War and military glory invade Washington’s Mall

We went down to Washington, D.C. for Women’s March Weekend.

On Sunday, a park ranger showing us the World War II Memorial explained that the Mall was originally intended to be dedicated to peace. “Then the Vietnam Veterans demanded a memorial [1982] and who can say ‘no’ to a Vietnam Vet,” he opened. “After that, people said that the Korean War was literally called ‘The Forgotten War’ so they got a memorial too. Then people said ‘What about the Big One?’ so now we have this World War II memorial.”

“World War II was primarily prosecuted by American women?” asked an immigrant friend and companion for this outing. “Maybe Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton were here one midnight chiseling out the stone.”

Authentic picture of the crowd gathered for the Donald Trump inauguration:

View from the ground:

In front of the memorial to the man great enough to free all of the slaves in states over which he had no authority:

(Would this be like saying “I am donating all of the cars in Massachusetts, except for the one that I own and am driving, to charity”?)

Organic gender binarism at the Flower Child restaurant:

The D.C. area is so political that the Rockville, Maryland CVS carries a replica Bernie Sanders campaign bus:

Back to the War on the Mall theme… if we add up the reverential stories from Democrats and Republicans about our great military and the sacrifices that they’ve made for us (even those who simply worked a desk job while in uniform), the only logical conclusion is that these people are so great and so heroic that they should run everything.

Readers: If our military took over the Mall in the past 40 years, is it likely that they will also take over the government within the next 100?

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Obama tells Joe Biden and Bernie to identify as young women

A BBC interview with the Nobel Peace Laureate, “Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men”:

If women ran every country in the world there would be a general improvement in living standards and outcomes, former US President Barack Obama has said.

Speaking in Singapore, he said women aren’t perfect, but are “indisputably better” than men.

He said most of the problems in the world came from old people, mostly men, holding onto positions of power.

In other words, Here’s looking at you, Joe and Bernie!

[Also note that Obama gives a Presidential imprimatur to discredited gender binarism.]

“Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us [men].

“I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes.”

When asked if he would ever consider going back into political leadership, he said he believed in leaders stepping aside when the time came.

“If you look at the world and look at the problems it’s usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way,” he said.

But what stops Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders from identifying as young women? Problem solved!

Related:

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Elderly Democrat says impeachments were better in the good old days

“The Impeachment Process Is Barely Functioning” (nytimes) is by Elizabeth Drew, “a journalist based in Washington who covered Watergate” (i.e., she is not in what the French would call “her first youth”).

When the process of impeachment drove President Richard Nixon from office in 1974, there was widespread celebration that “the system worked.” But the 1974 impeachment process may turn out to have been unique, a model for how it should work that has yet to be replicated — and perhaps never will be.

Today, there’s a president who feels free to completely stonewall an impeachment inquiry. Even Nixon did not deem the entire process illegitimate. Yes, he tried to hold back damning recordings of Oval Office conversations, but when he was overruled by the Supreme Court he turned the tapes over to Congress. He also held back some documents from the House Judiciary Committee — an act that formed the basis of an article of impeachment against him. But he allowed his aides to appear before the Senate Watergate Committee, helping to seal his own doom.

In other words, even impeachments were better in the good old days!

(Alternative formulation of the article: A member of the coastal elite does not understand why a non-member would vote differently than she votes.)

Separately, what about the members of the Senate who are themselves running for President in 2020? Do they vote to remove Trump from office because they think the Republicans, in a country of 330 million, can’t find anyone more appealing to the non-elites whose voting rights they forgot to take away? Or do they vote to keep the hated authoritarian in office, for fear that Nikki Haley shows up to ruin their fun from 2021 through 2029?

(Democrats says that Republicans are misogynist, which is why they wouldn’t vote for the obviously superior Hillary Clinton, but have they ever found a Republican who says “I think I prefer Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to Nikki Haley”?)

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White men correctly perceive American Jews as their enemies?

The Jew-hater-in-Chief is back in the news for his purported Jew-hatred:

The existence of white men who express hostility to American Jews is cited as proof that Trump is responsible for this hostility (and all of this is additional evidence for Trump’s proven stupidity, since only the dumbest of Jew-haters would choose to live in Manhattan and Palm Beach; Wikipedia: “The population of Palm Beach County is 20% Jewish, which makes it by far the most Jewish county in the United States. ‘To find a more densely populated Jewish community, you’d have to go to Israel,’ says Richard Jacobs, vice president of community planning for the Boca-based Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.”; NYC has the largest Jewish community outside of Israel).

