The “Essence” of the Free Market | Thomas Sowell

A good chunk of chapter four of Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell read:

Intellectuals and Society by Thomas Sowell.  

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Economic Systems

The most fundamental fact of economics, without which there would be no economics, is that what everybody wants always adds up to more than there is. If this were not true, then we would be living in a Garden of Eden, where everything is available in unlimited abundance, instead of in an economy with limited resources and unlimited desires. Because of this inherent scarcity—regardless of whether a particular economic system is one of capitalism, socialism, feudalism, or whatever—an economy not only organizes production and the distribution of the resulting output, it must by its very nature also have ways to prevent people from completely satisfying their desires. That is, it must convey the inherent scarcity, without which there would be no real point to economics, even though the particular kind of economy does not cause that scarcity.

In a market economy, prices convey the inherent scarcity through competing bids for resources and outputs that are inherently inadequate to supply all the bidders with all that they want. This may seem like a small and obvious point, but even such renowned intellectuals as the philosopher John Dewey have grossly misconceived it, blaming the particular economic system that conveys scarcity for causing the scarcity itself. Dewey saw the existing market economy as one “maintaining artificial scarcity” for the sake of “personal profit.”1 George Bernard Shaw likewise saw “restricting output” as the principle on which capitalism was founded.2 Bertrand Russell depicted a market economy as one in which “wealthy highwaymen are allowed to levy toll upon the world for the use of indispensable minerals.”3

According to Dewey, to make “potential abundance an actuality” what was needed was to “modify institutions.”4 But he apparently found it unnecessary to specify any alternative set of economic institutions in the real world which had in fact produced greater abundance than the institutions he blamed for “maintaining artificial scarcity.” As in many other cases, the utter absence of factual evidence or even a single step of logic often passes unnoticed among the intelligentsia, when someone is voicing a view common among their peers and consistent with their general vision of the world.

Similarly, a twenty-first century historian said in passing, as something too obvious to require elaboration, that “capitalism created masses of laborers who were poverty stricken.”5 There were certainly many such laborers in the early years of capitalism, but neither this historian nor most other intellectuals have bothered to show that capitalism created this poverty. If in fact those laborers were more prosperous before capitalism, then not only would such a fact need to be demonstrated, what would also need to be explained is why laborers gave up this earlier and presumably higher standard of living to go work for capitalists for less. Seldom is either of these tasks undertaken by intellectuals who make such assertions—and seldom do their fellow intellectuals challenge them to do so, when they are saying things that fit the prevailing vision.

Social critic Robert Reich has likewise referred in passing to twentieth-century capitalism as producing, among other social consequences, “urban squalor, measly wages and long hours for factory workers”6 but without a speck of evidence that any of these things was better before twentieth-century capitalism. Nothing is easier than simply assuming that things were better before, and nothing is harder than finding evidence of better housing, higher wages and shorter hours in the nineteenth and earlier centuries, whether in industry or agriculture.

The difference between creating a reality and conveying a reality has been crucial in many contexts. The idea of killing the messenger who brings bad news is one of the oldest and simplest examples. But the fundamental principle is still alive and well today, when charges of racial discrimination are made against banks that turn down a higher proportion of black applicants for mortgage loans than of white applicants.

Even when the actual decision-maker who approves or denies loan applications does so on the basis of paperwork provided by others who interview loan applicants face-to-face, and the actual decision-maker has no idea what race any of the applicants are, the decisions made may nevertheless convey differences among racial groups in financial qualifications without being the cause of those differences in qualifications, credit history or the outcomes that result from those differences. The fact that black-owned banks also turn down black applicants at a higher rate than white applicants, and that white-owned banks turn down white applicants at a higher rate than Asian American applicants,7 reinforces the point—but only for those who check out the facts that are seldom mentioned in the media, which is preoccupied with moral melodrama that fits their vision.i Among the many differences among black, white and Asian Americans is that the average credit rating among whites is higher than among blacks and the average credit rating of Asian Americans is higher than among whites.8

In light of the many differences among these three groups, it is hardly surprising that, while blacks were turned down for mortgage loans at twice the rate for whites in 2000, whites were turned down at nearly twice the rate for Asian Americans.9 But only the black-white comparison saw the light of day in much of the media. To have included data comparing mortgage loan denial rates between Asian Americans and whites would have reduced a moral melodrama to a mundane example of elementary economics.


Among the other unsubstantiated notions about economics common among the intelligentsia is that there would be chaos in the economy without government planning or control. The order created by a deliberately controlled process may be far easier to conceive or understand than an order emerging from an uncontrolled set of innumerable interactions. But that does not mean that the former is necessarily more common, more consequential or more desirable in its consequences.

Neither chaos nor randomness is implicit in uncontrolled circumstances. In a virgin forest, the flora and fauna are not distributed randomly or chaotically. Vegetation growing on a mountainside differs systematically at different heights. Certain trees grow more abundantly at lower elevations and other kinds of trees at higher elevations. Above some altitude no trees at all grow and, at the summit of Everest, no vegetation at all grows. Obviously, none of this is a result of any decisions made by the vegetation, but depends on variations in surrounding circumstances, such as temperature and soil. It is a systemically determined outcome with a pattern, not chaos.

Animal life also varies with environmental differences and, while animals like humans (and unlike vegetation) have thought and volition, that thought and volition are not always the decisive factors in the outcomes. That fish live in the water and birds in the air, rather than vice versa, is not strictly a matter of their choices, though each has choices of behavior within their respective environments. Moreover, what kinds of choices of behavior will survive the competition that weeds out some kinds of responses to the environment and lets others continue is likewise not wholly a matter of volition. In short, between individual volition and general outcomes are systemic factors which limit or determine what will survive, creating a pattern, rather than chaos.

None of this is difficult to understand in the natural environment. But the difference between individual, volitional causation and constraining systemic causation is one seldom considered by intellectuals when discussing economies, unless they happen to be economists. Yet that distinction has been commonplace among economists for more than two centuries. Nor has this been simply a matter of opinion or ideology. Systemic analysis was as common in Karl Marx’s Capital as in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, and it existed in the eighteenth century school of French economists called the Physiocrats before either Marx or Smith wrote about economics.

Even the analogy between systemic order in nature and in an economy was suggested by the title of one of the Physiocratic writings of the eighteenth century, L’Ordre Naturel by Mercier de la Rivière. It was the Physiocrats who coined the phrase laissez-faire, later associated with Adam Smith, based on their conviction that an uncontrolled economy was not one of chaos but of order, emerging from systemic interactions among the people competing with, and accommodating to, one another.

Karl Marx, of course, had a less benign view of the pattern of outcomes of market competition than did the Physiocrats or Adam Smith, but what is crucial here is that he too analyzed the market economy in terms of its systemic interactions, rather than its volitional choices, even when these were the choices of its economic elites, such as capitalists. Marx said that “competition” creates economic results that are “wholly independent of the will of the capitalist.”10 Thus, for example, while a new technology with lower production costs enables the capitalist to lower his prices, the spread of that technology to competing capitalists compels him to lower his prices, according to Marx.11  

Likewise in his analysis of downturns in the economy— depressions or economic “crises” in Marxian phraseology— Marx made a sharp distinction between systemic causation versus volitional causation:

A man who has produced has not the choice whether he will sell or not. He must sell. And in crises appears precisely the circumstance that he cannot sell, or only below the price of production, or even that he must sell at a positive loss. What does it avail him or us, therefore, that he has produced in order to sell? What concerns us is precisely to discover what has cut across this good intention of his.12  

Neither in his theory of economics nor in his theory of history did Marx make end results simply the carrying out of individual volition, even the volition of elites. As his collaborator Friedrich Engels put it, “what each individual wills is obstructed by everyone else, and what emerges is something that no one willed.”13 Economics is about the pattern that emerges. Historian Charles A. Beard could seek to explain the Constitution of the United States by the economic interests of the individuals who wrote it, but that volitional approach was not the approach used by Marx and Engels, despite how often Beard’s theory of history has been confused with the Marxian theory of history. Marx dismissed a similar theory in his own day as “facile anecdote-mongering and the attribution of all great events to petty and mean causes.”14

The question here is not whether most intellectuals agree with systemic analysis, either in economics or elsewhere. Many have never even considered, much less confronted, that kind of analysis. Those who reason in terms of volitional causation see chaos from conflicting individual decisions as the alternative to central control of economic processes. John Dewey, for example, said, “comprehensive plans” are required “if the problem of social organization is to be met.”15 Otherwise, there will be “a continuation of a regime of accident, waste and distress.”16 To Dewey, “dependence upon intelligence” is an alternative to “drift and casual improvisation”17—that is, chaos—and those who are “hostile to intentional social planning” were depicted as being in favor of “atomistic individualism.”18

Here, as in other cases, verbal virtuosity transforms the arguments of people with opposing views into mere emotions. In this case the emotion is hostility to social planning. That hostility is presumably due to the leftover notions of a by-gone era that society can depend on “the unplanned coincidence of the consequences of a vast multitude of efforts put forth by isolated individuals without reference to any social end,” according to Dewey’s characterization of those with whom he disagreed.19 By the time John Dewey said all this—1935—it was more than a century and a half since the Physiocrats first wrote their books, explaining how competitive markets systemically coordinate economic activities and allocate resources through supply and demand adjustments to price movements.

