About the author

Joseph Natoli

Joseph Natoli

Joseph P Natoli is a retired college professor and author of numerous books on culture and politics. He is a member of the editorial collective of BAD SUBJECTS, the oldest political online magazine on the web. He writes regularly for a number of political and pop culture online magazines, including SENSES OF CINEMA, BRIGHT LIGHTS FILM JOURNAL, POPMATTERS, AMERICANA, DANDELION SALAD, GODOT, TRUTHOUT

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29 Comments

  1. 1

    Anthony Bernardo

    You can go back even further, to George Wallace, or even earlier. The scary part is that the mob moved from being localized to nationalized over the last 60 years giving rise to fearful mob exploitation by the nominee of a major party. Kind of like a slowly spreading pandemic that started in one house in one town. My explanation of the increase in the mob, which will no doubt awaken the wrath of at least one of your readers, is that free market capitalism is a great system for a time, as was mercantilism as claimed by their advocates, or divine royalty as claimed by their advocates. I’ve always been a free marketer, but not unregulated free markets nor markets that leave too many behind, which is what we are now experiencing. Unregulated free market capitalism, without an adequate social safety net, nor an adequate understanding by the mob of basic supply demand economics or history is what’s giving rise to the spreading mob, and the nomination of a Trump by a major American party. The country has failed miserably to prepare the population with the tools to thrive in a rapidly changing world, spending way too much time on creationism debates or intruding into a woman’s life, as examples, rather than preparing for what globalization would mean for our working people of all collars. After WW2 the government provided for the education of our vets and they created the next 50 years of growth; now we do nothing publically to prepare the next generation. Norquist’s bathtub doesn’t help matters either, but exacerbates the situation instead. At the same time, our advertising convinces that everyone must, absolutely must, own the newest gadget, own their own home, three TVs minimum, and a general consumer driven American dream now reserved for only those that have the skills to compete in a global economic system or global and technology proof occupations. (The Ford Rouge plant that once had no robots and about 60,000 employees, now has many, many robots and about 6,000 employees – technology is also working against the good manufacturing jobs we used to have and they “ain’t” coming back under any circumstances, NAFTA or no NAFTA; China or no China). Unfortunately, neither HRC or DT is likely going to provide an answer, and certainly not DT.

  2. 2

    Richard Ivans

    .
    “We pity and mock the analog slog of time”
    Who remembers how long it took in 1969 to find the right books to write a term paper? find pizza from your car in unfamiliar Albuquerque? the cheapest flight to Rome? fill out your income taxes? buy a right rear quarter panel for 56 Chevy Bel Air?

    Today, in 2016, in the digital age, I can do all those and read the first chapter of “The Republic” before you can analog your way into a pizza joint in *any* unfamiliar city.

    Don’t underestimate the speed and utility of the digital age. Getting faster and smarter all the time.
    ——————–
    MOBS
    You don’t create casinos, tv shows, pageants, golf courses, office buildings, apartment buildings by gathering mobs.

    Run down hotels turned in to 5star hotels, empty lots turned into casinos, barren fields turned into world class golfs courses, are not the work of MOBS.

    Mobs kill police. Mobs occupy. Mobs violate the rights of others. (btw, no one has a right to the money in your pocket, no homeless, no failing bankers, no one)
    ————-
    WHY THIS CURRENT MOB IS PROTESTING TRUMP
    Trump wishes to make America great again, back to pre-socialism, pre-nanny state, pre-special interests rule, back to before we started slipping towards socialism’s red herring “social justice”.

    The anti-Trump mob likes anarchism, the pre-cursor to socialism. Glenn Beck’s rally left Washington’s Mall clean and orderly. Occupy Wall Street anarchists left litter, broken windows, spray paint slogans, and a few dead. It’s what mobs do.