But what if a white guy’s perception that American Jews are his enemies is accurate?

Suppose that a low-to-medium skill white man wants to earn money via working. This article by a Harvard economist says “The total wealth redistribution [due to low-skill immigration] from the native losers to the native winners is enormous, roughly a half-trillion dollars a year.” What political party promotes the low-skill immigration that will take money away from this white man via lower wages and higher rent and give it to rich Americans (they enjoy paying lower wages for their service workers and receiving higher rents for the apartment buildings that they own)? The Democrats. Although only 71 percent of Jews voted for Hillary Clinton (Wikipedia), groups that claim to be “Jewish” constantly remind Americans that adherence to the modern version of the Jewish faith compels them to vote for Democrats, support immigration, etc. (example: “The Jewish Case for Open Borders”, which notes “Jews have been especially active in this mobilization, driven by their social liberalism, their sense of religious duty, or both. Synagogue networks sprang up to offer aid to refugees, while groups like Jews United for Justice and Jewish Voice for Peace have been a visible presence at protest rallies.” (it would be interesting to run an experiment in which physicians and lawyers from around the globe show up and are immediately eligible to practice medicine/law in NYC, Los Angeles, DC, and Miami, then see whether “religious duty” compels Jews to support open borders!)).

An Orthodox friend expressed fears several years ago that the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (now “HIAS“) would lead to anti-Jewish sentiment in the U.S. The group started out by taking voluntary donations to help Jews settle in the U.S. Today they take taxpayer dollars (partly collected from low-to-medium-skill white men) to help “refugees” take up residence in corners of the U.S. that are far from the organization’s suburban Washington, D.C. and Manhattan offices. The organization also lobbies to demand that the government admit more refugees (which would translate into more revenue for HIAS). My friend pointed out that these refugees compete with natives for jobs and housing and that one day either a refugee or a child of a refugee brought in by HIAS might participate in a domestic jihad (see Omar Mateen, child of Aghan immigrants, Syed Rizwan Farook, child of Pakistani immigrants, and our local asylum winner: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev).

In October 2018, a 46-year-old white guy killed 11 mostly elderly Jews in Pittsburgh after their synagogue promoted its support for HIAS. The organization’s web site shows numerous recent articles doubling down on the idea that bringing more migrants to the U.S. is a specifically Jewish mission, e.g., “Jewish Groups Rally to #CloseTheCamps” (“Jewish groups across the country marked Tisha b’Av, the traditional Jewish day of mourning, on August 10-11 with vigils and protests to demand an end to the mistreatment of immigrants and refugees.”), “More Than 1500 Jewish Clergy Sign Petition to Protect Asylum” (“‘This country is a nation of immigrants, our story is one of immigration and travel from one place to another,’ said Rabbi Elyse Wechterman” (#SoBrave, but how many Hondurans are qualified to take her job?)), and “The Pittsburgh Attack: One Year Later” (“We cannot disentangle white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and anti-immigration sentiment because they are all bound together by hate” — but what if it was HIAS itself that bound together anti-Semitism and anti-immigration sentiment?).

Suppose that a white man is in between jobs. What political party advocates the continued legality of discrimination in employment such that he will be hired only if no acceptable applicants identifying as “women” or non-white are available? Again, the Democrats and again, publicly supported by people who call themselves “Jews.” (See also, the Anti-Defamation League supporting race-based college admissions; the 2018 “Reform Jewish Movement Condemns Decision to Roll Back Federal Affirmative Action Guidance”; a 2017 article noting that “Most mainstream Jewish organizations still support affirmative action.”)

American Jews are more likely than non-Jews to benefit from a larger government. Jews are over-represented in medicine by 7X (source, a bit misleading since I don’t think this is adjusted for the fact that median age among Jews is older than the U.S. median and an older person is more likely to have completed medical school). For anyone working in health care, the river of government cash that started flowing in the 1960s (Medicare and Medicaid) has been wonderful. Jews have more years of education than the average American (Pew) and therefore are more likely to get jobs at universities, which have been supported by federal student loan subsidies (and soon, loan forgiveness in Queen Elizabeth Warren’s jubilee year!), tuition grants, and research grants. Jews living in larger cities (that may be 97 percent of us) have benefited from the fact that a big government builds most of its lavish facilities in big cities. I don’t want to take the risk of being lumped in with the Jew-haters by implying that there are Jews who work in finance, but if there are indeed any Jews in this sector of the economy they’ve been advantaged by government policies favoring Wall Street. Jews tend to hold the credentials that qualify them for unionized government work, e.g., school teacher, social worker, etc. So they benefit when government payrolls are fattened and expanded.

