Socialism Gets a Laugh

Socialist writers try a guilt trip to get paid.

The price of free media these days is ads and an endless barrage of spam in your mailbox.

That can also be the reward.  In an effort to better understand the enemy, we subscribe to a number of far-lefty sites, and the constant avalanche of emails complaining about "30,000 viewers yesterday.  $30 in donations" warms our heart no end.

Then there are those missives that make our jaw drop with the stunning irony.  We can't help but reprint this one in full:

The Stigma Against Voluntary Support

There is an apparent perception that if we are not compelled to pay for something, it's worth nothing. If every person on our list paying more than $75. a month to their cable company gave us $10 a month, we could stop running fundraisers altogether.

Why does voluntary equate to worthless?

Light Dawns on Marble Head?

It's been said that the reason capitalism works and socialism doesn't is because capitalism sets out to harness man's greed for the greater good, and socialism attempts to harness man's altruism.  Altruism does exist, but greed exists in enormously greater quantities.  So if greed is the motive force behind your economy, it can't help but be bigger than an economy driven by altruism.

We do run into problems where man's greed becomes entirely disconnected from the greater good, as with today's crony capitalists and banksters.  But the Soviet Union hardly had to worry about financial crashes because their economy never got off the ground far enough to be able to crash.

The proprietors of this lefty rag, as befits their status as proud socialists, have absolutely no idea of the reality of human nature.  This, of course, is why they are having such a tough go of it.  Of course people are going to take what is given to them freely and only a tiny minority of true believers will pay, ourselves not among them.

This doesn't mean you can't support a business which gives news away for free as the broadcast TV stations and many websites do.  It simply means that someone else has to pay, in that case the advertisers, of which this particularly group of lefties is well aware.  Each of their begging ads puts forth their lack of ads, and thus not being beholden to corporations, as the reason why you should read them.

Which it sort of is - it's perfectly rational to believe, as they do, that the advertisers hold a great deal of sway over what stories the media, who they pay big bucks to, dare to write about.  That's still not a reason why you should pay them, though, and most readers don't.

There is another source of funds for those who truly believe in a cause: the writers themselves.  Scragged has never made significant money from ads, nor from either George Soros or the Koch Brothers, much as we'd appreciate a large check.  We write because we want to, about things we care about, and to do some small part in spreading truth and reality across a sheen of false news.

It is therefore a hobby: we pay our bills by other means.  If these lefty publishers wish to do the same, they have every right as Americans to have a hobby and lobby for their political positions as best they can.

The problem is that somehow, they've arrived at the bizarre supposition that their work deserves pay.  It doesn't; nobody's work deserves anything at all.

Free and Fair Exchange

A person or organization - you, me, General Motors, Bill Gates, your church - deserves what people freely choose to give it, no more and no less.  General Motors deserves the amount of money that you reach agreement to give the dealer in exchange for a new car.  If you don't find a mutually agreeable amount, you keep your money and GM keeps the car.

Your church deserves whatever money you choose to give it in exchange for whatever "intangible religious benefit" you feel you receive; no more and no less.  Perhaps you believe that God expects you to give a certain amount or He'll strike you down with lightning or the purple pox; perhaps it's your way of showing your love to your Creator and Savior; possibly even it's an effective and satisfying way of showing off your uprightness and wealth to your peers and fellow-parishioners.  Either way, it's your choice, and you clearly believe you're getting value for money.  Otherwise you'd stop giving, or would never start in the first place.

Humble toilers like ourselves and presumably yourself deserve whatever wage your boss has agreed to pay you.  If you or I decide it isn't enough, we have a perfect right to quit and survive some other way; if the boss feels it's too much, you find a pink slip on your desk and the phone number of the unemployment office.

Broadcast TV has calculated that they can make enough money selling your eyeballs to advertisers to cover the cost of their programs.  The advertisers have calculated that they make more money from increased sales than they spend on ads.  You have decided that the extra 15 minutes of ads you have to watch is worth it for the 45 minutes of otherwise-free entertainment per hour you receive from the show.

The cable networks, in contrast, have decided that they don't get enough money from ads; they need you to chip in.  Some of us do, in greater or lesser amounts, and some don't, but we all choose.

Shut Up, He Explained

Those behind this lefty rag have no power to force anyone to do anything.  They probably realize that if they charged a subscription fee and blocked everyone else from reading them, they'd be able to count their readers on the noses of one face (namely, their own mother, in whose basement they probably live).  They're actually better off letting the whole world read their screeds and submitting themselves to the fabled generosity of gullible Americans of whom .00001% is enough to get by.