Whether or not one agrees with the Physiocrats’ explanations, or the similar and more sophisticated explanations of later economists, these are the arguments that would have to be answered if such arguments were not so widely evaded by reducing them to emotions or by using other arguments without arguments. Professor Ronald Dworkin of Oxford, for example, simply dismissed arguments for systemic causation in general, whether in the economy or elsewhere, as “the silly faith that ethics as well as economics moves by an invisible hand, so that individual rights and the general good will coalesce, and law based on principle will move the nation to a frictionless utopia where everyone is better off than he was before.”20

Here again, verbal virtuosity transforms an opposing argument, rather than answering it with either logic or evidence. Moreover, as of the time when Professor Dworkin made this claim, there were numerous examples of countries whose economies were primarily market economies and others whose economies clearly were not, so that empirical comparisons were readily available, including comparisons of countries composed of the same peoples—East Germany versus West Germany or North Korea versus South Korea, for example. But verbal virtuosity made both analytical and empirical arguments unnecessary.

Economic competition is what forces innumerable disparate individual decisions to be reconciled with one another, as transactions terms are forced to change in response to changes in supply and demand, which in turn change economic activities. This is not a matter of “faith” (as Dworkin would have it) or of ideology (as Dewey would have it), but of economic literacy. John Dewey could depict businesses as controlling markets but that position is not inherent in being ideologically on the left. Karl Marx was certainly on the left, but the difference was that he had studied economics, as deeply as anyone of his time.

Just as Karl Marx did not attribute what he saw as the detrimental effects of a market economy to the ill will of individual capitalists, so Adam Smith did not attribute what he saw as the beneficial effects of a market economy to the good will of individual capitalists. Smith’s depictions of businessmen were at least as negative as those of Marx,21 even though Smith is rightly regarded as the patron saint of free market economics. According to Smith, the beneficial social effects of the businessman’s endeavors are “no part of his intention.”22 Both in Adam Smith’s day and today, more than two centuries later, arguments for a free market economy are based on the systemic effects of such economies in allocating scarce resources which have alternative uses through competition in the marketplace. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the conclusions, this is the argument that must be confronted—or evaded.

Contrary to Dewey and many others, systemic arguments are independent of any notions of “atomistic individualism.” These are not arguments that each individual’s well-being adds up to the well-being of society. Such an argument would ignore the systemic interactions which are at the heart of economic analysis, whether by Adam Smith, Karl Marx or other economists. These economic arguments need not be elaborated here, since they are spelled out at length in economics textbooks.23 What is relevant here is that those intellectuals who see chaos as the alternative to government planning or control have seldom bothered to confront those arguments and have instead misconceived the issue and distorted the arguments of those with different views.

Despite the often expressed dichotomy between chaos and planning, what is called “planning” is the forcible suppression of millions of people’s plans by a government-imposed plan. What is considered to be chaos are systemic interactions whose nature, logic and consequences are seldom examined by those who simply assume that “planning” by surrogate decision-makers must be better. Herbert Croly, the first editor of the New Republic and a major intellectual figure in the Progressive era, characterized Thomas Jefferson’s conception of limited government as “the old fatal policy of drift,” as contrasted with Alexander Hamilton’s policy of “energetic and intelligent assertion of the national good.” According to Croly, what was needed was “an energetic and clear-sighted central government.”24 In this conception, progress depends on surrogate decision-makers, rather than on millions of others making their own decisions and exerting their own efforts.

Despite the notion that scarcity is contrived for the sake of profit in a market economy, that scarcity is at the heart of any economy—capitalist, socialist, feudal or whatever. Given that this scarcity is inherent in the system as a whole—any economic system—this scarcity must be conveyed to each individual in some way. In other words, it makes no sense for any economy to produce as much as physically possible of any given product, because that would have to be done with scarce resources which could be used to produce other products, whose supply is also inherently limited to less than what people want.

Markets in capitalist economies reconcile these competing demands for the same resources through price movements in both the markets for consumer goods and the market for the resources which go into producing those consumer goods. These prices make it unprofitable for one producer to use a resource beyond the point where that resource has a greater value to some competing producer who is bidding for that same resource, whether for making the same product or a different product.

For the individual manufacturer, the point at which it would no longer be profitable to use more of some factor of production—machinery, labor, land, etc.—is indeed the point which provides the limit of that manufacturer’s output, even when it would be physically possible to produce more. But, while profitability and unprofitability convey that limit, they are not what cause that limit—which is due to the scarcity of resources inherent in any economic system, whether or not it is a profit-based system. Producing more of a given output in disregard of those limits does not make an economy more prosperous. On the contrary, it means producing an excess of one output at the cost of a shortage of another output that could have been produced with the same resources. This was a painfully common situation in the government-run economy of the Soviet Union, where unsold goods often piled up in warehouses while dire shortages had people waiting in long lines for other goods.25  

Ironically, Marx and Engels had foreseen the economic consequences of fiat prices created by government, rather than by supply and demand, long before the founding of the Soviet Union, even though the Soviets claimed to be following Marxian principles. When publishing a later edition of Marx’s 1847 book, The Poverty of Philosophy, in which Marx rejected fiat pricing, Engels spelled out the problem in his editor’s introduction. He pointed out that it is price fluctuations which have “forcibly brought home to the individual commodity producers what things and what quantity of them society requires or does not require.” Without such a mechanism, he demanded to know “what guarantee we have that necessary quantity and not more of each product will be produced, that we shall not go hungry in regard to corn and meat while we are choked in beet sugar and drowned in potato spirit, that we shall not lack trousers to cover our nakedness while trouser buttons flood us in millions.”26

On this point, the difference between Marx and Engels, on the one hand, and many other intellectuals of the left on the other, was simply that Marx and Engels had studied economics and the others usually had not. John Dewey, for example, demanded that “production for profit be subordinated to production for use.”27 Since nothing can be sold for a profit unless some buyer has a use for it, what Dewey’s proposition amounts to is that third-party surrogates would define which use must be subordinated to which other use, instead of having such results be determined systemically by millions of individuals making their own mutual accommodations in market transactions.

As in so many other situations, the most important decision is who makes the decision. The abstract dichotomy between “profit” and “use” conceals the real conflict between millions of people making decisions for themselves and having anointed surrogates taking those decisions out of their hands.

A volitional view of economics enables the intelligentsia, like politicians and others, to dramatize economics, explaining high prices by “greed”j and low wages by a lack of “compassion,” for example. While this is part of an ideological vision, an ideology of the left is not sufficient by itself to explain this approach. “I paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur de rose,” Karl Marx said in the introduction to the first volume of Capital. “My stand-point,” he added, however, “can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them.”28 In short, prices and wages were not determined volitionally but systemically.

Understanding that was not a question of being on the left or not, but of being economically literate or illiterate. The underlying notion of volitional pricing has, in our own times, led to at least a dozen federal investigations of American oil companies over the years, in response to either gasoline shortages or increases in gasoline prices—with none of these investigations turning up facts to support the sinister explanations abounding in the media and in politics when these investigations were launched. Many people find it hard to believe that negative economic events are not a result of villainy, even though they accept positive economic events— the declining prices of computers that are far better than earlier computers, for example—as being just a result of “progress” that happens somehow.

