Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Zhurong rolls onto Martian surface

Zhurong's view of lander after deployment onto Martian surface

The new colonial movement: According to China’s state-run press, the Zhurong rover has successfully rolled off its lander and reached the Martian surface.

The image to the right was taken by the rover’s rear hazard avoidance camera, and shows the lander and the deployment ramps behind Zhurong.

At this moment China has released no other images of the Martian surface, nor have they revealed if they have a precise idea of where the lander actually put down on Mars. This latter information is essential for them to plan the rover’s travels over its 90-day nominal mission.

Nonetheless, it appears Zhurong is functioning perfectly. If all goes right, it will not only complete that 90-day mission but continue on for considerably longer, as have other similar small rovers on both Mars and the Moon.

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39 comments

  • Gealon

    Ah, so China has made it to the summer of 1997 and landed their own copy of Sojourner?

  • Gealon: Zhurong is actually an upgraded version of Opportunity and Spirit, the plans hacked from JPL.

  • Lee Stevenson

    I have a serious question here…. Undoubtedly the Chinese stole a load of tech from NASA and JPL to build this rover, but in this instance, does it matter?

    If it concerns national security, or indeed national industry, then a security breach is almost an act of war, but regarding space exploration, I think all nations should be sharing. ( That’s the socialist in me! ;-) , I know China will not at this moment reciprocate, but that can change, especially if “shamed” into on the world stage by the actions of the rest of the world.

    My point is, I guess, that hacking into your information on how to build, launch and land a rover on Mars is actually a net gain for humanity.

    You cannot remove progress, you cannot remove information, and if ( as everyone here, including myself! believes ) some form of capitalism will win out in the end, the science that China is doing right this second will only add to the knowledge of mankind. Discuss ;-)

  • Mark

    Lee: We cannot look at the Zhurong Rover only through the lens of science and exploration precisely because China has an explicit national strategy of dual use technology. Dual use technology initiatives undergird China’s ambitions for world economic and military dominance. Here is some background to consider. Since 2012 civil-military fusion has been part of nearly every major strategic political and economic initiative. The goal is to bolster the country’s innovation system for dual-use technologies in various key industries like aviation, aerospace, space, automation, IT and medical science (E. g – does Wuhan Lab sound familiar?). In January 2017, Xi created the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development, a new body for overseeing and coordinating civil-military fusion efforts, and, in an unusual move, appointed Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli to run the commission’s daily affairs, a role usually reserved for a lower ranking official.
    In this effort, various state and military actors to serve the CCP. There are two key defense conglomerates that run some of China’s most important defense research labs, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASCADE) and China Electronic Technology Corporation (CETC).
    Today, according to the Pakistan Point News “The Zhurong rover of China’s Tianwen-1 mission to Mars has successfully descended from the platform and began exploring the planet’s surface, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC ) said on Saturday.”. ( https://www.pakistanpoint.com/en/story/1256750/chinas-zhurong-mars-rover-descends-from-platform-to-be)
    So sure China may share some of the Science they gain from the Zhurong Rover. But don’t fool yourself that the Zhurong is primarily about Science. It’s about the power of the communist party fused with power of the military fused with state supported companies. For example in the military, the recently established Strategic Support Force, which is responsible for space, cyber and electronic warfare, has energetically built ties outside the military, signing cooperation agreements with research universities, and even stationing CCP officers within companies.

  • Mark

    Sorry the link I referenced above only seems to work if you paste into browser.
    https://www.pakistanpoint.com/en/story/1256750/chinas-zhurong-mars-rover-descends-from-platform-to-be.html

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You wrote: “I know China will not at this moment reciprocate, but that can change, especially if “shamed” into on the world stage by the actions of the rest of the world. My point is, I guess, that hacking into your information on how to build, launch and land a rover on Mars is actually a net gain for humanity. You cannot remove progress, you cannot remove information, and if ( as everyone here, including myself! believes ) some form of capitalism will win out in the end, the science that China is doing right this second will only add to the knowledge of mankind. Discuss ;-)

    So, if China does not reciprocate by sharing, how how do you thing their science adds to the knowledge of mankind? It only adds to the knowledge of China.

