SYNDICATED COLUMN: How I’ll Know It’s Time To Flee Trump’s America

 

Image result for THE CLASH AIRPORT

The Clash asked. Now I am too: Should I stay or should I go?

Celebrity liberals always threaten to head for the exits if a presidential election doesn’t go their way. Then they renege.

This year is different: some Americans really are leaving.

An early indicator of Trump-inspired flight came on Election Night, when Canada’s immigration website crashed due to visitors from the lower 48. Whether these scaredy-cats are motivated by Trump’s come-from-behind victory — so this is America? — or by the grim reality of Trump’s cabinet picks and executive orders — so he’s keeping his fascist campaign promises? — this is the first time I’ve seen people actually up and go in response to an election.

Trumping out” is far too tiny of a phenomenon to qualify as an official Thing. By mid-December, only 28 Americans had applied for asylum. But my instincts tell me that’s about to change. And my instincts are pretty sharp: counting yard signs in my swing state/swing county hometown of Dayton, Ohio gave me an early indication that Trump had a strong chance of winning.

If you’ve got some money, college degrees and speak a second language (ahem, French), it’s pretty easy to get into Canada, which has served as our go-to exile since the Vietnam draft dodgers. With help from a lawyer, a friend of mine who said he didn’t want his children to grow up in a fascist country scored residency documents for himself, his wife and kids in just a few months. Canadian colleges and universities are reporting a surge in U.S. applicants — many of whom would likely stay up there after graduation.

I think most people who are eyeing the door are like me, in wait-and-see mode.

Let’s be clear: this isn’t about voting with our feet. If I moved out of the country every time I didn’t like the election results, I’d be gone after every single election, and that includes the local ones. I hate both parties; I hate the entire system. This is about self-preservation: what if some Trump nut takes it upon himself to shoot me over a cartoon? It wouldn’t be unprecedented.

It’s also about practicality. Fleeing Trumpistan would be much easier for me than for most people. I have dual French/EU citizenship through my mom, a status I have maintained in the belief that economies and societies can collapse quickly so it’s good to have an exit strategy. My French is passable. Thanks to the Internet, my career is portable. I could draw cartoons and write columns and publish books from anywhere on earth.

I talk almost every day with a colleague, a conservative journalist, about how we will know it’s time to leave the United States. Not to express disapproval – honestly, who would care? – but to save our skins.

You know that Martin Niemöller “first they came for the…” quote? Political cartoonists know that here, in the U.S. under Trump in 2017, we could easily be the first. So we’re watching closely.

When your government turns psycho, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late to get out. When you ask Jewish Americans what year their family fled Europe to come to the United States, it’s striking how most left before, say, 1936. The Holocaust didn’t technically begin until 1941, but earlier departures were easier — and impossible after World War II began in 1939. On the other hand, moving is expensive. And I’m American. I don’t want to leave. I like it here. Why jump the gun?

I’ve been reading Volker Ullrich’s superb biography Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939. Trumpism isn’t Nazism but 20th century fascism provides some useful tips for America’s descent into whatever the hell this psychotic real estate honcho has in store for us.

As Ullrich reminds us, the machinery of state repression moved quickly after Hitler’s 1933 seizure of power. Censorship, then arrests of left-wing politicians were an early canary in the coalmine. This week we watched Trump’s Republicans silence the unfailingly polite Elizabeth Warren on the floor of the U.S. senate. The president himself personally joke-threatened to “destroy” the career of a Texas state senator as a favor to police, because the lawmaker wants to reform civil asset forfeiture (when cops steal your property and never give it back, even when you’re found not guilty of a crime).

Soon after becoming chancellor, the Nazis began insinuating their one-party state into commerce, punishing businesses they deemed insufficiently cooperative. Also this week, Trump went after Nordstrom’s in revenge for the department store chain’s decision to stop carrying his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line. Trump Administration chief propagandist Sean Spicer defended the president’s bizarre comments, declaring Nordstrom’s decision “an attack on his daughter.”

Should I stay or should I go?

Like porn, we’ll know The Moment Everything Changed when we see it.

The arrest of a politician would be such a moment. As would a “temporary” suspension of civil rights, even/especially if it followed the inevitable next terrorist attack.