In a market economy, prices convey an underlying reality about supply and demand—and about production costs behind supply, as well as innumerable individual preferences and trade-offs behind demand. By regarding prices as merely arbitrary social constructs, some can imagine that existing prices can be replaced by prices controlled by government, reflecting wiser and nobler notions, such as “affordable housing” or “reasonable” health care costs. A history of price controls going back for centuries, in countries around the world, shows negative and even disastrous consequences from treating prices as mere arbitrary constructs, rather than as symptoms and conveyances of an underlying reality that is not nearly as susceptible of control as the prices are.

As far as many, if not most, intellectuals are concerned, history would show that but does not, because they often see no need to consult history or any other validation process beyond the peer consensus of other similarly disposed intellectuals when discussing economic issues.

The crucial distinction between market transactions and collective decision-making is that in the market people are rewarded according to the value of their goods and services to those particular individuals who receive those goods and services, and who have every incentive to seek alternative sources, so as to minimize their costs, just as sellers of goods and services have every incentive to seek the highest bids for what they have to offer. But collective decision-making by third parties allows those third parties to superimpose their preferences on others at no cost to themselves, and to become the arbiters of other people’s economic fate without accountability for the consequences.

Nothing better illustrates the difference between a volitional explanation of economic activity and a systemic explanation than the use of “greed” as an explanation of high incomes. Greed may well explain an individual’s desire for more money, but income is determined by what other people pay, whether those other people are employers or consumers. Except for criminals, most people in a market economy receive income as a result of voluntary transactions. How much income someone receives voluntarily depends on other people’s willingness to part with their money in exchange for what the recipient offers, whether that is labor, a commodity or a service. John D. Rockefeller did not become rich simply because he wanted money; he became rich because other people preferred to buy his oil, for example, because it was cheaper. Bill Gates became rich because people around the world preferred to buy his computer operating system rather than other operating systems that were available.

None of this is rocket science, nor is it new. A very old expression captured the fallacy of volitional explanations when it said, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Yet volitional explanations of prices and incomes continue to flourish among the intelligentsia. Professor Peter Corning of Stanford University, for example, attributes high incomes to personality traits found supposedly in one-third of the population because “the ‘free market’ capitalist system favors the one-third who are the most acquisitive and egocentric and the least concerned about fairness and justice.”29 This description would apply as readily to petty criminals who rob local stores and sometimes shoot their owners to avoid being identified, often for small sums of money that would never support the lifestyle of the rich and famous. The volitional explanation of high incomes lacks even correlation, much less causation.

The tactical advantage of volitional explanations is not only that it allows the intelligentsia to be on the side of the angels against the forces of evil, but also that it avoids having to deal with the creation of wealth, an analysis of which could undermine their whole social vision. By focusing on the money that John D. Rockefeller received, rather than the benefits that millions of other people received from Rockefeller—which provided the reason for turning their money over to him in the first place, rather than buying from somebody else—such transactions can be viewed as moral melodramas, rather than mundane transactions for mutual advantage. Contrary to “robber baron” rhetoric, Rockefeller did not reduce the wealth of society but added to it, his own fortune being a share in that additional wealth, as his production efficiencies and innovations reduced the public’s cost of oil to a fraction of what it had been before.


Among the consequences of the economic illiteracy of most intellectuals is the zero-sum vision of the economy mentioned earlier, in which the gains of one individual or one group represent a corresponding loss to another individual or another group. According to noted twentieth-century British scholar Harold Laski, “the interests of capital and labor are irreconcilable in fundamentals—there’s a sum to divide and each wants more than the other will give.”30 This assumption is seldom spelled out this plainly, perhaps not even in the minds of most of those whose conclusions require such an implicit zero-sum assumption as a foundation. But the widespread notion, coalescing into a doctrine, that one must “take sides” in making public policy or even in rendering judicial decisions, ignores the fact that economic transactions would not continue to take place unless both sides find these transactions preferable to not making such transactions.

Contrary to Laski and many others with similar views, there is no given “sum to divide,” as there would be with manna from heaven. It is precisely the cooperation of capital and labor which creates a wealth that would not exist otherwise, and that both sides would forfeit if they did not reconcile their conflicting desires at the outset, in order to agree on terms under which they can join together to produce that output. It is literally preposterous (putting in front what comes behind) to begin the analysis with “a sum to divide”—that is, wealth—when that wealth can be created only after capital and labor have already reconciled their competing claims and agreed to terms on which they can operate together to produce that wealth.

Each side would of course prefer to have the terms favor themselves more, but both sides must be willing to accept some mutually agreeable terms or no such transaction will take place at all, much less continue. Far from being an “irreconcilable” situation, as Laski claimed, it is a situation reconciled millions of times each day. Otherwise, the economy could not function. Indeed, a whole society could not function without vast numbers of both economic and non-economic decisions to cooperate, despite the fact that no two sets of interests, even among members of the same family, are exactly the same. The habit of many intellectuals to largely ignore the prerequisites, incentives and constraints involved in the production of wealth has many ramifications that can lead to many fallacious conclusions, even if their verbal virtuosity conceals those fallacies from others and from themselves.

Intervention by politicians, judges, or others, in order to impose terms more favorable to one side—minimum wage laws or rent control laws, for example—reduces the overlapping set of mutually agreeable terms and, almost invariably, reduces the number of mutually acceptable transactions, as the party disfavored by the intervention makes fewer transactions subsequently. Countries with generous minimum wage laws, for example, often have higher unemployment rates and longer periods of unemployment than other countries, as employers offer fewer jobs to inexperienced and low-skilled workers, who are typically the least valued and lowest paid—and who are most often priced out of a job by minimum wage laws.

It is not uncommon in European countries with generous minimum wage laws, as well as other worker benefits that employers are mandated to pay for, to have inexperienced younger workers with unemployment rates of 20 percent or more.31 Employers are made slightly worse off by having to rearrange their businesses and perhaps pay for more machinery to replace the low-skilled workers whom it is no longer economic to hire. But those low-skilled, usually younger, workers may be made much worse off by not being able to get jobs as readily, losing both the wages they could earn otherwise and sustaining the perhaps greater loss of not acquiring the work experience that would lead to better jobs and higher pay.

In short, “taking sides” often ends up making both sides worse off, even if in different ways and to different degrees. But the very idea of taking sides is based on treating economic transactions as if they were zero-sum events. This zero-sum vision of the world is also consistent with the disinterest of many intellectuals in what promotes or impedes the creation of wealth, on which the standard of living of a whole society depends, even though the creation of more wealth has lifted “the poor” in the United States today to economic levels not reached by most of the American population in past eras or in many other countries even today.

Just as minimum wage laws tend to reduce employment transactions with those whose pay is most affected, so rent control laws have been followed by housing shortages in Cairo, Melbourne, Hanoi, Paris, New York and numerous other places around the world. Here again, attempts to make transactions terms better for one party usually lead the other party to make fewer transactions. Builders especially react to rent control laws by building fewer apartment buildings and, in some places, building none at all for years on end.

Landlords may continue to rent existing apartments but often they cut back on ancillary services such as painting, repairs, heat and hot water—all of which cost money and all of which are less necessary to maintain at previous levels to attract and keep tenants, once there is a housing shortage. The net result is that apartment buildings that receive less maintenance deteriorate faster and wear out, without adequate numbers of replacements being built. In Cairo, for example, this process led to families having to double up in quarters designed for only one family. The ultimate irony is that such laws can also lead to higher rents on average— New York and San Francisco being classic examples—when luxury housing is exempted from rent control, causing resources to be diverted to building precisely that kind of housing.

The net result is that tenants, landlords, and builders can all end up worse off than before, though in different ways and to different degrees. Landlords seldom end up living in crowded quarters or on the street, and builders can simply devote more of their time and resources to building other structures such as warehouses, shopping malls and office buildings, as well as luxury housing, all of which are usually not subject to rent control laws. But, again, the crucial point is that both sides can end up worse off as a result of laws and policies based on “taking sides,” as if economic transactions were zero-sum processes.

