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America’s Distribution of Wealth

[ 178 ] January 16, 2014 |

If you are like me, you think Lawyers, Guns, and Money has really gone downhill since Erik Loomis began posting here, what with the unionism and socialism and all the other isms that have sought to bring down America. Not to mention thinking climate change is real and questioning our technological utopian fetishism. As a counter to these pernicious foreign ideologies, it’s time to turn to Dr. Clifton Ganus of the National Education Program. He will set us straight on the moral uprightness and godly ways of the American capitalist system. The sheer number of noncontextualized statistics will show the truth of his points. And if they don’t, the English socialist and Russian communist who are totally not Americans doing incredibly lame imitations of the English and Russians will make the glories of American free market crystal clear. Good evening and God bless this great land.

Incredibly, the good Dr. Ganus is either still alive or lived long enough to have his own twitter account, while he chancellor of the right-wing evangelical Harding University in Arkansas, which I think is the descendant of the school he is actually teaching at in this video.

Comments (178)

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  1. Manju says:

    Harding University? Ganus? Surely this is Brothel Menu history deja vuing all over again. I for one will not be sucked in this time.

  2. OtterQueen says:

    Where are the robots?

  3. Aaron B. says:

    I reject the argument that disruptive unemployment due to technological innovation is a reason to stifle innovation. That doesn’t mean I believe all technologies are always good, forever.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      No robot ever bought a Ford, said Walter Reuther to a company executive.

    • Major Kong says:

      I think the world would have gotten along just fine without the Maxim Gun, Sarin Gas and the W-53 thermonuclear warhead. Just to name a few.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        For the most part the greatest atrocities have been carried out with old not new technologies. Rwanda relied upon radios and machetes, but even the Holocaust which is often brought up as the pinnacle of industrialized genocide did not use new technical innovations. The machine guns used by the Einsatzgruppen, the diesel engines in the Operation Rheinhard Camps, and even Zyklon B in Auschwitz had been around for decades before in some form or another before the Nazis applied them to mass extermination.

        • jim, some guy in iowa says:

          but everything old was once new, wasn’t it?

        • Matt_L says:

          The Nazis and their Quisling minions from around Europe were pretty handy with stones, clubs, and machetes too. Go visit Mauthausen where they just pushed people down the steps into a quarry and then curb stomped them to death.

          While most of the killing in the nazi genocide wasn’t high tech, they were definitely trying to sell the world on their own brand of modernity. Racial hygiene, industrial power without a proletariat, advanced transportation (Hindenburg and airplanes anyone?) and communication (radio, prototypes for TV, modern propaganda).

        • Warren Terra says:

          You’re looking in the wrong place. The technological innovation in the Holocaust was not in the means of execution but in the bureaucratization of death, in the records-keeping and information processing that determined the victims and sped them to their doom.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yet Erik won’t give up his MacBook Pro, Ipad, (non-union, southern-manufactured) Toyota Camry, gas heat, mass produced clothing, etc, etc, etc.

            No, he just wants everyone else to.

            Oh, and also abolish industrialized agriculture which will lead to billions upon billions of deaths from starvation.

            The Holmodor, the North Korean famine, the Chinese famine…and Loomis’s anti-technology famine that he wishes would come true. What is it with totalitarian, ideological Leftists and famines?

            At least the Unabomber, Loomis’s ideological twin, had the balls to live without modern technology out in the woods. Erik is too much of a little pussy to even try it, but he demands everyone else must.

            Fucking Marxist hypocrite.

            • Warren Terra says:

              I’m not entirely certain Loomis would recognize himself in the portrayal you present.

            • JazzBumpa says:

              Is Fucking Marxist hypocrite better or worse than dirty fucking hippy.

              Does anyone have the appropriate scale?

              • N__B says:

                Fucking Marxists believe in the equal distribution of fucks. This is a net plus for trolls who would otherwise be fuckless. Dirty Fucking Hippies believe in fucking in natural surroundings, which is a net minus for trolls who have unfortunate memories of poking anthills with sticks.

                • cpinva says:

                  wait a minute! you mean to tell me there’s a finite number of fucks to be distributed? does everyone start with a specific number of them, and when you use them up, that’s it, no more fucks for you? this could be a real problem.

                • GFW says:

                  If you run out of fucks someone might give a fuck, but most won’t.

                • Hogan says:

                  There’s no such thing as a free fuck.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  There’s no such thing as a free fuck.

