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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15349/the-bourgeoisies-favorite-form-of-socialism/

The Bourgeoisie’s Favorite Form of Socialism

January 18, 2011 by

The middle class further entrenches the leviathan at every election; rarely is a ballot initiative to provide more funds for education rejected. The middle class is the most sycophantic of teacher’s pets. FULL ARTICLE by Stephen Mauzy

{ 40 comments }

guard January 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

You go dude!

Capt Mike January 18, 2011 at 10:32 am

Yow!

Tell us how you *really* feel, Stephen!

RWW January 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

Powerful.

Ohhh Henry January 18, 2011 at 11:00 am

We don’t get the government or the life we deserve; we get the government and the life the middle class wants.

And then, the middle class gets the giant kick in the pants that they so richly deserve.One of the kicks to the nether region is the abysmal state of public education. Even in reasonably clear-cut disciplines like math and biology, the government finds a way to screw up their classes. Bureaucrats in the capital city churn the curriculum every year or two and make all previous textbooks obsolete. No one can write a new textbook in time so the teachers start the school year with no real preparation, no schedule of lectures and tests, no ready-made materials and no agreement within the department or between schools on what should actually be taught. The first months of the semester are wasted by fooling around watching films (like “An Inconvenient Truth”) then finally near the end of the term as exams are approaching the teachers work out some consensus on what they should be teaching and examining, and there is a tremendous panic to cram in a few vital facts so that the class will not have been a complete waste of time.

Oddly, the more artsy-fartsy vague subjects like English Literature end up being more conservative, almost retrograde. They teach exactly the same books as 40 years ago, like “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Lord of the Flies” and “King Lear”. Teachers are almost literally phoning in their classes, setting the books and the essay topics and then either disappearing to the teachers’ lounge for “photocopying” or sending in a sub and staying at home for the maximum allowed number of sick days.

I’m not even going to start on how medicare has worked out for the middle class, except to say that while I was typing just now I handled a phone call from a specialist’s office giving a family member an appointment for almost exactly 6 months from now. (This is in Canada where everyone is on medicare, except the politicians and cronies who are bumped to the head of the line or sent outside of the country to the best clinics whenever desired.)

skpg January 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

It’s not just public schools, many other government programs that the middle class has grown to love and accept. For example minimum wage laws, people expect companies to pay $8.00 an hour for a dishwater in McDonald’s, yet they can’t figure out why their local 7-Eleven is not hiring. Many Americans have grown and accept the police state, police activity has become much more active recently, but they accept it without complaint. Public transportation is poor in most states, gas prices has risen, yet they don’t mind driving 15 miles to get to work.

Bogart January 18, 2011 at 11:45 am

The middle classes like the poor ones have nothing to do with the condition of the Western Democracies. Democracy is just a way steal from the common purse in such a way as to make a majority happy on an issue by issue basis. Over time all democracies continually degrade as the purse gets larger and the percentage of people adding to it gets smaller. Of course democracy has had a better crack at it than outright dictatorship but is now beginning to lose to the older system of monarchy whose past has been varied to say the least. In fact the monarchs of old would only marvel at the wealth and power at the disposal of the modern democracy. The newer monarchs are now appearing who have to balance the demands of majorities with the rights of minorities all of whom have access to modern communications. So these monarchs are constrained by fear for their positions or even their lives. In democracies, political parties have removed this fear among politicians. Would you rather live in the increasingly violent US Police state or in Lichtenstein? Lichtenstein even voted their monarch more power.

The political model that failed that I was hoping for was the purchase of government power. This seem to work wonderfully in Hong Kong. This was the only system ever created that had the advantage of being able to handle increasing government wealth. As the amount of wealth available for theft by government increased, so did the price of running the government.

El Tonno January 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

OUCH!

Joe January 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Oh my gosh. So it is true, my neighbors are the problem.
Stephen, your article blew me away. Great job and I hope we hear more from you.

Dave January 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Excellent article Steven. That quote from Goebels should lay to rest the fallacy that fascists are not socialists.