    Anarchist mobs ran thru the streets of Moscow in the early 20th century, resulting in the soviet socialist Stalin. At the same time anarchism in China morphed into the Communist Party. Later anarchist mobs ran thru the streets of Berlin, resulting in the national socialist Hitler. In the early stages anarchism is a friend of socialism. Before a new social order can be built the old must be torn down, the job of anarchists, socialism’s useful idiots.
    ————–
    GEORGE WALLACE? A COMPARISON TO TRUMP?
    Wallace was a racist. He belonged to a self proclaimed white supremacist group. He didn’t appear on TV with smiling blacks. He didn’t pose for smiley pictures with black beauty queens and black leaders. He didn’t employ blacks in administrative positions. Wallace didn’t run for president with the endorsements of former black presidential candidates like Herman Cain or Ben Carson.
    ————-
    FREE MARKET CAPITALISM
    is what made America great. It built the steel mills, the libraries, the hospitals, the universities, the skyscrapers, the tanks, guns, tractors, space ships, movies, sports, and Internet. All the envy and magnet for people worldwide.

    Of course there is no pure free market capitalism,
    as there is no pure socialism.
    ————-
    WHICH WAY ARE THEY HEADED?
    China, Russia, Viet Nam, Poland, and scores of others have violated the rights of their citizens imposing socialist measures, depressing their economies, bringing misery.

    They have also, of recent, given freedom to their citizens, ensured rights, and enriched their people as they have moved towards pure capitalism.

    Of recent the USA has moved in the opposite direction, towards socialism (social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, Obamacare, bailouts of industries, redistribution of wealth thru all kinds of measures, all kinds of social programs. Not “leveling the playing field

    One thing is abundantly clear throughout history. Give people freedom and they prosper. Centrally command and control them and they stagnate in misery.
    ——-
    LAISSEZ FAIRE, FREE MARKET CONFUSION
    The straw man argument often put out by socialists is that capitalism doesn’t work…

    They say, Capitalism needs to be put in check otherwise greedy capitalists will develop monopolies, horde all the money, pollute our environment, enslave WalMart workers, starve fast food workers.

    No, that isn’t happening in China or any other country which is heading towards pure free market capitalism. It hasn’t happened here either. Maybe in some laissez faire or bastardized capitalism system, but not here, not in China or elsewhere.

    NOTE: Free markets do not mean that the government does nothing. Free markets *require* that someone ensure rights are protected, and markets are free.
    ————-
    CAPITALISM AND UNALIENABLE RIGHTS
    The reason we form government is to ensure unalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Those rights include the right to keep everyone’s thumb off the scale at the market, the right to associate, the right to make contracts and to have them honored, the right to own property.

    The right for 2 free men to look each other in the eye, freely negotiate without unfair trickery, freely shake hands and then live up to their agreement. Government doesn’t dictate the score, it only blows the whistle when rights are violated.

    Snake oil salesmen are punished. Contract violators are punished. Gold coin shavers are punished. The only regulations on the market place are those that ensure individual rights.
    ————-
    TRUMP SUPPORTERS DON’T UNDERSTAND SUPPLY AND DEMAND?
    A psychologist would call that Projection.

    Anarchist mobs, Socialists, Liberal Progressives, career politicians from Illinois/Arkansas, and former S. Chicago community organizers understand economics better than a real estate billionaire and his supporters, most of whom work for a living, practicing capitalism, practicing supply and demand in the real world.

    NOTE: Socialism theory very seldom mentions Supply and Demand. Capitalism theory constantly mentions Supply and Demand. Capitalism is built on supply and demand.
    ————–
    “After WW2 the government provided for the education of our vets and they created the next 50 years of growth”

    Where’d you read that? Some socialist rag?

    After WW2 our economy boomed because the rest of the world was in shambles. We survived by the luck of geography and because capitalism had made us dominant in that war.

    In addition our labor force expanded massively from the influx of young healthy vets, disciplined by the rigors of war. Very very few of them took advantage of any government education. I’ve known several men who returned from WW2 and went directly to work, no assistance from Uncle Sam. I know of none that received “free” govt educations.