One of the few writers who has explicitly proclaimed the zero-sum vision of the economy—Professor Lester C. Thurow of M.I.T., author of The Zero-Sum Society—has also stated that the United States has been “consistently the industrial economy with the worst record” on unemployment. He spelled it out:

Lack of jobs has been endemic in peacetime during the past fifty years of American history. Review the evidence: a depression from 1929 to 1940, a war from 1941 to 1945, a recession in 1949, a war from 1950 to 1953, recessions in 1954, 1957–58, and 1960–61, a war from 1965 to 1973, a recession in 1969–70, a severe recession in 1974–75, and another recession probable in 1980. This is hardly an enviable economic performance.32  

Several things are remarkable about Professor Thurow’s statement. He reaches sweeping conclusions about the record of the United States vis-à-vis the record of other industrial nations, based solely on a recitation of events within the United States—a one-nation international comparison when it comes to facts, rather than rhetoric. Studies which in fact compare the unemployment rate in the United States versus Western European nations, for example, almost invariably show Western European nations with higher unemployment rates, and longer periods of unemployment, than the United States.33 Moreover, the wars that Professor Thurow throws in, in what is supposed to be a discussion of unemployment, might leave the impression that wars contribute to unemployment, when in fact unemployment virtually disappeared in the United States during World War II and has been lower than usual during the other wars mentioned.34  

Professor Thurow’s prediction about a recession in 1980 turned out to be true, though that was hardly a daring prediction in the wake of the “stagflation” of the late 1970s. What turned out to be false was the idea that large-scale government intervention was required to head off more unemployment—that, in Thurow’s words, the government needed to “restructure the economy so that it will, in fact, provide jobs for everyone.”35 What actually happened was that the Reagan administration took office in 1981 and did the exact opposite of what Lester Thurow advocated—and, after the recession passed, there were twenty years of economic growth, low unemployment and low inflation.36

Professor Thurow was not, and is not, some fringe kook. According to the material on the cover of the 2001 reprint of his 1980 book The Zero-Sum Society, “Lester Thurow has been professor of management and economics at MIT for more than thirty years.” He is also the “author of several books, including three New York Times best sellers, he has served on the editorial board of the New York Times, as a contributing editor of Newsweek, and as a member of Time magazine’s Board of Economics.” He could not be more mainstream—or more wrong. But what he said apparently found resonance among the elite intelligentsia, who made him an influence on major media outlets.

Similar prescriptions for active government intervention in the economy have abounded among intellectuals, past and present. John Dewey, for example, used such attractive phrases as “socially organized intelligence in the conduct of public affairs,”37 and “organized social reconstruction”38 as euphemisms for the plain fact that third-party surrogate decision-makers seek to have their preferences imposed on millions of other people through the power of government. Although government is often called “society” by those who advocate this approach, what is called “social” planning are in fact government orders over-riding the plans and mutual accommodations of millions of people subject to those orders.

Despite whatever vision may be conjured up by euphemisms, government is not some abstract embodiment of public opinion or Rousseau’s “general will.” Government consists of politicians, bureaucrats, and judges—all of whom have their own incentives and constraints, and none of whom can be presumed to be any less interested in the promotion of their own interests or notions than are people who buy and sell in the marketplace. Neither sainthood nor infallibility is common in either venue. The fundamental difference between decision-makers in the market and decision-makers in government is that the former are subject to continuous and consequential feedback which can force them to adjust to what others prefer and are willing to pay for, while those who make decisions in the political arena face no such inescapable feedback to force them to adjust to the reality of other people’s desires and preferences.

A business with red ink on the bottom line knows that this cannot continue indefinitely, and that they have no choice but to change whatever they are doing that produces red ink, for which there is little tolerance even in the short run, and which will be fatal to the whole enterprise in the long run. In short, financial losses are not merely informational feedback but consequential feedback which cannot be ignored, dismissed or spun rhetorically through verbal virtuosity.

In the political arena, however, only the most immediate and most attention-getting disasters—so obvious and unmistakable to the voting public that there is no problem of “connecting the dots”—are comparably consequential for political decision-makers. But laws and policies whose consequences take time to unfold are by no means as consequential for those who created those laws and policies, especially if the consequences emerge after the next election. Moreover, there are few things in politics as unmistakable in its implications as red ink on the bottom line is in business. In politics, no matter how disastrous a policy may turn out to be, if the causes of the disaster are not understood by the voting public, those officials responsible for the disaster may escape any accountability, and of course they have every incentive to deny having made mistakes, since admitting mistakes can jeopardize a whole career.

Why the transfer of economic decisions from the individuals and organizations directly involved—often depicted collectively and impersonally as “the market”—to third parties who pay no price for being wrong should be expected to produce better results for society at large is a question seldom asked, much less answered. Partly this is because of rhetorical packaging by those with verbal virtuosity. To say, as John Dewey did, that there must be “social control of economic forces”39 sounds good in a vague sort of way, until that is translated into specifics as the holders of political power forbidding voluntary transactions among the citizenry.


1 John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2000), p. 43.

2 Bernard Shaw, The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (New York: Brentano’s Publishers, 1928), p. 208.

3 Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1928), p. 230.

4 John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action, p. 65.

5 Aida D. Donald, Lion in the White House: A Life of Theodore Roosevelt (New York: Basic Books, 2007), p. 10.

6 Robert B. Reich, Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (New York: Vintage Books, 2008), p. 21.

7 Harold A. Black, et al., “Do Black-Owned Banks Discriminate against Black Borrowers?” Journal of Financial Ser vices Research, February 1997, pp. 185– 200.

8 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Report to the Congress on Credit Scoring and Its Effects on the Availability and Affordability of Credit, submitted to the Congress pursuant to Section 215 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, August 2007, p. 80.

9 United States Commission on Civil Rights, Civil Rights and the Mortgage Crisis (Washington: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 2009), p. 53.

10 Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Co., 1909), Vol. III, pp. 310– 311.

11 Karl Marx, “Wage Labour and Capital,” section V, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1955), Vol. I, p. 99. See also Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, pp. 310–311.

12 Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus Value: Selections (New York: International Publishers, 1952), p. 380.

13 Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence 1846–1895, translated by Dona Torr (New York: International Publishers, 1942), p. 476.

14 Ibid., p. 159.

15 John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action, p. 73. “Unless freedom of individual action has intelligence and informed conviction back of it, its manifestation is almost sure to result in confusion and disorder.” John Dewey, Intelligence in the Modern World: John Dewey’s Philosophy, edited by Joseph Ratner (New York: Modern Library, 1939), p. 404.

16 John Dewey, Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology (New York: Modern Library, 1957), p. 277.

17 John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action, p. 56.

18 Ibid., p. 50.

19 Ibid., p. 65.

20 Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980), p. 147.

21 Adam Smith denounced “the mean rapacity, the monopolizing spirit of merchants and manufacturers” and “the clamour and sophistry of merchants and manufacturers,” whom he characterized as people who “seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public.” As for policies recommended by such people, Smith said: “The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.” Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (New York: Modern Library, 1937), pp. 128, 250, 460. Karl Marx wrote, in the preface to the first volume of Capital: “I paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur de rose. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are the personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class-interests. My stand­point, from which the evolution of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them.” In Chapter X, Marx made dire predictions about the fate of workers, but not as a result of subjective moral deficiencies of the capitalist, for Marx said: “As capitalist, he is only capital personified” and “all this does not, indeed, depend on the good or ill will of the individual capitalist.” Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr & Company, 1919), Vol. I, pp. 15, 257, 297.

22 Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, p. 423.

23 My own sketch of these arguments can be found in Chapters 2 and 4 of my Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy, fourth edition (New York: Basic Books, 2011). More elaborate and more technical accounts can be found in more advanced texts.

24 Herbert Croly, The Promise of American Life (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989), pp. 44, 45.

25 See, for example, Nikolai Shmelev and Vladimir Popov, The Turning Point: Revitalizing the Soviet Economy (New York: Doubleday, 1989), pp. 141, 170; Midge Decter, An Old Wife’s Tale: My Seven Decades in Love and War (New York: Regan Books, 2001), p. 169.

26 Frederick Engels, “Introduction to the First German Edition,” Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (New York: International Publishers, 1963), p. 19.

27 John Dewey, Characters and Events: Popular Essays in Social and Political Philosophy, edited by Joseph Ratner (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1929), Vol. II, p. 555.

28 Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, p. 15.

29 Peter Corning, The Fair Society: The Science of Human Nature and the Pursuit of Social Justice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), p. 125.

30 Harold J. Laski, Letter to Oliver Wendell Holmes, September 13, 1916, Holmes-Laski Letters: The Correspondence of Mr. Justice Holmes and Harold J. Laski 1916–1935, edited by Mark DeWolfe Howe (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1953), Vol. I, p. 20.

31 Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., “Business World: Shall We Eat Our Young?” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2005, p. A13.

32 Lester C. Thurow, The Zero-Sum Society: Distribution and the Possibilities for Economic Change (New York: Basic Books, 2001), p. 203.

