Thursday, May 7, 2009

At last, a topic worthy of the name, "Meander"!

I've been trying to work this out in my head for some time now, and there's no way to "work it out". Therefore, this will be an exercise in stream of consciousness diatribe.

Once upon a time, for a brief period, a prominent Austin radio station had Rollye James, a talk show host with whom I very rarely (Actually, virtually NEVER) agreed, but she had a good show, and I listened to her regularly.

On a fine day in 1996, one of her callers said something like (even to a 73 year-old, 13 years is a long time to remember an exact quote) "what this country needs is a good assassination", and Rollye responded with, "YEAH!, but wait!.......... You'd have to shoot Gore, then maybe Hillary........". (She DID use the word "shoot", which might have given the Feds even more ammunition against her).

DAMN! There were laws on the books which were enhanced in LBJ's time, but had been around even longer, about "threatening The President". The next day, Rollye disappeared from the air for several days, and was eventually fired from the station. It was determined by the station and also by the FBI, that Rollye had threatened the president with her comments, said in jest. Googling Rollye will eventually lead you to know that Rollye later sued Lady Bird's radio station for breaking her contract, and won, but she was no longer in Austin, and I consider that a great loss.

Her eventual replacement was the only person I've ever written a radio station about, saying, "please don't hire this person". Apparently, they didn't listen to me, and hired him anyway. We've been stuck with him ever since.

A couple of weeks ago (or maybe a little longer), he responded to a caller's comment that, "the distinction between capitalism and socialism is not 'black and white' (or words to that effect, remember, that even to a 73 year-old, two or three weeks is a long time to remember an exact quote).

The talk show host seemed to go ballistic! "Yes it is!".....then he started comparing the prosperity in this country to that in Cuba.

I can remember my mother once saying, "Capitalism is the kind of government I grew up with, and it's the one I think is best!" (again, 'or words to that effect')

I'm not a socialist, and, I'm not a capitalist, either. I always wanted to be (a capitalist), but, unfortunately it takes money. I'm a citizen of the United States of America!

But how has capitalism become a symbol of our form of government. Did the founders write it into The Constitution (as some would imply?) Is not capitalism an economic issue, and not a Constitutional issue?

From all I've been able to gather from my long years of being alive, "civilization" had its beginnings when it was discovered that a man, even with the help of his wife and kids, could not easily kill a mammoth or a bison for dinner. It was much better when a group of strong men could get together and plot a strategy.

Civilization is cooperation, extended to whatever level it may reach. Simply sharing the prosperity can easily be called socialism, or it can be called civilization, your choice.

Capitalism is, (in the system of currency which has risen from a need to make the prosperity portable), a means to grow the prosperity, but it IS NOT the prosperity itself, nor is it the CAUSE of the prosperity. Prosperity must always depend on goods, services, and PEOPLE, not simple profit, shouldn't it?

For some years, now, one of our political parties has promoted the concept that lower taxes will free more money for investment, which will increase our prosperity. Oliver Wendall Holmes said that "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization", and I believe he was right. There must be a balance. A government must be able to hold the civilization together, not simply to "attract capital", as our former president believed.

I was surprised to read a couple of weeks ago on Facebook that Julie (MY JULIE!) had something to say about the Runaway Wall Street that led to our current recessed situation. I think she hit the nail on the head!

Is the difference between capitalism and socialism cut and dried? I don't have the answer, but I'm going to think about it. Maybe it's simply semantics, and our different interpretations of it. I guess it's just more "human nature".


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