FAQs

photo: askaleftist

A's TO YOUR BURNING Q's

How do Leftists plan to pay for [anything]?

First, how dare you?

Second, how dare you?

Let’s talk about something completely different and totally related. Let’s talk Masters of the Universe and speculative trading.

Every year, trillions of dollars worth of humans descend on Davos, Switzerland to, as Noam Chomsky puts it, swim and tell each other how wonderful they are. Note: this doesn’t mean there are billions of people herded into Davos, it means that a couple thousand people whose net worth is more than the rest of human civilization fly in on private jets and watch power point presentations. Don’t take my word for it.

And don’t just think that Masters of the Universe is a snarky nickname. That’s what they call themselves.

They are the very tip of the iceberg of capitalism. It is an iceberg that, judging by the initiatives posted on their sleek website, they are finally acknowledging is melting and threatening their ability to stay afloat. Those who descend on Davos are the ones ultimately hoarding the monetary resources that make this very question poison. How do we plan to pay for [anything]? We already have, and receive less return on our investment than we deserve.

Arguably, the accumulated wealth that meets in Davos year after year is the result of you and I getting up in the mornings, commuting to work, and (over the last two decades) hoping we don’t lose our jobs, our houses, our health insurance, and our dignity. For many of us, the shifting of labor from developed countries to developing countries, where costs are lower and human rights abuses are ignored, has left us struggling to even find work. Factories close and jobs disappear, cities see their middle class residents flee for the suburbs, leaving tax revenue anemic and infrastructure aging and failing in place. For the undereducated, labor has become a perilous endeavor - safety regulations rolled back, unionization demonized, social safety nets pilfered. This reads like a dystopian landscape, but this is the reality of cities like Detroit and Baltimore, where in the wake of shifting markets residents attempt to govern and are blamed for trying. We addressed this in the John Relic series of questions. What responsibility do residents of these cities and those they elect to run them hold for the economic ruin left behind when markets shift? We argue none.

This is not solely a city problem. Rural areas have seen agriculture decimated - the consolidation of farms into thousand-acre industrial plantations run by a relative few and relying on migrant labor. For farmers, the numbers don’t add up. Beef sells at the grocery for $5/pound while farmers sell cattle at $1/pound. Many work round the clock: agribusiness in the morning, commuting to and from day jobs, and agribusiness in the evenings, Sunday through Saturday. Land, equipment, feed, and fertilizer are expensive and eat into profit. Farmers leverage their debt on speculation of a net return. They lease land and equipment because they don’t have outright buying power. When tariffs are raised, we subsidize their losses.

We are led to believe there is a rift between the city existence and rural existence when they could not be more similar. Both lives are subject to global markets. Factories move, farms consolidate. Jobs and livelihoods dwindle. Neighborhoods gentrify and farms are foreclosed on. People who want to work increasingly face resistance from the other side. Higher taxes, we are told, hurt workers to help non-workers. Farmers and small business owners should not be paying for the unemployed to stay unemployed. Life is hard enough, so why raise taxes? Taxing the rich won’t pay for everything, and taxing corporations will cost us jobs.

We know these arguments by heart. They take up so much real estate in political rhetoric they must be written in stone. But they divert our attention from those who control all that wealth we generate.

The 2008 housing market crash and ensuing recession was a speculative disaster: speculation on derivatives backed by cheap mortgages. If we were explaining this to a class of 10 year-olds, we’d say:


You want to buy a pencil for $5.

Give me $1 and I’ll let you borrow $4.

In a year you’ll pay back the $4 plus extra

How much extra? It depends. Right now it’s just $1 extra, but it could change.

You sign a piece of paper agreeing to pay.

We’ll call that the pencil promise.

I sell 100 pencils but I want money now.

So I sell all those pencil promises to Mac and now you owe Mac $4 plus extra.

Now you have to pay $2 extra. It changed.

Now pencils are only worth $2 but you’re still paying back the $4 you borrowed, plus extra.

Now you’re paying $3 extra. It changed again.

Mac wants his money or he’s going to take your pencil.

Now pencils are only worth $1.

You owe $7 on a pencil that’s only worth $1.

You can’t afford that. The extra keeps changing. Crazytown.

Mac takes back your pencil.

Mac takes back 100 pencils.

Mac should have $700 in pencils.

Mac only has $100 in pencils.

But Mac has lost $400 and he won’t be getting an extra $300.

Mac whines to his mom about losing $700.

Mac sits down with his mom and explains that he and his friends have been doing this for a while and have taken a lot of money from a lot of people who are going to want that money back when they realize those pencil promises have been broken.

Mac and his friends borrow $200,000 from Mac’s mom. Why Mac’s mom and why $200,000? Because they secretly mortgaged her house to pay for a bunch of pencil promises and Mac’s mom is rich. Like, the richest.