I don’t have much use for the reliably impotent corporate news media — indeed, Trump’s win is largely their fault — but as a look-out-this-is-getting-really-real moment, Trump’s relentless beating up on the press makes me incredibly nervous. What will this guy do when the new Left gears up with big-ass protests later this year? Isolated from the rallies from whence he drew his strength, Boy Trump in the Beltway Bubble spells trouble; look for The Donald to wallow in paranoia so deep and dark that even Richard Nixon wouldn’t be able to relate. There he’ll be, surrounded by Steve Bannon and his other pet fascists — no one talking stay calm and carry on, everyone around him egging him on as he lashes out.

If you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention. Then again, maybe it’s not as necessary for you to watch the signs as it is for me.

(Ted Rall is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

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57 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: How I’ll Know It’s Time To Flee Trump’s America

  1. The author of Dilbert has a blog where he says the world is watching the same film, and half of Americans are seeing an apocalypse movie, while the other half are seeing a clever comedy.

    Trump spoke of a ‘so-called judge’ who ruled against him.

    Yes, the bad guys start by saying every judge who rules against them is a traitor. But so do lots of more-or-less reasonable people. ‘Sticks and stones.’

    Next, the bad guys say they will not honor the court’s decision. Jackson did that, and then committed genocide against the Cherokee. Trump hasn’t gone that far. Yet.

    Next, the bad guys arrest every judge who doesn’t agree with them and imprison some and execute the rest. Jackson didn’t go that far.

    If Trump goes to step 2, I’d say we have proof this is an apocalypse. Until he does, it might just be a comédie noire.

    ***

    There is some silver lining in this cloud, pointed out by Kirk Walters on 9 Feb (last Thursday):

    comicskingdom.com/kirk-walters/2017-02-09

  2. Not to defend Mr Trump, but I submit that the difference between (many of) his policies and those of his predecessor are minor, save that Mr Obama did it with a smile. As Ms Kimberley notes in the article to which I blog to which I link above :

    «It is a good thing that so many people rose up against presidential law breaking. But that presents yet another contradiction. This resistance will be valuable only if it results in mass action against the larger political system. Selective amnesia for Hillary Clinton or other Democrats will not do. Appeals to the phony clarion call for lesser evilism should not be the response to Trump administration policies.»

    Henri

    • How can we change the mind-set that claims you are either Democrat or Republican? A third-party vote is a vote for ________ . (Fill in the blank.)

      Note: I voted for Jill Stein, as an Arkansan. It was very clear that Trump would carry the state. I couldn’t vote for either Clinton or Trump with a clear conscience.

      Did my vote help Trump? I think not.

      Coalitions work in other countries. We need to consider alternatives.

  3. I never knew that was the Clash’s meaning of the phrase “stay or go”… I always thought it was about a woman.

    Kinda makes sense if you combine it with their Clamp Down song.

    Good comparison here. Thatcher was terrible like Trump is. Thatcher also had a certain outsider status (woman PM in 1979) that helped her pull the wool over people. But you’ve got to know that history to make sense of The Clash singing these lyrics otherwise you’d say… leave UK? due to fascism?? in 1979??? as a lot has happened since then and she wasn’t the end of the world. Neither was Ronnie.

    The right wing trolls on here are correct that there are some really inexcusable beating up of Trump supporters happening here and there. OTOH in a country of 330M picking and choosing a few incidents like that is the definition of losing perspective. Certainly Trump/supporters are not on the side of being gentle and kind and problem solving — by his own words.

    Ted. i can tell you are just writing this to make a point, and aren’t overly afraid. And I do think it’s a fair point to make. And I can see why you’d feel extra vulnerable given the LA times/police nonsense recently which – though did get some publicity – was not a heck of a lot. Not enough in my opinion.

    • How many more incidents would it take before “Antifa” violence isn’t nearly universally excused by the Left? I had to dig for these–not because it is just “happening here and there,” but because Leftist violence doesn’t make national news if the media can help it. And if it does, it gets downplayed, rationalized, or otherwise misrepresented. We get a vague “Oh there was some violence.” Or a “It was just protesting.” What do make national news are fabricated stories of Rightwing violence.