33 Beniamino Moro, “The Economists’ ‘Manifesto’ On Unemployment in the EU Seven Years Later: Which Suggestions Still Hold?” Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, June-September 2005, pp. 49–66; Economic Report of the President (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009), pp. 326–327.

34 Theodore Caplow, Louis Hicks and Ben J. Wattenberg, The First Measured Century: An Illustrated Guide to Trends in America, 1900–2000 (Washington: AEI Press, 2001), p. 47.

35 Lester C. Thurow, The Zero-Sum Society, p. 203.

36 “The Turning Point,” The Economist, September 22, 2007, p. 35.

37 John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action, p. 53. See also p. 88.

38 Ibid., p. 89.

39 Ibid., p. 44.

Nick Freitas | Today, we discuss one of the greatest economists of our time—his books, articles, and thoughts on wealth, poverty, and how politicians ignore economics for political gain.


Starring comedian Andrew Heaton, EconPop takes a surprisingly deep look at the economic themes running through classic films, new releases, TV shows and more from the best of pop culture and entertainment. Heaton brings a unique mix of dry wit and whimsy to bear on the dismal science of economics and the result is always entertaining, educational and irreverent. It’s Econ 101 meets At The Movies, with a dash of Monty Python.

I, Pencil

I, Pencil – FINAL CUT from Nicholas Tucker on Vimeo.

The “Original ‘I-Pencil'”

Canada vs. India and the Waffen-SS


So over the past couple weeks Canada has been in the news… enough so that I feel prompted to post on it. And the tow countries (India and Canada) have expelled diplomats of the issue. Here is more:

The WASHINGTON TIMES covers the story:

NEW DELHI — Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh independence advocate whose killing two months ago is at the center of a widening breach between India and Canada, was called a human rights activist by Sikh organizations and a terrorist by India’s government.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that his government was investigating “credible allegations” that Indian government agents were linked to the slaying on June 18 when Nijjar was gunned down outside a Sikh cultural center in Surrey, British Columbia.

India has denied any role in the killing, calling the allegations absurd.

Nijjar was a prominent member of a movement to create an independent Sikh homeland known as Khalistan, and at the time of his death was organizing an unofficial referendum among the Sikh diaspora with the organization Sikhs For Justice.

He also owned a plumbing business and served as president of a Sikh temple or gurdwara in suburban Vancouver. In a 2016 interview with the Vancouver Sun he responded dismissively to reports in Indian media that he was suspected of leading a terrorist cell.

“This is garbage – all the allegations. I am living here 20 years, right? Look at my record. There is nothing. I am a hard worker. I own my own business in the plumbing,” Nijjar told the newspaper.

Following his death, the World Sikh Organization of Canada called Nijjar an outspoken supporter of Khalistan who “often led peaceful protests against the violation of human rights actively taking place in India and in support of Khalistan.”

Nijjar was a wanted man in India, where authorities labeled him a terrorist in 2020.

In 2016, Indian media reported that he was suspected of masterminding a bombing in the Sikh-majority state of Punjab and training terrorists in a small city southeast of Vancouver. He denied the allegations.

India also filed a criminal case against Nijjar in 2020 for “conspiring to create an atmosphere of fear and lawlessness, and inciting people to rise in rebellion against the Government of India” when farmers, many from Punjab, camped out on the edges of New Delhi to protest controversial agriculture laws.

Last year, Indian authorities accused Nijjar of involvement in an alleged attack on a Hindu priest in India and announced a reward of about $16,000 for information leading to his arrest.

India has waged an at-times bloody struggle against the Sikh independence movement since the 1980s, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered a raid to capture armed separatists taking refuge in a major Sikh temple.

The raid killed hundreds of people, and two of Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards assassinated her shortly after. In response, anti-Sikh riots took place across India in which members of the minority were dragged out of their homes and killed.

More recently, the Hindu nationalist-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cracked down on both non-Hindu rights movements and dissidents.

Canadian police said Nijjar was shot as he was leaving the car park of the Sikh temple where he served as president in British Columbia. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene.

After the killing, a lawyer and spokesperson for Sikhs For Justice, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, said Nijjar had been a target of threats because of his activism. His killing was the second in two years of a prominent member of the Sikh community in Canada …..

One of the interviewees in the video above noted Canada’s parliament just coming back into session, which brings me to this next story.

A story of the Waffen-SS, WWII, and Ukraine.


Quite a few online personalities noted the story, here is one for instance:

What Benny and others have seemingly said is that this was a planned introduction and that the background of Yaroslav Hunk was known by Canadian officials. Even if Benny was not intimating it, it can be seen that way surely. The article Benny shared in his feed after the above intimation said this in their article ender:

  • It is unclear whether Zelenskyy knew that Hunka fought with the unit. In 2021, the Ukrainian president joined the governments of Israel and Germany in denouncing a march honoring SS Galichina in Kyiv.

A fellow “Facebooker” noted this article from NEWSWEEK discussing the issue:

Hunka, 98, was recognized by Anthony Rota, the speaker of Canada’s House of Commons, as a “Ukrainian hero” who fought for the First Ukrainian Division. The speaker has since apologized for the blunder.

“We have here in the chamber today a Ukrainian-Canadian veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today, even at his age of 98,” Rota said before the Canadian parliament on September 22, after which Hunka was met with a round of applause, while Zelensky raised his fist.

Rota added, “He’s a Ukrainian hero, a Canadian hero, and we thank him for all his service. Thank you.”….

This ended up being an impromptu blunder that has brought some unawares of WWII history up to speed on this narrow piece of Ukrainian history. More on this in a moment, back to NEWSWEEK. After Newsweek catalogues the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies clarifying the man’s background, you had the official apology for the blunder released:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also present at the time of Hunka’s recognition. A statement issued by his office said “no advance notice was provided to the Prime Minister’s Office, nor the Ukrainian delegation, about the invitation or the recognition.”


Rota has issued a statement apologizing for his move to recognize Hunka.

“In my remarks following the address of the President of Ukraine, I recognized an individual in the gallery. I have subsequently become aware of more information which causes me to regret my decision to do so,” Rota said. “I particularly want to extend my deepest apologies to Jewish communities in Canada and around the world. I accept full responsibility for my action.”

This being a mistake is the more believable side of the coin, I mean, who would intentionally sink their political career by knowingly supporting a member of the SS controlled unit?

Here is more via the POLITICO:

  • “I wish to make clear that no one, including fellow parliamentarians and the Ukraine delegation, was aware of my intention or of my remarks before I delivered them,” he said. “This initiative was entirely my own, the individual in question being from my riding and having been brought to my attention.”

Here is more on the history of this unit by FORWARD — and excellent article:

The Canadian Parliament gave a standing ovation on Friday to a 98-year-old immigrant from Ukraine who fought in a Third Reich military formation accused of war crimes.

The elderly veteran, Yaroslav Hunka was honored during a session in which President Volodomyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine addressed the lawmakers to thank them for their support since Russia invaded his country, saying Canada has always been on “the bright side of history.” The  Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota — who had compared Zelenskyy to Winston Churchill — recognized a “veteran from the Second World War who fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians and continues to support the troops today even at his age of 98.”

The assembly then rose to applaud a man in a khaki uniform standing on the balcony, who saluted, according to this screenshot from Canadian television.

The man was identified as Hunka by the Associated Press, which published a photograph showing Zelenskyy smiling and raising a fist during the ovation.

The AP caption described Hunka as having “fought with the First Ukrainian Division in World War II before later immigrating to Canada.” The First Ukrainian Division is another name for the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, the military wing of the Nazi Party; the unit was also called SS Galichina.

This is the same unit that is honored by controversial monuments in Canada, Australia, and, as the Forward recently exposed, the suburbs of Philadelphia and Detroit. Jewish groups have called for their removal.

After a Forward article in August that was followed by coverage in the Philadelphia Inquirer, local television stations and other news outlets, the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia temporarily covered the monument located in a cemetery in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, pending discussions with local Jewish leaders. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and regional branches of the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League had expressed outrage about the monument.


Two monuments to a Nazi military division with a record of war crimes have been hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Philadelphia and Detroit. Both honor the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician), commonly known as SS Galichina.

