Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Open Apology to an Ayn Rand Fan

I'm sorry you've taken what I've said as an attack on your intellect. I admit that my interpersonal skills are flawed but I honestly though I was giving your opinions all the respect they are due. After all, you offered a tightly reasoned argument (in the form of an urban legend written by someone else that you didn't credit) and concluded "Socialism doesn't work."

I attempted to question your logic by offering a counter example of a situation in which capitalism didn't work (18th and early 19th century fire companies*) followed by a text book recitation of why it's a logical error to extract a general principle from a single, specific instance: effectively, if a saw fails at pounding nails does that mean it fails as a tool?

You quickly, succinctly and eloquently refuted my argument - well, not really refuted it. To refute it would involve pointing out where my error was. What you did say was, "I don't buy it."

Now, given that the example of fire companies that I gave is historically accurate and the recitation I provided demonstrating that it's a logical error to draw a general conclusion from a single instance parallels every textbook on the subject of logic, I can only conclude that what you're not buying is logic itself and that you have developed a means of analysis superior to logic. I'll take your word for it. Unfortunately, my intellect is saddled with the constraints of logic which render me incapable of "free thinking". I now recognize that logic is a handicap like the blinders worn by slavish draft horses that prevent them from looking at anything that isn't directly in front of them.

I admit that I made a grave error in neglecting to point out that the socialism practiced by the successful constitutional democracies of Europe (and Japan) is not quite the same socialism that was practiced by the totalitarian Soviet Union - which history indeed tells us failed - so you were right about history! Well, you were sorta right... if you assume the the socialism of the successful countries of Europe was the same as the Soviet socialism... but, heck, the Soviet Union did actually have "Socialist" in their name and that should be enough to settle the matter! (Of course, the National Socialist German Workers Party [NAZI] had socialist in their name, too, yet they were rabidly anti-Communist. History tells us that socialists were among the first people they sent to the camps .... but that's another story altogether.)

In the meantime, we'll just have to wait a bit for history to prove that the now successful countries of Europe will fail as a result of their misguided implementations of what I believe you would define as socialist ideas throughout their economies. But from my read of what you'd written, it's obvious that history will vindicate your position and that the now successful countries of Europe (and Japan) will eventually fail.

Far from questioning your intellect, I admire it! History shows us that single minded, blind dedication to an idea often triumphs over mere logic. That's why I recommended that you establish an economics consultancy in order to save the countries of Europe (and Japan) from their inevitable failure. I would not presume to do so myself because my knowledge of economics (hampered as it is by the restrictions of logic) is incomplete and obviously inadequate. But you, on the other hand - unhampered by logic and in possession of the truth that history shows us - that socialism doesn't work - have far more to offer than I would.

So, bottom line, I most sincerely apologize if you took what I have written as questioning your intellect. I hope that you will accept my apology in the spirit in which it's offered.

*Late 18th and early 19th century for-profit fire companies did, in the spirit of totally unrestricted , unregulated free enterprise, evolved a business model that would be admired by Mafia dons running down and dirty protection rackets in the early and mid-20th century - as in "pay up or we'll burn yer f&%king house down."

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