Social Justice and Fascism

Coughlin Social Justice NYC

Coughlin Social Justice NYC

Original Image

Ran into an interesting bit of trivia, via Wikipedia no less. Seems that in their zeal, the zealots sometimes don’t notice that others are watching. At any rate, the “Classical Liberal” page is marked as being locked down from edits (one presumes because the Socialists have been busy putting mud all over it… that seems to be a constant problem with the Wiki. It’s not just the Global Warming pages where folks on the Left are run amok). At any rate, I saved a copy. Then went off to look at the Social Liberal page for comparison (it is not locked, so there is no reciprocal graffiti going on here. That, too, fits the observed pattern of conservative folks being polite and not indulging in such dirty tricks). At any rate, long story short, I found an interesting connection ‘down in the weeds’.

If you follow the Socialist Liberal page, you find that they are claimed to be different as they support “Social Justice”. (I’ve already become sensitized to this as having become code words for “Socialist Agenda” in practical application). So I took a peek at the Wiki for that topic. It has this gem:

Social Justice was also the name of a periodical published by Father Coughlin in the 1930s and early 1940s. Coughlin’s organization was known as the National Union for Social Justice and he frequently used the term social justice in his radio broadcasts. In 1935 Coughlin made a series of broadcasts in which he outlined what he termed “the Christian principles of social justice” as an alternative to both capitalism and communism. Some Catholic contemporaries, such as the Catholic Radical Alliance, felt that he misused the term, and was too supportive of capitalism.

Now there were several things that this “set off” for me. One was a load of memories about “Father Coughlin”, another was the connection to the Fascist “Third Way” that was intended to make a path between the twin perils of Capitalism and Communism (that ‘alternative to both’ line) and the other is the interesting ‘religious’ nature of ‘social justice’. There are many religious links to its history. Including that it started in Catholicism, but more on that below.

The most interesting bit is that when you look up Father Coughlin, you find this in the wiki (at least, as I’m typing… but the Leftist Revisionists will likely go change history if they notice this posting, as they have done before… but that’s OK, I’ve already saved a copy of the page…)

Charles Coughlin
(Redirected from Father Coughlin)

Father Charles Edward Coughlin (pronounced /ˈkɒɡlɪn/ COG-lin; October 25, 1891 – October 27, 1979) was a controversial Roman Catholic priest at Royal Oak, Michigan’s National Shrine of the Little Flower Church. He was one of the first political leaders to use radio to reach a mass audience, as more than thirty million tuned to his weekly broadcasts during the 1930s. Early in his career Coughlin was a vocal supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and his early New Deal proposals, before later becoming a harsh critic of Roosevelt as too friendly to bankers. In 1934 he announced a new political organization called the “Nation’s Union of Social Justice.” He wrote a platform calling for monetary reforms, the nationalization of major industries and railroads, and protection of the rights of labor. The membership ran into the millions, resembling the Populist movement of the 1890s.

After hinting at attacks on Jewish bankers, Coughlin began to use his radio program to issue antisemitic commentary, and later to rationalize some of the policies of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The broadcasts have been called “a variation of the Fascist agenda applied to American culture”. His chief topics were political and economic rather than religious, with his slogan being Social Justice, first with, and later against, the New Deal. Many American bishops as well as the Vatican wanted him silenced, but it was the Roosevelt administration that finally forced the cancellation of his radio program and forbade the dissemination through the post of his newspaper, Social Justice.

Ah, gotta love it. TOO Left even for FDR who had him censored (not wanting too much freedom of speech, these folks on the Social Liberal left…banning the sending of a newspaper through the mail…) So what is this “Social Justice”? Why, it’s “the Fascist agenda applied to American culture” and what are those agenda items? MORE radical left that FDRs “New Deal” and nationalizations… including harsher treatment of bankers, and nationalization of rail roads and major industries. Oh, and more support for “rights of labor” (that we presume means more direct control of the capital stock of the nation).

So good old Father Coughlin knew that Fascism was first kin of Socialism and that Social Justice was a socialist agenda writ large in the Fascist style…

Coughlin’s support for Roosevelt and his New Deal faded later in 1934, when he founded the National Union for Social Justice (NUSJ), a nationalistic worker’s rights organization which grew impatient with what it viewed as the President’s unconstitutional and pseudo-capitalistic monetary policies. His radio programs preached more and more about the negative influence of “money changers” and “permitting a group of private citizens to create money” at the expense of the general welfare of the public. He also spoke about the need for monetary reform based on “free silver”. Coughlin claimed that the Depression was a “cash famine”. Some modern economic historians, in part, agree with this assessment. Coughlin proposed monetary reforms, including the nationalization of the Federal Reserve System, as the solution.

