40 thoughts on “Yes, Milos Forman

  1. Kurt

    Of course the New York Times knows that the only way to deny the obvious is to have someone write a piece which changes the meaning of a key term or employs it so narrowly that it doesn’t necessarily apply. The editors at the Times know that most of their readers will read it and accept it as fact and not think twice about the many flaws in the argument’s premises. It’s easier to propagandize that way.

  2. Al

    It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

    Doublespeak: The new official language of The Paper of Record.

  3. Bilwick

    I kepp asking “liberals” who claim “Il Dufe” is a moderate, gievn Obama’s Red Diaper Baby childhood, receiving his “dreams” from a dad who believed in 100% taxation and getting further tutelage from his other boyhood role-model, Uncle Frank the Red; then his adult life hanging out with people like Bill Ayers and the socialist New Party and attending Rev. Wright’s First African Zion Church of Neo- Marxist Voodoo–where, after all that, were the moderating anti-socialist influences? And what exactly did he mean when he told Joe the Plumber that wealth is better when “you spread it around”? If you find the sound of crickets chirping relaxing–or just enjoy “liberals” clapping their hands on their ears and chanting “LA-LA-LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!”–try asking these questions to “liberals” you know. It’s fun to watch ‘em squirm.

    1. Chris Gerrib

      Bilwick – half of your screed is guilt by association (in some cases, to people Obama barely even knew), the other half (spreading the wealth) is actually sound Christian doctrine.

      1. Rand Simberg Post author

        The notion that Obama “barely even knew” Frank Marshall Davis, Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright is lunacy. And it is not Christian doctrine to spread the wealth at gunpoint.

        1. Chris Gerrib

          Obama didn’t say “spread the wealth at gunpoint.” He said it would be good to spread the wealth around.

          Obama certainly barely knew is father – they only met once. His only interaction with Ayers was at one fundraiser and occasional board meetings. We’re not actually sure that “Frank” in the autobiography is Frank Marshall Davis, and Obama’s interaction with him would be when Obama was a child. Nor does Obama write favorably of Frank, saying he was “stuck in a ’60s’ time warp.”

          All of this is still guilt by association. It also misrepresents socialism. Socialism is government ownership of the means of production, not “things libertarians don’t like.”

          1. Larry J

            Taxation is spreading the wealth via gunpoint. Try not paying your taxes and see how quickly armed federal agents come knocking at your door to arrest you. It isn’t charity if it’s by force. Compulsory charity is as big an oxymoron as mandatory volunteerism or civil servant.

          2. Titus

            Obama didn’t say “spread the wealth at gunpoint.”

            Obama was talking about tax policy. Guns most certainly back-up the the IRS’s cheerful suggestion that you pay them.

          3. Kurt

            “Obama barely knew his father,” true enough, but that didn’t keep him from titling his first autobiography Dreams From My Father. Who channels “dreams” from a parent he hardly knew as a way of creating his public identity? Likewise, he could have continued to go by Barry and he could have continued to use Soetero, the last name of his step-father (as Bill Clinton used the last name of his stepfather), but note that he changed back to his full name–his father’s name–when he decided it was personally and politically convenient to do so.

      2. wodun

        Problem being that all of Obama’s associates are socialist or socialist wannabes. Obama might not call his philosophy socialism, he will call it some other euphemism that just happens to be nearly identical to socialism.

        Conversations with leftists on the presence of socialists at the highest levels of the Democrat party go like this.

        “There are no socialists.”

        “Ok then what about x, y, and z people who are all self admitted socialists.”

        “There is nothing wrong with socialists.”

        “Great so you admit socialists play a prominent role organizing the Democrat party and developing their political philosophy.”

        “There are no socialists in the Democrat party.”

        “But we just talked about three different examples of socialists in the Democrat leadership.”

        “Stop trying to take away freedom of speech.”

        “Umm what? I was just pointing out what they said, no one is trying to censor their speech. It would be kind of nice if they were up front about their beliefs.”

        “This sounds racist.”

  4. Rand Simberg Post author

    Of course he didn’t literally say that. Leftists rarely say explicitly what they want to do. But taxing one group of people and handing the loot over to another is spreading the wealth by gunpoint.

    Live on in your fantasy world, Chris. It won’t help this fall.

    1. Bob-1

      I like how all laws can be described accurately but more dramatically by adding “at gunpoint!” to their descriptions.

      For example, dog walking laws can be accurately described as
      “Stopping dogs from taking a poop — at gunpoint!”

      Prostitution laws can be accurately described as
      “Stopping people from having sex — at gunpoint!”

      Federal election laws can be accurately described as
      “Giving people the opportunity to vote at gunpoint!”

      And how about our beloved Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS)?

      “Developing a better space launch systems, using the ingenuity and competitive spirit of private enterprise, at gunpoint!” (COTSAG!)