Shadeclan January 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I notice that many of my, apparently middle-class compatriots sing the praises of this article. I think that pigeon-holing the middle-class in this way goes against the individualism that Mises.org seeks to promote. While it may be true that many who consider themselves middle-class wish to maintain the status-quo, is it not also true that the lion’s share of Mises supporters, Campaign for Liberty supporters and others interested in working for liberty can be shown to be from the middle-class? Is it not true that most home-schoolers – people who outright reject public education – are from the middle class? Is it not true that most libertarian thinkers are in the middle class?
While many of the things you mention in the article are demonstrably true, I think that your class-specific arguments are not.

Chad Porter January 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

One need not point out every specific exception to a generalization for it to generally hold true. Fortunately, authors have the luxury of writing to other thinking, reasoning human beings and so can expect them to deduce the actual pervasiveness of the generalization.

To say “most of the middle class” or “the vast majority of the middle class” or 99.95% of the middle class” every time the term came up would add nothing to the article.

J. Murray January 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I don’t consider my self as part of a “class” because it implies uniformity. I’m me and no one else is me. You’re you and no one else is you. That’s a basic fact of life. We aren’t interchangeable cogs but unique individuals. Being part of a “middle class” implies we’re not unique. Socialism is, at its heart, about conformity and being identical. Admitting you’re part of a “middle class” is admitting you’re a supporter of socialism.

My being isn’t defined by how many Federal Reserve Notes I collect in a given year.

Chad Porter January 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm

“Admitting you’re a part of a ‘middle class’ is admitting you’re a supporter of socialism.”What? There is no logic in this statement. Socialism is an attempt to commonly manage property. A “middle class” (or “poor” or “rich” or any other group we can come up with) has nothing to do with socialism, let alone support or dislike of it.As for the rest: http://mises.org/daily/2282Individualism does not mean you can’t (or shouldn’t be) broadly characterized based on imperfect information. It also means broad characterizations won’t necessary be true for a given individual.Maybe you disagree with the author’s observation that, on the whole, the result of the behaviors of those who generally would be described as “middle class” is as he described – and that’s fine – but claiming it doesn’t apply because we’re all individuals or it doesn’t exactly match *you* is silly.

matt470 January 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Agree entirely Chad.

Great article too thanks Stephen Mauzy

Christopher January 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I agree with your position, Shadeclan. Mauzy’s supposed “individualism,” which involves generalizing about and then slandering the “middle class,” doesn’t really pass critical muster.

A few other thoughts that I had:

1. Mauzy concludes his article by arguing that “we get the government and the life the middle class wants.” But this seems to imply that there is some kind of one-to-one relationship between the dominant group of voters and the actions of their political representatives. Would it not be more reasonable to suggest that it is a small minority of self-interested politicians and interest groups who are most responsible for the status quo? I do acknowledge that much of what we call the middle class does nothing to change such policies, or even ends up liking and supporting them, but I don’t think that this means we can accuse them of being responsible. Consider a converse scenario: if, say, 30% of the middle class became educated and politically mobilized in opposition to public education, do you really think they would have a chance of eliminating it? I’m skeptical.

2. The diatribe-like opening of this article, which bemoans the “moderation and proscription” of the middle class (they “don’t stay up too late; don’t drink too much; don’t exercise too hard; don’t risk too much; don’t challenge authority; don’t question orthodoxy”), strikes me as being more Randian than Austro-libertarian in character. The fact that I admire liberty does not mean that I am required to worship at the altar of Galt-like excellence. Indeed, in many ways, I think that it is the lifestyle of the untroubled, moderate, reasonably-educated, reasonably hard-working, and often apolitical individual that really calls for libertarians’ defense; no less so than that of the hardcore entrepreneur or ingenious businessperson.

greg January 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

The government isn’t the only ones playing to the middle class. Check out the ads on TV, they too see where to pay the most attention to. The size of their population, money and voting patterns will make their position important in any economy.

For me, I like upper class hotels, middle class dinners and lower class taverns.

