Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's Play Monopoly!

Talk of Robber Barons and Monopolies is anti-free market rhetoric cooked up by leftists who hate capitalism

Every now and then, someone here will mention Robber Barons, the Gilded Age, or Monopolies while attempting to defend one progressive abomination or another. The left has completely controlled the language and the narrative on this topic, so here's some balance.

Government-Sponsored Monopolies

What history shows is that corporate complacency will eventually lead to a “little guy” popping up with a superior product and a lower price. That is what keeps greedy monopolistic bastards from enslaving us all and forcing us to buy shoddy products and services in their company store.  (Sounds like the federal government, doesn't it?)  The only thing in US history that has prevented this is government protection, bought and paid for by the big guys.  Look around you.  Anywhere you see a monopoly, a government is behind it.

Critics will throw raw numbers around showing how businesses devoured others or formed monopolies during the Gilded Age, but they rarely get into the details. Some businesses were aided by government to form de-facto coercive monopolies, while others got gobbled up because they could not compete, contributing to the statistics showing shrinking numbers of businesses in a given industry.

If only a few efficient businesses are left standing after combat in a free-market arena, near-monopolies can result, but they are monopolies of efficiency, created by the people, not government. And such monopolies are subject to the whims of the marketplace, as John D. Rockefeller found out in the late 1800's as upstarts ate into his market share well before Teddy Roosevelt took his big stick to the job creators of his day.

Communist Propaganda

Much of the criticism is shot through with communist propaganda and pejoratives of the day. Lest someone accuse me of being inflammatory, the contemporary critics of the captains of industry were unapologetic leftists, like Eugene Debs, proud socialist. So we at least need to evaluate the situation with this in mind.

Contrary to popular belief, the government back then was not laissez faire, although the market was freer than it is now. The industrial age was built on bribery, kickbacks, protective tariffs, government aid, land grants and yes, even legal monopoly status, all granted by the federal government. It was not a free market, Uncle Sam was not a disinterested third-party, and the captains of industry, thought hard-working and innovative, were not pristine free-market capitalists.

These "Robber Barons" brought marvelous new goods and services to ordinary people, all the while competing and innovating to keep the prices dropping. What nefarious monopolist clutching a cornered market does that? Sam Walton's got nothing on these guys.

America is better off because of the "Robber Barons"

Another standard of judgment is how we stand now. Did these Robber Barons leave the US a denuded land of impoverished people, a continental Haiti? No! They built the industrial base that launched the greatest economic and military powerhouse in the history of the world, while simultaneously fostering the freest, most prosperous citizenry the world had ever known.

As a bonus, they also bequeathed their wealth to the people. Their multi-billion dollar progeny now superintend great philanthropic causes that bear their names: Vanderbilt, Ford, Chase, Mellon, Rockerfeller, Carnegie, Morgan... By the way, those are all modern-day liberal names, with much of the money going to progressive causes.

Get the Facts

Campaign season is upon us, and the Obama-lama-ding-dongs will be trotting out the committee-approved propaganda, and it will prominently feature the evils of capitalism.

For an interesting and detailed refutation of the anti-"Robber Baron" socialist propaganda, I recommend the article Seven Myths about the Great Philanthropists. It's not a self-serving hagiography, but it does bring a lot of information to light that public school progressives excised from the official history we were taught.

For additional line-by-line refutation of the socialist propaganda, I recommend The Robber Barons and the Real Gilded Age and Witch Hunting for Robber Barons.

Even More Reading on monopolies:
Critique of Neoclassical and Austrian School Monopoly Theory
The Myth of Natural Monopoly
Forgotten Critic of Corporatism


The Debonair Dudes World said...

When the United State's president repeatedly demonstrates his contempt for the laws of this nation as well as our Constitution how can anyone expect our economy to do well?
When he offends the Queen of England, throws Benjamin Netanyahu the prime minister of Israel out of the oval office while he goes for dinner without him, Bows to the King of Saudi Arabia, Insulted our Special Olympics, doubles or even triples our national debt, put his 2 cents into private matters, plays the race card along with his race-bating friends, how in the world can you justify any respect for the Dog-Eater in Chief?

Thersites said...

Government-Corporate collusion is not as "benign" as you make it out to be. Here's a "factoid" for you to mull...

In 1955, sales of the Fortune 500 accounted for one-third of U.S. gross domestic product. By 2004 they commanded two-thirds. This means that a few hundred corporations enveloped not only the commons but also millions of smaller firms organized as partnerships or proprietorships.

