Posted by: bkivey | 29 May 2015

Capitalism is Fine, But . . .

One of the tenants of Progressive thought is everything should be ‘fair’ and everyone should be ‘equal’, thus demonstrating a complete misunderstanding of both the words and how the world works. Individual achievement is often portrayed as having an ‘unfair’ advantage. Unless one professes belief in the One True Religion, then the rules used to judge others don’t apply. Progressives seek to elevate the sub-standard to the mediocre, the mediocre to the exceptional, and the exceptional is vilified. 

Progressivism has always been at odds with capitalism, because capitalism allows individuals to achieve to the limits of their abilities and ambitions. Individual shortcomings and strengths are publicly exposed. A person with ability and ambition is unlikely to be swayed by arguments for social and economic conformity.  But in the worker’s paradise, everyone is expected to explicitly work for the common good while taking no more than is required. The idea was summed up by Louis Blanc:

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

In a normally distributed population, about 16% will be above average (> +1 SD). In the Progressive mind, these folks are expected to contribute disproportionately to the common good, while enjoying no more benefits than anyone else. Because most above-average people balk at the idea of what amounts to virtual servitude, the socialist Utopia must find ways to control those people. But Progressives have reluctantly come to realize that the expanding welfare state requires funding, and the poor ain’t gonna do it. 

So the last several years have seen most Socialists pay lip service to capitalism in an effort to appease the ones paying for their vision. In the Conversation on Poverty earlier this month, President Obama gives a classic example of this:

” We don’t dispute that the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history — it has lifted billions of people out of poverty. We believe in property rights, rule of law, so forth. “

By his actions during his term, this President has made clear he doesn’t believe in any of those things. He may not dispute it, but he doesn’t believe it, because in the very next sentences he gives the game away:

” But there has always been trends in the market in which concentrations of wealth can lead to some being left behind. And what’s happened in our economy is that those who are doing better and better — more skilled, more educated, luckier, having greater advantages– are withdrawing from sort of the commons — kids start going to private schools; kids start working out at private clubs instead of the public parks. An anti-government ideology then disinvests from those common goods and those things that draw us together. And that, in part, contributes to the fact that there’s less opportunity for our kids, all of our kids.”

And there you have it. In the Progressive world, free market economics is a zero-sum game. A dollar going to Warren Buffet is a dollar taken away from someone else. I’ve made the point before: unless they’re working for the same organization, Bobby Sue’s pay has no effect on what Billy Bob can earn. They are independent of each other. And if someone is “. . . more skilled, more educated, luckier, having greater advantages. . .”, so what? You’re only limited by those factors to the extent you’re occupied by them. If someone is a member of the lucky-sperm club, has every financial and social advantage, goes to the best schools, and makes more in their first job than many people will ever see (cf. Chelsea Clinton), it doesn’t matter. 

 “Greater advantages”? I can’t think of a greater advantage than being a native-born American citizen. As for skills and education, a person can acquire those. It just takes the desire, and really not much of that, to do so. The bar for getting a post-secondary education in this country is very low. These are fatuous arguments. More so because the very economic system Progressives rail against have made the opportunities available. 

Over time Progressives have limited those opportunities for those they’re fond of calling ‘the least’. President Obama states the obvious:

“– because it’s hard being poor. People don’t like being poor. It’s time-consuming’ it’s stressful. It’s hard.”

As someone who has at various times experienced economic hardship, I can say “No shit, Sherlock.” And because I didn’t like being poor, I did something about it. But as the welfare state has expanded, the opportunities for economic mobility have decreased. If a person can realize a greater income from the dole than they can from working, most are going to choose the former. This further divorces more of the population from the benefits of capitalism, to the point where they see capitalism as the cause of their problems, rather than the solution. Progressives engage in ideological brainwashing that’s pernicious, toxic, and evil. 

Capitalism is the best economic system devised by humans. At root all organisms are selfish, in that they put their own interests first. Capitalism harnesses that natural inclination so that people can contribute to the common good while satisfying their base desires. It works so well, many centrally-planned states have encouraged it. Success is hard to argue with. In the Progressive mind, though, success is something to be punished.

New Phone

I got a Galaxy S5 last week. OK, the company bought it; I just get to use it. I’d checked out the phone last year, and was impressed by the screen resolution, camera, and processing speed. It also made phone calls. I didn’t get the S6, because in my opinion the difference in features didn’t justify the bump in price. 

I also had a different kind of buying experience. When I lived in Beaverton, I’d go to the local Verizon company store. That’s where I bought my S3, and it seemed like the folks there were more interested in selling product and service than ensuring a good customer experience. I have no real complaints about service at the store, but it all felt very corporate.

This time around, I went to a franchise store in Hillsboro. I stopped in to see what kind of deals they were offering, and found out I could get a new phone and five accessories for under $200 out the door. Sold! In addition to the goodies and setting up the phone, they offered to migrate my files; something Beaverton wouldn’t do. I was there for over an hour getting set up and checked out, and never felt rushed. The goodie bag made me feel like a bandit. Overall a very positive experience.

I like the phone. It’s fairly intuitive, although the screen goes dark if you look away from it. I know this is a feature, but for me it’s more of a bug. Yes, I’ll fix it. The only really annoying item is that Samsung put a cover over the charging/USB port, something the S3 didn’t seem to need. I’ve gotten better at getting it open, but it seems like an unnecessary addition. 

There was one mystery. I’ve been developing apps for a little over a year, and while they show up on the apps folder, they don’t appear in any of the phone’s memories.  I had to manually reload them. I’m curious as to where these things live. 


My Bluetooth headset died after a few days, which was frustrating. I’d thought the battery would last considerably longer. I couldn’t figure out how to get the battery out. My work partner (literally half my age) pointed out that there was a jack for a charger on the headset. I’d though that was to connect it to the phone (for some reason). Doh!

The Laziest People on Earth

As part of a semi-regular series, I have evidence of the Laziest People on Earth:

20150521_183452 20150523_125246

Seriously. How lazy/ignorant/unmindful do you have to be to leave trash on the trashcan instead of in the can? Is this a social statement? Performance art? 





  1. Blair:

    Analysis of the Laziest People On Earth trash photos:

    Cigarette butts on metal rim of trash can. The smoker stubbed out the butt on the metal rim and then, yes, was too lazy to field strip the butt and throw it away. Most smokers are conditioned to only dispose of their butts in a receptacle designed for smoldering cigarettes instead of a trash can where the contents may catch fire or just throw their cigs anywhere (which really is littering and the height of laziness).

    As for the soda can, that person actually did not want to throw an aluminum can into the garbage because it is a recyclable item. So, technically, recyclable items are not considered trash; I easily generate three to four times the amount of recycling over that of garbage I produce (non-recyclable, re-usable or compostable). It was left on the rim of the trash can in hopes that some enterprising citizen who collects aluminum cans for extra income will come along and save that can from the city land fill. Oregonians are so thoughtful and considerate, aren’t they?!

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