Shades of “wealth redistribution” and “welfare”…

Among the NUSJ’s articles of faith were work and income guarantees, nationalizing “necessary” industry, wealth redistribution through taxation of the wealthy, federal protection of worker’s unions, and decreasing property rights in favor of the government controlling the country’s assets for “public good.”

My, but that sounds rather a lot like the Democratic Obama administration’s agenda now… What is the difference between “living wage with welfare” and “income guarantees”? The essential nationalizing of GM and much of the financial system via ‘bailouts’ and the takeover of health care? We’ve already got federal protection of unions; and the erosion of “property rights” via a variety of regulation and mandates is pretty well underway too.

Illustrative of his disdain for capitalism is his statement

We maintain the principle that there can be no lasting prosperity if free competition exists in industry. Therefore, it is the business of government not only to legislate for a minimum annual wage and maximum working schedule to be observed by industry, but also to curtail individualism that, if necessary, factories shall be licensed and their output shall be limited.

So, stamp out the evil ‘free competition’ and substitute for it the planned controlled and directed model (commonly called either Fascism or Socialism) as part of a drive for Social Justice. Minimum Wage? Check. Maximum work hours? Check. Curtailing individualism? Check. Factories licensed? Check. Sure looks like a lot of his agenda has been achieved…

After the 1936 election, Coughlin increasingly expressed sympathy for the fascist policies of Hitler and Mussolini as an antidote to Bolshevism. His weekly broadcasts became suffused with antisemitic themes. He blamed the Depression on an “international conspiracy of Jewish bankers”, and also claimed that Jewish bankers were behind the Russian Revolution. On November 27, 1938, he said “There can be no doubt that the Russian Revolution … was launched and fomented by distinctively Jewish influence.”

He began publication of a weekly rotogravure magazine, Social Justice, during this period. Coughlin claimed that Marxist atheism in Europe was a Jewish plot against America. The December 5, 1938 issue of Social Justice included an article by Coughlin which, according to some accounts, too closely resembled a speech made by Joseph Goebbels on September 13, 1935 attacking Jews, atheists and communists, with some sections being copied verbatim by Coughlin from an English translation of the Goebbels speech.

Gee… kind of making it harder and harder to keep that Fascist connection out of the Social Justice movement inside of Socialism…

History can be a terrible master…

Oh, and why do we have a licence to broadcast? Why, because The Left of FDR did not like public criticism, even from someone who was saying he was not far enough left!

In spite of his early support for Roosevelt, Coughlin’s populist message contained bitter attacks on the Roosevelt administration. The administration decided that although the First Amendment protected free speech, it did not necessarily apply to broadcasting, because the radio spectrum was a “limited national resource” and regulated as a publicly owned commons. New regulations and restrictions were created to force Coughlin off the air. For the first time, operating permits were required of those who were regular radio broadcasters. When Coughlin’s permit was denied, he was temporarily silenced. Coughlin worked around the restriction by purchasing air time and having his speeches played via transcription. However, having to buy the weekly air time on individual stations seriously reduced his reach and strained his resources.

“Fairness Doctrine” anyone? The power to license is the power to silence. That was what it was created to do in the first place… And folks wonder why I’m against having the government decide who gets to say what…

the Code Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) adopted new rules which placed “rigid limitations on the sale of radio time to spokesman of controversial public issues”. Manuscripts were required to be submitted in advance. Radio stations were threatened with the loss of their licenses if they failed to comply. This ruling was clearly aimed at Coughlin due to his opposition to prospective American involvement in World War II.

So the tactics being proposed to silence Rush, Hannity, Glen Beck, have been around for a very long time. It is just that they were first applied to a guy MORE left than FDR. I love it when folks on the Loony Side Of Left fight with each other, but really hate it when the fall-out hits those of us of a more Libertarian bent…

But even that was not enough censorship for FDR and the “Social Liberal / Progressive Left”:

Coughlin reasoned that although the government had assumed the right to regulate any on-air broadcasts, the First Amendment still guaranteed and protected freedom of the written press. He could still print his editorials without censorship in his own newspaper, Social Justice. However, the Roosevelt Administration stepped in again, this time revoking his mailing privileges and making it impossible for Coughlin to deliver the papers to his readers. He had the right to publish whatever he wanted, but not the right to use the United States Post Office Department to deliver it

Ah, freedom of the press… so long as you don’t have to move it anywhere outside the press room… (Now you know why I’m not fond of these folks ‘regulating’ the internet either…)

AND now you also know that “Social Justice” is joined at the hip with Fascism and is just a ways to the LEFT of FDR and the New Deal…

What else can we find out about social justice from the wiki page?