      • I must presume you don’t watch mainstream American media. And I can’t blame you for that. Had Trump supporters committed the acts I linked to below, it would have been front page.

      • Oh, for the love of Christ. A white policeman shoots an unarmed black man and you see nothing wrong with it. How many ‘incidents’ have there been of white men lynching blacks? Of straights lynching gays? One neo-nazi gets punched in the face and you go wild.

        Get real, Jack.

      • How many incidents are there of blacks robbing, raping, or murdering whites?

        Get real, Crazy.

      • … and then there were all those centuries when blacks enslaved whites while systematically destroying their families, their religion, and their culture. After that they lynched white boys if they even spoke to a black girl, denied them their constitutional rights, and burned crosses on their lawns. Even today, southern blacks do their best to prevent whites from voting while black policemen walk free after murdering unarmed white boys.

        Just look at the expression of righteous indignation on the face this scary, scary, buck.

        Oh yeah, cry me a river bigot.

    • @ Jack Heart –
      “I must presume you don’t watch mainstream American media.”
      *****
      That is a correct presumption, since I reside in Mexico. The news I read comes via the internet, mainly German (“Tagesschau”) and British (“BBC”), with a sprinkle of Mexican and other international flavor. (Colbert’s “The Late Show” is my favorite.)
      Now explain to me how that leads you to this conclusion:
      “Had Trump supporters committed the acts I linked to below [what links?], it would have been front page.”
      Your posts are totally incoherent.

      • «Now explain to me how that leads you to this conclusion:
        “Had Trump supporters committed the acts I linked to below [what links?], it would have been front page.”
        Your posts are totally incoherent.»

        Now, min verehrter Lehrer, let us not rain on «Jack Heart»’s parade Now that Mr Trump is US president, everything’s hunky-dory and all those illegals will soon be chased out….

        Henri

  4. «I have dual French/EU citizenship through my mom, a status I have maintained in the belief that economies and societies can collapse quickly so it’s good to have an exit strategy.» But keep in mind, Ted, that it was in France that, as you yourself point out, cartoonists were slaughtered because of what they had drawn….

    By all means, leave the United States if you find that your life or your livelihood – or your joie de vivre – threatened there. But don’t look for a paradise elsewhere ; alas, there are none….

    Henri

  5. “If you’re not scared, you’re not paying attention.”

    I’m going to be frank here. I believe you have completely lost it. I used to count on you to be level headed and give me a good perspective on what an intelligent, principled Leftist perceives. Clearly something in you has snapped since Trump’s electoral victory. I mean really any random liberal can, has, and does compare Trump to Hitler.

    “what if some Trump nut takes it upon himself to shoot me over a cartoon?”

    The Leftist “Antifa” are the ones committing the violence in Trump’s America. Whether that’s rioting in Washington D.C. during the inauguration, punching Richard Spencer, assaulting Milo Yiannopoulos’ audience at UC Berkeley, or many other incidents of violence against ordinary people simply for their political preference for Mr. Trump.

    Bottom line is that if you want to see something badly enough, it is exactly what you will see. Such is human nature. In your case, believe strongly enough that Trump is a fascist waiting and plotting to seize totalitarian rule, and you will “find parallels” with actual historical fascists.

      • The haters are getting hated back. Oh, the humanity!

        Here’s a little hint for you: if you don’t want a fight, don’t start one.

      • So it’s confirmed! You do excuse violence so long as you deem the victim a “hater.” And you believe you’re the good guy! Well, even Hitler thought he was a good guy.

        And in your anti-reality, voting for someone is assaulting someone. You know, the Left are such cry-babies that maybe they cannot be held accountable for their violence. I’ve been seeing that rationale everywhere. “Oh, but they’re so triggered by the ‘hate speech,’ what else are they to do? Not attack people?”

      • uh … Jackie – there’s a big difference between starting a fight and fighting back, is that too subtle for you?

        The real crybabies are those on the right. “Oh, boo hoo hoo, the bullies are the real victims, here.”

        Bull.
        Shit.

        What you evidently don’t realize is that you’re being played. They *love* getting punched in the face just so that they can play the victim card.

