Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Socialism, Europe's religion of 'Cargo'

During the Second World War, the advancing Allies needed bases closer to the Japanese front and they carved them into the wilds of New Guinea. They stumbled across a primitive tribe. Those primitive people were amazed at the wonders of these strange new people, perhaps gods, with strange craft that flew, with new foods in astonishing amounts, blades of metal, and other wonders. Just imagine flying a B-17 into Pharoah's Egypt. That scale of shock and wonder.

Eventually, the war moved on and the Allies moved on, abandoning the new bases and leaving the primitive tribe behind to ponder that brief visit from the gods. The primitives wanted them back! So, they did what the limitations of their experience allowed, they emulated what they'd seen in order to induce the return of the gods. With mocked-up airplanes, built of wood and grasses, with praises and prayers, they tried to induce the occasional overflight to, again, return with its mana, the 'cargo'. The 'Cargo Cult' was born.

To quote Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". The people of the 'cargo cult' had no comprehension of how the wonders came to be, but, they knew they wanted them. With no understanding of technology, they called upon the magics of prayer to deliver.

Now we segue to Europe where, through a retrograding of education via the discipline/religion of socialism, they are devolving into a new cargo cult. The birthplace of the industrial revolution is in the process of forgetting the lessons they once taught the world, how to create wealth and wonders. As a people, Europeans are greatly interested in receiving the 'cargo' but much less interested in its creation. Socialism is the religion of 'cargo', mana received by those who cannot create their own. The creaking governments of Europe are destroying the sources of their wealth/cargo, through burgeoning taxation and stultifying regulations, even as they promise their dwindling populations ever greater portions of the cargo.

I read of an American entrepreneur who'd bought a part interest in a factory in a former Warsaw Pact country. In discussions with the workers he'd be employing he was asked why the company had to make a profit. He was stunned, of course. Here was a people who wanted the wealth capitalism could produce but had not a clue as to how that wealth might be achieved. At least two generations under communist regimes had been reduced, unknowingly, to cargo cultists. They looked forward to receiving the same wealth that Westerners could display and fully expected that their governments would provide it. That, in essence, is the cargo cult. Substitute Gods for governments and the beliefs are similar.

Meanwhile, in Western Europe, vast numbers in their populations had, likewise, been schooled to disdain capitalism's flaws while learning nothing of its benefits. Simultaneously, the demands for the wealth created by capitalism grew while the promises of 'free' cargo, through the beneficence of government, were continually expanded. Homes, jobs, health, and wealth were all to be had, so long as the peoples continued their praise and prayers. When, as is happening, limits are reached and the wealth dwindles, the peoples are exhorted, not to produce, but, to believe. The peoples are urged to shun 'Anglo-Saxon Capitalism' lest they lose they lose their kinship with the cargo gods of Socialism.

Predictably, Europe is being surpassed by nations that converge on capitalism and reduce their enthrallment to socialism. Asia, as a whole, is advancing upon Europe, while individual nations make astonishing leaps forward, India and China, notably. Having cast down their false priests they've emboldened their people and opened up to greater possibilities. The difference is that one must pray to the Socialist shrine that will be built. Under capitalism, people understand that one needs to make bricks in order to build.


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