First off, it’s a religious belief system. No, really:

Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating an egalitarian society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of “social justice” was coined by the Jesuit Luigi Taparelli in 1840 based on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and given further exposure in 1848 by Antonio Rosmini-Serbati. The idea was elaborated by the moral theologian John A. Ryan, who initiated the concept of a living wage. Father Coughlin also used the term in his publications in the 1930s and the 1940s. It is a part of Catholic social teaching, Social Gospel from Episcopalians and is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party upheld by green parties worldwide.

But despite being formed from a religious base, promulgated by priests, and elaborated by a ‘moral theologian” and being part of the “Catholic social teaching” and the “Social Gospel from Episcopalians” the page then claims:

Social justice as a secular concept, distinct from religious teachings, emerged mainly in the late twentieth century, influenced primarily by philosopher John Rawls.

So, one endorsement and it’s no longer a religion. Gosh, these guys ought to take up money laundering…

Some tenets of social justice have been adopted by those on the left of the political spectrum.

No? Really? Who knew… /sarcoff>

And what’s in this package?

Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a proceduraly just system.

So everyone ought to get a First Prize! and everyone must have the same “outcome” regardless of what they do… Um, last I looked, that was what communism and socialism were all about and they were not working out so well…

OK, along the way it looks like the Religion angle has really taken off. They also have links to Judaism and Islam:


In To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks states that social justice has a central place in Judaism. One of Judaism’s most distinctive and challenging ideas is its ethics of responsibility reflected in the concepts of simcha (“gladness” or “joy”), tzedakah (“the religious obligation to perform charity and philanthropic acts”), chesed (“deeds of kindness”), and tikkun olam (“repairing the world”).

I’m not familiar enough with Judaica to know how central Sacks might be, but it’s got to be interesting explaining why a Jesuit precept is central to Judaism…


Social justice is one of the most important components of justice in Islam. The guidance toward social justice in Islam is intended to promote and maintain social order, harmony, balance and general welfare.

Gee, makes you kind of wonder how that whole Pope thing fits into Islam… Didn’t know the Jesuits had that much pull with Mohammed… Somehow I suspect someone is taking liberties here and trying to take the ‘feel good’ words of “social” and “justice” and graft them onto a pre-existing process inside Islam that has little to do with the political and socialist term “social justice”…

Therefore, the social justice is regarded as one of the most important values upon which Islam is built on and the Prophet Muhammad and his companions practiced precisely in order to found a strong and coherent society that was marked with fraternity and affection. Social justice in Islam is achieved through several elements such as: the taxation, the wakf, the feasts, the zakat and equality is promoted through several religious features (marriage and divorce, Islamic banks,…).

Somehow I have a bit of an issue with equating “divorce” with “social justice” as applied to things like “wealth redistribution” and “progressive taxation”… though I do note that they are ready to jump on that whole taxation theme… (Every power structure likes a good tax on the supplicants.)

They do go on to try to somehow tie this whole ball of wax in to John Rawls and his position on basic human liberties, but I’m having trouble buying it. For example, the basic ideas they list don’t look at all like the laundry list of wants you get from someone demanding “Social Justice”:

The basic liberties according to Rawls

Freedom of thought;
Liberty of conscience as it affects social relationships on the grounds of religion, philosophy, and morality;
Political liberties (e.g. representative democratic institutions, freedom of speech and the press, and freedom of assembly);
Freedom of association;
Freedoms necessary for the liberty and integrity of the person (viz: freedom from slavery, freedom of movement and a reasonable degree of freedom to choose one’s occupation); and
Rights and liberties covered by the rule of law.

So it looks to me like Rawls is just pulled in to provide cover for the fact that Social Justice is just a Catholic Church doctrine based in the desire to ‘redistribute the wealth’ as part of an envy and greed issue…

On The Other Hand

The Wiki does include a very abbreviated list of criticisms of “Social Justice”, a couple of which I’ll include here:

On the other hand, some scholars reject the very idea of social justice as meaningless, religious, self-contradictory, and ideological, believing that to realize any degree of social justice is unfeasible, and that the attempt to do so must destroy all liberty. The most complete rejection of the concept of social justice comes from Friedrich Hayek of the Austrian School of economics:

There can be no test by which we can discover what is ‘socially unjust’ because there is no subject by which such an injustice can be committed, and there are no rules of individual conduct the observance of which in the market order would secure to the individuals and groups the position which as such (as distinguished from the procedure by which it is determined) would appear just to us. [Social justice] does not belong to the category of error but to that of nonsense, like the term `a moral stone’.

Janusz Korwin-Mikke argues simply: »Either „social justice” has the same meaning as „justice” – or not. If so – why use the additional word „social”? We lose time, we destroy trees to obtain paper necessary to print this word. If not, if „social justice” means something different from „justice” – then „something different from justice” is by definition „injustice”«

Gotta love that Hayek guy, he just keeps popping up in all the right places…

Where Else?