Formed in 1943, SS Galichina was a Ukrainian unit in the Waffen-SS — the combat branch of the SS (Schutzstaffel) wing of the Nazi Party. Such units “were heavily involved in the commission of the Holocaust through their participation in mass shootings, anti-partisan warfare, and in supplying guards for Nazi concentration camps,” according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and were “responsible for many other war crimes.” 

Marches and monuments honoring SS Galichina in other nations including Canada have been condemned by Jewish organizations and the governments of Ukraine, Germany and Israel. The Forward has over the last three years documented more than 1,600 monuments, memorials and streets honoring Holocaust perpetrators and Third Reich collaborators in 30 countries.

Formed in 1943, SS Galichina was composed of recruits from the Galicia region in western Ukraine. The unit was armed and trained by the Nazis and commanded by German officers. In 1944, the division was visited by SS head Heinrich Himmler, who spoke of the soldiers’ willingness to slaughter Poles.”

Three months earlier, SS Galichina subunits perpetrated what is known as the Huta Pieniacka massacre, burning 500 to 1,000 Polish villagers alive.

During the Nuremberg Trials, the International Military Tribunal declared the Waffen-SS to be a criminal organization responsible for mass atrocities including the “persecution and extermination of the Jews, brutalities and killings in concentration camps, excesses in the administration of occupied territories, the administration of the slave labor program, and the mistreatment and murder of prisoners.” 

After the war, thousands of SS Galichina veterans were allowed to resettle in the West, around 2,000 of them in Canada. By then, the unit was universally known as the First Ukrainian Division.  

A blog by an association of its veterans, called “Combatant News” in Ukrainian, includes an autobiographical entry by a Yaroslav Hunka that says he volunteered to join the division in 1943 and several photographs of him during the war. The captions say the pictures show Hunka during SS artillery training in Munich in December 1943 and in Neuhammer (now Świętoszów), Poland, the site of Himmler’s visit. 

In posts to the blog dated 2011 and 2010, Hunka describes 1941 to 1943 as the happiest years of his life and compares the veterans of his unit, who were scattered across the world, to Jews.

Canada has two monuments to the unit, one in a Wayville, which is outside Toronto, the other in Edmonton. Canadian Jewish organizations have called for their removal. ….

By the way, at the beginning of this conflict I was of the mindset of Dennis Prager that Ukrainian Fascism was a Russian propaganda lie. I can also see the point made that maybe there is more truth to the matter than we are told. Maybe the safe way to say it is that Ukraine has many more Nazi’s that the United States, per capita.

But is this an “enemy of my enemy” situation? Yeah, probably:

Enemy Of The Enemy

In its existential struggle against Russian invaders, Ukraine, a pro-Western democracy, has elevated some problematic heroes with fascist origins. And its allies — including Jewish leaders and liberal politicians usually on guard against such forces — have largely downplayed or denied this phenomenon.

Here is a story by NBC NEWS I read a while back:

Of the many distortions manufactured by Russian President Vladimir Putin to justify Russia’s assault on Ukraine, perhaps the most bizarre is his claim that the action was taken to “denazify” the country and its leadership. In making his case for entering his neighbor’s territory with armored tanks and fighter jets, Putin has stated that the move was undertaken “to protect people” who have been “subjected to bullying and genocide,” and that Russia “will strive for the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.”

On its face, Putin’s smear is absurd, not least because Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and has said that members of his family were killed during World War II. There is also no evidence of recent mass killings or ethnic purges taking place in Ukraine. Moreover, labeling enemies Nazis is a common political ploy in Russia, especially from a leader who favors disinformation campaigns and wants to stir up feelings of national vengeance against a WWII foe to justify conquest.

But even though Putin is engaging in propaganda, it’s also true that Ukraine has a genuine Nazi problem — both past and present. Putin’s destructive actions — among them the devastation of Jewish communities — make clear that he’s lying when he says his goal is to ensure anyone’s welfare. But important as it is to defend the yellow-and-blue flag against the Kremlin’s brutal aggression, it would be a dangerous oversight to deny Ukraine’s antisemitic history and collaboration with Hitler’s Nazis, as well as the latter-day embrace of neo-Nazi factions in some quarters.

On the eve of World War II, Ukraine was home to one the largest Jewish communities in Europe, with estimates as high as 2.7 million, a remarkable number considering the territory’s long record of antisemitism and pogroms. By the end, more than half would perish. When German troops took control of Kyiv in 1941, they were welcomed by “Heil Hitler” banners. Soon after, nearly 34,000 Jews — along with Roma and other “undesirables” — were rounded up and marched to fields outside the city on the pretext of resettlement only to be massacred in what became known as the “Holocaust by bullets.”

The Babyn Yar ravine continued to fill up as a mass grave for two years. With as many as 100,000 murdered there, it became one of the largest single killing sites of the Holocaust outside of Auschwitz and other death camps. Researchers have noted the key role locals played in fulfilling Nazi kill orders at the site.

Nowadays, Ukraine counts between 56,000 to 140,000 Jews, who enjoy freedoms and protections never imagined by their grandparents. That includes an updated law passed last month criminalizing antisemitic acts. Unfortunately, the law was intended to address a pronounced uptick in public displays of bigotry, including swastika-laden vandalism of synagogues and Jewish memorials, and eerie marches in Kyiv and other cities that celebrated the Waffen SS.

In another ominous development, Ukraine has in recent years erected a glut of statues honoring Ukrainian nationalists whose legacies are tainted by their indisputable record as Nazi proxies. The Forward newspaper cataloged some of these deplorables, including Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), whose followers acted as local militia members for the SS and German army. “Ukraine has several dozen monuments and scores of street names glorifying this Nazi collaborator, enough to require two separate Wikipedia pages,” the Forward wrote.


L’viv and two other locales — 1.5 million Jews, a quarter of all Jews murdered in the Holocaust, came from Ukraine. Over the past six years, the country has been institutionalizing worship of the paramilitary Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which collaborated with the Nazis and aided in the slaughter of Jews, and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which massacred thousands of Jews and 70,000-100,000 Poles. A major figure venerated in today’s Ukraine is Stepan Bandera (1909–1959), the Nazi collaborator who led a faction of OUN (called OUN-B); above are his statues in L’viv (left) and Ivano-Frankivsk (right). Many thanks to Per Anders Rudling, Tarik Cyril Amar and Jared McBride for their guidance on Ukrainian collaborators.

THAT BEING SAID, the leader of Ukraine is proud and vocal about his Jewish heritage:

When Volodymyr Zelensky won his election in 2019, it meant that for the first time in Ukraine’s history, the country had a president and a prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, who were both Jewish and open about their Jewish background. For a time, Ukraine was the only country outside of Israel where the heads of state and government were Jewish. Yet neither promoted nor relied on ethnicity in their politics.

In fact, Tsyba, a childhood friend and now MP in Zelenksy’s Servant of the People party, says Zelensky rarely mentioned his Jewish background and it was not something people talked about. “It never mattered … There were a lot of Jewish people around yet there was no particular interest in who was who.”


Days before taking office in 2019, Zelensky put flowers on the grave of his Jewish grandfather, who fought the Nazis in World War II.

“[Simon] went through the whole war and remains forever in my memory one of those heroes who defended Ukraine from the Nazis. Thanks for the fact that the inhuman ideology of Nazism is forever a thing of the past. Thanks to those who fought against Nazism — and won.”


So, while I agree that the Left in Canada is horrible, like they are here. They in no way support “Fascists” openly…. sorta (BREITBART):

See my posts:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has many political issues right now, from his suppression of the Freedom Convoys Covid protests to how the Canadian government froze bank accounts of those involved in the protest. But his problems do not include openly supporting historical Nazism.

He is a Lefty who was a horrible replacement for Stephen Harper, an awesome balance to Barack Obama to have North America hold the freedom line… but we are stuck with our Northern Neighbor’s choice till 2025. Hopefully the Canucks elect a “Pierre Poilievre” type.

One can only hope.

More Media #FakeNews (“Genius” and “Savvy”)

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton wade through the left’s lies about our interview with Donald Trump. These journos have nothing else left but to gaslight and demonize Trump.

REAL CLEAR POLITICS notes the out of context nature of the MSM narrative:

BUCK: Mr. President, in the last 24 hours we know Russia has said that they are recognizing two breakaway regions of Ukraine, and now this White House is stating that this is an “invasion.” That’s a strong word. What went wrong here? What has the current occupant of the Oval Office done that he could have done differently?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, what went wrong was a rigged election and what went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there and a man that has no concept of what he’s doing. I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, “This is genius.” Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.

