best place for human beings to live. This is the safest place on the planet earth. This is the place with the best and brightest opportunities. This is the place where equal opportunity exists not only on a piece of paper. This is the place where you can say practically anything, criticize anyone and survive. Many now take if for granted. But it is not like that in the most countries in the world.

        I agree that United States is still the best country in the world. But I also believe that it is going in the wrong direction, approximately since early 70s. And I’m also ready to assert, that this deterioration is progressing exactly because the views like Weinstein’s affected (in larger or lesser degree) the government actions for the last 30+ years.

        The founding fathers of this country decided that We the People will cooperate in defending the territory we live on, in policing the streets, and doing other things that they felt would better our lives. For that they needed money and they decided to take a portion of what we produce and put it into a treasury to pay for all those common projects. Now they needed someone who would run those projects, and they elected a President. In order not to let him loose without supervision, they sent elected representatives to the capital to oversee what the President was doing, and to create laws by which the President was supposed to govern and oversee the dispersal of our money. So far, so good.

        I agree (surprise, surprise!). Although I still think the way Leon presents it, it looks like designed either for small children or grown-up morons, still, there are no objections.

        The representatives were good hearted people and when they saw that there were some sick people who were not able to survive on their own, they asked the citizens to send a bit more money to care for the sick and the elderly. The Citizens agreed. Then representatives saw that there were many poor people who were not able to afford schooling for their children, decent housing and enough food on their tables. They asked for more money from the Citizens, and the Citizens agreed. Then they asked for more staff and expenses for themselves to serve the country better. The Citizens sighed but agreed. Then the representatives concluded that we all need to help those that have children without husbands, those that have lost their jobs, and those that had just came to this country and had nothing to live on.

        Let’s stop and look at the last sentence.

        1. “.. those that have children without husbands..” There should be a lot of work and effort to prevent this from happening. But.. what do we do with children without fathers that are already there? It looks like Leon would better let them starve than provide any help. Of course, there is nothing in that for him!

        2. “.. those that have lost their jobs..” I see, we have to abolish unemployment benefits altogether. Anyway, if a person loses his job, he is a loser (or “user”, as Weinstein puts it) and doesn’t deserve help!

        3. “.. those that had just came to this country..” Is Leon referring to Jewish immigration, I wonder? They got a lot of help from the government when they just came to this country.

        At this time the Representatives didn’t even ask the Citizens for their agreement to send additional money. They just voted that everyone shall send a larger share of their earnings to Washington. The Citizens began to feel a bit stretched but didn’t revolt, thinking that maybe their moral obligation is to help the needy.

        Just for Leon, the moral obligation to help the needy existed even in ancient times. It isn’t something that “the left” invented.

        And when exactly was this time, I wonder? Was it in the most prosperous times, at least for the middle class, in the history of America – the fifties? When one person working could provide for the large family? Does Leon know that the progressive taxes then reached 90% for the upper class – and that didn’t negatively affect the prosperity? History, history!

        From now on the real thing starts, Leon is trying to lay a foundation to the specific ideology I already wrote about in The World according to Leon, so you may wish to look at that post first – it’ll make it easier to understand the motivation behind Leon’s childish blubbering.

        Then new election came and suddenly the Citizens realized that many of those who were not producing any wealth, but quite the opposite – were receiving welfare benefits and were supported by others, voted to send to the Capitol their own representatives with a goal to demand more financial assistance from the producers of wealth. More people began to receive benefits from the state, more became dependent on the constant influx of money that other people earned. After the next election more of those demanding officials were sent to the capital and they continued to demand more and more and more money.

        The State has no money. Only citizens do. Every time another social program was introduced, the Elected Officials created new laws for getting more money from the productive citizens, now without even consulting with them. The new times started when citizens were prohibited to decide by themselves what to do with their own money. Someone else was now deciding for them. ‘You earn, but we decide’ was the new way of doing things in Washington. The successful people were now called ‘the rich’. The rich was a code word for the people who worked hard, who were successful in what they were doing, saved money and who passed their accumulated wealth to their kids and grandchildren. We call those ‘rich’ by a different name – Producers.

        Sorry, I have to stop right here! This BS should be taken care of.

        “Rich” is a very old word, meaning “people with lots of money”. For Leon, it equates with success. For Leon, there is no other measure of success but money. And “producers” means essentially “producers of money for themselves”.

        And more – people that are working hard most of the time don’t get rich and don’t accumulate wealth. But for Leon the most important thing is to establish that rich are good and poor are evil. Kinda Bush-style black and white thinking.

        Oh, and I forgot to mention, that in the first part of the letter Leon says that “Democracy is a road to Socialism”. So, is he for a monarchy? For dictatorship? I think I know and I’ll tell you later!

        I will finish the review on Weinstein’s letter in the next post. The “best” is still ahead, now he will tie Democrats with socialists and communists.

        I hope you weren’t too tired and will come back to read the rest.

        Alexei Zoubov

        PS: Meanwhile, you may wish to go here.

        Part 2 is ready!

        Posted in Ideas & Ideologies, Leon Weinstein, Thoughts