America will never be a socialist country – now hold my Diet Coke while I hand out free money and seize control of crucial factories

Politics is the art of compromise. POTUS said, just a few months ago, that the USA would never be a socialist country:

Many people would say that the key defining points of socialism are:

1 – Handouts of free money to the impoverished;


2 – Government command and control of key factories and related “means of production.”

Commenters on Isegoria have reported that the USA is handing out free money to the impoverished and seizing control of key factories.

Americans could get a check for $1,000 or more in the coming weeks, as political leaders coalesce around a dramatic plan to try to prevent a worse recession and protect people from going bankrupt.
The idea took off Monday when Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) called for every American adult to receive a $1,000 check “immediately” to help tide people over until other government aid can arrive. By Tuesday, there was bipartisan support for the idea, including from President Trump. The White House even suggested the amount could be over $1,000, an acknowledgment of how big the economic crisis is becoming.
“We’re looking at sending checks to Americans immediately,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, adding that Trump wants checks to go out “in the next two weeks.”

The act will hand Trump “a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industry in the interest of national defense,” according to an updated Congressional Research Service report on the act released earlier this month.
“The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that, when called upon, it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for the national defense,” the report says.
The act is divided into three main sections:

Priorities and Allocations, which allows the President to require corporations to accept and prioritize contracts for services and materials deemed necessary to aid US national defense.

Expansion of Productive Capacity and Supply, which gives the President the authority to to create incentives for industry to produce critical materials.

General Provisions, which broadly establishes government authority to strike agreements with private industry, to halt foreign corporate mergers that threaten national security and to create a volunteer bloc of industry executives who could be called to government service.

Trump’s plan to invoke the act comes as top health care officials say there is not enough stockpiled medical equipment like masks, gowns and gloves to fill the anticipated need as the nation’s health care system deals with the coronavirus.


Several commenters made different contributions.


  • CVLR says:

    The simple fact is that no one knows what “socialism” is. It’s a bogeyman.

    The only definition that makes any sense is “anything that the capitalists don’t like”.

    So when the government steps in to put upward price pressure on wages (or anything else that improves the station of the ordinary person), you hear the familiar screeching.

    But when you strip-mine the American economy and ship it to China, that’s basically moral, because it’s a free market, maaan.

    And when the government makes the money printer go brrr for $1.5T to give to the banks, you hear nothing but silence.

    $5,000 from every man, woman, and child in America. Totally cool, though. Because this is the height of capitalism.

    Just imagine if ordinary people benefited from the economic order. That would be pure evil. It simply isn’t the government’s job.

    Capitalist self-criticism has an excellent track record.

  • Dave says:

    And fish don’t know what water is. Socialism is government redistribution of wealth via subsidies, taxes, and most importantly, printing money. It’s universal now but was non-existent 200 years ago. Central banks are working hard to end the socialist era by printing so much money that it becomes our new toilet paper.

    When our present first-world governments cannot pay their soldiers and police, they will dissolve, and something very unsocialist and undemocratic will take their place.


Kirk says:

The root issue with socialism and all the other utopian schemes is that the adherents thereof are generally idealists without a lick of common sense. They’re also not the sort of people who observe, living in their own self-created delusional world. Because of this, they tend to be easily gulled by the totalitarians in their midst, and they authorize those types to take control when they first run into the dichotomy between reality and what they believe.

There is rarely any pragmatism or self-awareness among the socialist ranks. They persist in doing things that don’t work, simply because they think that if they just believe hard enough, the hard realities won’t apply. Every single communitarian utopia that humans have attempted has failed utterly, but even with that track record, we persist. We’re not wired for that crap, and I seriously doubt that any intelligent and self-aware creature in the universe would be. If they were, then the intelligence would never have evolved in the first damn place.

No, socialism is an endemic fantasy for the dysfunctional–Which is why it will never work outside the confines of a late-night dorm room BS session where the realities of human self-interest and motivation can be hand-waved away by undergraduates with no real experience of life or the world around them.