    If WW2 vets had received “free” college from the government then beer pong, Wall Street occupation, and entitlement of other people’s money would have be created earlier in our nation’s history.
    ————-
    SIMPLE ECONOMICS
    Robots replacing Rouge Plant workers is a good thing, just like hundreds of weavers being replaced by weaving machines. The weavers found work in more efficient industries.
    ————-
    INTRUSION INTO A WOMAN’S LIFE?
    Oh, you mean when a working mother has her paycheck snipped so Sandra Fluke can use that other woman’s money to buy birth control pills.

    Or maybe you mean when the working woman has to pay for Sandra to have an abortion because Sandra forgot to take the pills the working woman bought for her.

    I’m being asked to pay for Sandra’s lifestyle too. You know, only a fool gives money to someone without monitoring how they use that money. I want a camera installed in Sandra’s bedroom, so we can keep track of our “investment in America”.

    Look, everyone monitors and pays for their own private affairs. Sandra doesn’t pay for my prostate exams or pills, I don’t pay for her exams or pills.

    The money in a man’s or a woman’s pocket is his, not Sandra’s.

  3. 3

    Anthony Bernardo

    You don’t pay for your medical exam either. In part I do. Insurance is the purest form of socialism in this country. It’s pure redistribution. If we had to pay it all ourselves, we’d all be dead.

    1. 3.1

      Richard Ivans

      Anthony,
      Insurance is a construct of free market capitalism. One man freely negotiates a deal with another – “I’ll pay you $100 a month. If I get sick you pay my medical bills.”

      Soc Sec “Insurance” is a construct of socialism. The government confiscates you money, against your will, and pays it back to you under a plan devised not by you and them but by others who dole out the money according to their concept of “social justice”.

      See the difference? Insurance is negotiated by free men. Government social programs are dictated and forced upon unfree men.

    2. 3.2

      Anthony Bernardo

      Delusion is a wonderful form of rationalism. Redistribution of funds is socialism regardless of who does the redistribution.

    3. 3.3

      Richard Ivans

      Delusion a form of rationalism?
      I think you are confusing rationalism with rationalization, a psychology concept. Rationalism is a philosophical concept. Rationalism is the idea of basing knowledge on reason, as opposed to say divine insight, ouiji boards, or tea leaves.
      ———-
      And redistribution of funds is NOT socialism regardless of who does the redistribution. Examples:

      – The invisible hand of capitalism causes you to increase your wealth by talking market share from a guy who makes and sells widgets poorly while you make and sell them efficiently and profitably. This is not Socialism. This is Capitalism.

      – You win the lotto. This is not Socialism. This is the *pure* luck of gambling.

      – Bonny and Clyde steal all the money from the uninsured bank where your life’s savings are kept. This is not Socialism. This is robbery. Robbery from a bank that, incidentally, did not, or could not, insure itself and you from a loss in the market.

    4. 3.4

      Anthony Bernardo

      Your examples are a stretch at best. Capitalism is supposed to be primarily win win not zero sum. Of course on a micro level it’s win lose but macro it has to be win win or major conflict will arise as history has shown.

    5. 3.5

      Anthony Bernardo

      Almost forgot. I pay my insurance policy to protect me not you. Your use of my funds is a consequence not an intent.

    6. 3.6

      Richard Ivans

      No, my examples are spot on. No stretch.
      If you have specific criticism of any of them let’s here it. Specific criticism.
      ————
      Yeah, free market capitalism transactions are win-win, otherwise who would do them? Free men only trade if they think they will be better off after the trade.
      ————
      Insurance is a capitalist transaction. The insurer gives you protection against misfortune, you give him money. You both do it of your own free will, no arm twisting. You both benefit, otherwise you and the insurer would not do the transaction.