Is eliminating Mom & Pop owned small hardware stores and replacing them with massive Home Depot's and Walmart's good for America? Is an America filled with large corporate owners and hourly-wage employee's a model for an economy that YOU would feel comfortable supporting?

I would have no problem with corporations if they paid regular dividends and regulaly distributed their gains to their shareholders... but they do NOT (for the most part). The result of this "corporate malpractice" is that the people who benefit from stocks are those who TRADE them, not those who HOLD them. Small share-holders are also often forced to divest themselves of their share at inopportune times (while large shareholders get Fed bailouts and buy OUT all the small shareholders... or as in the case of GM, have their shares "appropriated" by the federal government and then re-distributed to UNION organizations).

I've got nothing against responsible corporations... but lets face facts, TOO BIG TO FAIL is a gross indicator of just how IRRESPONSIBLE corporate stewardship has become.

Jarhead said...

Is America better off now then it was 4 years ago? The answer is an overwhelming no!
Say what you want to about Obama, but I know that I'm not and I hope to God we get Obama's sorry butt out of office in November. Everything has gone to the dogs since he was elected. All the more reason to elect a Republican who understands the American economic issues. And who won't cater to the foreigners. There's no possible way that Americans are better off today then we were 4 years ago. Obama is an embarrassment to this country.

Silverfiddle said...

Thersites: I am not defending government-corporate collusion. I am criticizing it.

Always On Watch said...

History has demonized a lot of things.

Not that those things were good, necessarily.

I glanced at the link about myths. Good material there.

Anonymous said...


Two points stood out in the article A Critique of the Austrian School of Economics:

"Two objections are possible here. The first is that these growing corporations may have captured government and then used it as a tool to capture the market. ... [I]n the Reagan era ... corporate lobbyists began using government as a proactive agent to discourage competition. Nonetheless, the periods of government trust-busting show the proper role of government, and its effectiveness in restoring market competition.

"The second objection is that a wave of mergers may result in a more natural and efficient equilibrium of larger players, and this could be beneficial for the economy. The result doesn't have to be a monopoly -- perhaps just an oligopoly. The problem is that at the top end, mergers become increasingly harmful to the economy, with monopolies merely representing the worst result. Even oligopolies engage in price-gouging and collaboration. A natural equilibrium hardly represents the best equilibrium -- as recessions and depressions show."

The Critique, despite its well phrased, dignified tone, is to me an obvious Marxian attack on Capitalism cleverly disguised as "objective," "fair-minded" analysis.

What Marxists never want to acknowledge is that Government, itself, becomes the greatest "monopoly" of them all.

~ FreeThinke


Anonymous said...


If government, itself, is encouraged to become THE dominant power, it stands to reason that Industrialists will be more and more inclined to evolved themselves in the process of government in order "to get back a bit of their own," as it were.

The result is what you see today -- The Corporatist or Crony-Capitalist State -- a MERGER, if you will between Government and Industry that stifles competition while it continues to screw "The Little Guy."

As I keep saying, mankind's Great Enemy is not Capitalism, Marxism, Theocracy -- or even Journalism. The ENEMY is POWER, itself, or rather its flagrant ABUSE, which always occurs when any one entity has too much of it.

Our job as conscientious citizens ideally should be to do everything in our power to prevent any ONE facet of the Power Structure from gaining a MONOPOLY on POWER.

Communists would like to establish GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY. Capitalists would prefer to allow a natural PLUTOCRACY -- i.e. an OLIGARCHY of the STRONGEST and CLEVEREST -- to emerge.

Both extremes are highly problematic, but given a clear choice between them, I'd choose PLUTOCRACY any day.

Over time -- without Government Intervention and the incessant "tinkering" of Social Engineers -- markets really are self-leveling.

When an industry becomes outmoded, if it cannot retool and restructure itself to meet current demands, it should be allowed to die a natural death.

Industry does not exist to provide jobs for the work force at "a living wage." Industry exists to make products people need, want and are willing to strive to get. Industry exists also to make PROFITS for ENTREPRENEURS, skilled EXECUTIVES and for SHAREHOLDERS whose money Industry could not live without.

Instead of attacking the Source of all Wealth and meaningful Employment, as Marxism and all forms of Collectivism do, the work force should be GRATEFUL, and seek to EMULATE the success of their bosses.

The beauty of Capitalism is that a clever, determined, disciplined underling has a real chance of one day becoming a "boss," himself.