So, where else has “Social Justice” started popping up?

Liberation Theology

Liberation theology is a movement in Christian theology which construes the teachings of Jesus Christ in terms of a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described by proponents as “an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor’s suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor”, and by detractors as Christianity perverted by Marxism and Communism.

Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s – 1960s. It arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injustice in that region. It achieved prominence in the 1970s and 1980s. The term was coined by the Peruvian priest, Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement’s most famous books, A Theology of Liberation (1971). Other noted exponents are Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay.

Looks to me like we’ve got a pretty good “Left Wing” connection here.

Oh, wait, that’s just the Catholic Church in a different place… But if you ever wondered if being Green was maybe just a bit on the “religious movement” side:

The Green Party

Social Justice (sometimes “Social Equality and Global Equality and Economic Justice”) is one of the Four Pillars of the Green Party and is sometimes referred to as “Social and Global Equality” or “Economic Justice”. The Canadian party defines the principle as the “equitable distribution of resources to ensure that all have full opportunities for personal and social development”. As one of the 10 key values of the party in the United States, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people “to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment.”

Yup, I’d call that a religion. Not very clear on what socialism has to do with making sure Bambi does not go extinct, but hey, if enough wealth is being redistributed some has got to fall off the table near the forest, eh?

And finally, the Healthcare Connection:

Social justice in healthcare

Social justice has more recently made its way into the field of bioethics. Discussion involves topics such as affordable access to health care, especially for low income households and family. The discussion also raises questions such as whether society should bear healthcare costs for low income families, and whether the global marketplace is a good thing to deal with healthcare. Ruth Faden and Madison Powers of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics focus their analysis of social justice on which inequalities matter the most. They develop a social justice theory that answers some of these questions in concrete settings.

So now we know why we’re getting Obamacare… because the Pope or the Jesuits said it would be a good thing… and Mr. & Ms. Powers agreed. Now if I can just get “society” to pay my mortgage payment, put my kid through college, give me a pension, put food on the table, keep the lights and heat on, and give me enough pocket change for some ‘entertainment’, I too can become a Welfare King… or a government retiree… (I’m sure they are different, but I’m a little fuzzy on exactly how… I think one of them showed up at work for a little while, but I’m not sure which one DID any actual productive work..)


In some Government jobs, you can rack up a lifetime retirement if you work for that government for 5 years, then hit ‘retirement age’. It’s a nice racket… Others “double dip” by doing things like getting a city retirement from a high risk job (like firefighter or Police where it was historically a 20 year job) then working for a different branch for that 5 years… My brother-in-law was in the Air Force for 6 years, then worked for a government agency for some more until the total hit the retirement mark. Yes, the USA, too, is well on its way to being just like Greece…

At one point I worked for the State of California. One guy showed up every day and sat at a desk doing exactly nothing. He was not fired. Why? I was told “He would just end up on welfare and it would cost the State either way.” Seems he had lost it one day at work and never quite got it back together. By now he, too, is collecting a nice fat pension. Thus my comment about welfare and government pensions. Yes, I’m sure that there are some fine cops and firefighters collecting a well deserved pension as they rub Ben Gay on a lot of stiff joints and sore old injuries. But there are others…

And that is the basic problem with all “Social Justice”. It is just a little more “just” to those who can game the system well and really likes to abuse the folks who are not very good politicians and do have a moral compass…

But hey, no religion is perfect.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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24 Responses to Social Justice and Fascism

  1. It would be interesting to relate “social justice”-economy with Climate, as it has happened that when in epochs of warm climate nobody dealt with “social” or peoples’ issues or problems but those epochs were considered “golden eras”, while when climate conditions turned harder and colder problems began. Thus “social justice” has more to do with climate than with any special form of government.
    The last one of these changing times, the French Revolution, was a consequence of such kind of events. Then it was put into question the then current paradigms and then it began the intentions by some for desacralizing the “weltanschaaung”, to secularize society and science, and with this in mind the then “intelligentsia”, the “illustration” managed to invent ways to make impossible any understanding of relation between symbols-nature’s universal laws, as the silly squared angle of 100 degrees or the circle of 400 degrees and all the paraphernalia of the international system of measures, etc.etc, with the sole purpose of replacing all local aristocracies by an international banking elite, where its members are the lords behind the scene, acting through their rented servants.

  2. What I mean is that Nature prevails in the end and not the wishes or desires of us, those microscopic oxygen breathing fungi that inhabit some portions of the surface of the Earth. :-)

  3. j ferguson says:


    You might find “following the money” interesting in the context of your current studies. How did Mussolini fund his state? Hitler? Franco? What situation did you need to get state support?

    I may have mistakenly thought that if you bought into these regimes, your wealth was left alone.