      1. Titus

        I like how all laws can be described accurately

        Gerrib, you’ve even lost Bob-1 on this. Time to retreat.

          1. Bob-1

            How could I forget Wisconsin? State legislatures provide one of the funniest examples of “at gunpoint!” laws.

            For example, consider this one (picked pretty much at random) on motorcycle safety awareness month:
            https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2011/related/proposals/sjr71

            The law’s text says the law provides all “Wisconsin motorists with an opportunity to rededicate themselves to the highest standards of highway safety”.

            Yeah, they can rededicate themselves — at gunpoint!

            For extra giggles, here’s the very last paragraph of the law. I’m not making this up. This is the exact text:

            “Resolved, That the senate chief clerk shall provide a copy of this joint resolution to A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments (ABATE) of Wisconsin, an organization that is actively promoting the safe operation of motorcycles, increased motorcycle rider training, and increased motorist awareness of motorcycles.”

            So, in other words, they really rubbed it in the face of the Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments! At gunpoint!

          2. Bob-1

            No, I really did remember. I just think the subject is funny.
            Ok, so were you against the Governors’ action?

            When you say “at gunpoint” with regard to taxes, I think you’re being over-dramatic. Are you against lawful society? Or more specifically, are you against laws themselves? If so, then all the silly caricatures of small-l libertarians aren’t so wrong after all. If not, then why only say “at gunpoint” when it comes to taxes? Why not say it with regard to all sorts of laws? In general, laws are passed by majorities, and some minority doesn’t like them (and the courts and constitution protect the minorities, etc). Why are taxes so different, that only they get the “at gunpoint” suffix?

          3. Rand Simberg Post author

            Bob-1, are you really unaware that when these laws are actually enforced, it is literally at gunpoint, if someone chooses to disobey them?

            Do you have a problem with that? Or are you in denial?

            What is your point?

          4. Titus

            Well, Bob, coming up as a poor, urban kid, I’ve seen more than my fair share of police gun barrels, but I understand how someone with a more privileged background would be cavalier about the situation. If the legislators learned a lesson, I’m tempted to say it was worthwhile, but I’m guessing most of them learned nothing, likely too long in the years and ideological trenches to be anything but recalcitrant.

            As for the rest of your questions, yes, I’ve seen libertarians raise this issue many times — “is this an issue we want to potentially kill people over?” Seat-belt laws, immigration, abortion, you name it. Sometimes they seem like the only ones who appreciate the real consequences of violence.

        1. Bob-1

          Rand, as Titus noticed, I didn’t deny that gunpoint ultimately backs the enforcement of laws. (Not always in practice, but that’s not my point.)

          My point is that the “at gunpoint” suffix only seems to come up with regard to taxes. Other laws are not described here as being “at gunpoint”. “At gunpoint” makes people think of either highway robbery or jack-booteded uniforms — both quite unpleasant – and this doesn’t really doesn’t tell the story of what lawful society in a free country is like.

          In the USA, the police point their guns only after the laws are (thought to be) violated. If the police were constantly pointing their guns at people who were clearly following the law, no one would put up with it.

          When you say “pay taxes at gunpoint”, you’re making it sound like the tax payer is thought by the police to be a lawbreaker, whereas in reality, if a person pays taxes, no guns will be pointed at them. (And of course, no guns will likely to be pointed even if someone doesn’t pay their taxes, but that’s not my point, although it does show how over-dramatic it is to add the “at gunpoint” whenever you are talking about taxes.)

          If “lawful dogwalking at gunpoint” sounds silly to you, then “paying taxes at gunpoint” should sound silly too.

          1. Rand Simberg Post author

            If “lawful dogwalking at gunpoint” sounds silly to you, then “paying taxes at gunpoint” should sound silly too.

            The former sounds silly only because I am unaware of any laws requiring one to walk one’s dog. But I expect one any day.

            You are not helping yourself here.

          2. Bob-1

            Local laws in urban areas (and many less dense suburban areas) often say “You must pick up after your dog”. People often obey that law, and walk their dogs carrying little baggies and pick up after them.

            It sounds silly to me to say that they are picking up their dog’s poop at gunpoint, but it is true that the law is ultimately enforced with force, and it is true that the people dutifully (pun intended) following the law by picking up poop are at risk of getting a ticket accompanied by a fine. These people are following the law just as much as they are when they pay their taxes.

            People don’t literally pick up poop at gunpoint, but they don’t literally pay their taxes at gunpoint either. I really do take everyone’s point that the law is backed by the threat of force. It just sounds silly to say that they are picking up poop at gunpoint, even figuratively, and the same true when they follow the law regarding taxes. Saying “pay taxes at gunpoint” is just as silly as “picking up dog poop at gunpoint”.

          3. Rand Simberg Post author

            Neither phrase is “silly,” and both are true, regardless of your attempt to avoid reality. It is useful to keep the phrases in mind when making political decisions. What is so important that you want it to happen at gunpoint?