      • @ Jack Heart –

        You lost me. What is the significance of your post? What is your point? Inquiring minds want to know.

        🙂

      • You’re perpetually lost. Not my problem. I know it’s too much to ask anyone here to take responsibility for themselves though.

      • @ Jack Heart –
        Well, apparently you got lost.
        My question was with regard the the 15-year-old who claimed to have been groped and punched the perpetrator.
        True, the clip didn’t prove anything other than the fact that she got pepper-spray in the face; but “no evidence” doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
        So I ask again: What was the purpose of your post?

      • CH says Rightwingers are bullies that play victim. Here is a Leftist lying about being groped then she punches an old man and gets pepper sprayed. Many outlets uncritically ran headlines saying she was groped by a Trump supporter when it’s clear from the video she was not and in fact was the aggressor. She got what she deserved.

      • > CH says Rightwingers are bullies that play victim.

        Do I? Are you sure you want to say that?

        I said that bullies and bigots and haters and neo-nazis love to play victim. So, in order for you to interpret my statements as applying to *all* rightwingers then you must believe that *all* rightwingers are bullies and bigots and haters and neo-nazis.

        Personally, I’m not willing to go that far, but if you want to say so I’m not going to argue with you.

      • @ Jack Heart –

        “Many outlets uncritically ran headlines saying she was groped by a Trump supporter when it’s clear from the video she was not and in fact was the aggressor.”
        ******
        Now, let me get this straight. Are you saying that because it wasn’t captured on video, it is proof that she was NOT groped?
        If that’s your line of reasoning, it’s no wonder that you are unable to persuade others.
        No crime in this world ever happens unless it is captured on video. How unique.
        Get professional help.
        😀

      • Dear. Fucking. God. The whole incident was on video. She was never groped. Multiple witnesses said as much as well. Hopeless. The both of you.

      • It’s impossible to argue with those that purposefully misunderstand. CH is going on about “all” rightwingers when all I did was paraphrase him. “The real crybabies are those on the right.”

      • @ Jack Heart –

        “The whole incident was on video. She was never groped.”
        *****
        I watched the video numerous times. There were many people between the photographer and the young lady, and they blocked any and all possible sight of her breasts and what happened.

        For you to state unequivocally that it didn’t happen because you couldn’t see it illustrates your bias: “I didn’t see it, so it didn’t happen.”

        I could, with that reasoning, say that she never punched anybody. I didn’t see her fist contact the other guy’s face.

        Therefore, it didn’t happen.

        Get professional help. 🙁

      • @ Jack Heart –

        “It’s impossible to argue with those that [who] purposefully misunderstand.”
        *****
        Misunderstanding is by definition not “purposeful”; it is a lack of communication.

        On the other hand, one can “purposefully” misconstrue another’s statements. That is the main reason I use quotes from others’ posts, rather than “paraphrasing.” That which has been stated has been stated and is thereby verified.

        In this case, I have to judge you “guilty as charged.” So sad.

        🙁

    • This is just Americans becoming great again.

      The great Frederick Douglass was praised by Trump for noting, I assume, what it takes for Americans to become great.

      “Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

      Douglass is a truly great American.

  6. Ted, you could also look at South Of The Border, down Mexico way. My wife and I made the move in 2006 after retiring and are now permanent residents. Many Mexicans speak English. I’ve found that when I can’t find the correct Spanish words to express myself, drawing pictures with a pencil on a piece of paper can enable communication. That, for you, is a given. When we arrived, the conversion rate was ten pesos for one dollar. Now it’s hovering around twenty pesos per dollar, meaning that our Social Security checks buy a lot more today than they did ten years ago. There’s a lot to be considered. 🙂

    • «Now it’s hovering around twenty pesos per dollar, meaning that our Social Security checks buy a lot more today than they did ten years ago.» On the other hand. mein verehrter Lehrer, how long do you think it will be before Mr Trump et consortes put an end to Social Security payments to US citizens residing abroad, and therewith presumed to be disloyal to the «indispensable nation» ? «Mak[ing] America great again !»…

      Henri

  7. I’m pretty sure Canada has been absorbing waves of American refugees since long before the Vietnam war. I could be wrong, but I think it’s the main reason Canada is a mostly English speaking country in the first place, starting with the large number of loyalists who had to flee the colonies, back when Canada was just a French colony under British occupation.