  4. pyromancer76 says:

    The code words “social justice” sounds so soothing until one realizes that those who speak them intend to destroy your way of life — and all of American history that developed according to principles of “free enterprise” (which I much prefer to “capitalism”), which requires individual responsibility. The historical evidence that social justice is “just a little more ‘just’ to those who can game the system” is overwhelming. The main issue is authoritarianism (all to the way to totalitarianism) and religion always seems to be involved in some way. Excellent working over this aspect of American history and the religious foundation.

    Not that this info is anything you do not know, but Brenda Elliott has been following the radical “social justice” people and movements for a few years. Excellent recent history, IMHO. Today’s post includes info on: ‘ WWP’s November 2010 gathering, ‘Abolish Capitalism, Fight for a Socialist Future.’

    ‘Calling all Marxists, all socialists, communists and revolutionaries, and all members of the working class who are deciding to take their destiny and the future of the world into their hands. The time has come to re start the mass struggle for world socialism’.
    Take note. They are planning:”

  5. Joe says:

    I think you have a bit of trouble understanding the Catholic aspects of social justice. Your conclusion that father Coughlin was accepted as long as he agreed with Roosevelt is important because it shows the totalitarian strain in left-leaning politics, which is often presenting as the pursuit of social justice. However, Coughlin was not merely to the left of Roosevelt. Just from what you posted, he appears to have been to the right as well, to the extent that pro-fascist sentiments are to the right. Putting labels aside, his criticism of the federal reserve system and the unjust consequences of controlling the money supply strikes me as very relevant today. I’d like to hear what the father would have said about helicopter Ben and the TBTF bankers. Where you go astray on the Catholic aspects is in representing left-leaning political interpretations of Catholic doctrine or of the gospels as “the Catholic Church.” While Catholocism is to a large degree synonymous with “big-tent”, it also implies respect for the institutional church, tradition and the hierarchy. The Catholic Church is officially in favor or “social justice” since doing anything else is like being against motherhood. What it is not in favor of is any interpretation of that concept that equates the purpose or message of the gospel (of Jesus) with any political doctrine, especially socialist doctrine. Starting with the last pope, a strong anti-communist from Poland, the Church has worked to remove liberation theologists from positions of influence, and to make clear that the message of the Church is not to be equated with any political or social reform. While the Church may support a particular social agenda, the Christian message is one of salvation that can’t be reduced to a political formula. Interestingly, Cardinal Ratzinger, now pope, did much of the heavy theological lifting for John Paul. The former pope’s first trip abroad, in 1979 to Mexico, had the specific goal of dealing with the spread of liberation theology in Latin America. Obviously, willful attempts to confuse Christianity with Socialism, regardless of their overlap on general notions of social justice (same with Judaism and Islam, although with less well-developed or institutionally-sanctioned theologies), continue to be a problem, especially when the likes of Father Flager (sp?) are loose in Chicago. The video of him speaking to Reverend Wright’s (sp?) and Obama’s church was the definition of pathetic. The whole liberation theology movement is intellectually bankrupt, which is why they hide behind general concepts like social justice. They seem to have taken a page from the global warming, I mean climate change, I mean climate disruption, crowd.

  6. Nature will liberate libertarians from its carnal burden… :-)

  7. George says:

    E.M. Smith:

    Have you ever had a look at Professor Walter E. Williams’ syndicated columns?

    I find many of them fascinating. They are sort but the insight can be amazing. Just peruse the archives (nothing in 2011 yet).

    His book (Liberty and the Tyranny of Socialism) is in its second printing:

    Hist faculty home page at George Mason is here:

  8. Pascvaks says:

    Everything that is needed for individual existance is needed for social existance and nothing we need is free, we (or someone else) will pay for everything we get, before we get it, when we get it, or after we get it. Few can afford everything they want. Few who can afford everything they want will get everything they want. Normally there’s just not enough for everybody, and someone’s going to do without; someone may even die. That’s life. And it’s not going to change no matter how hard we wish or pray for it to be otherwise. Oh yes.. People who try to con the system tend to get hurt.

  9. Pingback: Tweets that mention Social Justice and Fascism « Musings from the Chiefio --

  10. @Pascvaks
    Then, what would it be the difference with a Bee-hive or an Ant Hill?
    Neg-entropy equals life, entropy equals death. Life is Nature’s trick to achieve immortality.
    Castro-nomics equalized almost everybody (except the “Nomenklatur”) at US$10 per month income:Is this a paradise?. You have not yet enjoyed such a blessing.

