So Bernie Sanders said something stupid this week. If you’ve ever paid any attention to Bernie you would find it’s actually a daily occurrence…the left would probably love to not cover him as he is more of an embarrassment than a Howard Dean primal scream, but as Martin O’Malley is trying to reinvent his resume and have you ignore that he was the mayor of Baltimore for years and used to tout their police force as his biggest accomplishment, and Elizabeth Warren is looking for the right moment to attack Hillary without finding out exactly what did happen to Vince Foster…well, Bernie is the only one to cover as the Empresses Hillary will not lower herself to answering questions from the 4th estate.
So we should get used to Bernie making shit for brains statements. Like his latest one where he suggests that while raising taxes will hurt industry it will only result in us loosing access to 23 brands of deodorant. I guess I should be glad that he finally has realized increased taxes will destroy industry…but the fact that he thinks competition wastes resources rather than creates wealth is still incredibly stupid. With typical socialist willful ignorance he believes there is a fixed size to the pie and it must be cut up more equally, not understanding the size of the pie is always in flux and the way to help the poor is to increase the size of the pie.
However at the heart of his argument is the liberal hatred of choice. And worse Bernie’s attack on choice is half hearted, so while it’s an argument that needs to be eviscerated, I will play fair and give you a better version of this evil to listen to before I tear it to shreds.
So, let’s talk about this piece of crap.
First off she states that there is less of a feeling that social change will happen. Notice she says feeling. Because the fact that the Soviets aren’t throwing people in prison for no good reason, making religion a crime and people who speak out against the party are disappearing is not a feeling it’s a fact. Granted things in Russia itself are still kind of shitty (might be because the people CHOOSE terrible leaders) but take a look at Poland which is rapidly becoming not just a first world nation, but may very well become one of the world’s leading economic superpowers within the next few decades and tell me things didn’t change after the fall of Communism. Ask anyone from one of the Soviet Bloc countries if they want to go back. I think you’ll find the majority will say “No.”
And what does she mean by social change? This was the problem with Obama. Change can be either good or bad. Change for the sake of change is beyond stupid, and change that is good must have the correct ends. So what ends is she talking about?*
Why do we feel overwhelmed by choice? Maybe you should have made better choices. The situation she suggests is just walking into a mall and be overwhelmed by choices of so many things. How about knowing what you’re going there to buy before you walk into the mall. I need X so I will go find X. There may be two or three brands of X, but I take a look at them when I get there. Not “let me see what I can buy.” Or choosing just to go window shopping, not to buy anything, just to look (and window shopping can be very relaxing). Or as when I go to Barnes a& Noble, I am confronted by thousands of books I would like to buy…and that comforts me because even if I actually get caught up and read everything I currently have in my house (that’ll be the day) I still have more things to come and read. Being anxious because you have too many choices means you choose not to be self-reflective, choose not to know yourself and know what you want, choose to put yourself in a situation where you’re confronted by too many choices you were not prepared for, and choose not to handle it with grace and deliberation. It’s not the existence of choice that causes problems—it’s people making bad choices that cause problems.
Notice her example of buying wine. Choosing the wrong wine makes people anxious because they don’t want to be laughed at. Or more accurately the idiot law professor she mentions clearly has issues of self esteem and could just as easily choose to say “I don’t care what others think” (trust me it’s a very liberating choice) or “Waiter, what would you recommend” or “I like Merlot, I’ll choose Merlot.” Any of those choices would not have caused anxiety…but no he chose to put himself in a situation where he would be anxious. Or the discussion of a dull sex life. Who cares if someone else has a more exotic sex life…the only real question is do you enjoy your own sex life and are you happy with your partner? That is the only relevant question. (Not to mention the fact that next to alcohol, sex is one of the most abused escapes for more deeply rooted psychological issues, so it might not actually be something you want to experience). If you’ve only ever slept with one person in your whole life and your sex life is as vanilla as it gets but you’re happy, what does it matter…unless you make the bad choice to care about other people?