  8. I was reading an article on this very phenomenon recently. The people who are fleeing are doctors, engineers, scientists & PhDs – which will leave behind the losers who voted for Trump in the first place.

    One good thing about Trump is that his attacks on the press have finally woken them up. They’re actually holding his feet to the fire, rebutting his lies and generally acting like they found some balls. In the past the White House Press Corps were too scared of losing their access, so they asked timid questions and avoided tough issues. Now that he’s threatened to cut them off anyway, they’ve got nothing to lose. (DUMB move on his part – but that’s his usual MO)

    • The losers who voted for him, and the even larger number of losers who didn’t. Larger, not so much in the “Hillary got the popular vote” sense as the “half the people don’t vote even if they can” sense, because the losers in this country understand that their votes are, at best, suggestions.

      But the liberal 10%ers of the professional class can move out if they want to. They never showed much sign of giving a shit about the rest of us, beyond trying to shame us for not also being degreed professionals. And now that we have not shown them the love they did nothing to deserve, they have collectively decided to abandon us to the fascists.

      Such upstanding citizens, those professionals.

      • > They never showed much sign of giving a shit about the rest of us, beyond trying to shame us for not also being degreed professionals.

        wait, what? Intellectuals – for the most part – are liberals, who care for others by definition. Your comment makes it plain that you don’t actually know very many. Instead, you’re parroting RW talking points designed to keep you in your place like a good little loser.

        Did nothing to deserve, eh? Things like inventing the microchip and creating the internet you’re using to insult the very people who made it possible? Curing diseases doesn’t count for much in your book?

        They’re not leaving because of ‘love’ but rather they’re smart enough to realize that the idiot in the oval office could cause some real harm. The ships are leaving the sinking rats, and the USA will be poorer for it.

      • CrazyH, it sounds like you are confusing Liberals with Leftists, for one thing.

        The Professional Class has screwed us, and they have done so while being very liberal. The alliance that liberals formed with leftists in the ’30s has been dismantled. Today’s liberals are far more interested in giving us all a shot at becoming doctors and lawyers than in any meaningful redistribution of wealth.

        Their indifference to the rest of us was reciprocated, and Trump was elected by our collective refusal to raise a finger to help them.

        I know the professional class has produced an age of miracles. Hell, my own ancestors were founding members back in the 18th century. This social model has had a very productive run so far, but that does not change the fact that the professional class has ossified into an isolated and self absorbed segment of the population (not that this distinguishes them from the rest of the old armed madhouse.)

        Right wing talking points serve two purposes. First, they are straight up propaganda. Second, they always strive to co-opt the language of the hard left, so that when people hear a communist say something, they are likely to stop listening halfway through, on the assumption that they are hearing a Republican.

      • “Liberal” vs. “Leftist” vs. “Leftie” etc, is a long standing discussion on this site. Feel free to define your terms and we’ll see whether they fit. I’ll define my usage above as “significantly left of center”

        We definitely have a cross-discussion going here. I’m talking ‘intellectual’ where you’re talking ‘professional’ – if you mean ‘professionals’ such as Trump and assorted banksters, then I am in whole-hearted agreement. But none of them have any incentive to leave, they are gleefully anticipating the types of changes Trump may bring about.

        However, if you’re talking about the types of people in my original post, then I cannot agree. In general they haven’t screwed anybody, instead they have increased quality-of-life for everyone. In fact, our current (endangered) level of freedom would not have been possible without the technological revolution(s).

        Marx, himself, was a technological determinist. He considered engineering to be a form of productive labor; and intellectuals to be the source of progressive thought..

      • I was not trying to be entirely correct about anything here, so much as I was riffing on your original post and trying to massage it into something closer to the world I see around me.

        I know we have both heard the “left vs liberal” thing gone over at length, which is why that “talking points” accusation set me off. You know better.

        I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone shut down, or try to shut down, a serious leftist argument by claiming that it is a “right wing talking point.” This usually comes from the very people I was railing against above: comfortable professional class liberals, who get very uncomfortable when people start talking in terms of class war.