Owning a Big House on the Hill was once The American Dream. I pray every day day that it will be again. I have the great pleasure of owning such a house, and believe me it's a VERY satisfying environment in which to end one's days.

TRAILER PARKS and SECTION-8 HOUSING and an ever-growing, hopeless, futureless UNDERCLASS dependent on Government is what you get with increasing with increasing SOCIALISM.

May all PLEBEIANS dream of becoming PATRICIANS someday, and strive towards that goal. It's only possible in an unfettered CAPITALIST society.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

They built the industrial base that launched the greatest economic and military powerhouse in the history of the world ...

No, the military strength came from late entry into World War II when we were assured of being the last economy standing, losing the least of all the major participants.

Greatest Keynesian stimulus of all time in fact. Your precious Kapital would have been nowhere without government.

Ducky's here said...

Did Obama really tell Nuttyahoo to get the fuck out of the Oval office?

Damn, it truly is an ill wind that blows no good.

Anonymous said...

I made a two-part post on which I spent a LOT of time. Where the hell is it?

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

We have not had the problem of APPEARING-THEN-DISAPPEARING POSTS for a long time.

Why has it resurfaced to plague us once again?

Sign me,


Anonymous said...


First it was there.

Then it was not.

Now it's back again.



~ FT

Ducky's here said...

Interesting that you mention Haiti. After playing a primary role in our winning the revolution (France could not have financed war with England without the wealth derived from Haiti through slavery) our history in that benighted country is truly disgusting.
So yes, Kapital was complicity in laying that country waste after those uppity slaves revolted.

Once you get in bed with Kapital there is often hell to pay.

Anonymous said...

WAR is the business of GOVERNMENT.

BUSINESS is the business of BUSINESS.

Without INDUSTRY there could be no efficient production of WAR MATERIEL.

CAPITALIST ENTREPRENEURS, making intelligent, efficient use of the work of inventors and innovators CREATED INDUSTRY.

Government BALKS, DEPLETES and USES Industry.


~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

You're quibbling, Ducky. Do you think FDR created an industrial base out of thin air?

And your Haiti comment is irrelevant. "Kapital?"

This is not a defense of rapacious greed, and I am not attacking all government and advocating for anarchy, so go fight that battle somewhere else and stick to the topic.

Hack said...

I wish leftists would just come out that say that they hate capitalism instead of beating around the bush and pretending to like it. Comrade "Forward" Obama has come close enough, but some still don't realize it.

Ducky's here said...

Silverfiddle, here's what I think:

1. You are a true believer and very unlikely to take a comprehensive view.

2. You deny the dynamic of the American left and the labor movement that grew as a reaction to laissez-faire. Go research Lewis Hine's photography to realize where we came from.

3. You deny the role of government in the development of the industrial base.

4. You often credit the wrong people, like Bill Gates who developed NOTHING. It's similar to the Randian bullshit bio on Jonas Salk.

5. You really should read Marx before you start sounding off like a dilettante. Calling the president Marxist only makes right wingers seem like asses.

6. You should try to achieve some granularity and try not to conflate libertarianism and laissez-faire (kudos for keeping your faith separate and distinct).

What do we do now?

Mewling about what could have been if only the markets were left to their own devices is short sighted.

There are numerous sound critiques to your worship of the free market(LMFAO) and it will do us good to remember that no economic system is perfect and the extremes magnify all faults.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: Who the hell are you arguing with?

Certainly not me. I did not mention the labor movement and I did not "deny the role of government in the development of the industrial base."

You denied the industrialists' role!

I didn't mention Bill Gates and I didn't call the president a Marxist.

You're the one mewling.

*** Look Everyone at the post above this one! ***

This is how people without a leg to stand on attack ghosts and create false arguments.

Anonymous said...

Crony capitaƱism is nearly as old as our republic. As government grew and politicians had more influence to peddle, the crony capitalist became adept at writng laws and regulations that they could live woth but their competition couldn't. The so-called government-private partnerships will end up as some form of fascism.

Z said...

"You're quibbling, Ducky. Do you think FDR created an industrial base out of thin air?"
That was my first reaction after reading're so right, SF.

THersites "Is eliminating Mom & Pop owned small hardware stores and replacing them with massive Home Depot's and Walmart's good for America?" It's pretty much one big-box store from LA to NYC and I HATE IT. I used to walk into a bookstore and the sellers actually had read the, they don't speak English.

As for corporations...they're NOT paying dividends and profits? Where are the shareholders if companies not doing that..? They're certainly not the unwashed OWS.