Mac’s mom is embarrassed because Mac and his friends have done this before. She makes up some new rules about buying promises and Mac and his friends agree. Hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson.


It’s not perfect, but replace pencils with houses and pencil promises with mortgage backed securities and you’ve basically got the 2008 financial crash. The Masters of the Universe wound up with the hot-potato of worthless mortgages when the music stopped. And the US government bailed them out.

Two things happened here that are pretty important. One: the US government is funded by our taxes. Mine and yours. So, tax money was used to bail out banks for their failure. Two: the money that you and I earn and spend and put in the bank is all gross revenue for someone else in the grand scheme of things. We willingly pay for goods and services, sometimes at a premium and sometimes at a discount, with the understanding that someone somewhere is making a profit. That’s capitalism. Neither taxes nor profits are news to us. I didn’t need to explain that.

But we also invest our money in retirement accounts, pension funds (what’s left of them), stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit and other financial instruments that are routed through or handled by those banking institutions that we bailed out. We also, as I mentioned before, get up each day and go to work for someone else. Or maybe we get up and look for a job. Maybe we get up before the sun and open our small businesses or let out the cattle. I’m focused on the cattle because I’m friends with a cattle farmer. Not a rancher. It’s a small farm. But he also has a day job.

Anyway.

We’re drawn to promises of a strong economy because that means we see interest rates rise and our investments go up. We need a strong economy to plan for the future and get through today. We cannot remove ourselves from the persistence of capitalism, but it can’t function without us. It needs our revenue. That’s why we’re surrounded by advertisements, why we have favorite brands, why there’s always something we want to buy. It’s how we justify the daily grind: a new car to make the commute more comfortable, clothes to look professional, hobbies to break up the dullness, outings to see friends, vacations to reset. Whatever you want, capitalism is there to provide it. Capitalism also provides what you need, but you have to pay for it. A safe place to sleep out of the elements? Humans need it but it isn’t free, no matter your situation. Food. Healthcare. Education. Reliable information about the world. Jobs. They all require some level of investment.

We admit there is a sense of justness in this process. Productive members of society should be rewarded. They should be guaranteed things like the ability to accumulate wealth and property. If you earn it, you should be able to benefit from it. These are all, in our view, positives. And we’re not playing Devil’s Advocate here. Capitalism is fun when you’re in the middle of it, making it work, and carving out a place for yourself. It's hard to carve out your own place when wages stagnate (they have since 1979) and when the average American carries $90,000 in debt.

But capitalism is very much not fun if you’re denied the opportunity to be productive. Capitalism has equal and opposing forces. The opportunity for reward has a foil in the opportunity for deprivation. When wealth is concentrated among the most successful, we are told it will magically flow back down to all of us. It’s Reaganomics, or, Trickle Down economic theory. We should want the people at the top to make lots of money, because that means the rest of us are going to make lots of money, too.

Go ahead and think about that for a minute. First, it places the responsibility for wealth distribution in the hands of people or corporations who have managed to concentrate wealth (the opposite of distribution). We know from basic business courses that a corporation’s goal is to maximize shareholder value. You don’t maximize value by giving up what’s valuable. And we know from the Panama Papers and in-depth reporting on how the wealthy save their money through tax schemes that the individuals making lots of money treat themselves as sole shareholders and, therefore, attempt to maximize their personal value (net wealth). Second, it establishes a passive role for the government - a hallmark of conservatism. Let the free-market run its course and all will work out. The poor will benefit naturally from the rich. That’s what we’re sold.

But we do not see free healthcare handed out to those who can’t afford it. We don’t see free places to live, free food, or free education handed out by corporations. We have philanthropy, sure. We have nonprofits and charities working to buffer the effects of wealth inequality (a byproduct of ineffective Trickle Down theory). The pervasive story is that the State, which sets tax rates and allocates tax spending, does not have any responsibility for the negative effects of the free-market despite regulating in its favor, and shouldn’t offset those negative effects with tax spending.

Unless, of course, a corporation needs a bailout.

We’re not supposed to see what happened in 2008. We aren’t supposed to see CEOs of banks disappear into closed session meetings with Congress and emerge with bailout packages. Because that’s what they’re doing with our money - both the money that we hand over as consumer revenue (that they use to speculate and drive up market prices and interest rates) and the money that we pay in taxes (bailing out billion-dollar miscalculations). The Masters of the Universe simply like playing with money, and that’s fine. Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually horrible, but whatever. You do you.

But when we talk about raising taxes, whose taxes do you think we mean?

Taxes for social programs should come from those at the very top, whose wealth is built by us, the people who provide the labor and demographic information they need to sell us things. It comes from establishing taxes on things like stock and derivatives trading - hardly a radical idea considering the inherent instability of such trading, as well as increasing capital gains taxes on those earnings. It comes from tax revenue on the ultra-wealthy - those holding the top 1% of wealth in the nation (and, in turn, the world), whose wealth keeps growing thanks to the labor of the working class. Who is the working class? We are. Blue collar, white collar, pink collar. Most people working in industrialized society are the working class. You don’t have to swing a hammer to be working class.

