Belmont Club

Pretend It's Working

The Washington Post reports that North Korea’s new strategy for advancing socialism is to secretly let domestic capitalism support it. In that way socialism can pretend to succeed while capitalism can pretend to fail. “Recent defectors and economists who study North Korea describe an emergent underground capitalism in which ordinary people bring dollars, euros and Chinese yuan into the country and stockpile the currency or spend it at black markets.”

The money comes from cross-border trade with China or via remittances, payments from defectors sent back home using middlemen. Some security officials don’t crack down because they, too, need the money; some receive payoffs from traders that outweigh their own salaries, defectors say.

That would make North Korea’s dependence on capitalism complete. South Korea and the United States have long been its sources of food aid.  Socialism has literally been fed by capitalism. Now even its security officials are being paid from the polluted source of profit.

Nothing is new. The definition of an revolutionary socialist has always been someone whose food, shelter and clothing is paid for by the taxes levied on those who practice capitalism. But there is nothing hypocritical in that. The great thing about socialism that nothing has to resemble reality. For example. What do you call a situation when over 35% of the workforce has given up looking for a job? You call it “rising employment”. You call it a “recovery”. In general you call it a success.

Down is the New Up

The above chart shows the “labor force participation rate.” This statistic represents the share of working-age Americans who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work. It is not a pretty picture. Only 63.7% of working-age Americans are currently in the workforce – the lowest in almost 29 years!

Just how normal these mental inversions have now become is shown in The Washington Post’s innocent headline, “Obama’s Asia strategy gives Navy key role, fewer ships”. By gad, money for nothing and your chicks for free. Now the Navy might well be capable of handling the task, even its reduced state, but this is in spite and not because of the administration’s inspired leadership.

For those who think that North Korea’s scheme to keep socialism on capitalist life support is tops, there is J. Christian Adam’s record-breaking observation that in America, the dead will vote.

Today we learn that American voter rolls are infested with millions of dead and ineligible voters heading into the presidential election. Eric Holder and his Leftist political appointees at the Justice Department have gotten exactly what they wanted. The Pew Center on the States estimates nearly 2,000,000 dead voters are on the rolls …

The Justice Department refuses to enforce Section 8 of the NVRA because, as political appointee Julie Fernandes revealed in a Voting Section meeting in 2009 that I attended, removing dead people from the rolls “doesn’t increase turnout. It stops people from voting.”

Who can argue that, at all events, it might keep the dead from voting? But miracles can happen under socialism. But they’re alright, since nobody minds if the dead come to life. It is going the other way that most people find objectionable.  But that is precisely the danger now facing the Arab Spring, which is imperceptibly edging the Middle East to a civil war that might drag in America. Reuters notes that the unfortunate consequence of “leading from behind” is the risk of being led around by the nose.

(Reuters) – Eleven months into the bloodiest uprising of the “Arab Spring,” U.S. President Barack Obama is staking his Syria policy on a fragile and untested international coalition that has few palatable options for ending the violence.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called the new “Friends of Syria” group, which includes U.S. Arab allies as well as Turkey, the best chance to build up Syria’s fragile opposition and forge a political solution after Russia and China blocked any U.N. moves to resolve the crisis.

But the United States is playing little more than a supporting role in the new group, while some of its key allies are taking more assertive positions that may yet pull Washington into a dangerous civil war in the crossroads of the Middle East.

Gee. And right next door to Iraq too. You know, the place which had so little importance they could not leave it fast enough to get to Afghanistan, that place right next door to Pakistan, which is now asking the US to forget its suspicions that it treacherously harbored Osama Bin Laden or perfidiously aided the Taliban, because face it, nobody’s perfect. Or as it’s ambassador put it, the strategic relationship “has been burdened with too many expectations and invested with an inordinately high wattage of emotion”.  Let’s be friends and please turn on the aid faucet again, in other words.

But don’t worry, it’s Smart Adhocracy, or the Duty to Protect, or Smart Diplomacy. And you know its true, whatever they call it. It is as true as North Korean socialism; as solid as the economic recovery and as sure as Hope and Change. The papers say so. News was once called The First Draft of History. Let’s just hope it’s not a preview of the obituary.

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