We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Let's face it, there's going to be a new, and most likely completely baseless, instance of Trump derangement blaring from the front pages of the New York Times and Washington Post more or less every day for at least the next three and a half years. It can be amusing to make fun of these things, but at some point the Manhattan Contrarian has to find something better to do. How about looking into recent reporting on Venezuela?
Based on a tip from a reader, I turned to interior page A4 of Monday's edition of the New York Times...
Socialism doesn't work for a very simple reason. As Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), a French economist, pointed out, Socialism is theft. It is based on plunder your neighbor. As Margaret Thatcher pointed out, Socialism is wonderful till you run out of other people's money. Eventually, everybody is plundered.
I would say the reason socialism doesn't work is that it assumes people care more about others than they care about themselves, or can be persuaded to do so. It takes a great deal of education to believe something so profoundly ignorant of the way the universe works - as Adam Smith pointed out a couple centuries ago, it's not to the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer and the baker that we owe our dinner but appeals to their own self-interest. It's easy enough to sniff at such a crass and vulgar view of humanity that they respond to "greed" - wanting more than what one has - better than lofty appeals to their higher natures, but it is what it is and all of human progress has relied on people trying to find a cheaper way to get things done, i.e., wanting more rewards for less work. The guy who invented the steam shovel wasn't an industrious go-getter - he was a lazy slob who figured out an easy way to get a hole dug while sitting on his fat butt. What did the most pious, selfless and noble intellectual ever give humanity to compare to the steam shovel?
All true of course but make no mistake; this "socialism" in Venezuela is being used by elite thieves to steal what little wealth Venezuela has left. These "socialist" leaders have billions in Swiss bank accounts (or what the current version of Swiss bank accounts is) and they are looting the country as fast as they can. This is coming to a head in Venezuela and is going to get very bad very quickly. The only possible good outcome would be some kind of coup where the president is captured and tried publicly for his crimes. It is far more likely the outcomes will be the worst possible outcome.
Why the Left Refuses to Talk About Venezuela
While Bernie Sanders was very careful to say little or nothing about Venezuela during his run for President, he had already made a PSF [Pendejos Sin Fronteras- Idiots Without/Beyond Frontiers] quality statement about Venezuela. Close The Gaps: Disparities That Threaten America.
These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?
Realize the American Dream in Venezuela? Where 75% of the population has lost 19 pounds in the last year? The Maduro diet of enforced starvation has been very effective for Venezuela. Does Bernie recommend that the US try it? Who's the Banana Republic now? What a maroon!
Recall that Bernie thought that price controls on food were a good thing in Sandinista Nicaragua. Unsurprisingly, Sandinista Nicaragua also had food shortages. Venezuela also has price controls on food- and food shortages. Bernie also considered Sandinista Nicaragua to be a model for Vermont.
About cultural appropriation: I can recommend a 2005 history, "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World." Apparently the Mongols did an amazing jobs of cross-fertilizing cultural traditions from East Asia to Europe. It all lasted for only a century or so before the Plague tore everything to bits, but it had a lasting impact: international secular law, religious tolerance, paper money, and an array of food and textile crops.