Income and payroll tax premiums when compared to out of pocket insurance premiums would be lower than what employees and employers already pay. But don’t take my word for it - Bernie Sanders’ campaign has already done all the math.

The Masters of the Universe still get to play with money while the rest of us get to go on about our daily lives while building our own wealth for our families. And even then, most of us will never get to the levels of wealth seen by the top 1%, let alone the top 0.01%. We’re not shooting ourselves in the foot by proposing comprehensive tax plans to cover debt cancellation, Medicare For All, public education, and renewable energy. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy would create millions of domestic jobs - jobs that can’t be outsourced. Nurses, doctors, teachers, construction workers all have roles that can’t be sent overseas.

We used to have a corporate tax structure that safeguarded against domestic companies setting up shop outside the country. Corporations used to pay 14% more in taxes. That wasn’t very long ago. Trump’s 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act reduced corporate taxes and eliminated taxes on certain forms of foreign-sourced domestic income. But the TCJA did not create jobs as promised. What we saw instead was a trend of corporate stock buybacks, which raised shareholder values. An increase in wealth for shareholders and nothing for the rest of us. While most of us saw our paychecks increase with the tax reduction, keep this in mind: Trump’s tax cuts for the working class expire in 2025. The corporate tax cuts are permanent.

That’s important. The tax rate for workers was never meant to build wealth. It was meant to stimulate the economy and for us to spend more. Again, the biggest beneficiaries are the Masters of the Universe. It is the nature of capitalism to conquer the weaker force. It’s written into business language. Hostile takeovers. Amortization (killing a debt). People poison pills.


The strongest force available to the Masters of the Universe is the language of selling, both in product marketing and subtler influences. The 5-4 Supreme Court decision of McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has written the language of selling into political stone. Businesses can speak their interests through financial contributions to politicians. In the words of Chief Justice Stephen Breyer in his dissenting opinion:

“The result, as I said at the outset, is a decision that substitutes judges’ understandings of how the political process works for the understanding of Congress; that fails to recognize the difference between influence resting upon public opinion and influence bought by money alone; that overturns key precedent; that creates huge loopholes in the law; and that undermines, perhaps devastates, what remains of campaign finance reform.”

You and I cannot write large checks to gain access to politicians. In theory, sure we can. But you and I don’t have that amount of wealth. The freedom of speech granted corporations, by the metric of wealth alone, will always speak over the voice of the people.

Where do your opinions on taxes come from? Do they come from politicians, or from textbooks printed by large corporations to explain how large corporations should be run? Do you consider the sum total of labor you have converted to profits for the Masters of the Universe who threaten, with economic matter-of-factness, that jobs will disappear if you raise taxes?

So this question, how will socialists pay for [anything]? You have already paid for it. I have already paid for it. We pay for it every day we wake up and go to work, look for work, or buy toothpaste (our favorite brand, in our favorite flavor, always right there on the shelf). You have already agreed to work in exchange for little return on investment. We are saying that exploitation is the same brand that encourages human rights abuses of laborers, that encourages global conflict for market control. We agree to fund the billionaires at Davos because we have been sold the idea that what will make us truly happy as individuals is the daily effort we put in for little reward. Open-enrollment periods make us weigh the possibility of a future health event with what we think we can pay. Retirement accounts lose value when the Masters of the Universe make expensive mistakes with our money. We have paid them twice, once at the gentle suggestion of their advertising, and again at the posturing of politicians who listen to money. The radicals will raise your taxes and you’ll lose your job, even though it’s most definitely the super-wealthy who would be taxed the most, and their decision to leave us behind for cheaper markets is only evidence of their allegiance to money alone, not to the people. They regularly sell their own customers, and we buy into it. We are persuaded against our self-interests at the behest of the selfish. And then, when you propose otherwise, they call you selfish. Entitled.

For fans of conspiracy theories, a deep-dive into the corporate control of economics provides more than enough fodder (abundant evidence) to satisfy the feeling that things are, indeed, stacked against us. But the crazy part is, it isn't some secret cabal of politicians. It's all out in the open, written into law and sold back to us using the same language they use to sell us everything else. It might sound paranoid, but it's an historic, observable tactic.

Who pays for [anything]? We do. And we have enormous purchasing power. Enough to send billionaires to Davos for ski-trips and power points while we are denied disability buy-up coverage for pre-existing conditions. There is no bootstrap to pull when you’ve handed over your boots.

Why does the left lie?

This National Review article is something else. We encourage you to read the whole thing. We’ll wait.

We're just going to address all the issues in this article.

Ahem.