    If China’s technology comes from being stolen, then China is not adding to the technology but is making it less profitable for the free market capitalist systems to perform their science. How do you think that free market capitalism wins in the end if it loses to the socialists and communists? It isn’t as though this makes socialism and communism too expensive to compete, it makes free market capitalism too expensive to compete. Since socialists cannot be shamed into acknowledging that their system fails everywhere and every time it is used, how do you think that they can be shamed into giving up their one advantage over the free market capitalists?

    Discuss.

  • Jeff Wright

    Now, this is how a robot should be deployed. Spirit and Opportunity came down after aerobraking really hard…same with the larger skycrane deployed nuclear rovers.

    This is more like Viking. Orbiter slows…then releases aeroshell that doesn’t re-enter quite as fast…

    Here you have the rover atop the lander in a conventional way. Sojourner was the last Mars rover deployed thusly…although it came in like a warhead…using airbags like the MERs.

    Thus it is a combination of all previous approaches in as low risk a way as possible. But it is the first to put them all together.

  • Gealon

    I’m just having a little fun Robert. In truth I don’t follow the Chinese space program specifically because of everything they stole. They don’t do anything new, just rework the existing, as Jeff pointed out. In any case, congrats to the engineers who actually landed something working on Mars, that’s not easy to do. I just wish their talents weren’t being wasted.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @Edward, quote “Since socialists cannot be shamed into acknowledging that their system fails everywhere and every time it is used” , it is hard to be shamed into something that is blatantly untrue. That little point aside… If whatever brand of capitalism you have in your head is the only possible way forward, and all other systems of govenence are doomed to fail, then what are you worried about? I would also suggest you try hard to learn the difference between “communism” and “socialism”. I am a socialist. I am not a communist. Considering the US is an extremely Christian country, I am always amazed how anti socialist it is, given Jesus politics and all. ( He was the very definition of socialist. )

  • mkent

    Considering the US is an extremely Christian country, I am always amazed how anti socialist it is, given Jesus politics and all. ( He was the very definition of socialist. )

    Oh, this ought to be good. In what way was Jesus Christ the very definition of socialist?

  • Jeff Wright observed: “Now, this is how a robot should be deployed. Spirit and Opportunity came down after aerobraking really hard…same with the larger skycrane deployed nuclear rovers.”

    Been there, done that. Now US space is going for style points, and I say, good. The natural inclination is to find a consistent, reliable operation, and stay with it. It’s why sharks have been around for hundreds of millions of years; the Universe is a minimum-state kind of place.

    Besides exploring new methods, when you’re good, you want to show off, a bit.

  • Jeff Wright

    The limitations of the rocket are what is at play here. Titan III and Long March 5 are roughly comparable. The Delta II was so wimpy that the whole spacecraft was really just an aeroshell warhead that Mars ran into, so to speak. Atlas is a little bigger…but also has to come in hot. The skycrane does get style points

  • I would recommend one read the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), before declaring that Jesus is a socialist … He actually considered profit-making activity legitimate. And His parables of the Good Samaritan and the Sheep and the Goats indicate that He also considered charity to be an up-close-and-personal responsibility, instead of outsourced to a faceless bureaucracy that can’t tell an individual from a statistic.

    Look under “working” socialism, and you will find it is built on a foundation of successful capitalist pigs … in a society that would work even better without it, Socialism unplugs the distributed intellect of a nation, by limiting the decision-making to the elite few.

  • wayne

    Jordan Peterson / Akira the Don🦞🌊
    “Those Who Have Everything” (2019)
    https://youtu.be/68X3w6uFwyw
    5:34

  • wayne

    “It’s not an accident that the axiomatic Western Individual is someone who was unfairly nailed to a cross and tortured. Yes, right. Exactly. So what do you do about that?”

    Jordan Peterson (2017)
    “Life is suffering, so get your act together.”
    https://youtu.be/wLvd_ZbX1w0
    7:30

  • MadRocketSci

    I have a serious question here…. Undoubtedly the Chinese stole a load of tech from NASA and JPL to build this rover, but in this instance, does it matter?

    This gets at something I’ve often thought about our relationship with China, and about our relationship with technical knowledge in general. There are a couple different pieces to this:

    1. We seem to have this bizzare attitude that technical knowledge and ability is this thing that can be captured in design documents and lab reports and stored in a vault somewhere. On the contrary, technical skill is something that can only live in the minds of practicing scientists and engineers, and is barely transmitted by the documentation at all. I’ve seen several organizations falling apart due to “brain drain” because the people who did the work are long retired, and all that is left is a bewildering pile of documents. China probably owes a lot of its technical skill to the fact that they’re busy manufacturing *all our technology*. If their culture is such that, like Hollywood, their management won’t approve doing anything that hasn’t been done before somewhere else, then, maybe for purely selfish competitive reasons we should be grateful for the momentary advantage!