            Preventing murder, yes. Preventing rape, yes. Funding the national defense, yes.

            What else?

  5. wodun

    Chris it might shock you to know that Obama was actually a member of a socialist political party in Chicago. So is it guilt by association to point out that Obama actually joined a group who’s goal was to bring socialism to America?

    When a person actually goes out of their way to join a group it shows that that person identifys with that groups goals and ethos. It isn’t guilt by association it is guilt by participation.

  6. Godzilla

    In the EU we call those who defend market social economic models socialists. The people defending Soviet style planned economies or the so called dictatorship of the proletariat are called communists. Socialism was an ongoing phenomenon in Europe where people demanded equal rights or improved social conditions which Marx attempted to appropriate when he wrote the Communist Manifesto. You will not find any socialists in Europe defending Marx’s proposals to abolish the right of inheritance or abolition of property. In fact the France which is derided in the article as ‘socialist’ has privatized tap water while in the US tap water is state controlled. In China, which some idiots in the US claim to be more capitalist than the EU or even the US, all transportation, communications, or energy sector related activities are state owned and this even extends to their banking system.

    1. wodun

      The OWS types in the EU are totally against inheritance and private property does that make them communist or socialist or something in-between? I’ll go with in-between because they probably don’t line up with either and go overboard in their own unique way.

      1. Godzilla

        We have some of those. They are either self-professed anarchists, watermelons, trotskyists, or crypto-comunists. We also have crypto-nazis. That is one of the problems with having actual multi-party democracies rather than two-party democracies like the US. Some of the people running for office are completely bonkers and thankfully they are usually ignored. However lately the economic situation in the EU has been so bad that these people keep popping up especially in the worst affected countries. These guys and their opponents on the other side of the spectrum are one example.

        The socialists in the EU are these guys. These other guys are the rehashed communists. There are even worse but I won’t bother listing them here.

  7. ken anthony

    This is the problem with labels and words generally. The jail house lawyers among us will always find nits to pick.

    “At gunpoint” is a twisting of “force.” Force taking many forms from mild coercion to death, gunpoint or otherwise. Socialist can be generalized to force upon personal property.

    Trying to make casual acquaintances out of people that had major involvement in his life over many years of time just doesn’t wash…

    …except among the koolaid drinkers.

    The more you twist (words, et. al.) the stupider you look or do you think that Bill talking about what is, is made him look like a genius?

    Obama can say anything he wants. His actions speak louder. His brand of ‘Christianity’ is liberation theology which says Jesus was a Marxist. Chris also believing that sharing is the same as ‘spreading the wealth.’ They are not and Chris, you should do some serious self examination to determine why you are not able to perceive the distinction.

    Stephanopoulos might have given him the save but his Muslim faith is evident by his actions and his words.

    Obama is exactly what he is. No spin will change that.

  8. Bilwick

    “Bilwick – half of your screed is guilt by association (in some cases, to people Obama barely even knew), the other half (spreading the wealth) is actually sound Christian doctrine.”

    OK, so Obama’s a socialist theocrat as well. (Also, please find me the passage in the New Testament that tells us that God authorizes coercive wealth distribution. Not that I care, because I’m an atheist, ande if you were to prove Yahweh is a State-socialist, my reaction would be, “Well, that’s just the kind of stupid deity Obama and Chris Gerrib would worship.” But just because I have an academic interest in the Bible.

    What’s wrong with guilt by association anyway? If Obama, say, grew up in a Mafia family and spent his whole life associating with Mafiosi, and told Joe the Plumber “Wealth is better when we spread it around–and by ‘we” I mean, of course, me and my associates, Moose and Rocco,”–well, of course, it wouldn’t PROVE Obama a member of the Mafia, but it would make me leery of giving him the key to the treasury.

    And you would think that with all Obama’s socialist and communist associates and associations*–and he WEREN’T actually a socialist himself–you would think his defenders would actually try to show some libertarian strain in his thought or some pro-free-market people he hung around with on a regular, long-standing basis. I mean, he DID join the New Party, not the Libertarian Party. And if he isn’t a socialist, why on earth would be join the New Party? To be the one libertarian gadfly in the group, getting his jollies by pointing out how stupid the rest of them are? (That’s the reason I might join the New Party, but not the kind of reason I would.)

  9. Dave

    The author of the article writes: “Most conservatives favor a social safety net, adequate health care, and other common-sense measures.” I can’t see how favoring a “social safety net” doesn’t make most conservatives “socialists” as well.

  10. Bilwick

    “The author of the article writes: ‘Most conservatives favor a social safety net, adequate health care, and other common-sense measures.” I can’t see how favoring a ‘social safety net’ doesn’t make most conservatives “socialists” as well.”

    It might make them quasi-socialists–or more likely “social metaphysicians” who still somehow want the Hive to like them–but it makes them libertarians compared to Obama and the other statist clowns in that New Party he belonged to.

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