"We can have democracy, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." Justice Louis Brandeis

Without actually coming out and saying it, In "A flawed American political model aids China," Harold Meyerson suggests that we may soon be admitting that our current dysfunctionalism may be endemic within capitalism itself. After all, it's not like its modern variant has run for a very long time.

Today, China has emerged as a global economic powerhouse and political competitor. Unlike the Soviet Union, it does not seek to remake the world in its image, but neither is it a friend of democracy. Its booming economy — in contrast to those of the wheezing West — may be viewed as validating state industrial policy, which can help build national prosperity, but China also sees it as an endorsement of authoritarian efficiency.

All but the most fervent John Galtists, and other fictionally-assisted cheerleaders of our system's presumed strengths are starting to ask, "Does this capitalism thing really work?" What is the goal of any economic system, but to provide the basic goods, services and welfare of its people?  If the system fails in that aim, what good is the maximization of personal freedom and wealth?  Freedom to do what?  Wealth to buy what? A hedonist's nirvana at the expense of virtually everyone else? This thing is working damn well for the upper 20%.  But most everyone else is hurting, about to be hurt, or living so on the edge, that "quality of life" has now become synonymous with "net worth." And if you haven't got any of that, it's "quality of credit rating." If you lack both of those, you just don't matter.

Where's the science that says boom and bust cycles can go on for more than 140 years, or so, before the system is reduced to the very monopolistic, plutocratic, crony-capitalist manifestations that Marx predicted would be among the forces that consumed it. While we struggle to legislate the most basic economic fixes for a massively troubled system, China, now owning most of our debt and enjoying a massive economic boom, is able to show-off the benefits of their planned economy. Even when that planning is far from perfect, it's still able to make corrections and tweaks that we seem unable to even discuss, let alone implement.  And looking at the current political morass, and the complicity of the media and our governing classes in maintaining the status quo, coupled with the rapacious acidity of the social conservative and Tea Party movements, it is entirely possible that we may never fix any of it. But we sure seem destined to break it more.

Could some form of family-friendly, moderately benign autocracy, governed by some intrinsic or manufactured traditions of social justice and responsibility, without any pretense of complete freedom, actually fare better in the long run?  Might theirs, or some other form of  "social capitalism" emerge that yields a more viable and sustainable long term middle class; one in which the spirit and achievements of the all mighty individual still thrive? I've already met a few a rugged individualist entrepreneurs from China. With all that human raw material to work with, you can bet there's a lot more where they came from.

China thinks a right-leaning system that aspires to be more left, is better than a left-leaning system that is now careening to the right. Given their success, a huge number of their citizens do too. I am pretty sure that we will be pondering this question more and more, as China continues going boom, while we seem to be inventing ways to go bust.

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I've actually been doing some work today, trying to unwind from a week of ankle biting CNN and Erick Erickson. I'll have more to say after a full day or two off from this asshattery.  I need some time away from the "Best Political Team on Television."

Fortunately, @Karoli says it all for me.

VIDEO:  "Howard Kurtz Allows Erick Erickson to Feign Ignorance on the Rhetoric Posted at His Blog"

Howard Kurtz interviews the newest member of their "best political team on television", RedState's Erick Erickson and asks him about the hateful rhetoric that's been posted on his blog. Erickson's defense pretty much amounts to pretending he had no idea what he was saying, that he gets any traffic and he's all grown up now, so hey… no worries right? Pitiful. If CNN actually thinks this is an adequate response to their bad judgment for hiring him, they're sadly mistaken.

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Seen My Post And Video About Erickson?

If not, all this noise we've been making about this absurd decision by CNN will have been in vain.



My only complaint about this terrific and important essay, is what he says about Heath care reform. Of course, he's right in the main, but he ignores the fact that it's the only step in the only direction we could get.

It might have been a leap, but for the monumental lying by conservatives, the US Chamber of Commerce, virtually all elected Republicans, Hatriot talk radio, and of course, Fox News. Much of  it was merely a louder variant on the same kind of lying that enabled both the Vietnam war, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even so, this essay is brilliant at summarizing the civic malfeasance and neglect that got us to this miserable place in history. Conservatism has raped this nation, raped its people, and raped history.  It's time we put it on trial, find it guilty, execute it, and cremate the corpse along with all its DNA.  Before it does the same to us.

It is time to grow out of our materialistic fetishes and begin cultivating the personal and civic maturity we like to fancy we possess, but which we don't. It is time to grow up and accept the burdens of mature citizenship, among the most important of which are a capacity and a willingness to tell the truth, letting go the comforting but corrosive lies in the confidence that courage mustered now will yield not only greater self respect today but a more sane, a more decent, and a safer society in the future.

It is important that we commemorate Vietnam, both to mourn the objective horror of what it was, but also to redeem our capacity to tell the truth, to ourselves, about ourselves. Only in that way can we begin to reclaim the country and the people we want to imagine ourselves to be.

Read the entire essay by Robert Freeman (Common Dreams)

Thanks to @goldymos for this.