    2. A lot of our problems with China seem to be problems with our own screwed up politics and economy. China no doubt projects a malign influence on many things: We can see that with their thumbs on the scale of our media and tech companies. But they have that influence because the overclass in America lets them have that influence. If we weren’t half at war with ourselves, if we had a sane trade policy, if we still had a vibrant industrial economy of our own, if our cultural leaders weren’t falling all over themselves in using China as an excuse to play domestic dominance games both political and economic, then China would be formidible, but far less of a threat to us.

    3. It’s hard to construe trying to sell us stuff, even with horribly unbalanced subsidization and currency games as a hostile act. It takes two sides to set up a stupidly one-sided trade policy. It’s also hard to construe trying to become technologically competent in itself as a hostile act. (After all, contrast with the Soviet Union, pounding shoes on tables and threatening the world with nuclear weapons right from the end of WWII.) I’m wondering if the Chinese attitude towards intellectual property (if they can comprehend/make/do it, it’s theirs) isn’t more sane than our own (some cancerous perverted outgrowth of something originally intended to reward original authors/inventors).

    I think a lot of our quarrels are with our elites which are using China to undermine their domestic enemies.

  • MadRocketSci

    I would also suggest you try hard to learn the difference between “communism” and “socialism”. I am a socialist. I am not a communist. Considering the US is an extremely Christian country, I am always amazed how anti socialist it is

    We’re anti-socialist because we more or less *had* the ideal that socialism *pretends* to aim at throughout most of our history. Our workers were free men, in high demand, who “owned the means of production”, (owned their own land, owned their own property, owned their own businesses.) Whatever large concerns were present were in a purely supporting role to the broader economy – Most early turn-of-the-20th century cities were full of apartments over shop-space owned by small-proprietors, independent farms, etc. The last thing a nation of “mechanics and shopkeeps” needs is a bunch of vindictive intellectuals collectivizing their world (or stealing their livelihoods). This wasn’t England after the enclosures, it was something entirely different.

    Socialists point at a problem, (an economy dominated by large monopoly firms and state-married agencies, where labor is worthless due to being in oversupply and no one owns their own livelihood.) To the extent that this happens, it’s bad. The socialist’s “solution” to the problem is to double down on it! Instead of being de-facto serfs to Amazon, we’re supposed to all be slaves of the state. (Somehow, being a bureaucrat means you’re supposed to be working “on behalf” of the worker, and that makes it okay). In a capitalist country, I can take out a loan and buy property. I can go to the machine auction and *obtain* whatever “means of production” I know how to operate. In a Socialist country, pie-in-the-sky lies notwithstanding, I’m not allowed to own anything.

  • MadRocketsci

    PPS: Before you start talking about “degrees of socialism” and the nordic countries, “socialism” isn’t remotely the same thing, or driven by anything like the same motivations as merely setting up some social safety net.

    Look at what socialists do. EVERY TIME they take power. They don’t act to improve the autonomy and wellbeing of workers. They never proceed towards a state where more people own their own livelihoods, and large corporations have less power. They *attack* independence. Their first political hatred is for the independent small-businessman, the middle class, the bourgeoisie (of ever shifting definition, but usually always ending up meaning those dirty Kulak farmers who don’t need to be organized because they already own their own small concern!) From the French revolution to the Russian revolution, to the various east European revolutions, and on and on – socialists act to reduce men to serfdom. Socialist intellectuals have no use for free men who don’t need to be organized.

  • wayne

    MadRocketSci-
    All in all, good stuff! (some quibbles, but neither here nor there)
    Look up “Fogbank,” as it relates to your observation on technical-skill vs. having-the-blueprints/formulas. ->a necessary material component of our nuclear-weapons, they were having trouble duplicating it in the late 1990’s when they were rehabbing/up-grading our nuclear forces.

  • pawn

    They copied all they could follow
    but they couldn’t copy my mind
    so I left them sweating and stealing
    a year and a half behind.