You want to break them? Let them try to actually run something using their ideas, and watch the horror gradually overtake them as they discover what rat bastards their fellow humans really are.

One of my fondest memories as a mid-level NCO was the time I actually gave one of these sorts the reins, and let him try his kinder, gentler way of life out. Two months in? LOL… Lemme tell you what, when Mr. Sunnyhappyface wannabe believer in the good will of all men runs smack dab up against the asshole element in his fellow man? That’s a funny, funny thing. You could almost see his little eyes, all shiny-bright with the prospect of Showing The Man how things should really be done, only to see that light fade out gradually over the period where he had free rein to do as he willed. By the end of his rope, he’d reached the point where he wanted authority for capital punishment, and would have probably had bodies nailed up to the walls of that latrine as a measure of encouragement.

I don’t know what the hell it is that’s so damn amusing and delightful about exploding someone else’s misbegotten fantasies, but… Man, did I derive some pleasure from that whole thing.



  • Sam J. says:

    CVLR says:,”…The simple fact is that no one knows what “socialism” is. It’s a bogeyman.

    The only definition that makes any sense is “anything that the capitalists don’t like”.

    So when the government steps in to put upward price pressure on wages (or anything else that improves the station of the ordinary person), you hear the familiar screeching.

    But when you strip-mine the American economy and ship it to China, that’s basically moral, because it’s a free market, maaan.

    And when the government makes the money printer go brrr for $1.5T to give to the banks, you hear nothing but silence…”

    HELL YEAH! It drives me bananas when they do this. What this shows you is you CAN make socialism work if you just cough up the money. Every Socialist idea should be one thing and one thing only, pay the cash and let people find the best way to deal with it themselves. Will people abuse this, yes of course they will but we won’t have to listen to any more bullshit about how we didn’t care for this person or that person because everyone knows they were sent the cash and if they fucked it up it’s their fault. I’m for some sort of universal basic income like Andrew Yang put forth. This could be used for college or whatever you wished. If you want to live in a ditch and drink whisky have at it. At the same time we should fire massive, massive amounts of government workers. I’m not against socialism I’m against the welfare state that constantly meddles in everyone’s lives.

    You can not give the bankers, businesses and damn near everyone they can find to produce campaign funds trillions (we’re talking upwards of $31.5 trillion or more since the bank bailout)year after year then complain about a program to give the actual citizens a little booty.

    Right now we pay principal and interest to the FED for every damn penny created. A laughably absurd system (mathematically doomed to failure no matter what)where they give us nothing and get paid for it.

    We could just as easily create ALL money by having the Federal Gov. create the money and spend it on the citizens. No more money would be created numerically it would just be distributed to citizens instead of banks. If the banks want money they can pay the citizens for it.



  • Graham says:

    I was struck by the Danish reaction when Bernie described his dream as “democratic socialism” and used Denmark as his goal.

    Naturally, as an old radical, Bernie must know that socialism means collective [in practice state but there’s variations including co-op] ownership of the means of production. Democratic socialism means this is carried on under a system of elective, representative and/or direct democratic leadership in both the economic and political sphere. Leave aside whether, or how much, or under what preceding socioeconomic conditions this is possible. Everything hasn’t always gone Full Stalin all at once. That’s the definition.

    Social Democracy is when the means of production are at most mixed ownership, with varying degrees of worker inputs or govt inputs, and a large, even predominant private ownership of said means, operating in the context of a market economy. The political sphere could be characterized as a liberal democracy although social democracy implies a large welfare state as an expression of state identity and responsibility. That is of course what Western Europe more or less has, with variation in how social.

    This is what it means when European constitutions refer to the state as “democratic and social”, or “democratic liberal and social” or words to that effect.

