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From the Pen of David Horowitz: November 10, 2009

November 10, 2009


Do I like the goals you offered? Michael, socialism is a fairy tale (yours included). Do we like the happy ending put together by the fairy godmother? Of course we do. Should we act in our lives as though the fairy godmother is really out there? I don’t think so.

Here’s my argument: Socialism doesn’t work first because you can’t substitute politics (plans) for the market and get anything like a rational allocation of resources, and second because without the incentive to accumulate property most people are not going to work very hard. Third, without private property as a basis for the system, you can’t have the kind of democracy, individual rights etc. that we’ve grown accustomed to and human beings seem to want. Your preferred form of socialism also depends on people reading Michael Albert, understanding what he’s talking about, and agreeing with his prescriptions. Meeting these conditions is impossible in the real world of human beings as we know them


You can’t confront me with all the atrocities of capitalist states, because, unlike you, I don’t believe that the mode of production determines everything we need to know about a society, or that we can escape the human condition by creating “new men” and “new women” and usher in a new millennium in the process. What I know about capitalism is that it has brought a level of comfort, leisure and freedom to billions of lives and through its ability to develop new technologies (something all Marxist regimes – including Cuba’s – have lacked) has raised the quality of life for ordinary working people to a level beyond that of kings, less than a hundred years ago.

I actually have read some of your work on participatory economics in issues of Z some years ago. I tried participatory economics at Ramparts when Peter Collier and I ran it, and it didn’t work. Perhaps this was our failing, but until you convince me, I will persist in thinking that human beings, being vastly unequal in ability and attention span, and pretty self-serving and often mean when they get the opportunity, are incapable of organizing themselves into a “participatory economy” which will render justice perfect. Nor do I think that most people given the freedom to decide would choose your model over the one we have.

Albert Vs. Horowitz

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  1. Peer-Christian Veberg permalink
    November 10, 2009 4:04 am

    1:The narrative fallacy Mr Horowitz. Both socialists and stockbrokers get off on it , and later on , general populace will pay the tab for their ‘storytelling’-expertise. You claim that people need to work hard Mr Horowitz. If you get the wanna-bee’s to pick up the tab of the pollution they could work as much as they like for me , but they don’t and that means that they steal the base capital of growth and air and water. Work must be productive , and the real cost of many of our daily products tell me that the allocation of resources under capitalism is ludicrous. That capitalism control’s most resources are a fact in another category all together.

    2: If USA just got rid of those sharia-style death-penalties and the gung-ho gunlaws , you would not be so weak. Now , any two-bit manipulator can smear a few fools across some frontpage , and you will charge , celtic style , against the cohorts of history. Blinded by histories of individuals , whose prime purpose has been reduced to sell soap !

    • Cas Balicki permalink
      November 10, 2009 7:30 am

      Peer-Christian Veberg, your post makes no sense whatsoever.

    • Walt permalink
      November 10, 2009 1:50 pm

      “If USA just got rid of those sharia-style death-penalties and the gung-ho gunlaws , you would not be so weak.” What sort of rambling nonsense is that? Were you actually trying to make an argument?

  2. Robert Wargas permalink
    November 10, 2009 7:29 am

    This is a pretty comprehensive explanation of why socialism is a complete failure. The best part of the excerpt is when David writes that he doesn’t think the mode of production determines everything about a society. Economics as the “base” material of a society is Marxism, and all theories that think we can change man my changing relations of production is derived from Marxism.

  3. Stian Brinch permalink
    November 10, 2009 8:10 am

    Peer-Christian sounds like a good candidate for the Parecon cult: incoherent and full of bluster.

  4. SanePerson permalink
    November 10, 2009 9:01 am

    I don’t think even Karl Marx would have liked living in a socialist society.

  5. Walt permalink
    November 10, 2009 2:14 pm

    Karl Heinrich Marx lived off of Frederick Engels for most of his life. He had little regard for his wife Jenny, or their children. Herr Marx only made one real attempt at finding work while in England, and he was turned down due to his hideous handwriting. He was not even up to snagging a railway clerk’s job apparently. It is really amazing that people still find Marx to be such a guiding light for the working class, since he had no direct experience with such things.

  6. Jonathan permalink
    November 10, 2009 4:23 pm

    What I find amazing is that conservative Americans have allowed this evil cancer to take over their country, institution by institution. Especially when their fathers and grandfathers were so aware of the threat through the first 60 years of the 20th century. They took aggressive steps against the threat up until the end of JFK’s presidency.

    What socialism lacks in basic common sense, it more than makes up for in brutal resolve and limitless patience for the goal. What free societies lack is an understanding of how to deal with the socialist threat.

    I have some hope that a solution will evolve over time using the fate of America as a model. If we begin to look at Constitutions and foundational structures of nations as a BUSINESS MODEL for maximized success, using the principle that true liberty is based on property rights, then maybe we can develop fail safes to thwart subversives from the get go.

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