    -Kipling

    In this case it’s decades behind.

  • Ray Van Dune

    The question nobody seems to be asking: does the Chinese system have sufficient morality to not use technology, stolen or otherwise, to enslave us? It is a fact that they regard us a racially inferior to themselves, to a degree that we can hardly comprehend. It has been ingrained in their image of themselves for thousands of years, and we will not change it.

    It is what Churchill said of the Germans… “They are either at your throat, or at your feet”. Both Germany and Japan seem to have gained the moral sense to avoid seeking domino over others, but they learned it the hard way, at the hands of those they attempted but failed to conquer. China has learned no such lesson!

  • Ray Van Dune

    Domino => Dominion

  • MadRocketSci

    A lot of this seems to be paranoid and/or sour grapes to me.

    They put a lander on another planet. Applause. A lander on target speaks for itself.

    Our other issues with the country are orthogonal.

    If you want to stay on top of the technological/industrial/exploration world, you have to do it by actually *doing* it. Crying no-fair! because we landed similar technology in the past is juvenile. It’s like crying no-fair! because someone else has begun to comprehend some mathematical theorem that you discovered first. In the very long run, Mars belongs to the people who end up landing and living on Mars. If you want that to be your descendants, you have to look towards building your own abilities, not booing the accomplishments of other people. Whoever they end up being, they’ll be the descendants of people who build things, not people who hoard secrets and snipe at each other over priority.

  • Edward_2

    Lee Stevenson said on May 22, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    > If it concerns national security, or indeed national industry, then a security breach is almost an act of war, but regarding space exploration, I think all nations should be sharing. ( That’s the socialist in me! ;-)

    socialist? That’s something you and National SOCIALIST Hitler and Soviet SOCIALIST Stalin have in common.

  • wayne

    Ray:
    referencing chi-com ‘morality,’ the answer is no, they don’t.
    (Chinese communists will eventually have to be destroyed, the sooner the better.)

  • Max

    A fuzzy fisheye camera with low resolution, curved landscape that is easily remedied automatically nowadays, showing few details. Not impressive on purpose? Perhaps it is incapable because of the lack of communication/technical support in orbit…

    Lee said;
    “I would also suggest you try hard to learn the difference between “communism” and “socialism”. I am a socialist. I am not a communist. Considering the US is an extremely Christian country, I am always amazed how anti socialist it is”
    It can be argued that no reformed government system ever made it to full-blown communism. It collapsed under its own weight before it could be achieved. Government leaders under Socialism would never step down to be equal with the common class. No matter how much they referred to themselves as the “first among equals”, comrades were never equal. (some are more equal than others. animal farm?)

    You can also be argued that the United States, although resisting socialism, is more socialistic than your country… we keep telling ourselves that we are not, but millions of people without any skills are coming here yearly to receive that free stuff and send home the excess. It is currently a national problem that people who don’t work can receive more money than people who do work, a severe labor shortage that many states are trying to rectify by refusing the free money…

    America, hundreds of years ago, were the first to Pioneer the “socialist state”. James Town did not last long. Plymouth puritan colony nearly starved to death before revisions were made to their charter so settlers could be given the community land and told that they can keep what they make. Soon they had an abundance of food creating the Thanksgiving tradition. Lesson learned.

    Christ was not a socialist. The change he wanted everyone to perform was on the inside transforming the individual. He encouraged everyone to help their neighbor, a personal act. A true and undefiled religion is this, “to take care of the orphans and widows”

    The old testament was meant as a guide, and of an example how the new church should be. ( just like the earthly Caterpillar looks nothing like the heavenly butterfly, genetically they’re identical, just transformed) The 10 tribes gave 10% of their income to support the Levite tribe who performed all the religious duties but not permitted ownership of land or payment for their work. The Christian church is encouraged to give from the heart willingly. The United States supports more social welfare organizations throughout the world than any other country. (Some say were more than all the others combined)

