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Monday, March 25, 2013

Shavian Notions Revisited: The Wealth Tax and Other Mistakes
Written 11/15/07, Revised Oct, 2012, Revised Mar, 2013

The world is said to be constantly struggling, sometimes couched in the Marxist idiom, to equalize or minimize differences in wealth among the various citizens. Most of the world is poor. We are reminded of those activists like George Bernard Shaw[1] who married into great wealth, became a financial success in the theatre as a play right, but stubbornly urged British and other governments to confiscate property and money and redistribute them into some manner to produce ‘equal incomes.’ He was never able to satisfactorily delineate this plan when challenged, but did support Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler and others who had any socialist views as alternatives to the post Victorian Imperialism of his age. [2] He supported the pogroms of the Soviets and other measures. He enjoyed his money when he basked in the sun in the French Riviera.

Echoes of Shavianism [a new word] reappear periodically like crab grass in the spring and reamplify the theoretical underpinnings and wobbly buttresses of modern socialism and worse. The latest outburst of ‘we must share the wealth’ comes from yet one other wealthy elite: Warren Buffet.[3] The notion that the aggregate wealth can be equitably divided and positive results sustained in a restructured society as must be demonstrated by the perpetuation of reasonably equal income norms and ownership is, of course, a farce. We need to read little history to show that: [1] such redistribution is impossible and has never been satisfactorily consummated and [2] wealth could spontaneously be redistributed in the hands of those adept in business and other economic skills thus defeating the system.  We have only to revisit the ‘land reform’ efforts of Lenin or measures by Mao, Castro, Ortega, Diem and others to show that this is the theatre of farce. The far left have failed miserably.

What the far left and their apologists refuse to consider is that places like the People’s Republic, Viet Nam, modern India and the like that have risen above abject poverty are the direct result of wealth and power being assumed by talented capitalists only after a firm dismissal of the feudal system and other forms of authoritarianism and replaced with capitalism. The left remain solidly invested in the past in fantasy playgrounds of Bernard Shaw, Karl Marx and Chairman Mao. The poor are clearly better off in China after Mao’s Follies were dismissed. The same is probably true for much of Russia although Putin is trying to reinstitute the KGB as government in the shrunken remnants of the old Soviet Union. Some group is putting to death his opponents in the old Stalin manner.

The teaching of history is: Those with talent and the ability to create wealth must own the assets and control necessary resources and make the decisions that will ensure that the wealth of the general populace will rise and be sustained. This must occur with unequal wealth per citizen. This is the converse of Marxism, which confiscates the wealth, concentrates it in the hands of the usual party loyalists and thus fulfils Trotsky’s Prediction[4], which brought him a whack with an alpine ax in the head in Mexico. Was Tony Soprano around that far back? Leon Trotsky was not wrong—he correctly predicted the current state of most of Africa, much of South American, the latent Eastern Europe satellites and Soviet Clients and other places. How many Marxist dictators have we had in Africa since 1950? 100? 200? How are the poverty levels going? Increasing?

The ostensible noble social essence of Shaw and others has been infected by crass murderers and other such undesirables and was obviously co-opted for political power. Frequently, well-meaning persons are used as stooges for criminals and dictators. Stalin and his party members lived in splendor compared to the average citizen. Brezhnev’s family and friend were prosecuted for usurping the state wealth by Gorbachev. And, to be reasonable, the quest for power in modern times requires vast wealth so we must not be shocked or unimpressed that politicos will Grunt and Grab[5] for money using any excuse available to get political power.  

Those like Buffet, Shaw, Bill Gates and others apparently feel some guilt or have assumed a god-like quality of mind created by their business successes that enables them to clearly see the resolution to social problems. They seem to know exactly what to do. This view, however, is not a solution and history clearly demonstrates this lesson in fullness. They have the situation deliriously backward.

Wealth confiscation and estate taxes becomes merely another layer of oppression with other serious counterproductive factors, and the monies extracted are mostly squandered by governments in expensive social programs. We have spent 6 trillion dollars in social programs and are told by the far left that we are getting poorer every day. Who won the War on Poverty? Where did the Great Society go?

There is no hope for the poor if they continue to listen [and vote] for the sordid left. There are many reasons for poverty such as drug addiction, crime, sloth, social disease, and other matters most of which are tolerated if not explicitly celebrated by the liberal Democrats in our government.

If you want to rise above poverty then the first thing you must do is reject the teachings of socialism and Marxism and their veiled versions. Success comes from education, ambition, savings and hard work. Any one of these defeats the liberal mechanism of failure that keeps them in power.

Here is what Shaw offered in 1928 as he embraced Marxism:

As to the mass of oppressive and unjust laws that protect property at the expense of humanity, and enable proprietors to drive whole populations off the land because sheep or deer are more profitable, we have said enough about them already. Naturally we shall get rid of them when we get rid of private property.[6]

That is the prize that left liberals and their allied Marxists naturally seek.


[1] From whom Shavian, or in my usage Shavianism was named.

[2]Bernard Shaw,  Random House, 1992.  Vol I: A Search for Love (1988 - 486 pp. ISBN: 0394525779); Vol II: The Pursuit of Power (1989 - 421 pp. ISBN: 0394575539); Vol III: The Lure of Fantasy 1918 – 1951.
 [4] Trotsky criticized Stalin for failing to institute Communism world wide and enjoying the fruits of capitalism for his cronies. He was murdered for this affront.
[5] The incessant quest for other people’s monies using political power.
[6] The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism;
Published: Pelican Books, 1937;