                  Certainly not for Jennie.

              • Malaclypse says:

                I saw the Fucking Marxist Hypocrites back in 1997 at Club Babyhead in Providence. They were opening for Consolidated. This was before they went commercial, obviously. It was the “Let a Thousand Flowers Wilt” album tour, I think.

          • J. Otto Pohl says:

            That was not new either. The Soviets under Stalin also had a vast bureaucracy of repression with a huge record keeping apparatus. This bureaucracy was an essential part of the mass executions in 1937-1938, several years before the Holocaust started.

          • Linnaeus says:

            The technological innovation in the Holocaust was not in the means of execution but in the bureaucratization of death, in the records-keeping and information processing that determined the victims and sped them to their doom.

            Right. That’s social technology.

          • Dennis Orphen says:

            Let’s not underestimate the power of compartmentalization and specialization of the entire process. The first actor(s) only identifies the members of the targeted group. The next actor merely picks them up for “questioning” and delivers them to the headquarters. Someone else there just loads them on the trains, and so on and so forth. Each step, more horrible than the last is justified by “following orders” and “they must be guilty of something or they wouldn’t be here.

      • Grumpy says:

        did you even read his comment? he’s talking about technology that reduces employment. he also made sure to caveat that “[t]hat doesn’t mean I believe all technologies are always good, forever.”

        if your contention is that the problem with sarin gas was the loss of tech jobs it caused, well, I don’t know what to say to that.

      • currants says:

        Nuclear weapons mean peace.

    • Linnaeus says:

      I reject the argument that disruptive unemployment due to technological innovation is a reason to stifle innovation.

      It’s doubtful, though that innovation, writ large, is in any real danger of being stifled. But we don’t do nearly enough to deal with disruptive unemployment and what we do do is very much being stifled.

    • Warren Terra says:

      I’d argue that in a society with its priorities in the right place technologies that reduced employment would essentially always be a good thing. If you can be replaced by a widget, society is better off and you are better off if the widget is employed in your place and you perform more meaningful and constructive work, or pursue activities of interest to yourself or to others. This of course assumes that when you are displaced by the widget other work is available to you, or subsidies as you pursue activities other than work. This assumption is false, naturally: in our society the employer pockets the savings (if, indeed, there are any) from displacing the worker in favor of the widget, and the worker gets little or no recompense. But the fault isn’t in the widget, it’s in our society, in our failure to seize the efficiency gains and spend them employing the displaced workers more efficiently, or otherwise subsidizing improved lifestyles for the displaced workers.

      • Major Kong says:

        Yes, but we have to live in the society we have, not the one we wish we had.

        If the real-world application of the widget is just going to put more money in my employer’s pocket by putting me on the street, I can probably live without the widget.

        Sure, in a perfect world it would be great to sit back and drink beer all day while the widget did my job, but nobody’s going to pay me to sit back and drink beer all day.

        And if nobody’s paying me, then I have no money to buy whatever it is that widget is producing and then the whole system breaks down at some point.

        Automating one job out of existence isn’t that big of a deal.

        When most jobs get automated out of existence, and we seem to be rapidly heading in that direction, it’s going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen.

  4. Todd says:

    It’s still probably better than “Lone Survivor”.

  5. snarkout says:

    Clifton, not Clifford, Ganus.

  6. ChrisTS says:

    what with the unionism and socialism and all the other isms that have sought to bring down America. Not to mention thinking climate change is real and questioning our technological utopian fetishism.

    And the violent threats involving sticks!

  7. Larry says:

    I love two things in the first 10 seconds of the video. One, the students didn’t walk across the grass but stayed religiously on the sidewalks (I couldn’t see if they were avoiding the cracks), and, two, the good doctor sounds like he’s on helium.

    This is ‘the very pinnacle’ of a good propaganda film.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shhh! Marxism cannot be failed-it can only BE failed.

      • Linnaeus says:

        No, that’s conservatism.

      • cpinva says:

        “Marxism cannot be failed-it can only BE failed.”

        you keep using that word. I don’t think that word means what you think it means. what you’re talking about is Stalinism, not to be confused with marx/engels/hegel, none of whom endorsed mass murder.

        • J. Otto Pohl says:

          Well certainly not Hegel who is not part of the official Marxist-Leninist cannon. Marx wrote very little about socialism per se. Almost all of his writing is on capitalism. He did not leave an actual blue print for what a socialist society would look like. Neither did Engels.