  11. Pascvaks says:

    Ref – Adolfo Giurfa on 17 January 2011 at 10:25 am

    I’ve come to think recently that we are the “Fallen Angels” and most of us have yet to learn some very humiliating lessons. Got another funny feeling. The biggest lessons are yet to come. (The higher we rise, the harder we fall;-)

  12. At least we are not fallen devils….we know some :-)

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve observed that folks who are way too well off and never had to deal with a shortage of anything are the first ones to want to give away other folks money. Those who have had a load of bad days, and worked out of them, are prone to holding their own money quite dear, and also prone to not wanting to take other folks money; yet they give their own away to folks who are truly in need.

    The most ‘charity’ I’ve ever seen was from the almost dirt poor to those who were dirt poor. I grew up in a place like that and with folks who lived through The Great Depression. I saw a fair number of meals provided “on credit” in our family restaurant to good folks in bad times. I also saw “bums” escorted rapidly out the door… Then the welfare state began and the “bums” worked the racket…

    So I have a test for panhandlers. I’ll look around for the nearest fast food place and say “See that {brand}? I’ll buy you a dinner there, but I won’t give you any money.” I’ve had 2 times that I’ve bought meals, both cherished memories. I’ve had a very large number of “What? Just gimme the money. No? What’s wrong with you?”

    So in a true disaster, no one will go hungry near my place. No one will be without a place to sleep. They may need to help cut down the tree to make the shelter and cook the food, but waiting hungry for FEMA is not on the cards nor is being turned away from a large pot of beans and rice.

    Now, back to your point:

    Yup, the Aristocracy of all ages is busy at the top of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs being all “actualized”. Now they are doing it on my tax dime instead of on my serf sweat and toil. Nothing has really changed. So they are all wound around the “Social Justice” axle while I’m trying to keep the lights on and the kids fed and tuition paid all with no job. Must be a rough life for them when they don’t get their 15 minutes of fame and self actualization warm feeling…

    Then the SHTF and they are just deer in the headlights ala Ms. “Let them eat cake” who had an ‘off with their heads!’ moment. At that time, far fewer folks are very worried about being ‘self actualized’ and promoting ‘social justice’ so they can have a good talking point over wine and brie with the neighbors on their yacht…

    IMHO, if you plot crop faiures as a function of {cold volcanic} intervals vs crop excesses during {warm quiet} periods you will find a rather neat “social pudding headed” vs “conservative practical” cycle punctuated by the odd revolution.

    I don’t like what this implies for the next 20 years.

    (Have I mentioned lately that Economics is called “The Dismal Science” for a reason?… IIRC, Jevons first noticed this back in the 1800s when he was doing his grains studies vs sunspots…)

    I’m just gritting my teeth, being prepared, and hoping I’m very very wrong and this time it really will be different and in a good way… but… “Hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”

    @J Ferguson:

    I’ve not got articles to cite, but the memory of my long ago Econ classes was that they left you alone if you bought into ‘the plan’ and nationalized you if you gave them static. Much as we saw in Russia when the “oligarchs” were selected, then some made paupers if they fell off the wagon or made waves…

    So a “select few” in, say, the chemical trade, are made rich and powerul while the ‘lesser lights’ are put out of business. Kind of like Lehman not getting a bail out, nor Bear Stearns, but Goldman Sachs and Citigroup being given cart blanche… Or GM getting the lap dance while Ford was ignored and Chrysler was handed to FIAT (and in both GM and Chrysler the ‘investors’ who owned the original stock and / or bonds got cleaned out.) Or like now, when I can find “GE Reveal” 100W lightbulbs still for sale, but at higher prices, now that the ‘riff raff’ cheap bulbs are illegal. One presumes GE had “connections” and “contributes” to Obama and friends… Aren’t they the ones doing an “Ecoimagination” Green theme in support of the National Social Goals of the nation? …

    In Communisim they take all the means of production. In Socialism (and Fascism) they only take the means of production from the folks who are not using them ‘right’…

    @Pyromancer76 & George:

    Yet more to keep me busy… but it looks like good stuff…


    THE basic issue is that we can easily provide the minimum everyone needs, but have never found a way to do that which works, nor especially one that leaves liberty intact.

    In ALL cases, even in the Communist systems, “some pigs are more equal than others”. State dinners and palaces are handed out based on political skill instead of monetary skill. Not much difference to those on the bottom.

    IFF you could get people to not be political nor greedy, you could make a utopian system. Since we are not, it’s not possible. You can choose between inequality based on skill or inequiality based on political manipulation of the system. There is no ‘fair’ system and certainly not one that is ‘just’.

    What seems to work best is what is called the “mixed economy”. Everyone gets a shot at success, how much you make is up to you and your skill. The government is supposed to be the rule enforcer and nothing else. Companies may or may not be happy, depending on how well they do at making more stuff at lower costs fighting in a competative arena.

    What we have now is Socialism and the goverment is picking winners and losers. In that context knowing who’s to kiss and when is more important than knowing how to make a better product or more product for the same price. So all the rest of us lose, but the butt kisser and kissed are happy… That means it’s more important to learn how to pucker up than it is to make better products or processes.