So Putin is now saying, “It’s independent,” a large section of Ukraine. I said, “How smart is that?” And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy I know him very well. Very, very well.

By the way, this never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable. This would never have happened. But here’s a guy that says, you know, “I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent,” he used the word “independent,” “and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.” You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad. Very sad.

Marco Rubio says of the interview:

Former President Donald Trump was being “sarcastic” when he referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “genius,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said Tuesday. 

“I heard that interview,” Rubio said during an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I’m not going off the press reports. I heard the interview. I didn’t hear him say that. I heard what I heard. A guy who was being sarcastic. He was saying, Oh, look at this guy, he’s a genius, this, that and the other.”

Trump came under fire last week after his comments on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton radio show, on which he referred to Putin as being “savvy” and a “genius.”


“If it wasn’t for what the Trump administration did and laid the groundwork for, there’s no way Ukraine would still be able to hold out today,” Rubio said.


RED STATE rightly notes what Clay and Buck did when speaking about what the Left and Press has run with counters basic English context when “referring to someone as a ‘genius’ can carry with it, alternative meanings.”

Certainly, Trump’s talk on Putin has been at times sycophantic, something this author will not discount. However, referring to someone as a “genius” can carry with it, alternative meanings.

For instance, when it comes to people like David Axelrod or Rahm Emanuel, I can admire their genius within politics and hold them in utter contempt because of how they choose to use their gifts. Adolf Hitler was a genius as an orator, but a genocidal sociopath. I do not presume to understand Trump’s motivations in his less-than-polished statements about the Russian leader; however, I simply state that Trump can believe Putin is a genius and a sociopath. While I can think Trump is a genius in manipulating the media (and trust me… he is), I can disagree with him on things like increasing deficit spending and his lowest-common-denominator rhetoric.

When it came to Putin though, the left and the media (but I repeat myself) did their damnedest to tie Trump to Putin and Russia, despite the total lack of evidence of such a connection. Whether it was Russia-gate, in which Trump and his officials were never charged, or lofty stories of Trump and his behavior with Russian prostitutes, or even flat out fabrications, like was spun regarding Russian bounties on American servicemen in Syria, the media went to all lengths to make Trump appear weak against Putin and the Russians.

Yet one stark reality cannot be ignored: Putin took no action against any of his neighbors during the Trump Administration.

Regardless of Trump’s statements (which I often took issue with), the result of his foreign policy led to the lack of the entry of the US in any additional foreign conflicts for the first time in decades. That includes saber-rattling with any foreign powers.

Meanwhile, when you look at Trump’s predecessor, the same cannot be said.

Beginning immediately in 2009, Obama faced Russian games in Crimea in Ukraine. Russia, which had been exerting influence in the region towards the end of 2008 (after Obama’s election but before he took office) thrust the new leader (Obama) into a place many felt he was unprepared to be. Obama sat idly by and watched as Putin and the Russians pushed the area to the brink of war.

In the months leading up to the conflict, the Russians had been issuing Russian passports to residents of other countries, an act which granted those people the rights of other Russian citizens, including the protection of the Russian military, should they need it. Protests, largely organized and funded by Russia, began popping up in Crimea, sending the region into chaos. Of course, this was the goal of the Russians, so they could use this conflict as a reason to enter Ukraine to reestablish peace on behalf of the (new) Russian citizens living in that region.

Obama did nothing….

(RIGHT SCOOP also responds to Meghan McCain)

Hillary Clinton jumps into the fray and gets walloped! PJ-MEDIA has a great post in which I will steal two tweets from:

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton break down Hillary Clinton’s lies about our interview with Donald Trump. How much wrong can the Democrats fit into just one year?

Banned from Facebook for True Story (Facebook Jail Again)

Some raw thoughts… I think the Russians already had info on Hunter to blackmail the White House with and that may have been the behind the scenes actions that got Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline running again.

So… I was banned from Facebook for 24 hours for a link to this story at the DAILY MAIL (click link to go to DM story):

The NEW YORK POST also has a story with a FOX NEWS video regarding it:

KGB Defector Yuri Bezmenov Warns Us About SJWs

Yuri Bezmenov (1939 – 1993), known by the alias Tomas David Schuman, was a Soviet journalist for RIA Novosti and a former PGU KGB informant who defected to Canada. After being assigned to a station in India, Bezmenov eventually grew to love the people and the culture of India, but at the same time, he began to resent the KGB-sanctioned repression of intellectuals who dissented from Moscow’s policies. He decided to defect to the West. Bezmenov is best remembered for his anticommunist lectures and books from the 1980s — here are some adapted excerpts:

The 1980 “Miracle On Ice”

DAILY WIRE notes the attempted shaming by the Leftist rag WaPo:

The Washington Post on Tuesday attempted to shame the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that defeated the Russian team in what is known as the “Miracle on Ice” because some appeared with President Donald Trump.

To briefly recap: The men responsible for defeating Russia at hockey during the Cold War are now being harassed by Democrats and the Left for appearing with the president of the United States.

The Post spoke to exactly one player from the team, Mike Eruzione, in order to get him to suggest he regretted wearing one of Trump’s “Keep America Great” hats when he appeared on stage with the president Friday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. Eruzione has been getting harassed by people who despise Trump, yet the Post spun the story as if the team deserved the harassment because some of them dared to wear hats that Trump’s political opponents have deemed racist. Many people simply refuse to allow the media or the Left the ability to determine what is and isn’t considered a hate symbol. For the record, the media and the Left would have deemed campaign gear from any Republican candidate as hateful.

But now the media has turned its attention to hockey players. It also should be noted that the media does this to any recognizable person who appears on stage with Trump. When asked about the Left-led “backlash,” Eruzione told the post: “You going to light into me, too? We’re getting killed!”…..

Dan Bongino posted this on his TWITTER:

(More of this “miracle on ice” can be found HERE)

Some of the comments that followed Bongino’s post are pretty funny:

  • It is nearly as heart-warming as the recap video of the 2016 election night results.
  • I saw @BernieSanders in the stands with his USSR jersey on…sad day for him
  • Can you imagine the look on Bernie’s face?
  • Thanks for that Toxic masculinity at it’s finest.
  • Definitely! But after Trump beat Hillery it became the 2nd greatest upset ever.
  • Between this and Ronald Reagan becoming President, these are the 2 events that gave America its spine and swagger back. Jimmy Carter almost took us down the drain. The miracle on ice showed us we could still win. Reagan showed us how to do it consistently.
  • The USA as a country was in a malaise. WNEW played Even it up by Heart horns were honking people hugged it still is a one of a kind feeling.

Venezuela: “The Moment Is Now”

My prayers are with these people fighting for freedom – and willing to lay down their life for it.

Several firefights have broken out in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas with opposition leader Juan Guaido calling for a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro.

Guaido’s call came Tuesday morning in a three-minute video declaring the uprising as the “final phase” of his plan to oust Maduro, according to CBS News. This comes Guaido has turned the garrison of La Carlota air base to his cause.

“The moment is now,” he said, referring to the moment as “Operation Liberty,” according to The Washington Post. Formerly detained activist Leopoldo Lopez also appeared in the video after being freed on Tuesday, as well as armed soldiers and armored vehicles….


If the above video (sounds of gunfire) doesn’t show the seriousness of the situation, this video surely will (GRAPHIC):

THE DAILY CALLER notes it was only 10-years ago private ownership of guns was banned:

Venezuela banned private citizens from owning guns seven years ago, leaving firearms solely in the hands of the army and the police. Now, as the country’s opposition attempts to oust the oppressive Maduro regime from power, it is a decision some have come to regret.


In 2013, just 37 weapons were handed over voluntarily. More than 12,500 were confiscated by force.

Maduro ramped up the program in 2014, expending more than $47 million to enforce the ban. His tactics included “grandiose displays of public weapons demolitions in the town square,” according to Fox News.

Citizens who disobey the ban face 20 years in prison.

“Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, a Venezuelan teacher exiled in Ecuador, told Fox News. “The government security forces, at the beginning of this debacle, knew they had no real opposition to their force. Once things were this bad, it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.”

He added, “Venezuelans evolved to always hope that our government would be non-tyrannical, non-violator of human rights, and would always have a good enough control of criminality.”

Omar Adolfo Zares Sanchez, a lawyer and politician, suggested citizens could have combated the Maduro regime much sooner if they had access to guns….