Always On Watch said...

What Marxists never want to acknowledge is that Government, itself, becomes the greatest "monopoly" of them all.

So true!

BTW, the ways of Blogger are mysterious. Burps and all that.

-FJ the Dangerous and Extreme MAGA Jew said...

As for corporations...they're NOT paying dividends and profits? Where are the shareholders if companies not doing that..?

The large traders, many CORPORATE, dominate the market, NOT the small shareholders. The traders benefit in the increased share value(s) from non-dividend policies... and so do the small holders IF they can hold on and sell on spikes. But they aren't in the drivers seat. The major players move the value.

-FJ the Dangerous and Extreme MAGA Jew said...

...the point is, government intervention in the market BEGINS with the granting of a corporate charter. It's a mechanism that transfers liability risk to customers and shields the producer's investors. So why do we need to do that? And if we do it for non-persons (corporations), why do we subsequently treat individuals as inferiors and allow their customers to sue them for every penny they have? It doesn't make sense.

Corporations have HUGE advantages over individuals who want to start their own businesses. They have hundreds of years worth of accumulated capital with which to threaten and destroy competitors.

With Strulbrug corporations, the playing field will never be level... and it leads to the proletariation of an ever larger and larger working class... and reduced the owner class to an ever smaller number of elite corporate oligarchs (like Mitt Romney).

Marx's analyses of capital accumulation wasn't entirely wrong. Corporations are the vehicle for that continued accumulation. And if we wanted to return POWER to the people and level the playing field, we would severely limit those productive societal functions that we granted to corporations, much as we attempted to do when we wrote the Constitution. We certainly didn't want them taking over our nation and ever increasingly controlling our daily lives... as TOO BIG TOO FAIL has clearly demonstrated.

Country Thinker said...

Cronyism of any sort is dangerous. Warren Buffett comes to mind.

-FJ the Dangerous and Extreme MAGA Jew said...

In other words, we need to place reasonable LIMITS on corporations.

Apple computer has over a hundred BILLION dollars in the bank (more than the US Treasury). They produce more gdp than New Zealand, North Korea, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia. Why do we allow a single company to dominate so many market niches... I phones, I pads, I stores (aps)... etc., and move their profits to wherever the tax rate is cheapest?

I'd rather that Apple's shareholders realize those hundreds of billions in banked profits expressed as dividends, than see Apple continue to buy up and dominate various consumer markets.

Hey Apple, give some OTHER Silicon Valley star-ups a chance to gain a little market share. Why should YOU get first dibs on every new idea, just because yours are the deepest pockets?

Oh, THAT's right, there are no limits on how big you can be.

Bring back the TRUST BUSTERS!

Who ya gonna call?

Ducky's here said...

Ducky: Who the hell are you arguing with?

Certainly not me. I did not mention the labor movement...


Gee, you finally figured that out?

Now go back and reconsider getting on your knees and fellating Kapital and realize that the achievements you credit to the robber barons were not entirely of their making.

I have never read you crediting government with anything except distorting the market.

You are a true believer who can't get beyond that child von Mise and attempt to deny the failings of laissez-faire.

You pick your sources, I counter with Veblen and now where are we?

Ducky's here said...

... and if you mention Debs then you are indirectly bringing labor into the story rather than trying to ignore its role in the dynamic.

Debs critique from labor's perspective is central to the story.

Ducky's here said...

... and why bother going back to the robber barons. Let's look at more contemporary examples.

The Facebook IPO will probably take place this week and we are about to watch a large number of fools get separated from their money. Facebook has maxed out its growth and its selling to the fools but just what did Zuckerberg develop?

This social networking idea had been around for awhile, just like the spreadsheet was developed long before Gates came on the scene, so what was the fuss about?

Just what has Facebook created other than a way for people to give up their personal data for free?

It would be a good study in competition to determine why this app came out on top and just what value was added by the so called competition.

Ducky's here said...

@Jarhead -- Say what you want to about Obama, but I know that I'm not


Wait till you get four years of Romney.
Your good news is that you aren't going to get screwed quite as badly as a couple others here.

Ducky's here said...