Jewish Democrats will tell you that they’re voting for a bigger government not in order to line their own pockets, but because of their commitment to social justice, which they say may be inspired by their Jewish faith and identity. But what stops a white man who can’t access these rivers of government cash from resenting these Jews and disbelieving their claims of altruism? (When queried, my coastal-dwelling Jewish friends simply dismiss the possibility that there is anyone who could have voted against the Democrats for reasons of rational self-interest; in their view, Trump voters, for example, are stupid and short-sighted, and fail to realize that they are stupidly voting against their own self-interest, e.g., because Planet Earth will be destroyed by climate change without the Democrats in charge of the federal government.)

Hypothetical: Suppose that the coastal elites forgot to take away the right of the non-elite non-welfare-collecting Americans to vote. And then a candidate who promised to advocate for the interests of those who weren’t poor enough to collect welfare and weren’t credentialed enough to get on the government payroll actually became President of the United States? Then a bunch of Jews simultaneously showed up to Congress to try to get rid of this person? Would a non-elite white guy then be irrational to perceive Jews as his enemies?

Reality: “Three of the impeachment witness lawyers were Jewish, and it matters”:

And while the officials who appeared before Schiff’s committee were fact witnesses who described the events surrounding the Ukraine scandal, Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., brought three witnesses — all constitutional scholars — that he hoped would outline a theory of impeachment.

All three witnesses are Jewish: Noah Feldman of Harvard, Pamela Karlan of Stanford and Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina. So are Schiff and Nadler, and so was the Democrats’ counsel who directed the first 45 minutes of questioning, Norm Eisen.

I.e., if you were a Trump voter watching the above on TV and someone called from the kitchen to ask what was going on, you would be literally correct in saying that “a bunch of Jews are trying to undo my vote”. Of course, it wouldn’t be correct to say that “all Jews are trying to undo my vote,” but that’s a logical correction, not an emotional one.

Maybe the majority of American Jews do wish to continue their efforts to harm the interests and undo the votes of roughly 25 percent of Americans (i.e., the white men who voted for Trump). But is it then reasonable to cry “anti-Semitism” if the non-elite white men object to being harmed and disenfranchised?

Readers: What do you think? Given the increased power of government, the dramatic effect of government policies, and the tendency of American Jews to support a particular party/platform, is it possible that the irrational anti-Jewish sentiment of the 19th century has been replaced by rational anti-Jewish sentiment, motivated by anger at the reported actions of Americans who identify as Jews (and are willing to go to any length, short of practicing Judaism, to maintain that identity!).

Separately, could the relationship between Jews and those who currently experience anti-Jewish feelings be repaired? I think so. After 56 years and 50 states (see Travels with Samantha for some of these conversations), I can’t remember meeting anyone in the U.S. who hated Jews as individuals, even those who expressed negative views about the actions of Jews in politics, Jews in media, and/or Jews in finance. Suppose, for example, that in response to any question on low-skill immigration, upper-income degree-holding Jews said “We don’t have any special insight into migration-into-a-cradle-to-grave-welfare-state issues as a consequence of our Jewish heritage and therefore we should let the low-wage native workers who will bear the cost decide policy.” Suppose that Jews quietly voted their self-interest by voting for bigger government, but didn’t use Jewish-owned media (NYT!) to broadcast “anyone who disagrees that the government needs to be bigger is a moron and/or immoral.” Suppose that Jews who are passionate about social justice used their own money to fund private efforts to accomplish social justice goals, e.g., building homes for the homeless, rather than using the political process to try to force people who don’t agree that these goals are appropriate targets of government efforts to pay higher taxes. Given that lobbying the government is the most lucrative investment an American can make (Heritage Foundation), it is a big ask to request that Jews with political connections do something other than politics, but maybe they could try to avoid all showing up at the same time to the same hearing as they did recently?