Joe Esty January 18, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I see what you mean. I kind of took it more as a metaphor for a way of thinking. I’m middle class and I live in a middle class neighborhood. Property taxes were jacked up to pay for government education last year. I know I didn’t vote for it.

Sean January 18, 2011 at 1:58 pm

The article sounds like an angry Marxist whining. You’ll really speak to the middle class by attacking, insulting, and calling them names.

You have some obviously good points to make regarding incentives toward mediocrity and waste, but what a terrible, shrill tone. The individualist mindset is a rare one. It seems to me that if we are on board with the idea of free choice and division of labor then people are going to self-organize into groups of leader-follower relationships as they see fit. That these groups might be more fluid and responsive when not contained within a state is certainly a valid point. But attacking the concept of moderation? Come on, man. You are telling me you do every single thing in your life to the extreme? When you eat a meal you eat it under you vomit?

Mises.org is an oasis away from the insanity of most political/economic writing on the web. Please don’t let it descend into this petty hyperbole.

garegin January 18, 2011 at 11:23 pm

this is the worst article i ever read on mises. even if all the viewpoints expressed are 100% true, the author rambles way too much. the guy even rips on beach goers and runners in a political article. “running isnt exercise”.
this is way worse than marx. the most rambly thing he ever said was that middle class slept with each other’s wives. this guy started typing after a line of coke.

Paul R. January 19, 2011 at 12:38 am

I thought my brains could no longer properly comprehend written text. Then I realized the article was actually written like I read it.

Sione January 19, 2011 at 1:33 am

Ouch!

Sione

Dagnytg January 19, 2011 at 6:49 am

An interesting article….

When I was twenty-eight, I would have written an article like this. I was brought up middle class and hated it. I did everything I could to reject that lifestyle. I moved to the ghetto, I lived the life of a struggling musician (embracing the look and enjoying all the perks), and drove a beat up Cadillac just to piss everybody off.

Most of the themes mentioned in this article were discussed among my anti-middle class artist friends. (I am really surprised he didn’t attack monogamy and marriage.)

Needless to say, today, through introspection, I’ve come to understand the so-called middle class. They differ as such because they have responsibilities beyond themselves. It’s called family, more specifically children.

How can I expect those who have others dependent upon them for food, shelter, emotional support etc. to embrace a life of risk? Should I, as a rugged individualist, condemn them because they take their responsibility seriously? No, in fact, I applaud them and respect their efforts. (I work with people who would give their right hand to have stability through caring and responsible parents … for many just to have a father would change their world.)

At twenty-eight, I may have seen the lifestyle as stifling but unlike Mr. Mauzy, regardless of my angst, I didn’t see the middle class as the cause of our problems. On the contrary, back then, as today the problem is not people… it’s government.

Note: Even though Mr.Mauzy expresses much dislike (actually hatred) towards the middle class … being a CFA/financial writer gains him absolutely no street cred.

economics9698 January 19, 2011 at 9:23 am

What a enlightened asshole this guy is. Pompous bastard.

Anthony January 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

Agreed,

Certainly one of the worst articles I have read here, in tone, structure and content. It will do little to educate and inform existing supporters and it will rightly repel many people considering libertarianism. How a site that defends individualism and logic can publish a class analysis riddled with stereotypes and undefended opinions is beyond me. Articles like this are detriments to the mission this site professes.

Beefcake the Mighty January 19, 2011 at 10:33 am

“Articles like this are detriments to the mission this site professes.”

Fully agreed. On the one hand you see articles here claiming the disarray in Haiti is the fault of some amorphous, unnamed “State” which Haitians apparently have nothing to do with, yet here at home, the evil, white middle class is squarely to blame. Not that they don’t deserve some blame for the statist situation (maybe even alot), surely, but the agenda here is clear.

Dagnytg January 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Beefcake,

Not that they don’t deserve some blame for the statist situation (maybe even a lot), …

I’m not so sure they are that much to blame. How much of government is given to us (without our consent) verses government we demand???

I don’t recall a middle class uprising for social security. Healthcare…. that is an outgrowth of WWII and gov. policies. Most people I know try to send their kids to private schools (if they can afford it). I could go on….