So, on the wage gap - first, it’s a real thing. There’s a whole field of study on it. Adjusted, non-adjusted, industry, motherhood - it’s a whole thing. It’s not our fault you hear and think whatever it is you think about it. Is the adjusted wage gap anywhere near 70%? No. It’s more like 95%. But. The fact that women have come in relatively late to the modern working class has put them at a disadvantage. They have ground to make up. Pointing that out isn’t a lie. Denying it - well, I guess you do you.


On Leftism being rooted in feelings, not reason or truth:

Okay? But that’s just, like, your opinion, man. We think we do a pretty good job of balancing the human experience with data. I guess if you want to take the human element out of policy, then what's the point of policy?


Do those on the Left believe their lies?

Sure.


Do leftists believe global warming will destroy the world as we know it in twelve years, as recently suggested by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? And this question is followed up by a very solid question on nuclear power.

You know you love AOC.

And yes, we’re at a crucial point environmentally. The truth is, we’re pretty okay with modern nuclear power - possibly more okay with using Thorium as a power source - to drastically reduce carbon dependence. But, Bill Gates is a big proponent of it so that might meet some resistance from the Right.


How many leftists with beachfront property anywhere in the world have sold it?

Who do you think we are?


If you were to believe any place has a culture of rape, where one in four or five women is raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, would you send your 18-year-old daughter there?

Oh, college. We’d probably advocate for their safety by holding rapists accountable and having frank, open discussions on rape and sexual assault to raise awareness. Probably.


The question is not whether truth is a left-wing value. The only question is whether leftists believe their lies. And, believe it or not, I still don’t know.

Uhh….we thought that was the whole question. You seem pretty certain that we tell ourselves lies and believe them.


It is possible to love truth and be liberal, conservative, libertarian, an atheist, a believer, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim, or a Hindu. But you cannot be a leftist.

Oh. Okay. What can I be?

Do you think doctors should provide their services for free?

It’s weird how pervasive this misconception is given that literally no one on the Left has ever suggested it.

Free healthcare is not free. It costs tax money. You cannot show up to the hospital, receive healthcare anonymously, then disappear. Like our private provider system, public healthcare requires identification and documentation to prevent fraud and to ensure that healthcare providers receive reimbursement for services. Doctors, nurses, administrative staff, facilities staff, pharmacists, physical therapists, and the thousands of ancillary roles associated with operating small hospitals and massive healthcare cities need to be paid.

The only reason healthcare workers would be paid less under a public healthcare system is if we vote for candidates who would allow that to happen. The fundamental misunderstanding about public health advocacy – or perhaps it is an intentionally misleading argument – is that the government will somehow screw it up, so why bother? Government fails because of poor leadership, not because government is inherently ineffective. When a candidate talks about the impossibility or impracticality of an American public healthcare system like Medicare for All, keep in mind that the candidate is telling you they can’t, or don’t want to, make it work. When they make an appeal to you, the voter, to support them, they are asking you to support a candidate who doesn’t want to work for you. That’s not leadership.

I intentionally don’t want to throw a bunch of numbers at you, but I will add this one: $34-trillion. That’s the estimated cost of Medicare for All over a decade. It’s a budget number that Democrats don’t refute, nor can we quite figure out how to fund, but it’s also a number that seems to cement the Republican argument that healthcare is not a right. A $34-trillion plan with no way to pay for it, so the argument is that healthcare is a luxury, or a privilege, instead of a right. This is unacceptable.

The Leftist argument is that healthcare is indeed a right, and the push to establish a robust public healthcare system is often misrepresented to seem naïve or half-baked. Unfortunately, neither side of the argument seems too well-versed in the practicality of such a system. UK’s National Health System (NHS) meets budgetary constraints by negotiating on price with suppliers and standardizing the cost of procedures. This includes prescription cost and doctors’ fees. The myth that doctors would be working without pay perhaps comes from the concept of standardized pricing. Standardized pricing is meant to equalize healthcare options for patients, not reduce or eliminate doctors’ pay. The implication is that doctors would be able to maintain a high standard of living while taking positions in lower income rural communities where salaries are typically lower.

Fortunately for us in the States, we have the opportunity to correct the public healthcare shortcomings witnessed in other countries. While the NHS negotiates pricing, it is also restricted in regard to what prescriptions and procedures will be covered by NHS funds and which are to be paid out of pocket. We can fix that, and we can create a new healthcare system that doesn't burden the sick and injured with mountainous debt. A public healthcare option is cheaper and it doesn't involve canceling the insurance you get through your employer. That's a distinct misconception all on its own.

#healthcare

With so many urban communities (Think places like Elijah Cummings’ Baltimore or Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago) in ruins due to DECADES of Democrat leadership (or lack thereof) – what responsibility do these Democrats have for the rampant corruption, incredibly high crime and poverty rates, as well as lack of initiative and progress? (Part of the John Relic Series)

The John Relic series is a response to Freedomwire’s “Asking Democrats the HARD Questions” published during the 2020 Primaries. Something about the questions appealed to us, so we decided to answer them one by one even though they're for Democrats and not specifically Leftists..John Relic, patriot of Cleveland, here are your answers.