      • Anti-intellectualism is very much a right-wing talking point.

        If you’re going to ‘massage’ my words, please try to make that explicit – otherwise I might mistake your meaning.

        Peace,
        CH

    • “the losers who voted for Trump in the first place.”

      Losers? For wanting good jobs? For wanting their federal government to reflect their values?

      What did the Bernie Bros want? Jobs? “Free” education and everything else? Perhaps if they weren’t such “losers” themselves they would have jobs and be able to pay for these things. Then again, they must need the education sorely, if they don’t understand the definition of free.

      Of course, your sort of elitism is exactly why, in large part, Trump has succeeded and will continue to do so. Carry on.

      • Uh … yeah – “Losers” that voted for a con man who has no intention whatsoever of creating jobs. As for ‘values’ – you do realize he’s married to a prostitute, right?

        It’s the *educated* people who are leaving. duh? People who will be able to get high paying jobs while you’re working as Trump’s cabana boy. Be sure to bring lots of Vaseline.

      • Yes, yes. But voting Democrat is for winners! Winners who need free shit. You have no idea how fucking stupid you sound. Socialism is for losers. People who can’t make it on their own and need help. Your heart bleeds all over this site for people who just don’t have a fair shake, man. Oh, but if they voted Trump, then fuck ’em.

        No, I can see your contempt is actually for all those who lack postgraduate degrees. You pity those on the Left, and denigrate those on the Right. Transparent as well as disgusting. Wat Tyler had you right above.

      • uh … Jackie? When was the last time I praised democrats? Or said that only those with postgraduate degrees were worthwhile? I have praised unions, and credited them with creating the middle class. You know, blue collar workers without the degrees you somehow assume I value so highly? I’ve argued against socialism on this very site.

        So basically, Jackie – the fucking stupid things that were said were said not by me, but by you.

        BTW: I don’t need to fuck the losers who voted for Trump, they fucked themselves.

      • «Socialism is for losers. People who can’t make it on their own and need help.» Not to worry, «Jack Heart» ; no one would ever think of accusing you of advocating help to «[p]eople who can’t make it on their own». Rather, you seem to be the sort of person who advocates helping people like the Trumps and other billionaires who «contribute» to campaigns by both so-called «Democrats» and Republicans. Quelle surprise !

        Henri

      • @ Jack ♥

        “free shit”
        “People who can’t make it on their own and need help”

        I think you are having it backwards. It is the logic of capitalism to engineer material wants, and artificial scarcity. Including work itself – we are told there is a shortage even of drudgery jobs and obviously a dearth of meaningful jobs. People like Trump call themselves “job creators”. The ultimate blasphemy. For most of human history none of this stuff would even be thinkable.

        And still, when you see what people spend their time on doing, most, and in particular the most important work in society is done without payment of any kind: cleaning, preparing food, having conversations, caregiving, and such – the “informal economy”. The “formal economy” is the cherry on top of this. So everyone expects free stuff to survive, and no-one makes it on their own as everyone needs help, (apart from the legendary Kirikou who brought himself into the world as a newborn.)

        The owner and controller classes sit on top of that cherry and hold pieces of paper saying that if anybody is to use this piece of land or machinery or musical number then they need to pay them for the “privilege”.

        You imagine socialists to only want to join or usurp the ownership class. This is the capitalist version of this dream. Perhaps we’ll see some of that with unconditional basic income. This might be indeed an interesting experiment, but definitely only a particular version of socialism, and not very far reaching at that. There are many socialisms and many different experiences have been and are continued to be made throughout history.

        In a socialist society you and I would be free to do our own shit with our without other people as we decide as long as this doesn’t undermine someone else’s options to do the same. A lot of things might be free, as in I’m free to look at this sunrise, not as in “I freely take stuff that someone else worked their ass off producing.

        Unless they are happily giving it away – and they just might. After all, you and I persist in freely giving away wordy comments right here. That’s the spirit, comrade Jack!

      • CH,

        You praise Bernie and Warren. Dems. Yes, they are Dems. You ridicule Trump supporters for being formally uneducated. But so are many Trump opponents. And finally, you have an artificially narrow definition of socialism as well as never really labeling yourself. You are a “progressive” or some sort of social dem, i.e. a socialist.