    So we can feed and clothe and house everyone in the whole world from a technical point of view, and without much trouble either. It’s the failure of our social systems that causes it to not happen. (See the size of Sadam’s palaces and see the billions spent on Haiti with nothing to show for it but some well greased palms… ala ‘oil for food’…)

    So I’ll take “Capitalist excesses” over “Political Graft” any day. At least then I have enough food, fuel, and housing…

  14. George says:

    We have a generation in the cities that don’t know how to grow anything to eat and most of them don’t know how to prepare anything “from scratch”. If it isn’t in a bag or a box ready for the microwave, they are, for the most part, lost.

    People in the city can stock a bit of rice and beans. In the suburbs a couple of lawns can graze a goat or a lamb. Most people can grow a respectable bean crop along their fences. I once had an idea about an “agripod” system where four houses in a row combined with the four houses behind them could create a space that could feed the eight families and more. Imagine two homes that abut remove the read fence that separates them and graze a lamb. Two more remove their fences and keep some chickens. The final four remove their fences and create a garden space in their combined yard. The litter from the lamb and chickens added to the compost pile. Swimming pools screw that idea all up, though.

    If people could cooperate like that, suburbia could actually produce quite a bit of food in an emergency. There are some crops that don’t take a lot of space that produce a lot of nutrition for the space they take, such as onion. Flower beds, sidewalk parkways, etc. can all be used to grow food.

    One problem that I see in countries outside of the English colonial influence is how ingrained corruption is in the culture. NOTHING gets done in many countries without large bribes. Graft is not only tolerated, it seems to be *expected* as a tribute to some official’s stature (no matter how far down in the organization they might be). Even getting a telephone in many places can cost much more than the official rate.

    We will not have what we recognize as functional government in many places until we have two things: 1. clear and free titles to property recognized by law 2. elimination of petty graft and corruption among even the lowest of officials.

  15. tckev says:

    I knew something was wrong and you’ve put it in focus with this piece and your article on Liberal Fascism.
    Fine stuff keep up the good work.

  16. Jeff Alberts says:

    Social justice is based on the concepts of human rights and equality and involves a greater degree of economic egalitarianism through progressive taxation, income redistribution, or even property redistribution. These policies aim to achieve what developmental economists refer to as more equality of opportunity than may currently exist in some societies, and to manufacture equality of outcome in cases where incidental inequalities appear in a proceduraly just system.

    Regardless of the aim, the result is creation of lazy individuals who feel they don’t need to work hard because everything is handed to them, especially if they keep pumping out kids.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Frankly, while I rail against it, my family is busy becoming part of the problem. Of my parent’s 4 children, I’m the only one NOT on a Government Pension. Of the other three all are on one AND: 2 of their spouses are on Government Pensions while one is still working…

    Me? I’m more the independent wild west sort, so no Goverment Pension… but the spouse is worklng on one. Oh, and I “just happened” to be unemployed when my Son got a full boat scholorship to UC (so there would be no “means test” problems… they don’t count the home or the IRA accounts, just wages…)

    I’m not some rich industrialist with a massive tax bill complaining about the system, I’m someone actively FORCED against my will to indulge in “gaming” with the system…

    Had I been fully employed and needed to pay the education bill, it would have taken about $80,000 / year gross income to net after taxes enough to make it work out. Easier just to ‘fold up shop’ for a few years and nag the kid into keeping the grades high…

    Now he’s graduated and I really ought to get back to work. BUT with the present tax rates I’m having trouble getting motivated. The ‘gap’ in the resume doesn’t help and I’d not counted on a complete economic collapse bloating the competative pool either.

    But that’s how these things work when the system starts to crush under its own weight…


    From a couple of comments on the other thread, it looks like several other folks have discovered this before me and I’m a bit ‘late to the trendy party’ but that’s OK. Glad it was helpful to you, too.

    It is a bit of an “Ah Hah!” moment when you start to put the whole process together. That it’s not us stuck between a choice of Nazi / Fascist on one side and Salinist / Communist on the other, but rather a choice of individual liberties vs the totalitarians that ALL tend to evolve from the same tainted tap root and toward the same ends.

    At that point you start to see the “Right vs Left” as a game being played way over there between two flavors of tyrant, and I’m “off axis” way over here in an “Individual Freedom” zone, neither left nor right “wing” of anything.

    Still need to ‘flesh it out’ (but thought I would let folks watch the process as it happens rather than ‘wait for the end’ and a more polished package…)


    I have constant minor skirmishes with The Spousal Unit over my insistance on having some edible landscaping. 4 fruit trees, a small garden, and a few bunnies.