Elijah Cummings' Baltimore.

Rahm Emanuel's Chicago.

Do we really want to begin a question about leadership with the concept of ownership?

Do we really want to bicker over whose leaders share their values?

With so many urban communities in ruins due to decades of democrat leadership-

Anyway. This equates cities in ruin with the Democrats elected to run them. Because they've been in charge for so long, they must be doing something wrong. It also assumes cities are in ruin.

Here's a sad bar graph that shows, yes, nearly all of the worst violent crime statistics are in cities with Democratic leadership.

But there's also a Republican city and independent cities on that graph. So, is the question: what responsibility do Democratic leaders have, or is the question what responsibility do all leaders have for the crime rates within their cities?

And as far as #1 on the list, New York City, we have a pretty good example of what a Republican mayor can accomplish while in office: corruption, high crime, and high poverty rates. In 1994, 27% of welfare applicants were rejected, by 1999 under Rudy Giuliani's reign that number had risen to 75% of work center applicants rejected and 52% of applicants overall rejected. Giuliani didn't really have any initiatives to replace the welfare program with, other than WEP jobs that displaced parks employees due to the incredibly low wages offered through the program. Crime went up. Poverty went up. Up, up, up.

Cities are huge. Hundreds of thousands or millions of humans living in condensed areas. That means more human stuff to go along with it: crime, poverty, homelessness, mental illness. It also means more exposure to more people - different people every day - it makes people more likely to see the needs of others as important. In other words, it makes them more likely to vote Democratic.

But if you're genuinely concerned about crime rates, just take a look at how crime in the USA has dropped over the past 30 years.

Or maybe we should be asking why, if conservative America is a safer America, are we literally doing a so-so job as a whole on crime-rate?

Maybe we could ask an equally post-hoc-y question about what responsibility Republicans should have over the high rates of mental illness in so many of their states? I ask because they seem to own a lot of guns, and they seem to have a lot of mass shootings. Not to change the subject.

This question assumes Democratic incompetence without citing any specific example of it. It's a broad generalization of a very complex, very involved subject. At the root of it, it implies that Republican led cities don't have crime, poverty, or corruption. Coming from a conservative southern town, the failings of elected officials are the same as in large cities, but on a smaller scale. This isn't failure of policy or ideas, it's failure of people.

If your entire argument is that the top 10 worst cities for crime are all Democrat-led, then based on the provided article and its graphics I can't stop you there. That's just a fact. So, take the win on that one, I guess, but don't wrap it up with "what responsibility do you take..."

But. If indeed this is a question that is asked with sincerity, then I encourage you to take my questions from above and use my own reasoning against them. I don't have any verified or scientific or polling data to show that there is a direct link between 1) Red States (Republican governed), 2) mental illness, and 3) mass shootings. Don't get me wrong, I Googled some stuff and came up with three maps and a Wikipedia article, but I haven't really made a solid argument, have I?

Besides, if you are a conservative and you read that I'm equating gun ownership, mental illness, and mass shootings, I'm sure you'd make a solid point: this is a mental health issue, not a gun issue - and certainly not a Republican issue. After all, it would not be logical to say that a governor's tax incentives to bring large corporations into their state has anything to do with someone writing a manifesto and engaging in mass violence.

And you know what? I agree.

And we may each come to the equal but opposite conclusions about the other:

I may ask you, If it is a mental health issue, then why doesn't your governor/mayor/political party in your state do something about it?

And you may ask me, If you know large cities are going to have more crime, why doesn't your governor/mayor/political party in your state do something about it?

It may seem like semantics, but these are more honest and relevant questions than we began with. It at least gets us to honest answers about responsibility.

What responsibility do you or I have when we say over and over that something is a mental health issue or a community outreach issue but don't back candidates who make those priorities? Neither of us comes away looking particularly effective at solving problems if we don't make solving those problems a priority when we vote.

And while I literally just picked the mental health issue at random, the common Republican refrain is a scam.

Meanwhile, progressive solutions to urban crime actually work. While that article is dated, it's worth noting that progressive movements act on real change rather than just talking about it.

What responsibility should Democrats take for their cities falling to ruin? If you want to get right down to it, none.

"Similarly, the decline suffered by cities like Hartford – victims of sectoral shifts and the slow but steady flight of the manufacturing industry from the US – also have interesting demographic implications. Many of such former industrial cities, particularly in the North – Gary, Indiana; Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport, Connecticut; Flint, Michigan, among others. The permanent departure of the heavy industry and auto manufacturing, respectively, in these cities has not lead to any discernible recovery. In the best case scenario, a handful of large employers stay behind (e.g. Yale University, in the case of New Haven), but these positions are not sufficient in number (too low) or skill level (too high) to absorb displaced manufacturing workers. In the worst case scenario, these cities are completely neglected to the point where even basic social services such as clean water and sewage treatment are ignored. None of these cities hosts a white majority population, and only New Haven holds a white plurality. White flight, in the case of post-industrial cities, is a stark reality."