A Worker Reads History

Who built the seven gates of Thebes?
The books are filled with names of kings.
Was it the kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone?
And Babylon, so many times destroyed.
Who built the city up each time? In which of Lima's houses,
That city glittering with gold, lived those who built it?
In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished
Where did the masons go? Imperial Rome
Is full of arcs of triumph. Who reared them up? Over whom
Did the Caesars triumph? Byzantium lives in song.
Were all her dwellings palaces? And even in Atlantis of the legend
The night the seas rushed in,
The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Young Alexander conquered India.
He alone?
Caesar beat the Gauls.
Was there not even a cook in his army?
Phillip of Spain wept as his fleet
was sunk and destroyed. Were there no other tears?
Frederick the Greek triumphed in the Seven Years War.
Who triumphed with him?

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions.
Bertolt Brecht

Silverfiddle said...

now where are we?

At my blog, where you don't have a leg to stand on.

I will be charitable as I remind you again I do not hate all government. You brought up Haiti. Good governance is the difference between us and them. We had it, they didn't, and thus we went in two different directions.

Finntann said...

What Ducky seems to overlook is that there probably hasn't been a true Marxist since Karl died, and there has never been a true Marxist in power.

Hack, leftists, at least the ones on this planet, don't hate capital, they hate property, other people's not their own. There hasn't been a leftist government yet in history that has abandoned capitol, they simply transfer control of it from the people to the party. Just look at all the leftist party politicians worldwide in their big limos and proletariat mansions.

Communism(LMFAO), Socialism(LMFAO)

Some might mean well at heart, at least initially, but their execution sucks... or perhaps to be more ironic, their executions are performed perhaps a bit too well.

If Ducky were a true Marxist, he'd not ridicule Libertarians for wanting to eliminate the state, for (and you might want to read some more Marx), Marx's desired end was the withering away of the state.

In reality, you'll never meet a Marxist who wants to sweep the trash out of the gutter, in their own minds they always fancy themselves the movers and the shakers of the 'new' state, or enabled to pursue whatever flights of fancy that next may strike them.

Truth is, workers have fared far worse under communism than capitalism, and the socialist states are crashing about us.

Ducky likes painting libertarianism and laissez-faire economics which a broad brush...

Ooh... look at those Libertarians wanting to abolish OSHA and worker safety with it! Look... now they want to do away with financial regulation and let the banks run rampant!

Honestly, how many thousands of pages of financial regulations do we already have?

They work?

OSHA... serves a valid purpose. Does the requirement to maintain a material safety data sheet (MSDS) for water make sense to any of you?

Who here is not familiar with the chemical hazards of water?

The MSDS actually states "inhalation may cause pulmonary edema...blah blah blah, in a word 'drowning'.

My joke was always, yes... and ingestion of large quantities may cause excessive urination.

Face it folks, government is way too large, and for all of its size, doesn't work very well at all.

Speedy G said...

America, the beautiful???

Finntann said...

So... we are onto the subject of market regulation.

I'll be the first to admit to the necessity of regulation to prevent conglomerations and cartels from conspiring to manipulate the market. Yes, I'm a Libertarian and all for anti-monopoly laws.

The problem lies not with the priciple but with the execution. SF is correct that the government grants monopolies, and often restricts market access thus creating de facto monopolies.

If you hadn't figured that out on your own already, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

The Free Market (Solyndra) has never ever been truly free, free in the sense that it was an open and level playing field to all involved. It is overly and needlessly complicated regulation with politicized enforcement that results in companies like Apple, Microsoft, AIG, GM, et. al.

Honestly, how fair was the preservation of GM and Chrysler to startups and their investors such as Coda (CA), Wheego (GA), Tesla (CA), Think (IN), Fisker (CA), Tango (WA ), GEM (MI), SABA (CA), and Venturi (OH).

Free Market (Solydra) my ass! It's Corporate Statism, nothing more.


Ducky's here said...

Well Finntann, I wouldn't call myself a Marxist beyond acceptance of his critique on the structural problems in capitalism.

One of the best descriptions of Libertarianism I've run into was on digby's Hullabaloo site.

"As a moral philosophy, by failing to recognize an indisputable physical and ethical reality - namely, that the conflict between the one and the many is primary - libertarianism is all but useless. As a political philosophy, especially when it comes to issues affecting the "rights of businesses", libertarianism is often deeply immoral, providing flimsy rationales for destructive acquisition, thievery, fraud, and greed - typically, and ironically, in the service of the largest corporations, not individuals. When political libertarianism does pursue goals worthwhile to the individual and to society - eg, in calling for the end of sodomy laws - they add no arguments to the debate that liberals and progressives haven't already expressed."

In other words, Libertarians are clowns.

Anonymous said...


Silverfiddle said...

