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Ed Driscoll

Easy Riders, Raging Stasists

February 22nd, 2014 - 12:57 pm

Twenty years before he died at the age of 597 years old*, legendary Stalinist Pete Seeger told the New York Times, “I like to say I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.” He’s not alone amongst his fellow leftists for harboring such back-to-the-future reactionary beliefs. Economically, the entire ideology is hard captive to a cargo cult mentality that ping-pongs back and forth between the let’s break out the shovels and build the Hoover Dam and roadways mentality of the FDR era, and the build nothing nowhere, save the snail darter and and delta smelt mentality ushered in by 1970′s first “Earth Day.”

In the late 1990s, when cable modems ushered in 24/7 Internet access, I used to find Salon and Slate virtually interchangeable; they were both establishment liberal, but the veneer of literary competence helped to make the socialism relatively palatable. However, while Slate has remained relatively sane, particularly after it was bought by the pre-Bezos Washington Post, in recent years, Salon has gone completely off the rails, personified by the non-stop racialism of “editor at large” Joan Walsh, whose recent book was titled, What’s the Matter with White People?

Perhaps Joan should ask that question about fellow Salon denizens. Like Seeger and the FDR cargo cult, Salon also harbors turn-the-clock-back fantasies of their own: Last month, the publication called for the nationalization of the news media because it was uncomfortable with the glut of right-leaning news and opinion led by — you guessed it! — Fox News. (Hmmm — I wonder if someone in the FCC read that article?) Now the Website wishes to turn the clock back on the film industry because of a perceived glut of independent films.

In his latest post, Moe Lane has lots of fun fisking this notion:

Somewhere, there is some poor person whose job it is to sell the concept of ‘bidets’ to the American public.  That person is right now feeling an inexplicable kinship to the author of this article: look, another advocate for a nice idea that does not sell!  Seriously, it’s been my experience that when you start talking about pursuing a marketing strategy that have First, reeducate the public into liking your product as a hidden first step, things are unlikely to end well.

Perhaps it lies in updated vertical integration models inspired by the old studio system — say what you will about the old system, but everyone working within it got paid and lots of great films got made.

Say what you will about the old system, but people were chronically underpaid, the top brass running things routinely trampled quality into the dirt, and a godawful amount of utter dreck got made.  Which, astoundingly, is more or less Salon’s complaint about the current system.

And perhaps none of these suggestions hold the answer, but we need ideas because, whatever the answer is, it can’t simply be to unquestioningly make more features.

…Leaving aside the fact that the first part of this sentence effectively alerts the reader that he just wasted five minutes of lifespan that could have been more profitably spent watching Adventure Time, the question is duly begged: why can’t people unquestioningly make more features?

Pro Tip: Analyze the free-market dynamists and regulation-obsessed stasists model essayed by Virginia Postrel in her 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies. Don’t be a stasist, no matter how tempting the impulse.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I used to subscribe to HBO back in the day when they had Dennis Miller instead of that idiot Maher. Miller was hilarious, but Maher is just a nasty little whiner.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The pushback by the Salons and the Bill Mahers of the world is all about information control- Conservatives finally got a voice in the news business with the ascent of, first, The Wall Street Journal to one of the two most important papers in the US during the 70s and the 80s, then with the breaking of the network's control of television based information during the 90s with the rise of FoxNews. The internet has only accelerated this dilution of the information control to the point of meaninglessness. Now, an open-minded person willing to accept that people have different opinions about a whole range of current topics will applaud this cacophony of voices.

I think a lot of what is on MSNBC or CNN, or is in the NYTimes is just downright laughable, but I in no way want them shut down or forced to change at the point of a gun by regulators. However, Walsh and Maher lament the loss of control their ideology had over the availability of information, and wish for a return to that world. It is about power, nothing more, nothing less.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Marxists have never managed to get even a single village to work successfully according to their doctrine without applying coercive methods. People were prevented from leaving or even arguing with the Communist leadership by threat of being shot, sent to the Gulag, or being deprived of food. If people have the freedom to persuade their peers to do things some other way or even just the freedom to leave if they don't like it somewhere, most of them do. The Marxists have to take that freedom away, either in the short term or the long term, to survive at all. That's why they had the 50,000 man KGB Border Guard to prevent people from leaving the Worker's Paradise called the Soviet Union. Lenin founded the Cheka, the first Soviet secret police organization, less than three weeks after seizing power in Russia via his coup. It was already evident to him then that he couldn't keep power without a secret police organization. If people were free of coercion, they would be free to ignore him and his crackpot ideas.