-This is from Daniel Younessi's "One Nation, Divided: Race, Migration and Class in the United States"

I recommend reading the full essay to see how this question implying ownership and responsibility is a direct admission of guilt on the one asking it - those left in a post-industrial wake are asked incredulously: What responsibility do you take?

Whose support to [sic] you covet more in the grand scheme of things: illegal immigrants or your own American constituents? (Part of the John Relic series)

The John Relic series is a response to Freedomwire’s “Asking Democrats the HARD Questions” published during the 2020 Primaries. Something about the questions appealed to us, so we decided to answer them one by one even though they're for Democrats and not specifically Leftists. John Relic, patriot of Cleveland, here are your answers.


In terms of American constituents, the majority of Americans think immigration is a good thing. They think immigration has positive outcomes for America as a whole.They also consider it one of the most important problems facing America.

It’s a huge issue.

We’re solidly on the side of humane treatment of immigrants, which obviously includes child separation policies, conditions of detainee camps (and their existence in general), and a clearer path to citizenship. Declaring immigrants criminals once they cross our border literally means they are under US legal jurisdiction, which means they are allowed the same rights as US citizens - right to representation, due process, limitations on detainment, fair trial.

There are still people who declare that the US is not a nation of immigrants. As The American Conservative writes:

"Whatever may have been true about great-granddad is not true of you, which means that you and most everyone around you are not part of any 'nation of immigrants,' but of an American nation."

That’s incomprehensible. It's also a demeaning appeal to assimilation.

At risk of sounding too personal, please, allow me to explain my family's immigrant history.

In 1895, successful immigration required a physical examination, vaccinations, disinfection, and a series of questions formulated to weed out polygamists, anarchists, and those in possession of less than $25. This is not to say that America was an arms-wide-open kind of place for immigrants. Americans had quite an unfavorable view of Italians when they were at peak immigration: 1880-1914. In New Orleans specifically, where Sicilians could work in the heat and humidity due to Sicily being comparatively hot and humid (and the fact that many immigrants listed gardener as their previous occupation, Salvatore included), there was downright hatred for the swarthy 'non-white' Europeans. Four years prior to Salvatore’s arrival, eleven Italian inmates held at the Orleans Parish prison were taken by a mob and lynched for the killing of New Orleans police chief David Hennessy.

Perhaps biased by the murder of a colleague, Judge Robert Hardin Marr (Orleans Parish) came to write about Sicilians in American Law Review 414 (1891):

“For a number of years a large and steady stream of Sicilian immigration has been flowing in upon New Orleans; and while among the new-comers there have certainly been some who have become excellent and substantial citizens, yet it must be owned that this immigration has been, in the main, of a thoroughly undesirable character, being largely composed of the most vicious, ignorant, degraded and filthy paupers, with something more of an admixture of the original element...These people are among us, but not of us; they in truth constitute an imperium in imperio; the localities in New Orleans infested by “Dagos” are faithful reproductions, in inhabitants and in surroundings, of the most squalid quarters of Naples, having the same dingy buildings, the same intolerable stench, and all-pervading filth, the same universal unkemptness of person, and the same deafening clatter and chatter. So far the only Americans with whom they have manifested any inclination to assimilate are the mulattos and quadroons…”

We don’t pander to immigrants, we defend them because without them we wouldn’t be here. Defending immigrants and demanding immigration reform doesn’t mean we demand loyalty or votes, or even expect it. That would be demeaning.

What was the question? Oh, whose support do we covet? We don’t covet. We expect people to consider how immigration policy affects human beings, and to exercise empathy for and to respect the humanity of people who, for whatever reason, come to this country in spite of the obstacles we’ve put in place (including apparent human rights abuses).

What was the question? Support? Got it. Yes, we support immigrants and clear paths to citizenship over deportation. Before you jump on the Obama-was-worse bandwagon, please note that in our lifetimes immigration policy has never been good.

This question is based on choosing Americans over arbitrarily categorized ‘criminal’ non-Americans. We don’t agree that they’re criminals. And we don’t think Americans are inherently more valuable than non-Americans. And we certainly don’t hold positions based on transactional value. Like other questions in the John Relic series, the question reveals more about the person asking than perhaps they intended to share.

Will you go against what the majority of America wants and continue pushing RADICAL polices [sic] like socialism and open borders, as well as FALSE narratives like Trump’s racism and the Russia collusion hoax? (Part of the John Relic series)

The John Relic series is a response to Freedomwire’s “Asking Democrats the HARD Questions” published during the 2020 Primaries. Something about the questions appealed to us, so we decided to answer them one by one even though they're for Democrats and not specifically Leftists. John Relic, patriot of Cleveland, here are your answers.