      Under Socialism there is lots of arm twisting. You are forced to give up your factory, tractor, shovel, and the fruits of your labor. The community takes them and then uses them to redistribute “to each according to his need”.

      Federal Social Security is a Socialist program. You are forced to give up the fruits of your labor. There is no free choice to enter or leave the transaction.

      The government gathers all the Soc Sec Tax and then redistributes the money according to a plan that is supposed to be according to need. “Need” being defined by the government, the guys who forcible took the money from the people.

      So, what you said above, “Insurance is the purest form of socialism in this country. It’s pure redistribution.” is wrong.

      Insurance is a construct of capitalism.

      Unless you meant Soc Sec Insurance, and then you would be partially right because the Soc Sec system is set up to give relatively larger benefits to the poor and elderly, at the expense of the wealthy and young.

    7. 3.7

      Richard Ivans

      I don’t know what you are trying to say with your “Almost forgot..” post.

    8. 3.8

      Anthony Bernardo

      My point is that my insurance premiums pay your bills and visa versa depending. Of course I pay the insurance company freely, but not to pay for your illness; to pay for mine. If my funds are given to you instead well then I don’t agree but the insurance imposes that condition. Socialism. And almost forgot just means that, but I remembered.

    9. 3.9

      Richard Ivans

      You don’t pay the insurance company to pay for your illness. You pay the insurance company to pay your bills *IF* you should get ill.

      You can’t get ill *AND THEN* pay a premium to have the insurance company pay your doctor’s bill.

      You are buying protection from bills should they arise. You are not paying for bills that you already have.

      You don’t know the outcome when you pay the premium.
      ———–
      The insurance company “imposes” no condition that wasn’t in the contract you signed with the agent at your kitchen table. No imposition, just two people looking each other in the eye across the table and signing a contract that exchanges insurance premiums for protection from misfortune.

      You give the agent money, he gives you protection.

      If it is auto insurance than you pay premiums and if you should get a fender bender then the insurer pays the body shop that banged out your fender.

      No socialism here, just a capitalist exchange of money for a service. The service is protection from the cost of fixing bent fenders.
      ———
      OTHER EXAMPLES
      You hire a guy to plow your snow for the winter. If it snows he plows.

      Suppose another fellow, living on the other side of the mountain hires the same guy for the winter. If it snows more on his side of the mountain then he gets more plowing than you.

      That is not redistribution of plowing. It is simply protection from deep snow on your driveway. You and the guy on the other side of the mountain get the same thing for your money – a clean driveway.

      This shoveling insurance isn’t Socialism. It is capitalism – exchanging money for a service.

  4. 4

    Anthony Bernardo

    Sorry, but you’re using my money redistributed through the insurance company. That’s socialism. I obviously don’t have a problem with that. But I’d suggest you stand in front of a mirror and repeat three times – I support socialist organizations like insurance. If you don’t collapse, lose your voice, or drop dead, it will show you it’s all OK.

  5. 5

    Richard Ivans

    Anthony,
    The insurance company isn’t controlling the redistribution, or flow, of money, the insurance contract is.

    That contract is an agreement between the insurer and the insured. Each signs that contract of their own free will.

    There is no free will signing of contracts under Socialism. Instead the state’s central planning committee determines the flow of money. And they can change their plans on whim. They are not encumbered by a contract signed by free men.
    ———
    “..stand in front of a mirror..”??

    What’s that supposed to mean. I thought we were trying to have a discussion here about Socialism and Capitalism.
    ———
    INSURANCE – A CORNER STONE OF OUR CAPITALIST SYSTEM

    Anthony, are you familiar with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)? It is a bastion of Capitalism. No one calls the CME Socialist.

    At the CME members buy and sell options and futures. Options and futures are financial contracts used to control risk. In other words they are insurance policies, insurance contracts.