But from their plaintive pleas for "justice," we see their true hearts: They are fully convinced that they deserve to be paid no matter whether people want to pay them or not.  By definition, this calls for force - the force of government.

His opponents were correct in pointing out that Mr. Trump was a member of the 1% just as Hillary was, but as we see it, there is all the difference in the world.  Mr. Trump made his money by offering goods and services which his customers voluntarily chose to buy.  Hillary, in contrast, raked in millions by selling government favors.

What these lefty scriveners really want is a cushy taxpayer-funded job churning out leftist government propaganda; they'd work for NPR or the BBC if they were good enough (or had connections good enough) to get jobs there.  They aren't, but that doesn't stop them from thinking they deserve a regular check all the same.

And if they really wanted a job, they could have one, if only at their local McDonald's.  They just need to decide to do something that people want to pay for, like the rest of us have to.  Nobody deserves anything, not even we conservatives, virtuous though we may be.

This Isn't Really Funny

On a more serious note, their lefty claim that they deserve to be paid is shared by many of Sen. Sanders' followers who believed that they deserved to be able to go to college for free and by those who believe that receiving running water, health care, housing, smart phones, and many other desirable items are human rights which people should receive for free.

The fatal flaw in this idea was expressed eloquently by Ludwig von Mises in his book "Bureaucracy" which was published in 1944.

The government pretends to be endowed with the mystical power to accord favors out of an inexhaustible Horn of Plenty.  It is both omniscient and omnipotent.  It can by a magic wand create happiness and abundance. ...

The truth is that the government cannot give if it does not take from somebody.  A subsidy is never paid by the government out of its own funds; it is at the expense of the taxpayer that the state grants subsidies.  Inflation and credit expansion, the preferred methods of present-day government openhandedness, do not add anything to the amount of resources available.  They make some people more prosperous, but only to the extent that they make others poorer. ...

It is not in the power of the government to make everybody more prosperous.  It can raise the income of the farmers by forcibly restricting domestic agricultural production.  But the higher prices of farm products are paid by the consumers, not by the state.  The counterpart of the farmers higher standard of living is the lowering of the standard of living of the rest by the state.  The government can protect the small shops against the competition of department stores and chain stores.  But here again the consumers foot the bill.  p 69

The idea that everybody is entitled to whatever they want at someone else's expense and the idea that workers are entitled to consume the fruits of their labor without having to support people who choose not to work cannot be reconciled.  More recently than von Mises, Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning Enron consultant, said in a New York Times editorial:

One side of American politics considers the modern welfare state — a private-enterprise economy, but one in which society’s winners are taxed to pay for a social safety net — morally superior to the capitalism red in tooth and claw we had before the New Deal. It’s only right, this side believes, for the affluent to help the less fortunate.  [Ed- We hardly need point out that conservatives give far more money to charity than liberals do.  The difference is that conservatives believe that they have the right to choose whom they help as opposed to having government support whomever offers the most votes to lefty politicians.]

The other side believes that people have a right to keep what they earn, and that taxing them to support others, no matter how needy, amounts to theft. That’s what lies behind the modern right’s fondness for violent rhetoric: many activists on the right really do see taxes and regulation as tyrannical impositions on their liberty.

There’s no middle ground between these views.  One side saw health reform, with its subsidized extension of coverage to the uninsured, as fulfilling a moral imperative: wealthy nations, it believed, have an obligation to provide all their citizens with essential care. The other side saw the same reform as a moral outrage, an assault on the right of Americans to spend their money as they choose.  [emphasis added]

Mr. Krugman won a Nobel prize for economics and tends to see the conflict in economic terms.  He describes two opposing views of economics that can't meet in the middle.

Either the state owns everything or it doesn’t.  Either you have a right to the fruits of your labor or you don’t.  Either tax cuts count as government spending because the government is graciously giving you back some of what rightly belongs to the government so government officials can spend it on their deserving friends, or tax cuts count as government taking its greedy paws out of your wallet.

For all the drollery expressed by our lefty columnists bleating about how much they deserve to have people pay for their writing, the fact that they and the rampaging mobs of Social Justice Warriors believe this so fervently is a sign of the coming civil war between collectivists who believe that government rightly owns everything and can allocate it as it chooses, and those who disagree.

Until that sad day comes, though, we'll gladly reap the rewards of these poverty-stricken pen-pushers' foolishness and amuse ourselves at their expense.  A hearty guffaw is all the pay they'll likely ever get, and we don't begrudge them that at all.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Economics.
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