  1. No. We’re kind of all-in on progressive policies. They're good for everyone, including- get this - you.

  2. No. Trump’s an adult, he can deal with the consequences of his words and actions.

Do you see Communist nations and leaders as 'brothers in arms' in the struggle against Capitalism?

That’s a qualified yes/no. Brothers in arms is ‘quotationalized’ so we assume this could have a hidden meaning. If you’re talking about armed rebellion, we’d say not really (though some on the Far Left would be totally willing to say yes), but if you’re talking about a figurative picket line where our arms are interlocked, forming a human barricade, then yes - maybe. We’ll speak specifically to Cuba. And Greece. And Brazil. And Venezuela. And we could make this list quite long but really just assume that all foreign intervention by the US military since 1945 has been to make communism the enemy, and to make it impossible for those countries to succeed. Now, communism has always been the "threat", most of these interventions were over the results of democratic elections - the people chose their leader, maybe socialist, maybe communist, maybe less receptive to US trade.


In every post-WWII military conflict the US has been involved in, we have fought insurrectionists, rebels, regimes, dictators, fascists, and perhaps most aggressively: communists. Not only have we bombed them - killing civilian men, women, and children in the process, we have also installed heads of state that were willing to do the work of murdering civilians themselves. We have also imposed international sanctions and trade bans to stifle their economies.


We did this in the name of freedom, democracy, liberation, and most importantly, in the interest of resource allocation - labor or goods. We have mentioned it before, but this is the language of liberty we have warned about. It is quite the clear black/white divide, the good/bad dichotomy that was so powerful in WWII. It was easy to distinguish the good fight vs. the bad fight. Allies vs. Axis, Friends vs. Enemies. We’ve successfully co-opted this dichotomy into every intervention since then. The US is always the liberator, the good guy, while seemingly the rest of the world is subject to the spectre of communism, brutality, and fascism.


It’s easy to say other governments don’t work when you cripple an emerging economy through bombing and sanctions and restrict travel to those nations. When defectors emerge in the US, their stories of oppressive living conditions and lack of basic necessities satisfies our collective opinion that communism is bad. US foreign policy is rarely subject to scrutiny, we can seemingly convince ourselves that the deployment of troops and weaponry must be in equal response to an outside threat . However, the effects of US foreign policy - the restriction of resources - are seen as evidence of the failings of domestic policy elsewhere.


That’s not to say communist countries don’t have serious deficits - Cambodia and China are notorious examples - public executions, torture, suppression of dissent, all around human rights abuses in the form labor camps and exploitation. You can’t make the argument that these places are objectively free and happy. But as we’ve emphasized before, oppression is not the core objective of socialism or communism, though it is the byproduct of military coups and the lack of public control. In the case of North Korea, all bets are off - that’s not even communism, that’s the delusional fantasy of a would-be deity dictator. So, I mean, that’s not a good example.


The emphasis on state control - whether in owning the means of production or disseminating information - is often the most skewed interpretation of socialist and communist ideals. Power is meant to be held by the people, not by dictators. So why do we wind up with so many dictators? The Revolutionary Vanguard theory is the likely culprit.


And this is where we break with the philosophies of Marxism, Maoism, and all the other -isms. We have a unique opportunity in America, with its quasi-efficient and typically routine political processes, established courts, and robust economy, to promote an economic system that works for the working class, rather than for those who oversee the working class. We don’t need revolution - we have already had one (independence from Great Britain) - and we have already had a civil war that fundamentally altered our economic system. We have been through two world wars that expanded our production capacity and saw, but briefly, a successful middle-class gaining ground and wealth. But through wealth redistribution (subsidizing tax breaks for corporations and the ultra-wealthy with tax increases and a slow shift towards privatization of everything) we have seen net worth and earnings drop or stagnate among the working class. Not only that, Americans most affected by these changes are the ones who support the constant assault on their own earning capacity and social programs meant to bolster them in times of inevitable economic downturn - not to mention providing economic security when they become too old to work.


So, ‘brothers in arms’ is a loose phrase. We don’t think it has any real meaning except to imply that Leftists condone the wreckage of the Revolutionary Vanguard in its fight against capital-imperialism. We don’t.


If you believe we have a “right” to things like health care, food, shelter and a good education, then doesn’t that also mean you believe we also have a right to force other people to unwillingly provide those things at gunpoint?

This is always an interesting question, because it sounds like 1) you assume people will demand these things of you, 2) you think asserting your human rights is an exercise in force, and 3) we don’t currently have any rights because, if we did, then we would be demanding them at gunpoint every day. Those are just logical complaints with this type of question.