          Lenin, however, was the first leader of the USSR established in Dec. 1922 after a rather brutal suppression of an array of political opposition from 1918-1921. Here we encounter a problem. The Soviet leadership starting with Lenin wanted to create a dictatorship of the proletariat in a country where the vast majority of the population were peasants. To make things worse the small working class were predominantly ethnic Russians while about half the country were other nationalities. So rather than establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat where the proletariat were a majority they had to use a vanguard dictatorship to forcibly create a working class and suppress or destroy those elements of society deemed to be obstacles. This required an extreme amount of violence. So already under Lenin you have the destruction of opposition political parties and independent unions. Given the minority position of the Bolsheviks in terms of their social basis this was not surprising. The peasant based Social Revolutionaries had a broader, but obviously not stronger base of support than the Bolsheviks.

          Accepting the Leninist precept of a vanguard worker’s party led by intellectuals in a country with very few workers greatly revised Marxism. The problems this created were never fully worked out in the USSR. Other Marxist-Leninists thought to put more emphasis on the peasantry, but Mao and Ho Chi Minh still found it impossible to successfully modernize the agricultural sector as a base for economic development. The only socialist state where there was not a lot of violence used to collectivize agriculture was Cuba. But, a number of Latin American historians believe that Cuban agricultural workers were not in fact peasants as in the Russian Empire, China, or Vietnam. They instead argue that they were a proletarianized work force. So in the case of Cuba Marx’s prescription of needing a strong proletariat did in fact exist whereas it did not in Russia, China, or Indochina. In which case in Cuba you have a rather strong rejection of Lenin’s revision of Marxism.

    • currants says:

      Yet Erik won’t give up his MacBook Pro, Ipad, (non-union, southern-manufactured) Toyota Camry, gas heat, mass produced clothing, etc, etc, etc.

      No, he just wants everyone else to.

      Oh, and also abolish industrialized agriculture which will lead to billions upon billions of deaths from starvation.

      The Holmodor, the North Korean famine, the Chinese famine…and Loomis’s anti-technology famine that he wishes would come true. What is it with totalitarian, ideological Leftists and famines?

      At least the Unabomber, Loomis’s ideological twin, had the balls to live without modern technology out in the woods. Erik is too much of a little pussy to even try it, but he demands everyone else must.

      Fucking Marxist hypocrisy in spades.

  8. currants says:

    Well, at least he wasn’t this guy, starting his own college. At least the place eventually became somewhere worth having been. (The “college” eventually closed, forbidden to grant degrees by the state –upheld by the USCt.)

    • JoyfulA says:

      When I was a library worker in college, two of my coworkers were graduate students in library science. They were graduates of Shelton College and told me, when I asked, that Drexel had accepted their undergraduate degrees.

      (My job was checking the card files and stacks to see whether the library already owned the books the faculty had ordered. The grad student workers ordered the books we didn’t already own, about half the requests.)

  9. Skootch says:

    Did you write Dr. Ganus, jr.’s monologue?

  10. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    seems like someone is tweaking the space-time continuum

  11. (Shakezula) says:

    If you are like me, you think Lawyers, Guns, and Money has really gone downhill since Erik Loomis began posting here

    Who? Wait, wasn’t he the bassist for Steve Winwood?

  12. Jordan says:

    Weird tidbit: So guess where and when David Duke apparently first started spouting racist shit?

    When he was in 9th grade at Clifton L. Ganus, a private school in New Orleans.

    (To be fair, that article says that the school wasn’t actively promoting racism or whatever).

  13. Erik Loomis, 1975 says:

    Sometimes when I read Loomis, it really does sound like something straight out of “Industrial Society and its Future”.

  14. JazzBumpa says:

    Interesting thing about the vid is that it was made at a time [1955] when economic disparity was close to its historical minimum.

    I wonder why? Maybe the 91% top marginal tax rate, 25% rate on capital gains, strong unions, tariffs, and a federally regulated economy had something to do with it.

    http://polarizedamerica.com/images/MPR_Figure_1_2_A.jpg

    I found that graph in ’09 and lost the source, alas.

    Two major things that have happened since the halcyon days of 1955 are the increasing capture of wealth by the finance sector, and the transformation away from capitalism. What we have now is trans-national mega-corporatism.

    Capitalism assumes free enterprise and competition. Corporations hate freedom, except for the elite, and most especially competition. That is the real driver for mergers and acquisitions – to reduce competition and increase market share.