    The Mormons in 1846 left the United States to practice their religion and the “united order” communism in Mexico on the other side of the Rockies.
    In 1848, Sam Houston conquered Mexico and the territory west of the United States was confiscated in the treaty of Guadalupe. (Revenge for the Alamo)
    The Mormons set up communities under the “united order” sending people throughout the territory in an orderly fashion like worker bees from the hive (which is on our state flag to this day). All working from nothing to make the desert bloom like a rose, having everything, every possession in common, giving everything they made to the bishops storehouse who would redistribute the goods to the needs of everyone.
    People from Europe particularly Russia would come to Utah to learn how it was done. The secret was the intense pressure from charismatic individuals with relentless indoctrination with an underlining punishment and threats. These intimidations tactics does not hold a community of love and trust together. After the Continental railroad made it easy to escape, the united order was abandoned. Communities who’s people worked for themselves or for others for wages thrived, while communities that worked for the church for free became ghost town’s.
    Margaret thatcher said it best, Socialism works until you run out of other peoples money…

    20 years ago, a coworker of mine would volunteer to come up with ideas for children to earn money for summer camp supplies so all the children could participate. One of the ideas worked out so well that he decided to patent the idea and manufacturer it for resale at Toys “R” Us. He hired a patent attorney, and submitted his proof of originality. As the patent was pending, he retired with 30 year pension, took a loan out on his house, rented a facility with supplies to begin filling orders for a national chain of toy stores.
    After fulfilling the first order, he received notification that he was infringing somebody else’s patent and he had to shut down his manufacturing plant and lay off his employees because he was being sued. He lost his house, and everything he worked for. His old job would take him back but only if he started from the bottom as a new hire and I worked with him for another five years after that. What happened? His patent lawyer that he hired, filed the “patent” in his own name, arranged a contract for an inferior product with China and stole this man’s life by winning his lawsuit with his former customer. Without the proof of originality, no lawyer would take the case against another lawyer.
    My point? At least mankind’s children had toys they could buy, regardless who was destroyed to put those toys in the marketplace for the betterment of mankind.

    “the science that China is doing right this second will only add to the knowledge of mankind”

    To go into a persons home and steal their money or their knowledge, to not only inrich themself but to use that knowledge to enslave others is not a improvement of mankind as a whole.
    Whether it’s the king robbing the people, or Robin Hood robbing the king, unethical behavior only leads to miss trust and misery. No one wins. There is no honor among thieves…
    I wonder if china remembers why they built a great wall?

  • It’s probably just me, but I see those ramps and the name “Evel Knievel” keeps popping into my thoughts …

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You wrote: “it is hard to be shamed into something that is blatantly untrue.

    As I said, socialists won’t acknowledge that their system fails everywhere and every time it is used.

    … then what are you worried about?

    You didn’t comprehend my comment and questions? I’m surprised, but maybe I shouldn’t be.

    I am a socialist. I am not a communist.

    I understand the difference. When have I ever called you a communist, or anything other than a socialist? You keep suggesting that I have called you a communist, but I never have.

    given Jesus politics and all. ( He was the very definition of socialist. )

    Actually, he was not socialist. You are just trying to steal his religion (interesting thing for a socialist to do, but considering China’s behavior, theft seems to be endemic in socialism). He did not believe that the government should confiscate money to help our fellow man but that we should help them ourselves. This is, in fact, part of free market capitalism. The capitalist should help on his own. Each person should be willing to be independent, as in “The Lord helps those who help themselves.” Helping others is part of Christianity:

    “The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” — Deuteronomy 28:8

    “He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.” — Proverbs 12:11

    “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” — Proverbs 13:4

    These differ a bit from your philosophy of depending upon your government for your healthcare and wellbeing. If you weren’t taxed so heavily then you might be able to afford your own medications. You have claimed that you are a net giver to your government, so had you not been taxed so heavily then you could have saved and invested for your future, allowing you to afford your medications — simultaneously using your savings to assist in the growth of your country’s economy. Alternatively, you could have afforded your own health insurance, again contributing to the economy. Instead, you “followeth vain persons” who believe that they can care for you better than you can care for yourself, and at great expense.

    Your dependence on your socialist government makes you defend it due to fear that without it you would be worse off. Our independence from our government drives us to defend it, because we see what happens when people become depended upon a government that thinks it is the people’s master. Your own experience, Lee, adds to our understanding of how bad socialism is.

    And — why have you not answered or discussed any of my questions to you? Instead, you sidestepped, trying to change the subject. Please answer my questions. After all, they are the discussion that you had explicitly requested.

    MadRocketSci wrote: “It’s like crying no-fair! because someone else has begun to comprehend some mathematical theorem that you discovered first.