    I run it as a ‘toy farm’ with bunnies as the ‘small ruminants’ partly to keep my hand in and partly to keep the skills up (and the seed bank fresh).

    I expect if a real SHTF ever happens, I’ll be the “center of restart” and I’ll be providing seeds, advice, and classes to folks for a ways around. (FWIW, I believe that will never happen in my lifetime, but we’ll see.)

    I’ve got a system worked out where there is always SOMETHING growing, year round. When you are getting 4 to 8 ‘crops’ a year off a square of dirt, it doesn’t take that much dirt. Yeah, some of them may only be ’25 day radishes’, but the fact is that radishes were always the ‘first fresh crop of spring’ and are very important as a ‘fast food’… Lately I’ve been pushing more into perenials. I’ve now got a perenial cabbage/Kale/collards cross that makes edible leaves year round without tending. I’ve also got some beans that make more thay you care to eat in one season… but they need water in the summer. (One of my minor projects is selecting things that need little to no added summer water, that might be an issue in a ‘real SHTF’…)

    So I’m quite certain there is no shortage of land to grow food. But I’m just as certain that we depend on a lot of easy to break systems and we only exist at this density as long as they keep working. Turn of the electricity for a year and it’s all gone.

    BTW, look up the Nigerian Pygmy goat… it’s ideal for a ‘suburban farm’…

    has a few pictures under the ‘sales’ heading. These guys are ‘way small’… they also tend to have a kid like every 3 months (rather than the usuall 1 / year) and are more like big rabbits, but can be used for milk and as ‘forage recyclers’…

    Maybe you can get your “pod” down to one or two large yards ;-)

    Oh, and I once raised Tilapia in a small plastic pond. About 8 foot. You can get one heck of a lot of fish in a small pond. A swimming pool would make a dandy aquaculture operation… just stop the chlorine and get some algae eaters… ( I suggest practicing in a small plastic pool first, though. Keeps the peace better with the spouse ;-)

    Per the ‘culture of bribes’. Yeah, some friends just moved to a latin country. Every step seems to involve some money slid to someone. Don’t think I could do that, it’s just all against every instinct I’ve got.

    Yet most of the world seems to work that way. Another part of why I’m not keen on the UN. It seems to be ‘well atuned’ to that process…

  18. George says:

    This short (less than 5 minute) video by Andrew Klavan says it all pretty much in a nutshell:

  19. PhilJourdan says:

    Outstanding article! There is so much here, it is difficult to single out an individual point or to provide a short comment as that leads to wanting to expound on more and more of this.

    I will say that it was very enlightening. While I know of the concepts discussed here, I had never seen the connection or the history, and that is more damning than the present day facts. Indeed, while many have recently been connecting the dots between the current left (and Andrew Klavan’s Shut Up) and the different flavors of past socialism (Nazi and Stalinism), this draws the line with an indelible marker!

    I have this article book marked and will be referring to it frequently in my debates (where the left has yet to find a way to tell me to Shut Up).

    As for Dr. Walter E. Williams that George mentions, I will admit I was lucky to have met him in my Senior year of College when he came to my school to debate an ACLU Economist (an oxymoron, I know). So I read him reguarly and value both his insight and wisdom. He is a real must read for anyone who is looking for the reasoned points and debate on why the left and failure are synonymous.

  20. George:

    We better “shut up” :-)

  21. j ferguson says:

    Socialism without wealth redistribution?

  22. Michael Havron says:

    This is not really a “Comments” post. I couldn’t find any other way to contact you (but then, I’m not “computer literate . . . “)
    Concerning your interest in Leftism and Fascism, if you haven’t already done so, you might want to look into the various articles by John J. Ray, including “What Are Leftists?” from FrontPageMagazine, June 20, 2002. Search for his web site, as it seems to have updated or expanded versions of his articles.
    Also look for “Purifying the World . . . ,“ by Ernest Sternberg.
    An interesting book for “background” is The Road to Modernity: The British, French and American Enlightenments, by Gertrude Himmelfarb.
    Mike H.

  23. mrpkw says:

    You’ve heard this quote

    “Scratch the surface of a Liberal, and you will find a Fascist”

    It fits

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    It is very gratifying when, having had an “Ah Hah!” moment, and sharing it, others find it peasant too… Thanks to all for the feedback.

    @joe (up thread a while as it was in moderation and my network issues have returned):

    Per Catholic tent size: When you have what, 1/4 of the world population? inside your tent, it must be rather large and there will be many factions. I was not slamming the Catholic Church. Dad was born and died Catholic. Mom was Church of England but became a Catholic. I attend mass about once per month with my spouse at the local Spanish Mission and enjoy the process (though I’m not a Catholic… though my spouse is making suggestions….)

    Just pointing out from whence it came. It’s up to The Pope to dispose of it now…

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