      • Andreas,

        You’re smarter than that. I’m talking about voluntary exchanges of value for value. I don’t mean free as in not paid for with money. The meaning of “no free lunch” is that it took *something* to make it. So all those people you mentioned doing the “free” labor are being paid in some way.

        “In a socialist society you and I would be free to do our own shit with our without other people as we decide as long as this doesn’t undermine someone else’s options to do the same.” That’s already the case, and would be even more so if we tended more toward free markets, removing the some of the myriad socialist laws that prevent the free exercise of our property rights.

        “Rights” in socialist doctrine depend upon placing obligations on others. If I have a “right” to healthcare, then a doctor is obligated to provide it. He is not free. You can dress it all up and distance yourself from the violence, having a government carry it out for you, but it remains all the same.

        Sure we indeed give words freely here. Not only are we not paid with money, we do so voluntarily. And that is the critical difference you miss. Socialists are generous with other people’s work, time, and money…

      • @ Jack <3

        You tell me I already know better, then you insert our current reality cum the free market propaganda they used to dress it up in. And you present it as the best possible world (minus the pesky Bolsheviks gnawing at the edges). Unlike Voltaire you apparently are serious.

        Of course I know about the currently dominant business models, and the current ideology to dress them up. It is impossible for an adult in 2017 not to.

        Am I free to do things the way I'd like with other people? Are you?

        Let's see, I'd really like to take charge of my own living, starting from growing some of my own food and building and repairing necessary infrastructure, teaching and learning, sciences, arts. Oh, and the serious stuff like working together to end war and redress environmental catastrophe. Overall participate in building an actual open and inclusive society.

        I am free to do all these things in rather predefined niches as "hobbies" – sometimes costly hobbies. At best, in spurs of activity with like-minded people sneaking in a couple of hours per week apart from work and family obligations. To go beyond that, any of the above can be turned into a "living". However, for that one first has to trade away one's freedom and so can achieve even less than doing this on the side. Also we're limited to a single profession, since there are no stable part-time positions, and one needs to recap the "investments", years of your life spend learning things so one can compete against other people who are similarly freaked out about the prospect of competing against everyone else for no apparent reason.

        There are e.g. hundreds of applicants for e.g. any environmentalist "job". And even if one were to be chosen the job comes with lots of strings attached, must keep the foundations that bankroll the place happy at all costs.

        In science, the "business model" has recently shifted towards spending most of your time as a professional scientist writing and polishing grant applications that have a 20% chance of funding on average. This leaves very little time for the actual research. Communicating is difficult since publication has been chosen as the artificial market for ranking scientists for job prospects. So scientists publish to get ahead in meaningless rankings, rather than to speak to and interact with an interested audience. Less and less actual science happens in science every year for decades now per effort expended.

        And that's without taking into consideration all those of us who have been poached by the financial industry to do crap modeling of stock fluctuations. Better career prospects and much better pay until a few years ago when it melted down the world economy. Yay science!

        Other fields have been similarly ruined, as you know, it's all around you. Oh – and this is all the privileged* hipster stuff, science, arts, environment, etc. (* of course for the "privilege" to participate in what used to be meaningful work you're expected to change country every couple of years and work ridiculous hours for below-average pay).

        Look at what we've done to the basics, like distributing basic food staples – a necessary profession quite respectable during most of history. The free market in its wisdom has decided that we're going to pay people minimum wage and monitor and control their every movement as they are ordered to carry boxes around in big box stores. The logistics and robotics technology could have been used to make our lives easier but instead we're using it to make our lives a living hell.

        What happened to your imagination? We're not at all free to organize our own lives, let alone our society together. And "private" property* "rights" are the biggest obstacle. (Property as in corporations own the land, the machines, our homes, and "intellectual" property. Not property as in your bed and your glass of beer).

        You want more of that? You don't even own any property that pays rent! Show me a single example in history where even more market relations were tried without triggering universal spiritual breakdown. We're already turning everything under the sun into a trade-able commodity and building a fence around it.

        How about imagining and building something else besides fences?

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