    However, if the technology was stolen, then it was not the accomplishment that the Chinese claim or that the world sees. It is similar to me stealing and signing an unknown Picasso and passing it off as my own. If the art world objects, is that sour grapes?

  • Here’s what a prominent American Democratic Socialist — co-chair indeed of the Democratic Socialists of America — Michael Harrington had to say (about a third of a century ago) concerning the facile comparison between Sweden and America.

    Harrington declares that in his view America (the United States) is already the most socialist country on the face of the earth — and that, indeed, the U.S. is really (where it counts) much more socialist than (e.g.) Sweden!

    As Michael Harrington said: [quoting…]

    Robert MacNeil:  Finally, tonight, we remember political activist Michael Harrington, who died yesterday — he was 61 years old. Harrington began his career as a leftist political organizer, author, lecturer, and teacher in the early 50’s. He became co-chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America in 1983. Among his books was The Other America: Poverty in the United States, published in 1962 — it was widely viewed as helping set the scene for the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty.

    I spoke with Harrington a year ago, when he was already suffering from the cancer that led to his death. I asked why he thought socialism had never caught on in the United States.

    Michael Harrington:  I think that’s very complicated, but to just tick off a number of the reasons:

    Number one, we’re a presidential country, not a parliamentary country. In Canada, so much like us, there’s a socialist party which in the polls right now is at about 28-29%, which has been 20% or better for years. In part that’s because in Canada you can vote for your socialist candidate for Parliament, and he or she can then affect the Executive in the Parliament.

    Number two, because the United States in the period when most European workers were becoming socialist — which was the period roughly from 1880 to 1914 — in the United States that was the period in which it was more important that you were Catholic, Protestant or Jewish, white or black, Italian, Irish, etc. That is to say, our race, our ethnicity, all of those complexities made it difficult to develop a class consciousness when people were much more ethnically and religiously and racially conscious.

    Finally, the most complex of all, in my opinion. There’s a sense in which I think America is the most socialist country on the face of the earth right now — which is one of the reasons we don’t have a socialist movement. By that I mean that the United States, I think, has always been one of the most egalitarian, open, non-deferential societies. We’ve never had any real Tories — any real conservatives — in America. One of the reasons that Canada has a socialist movement is that our Tories went to Canada after the Revolution, and sat around and told the workers that they were human refuse — that they were no good! And one of the things that generates socialist consciousness is having a bunch of upper-class snobs trying to push people down — we’ve never had it. And, I think, in a crazy way — socially — I’ve always thought that America is really much more socialist than Sweden!

    [/unQuote]
    ____
    (PBS MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour, Robert MacNeil’s interview with Michael Harrington, broadcast August 2, 1989; transcribed by me — MEM)

  • pzatchok

    Socialism is a parasite on Capitalism.

    Not all parasites are bad. But to much of anything that gives nothing back is bad.

    Handing money to the masses for nothing in return causes nothing but inflation in the economy. And a total lack of appreciation for the value of money, which is just a representation of a persons work and his value.

    China stealing tech and building something from it does NOT add to science but stagnates it.
    China has enough universities of their own and more than enough people to be out preforming most of the world in science but it still lags behind. Why?
    Nothing the scientists develop is their own. They get no compensation for their work. All intellectual property is the property of the “people” or really the State.

    Their new rich are nothing but front men for the Party. Watch one of them try to take over the party and see what happens to him.

  • Lee Stevenson

    Yay! Mission successful! A decent argument to be had!
    Regarding the religious thing, I am no great expert on religious texts, but the feeding of many with a few fish and loaves, and the turning over of the money lenders tables always struck me as quite socialist in my religious studies class. The whole “give to Caesar that which is caesars” thing… Perhaps not so much… politics is nuanced.. 2000 years ago more so than today.
    I’m guessing it is not on the doorstep of any of the posters here, we are all middle-aged + white guys, but it is a fact that there is more poverty in the US than almost any other western nation.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/233910/poverty-rates-in-oecd-countries/
    There is vastly increased poverty in the UK these days… The British government have actually been bragging about how many more food banks there are under the right wing govenment they have been steered by for the last 11 years. Food banks should have no place in a socialist society. It’s nothing to brag about.
    You guys don’t seem to like, accept, or even see the poverty and suffering that sits on you doorstep. It does, it is there. And if your on your ass, there is no way out. I have met people on social media that are living in a trailer because they had to sell their house.. inadequate insurance left them with 10,s of thousands of pounds of debt because they got ill with something their insurance ( or lack of) didn’t cover. You can argue “it is their own fault for not getting adequate cover”… And you have a good argument. But my answer is, as a died in the wool skeptic, and a secular humanist, I would rather pay an extra dollar in tax, and ensure that everyone here gets healthcare they need, than see anyone suffer. And if Jesus would have argued about that…. Well he wouldn’t have .. would he?

