Does the Revolt of the West Against Its Elites Continue?

The major French presidential candidates for 2017.

The major French presidential candidates for 2017. From Left to Right:
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Communist (Wikimedia Commons / MathieuMD),
Emmanuel Macron, Center-Left En Marche! movement (Wikimedia Commons / Ecole polytechnique Université Paris),
François Fillon, Center-Right Les Républicains  (Wikimedia Commons / Marie-Lan Nguyen).
Marine Le Pen, Far right National Front (Wikimedia Commons / Foto-AG Gymnasium Melle)

This Sunday, the 23d of April, 2017, will see the first round of  the French presidential election. The burning question it poses is: Will the many revolts of Western civilization against its leftist, dirigiste elite be continued with the French election?

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Will Automation Require Progressive Unemployment Solutions?

Automated pharmacology production

Automated pharmacology production
Wikimedia Commons / FLAGRANGE

This is the third essay  in a series in which I answer progressive criticisms of neoliberalism (often mistakenly called conservatism). The author of these criticisms is a gentleman whom I will call Chease, who has often crossed rhetorical swords with me. I am delighted with the dispute and just wish even more progressives would challenge my depictions of neoliberalism.

The discussion so far has included whether or not free-markets would automatically create income inequalities, and secondly whether progressivism is the answer for racism. The third part of the discussion, whether the threat of automation destroying jobs will require progressive solutions, will be a much greater challenge.

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A Progressive Provides Counterarguments!

Let the Games begin!

Let the Games begin!
(c) Can Stock Photo / Mark2121

Over the last couple of years,  I have been very hard on progressives on this website. It is no surprise to me, then that  a progressive has decided not to take it anymore and bite back. In fact, I am surprised (and more than a little disappointed) that up until now no progressive has provided a cogent, comprehensive critique of my neoliberal (aka conservative) ramblings.

Now that one has bitten back, I will attempt to be no less comprehensive in answering his criticisms. Because of the huge scope of the subject, do not be surprised if I need more than one post to do the job!

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Modern Day Mercantilism

An imaginary European seaport painted by Claude Lorrain around 1639, at the height of mercantilism

An imaginary European seaport painted by Claude Lorrain around 1639, at the height of mercantilism
Wikimedia Commons / Musée du Louvre / Mbzt

In the year 1776,  the same year in which 13 British American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, a Scottish professor of moral philosophy at the University of Glasgow declared his own independence from the ruling economic philosophy of the day, mercantilism. Unfortunately, many present day governments, including that of President Donald Trump, have either succumbed to the temptations of mercantilism, or as in the case of Trump show signs of the temptation. We should all review and reconsider why mercantilism is such utter folly.

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The Dirigiste Mind

Famous dirigistes from the past.

Particularly notable dirigistes from the past. From top-left clockwise: King Louis XIV of France, Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini
Image Credits from top-left clockwise: Wikimedia Commons/Louvre Museum, Wikimedia Commons/John Jabez Edwin Mayall,
Wikimedia Commons/German Federal Archives, Wikimedia Commons/Time.com
Recent thoughts I have had concerning Vladimir Putin, Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini have led me to wonder about the following question: What causes any human being to adopt the dirigiste mind-set? There seem to be an awful lot of people in the world who believe economies would work one heck of a lot better if they were only more centrally directed by their government. These include progressives in the United States, Western European-style socialists in the European Union, the fascists of the Russian Federation, the communist mandarins of China, and most Japanese involved with the Japanese government. For that matter, I get the impression dirigisme claims most of humanity as believers. But what can possibly convert them all to that religion? Continue Reading…

Russia’s Weaknesses

Constant Russian per capita GDP in 2010 US dollars (blue curve) and its percent change from a year earlier (red curve).

Constant Russian per capita GDP in 2010 US dollars (Blue curve) and its percent change from a year earlier (red curve).
Image Credit: St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank/FRED
Data courtesy of the World Bank

Russia is in deep economic trouble. Just how much trouble and what it portends is a matter of heated and extensive controversy.  Continue Reading…

Russia: A Classic Fascist Power

Moscow Kremlin, the working residence of the President of Russia

The Moscow Kremlin, the working residence of the President of Russia.
Wikimedia Commons/Минеева Ю. (Julmin) (retouched by Surendil)

Will Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini have the last laugh on history? There seems to be an almost universal rush among almost all the nations on Earth to become more like their prototypical fascist regimes. And no current nation on Earth is more like those 1930s fascist powers than the Russian Federation.    Continue Reading…