You have the freedom of speech, Number 1 on the list. No one, and I mean no one, is putting a gun in anyone’s face demanding to be heard - it’s not like someone has a monopoly on that right, that would be absurd. You also have the right to due process - something better demanded through litigation than by holding a gun to a judge’s head. I mean, we get that health care, food, shelter, and education are relatively concrete things - goods and services rather than ideas and freedoms - but we don’t enjoy those rights by force. We exercise those rights within the realm and under the protection of law. If you want to go out and stick a gun in people’s faces demanding a colonoscopy, we’ll just refer you to the question about the Right being evil. Where do you come up with these scenarios where guns are involved?

A minimum wage raises salaries for some workers at the cost of putting other workers out of jobs entirely. What’s the acceptable ratio for that? For every 10 people who get a higher salary, how many are you willing to see lose their jobs?

Just take the broad macro perspective here - you’re suggesting that - for the good of everyone (but especially corporations) we should all be willing to make less so that others can stay employed. Or, sacrificing individual wellbeing for the better social good. Do you realize how much you sound like a communist?

If they want an equal life for every one on the planet? How do you do that?

Probably stop bombing developing countries, eliminate corporate control over politics and media, foster local economies, and protect and ensure human rights. Probably

Do the population that has more just give it to those who have less?

No. But right now, the population that has less gives to those who have more. Stagnant wages, tax breaks, and the constant shrinking of social programs.

Do rich Countries give "money" to poor countries?

What. Countries produce goods and services and engage in trade of those goods and services. The labor that produces those goods and provides those services doesn't receive their fair share of the wealth.

What defines a poor country?

Probably lack of infrastructure, lack of socio-political organization, stark wealth inequality, dysfunctional social programs. Probably.

What if the so called poor country does not give equal rites [sic] to women?(from their tradition off-course [sic])?

What? Women are humans - you can only oppress a population so long before they’re like “hey, we’re humans.”

Is the goal just simply to bring down the rich countries? So then all will be equal?

^This is the big question.

No? The goal is to have democratic elections - by the people for the people. That means corporate interests take a backseat to the interests of the people.

Ask anyone who has lived under a socialist government, that is not in the aforesaid government?

Um.

Lets say next year as of 1/1/21 the whole planet will share the riches, so now we all live under what rules? me being a male is fine. I will just go to a place where i am worth 2 females just by changing my religion. I don't even need any money because the whole world is the same right?

I am so confused by this train of thought.

Who pays the doctors,police,train drivers,road repair crues, nurses, teachers,power technicians, water suppliers, gas technicians, who builds the hospitals,shcools,police stations, roads,railways,footpaths,etc?

The incredible thing is that people already do all these jobs - for money - for however much or how little money they pay. No one is getting rid of jobs.

Do we all get a Telsla?

We're not Oprah.

Do we all get solar panels?

Actually, yeah, that should be part of our power grid. And it’s a job builder.

Do we all get a house?

No one should be homeless.

Do we have to work?

I mean, no one has to do anything. But as it is people don’t like surviving on the bare minimum.

Do we have to take care of our elders?

What? Yes.

Do we have to stop having babies?

Oh, Christ.

Do we all get a diploma from UNI?

^ if we dont, who decides? You? the lefty.(I WILL JUST SAY IM A LEFTY TOO)

I mean, if you put in the work and pass your classes, then yes. Or go to trade school. Or live the life of a transient non-worker. Or start a business. I mean, what part of equal access to education suggests that education would be restricted to one political ideology?

Can you lefty socialists see how off the planet the ideas are?

Your interpretation of equal rights is horrifying.

Yes we all would like to help underprivileged countries, but they have to treat the population humanly first, right?

Wait. I’m sorry? Withhold assistance to underprivileged people as a consequence for inhumane treatment by their government? What kind of regime are you running here?

What exactly is the “fair share” of someone’s income that he’s earned that he should be able to keep?

Like, 100%? If you really want to get down to it, those who require the labor should be responsible for paying for it - all of it - from payroll taxes to social security to gross revenue and profits. If you say we have to be taxed on our labor, then we’re negotiating. So what do you think a fair share is? And how should we use it? What if we can’t do all the things you want? Should we cut spending or increase production?

Why is it that time and time again, revenue paid to the treasury has GONE UP after we’ve cut taxes?

Capitalism - capital investments swapped to untaxed municipal bonds, 401k and IRA investments go up when taxes are higher.

You’ll like this article - it even mentions how inefficient the government is!

If corporations are so awful, greedy and bad for the country, then shouldn’t we be celebrating when they decide to close their plants here and move overseas?

No, because that’s exactly why they leave. When a corporation, or an entire industry, can use its economic leverage to persuade the government to lower taxes in the interest of keeping people employed, that corporation or industry has too much power and uses peoples’ livelihoods as bargaining chips. Just saying.

How can you simultaneously want a big government that will make decisions that have an enormous impact on the lives of every American while also saying that the character and morals of our politicians don’t matter?

I don’t know who said that or what this is in reference to.