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    You noted: “There is vastly increased poverty in the UK these days…

    This is a sign of the failure of the UK’s socialist system.

    Food banks should have no place in a socialist society. It’s nothing to brag about.

    So now you think that socialism is perfect? Don’t you keep telling us that capitalism is not perfect, implying that we have quite some hubris to recommend freedom over the failures of socialism?

    You guys don’t seem to like, accept, or even see the poverty and suffering that sits on you doorstep. It does, it is there.

    I don’t know what we may have said to lead you into thinking this. We know about America’s poverty. We know about our soup kitchens and food banks. We even have food drives every year.

    America’s poverty rate was decreasing right up until the socialist LBJ administration, when we created various welfare systems to care for those who didn’t want to go to work. Then it climbed right back up, as happens in every socialist worker’s “paradise.”

    I have met people on social media that are living in a trailer because they had to sell their house.

    Which is what happens when the central-controlling socialists shut down our economy, yet failed to stop a disease that killed 600,000 even though the shutdown was supposed to limit the death toll to 60,000. Oh, and socialized medicine in the U.S. is also leading to people having to sell their homes or to not being able to afford to buy them in the first place. Meanwhile, your socialized medicine depends heavily on Americas innovations and contributions — your higher taxes don’t even do the job you think they do. You’re welcome, but you are wearing out that welcome, especially since you don’t thank us for our generosity to your health.

  • wayne

    Lee–
    A Question:
    If I’m understanding correctly– you are a British citizen who lives in Sweden. How does that work? Is it a european-union ‘thing or what?
    I can’t move to Canada and sign up for their social-programs, they would eventually deport me.

    “a bunch of middle-aged + white guys…”
    –Dude, that sounds like the “r” word to me!

    and speaking of a bunch of white guys…

    Blues Saraceno –
    “Save My Soul”
    (Theme from The men who built America)
    https://youtu.be/lCnzCMBRO1o
    3:20

  • wayne

    Thomas Durant’s speech
    “Defending a Legacy”
    https://youtu.be/1RI9uaNgHjs
    4:49

    “1,776 miles of iron-track. That is what I delivered. Track upon which thousands of wheels will now revolve, carrying on their axles the wealth of half the world. Drawn by the iron horse, darkening the landscape with it’s smoky breath, announcing to the world, with it’s piercing scream, that we are a great people, who can accomplish great things. Yet the American people, driven by their cowardly representatives in Washington are in need of a villan, so here I sit, elected by you, to play my part. The part of the scapegoat, the patsy. Sent into the wilderness so that men sitting in this room can lay their sins upon my back and claim they themselves are clean. Men enjoying immunity while enriching themselves on the backs of those who sacrificed everything to make manifest America’s destiny. Blood has been spilled, lives have been lost, men have been ruined. I saw it, and I survived. I will not return from the wild having made Americas dream a reality, only to have 6 bureaucrat’s in starched collars judge the manner in which I realized that dream. Put me on trial, lock me in prison, erase me from the record. For history is written in pencil, and the truth is carved in steel across this nation. And one truth above all others is this, without me and men like me, your glorious railroad could never have been built.”

  • wayne

    Michael–
    I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t thank you for the Harrington transcription you provided. Haven’t heard his name in a long time.

    Lee-
    Just for you, even though I know you dislike my constant ‘appeals-to-moving-images.’
    :)

    John Lennon
    Working Class Hero
    https://youtu.be/iMewtlmkV6c
    3:47

  • Lee Stevenson

    Hi guys! @Edward, not at all, my criticism of the UK is after a decade or so of right wing rule…. The right wing govenment bragging it has introduced more food banks than the previous left wing govenment strikes me as particularly, errrmmmm… Just wrong in every way.