And Ducky, you're a clown. FreeThinke provided serious commentary on the subject and you didn't even touch it. You completely mischaracterize my blog post, and you rebut Finntann's precise commentary by calling libertarians clowns.

It is clear. You are the clown because you cannot carry on an adult conversation.

Silverfiddle said...

What do constitutional conservatives and most Reason Magazine libertarians think of government?

The brilliant blogger Fuzzy Slippers says it beautifully.

Please go read her post, Top 5 Lies Leftists believe about Conservatives

Finntann said...

"by failing to recognize an indisputable physical and ethical reality - namely, that the conflict between the one and the many is primary"

Ducky... we don't fail to recognize the conflict between the one and the many... we simply fall on the other side of the fence from you.

You can repeat trite vulcan aphorisms until you are blue in the face "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", but it doesn't make a viable political philosophy.

If you're not familiar with the concept of the tyranny of the majority, I suggest you become so, for much evil can be and has been done in the name of the 'many', such as the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.

Odd how we didn't incarcerate the Germans though, eh?

The circumstances in which the needs of the many ought to outweigh the needs of the one are few.

Your entitlement state is not based upon preserving the 'many' collectively, it is based upon preserving one of the many at the expense of one of the few.

"libertarianism is often deeply immoral, providing flimsy rationales for destructive acquisition, thievery, fraud, and greed - typically, and ironically, in the service of the largest corporations, not individuals."

BULLSHIT! You're decribing anarcho-capitalism, not libertarianism.

For whatever it's worth, I score 90,90 in the Libertarian quadrant of the political compass test and don't wish to privatize police, fire department, eliminate government oversight of the market, etc.

"The least government is the best government" does not mean no government, and it does not mean no government where it is needed."

Where have the tens of thousands of pages of laws and government regulations gotten you? Prevent any bank burnouts or housing bubbles lately?

As a Libertarian I want better government, if you can't write a law in 100 words or can't write.

I want clear, concise, and efficient government. For example, why does the State Department have an "Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons"?

Isn't that a function of Justice?

Would it surprise you the following departments replicate that very function:

DoD, DOJ, USDA, DOL, HHS, ED, DHS, USAID, and the EEOC, along with a Presidential Task Force and a Senior Policy Operating Group.

The level of replication and waste in our government is obscene. No one agency recognizes their limits and the Senior Executive Service engages in empire building.

Nah! We don't have enough government (ROFLMAO)!

People might poke fun or take issue with Gary Johnson and his cost/benefit analysis management style (Libertarians included), but perhaps if we did more of it we wouldn't be 16 Trillion in debt.

Government... it's definitely a case where you don't get what you pay for.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill...

I may be a clown, but you are a disingenuous moron... in the morning I can take off my wig, nose, and make up. You Sir! However, are stuck being a disinegenuous moron.


Finntann said...

Why I love the internet!

I follow SF's link, look around a bit for the other points, and suddenly I find myself here:

Not only is the video entertaining, the comments are hilarious.

"Interupts stack" (sorry you gotta be a computer geek to get that one).

My favorite, the single finger twinkle:

The raised middle finger pointing up, and then tilted horizontally means:

“Fornicate with thyself, and thy steed which brought you hence”

I gotta remember that one.


Finntann said...


And anyone else interested, the 2012 Libertarian Party Platform is now online.


Finntann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thersites said...

So how many Liberrtarians will vote FOR their nominated candidate? Zip.

Anonymous said...

Canardo is here for one purpose only.

He gets his kicks from being a bloody nuisance.

It's as simple -- and as stupid -- as that.

That so many attempt to reason with a person who has no intention of engaging anyone in serious and sincere conversation does not speak very well for those who persist in taking Canardo seriously.

What is that oh-so famous definition of insanity again?

Oh yes! Here it is:


~ FT

Finntann said...

Thersites... don't push me, I might just out of

Actually if he stood a reasonable chance of getting elected, I would. I would also vote for him if he was running as a Republican. He was a good Governor.


Thersites said...

Then perhaps you should label yourself something other than Libertarian. It would be more"honest" that way.

...and I will be voting for Gary Johnson, but I'm no Lbertarian.

Finntann said...

@Thersites:"It would be more"honest" that way."

It is honest, it's being honest with myself about the chances of electing a Libertarian president at this time and I will vote in a way that has the least negative influence upon my libertarian principles.

There are idealistic Libertarians and pragmatic Libertarians, and I am the latter.

Regretably, as far as voting for Johnson, you might as well not vote all.