RELATED: MSNBC reporter Kerry Sanders unwittingly made the American case for the Second Amendment during a report Tuesday on the political upheaval in Venezuela. (WASHINGTON FREE BEACON)

This Is What REAL Treason Looks Like

(JUMP TO ADDED ARTICLE LINK) You just can’t make this stuff up!

NEWSBUSTERS hilariously notes…

…First, the Clinton Campaign made use of the same law firm during the 2016 election! Yes, Hillary Clinton, in fact, hired James Hamilton, a partner at Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius and a well-know DC attorney who also previously worked for Al Gore, John Kerry, and even Barack Obama!

Second,the law firm founded by Howard Dean received the same Russian Law Firm of the Year Award in, get ready, 2013, 2014, and 2016!…

If you need any reminding, the Democrats have a long history of “coziness” with the Russians, you need to look no further than the “Lion of the Senate” (Ted Kennedy) to see what REAL treason looks like:

…If these progressives want to know what actual treason looks like, they should consult liberal lion Ted Kennedy, who not only allegedly sent secret messages to the Soviets in the midst of the cold war, he also begged them to intervene in a U.S. presidential election in order to unseat President Ronald Reagan. That’s no exaggeration.

According to Soviet documents unearthed in the early 1990’s, Kennedy literally asked the Soviets, avowed enemies of the U.S., to intervene on behalf of the Democratic party in the 1984 elections. Kennedy’s communist communique was so secret that it was not discovered until 1991, eight years after Kennedy had initiated his Soviet gambit:

Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”

Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.”

Kennedy made Andropov a couple of specific offers.

First he offered to visit Moscow. “The main purpose of the meeting, according to the senator, would be to arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA.” Kennedy would help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda.

(More at The Federalist Papers)

Let’s not forget this episode:

Also note the “coziness” of Bill Clinton via his wife’s Secretary of State position, detailed well in the documentary found HERE. But a quick reminder via NATIONAL REVIEW seems in order:

The Democrats and old-guard news media (forgive the redundancy) are pathologically obsessed with the hypothesis that Team Trump and Russia rigged last November’s presidential election. If Donald J. Trump so much as played Tchaikovsky’s Marche Slav on his stereo, these leftists deduce, he was in cahoots with the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, the same folks who spy a KGB agent behind every filing cabinet in Trump’s White House are aggressively apathetic about Hillary and Bill Clinton’s policies, decisions, and actions that gave aid and comfort to Russia.

Hillary’s much-mocked “Russian reset” established the tone for the Clintons’ coziness with the Kremlin. On March 6, 2009, during a trip to Geneva, she presented Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov a small, red button. Hillary thought it was emblazoned with the Russian word for “reset.” Her team mistranslated and the button actually read “overload.” Nonetheless, Clinton and Lavrov jointly pressed the symbolic button. And a new era in U.S.–Russian relations erupted.

While visiting Moscow on March 24, 2010, Hillary explained the Reset’s purpose: “Our goal is to help strengthen Russia.”

[Video at National Review]

Hillary said this in an interview with veteran broadcaster Vladimir Pozner of Russia’s First Channel TV network. Pozner is a Soviet-era relic who still communicates in barely accented English. During the Cold War, he popped up on American TV and radio programs and presented the views of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Pozner’s pleasantries made him and his totalitarian bosses seem blandly benign.

The shadiest deal that the Clintons hatched with Russia is called Uranium One. This outrage should mushroom into Hillary and Bill’s radioactive Whitewater scandal.

Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining mogul and major Clinton Foundation donor, led a group of investors in an enterprise called Uranium One. On June 8, 2010, Rosatom, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation, announced plans to purchase a 51.4 percent stake in the Canadian company, whose international assets included some 20 percent of America’s uranium capacity.

Because this active ingredient in atomic reactors and nuclear weapons is a strategic commodity, this $1.3 billion deal required the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). Secretary of State Clinton was one of nine federal department and agency heads on that secretive panel.

On June 29, 2010, three weeks after Rosatom proposed to Uranium One, Bill Clinton keynoted a seminar staged by Renaissance Capital in Moscow, a reputedly Kremlin-controlled investment bank that promoted this transaction. Renaissance Capital paid Clinton $500,000 for his one-hour speech.

While CFIUS evaluated Rosatom’s offer, Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer observed, “a spontaneous outbreak of philanthropy among eight shareholders in Uranium One” began. “These Canadian mining magnates decide now would be a great time to donate tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.”…

(Read It All)

I just wanted to add this updated article that is actually older (new to this particular post). Here is the intro of the reprinted article at FRONT PAGE MAGAZINE:

Editors’ note: In light of the Left’s deranged hysteria in response to President Trump’s recent press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, marked by pathological accusations that Trump has engaged in “treason,” Frontpage has deemed it important to bring attention to a forgotten story of verifiable scheming with the Kremlin — by the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy against President Ronald Reagan. We are reprinting below Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov’s 2008 interview with Dr. Paul Kengor, who unearthed documentation detailing Kennedy’s outreach to the KGB and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov during the height of the Cold War, in which the Democratic Senator offered to collude with the Soviets to undermine President Reagan. There were no screams of moral indignation, or accusations of treason, about this matter from the Left at that time — nor since.

The DNC Just Effed Up! (Reactionary Leftists)

Mark Levin slams the choice by Tom Perez to sue the Trump admin. This opens up soo much legalities (counter lawsuits, discovery, depositions, and the like) that will allow the Republicans and the Trump administration to focus on the Clinton Foundation, the Steele Dossier, and all the other avenues that Democrats used to try and stop Trump from being nominated (and their attempts to impeach him) — even Bernie Sanders.

Because the Democrats are soo reactionary and trying to please their base…. this action was not thought through well. Which is a political plus for our side.

The Donna Brazile Bombshell!

Watch Hillary Lie! You can tell from her body language she is in deep shit:

For months prior she said she had no idea or connection to the dossier. No wshe admits she is connected and paid for it…. straight faced:

  • “I mean, he has to know. We’ll find out what he knew and how involved he was, but he had to know that people were making outreach to Russians to the highest levels of the Kremlin, in order to help him, to hurt me, but more importantly to sow this divisiveness,” Hillary said.
  • (Side Note) Interestingly Hillary says Russia is a huge threat, yet her State Department signed off on handing over 20% of America’s Uranium reserves to a Russian nuclear firm (as $145 million flowed to the Clinton Foundation).

What the Hell!! She admitted two seconds earlier that SHE paid for the dossier! So let me rewrite her statement:

  • “I mean, Trump had to know that I was reaching out to the Russians, to the highest levels of the Kremlin, in order to hurt him, to help me, but more importantly to sow this divisiveness,” Hillary should have said.

According to a BOMBSHELL book (see POLITICO MAG) by interim DNC Chair, Donna Brazile, she says that the Hillary Campaign took over completely the finances of the DNC.

So when you hear that both the Hillary Campaign AND the DNC paid for the dossier… it really means Hillary paid for the dossier. Here is the part via the “Other Republican Client

Former acting head of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile alleges in an upcoming book that the DNC conspired with Hillary Clinton to effectively hand her control of the national party during the 2016 primaries.

Politico Magazine published an excerpt of Brazile’s book on Thursday with the headline, “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC.”

Brazile writes that when she took over the DNC following the Democratic National Convention last year, she promised Clinton’s primary challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), that she would “get to the bottom of whether Hillary Clinton’s team had rigged the nomination process.”

“By September 7, the day I called Bernie, I had found my proof and it broke my heart,” she writes.

Brazile claims that when she took over, she discovered that the DNC was badly in debt. As a result, her predecessor, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), had struck a deal with the Clinton campaign allowing them to oversee DNC spending in return for Clinton fundraising for the DNC.

“The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearing house,” Brazile says.


Brazile writes that she finally discovered a copy of the agreement between the DNC and Clinton’s team, which specified:

In exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.

The agreement was signed by Amy Dacey, former CEO of the DNC, and Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, in August 2015, a full six months before the first primary and a year before Clinton was formally the party’s nominee….

Here is the complete first hour (30-minutes without ads) of Rush Limbaugh’s show from November 2nd — must listen!

Don’t believe Rush! How bout the opposite on the political spectrum?

The Young Turks: “Donna Brazile is airing out some dirty DNC laundry. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, discuss.” (I can’t believe I am posting TYTs on my site. But truth is truth.)