Monday, May 1, 2006

John Kenneth Galbraith: Dead Wrong!

The most fitting eulogy of the great Canadian John Kenneth Galbraith comes from Mack Burped, reproduced in full here as a tribute from the London Fog to the intellectual panderers of our socialist masters:

Dead, Finally: John Kenneth Galbraith

The social-democratic Toronto Star newspaper today profiles the life of one of the 20th century's most influential (hence most guilty) Keynesian economists, John Kenneth Galbraith.
John Kenneth Galbraith,
pusher of economic and moral poison.

Galbraith died of pneumonia at the age of 97, this past Saturday, April 29, 2006. The Star presumably wrote this piece not simply because Galbraith was influential - many influential people die every day without being profiled in the Star - but because he was a socialist and was born in Canada. Although he lived in the USA for the last 75 years of his life, we can expect Canadian media and historians to categorize him as a "Canadian" economist, in the fine Canadian tradition of calling any influential person Canadian if they have the remotest of connections to the country (e.g., Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell, who emigrated to Canada at the age of 23, but moved the USA within about 3 years later, and eventually became a naturalized citizen of the USA...where he invented the telephone). From the Star's profile:

While he not infrequently spoke to Canadian audiences, Galbraith well and truly left Canada behind.
Oddly, the Star actually states:
In novelist Anthony Burgess's description, Galbraith was one of "the two greatest modern Canadians that the United States has produced," along with Marshall McLuhan.
Perhaps the Star's editors missed the implications of the quote (which also made its way into the Star's by-line)?

John Maynard Keynes gave government intervention in the economy the false appearance of legitimacy with his enormously influential book "The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money" (which you can read at ): the book, in effect, recommends that governments neutralize the business cycle by spending when the private sector is in a lull, and taxing when it is doing well. To the end, Galbraith promoted Keynesianism, and many favourite causes of pacifistic socialists, who continue to cling to Keynesianism and interpret it as an intellectual justification for socialism.

From the Star's profile:
"Despite decades of ferocious conservative criticism," wrote Galbraith biographer Richard Parker in John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics, (2005), "a great deal of the world that Galbraith and his fellow reform liberals created between 1900 and 1980 (endured) into the new century: the minimum wage, workers' rights, vastly expanded and publicly financed health care, prohibitions on discrimination based on race and gender, an influential environmental movement (and environmental laws), a major reduction in poverty, a large middle class, expanded educational opportunities, Social Security. Government as a percentage of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is larger today than it was when Galbraith last served in it, and has shown no sign of growing smaller."
Galbraith's support for communism was perfectly consistent with his ethical philosophy that self-sacrifice is somehow good, and that the pursuit of ones own happiness is not:
As for conservatives, Galbraith to the end castigated them for spouting what he regarded as the transparent cant of self-interest.

"The modern conservative," Galbraith said, "is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
There is some truth in the profile:
Galbraith was a self-described victim of mediocre pedagogy at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph...
At least he attended before Ontario's universities became bastions for intellectually mediocre leftists...oh wait, he would have liked that.

Should America cry a tear over this fella's death? Consider that:
Galbraith did befriend Pierre Trudeau, and often cited Canada and Scandinavia as examples of a civility to which the United States might someday aspire.
Oy-yoy-yoy. The USA 'aspiring' to be like two morally-crippled socialist economic weakings. Yeah, what will the USA do without 'advice' like that.

All of which brings up for me a few lines from The Forgotten Rebels' now forgotten tune, Elvis is Dead:

Elvis is dead,
Elvis is dead
The big fat guy
is dead, dead, dead
Elvis is dead, Elvis is dead
The big fat goof is dead, dead, dead

Millions of assholes mourned his death
I'm gonna steal his body from the place of rest
Millions of assholes mourned his death
I'm gonna steal his body from the place of rest
Give him back in pieces when the ransom's paid
Leave his hypodermics where the moneys laid

Oh, Elvis is dead,
Elvis is dead
The big fat goof
is dead, dead, dead
Elvis is dead, Elvis is dead
Spend your money on our records instead

Pretty much sums it up for Galbraith too. Good riddance.


Mack the Plain Little Turtle said...

mapmaster wrote:

"...reproduced in full..."

...with my blessing. Thanks for the honor LF!

P.S.: I've got another one up today...this one on May Day, and the use of immigrants by the racist left.

MapMaster said...

Hardly a plain little turtle! That's a terrific site you have.

Belated thanks for "permission" to reproduce the post. I was going to excerpt a bit but got carried away because it was all good…

rhebner said...

"Galbraith's support for communism was perfectly consistent..."