I like Gary Johnson and was a resident of NM for six of the years he was in office, but the Libertarian party has never gotten more than 1.1% of the vote in a presidential election. They generally pull less than half a percent.

The wildest estimates I've seen for performance in the election is 6%, which is just 6% less Romney is going to get.

I'm a pragmatist... I'm not all that keen on Romney, but the alternative seems to be four more years of Obama. If Johnson gets anywhere near to 30% in the polls, I'll happily vote for him.

Until then I'll work through the Republican Liberty Caucus to, as one member put it, "reintroduce the Republican Platform to the Republican Party".

Vote for Effect!

Finntann said...

Give me a fiscally conservative socially liberal Democrat and a socially conservative fiscally liberal Republican and I'll vote Democrat, and I have.

Just sayin!

Thersites said...

A pragmatic libertarian is an oxymoron. Thats like proclaiming that social justice is in any way, shape or form, "justice".

Thersites said...

I'm for "liberty"... but only if its' popular....

Wow. There's "character"...

Finntann said...

Okay, keep voting for people who will never get elected and change nothing. Me, I'll vote for the most libertarian candidate that can get elected. Make your vote count!

And I'll be laughing my ass off when Johnson pulls 6%, Romney 46%, and Obama takes the election with 48%... actually, I'll be crying, but that's beside the point.

But more importantly where will libertarians be then, and what will voting Libertarian have done for the cause?


Thersites said...

Johnson is the best candidate. The problem isn't that 6% vote for the best candidate, its' that 46% will vote for 2nd best just because everyone else is.

Thersites said...

Political cynicism detroys the integrity of the American political system. Voting for lesser evils is simply cynical.

1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others

It's the opposite of charitable. It may be "naive"... but ultimately naive beats jaded eight days a week if their is ever going to be a hopeful future for mankind.

1 Corinthians 13

Thersites said...

caritas is love!

Thersites said...

G_d is Love!

Thersites said...

I'm a Deist. I BELIEVE in caritas.

Finntann said...

Thersites, I agree with you 100% Johnson is in my opinion the best candidate, he is also the least likely to get elected. It's just the reality of the situation:

Reality; that cold hard thing that hits you in the face every morning when you get out of bed.

Honestly, I think it is more important to defeat Obama than elect Johnson, unless the situation for Johnson changes dramatically.

Imagine if it came down to one vote, and that vote was yours. You could vote for Romney and defeat Obama, or your could vote for Johnson and let Obama win. What would you do?

Me? However much I would rather have Johnson than Romney, I am willing to take one for the team.


-FJ the Dangerous and Extreme MAGA Jew said...

he is also the least likely to get elected.

...and will remain so, so long as political cynicism pervades.

"Reality" is that the election isn't for five more months. And in "reality" the polls can shift significantly FOR and AGAINST the current leading candidates in the blink of an eye.

Don't look into your crystal ball and then lecture ME about what you perceive to be "reality".

-FJ the Dangerous and Extreme MAGA Jew said...

...and I wouldn't vote FOR Romney even IF mine were the last vote to put him over the top (who want's a "shadow" running the country?). As Hippocrates would say, "do no harm."

Plato, "Gorgias"

'What is the art of Rhetoric?' says Polus. Not an art at all, replies Socrates, but a thing which in your book you affirm to have created art. Polus asks, 'What thing?' and Socrates answers, An experience or routine of making a sort of delight or gratification. 'But is not rhetoric a fine thing?' I have not yet told you what rhetoric is. Will you ask me another question—What is cookery? 'What is cookery?' An experience or routine of making a sort of delight or gratification. Then they are the same, or rather fall under the same class, and rhetoric has still to be distinguished from cookery. 'What is rhetoric?' asks Polus once more. A part of a not very creditable whole, which may be termed flattery, is the reply. 'But what part?' A shadow of a part of politics. This, as might be expected, is wholly unintelligible, both to Gorgias and Polus; and, in order to explain his meaning to them, Socrates draws a distinction between shadows or appearances and realities; e.g. there is real health of body or soul, and the appearance of them; real arts and sciences, and the simulations of them. Now the soul and body have two arts waiting upon them, first the art of politics, which attends on the soul, having a legislative part and a judicial part; and another art attending on the body, which has no generic name, but may also be described as having two divisions, one of which is medicine and the other gymnastic. Corresponding with these four arts or sciences there are four shams or simulations of them, mere experiences, as they may be termed, because they give no reason of their own existence. The art of dressing up (attiring) is the sham or simulation of gymnastic, the art of cookery, of medicine; rhetoric is the simulation of justice, and sophistic of legislation. They may be summed up in an arithmetical formula:—

Attiring: gymnastic:: cookery: medicine:: sophistic: legislation.