    Example:
    In January, General Mills, the maker of Wheaties, will buy an options contract that gives them the option to buy 100,000 bushels of wheat at $10/bushel in October. This insures they can buy the wheat at a good price, then make and sell Wheaties profitably in November.

    That options contract (ie, insurance policy) protects General Mills from weather and market risk that might result in wheat priced at $20/bushel in October, too high for General Mills’ liking.

    The writer of that options contract would likely be Wall Street speculators, betting that the price of wheat will be below $10 in October. If it is below $10, say $9, then the speculator makes money, having sold General Mills a policy that General Mills won’t collect on. General Mills won’t exercise their option at $10 when they can simply buy elsewhere on the street for $9.

    Now, the speculators might have sold all kinds of wheat options to a whole lot of other people and companies. Some will exercise the option, some won’t.

    No one would say, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is a Socialist organization redistributing money to some people at the expense of others.

    In this picture are traders on the floor of the CME, buying and selling insurance policies for farmers, bankers, large corporations. That floor is the equivalent of the kitchen table where you buy an auto insurance contract from an insurance salesmen:

    CLICK–> http://www.chicagobusiness.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CG/20150706/NEWS01/150709915/AR/0/CME-traders-exit-pits-set-up-electronic-trading.jpg

  6. 6

    Anthony Bernardo

    Richard, you’re beyond hope. But if you are happy, it’s all OK.

  7. 7

    Richard Ivans

    Okay Anthony, let’s try another couple insurance examples…

    Look carefully for the socialism style redistribution of wealth that you think you see.
    ————
    EXAMPLE ONE
    An insurance company sells auto insurance to 1 guy, and 1 guy only.

    The guy makes premium payments every month and gets in no accidents ever. So he never files a claim, he never gets a claim payment.

    Socialism? redistribution of wealth? from each according to this ability to each according to his need? or Capitalism?

    The insurance company sold protection, the 1 guy received protection. Capitalist transaction. Both parties entered the transaction because it was to their benefit.
    ————
    EXAMPLE TWO
    An insurance company sells auto insurance to 10 guys.

    The 10 guys make premium payments every month and, as chance would have it, NONE of them gets in an accident EVER. So no one ever files a claim, no one ever gets a claim payment.

    Socialism? redistribution of wealth? from each according to this ability to each according to his need? or Capitalism?

    The insurance company sold protection, the 10 guys received protection. The 10 guys and the insurance company entered the transaction because they all freely determined it was to their benefit. Free market capitalism.
    ————
    EXAMPLE THREE
    An insurance company sells auto insurance to 10 guys.

    The 10 guys make premium payments every month and, as chance would have it, each of the 10 gets into a $100 fender bender accident.

    All 10 file a claim, and all 10 take their cars to the same body shop where Fred-the-fender-fixes collects $10 directly from the insurance company. Fred then fixes all 10 fenders.

    Socialism? redistribution of wealth? from each according to this ability to each according to his need? or Capitalism?

    The insurance company sold protection, the 10 guys received protection. The 10 guys and the insurance company entered the transaction because they all freely determined it was to their benefit. Free market capitalism.
    ————

    Did you see socialism style redistribution of wealth, Anthony? Where?

  8. 8

    Anthony Bernardo

    An insurance company sells auto insurance to 10 guys. Each pays 100$/mo. Nine of them has no incident, but one has a $12000 payment for an accident. His $100 bought him $10,800 of the other people’s money that they paid for their own protection. The $10,800 was redistributed from their accounts to pay for one guys accident.

  9. 9

    Richard Ivans

    So, one guy got $10,800? So he’s $10,800 ahead of the other guys?

    Why did the insurance company make him $10,800 wealthier?

    His net worth is now $10,800 more than the other guys?

    Um, Anthony, you are forgetting one little detail – the accident that put that one guy $10,800 in the whole.

  10. 10

    Richard Ivans

    Each of the guys in your example paid $100 a month for protection from misfortune. They all did it of their own free will, and in your example no one cheated anyone. They all got what they paid for – insurance against misfortune.