    I grew up thinking far less was “socialism”, and I still use it as an attack word. Just as proponents use far less than actual socialism [ie Denmark] to mask what might be more aggressive aspirations. This is a valid use of rhetoric and concepts, but even so, and despite pooh poohing the distinction for one of my high school teachers, the distinction above between social democracy and democratic socialism is nontrivial. hiving off money for a welfare state is never as bad as owning all the means of production. The latter takes away checks and balances still present in the former.

    Strictly speaking, the US has been democratic and social since the first Social Security or Unemployment cheques started being issued. Or the first medicare payment was made to an old person. Everything after that is a matter of degree.

    I am the last person to not recognize that those degrees are important, the basis of generations of argument even in Canada, and central for me. But there are nuances that can be used to illuminate or obscure, according to need. I assume that latter’s what Bern was doing.

    As for me, I’d really rather not go back to the pure liberalism of the Manchester School, the Whigs, or 19th century France. So I’m stuck with some social.

  • Graham says:

    As to the Guarani reductions, yes, an experiment in hyper-Catholic Christian Socialism.

    Also, what we in Canada are now whipping ourselves for- Cultural Genocide and Colonialism and Paternalism.

    For the Guarani, possibly still better than what other Europeans had in mind for them, slavery and actual genocide. But still, those colonies are consistent with everything the left otherwise condemns in the treatment of aboriginal peoples by the churches.



  • CVLR says:

    Kirk, I challenge you to present a coherent definition of “socialism”.

    1. Don’t point and sputter. (Venezuela! North Korea! etc.)

    2. Is it “socialism” when the government prints infinity money and gives it to the richest and most powerful corporations on Earth? Explain why or why not.

    3. If some forms of redistribution are “socialism” and some are not, explain why this is, how it came to be, and who benefited.

    4. No one is going to take the time to explain to you why President Trump introduced that Venezuelan guy to the world in his State of the Union address.

  • longarch says:

    Remember, everyone:

    1) Handing out $1000 is NOT socialism so long as the USA is the one doing it:

    2) Asserting broad government command over critical manufacturing is NOT socialism so long as the USA is the one doing it:

    Socialism ALWAYS fails, EVERY SINGLE TIME it is tried. But when the USA does it, it’s NOT socialism.

  • Graham says:

    More often than not asserting broad government command over critical manufacturing fails.

    Pre-Thatcher Britain it largely failed.

    On the other hand, basically capitalist economies with social democratic welfare states and considerable government management of manufacturing managed to sustain, rebuild, or even expand critical manufacturing sectors with the right mix of private and public choices, where Britain failed. Finland created a shipbuilding industry not quite ex nihilo. West Germany rebuilt and beat most others with such a model only lately showing its weaknesses. Even France did better than Britain in manufacturing. Germany and France are doing better in most than Britain, including aerospace and shipbuilding, the latter something Europe had almost ceded to Asia. In Britain it’s tiny now.

    I would call that a very mixed and not simple record to consider.

    With the US, apparently the idea has been to cede critical manufacturing.

    At any rate, I’m happy to consider the US a country that has limited social democratic features to its society. It’s only bouts with actual socialism, again, state or collective ownership of the means of production, have been rather few and far between, and usually emergency measures dispensed with after the war or crisis. Compared with Europeans, that’s very short term stuff.

    One other interesting caveat- governments have often owned means of production for specific good for the own needs, such as prison labour but more importantly critical defence sectors. Both Britain and the US build many naval vessels in government dockyards for centuries. One could call that socialism, but it’s usually excepted since its only ownership of the means of production by the state for the state’s own use.

    I agree Smith wanted social provision of some kind. He and many others, at least pre-Manchester, seemed to think “capitalism”, the name eventually coined for the extension of economic principles to the idea of capital accumulation and growth and opened trade, ought to exist embedded in some larged philosophical framework of society.

    Everybody assumed that would be some melange of the Christian religion, medium to light versions or maybe Calvinism for some, traditional republican or English virtues [whether constitutional monarch or not], civil loyalty, national patriotism, neighbourhood, and so on.

    Pity those all got killed. And not just by capitalism.


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