  • Lee Stevenson

    @wayne…
    I met a girl from Sweden 20 years ago… I moved here, I had to support myself for 3 years, ( which I did ) then I got given permanent residence here… No real drama. The only problem I face now is I have to claim 14 years of state pension from England , and will have to claim the rest from Sweden, because Brexit ( formally there was an agreement to combine EU contributions) .. I actually have no idea how this is going to pan out … I trust my elected representatives to fix the best possible deal for me. ( That is a lie!)…. But hell, unless I beat the curve, with all the crap wrong with me, if I live to 65 I’ll be happy with what I can get.

  • wayne

    Lee–
    Thanks for the back-story.
    So, you’re a British citizen, with permanent Swedish residency, and that allows you to collect social-welfare program benefits, from Sweden.

  • Edward

    Lee Stevenson,
    I’m sure that you had meant to say that the left wing rule had left such an impoverished nation that these food banks were necessary. Obviously, they were created because they were needed.

    Your original question: does it matter that China steals technology from NASA and JPL, as long as it is for the betterment of humanity?

    Theft is theft.

    You see, Lee, you think of your government as mom and dad. You don’t have to be responsible for yourself, because mom and dad are there to care for you, what with state pensions and all. There is no need for you to go out into the real world or even to live in the real world. Someone is always there to take care of you. This drives your attitude that some theft is OK, so long as it is for the “greater good,” whatever that is. The end justifies the means. Who gets to decide what is that greater good? What if he’s wrong? Socialism is theft, but this does not worry you, because you are one of those who benefits from the theft of other people’s stuff.

    You may even think of your government as Santa Clause, passing out nice stuff that was paid for by others. You don’t even have to be nice, or even thank those who paid for the nice stuff, because this Santa will give you stuff even if you are a naughty ingrate. (Is that being part of the greater good?) No wonder you love your system! You can’t lose, no matter how bad you are.

    Of course, you can’t win, either, but that isn’t how you were raised. Your socialist societies, taught you that equality means that everyone must have equal outcomes, even if that means equally poor (unless you are one of the wealthy governing elite, which is how the increasingly socialist U.S. is turning out). It is only fair, after all. (What is fair, anyway?). It is a small price to pay for that feeling of security, that someone will care for you, even if he is far away and doesn’t even know who you are or what you really need.

    You keep insisting that we can’t know your country unless we visit it. There is a problem with that. You arrived at that faulty reasoning when you visited the U.S. and decided that you know the U.S., but you visited only one small part of a large and diverse country. The U.S. is not homogenous. Perhaps Sweden and the U.K. are homogenous, which could be why you feel so secure in your faulty logic, but the U.S. has vastly differing societies and cultures. The people of your country may be unwilling to move to where work is, just like the people you visited in the U.S., but most Americans are willing and do move to where the work is. We are willing and able to be responsible for ourselves and our families, not rely upon a mom and pop government that acts as Santa Clause. You don’t know the U.S. as well as you think you do. No parental types are needed to take care of most of us, as we learned how to be responsible adults.

    Just as happened in your two countries, the socialists are taking that ability away from us, too. They have messed with our healthcare system for almost a century, now, and it is worse than ever. It was supposed to end the need to sell our houses in order to pay for their previously messed up version of healthcare, but it only made things worse. It is still better than other socialist systems (Fidel Castro had to cross an ocean to be treated for a stroke), but it is being eroded all the time. Under the socialist Obamacare system, the cost of family healthcare has risen to more than a quarter of our incomes. The good news is that free market capitalism still exists on the outskirts of Obamacare.

    So it might be nice of the 4% of the world’s population who pay so very much more for healthcare so that the rest of the world doesn’t have to pay so much, but it is still very expensive to us. (Is that fair?) We don’t get much out of it, not even better treatment from Santa Clause, who turns out to be us. (Is that fair?) So when China steals our technology and gets to take credit for the technology and the discoveries made from it (maybe you think that is fair), why would we want to give money to those who were robbed? We paid NASA and JPL to make these discoveries, not so that China could.

    So, yes, Lee, it matters. China, Sweden, and the U.K. should be adult enough to take care of themselves and to be contributors.

    The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to be a beacon to the world, showing how freedom makes life better, not a beacon for the victims of socialism to come to a free America. The world needs to grow up, learn to take care of itself, and make real contributions, not pretend to be contributors by stealing from NASA, JPL, and the rest of America.

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