  11. 11

    Anthony Bernardo

    They didn’t want that and asked for their money back. But the insurance company said that was the deal. Their money went to payoff somebody else’s problem. The government collects taxes from 100 million people. They redistribute it to services for 320million people. The 100 million don’t like that their tax money was redistributed from their accounts to pay for the other 220 million. The 100 million don’t like that. They want to reduce taxes and only have the government use the money for themselves. The call the redistribution socialism. They made the other 200 million have a higher net worth. Except, the 100 million,or a few of them call it socialism. they all got what they paid for.

  12. 12

    Richard Ivans

    HOW INSURANCE CONTRACTS WORK..
    After you signed a contract, made premium payments, and received protection from misfortune, you can’t ask for your money back.

  13. 13

    Richard Ivans

    When government confiscates money from one man and gives it to the other that is theft. When the government does that on a grand scale in order to satisfy the concept, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”, that is Socialism, which is also theft.

  14. 14

    Anthony Bernardo

    I see no difference. One takes your money in return for protection and distributes it to others that need it more. The other takes your money in return for protection and distributes it to others that need it more. Both offer protection. Both redistribute. Both provide services. Both give you a choice to participate or not participate. ( In the case of the government, you have a choice to move to less expensive places like Syria, Lebanon, or Guatemala, or where ever; you’ll get nothing, but you pay nothing of course.) What’s that old line, “nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s free”.

  15. 15

    Richard Ivans

    Big difference Anthony.
    One TAKES your money.
    You GIVE your money to the other.

    Your idea that moving your family and all your worldly possessions to Guatemala is equivalent to NOT BUYING LIFE INSURANCE is, I’m sorry to say, LUDICROUS.
    ———–
    You are also forgetting one VERY important thing about insurance. Having an accident and then getting the dent fender fixed by the insurance company does not benefit the guy who had the accident.

    And the guy who pays but has no accident is no worse off than the guy who had an accident. Both end up with nice fenders at the end of the day.

    The insurance company doesn’t distribute money to claims filers. It fixes damaged fenders.

    If a guy who had no accidents was getting shafted, as you say, then he would leave, no? He would quit buying insurance, no?

    Why doesn’t he, Anthony?

    On the other hand socialism’s redistribution of wealth does benefit the guy who gets money, or free food, or free housing, or free education, from the government.

  16. 17

    Richard Ivans

    SELF INSURANCE
    You can self insure by putting money aside for a rainy day. Instead of giving the money to an insurance company for protection you instead put it into a very conservative, extremely low risk, investment, the same thing insurance companies do with premiums they receive from people they insure.

    No one would call self insurance Socialism. There is no FORCED redistribution of wealth.

    No one would call State Farm an agent of Socialism. There is no FORCED redistribution of wealth.

    FORCED redistribution of wealth is the cornerstone of Socialism.

    “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” can only be accomplished when the state owns the means of production. Private individuals only give up their property and labor when faced with FORCE.

  17. 18

    Richard Ivans

    Lots of people, almost all people, misunderstand Capitalism and Socialism, and the impact they have on freedom. One can only exist with freedom, the other can only exist without freedom.

  18. 19

    Anthony Bernardo

    You don’t understand Richard. Enough means the conversation is over.

  19. 20

    Richard Ivans

    I understand.
    I find these to be traits of Liberal Progressives…
    They often don’t admit they are wrong when they are, because their philosophy is dogma.
    They like to put their fingers in their ears, LA-LA-LA, or censor the other person when they are wrong.
    Specifically, they don’t understand Capitalism nor do they understand Socialism.
    The scientific method? ah, not so much.
    They act like the Pope when confronted by Galileo.

    If the conversation is over then this is a monologue, no?
    Or are you declaring that over too?

    Insurance is a construct of capitalism as I have demonstrated above, through many examples.

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