Belmont Club

Digging our own graves

Lenin didn’t know whether to love or hate capitalism. He loved the color of money but regarded its production as something of a mystery. “Any cook should be able to run the country,” he once said, but creating wealth was something like black magic. His solution to the problem throughout his career was simply to steal it. Or to use the nicer word, to “expropriate” it. But he could often induce individual businessmen to act against their long term interests for the sake of short term gain. He realized that those who made money would often be willing to see it used against them. “The way to crush the bourgeoisie,” he said, “is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.” And while he is widely misquoted as saying “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them,” Lenin did say

“They (capitalists) will furnish credits which will serve us … will restore our military industry necessary for our future attacks against our suppliers. To put it in other words, they will work on the preparation of their own suicide.” (Novyi Journal)

It’s therefore makes perfect sense that  Michael Moore wants his forthcoming movie denouncing capitalism to be a blockbuster. Nothing like engaging in “future attacks” against your own suppliers as Lenin said. The Hollywood Reporter says:

Ending on the notes of the “Internationale” as Moore theatrically encircles New York banks with crime scene tape, the film launches a call for socialism via a popular uprising against the evils of capitalism and free enterprise. Although it’s less focused than “Sicko” or “Fahrenheit 9/11” — whose boxoffice it should resemble — because its subject is more abstract, this is a typical Moore oeuvre: funny, often over the top and of dubious documentation, but with strongly made points that leave viewers much to ponder and debate after they walk out of the theater.

The Los Angeles Times says Michael Moore now wants “nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system”. Moore says,

Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil,” the two-hour movie concludes. “You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy.”

Well, maybe Moore is right. And maybe Lenin was right. After all, Khadaffy is able to use his oil exports to the West (developed with Western technology) to buy back the freedom of men convicted of killing 270 people, mostly Americans, so that socialist politicians can line their pockets. The British newspapers report that Libya paid for the medical advice that justified the release of the Lockerbie bomber on “compassionate” grounds. The Telegraph quotes Conservative MP William Hague as saying

“I think any minister, in this case a Scottish minister, making a decision of this kind would want to satisfy themselves that they were doing so on the basis of truly independent medical evidence. “If it is the case that the Libyans paid for and may have been able to influence the outcome of that medical evidence, that really would be an astonishing affair and I think there are serious new questions for the Scottish justice secretary to answer.”

FOX News says  “Professor Karol Sikora, an eminent cancer specialist, and two others were paid around £100 an hour to consider how long Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi had to live. … Two of the three doctors commissioned by the Libyans provided the required three-month estimates, The Sunday Telegraph reports, while the third also indicated that the prisoner had a short time to live.”  ‘Blood for oil’ is only a bad thing when George W. Bush is alleged to do it; otherwise it is quite respectable.  The Times Online reported that “A senior Whitehall official boasted that ‘high-level political interventions’ had enhanced the prospect of arms sales to Libya, three weeks after Britain’s prisoner transfer deal with the regime was ratified.” He boasted that similar arrangements occurred behind the scenes in Libya, Oman, India and Algeria.

The ghosts of 270 victims were just another consideration in the art of the deal. Just another chip on the table where spins the Wheel of Fortune. The Mail Online described what the Libyans told the doctors. “Cancer expert Professor Karol Sikora said he had been ‘encouraged’ to reach his findings by the Libyans who commisioned his report. He  told The Sunday Telegraph that ‘the figure of three months was suggested as being helpful’.” It was — to Megrahi at least, who is now in a VIP wing of a Libyan hospital “not in a dangerous situation and … receiving treatment from a team of doctors”.

Ironically, “selling out” to the Communists is only attractive for as long as there remains a capitalist country in which to enjoy your ill gotten gains. Once the communist “cooks” actually seize power, everything rapidly deteriorates. For example, Yahoo! recently noted that “thousands of opponents of Hugo Chavez marched against the Venezuelan president across Latin America on Friday, accusing him of everything from authoritarianism to international meddling.”

The protests, coordinated through Twitter and Facebook, drew more than 5,000 people in Bogota, and thousands more in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras. Smaller demonstrations were held in other Latin American capitals, as well as New York and Madrid. The Honduras march was led by Roberto Micheletti, who became president when Chavez ally Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a June coup. “Any politician who tries to stay in power by hitching up with a dictator like Hugo Chavez, he won’t achieve it,” Micheletti said. “We’ll stop him.”

Obama certainly won’t stop Chavez. Which is OK, because for as long as Chavez isn’t here, people can be vicariously glad he’s making revolution there. And therein lies the really challenging problem for the worldwide Left. It really was safe, glamorous and fun to support Leftist causes for as long as an unconquered United States provided a space in which wealth could be created and enjoyed; while it defended a space in which freedom — including the freedom to destroy freedom — was possible. Revolution is fun when you can talk about it at the cafe afterward, or have your bruises treated at a first-world medical facility. It is less fun if you eat only one meal of corn grits a day and have to watch your teeth fall out in a secret police cell. Most Leftists think it will never happen, because actually doing things is simplicity itself. After all, didn’t the great Lenin say that “any cook should be able to run the country?” What danger could there be if people like Van Jones ran the country? He’s from Yale, and that ought to provide the necessary margin of competence over a cook. But as those with actual experience with socialists can attest, once the Lenins and the clever academics from all the nice places the seize power, things don’t always work out so well. It may be that  Michael Moore won’t be able to collect big boxoffice payoffs and his efforts to achieve “nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system”,  never (gasp) turn a profit. He might go broke and have to rely on socialism. But then Moore would be exactly the sort of man whose utility in the Worker’s Green/Red Paradise would be dubious to say the least.  How do those on the Left plan solve their dilemma? By not thinking. The way forward, Lenin emphasized was not to think at all but to follow. “There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology … Hence, our task, the task of Social-Democracy, is to combat spontaneity … and to bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social Democracy.”

Yes we can. Can what? Don’t be a fool to ask.

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