Also notice they correctly point out that capitalism is based on choice. However they do not correctly identify that these bad choices are a very particular brand of capitalism where people want and want and want for no other reason than just to have. If you had people making better choices then capitalism would change the economy to meet the better choices. The system gives us what we want. It isn’t the system’s fault that we want something that won’t bring us happiness. Then she goes off and suggests that we all make choices based on how other people think about us.
The ideal choice thing. I’ll admit that some people constantly worry about making the ideal choice. This is more a result of bad reasoning. If I can find out I can save $10 on my car insurance by doing a week’s worth in man hours of research…um, my time is worth more than that. Worry about it if you care, but is what you have saved worth the time and energy spent in worrying? Usually not, but thinking about all costs and benefits including time and energy versus money is a choice. And some people don’t make the choice correctly.
Choice involves a loss—only from a perspective. You can choose to look at every missed opportunity as a loss…or you can take the road less travelled by attitude and learn to appreciate the journey, accept the choice you’ve made and choose to learn whatever ever lessons that road has to offer. You could choose to accept life as it comes, learn from the bad, revel in the good. Or you could choose to be negative and unhappy. But it is all about your outlook not about that it always terrible.
She then claimed that “nobody believed in socialism.” And nobody believed in socialism but kept spouting it to “not offend others” (again choosing to care about others). The underly argument here being that if people really believed in socialism things would have been great. Uh-huh.
And because we have choice she claims, we get this idea that there are fantastic experiences out there and then get unhappy when we don’t have them. You’ll notice how she just kind of assume great sex (the kind that actually comes from being joined with a great relationship, not with a new position) is just a myth…so you shouldn’t try for happiness that choice tells you is a possibility…you should just accept you basic level of misery. Anyone remembering Churchill’s quote about socialism being an equal distribution of misery…the problem is that socialists are actually advocating for that.
And apparently choice bring the evil of self reflection and occasionally holding ourselves accountable…can’t have any of that. She give the example that being fired isn’t your fault and blaming ourselves for the effect of our choices. That’s true. You shouldn’t necessarily blame the corporation that fired you. I was fired once. I refused to back down in the face of a bully. I could have cowered and kept my job for another year or two but I chose to stand by my principles and I got fired. I made a choice. Keep in mind a lot of the people currently out of work are not educated, not skilled, not the best in whatever they do…why? Because they choose not to be, they choose to avoid the opportunities that presented themselves and often choose to embrace a momentary bit of materialism and pleasure, choosing the immediate small good over the much larger long term good.
Then she attacks capitalism again with the idea of the self made man. She equates this with celebrity. Even the Horatio Alger myth of yesteryear never said everyone was going to be Carnegie or Sinatra or Einstein or the President (okay maybe the President, we do seem to have some really low standards with that one). It was that you would be able to earn enough to live your life as you wished in a profession you enjoyed. If you educated yourself, worked hard enough (yes you have to choose to work), sacrificed frivolous pleasures at the beginning (yes you actually have to choose to be frugal) you will make it into that most blessed of clubs: The middle class. So really choice isn’t the problem here it’s that people are choosing not to work, not to get educated, and not to improve themselves. Choice isn’t the problem here…laziness is.
Then she claims that capitalism is ruining the world because it’s causing people to want to be lazy. Actually that would be the sense of entitlement and privilege brought on by a primarily welfare based, socialist ideology, that sees the government as something to give you things. This system where people want what others have and want recognition and celebrity isn’t capitalism…capitalism is a means for self improvement, just as choice is…but capitalism promises you nothing and demands you work for everything. So clearly this mentality of something for nothing does not come from the system of capitalism. Now capitalism will do nothing to stop this mentality, because it plays off giving people what they want, but it is the choice of wanting something for nothing that causes this.
And then she goes off with her little pictures of worker bees and the phrase “proletarian slave” (because someone other than a Communist still uses the phrase “proletarian slave”). In this little image she defines capitalism as having three main points, working more, rushing around, and constantly consuming. It’s this third one that’s the major problem. Capitalism doesn’t require you to constantly consume, in fact the best aspect of capitalism encourages thrift and frugality (you’ll notice that for the most part people who have earned their wealth through hard work are a rather frugal bunch). Yes, capitalism stresses the good old Protestant work ethic of the more you work the more you get, but it’s not capitalism that demands you keep up with the Jones, that’s you choosing to care.