Cookery: medicine:: rhetoric: the art of justice.

Romney is pure attiring, cookery, sophistic rhetoric!

Thersites said...

At one time Socrates was a member of the Council,[17] he had taken the senatorial oath, and sworn "as a member of that house to act in conformity with the laws." It was thus he chanced to be President of the Popular Assembly,[18] when that body was seized with a desire to put the nine[19] generals, Thrasyllus, Erasinides, and the rest, to death by a single inclusive vote. Whereupon, in spite of the bitter resentment of the people, and the menaces of several influential citizens, he refused to put the question, esteeming it of greater importance faithfully to abide by the oath which he had taken, than to gratify the people wrongfully, or to screen himself from the menaces of the mighty.

- Xenophon, "Memorabilia"

Thersites said...

Do you think that the country need's "the BEST man" for the job? Or the SECOND best of three? (in other words... a "middling" choice)?

Thersites said...

I'll risk a kakistocracy instead of merely "settling" for a Romnian dystopia.

Finntann said...

"Don't look into your crystal ball and then lecture ME about what you perceive to be "reality"."

The reality is Johnson is pulling about 6-7% nationally and he's only pulling 15% in New Mexico (he was pulling as high as 23% as a Republican but dropped since the LP Party nomination.

"the polls can shift significantly FOR and AGAINST the current leading candidates "

I think I acknowledged that when I said "unless the situation for Johnson changes dramatically."

Que Sera Sera

Thersites said...

Once Johnson hits the tipping point, he won't need your vote, FinnTann. All the other rats will already be on board.

KP said...

<< The Facebook IPO will probably take place this week and we are about to watch a large number of fools get separated from their money. Facebook has maxed out its growth and its selling to the fools but just what did Zuckerberg develop? >>

Zuck and others at fecebook screwed by Zuck are kind of sleezy.

But as far as the IPO shares being a bad investment, we will see. I think facebook is a smart bunch (albeit sleezy) and they will morph like IBM has or the was Google continues to. We might not recognize them in ten years. They may adopt the name FB the way IBM (International Business Machines) did.

KP said...

<< Political cynicism detroys the integrity of the American political system >>

I would have said ideologues do the destroying. But then I was never picked for Jeopardy!

Thersites said...

Kalfka's short story of "In the Penal Colony" best illustrates this point, as the former "Commandant's" only instructions to to his Lt's was, "be just".

In other words, the mark of an ideologic EXTREMIST IS "cynicism."

Thersites said...

...his "ends" justify the "means".

Thersites said...

...and he will break every rule of just behavior and civility to achieve his end. Especially, vis a vis "caritas".

Thersites said...

Slavoj Zizek, "Cynisism as a Form of Ideology"

We must distinguish this cynical position strictly from what Sloterdijk calls kynicism. Kynicism represents the popular, plebeian rejection of the official culture by means of irony and sarcasm: the classical kynical procedure is to confront the pathetic phrases of the ruling official ideology — its solemn, grave tonality — with everyday banality and to hold them up to ridicule, thus exposing behind the sublime noblesse of the ideological phrases the egotistical interests, the violence, the brutal claims to power. This procedure, then, is more pragmatic than argumentative: it subverts the official proposition by confronting it with the situation of its enunciation; it proceeds ad hominem (for example when a politician preaches the duty of patriotic sacrifice, kynicism exposes the personal gain he is making from the sacrifice of others).

Cynicism is the answer of the ruling culture to this kynical subversion: it recognizes, it takes into account, the particular interest behind the ideological universality, the distance between the ideological mask and the reality, but it still finds reasons to retain the mask. This cynicism is not a direct position of immorality, it is more like morality itself put in the service of immorality — the model of cynical wisdom is to conceive probity, integrity, as a supreme form of dishonesty, and morals as a supreme form of profligacy, the truth as the most effective form of a lie. This cynicism is therefore a kind of perverted 'negation of the negation' of the official ideology: confronted with illegal enrichment, with robbery, the cynical reaction consists in saying that legal enrichment is a lot more effective and, moreover, protected by the law. As Bertolt Brecht puts it in his Threepenny Opera: "what is the robbery of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?"

Political Cynicism is the prevalent "two party political system". The "founding" of the bank, so to speak.