    The only entity with enough heft to counterbalance corporate power is the federal government. That’s why corporations and their rethug lackeys want to make it smaller. And – leaving nothing to chance – want to take it over.

    Basically, I think we’re fucked.

    JzB

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      “The gods own this land, not we. We are but landless men, even the most powerful king. The gods permit us to till their fields, then take our crop. We meet and love, someone builds a tomb for us, perhaps. It does not matter–someone else will rob it, and the winds puff away our dust; then we will be forgotten.”

      -Gene Wolfe

    • BigHank53 says:

      Oligarchies and plutocracies don’t deal with change well. And whether we like it or not, there’s several pretty severe changes heading our way:

      1. Energy is going to stop being cheap at some point. When it costs more to ship widgets across the Pacific than the widgets are worth, widget production either moves back to North America or the widget market dries up and blows away, along with widget companies, their stock, and their debt obligations.

      2. Climate change is going to stamp all over everyone’s economic models. Hard.

      3. China and India discover there really isn’t any reason to cough up for American intellectual property licenses. The Seventh Fleet is good at making threats; patent enforcement not so much.

      4. Africa (maybe) finds enough stability to kick out the kleptocrats and joins the current century. They’ll be watching India and taking notes.

      5. Our oligarchs are the cheapest, stupidest, most clueless short-term thinking halfwits in the history of ever. Look at how long it takes them to strip-mine a company of assets and toss the corpse. The whole USA will take them longer, but they’ll still do it, because they haven’t realized that once they use up the planet there isn’t anyplace else to go.

      • J. Otto Pohl says:

        1. This will take a while. When petroleum is more expensive than olive oil, a wholly renewable resource then we will be in trouble.

        2. I have no idea, how, this will work and I don’t think anybody else does either. So I will just leave it at that.

        3. This has already happened. Have you ever lived in a “second” or “third” world country? Copyrights and patents basically are largely unenforced, especially for intellectual property not owned by giant powerful corporations.

        4. You can develop with kleptocrats you just need to make sure that corruption does not suck up so much of the generated wealth that there is nothing left. Africa is a big place and some parts of it are doing quite well relative to the past. Other parts still have serious problems. But, it is not a matter of joining the current century. The 21st century technologies like mobile phones, internet connections, etc. tend to work quite well. It is the earlier technologies like running water, electricity, etc. that are the problem. I have gone weeks without running water here and days without electricity. Assuming we have electricity you can get the internet up and running after a shutdown in just a few hours, maybe a day if it is the weekend.

        5. The moon?

    • Manju says:

      I found that graph in ’09 and lost the source, alas.

      Jazzy-B, I’m afraid to inform you that your graph is from “Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches,” by Nolan McCarty of Princeton University, Keith Poole of the University of California, San Diego, and Howard Rosenthal of New York University.

      It’s Dw-Nominate, which reads like “liberal fascism” in this part of town. Only its not sophistry.

      I’ll elaborate if you’re curious but please be aware that you are about to lose your religion.

      • JazzBumpa says:

        Oh, elaborate away.

        I’m pretty much agnostic on pretty much everything.

        I deleted everything after the .com/ in the URL and found their web site. Haven’t had a chance to examine it yet.

        I doubt that’s where I got the graph originally – probably it was imbedded somewhere else.

        If you want to email me, it’s jazzbumpa@gmail.com

  15. Bruce McCulley says:

    Here’s a glimpse of the good Dr. Ganus, 57 years on:

  16. The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    Weirdly, that video reminded me of Futurama.

  17. creature says:

    The older Jaguars, like the XKE models, we’re expels of British engineering excess, rivaling the Germans in their intricacies. Those beautiful ‘proper motorcars’ used the cheapest Lucas electrical equipment available, so as to justify the complex other stuff hidden by the luxurious coach work. But they didn’t put me through college, though- the Italian cars, on the other hand, kept me in booze, dope and whores for years after they pulled out of the US market.

  18. Dennis Orphen says:

    Zombie George S. Benson has his own twitter account (or whatever you *&%$in’ call it)!!!!

  19. LittlePig says:

    Tee hee. I’m actually banned from the Harding campus.

    Years ago the Special Olympics were held at Harding (my little brother was a participant). There was no parking, even though it was Saturday, because they had the drop-down post gates locked. A little hacking on my part, and several lots were then opened. They said I had damaged the gates with my screwdriver.

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