William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Stream: Won’t Somebody Please Rescue The Poor Tradinistas Slaving Away As Baristas?

This hilarious and revealing image is the official Tradinista logo.

This hilarious and revealing image is the official Tradinista logo.

Today’s post is at the Stream Won’t Somebody Please Rescue The Poor Tradinistas Slaving Away As Baristas?

My article is part of a series at Stream on the attempted return of socialism via Christianity, especially Catholicism.

All the best arguments against socialism have been given by Popes in the Catholic Church, and the best summary of these are in the article “A Catholic Socialism?” by somebody calling himself C. W. Strand, especially Part I of that article. Strand is a leader of the nascent Catholic Tradinista movement, which seeks to replace our increasingly crony capitalist cum socialism-lite economic system with a socialism-which-is-not-socialism system. Frying pan, meet fire.

Anyway, Strand realizes the Church must be answered, so he dutifully steps through the points of horror the Church says socialism always causes. One is the “Debasement of marriage and the family.” Pope Leo XIII correctly stated that socialism destroys “the natural union of man and woman”, leading the State to set “aside the parents” and replace them with “State supervision”. As the State steps in, the family weakens further, causing the State to subsume more authority, and so on: a negative feedback.

To this Strand says something like, “The horror is true, but it need not be that way in our version of socialism.” And in similar manner he dismisses each real horror as unthinkable in the Tradinista’s new socialism-which-is-not-socialism.

It’s all very depressing (and very long), but since the Tradinista movement has captured the imagination of those who have not yet had a chance to read the dismal history of socialism-as-practiced, and of those who have read it but believe with Strand that next time we’ll get socialism right, Strand’s errors need discussing.

A difficulty with criticizing the Tradinista movement is the embarrassment of poverties: there are so many things wrong, one must pick and choose carefully. Let’s concentrate on forms of work and “the market”.

Tradinistas condemn “the market”, i.e. people lawfully and freely disposing of their private property. “Markets,” they say, “are vehicles of exploitation when people must sell their labor-power on the market in order to survive.” Tradinista Jose Mena complains Millennials are forced to work at “barista jobs in spite of our college degrees, flip through the internet for empty consolation, and live with our parents.”

Notice Mena, a Princeton graduate, said “college degrees” and not “educations.” He bristles at work he considers non-glamorous and beneath him. How many like him choose not to work rather than debase themselves? If they are not working, who supports them? Well, others, such as parents. Yet Mena would rather have the State provide for him, which concedes Leo’s point. Notice too his admission that rather than working for a wage, he’d waste his day surfing the net instead of doing something constructive. Books at the library are still free, yet no ora et labora for Mena!

[WHAT’S THIS? SOCIALIST TRADINISTAS WOULD COMPEL PEOPLE TO LABOR FOR THE STATE?]

This movement is on the increase, so it’s well worth your time going to Stream and reading the rest.

13 Comments

  1. You shall not covet … anything that is your neighbor’s.

  2. As the State steps in, the family weakens further, causing the State to subsume more authority, and so on: a negative feedback.
    You mean a positive feedback with increasing negative consequences. Negative feedbacks tend to produce stability and equilibrium.

    As for “the market” it’s worth noting that time and talent are things given to us freely. How we use them is up to us. That all organisms must trade their labor for some material gain is a fact of nature. Humans have more options than squirrels chasing acorns. Lazy and arrogant humans will be just as dissatisfied (and hungry) as lazy and arrogant squirrels. One word for Jose: 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

  3. For context: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 (New International Version translation)

    6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. 14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

  4. “This movement [Tradinista] is on the increase, so it’s well worth your time …”

    A cursory search seems to indicate the Tradinistas don’t yet have a Wikipedia page (i.e. not much interest otherwise, almost always, something shows up), and one site that’s looked into their “manifesto” says the group’s membership is anonymous (see: thejosias.com/2016/10/10/a-close-reading-of-the-tradinista-manifesto/). Anti-virus software flags the trandinista website as dangerous.

    Doesn’t look like much of a “movement” or much of anything else for that matter. Probably just a few kooks way out on the lunatic fringe who are basically advocating communism….so, of course, that gets prime time attention here…

  5. Briggs —

    One little niggle …

    “It is not insignificant that by 1918 that great socialist Leon Trotsky, who with Lenin well knew the Biblical aphorism, modified it to ‘who does not obey shall not eat.’”

    Trotsky was not advocating the above. He was using it to assail the tactics Stalin was using against the Bolsheviks (in a true sense of the No-Good-Scotsman Fallacy, Trotsky defined Bolsheviks as being the anti-Stalin faction that supported Trotsky).

  6. Socialism would be a great success if only the right people were in charge. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Chavez were obviously not the right people. Now Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is the right person. Everybody in Zimbabwe is now a millionaire after 30 years of socialism. Of course, you can buy a Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar note for about 100 US dollars.
    http://banknoteworld.com/shop/Zimbabwe-Currency/

  7. I don’t recall the church ever standing against socialism, not as it is understood in the modern West. I do know the church’s social doctrine has long been very socialistic. The church did have problems with totalitarianism, especially totalitarian atheist communism, but only an utter ignoramus would equate that with socialism. Unless you are just parsing petty semantics (as you have been known to do), socialism, like we see in most of the developed world, has nothing in common with Stalinism, or Maoism, or Castro and the like.

    JMJ

  8. I grew up in the dutch coal mining area which had an immigration boom in the early 20th century. The Roman Catholic church actively engaged through Henricus Andreas Poels in the creation of a Roman Catholic miners trade union, to prevent the growing influence of socialism, the dutch bisshops condemned membership of the social democrat party in 1954 (“Mandement”).

  9. Communism wasn’t socialism? I would swear those were communists running the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

  10. Although from the statements and behaviour of some Catholic churchmen these days, you wouldn’t have to be an utter ignoramus to think–as JMJ does–that Catholic and Socialist are compatible… though you still might be.

  11. Here’s a link asserting quotes of popes regarding socialism — pretty much all were opposed:

    http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism.html

    The current pope seems to be somewhat strongly pro-socialist, at least in some respects; here’s an example:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/03/11/against-the-catholic-grain-pope-francis-trumpets-socialism-over-capitalism/#4fd4f9dc4a73

    Looking at the historical comments (first link) makes me wonder if the term/concept “socialism” means the same thing in those various historical contexts…

  12. Yeah, unfortunately the current Pope is one of those Catholic churchmen t’which I was referring.

  13. Ray: “Communism wasn’t socialism? I would swear those were communists running the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).”

    No and Yes. They knew that people realize the whole thing is by far not the one paradise the commies promised. So the never reachable fairy upshot was “communism” and the shaky road to that was “socialism”. This was thee tale, led, dictated and performed by the elite who called themselves proudly “communists”.
    A matter of taste in my view. Or, correctly, lack of taste.

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