Related:

  • this Showtime clip (“Look at that fine-looking Jew” (towards end))
  • “Donald Trump Is Bad for the Jews” (Paul Krugman): “this particular anti-Semitic cliché — that Jews are greedy, and that their political behavior is especially driven by their financial interests — is empirically dead wrong.” The brilliant economist notes that some high-income Jews vote for Democrats, which he credits as altruistic due to the potential for higher tax rates, but never considers that these Jews may derive their income from government spending programs and/or regulatory regimes that Democrats promise to maintain and expand. A physician earning $300,000/year from Medicare and Obamacare may have different interests than the owner of an aircraft repair business who earns the same $300,000/year (see also “Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout” from 2016: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”).
  • “The epidemic of bomb threats against
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Will Democrats go to the UK over Christmas break to impeach Boris Johnson?

The Trump impeachment is mostly done and Congress will soon be taking its Christmas break (a deranged criminal running an enterprise that has thousands of nuclear weapons and spends $100 billion per week is bad, but not so bad that you’d want to stay at your desk during late December/early January?).

My understanding of today’s news is that the UK turned out to have a larger-than-expected supply of voters who refused to follow instructions from their intellectual superiors. Thus, Boris Johnson is firmly in charge and Brexit is actually happening? Maybe our Democrats could use their Christmas break to fly over to the UK and impeach the illegitimately elected Mr. Johnson?

Related:

  • Wikipedia on the UK Labour Party, which lost: “an alliance of social democrats, democratic socialists and trade unionists. The party’s platform emphasises greater state intervention, social justice and strengthening workers’ rights.” (i.e., deplorables in the UK actually voted against justice)
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China proves that one-party rule makes people happier?

I met a lot of people in China who were unhappy with some of the Chinese government’s policies, notably the Great Firewall and control of the media (the stuff that is used to whip up Westerners’ outrage was not foremost in their minds; nobody mentioned the Uyghurs and when I asked the response was that the potential for domestic jihad required some tough policies, the Hong Kong situation was regrettable, but not obviously the government’s fault).

The level of personal bitterness regarding politics was much lower than in the U.S. To the extent that anyone was blamed, it was a handful of leaders at the top of the Communist Party, not fellow citizens. (The Party has roughly 90 million members, or 6 percent of the population, but this includes people with ordinary jobs as farmers, for example.)

Contrast to the U.S. Even in a one-party state, such as California, there is bitterness and hatred. Bay Area Californians, for example, blame the Republican remnant down in Orange County for preventing them from implementing their Socialist dream (somehow a Republican in Orange County is stopping San Francisco from taxing residents to pay for housing for the homeless, universal health care for San Francisco residents, and the rest of the dream? why can’t folks in the Bay Area give up their Teslas and foreign vacations and move the tent people into apartments?).

On a nationwide scale, given the roughly even split among voters, we are virtually guaranteed to have 50 percent of Americans blaming the other 50 percent for voting for whichever party is currently in power (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2019/11/22/coastal-elite-hatred-of-trump-voters-explained/ for example). This does not happen in China. One business executive said “I explain our politics to friends from Texas by saying ‘imagine that the mafia took over control of Dallas.'” Certainly he seems to have little affection for the Party (referring to them as a “mafia”), but he recognizes that there is nothing he can do to change it and that none of his neighbors are to blame for the Party’s control of China. So he concentrates on his business, his family, and his friends, enjoying what he says is a superior lifestyle to what he had in New York City (elite U.S. MBA and job at a top Wall Street bank). He says that there is more practical freedom of speech in China compared to the U.S.: “In China, the Party is clear about what they don’t want you to disagree with publicly,” he noted. “but in the U.S. the boundaries of acceptable speech change from week to week.”

How about freedom of the press? That’s an unqualified good, right? We love the First Amendment, I hope (though we don’t want “hate speech” or anything that makes us and our allies feel unsafe). Consider the New York Times. They run article after article intended to make the majority of Americans resentful of our richest neighbors. These include statistics on inequality that are cooked by valuing the services that a poor American receives at $0. So a person who is guaranteed the lifetime (and often multi-generational) right to live in a $1 million market-value unit in the center of a gleaming city, guaranteed a $30,000/year market-rate family health insurance policy, guaranteed a lifetime of free food and free smarthphone service, etc. is considered to be poorer than the poorest resident of Malawi.