Where the Left Is Leading the World: Catastrophe

Storming of the Bastille, 14 July 1789 during the French Revolution

The storming of the Bastille, 14 July 1789 during the French Revolution
Wikimedia Commons/Bibilothèque Nationale de France

If you have read any of my posts and detected a somewhat gloomy outlook, I must plead guilty. Right now the fortunes of liberal democracy are being threatened by the increasingly wide acceptance of Leftist world-views. Also, I have repeatedly written about how the continued centralization of economic power in the national government leads inevitably to tyrannical government, a process to which I have referred as traveling down the Road to Serfdom.      Continue Reading…

The Socialism of the Scandinavian Countries

Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden

The Scandinavian Countries of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden
Image Credit: Wikitravel/Stefan Ertmann

In the previous post Are European States More Socialist Than The US?, I noted that American progressives had a particular love affair with the Scandinavian states because they were supposedly more socialist than the United States. For example Bernie Sanders said last October during a Democratic Party debate“I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” In this essay I intend to narrow my focus to these Scandinavian countries to see how much they should be considered socialist paragons.

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Are European States More Socialist Than The US?

Lamartine, before the Hotel de Ville, Paris rejects the red flag of revolution and socialism on Feb. 25, 1848. By Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux , Public Domain

Alphonse de Lamartine rejecting the red flag of socialism in front of the Town Hall of Paris during the 1848 French Revolution.
Wikimedia Commons/ Henri Félix Emmanuel Philippoteaux (1815-1884)

The American Left has a romance with European nations, particularly with Scandinavia, because of their supposed more socialist mix between the polar-opposite, platonic ideals of Socialism and Capitalism. Bernie Sanders, for example, believes we should sit at the feet of the Scandinavians and learn from their example. Last October during a Democratic Party debate, he said “I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people.” A conservative rejoinder that it just ain’t so can take two routes. One is based on history, and one on economic data from the European countries. For the moment, I will take the data route, and discuss the history later in a following post.

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The United States: An Exceptional Country?

Presentation of the draft Declaration of Independence to the Second Continental Congress

The draft Declaration of Independence being presented to the Second Continental Congress by the five man drafting committee on June 28, 1776. The five men standing before the Chair are from left to right John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. The original painting hangs in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
Wikimedia Commons/John Trumbull (1756-1843)

On this fourth of July, we should all reflect on the aspects of the United States that have made it such an exceptional country in the past. On a more urgent note, we should all worry, given how far we have fallen, whether we will continue to be exceptional in the future.      Continue Reading…

Are Leftist Economies Better Than Free-Markets?

Country Per Capita GDP vs. the WSJ/Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom for 178 countries.

Country per capita GDP vs. WSJ/Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom for 195 nations
Data courtesy of Wall Street Journal/Heritage Foundation and the World Bank

In a comment to the post   Comparing the Economies of All Countries on Earth, a reader noted:

One thing that you don’t talk about is that several of the highest ranking “economic freedom” countries are places where progressives have had freer rein to experiment with social democracy, or perhaps even democratic socialism, such as Canada, Estonia, Denmark, and the UK. I don’t see why you frame the discussion as progressive bad vs. conservative good when there are countries with “progressive” economics that rank as highly in economic freedom as the US.

I explained why I thought American progressives were very bad, indeed, in my last post, Are You Unconvinced Democrats Are Growing More Authoritarian? In this essay I will question the commenter’s presumption that “several of the highest ranking ‘economic freedom’ countries are places where progressives have had freer rein to experiment with social democracy, or perhaps even democratic socialism, such as Canada, Estonia, Denmark, and the UK.” The implicit question begging to be asked has an answer I believe to be very different from what is often assumed. The question is: Does the United States have an economy that is much more of a free-market than can be found in Canada, Estonia, Denmark, the U.K., and other European nations? I claim the answer, depending on the compared country, is quite often shockingly no!       Continue Reading…

Comparing the Economies of All Countries on Earth

World Map of per capita GDP in 2014

World Map of countries by per capita GDP in 2014
Image Credit: St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank/FRED

Plus or minus a few controversial states (like Taiwan, the Holy See, and Palastine), there are around 195 countries in the world today. Each one possesses an economy that is at least slightly and sometimes greatly different from every other country on Earth. Each one is a different experiment in economic organization. What can we learn from them about what makes economies run well?      Continue Reading…

The Keynesian Emperors Have No New Clothes!

The Emperor has no clothes!

The Emperor has no new clothes!    
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Vilhelm Pedersen (1820-1859)

Given all their failures in suggesting successful economic policies around the world, one would have thought Keynesians would have been generally scorned by now, their doctrines almost universally rejected. Continue Reading…

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