Let the Left Eat Their Own Dog Food
All too frequently I hear people complain about capitalism and greed, with the two words uttered in close proximity, as if one invariably evokes the other. And I fear that such complaining is becoming a habit. Recently it seems I'm hearing it as often as I did back in the early '80s, when I was guilty of incessantly repeating such thoughtless blather myself.
Back then, I was a Marxist wannabe, having been easily seduced by the righteous emotions evoked when loathing something as morally equivocal as capitalist greed. But I was also taken in by the very real and hormonally based seduction of both mind and body by an attractive, real-life communist woman. She sugarcoated her poisonous ideology with the notion that her brand of communism was the lowercase c variety -- the pure, and allegedly less vile strain of the disease, as distinct from the communism practiced by the nasty Stalinists.
And so I attended The Church of Karl Marx for a couple of years, until Pol Pot's killing fields shook me out of my ideological delusions. I saw the bloody implications of what, until then, was simply a pithy political phrase that had so often and so glibly slipped off my tongue: "The ends justify the means."
When my seductress, despite her many guiles, firmly supported the bloodletting in those far-off Cambodian fields as an example of just what ends-justifying-means means, I came to realize just how bloody communism was, whether in upper- or lowercase. Eventually I was able to make a full recovery from my naïve and delusional political myopia.
Often the complaint lodged against capitalist greed isn't intended to advocate its opposite -- communism; the complaint is simply the product of the emotional frustration resulting from realizing how imperfect everything -- certainly capitalism -- is.
Like when a child swallows a mouthful of foul-tasting but nevertheless curative medicine, the resulting complaint isn't really accompanied by any thought of alternatives; it's just a complaint, standing alone on its own self-righteous foundation.
Despite its innocent appearance, however, this particular complaint has real power when repeated to the point that it becomes a cultural meme, without regard to the battalions of true-believing Marxists all too ready to join those ranks of complainers with what they -- unlike the casual complainers -- have at the ready: a very oppressive and bloody (but always initially sugar-coated) alternative.
The remedies are simple -- but not easy.
Software developers have an expression: "eating your own dog food." The metaphor refers to the practice of using the software they have themselves created to achieve the ends for which it was designed, the consequences of which all too often reveal the bug-filled, ugly reality of their own making.
The remedy for those who so readily, so thoughtlessly, and so often condemn capitalist greed without regard for the greater evil that would so readily replace it must simply eat their own dog food.
Two simple remedies come to mind. The first to provide the complainers with the opportunity to ship out to that part of the world where, geographically speaking, the contrast between capitalist individualism and communist collectivism can most dramatically be experienced firsthand: Korea.
After a brief stay in South Korea, during which time the newly arrived complainers will acclimate to culture and climate, they will become residents of the collectivist nirvana of North Korea. It may be necessary to negotiate a minimum residency period with North Korea's Great Successor to assure him that the complainers aren't just greedy capitalists themselves, participating in some newly concocted for-profit reality show -- eating bugs one day, "going commie" the next, then whisking themselves back to the Land of Liberty (and capitalism) to collect their ill-gotten reality show booty and, of course, resume their complaining.
A two-year residency period should be sufficient to allow the complainers to find out whether or not living in a country completely devoid of capitalist greed is a good or bad experience -- and shed a few extra pounds as well -- but that's a Westerner's opinion. Whether or not the suspicions of The Most Exalted Leader can so easily be allayed and in such a short period...well, that will be up to The Leader. Only time will tell.
But I think the complainers will enjoy life in the collectivist nirvana of North Korea, where the social, economic, and political cultures so consistently and so strongly oppose capitalist greed. Why, without even increasing the frequency with which they utter indignation and moral revulsion at capitalist greed, the newly arrived complainers might easily find themselves honored in the public square with an award of the People's Star of Merit for Politically Correct Speech -- a most exemplary start at eating one's own collectivist dog food.
That's Simple Plan One. Simple Plan Two is closer at hand: collectivize all farms and factories in California.
Not only has California already done a lot of the preliminary work required for this experiment in eating their own collectivist dog food but there is a collectivist in Washington, D.C. who may soon -- I hope -- be looking for a job, has shown great enthusiasm for that cornerstone of collectivism -- central planning -- and should be able to hit the ground running with Simple Plan Two.
Without the direct tutelage of North Korea's First Secretary, however, things will take a little longer. A tradition of five years has previously been established for such things, so California's dog food-eating experiment will be of a five-year duration.
Honoring the great tradition of the Five Year Plan should resonate warmly within the bureaucratic bosoms of the many new comrades, commissars, and apparatchiks required to implement all the plans and attend the many meetings such complex, elaborate, and long-term planning requires.
The metaphor of eating your own dog food is perfectly suited for this scenario because once collectivism begins the process of replacing capitalist greed, it metastasizes like a cancer, devouring its host and growing into an enormous welfare state. The metaphor becomes the reality; almost everyone ends up actually eating dog food while rarely, if ever, complaining about capitalist greed.
And although the complainers' employment will be to make the dog food rations they will so dutifully and uncomplainingly eat, the rations won't actually be theirs; like everything else, the rations will be the property of the State.