Even if the data were not cooked to the point of absurdity, an article about inequality in the broad economy has no value to more than 95 percent of Americans. Unless they live in a swing state, their vote does not count and they have no influence on national politics. The English-language media in China contains a lot of puff pieces on the good works done by the Chinese government, e.g., flatland Chinese troops who are stationed in Tibet rescuing injured tourists, but the propaganda angle is clear and the reader can ignore it all if desired. Consider how much time Americans spend obsessively tracking the Mueller report (see my recent bookstore photos from Denver), the quest for Trump’s tax returns, the impeachment process soon to be entering its fourth year, etc. Except for those who are in Congress, wouldn’t they have been better off using that time for dinner with friends, reading a book, or learning new skill? Here’s a selection of English news offered at my hotels:

(Note that government control of traditional media has, according to locals, no effect on their practical access to information. “We can learn anything we want about Hong Kong on social media,” said a 24-year-old.)

Maybe the system of government as conceived by our Founding Fathers was a good one (especially since it came with the ability to steal the rest of North America from the Native Americans, which the British had prohibited), but stretched from 3 million to 330 million and combined with a reader-hungry media it results in unhappiness? Or maybe democracy itself is inherently a system in which neighbor will end up hating neighbor (or spouse)? Every government policy results in winners and losers (even building a bridge will harm the livelihood of people who previously operated ferries) and therefore every government policy has voters on both sides. Folks who are harmed by a government policy will therefore inevitably come to hate a majority of their fellow citizens on that issue (since presumably it wouldn’t be a policy if a majority of voters did not support it)? The mutual hatred level gets amped up considerably when people take the position that their vote on an issue is due to their passion for “justice” (a universal) rather than simply self interest (potentially personal).

Not being a Mandarin speaker, it is a bit tough to say whether people are actually happier in China than in the U.S. overall. Out and about, the Chinese actually did seem more content, consistent with the Gallup Global Emotions survey. 87% of Chinese experienced “enjoyment” versus 82% of Americans, an achievement given that the GDP per capita is lower in China; “worry” was at 29% in China and 45% in the U.S. (imagine how worrying it is for a Californian or New Yorker to think about what crimes Trump might commit next!), “anger” and “sadness” were substantially lower in China as well. Despite consuming more opioids than the rest of the world combined, Americans experienced more “pain” than people in China! Maybe we all need higher doses of fentanyl?

Family life in China seems happier. Maybe it is the one-child convention (no longer a law), but it was common to see married couples out with their cherished offspring as a unit of 3. In the U.S., by contrast, Parent A might be with Child 1 at Activity X while Parent B is with Child 2 at Activity Y. (Or the child might have only one parent, incentivized with welfare and/or child support cash, unlike in China where being a “single parent” from the start is simply illegal.)

A 1996 photo series, Standard Family, by Wang Jinsong. From the (awesome) Power Station of Art.

Readers: What aspect of American political and press freedom actually contributes to the happiness of Americans?

Related:

  • trust in fellow citizens in China versus the U.S. (63 percent versus 38 percent who say “most people can be trusted”; China is at about the same level as Sweden (certainly Shanghai taxi drivers are a lot more trustworthy than their old-school New York counterparts!))
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Speechless in Seattle

“Amid outcry, Seattle Public Library weighs decision to provide venue for ‘radical feminist’ event criticized as anti-trans” (Seattle Times):

Community members including transgender locals and trans allies have inundated the Seattle Public Library with calls and emails, asking the library system to cancel an upcoming event hosted by the Women’s Liberation Front— a self-described “radical feminist organization” that has publicly espoused what critics call anti-trans views.

The group’s event, titled “Fighting the New Misogyny: A Feminist Critique of Gender Identity,” is publicized as “a critical analysis of gender identity” that will “make powerful arguments for sex-based women’s rights,” according to the event page. The event, scheduled to be held Feb. 1 in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library – Central Branch, has placed the library at the center of a firestorm over how it can maintain its commitment to evolving ideas of intellectual freedom, provide access to information for the entire community, and be an inclusive space where all patrons feel safe and welcome.

Sometimes the best way to be inclusive is to exclude!

The library bureaucrats had only the best of intentions in selecting the kind of speech that would be allowed in this taxpayer-funded venue:

Marcellus Turner, chief librarian for the Seattle Public Library (SPL), said in a statement that the event request from the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) was initially processed because it was labeled as a women’s-rights talk.

What if government bureaucrats are too busy to censor and deplatform on their own? Help is available from Alabama:

WoLF is not listed as a hate group in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s extensive documentation of such groups in the U.S.