That's why I've long said that if Marxists could show me even a single village that operated according to the principles of Communism without coercion, there would actually be reason to think about their ideas as remotely plausible. But they've never gotten even a single village working without coercion, which I take as an admission that they can't. That's why it's so preposterous of them to want to make entire countries work according to the ludicrous notions of Marx.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (39)
All Comments   (39)
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"...stuff that already confirms the opinions you already have isn’t news..."--Bill Maher

If he really believed his spew, he'd demand legislation requiring libs to watch Fox News. If.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pete Seeger said, “I like to say I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.”

Pete finally admits he's actually to the right of Goldwater, who was commonly called a fascist by Pete's compatriots!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
' "While I was in jail, Mai Chi Tho, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, addressed a selected group of political prisoners. He told us: '...the key factor is how to control people and their opinions. Only Marxism-Leninism can do that." ' ---"A Lament for Vietnam" by Doan Van Toai, NY Times Magazine, March 29, 1981

" The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient...

"The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but ***complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects***, now existed for the first time." (from "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism" by "immanuel Goldstein" in George Orwell's "1984".)
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
You got me to check out Salon for the first time in years, and it was more obnoxious than I remembered. I am curious as to their business model - how does so much knee-jerk leftist dreck get published in what is obviously an expensively maintained website?

The usual low end internet junk was being peddled. But at the very top was an ad for Cadillac. Funny, because Salon readers are about as far from buying a Cadillac as I am from buying a Pete Seeger retrospective album. I would ask why GM's shareholders aren't holding their company accountable for supporting socialist nonsense, but realized - we are GM's shareholders, with Obama serving as Chairman of the Board.

Maintaining the Iron Triangle of Big Government, Big Business, and Big Lobbying isn't the stated goal of socialists, but damn if it doesn't happen that way every single time.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Seeger: "I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other."

Except, Pete, there's that nagging issue of your $4.2 million net worth when you died. Caring for people at an individual level was someone else's job, apparently.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
After calling Sen. Ted Cruz a “slippery boob” (for some reason),

Maher is a misogynist (cf. Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, which had its funny moments) who naturally uses women’s body parts as insults.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
"John Sloss warned back in 2007 that the industry’s problem was not a shortage of films, but a shortage of eyeballs"

Filmmakers make hectoring films extolling the virtues of national or international socialism, slagging Christianity and sometimes Judaism, then they wonder why no one watches them. Clue bat (the vampire kind): hatred, bloodshed, ugliness, and ideological uniconformity (heh) are only attractive to HBO subscribers.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I used to subscribe to HBO back in the day when they had Dennis Miller instead of that idiot Maher. Miller was hilarious, but Maher is just a nasty little whiner.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
The pushback by the Salons and the Bill Mahers of the world is all about information control- Conservatives finally got a voice in the news business with the ascent of, first, The Wall Street Journal to one of the two most important papers in the US during the 70s and the 80s, then with the breaking of the network's control of television based information during the 90s with the rise of FoxNews. The internet has only accelerated this dilution of the information control to the point of meaninglessness. Now, an open-minded person willing to accept that people have different opinions about a whole range of current topics will applaud this cacophony of voices.

I think a lot of what is on MSNBC or CNN, or is in the NYTimes is just downright laughable, but I in no way want them shut down or forced to change at the point of a gun by regulators. However, Walsh and Maher lament the loss of control their ideology had over the availability of information, and wish for a return to that world. It is about power, nothing more, nothing less.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Historical Quibble:
Hoover Dam owes almost nothing to FDR, not even its name (which the Roosevelt administration insisted was Boulder Dam). It was authorized under Coolidge and nearly built by the time Roosevelt took office.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
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