In fact, I would say, 99% of gov. policy was never demanded by the middle class. (for that matter any economic class)

If you want to say those in politics manipulate the emotions of the middle class, that our political system limits voting choices and that after stealing your money (taxes) you feel entitled to have some of it back, then I agree.

But those outcomes are not generated from any class of people… they are a result of government.

Note:
Again, Mr. Mauzy’s article is a reflection of his personal psychology of which I can relate but…

…fails miserably when held to the standards of objective reasoning, libertarian ethics, and praxeology.

Maggie Gilmore January 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I do think that while the middle class very rarely demands any specific political action, they are quite guilty of standing by (aka, not openly opposing) while massive government programs are enacted and then cemented in place, like social security, medicare, public education, etc. We should be held at least partially responsible for heinous acts that occur because we did not act to prevent them when we could have. One man alone could not have stopped any of these policies, but if enough people had opened their eyes and sought out an independant education on the matters at hand, they might have prevented them from being so widely accepted and applauded.

Take, for instance, the older middle-class tea partiers, or those approaching retirement (my own father for example) who want limited government, spending cuts, etc. but selfishly guard their precious social security like gollum fondling the one ring. They argue that because they paid into it their entire working lives they are owed something back, not realizing or not caring that the money they will recieve will be coming out of their children’s paychecks, crippling another generation and passing the responsibility of taking a stand. When social security was relatively new, with less people depending on it for their retirements, would it not have been easier to get rid of? Now we have several generations who have paid into it and those of us who are just entering the work force are being asked to forfeit their SS benefits but still pay in to support their elders who couldn’t be bothered to say enough is enough.

Dagnytg January 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Maggie,

I can sympathize with your observation. It is frustrating, as libertarians, to evolve our thinking only to watch year in and year out the world become more complex, less evolved, ignorant, and in most cases just plain stupid via government. The apathy we see among so many, as this process grows, is nothing short of maddening.

But if we drop our emotionalism and seek to use reason through praxeology (incorporating history, psychology etc. to understand why humans act…)

I’ve come to these conclusions:

1)Prior knowledge

It is so easy to judge others from this perspective. Take Thomas Jefferson-he had slaves and he preached liberty. It is easy for one to condemn him for his inconsistency but it’s hard to say how we would have responded to slavery had we lived in late 18th century colonial America. Take the German people under Nazism-are all the Germans equally guilty for the outcomes of that regime? I did not live in 1930’s Germany. Take my parents- they were born in the depths of the Depression and were teenagers during WWII on the west coast. Should I be so surprised that my parents embraced a life of security over risk…?

2)Applying collectivism (macro analysis) to individual judgments.

This is a mistake I see among many-justifying their beliefs on the foundation that people act as a group (monolithic) and therefore presume an outcome. It’s quite funny how some austro-libertarians accept the limitations of macroeconomics and its ecometirc models but are quick to embrace macro analysis in the social sciences.(all- blacks, Muslims, whites, Asians, the rich, the poor etc.)

But Mises is right. We have no way of predicting decisions made by individuals. Talking in terms of people using aggregates is intellectually lazy. As a libertarian, it’s a contradiction. How can we believe in individualism and yet judge people through the eyes of collectivism?

So Maggie, when you hear your father speaking, remember he is only an individual affected by variables of praxeology that is unique to his life experience.

To beat him up with the bat of prior knowledge is wrong. To view him and others through the eyes of collectivism…is wrong. To approach him with understanding and respect but with the hope that you might inspire him to question his conclusions, beliefs, his ethics…that is the path to take.

But to condemn him or others…for social security…I can’t do that…life experience and philosophy has taught me different.