I know this is nitpicking but wouldn't the proper 'ism' in this sentence be 'socialism'.

In the strictest sense of the words , socialism is not communism and from what I understand of Galbraith, he was perfectly content with the gov't sticking it's nose into private business, but not necessarily the idea of complete public ownership of industry.

Like I said, it's nitpicking, but I find too many people call someone a commie when they mean socialist.

Pietr said...

If somebody was murdered by Hitler's Socialists or Stalin's Communists, it wouldn't matter to them who did it.
And while I'm at it, why are people calling the Nazi BNP 'fascists'?
They are NAZIS, but I suppose the pinkos don't want to associate them with anything even remotely 'socialist'.

bonnie abzug said...

I'm with rhebner on this one. Well, sort of, at any rate. I would agree that 'socialism' is not 'communism', in the strictest sense of the term. I'm fairly certain, however, that the reverse is true.

It's not an accident that Russian communists called their creation the 'Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' and Hitler's fascist cronies called themselves the 'National Socialist Party'. Neither fascists nor communists hold any love for the free market.

I would also agree with sorehead that if "somebody was murdered by Hitler's Socialists or Stalin's Communists, it wouldn't matter to them who did it". I'm sure that it also wouldn't matter to 'somebody' if their murderer was a Scandinavian socialist, a South American corporatist, a communist from the Hermit Kingdom, Rush Limbaugh, a Middle Eastern theocrat or Lisa the anarchist. So, what's the point?

Pietr said...

The point old girl, is that Hitler and Stalin murdered millions of people in the name of socialism,and at the same time, fascism and communism.
Distinguishing different names for 'murderousness' won't change it or make it go away.

bonnie abzug said...

And my point, old chum, was that the atrocities committed by these two was not imposed by the political-economic systems under which they operated. While the agglomeration of control in the hands of the State - certainly a point of similarity between fascism and communism - may make this type of behaviour easier for an unbalanced mind in control of the organs of the State, it does not follow that either system requires the murder of millions of fellow citizens.

Pietr said...

What do you call the artificially planned grain famine of the Soviet Union?
And apologists say that Hitler was himself not documented as having had anything to do with extermination; but it did need millions of guilty men and women, party members all.

bonnie abzug said...

Listen, sorehead, what I would call the "artificially planned grain famine of the Soviet Union" is exactly that. Nothing more. Nothing less.

And, if you are inferring that I am making apologies for Hitler, you're crazier than I thought. I had the privilege at university to study under one of the foremost historians of Weimar and Nazi Germany. I am under no illusions as to the relative and/or specific guilt of the actors involved in that particular psychodrama. As to whether the Endlösung der Judenfrage required the active participation of "millions of guilty men and women, party members all", I'll leave that for another day in another place.

Pietr said...

Deliberately,or accidentally, misinterpreting what I said is a sign of your craziness.
As for the 'aritficially planned famine', are you saying that wasn't murder?When people with so much as one grain of wheat were accused of 'hording'?

According to what you said(whether or not that is what you meant)closing all the hospitals in the country by force during a SARS outbreak would be different from murder.

Do you know what is a causal link?
If not you are in no danger of being 'crazy'.
You don't have enough character to damage your brain.

Or mine.

bonnie abzug said...

Let's be friends, Sorehead. Why all the attitude? Of course the "artifically planned famine" was, as you term it, "murder". All I'm saying is that the ideology underpinning either fascism or communism - both forms of socialism in some sense - does not have as a structural requirement that the State murder its citizens. I do think it fair to say that the gathering of the organs of the State into the hands of either an individual or a small group, not uncommon in either variation of the genus 'socialism', makes it much easier for the individual or the group to indulge in the psychopathological megalomanical behaviour that would make an "artificially planned famine" possible. If Stalin indeed claimed that he did this in the name of socialism, or communism, or any other form of -ism, I think we both know that he was trying to blow smoke up someone's ass.

MapMaster said...

Ignorance does not make for an apologist, but you are perpetuating one of the great fallacies of Communism, Bonnie. Murder and violence are in fact quite inherent to Communist doctrine and inevitable as a result of its application.

"You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.
— from the Communist Manifesto

Pietr said...

Sorry, Bonnie, I am a little tetchy at times.
But you can't believe I called you an apologist for Hitler;I was merely quoting those who are.
I was also trying to steer you away from distinguishing 'systems' from philosophies;while dictatorship is undoubtedly an exacerbating factor, two things were also true:
1)Millions of people joined the club and made it happen;
2)Where people have to obey, someone, somewhere, is the person who has to be obeyed.