(If the SPLC lists WoLF next year, they can do another story about how hate is thriving under the hated Hater in Chief: “Hate groups reach record high: The number of hate groups operating across America rose to a record high – 1,020 – in 2018 as President Trump continued to fan the flames of white resentment over immigration and the country’s changing demographics.”; note that the same SPLC page says that the number of hate groups in 2011 was 1,018. U.S. population was only 311.6 million in 2011 while it is 330.1 million today and therefore the number of hate groups per capita has actually fallen by roughly 6 percent. The Age of Trump is the dawning of a new Age of Brotherhood/Sisterhood/BinaryResisterhood?)

Below, the proposed venue in which attendees may be triggered by hearing that “Women are female and men are male. It’s just not complicated,” from “Kara Dansky, a lawyer, WoLF board member and a scheduled speaker at February’s event.” If anyone needs to run out to find a safe space, he/she/ze will have a $166 million palace of hardcopy books in which to seek shelter. What turned out to be a Rem Koolhaas homeless shelter opened three years before the Amazon Kindle was launched from the same city (2004 and 2007):

Related:

  • “Is LGBTQIA the most popular social justice cause because it does not require giving money?“: “Seemingly at least half of the retail stores in Seattle have an overt expression of support for the LGBTQIA community, e.g., a rainbow flag. Americans identifying as LGBTQIA are not half of the population, right? Why would stores managed and staffed by cisgender heterosexuals hang rainbow flags outside of Pride Month? Maybe folks in Seattle are unusually big-hearted and sympathetic to the vulnerable and victimized? Evidence against that theory is the enormous population of homeless who wander the streets and receive no assistance or attention from passersby. The good citizens of Seattle will step over a homeless person to get into a Tesla and drive to the rainbow flag shop. I didn’t see any store with a sign admonishing customers to do more or care more for the homeless or the poor.”
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“Transferism” as a term for our prevailing political philosophy?

It seldom strikes me as correct when an American is referred to as being “right wing” or “leftist”. These 230-year-old terms are vague to the point of being useless. Wikipedia:

Leftist economic beliefs range from Keynesian economics and the welfare state through industrial democracy and the social market to nationalization of the economy and central planning, to the anarcho-syndicalist advocacy of a council- and assembly-based self-managed anarchist communism.

Similarly, people who are characterized as “liberal” or “conservative” seldom have a coherent political philosophy. “Socialism” is also a vague term. In the Soviet Union it meant that everyone had to work, even mothers of young children, for example. In the U.S., the same word has become associated with the idea that nobody has to work, especially not mothers (e.g., “single moms” or “welfare moms”).

“Transferism, Not Socialism, Is the Drug Americans Are Hooked On” (from the FEE folks who tilt at windmills in the belief that there are a significant number of Americans who want a market economy) delves into this question of terminology.

Socialism is state control of the means of production. The intent is that these means are to be used for the public good. By contrast, capitalism is simply private ownership of the means of production. The intent is that these means are to be used to advance the interests of those who own them, which will in turn create conditions of general prosperity that can be enjoyed by all.

It appears that what Americans really have in mind when they think about socialism is not an economic system but particular economic outcomes. And their thoughts seem to focus most often on the question of what people should have. The answer they arrive at most often? More than people typically get in a system based on the pursuit of profit. Capitalism, they believe, is immoral because it is a system in which some do without while others have more than they could hope to use in multiple lifetimes.

Transferism Is a More Accurate Term

These four in ten Americans, and the politicians who speak for them most vocally, are not advocating socialism at all; they are advocating what we should really call “transferism.” Transferism is a system in which one group of people forces a second group to pay for things that the people believe they, or some third group, should have. Transferism isn’t about controlling the means of production. It is about the forced redistribution of what’s produced.

Federal transfers to persons have risen from 11 percent of federal spending in 1953 to 53 percent today. As with persons, the federal government also sends transfers to state and local governments. Federal transfers to persons and state and local governments have risen from 17 percent of federal spending in 1953 to 69 percent today. As of today, almost 70 percent of what the federal government does involves simply taking money from one group of people and giving it to another. Less than one-third of the money Washington spends is spent in the name of actual governance.

Readers: What do you think? Is transferism a more precise term than those that are thrown around in an attempt to characterize Americans’ political wishes?

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