Of course then she suggests that if you believe you are in charge of your life you’re just being fooled because if you believe you’re in charge you’re only a proletarian slave. Uh-huh. Actually the people who feel most in charge of their life are the ones who have learned that they don’t need every new shinny thing. But she just states it as if it’s a fact, that you are not in control of your life, that you are just a drone, that you can never be captain of your fate, master of your soul. She offers no proof to this because there is none. Yes, there are people who are slaves to the need to be judged well by others, but there are also people who control their own lives and decide their own course. To deny this is the worst and most evil of lies.
She then comes to this strange conclusion. “The ideology of choice is actually not so optimistic & it prevents social change.” Actually it can be optimistic if you make the right choices…she simply assumes that you will always make the wrong choices (I’d hate to actually find out something about this pathetic woman’s personal life). And it is an excellent opportunity to make personal change. Because if you can’t make a mistake you can’t grow. It is often from our bad choices that we learn to make good choices and grow. And once individuals grow and improve you will have society grow and improve. Which is the most I can say for social change because as she never defined what the hell she meant by that, there is no way to counter her otherwise non-sequitor of an argument.
Choice can lead to happiness. Often it won’t because people make lots of bad choices. The first of which is to be unhappy. This tends to lead to even worse choices. But while probably 10% of people will reach happiness when given a choice…guess how many will find happiness when you don’t have choice? That would be a whopping 0%. Without choice no one can be happy. Without choice a stoic might be able to say ‘I did the best I could and I have no regrets’, but they have certainly not reached Happiness. Only choice can lead to happiness. And those who don’t find it really have no one to blame but themselves and their bad choices.
But here is the real evil of this whole video.
So choice is a bad thing that causes you problems. Well if choice is bad then lack of choices becomes good. So if capitalism is bad then what is good, oh that would be socialism. Because if choice is bad and you need to get away from choices then someone else needs to make the choices for you. And what is the political word for choice…liberty. So if choice is bad, then liberty is bad. So hail socialism. Hail a fascist government. Hail Victory (feel free to translate that into German)! And before you tell me that socialism and fascism are two different kinds of government, shut up, both are based on the government over the individual, the only difference is the PR department.
Someone has to make choices in your life. It is either you or someone else. We call that system where you make choices for yourself liberty and capitalism. When someone else makes choices for you it’s called socialism, communism, tyranny, fascism or just plain old slavery. Whatever anxiety that can come from making bad choices, I guarantee you is still far far better than the alternative.
This video is arguing that having choices is a bad thing and will cause you nothing but grief, just like Bernie Sanders did, choice is evil to Sanders and his ilk…the implicit argument is that you should give up choice, give up capitalism, give up liberty. This is an argument that choice will always result in bad things. It denies that there is a difference between good choices and bad choices. It denies that we can learn even from our mistakes. It denies the thing that makes us superior—our free will. And it implies the opposite that you should be without choice, give up your free will, become a slave. This is evil.
Whether it is in the near illiterate voice of Sanders or the pompous yet still stupid voice of some Society of morons it is evil
In case you’re wondering about the organization, The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce, which put this out has a lot of other videos which suggest similar things (The internet is bad because it can be used for propaganda…like these videos, Prudence is bad, capitalism is a failure, that we are only soulless animals driven only by genes and a brain that works only like a computer–no free will). This organization which once included Adam Smith (he must be spinning in his grave over this tripe) and Karl Marx (wow there’s a shocker) has become little better than a modern day propaganda service for some of the most truly wrong, evil and dehumanizing ideas to ever face society.
Just a little note—There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of little lies and half truths in this I didn’t cover only because this blog was already getting long and I think you can see through the BS on your own, not because reason and truth do not immediately provide a clear rebuttal.
*I’d bet anything that the ends this idiot wants come right out of Das Kapital or Mein Kampf