Adele April 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

Tcuodhown! That’s a really cool way of putting it!

lvrblzho April 13, 2011 at 7:05 am

ls9BE8 gvrwmqeuyyje

Joe January 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Anthony, If you think people considering libertarianism will be turned off by this article than I say good. I want real libertarians in the trenches with me. The article has a lot of truth and a lot of satire. As a person in the middle class I can laugh and also agree with the ramifications. For too long this country has been playing between the 40 yard lines. Every now and then we need to try a pass for the end zone. The problem with our current society is the moderates (the middle of the roaders). What do they contribute but maintaining the status quo. The old saying about a middle of the roader is that your going to get run over. We have a war going on out there to convince people to find truth and then take action. This article shines some of that truth and should be welcomed. Who cares about being politically correct. Tell it like it is. If there are undefended opinions and sterotypes then speak to them and let’s see how your faire in the world of ideas.

Anthony January 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Joe,

“Real” libertarians (at least those in the Austrian tradition) don’t use class analysis… they use praxeology and reasoning based on INDIVIDUAL human action. Mises rightly denounced reasoning that relied on viewing people as mindless parts of a collective. I don’t care about political correctness, I care about shoddy arguments.

Charles Gilliam January 19, 2011 at 10:52 am

Wow! What a great (if somewhat brutal) article! Really made me think and answered some nagging questions I’ve had for years. Great Job!!

Serb of Liberty January 19, 2011 at 12:32 pm

give us the drugs stephen

Joe January 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Stephen,
First I want to congratulate you on a great article. I never laughed so hard in my life. My blood pressure probably dropped many points. I love satire and it can be used to clarify and shed light on situations where we don’t normally think about. I would guess that most people who visit this site are middle class. I would also venture you are middle class. So you can poke fun at yourself. They say, and it is true, that every joke has to have a small amount of truth attached to be funny. Well I took this article in that vein. Keep up the good work because everytime you have an article posted it causes people to think and reflect. This article reminded me of some of the stuff Bill Cosby used to do.

Jay January 21, 2011 at 11:20 am

Sorry, this article stinks of overgeneralizations, unless I’m missing something. I make a middle-class to upper middle-class income and this doesn’t describe me at all.

Iain January 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Obviously it’s not about you in particular. It’s about a general trend.

nate-m January 23, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I used to love this band in high school… This article reminds me of them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGEQT48Ghzs

All we want is a headrush
All we want is to get out of our skin for a while
We have nothing to lose because we don’t have anything
Anything we want anyway…
We used to hate people
Now we just make fun of them
It’s more effective that way
We don’t live
We just scratch on day to day
With nothing but matchbooks and
Sarcasm in our pockets
And all we are waiting for
Is for something worth waiting for
Let’s admit america gets the celebrities we deserve
Let’s stop saying “Don’t quote me”
Because if no one quotes you
You probably haven’t said a thing worth saying

Sex, drugs, god, cash, America

We need something to kill the pain
Of all that nothing inside
We all just want to die a little bit
We fear that pop-culture
Is the only culture we’re ever going to have
We want to stop reading magazines
Stop watching TV
Stop caring about hollywood
But we’re addicted to the things we hate
We don’t run washington and no one really does
Ask not what you can do for your country
Ask what your country did to you

Sex, drugs, god, cash, America

The only reason you’re still alive is because someone
Has decided to let you live
We owe so much money we’re not broke we’re broken
We’re so poor we can’t even pay attention
So what do you want
You want to be famous and rich and happy
But you’re terrified you have nothing to offer this world
Nothing to say and no way to say it
But you can say it in three languages
You are more than the sum of what you consume
Desire is not an occupation
You are alternately thrilled and desperate
Skyhigh and f**ked
Let’s stop praying for someone
To save us and start saving ourselves
Let’s stop this and start over
Let’s go out – Let’s keep going

Sex, drugs, god, cash, America

This is your life – This is your f**king life
We need something to kill
The pain of all that nothing inside
Quit whining you haven’t done
Anything wrong because frankly
You haven’t done much of anything
Someone’s writing down your mistakes
Someone’s documenting your downfall

nate-m January 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Band’s name is: Kein Mehrheit Für Die Mitleid, btw. :)

Ken January 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Lot of accurate observation in the article, and a good deal of passion. Both are good things…but how many people have you (the editorial you, not Mr. Mauzy alone) ever successfully sneered to your point of view?

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