Letters to the Editor


February 13, 2012


To the editor:

The concept of capitalism seems to be taking an unfair hit lately. Many years ago, I came across an interesting simple cartoon illustrating the difference between the various “isms” in the world.  

Let’s begin with a person who owns two cows as a result of his/her hard work. Socialism is when you have two cows and the government requires you to share your wealth and give one cow to your neighbor without payment. Communism is when you have two cows and the government takes both cows from you without payment and gives you the milk. Fascism is when you have two cows and the government takes both cows from you without payment and sells you the milk. Nazism is when you have two cows and the government takes both cows from you and shoots you dead. Stimulusism is when you have two cows and the government takes both cows from you as taxes, shoots one dead, milks the other and then throws the milk away.

Capitalism is when you have two cows and you sell one cow and buy a bull. This enables other folks to buy the offspring from you thus creating the self-sustainable process of buying, investing and selling to still more folks in a free market setting.  Jobs are created, and the economy grows. The important thing to understand is that capitalism and ownership of property are the practical expressions of liberty.


Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

“History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.” - Milton Friedman

“Contrary to the vulgar belief that men are motivated primarily by materialistic considerations, we now see the capitalist system being discredited and destroyed all over the world, even though this system has given men the greatest material comforts.” - Ayn Rand

“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on "income distribution," the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.” - Thomas Sowell

“Capitalism is what people do if you leave them alone.” - Kenneth Minogue

“The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” - John Maynard Keynes

“Doing well is the result of doing good. That's what capitalism is all about.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is a serious tendency toward capitalism among the well-to-do peasants.” - Mao Tse-Tung

gudpoynt 2 years, 10 months ago

once again, you hit the nail on the head O' Great False Hope!

For the last several years, roughly 1 in 10 Americans aren't any good at making money.

They should drop out of society because they can't make money.

Being profitable is a necessary condition to be a part of our society.

Because we worship money as the only measure of societal worth. If you can't make money, you are worthless.

Hooray for the clever cynicism of the Great False Hope for using satire to make things abundantly clear.

cato_the_elder 2 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Vaughan, you're right on the money. Your letter should be discussed in all government and economics classes in Lawrence, including those at our publicly-funded university, which exists as the result of the receipt of taxes generated by the capitalist system.

J-W editors, please check the sentence duplication in the first paragraph of this excellent letter.

wolfy 2 years, 10 months ago

Alas, that is how capitalism used to work. Today, capitalism so often means Goldman Sachs creating cow derivatives with a money blender, lobbying the SEC to let them drive up prices by selling billions worth of the junk to institutional investors, insuring themselves against loss when the cow bubble inevitably bursts, and then leaving it to taxpayers and pensioners to clean up their mess.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

Get away from your TV set and come back to the real world

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

Speaking of facts, seems that the Obama money didn't pay off well enough when our prez didn't lay over, so Goldman Sachs has picked up its money and is bankrolling Romney now. Thanks for making a great point, Math!

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

"The Anointed One" is the title of Jesus Christ. When you use it as a term of abuse, its_just_math, it shows only that you are willing to blaspheme and to offend Christians.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

How utterly simplistic. But simplistic works well in the wackosphere.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 10 months ago

Capitalism is the worst economic system man has ever devised. Except for all the others. (inspired from a quote by W. Churchill).

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

The original:

"Many forms of Governments have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

(Famous speech delivered in the House of Commons on November 11, 1947) - Sir Winston Churchill, British politician (1874 - 1965)

gudpoynt 2 years, 10 months ago

Churchill was wise.

But he was wrong if he thought that no one pretends that democracy is perfect.

Or capitalism for that matter.

All he would have had to do is listen to the most outspoken voices of the present day GOP to witness die hard devotees of both concepts, unwilling to address any undesirable aspects of either, and unwilling to consider the merits of anything remotely resembling a competing ideology or philosophy.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

He was a member of the Conservative Party, so I doubt he listened to the GOP voices very much.

rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

We have been listening to and going along with the merits of competing ideologies and philosophies for 70 years. The whole liberal approach doesn't work. Whenever government tries to assure the outcome of what should be a free market endeavor, it fails.

Ronald Reagan said that the nine words every American should fear are, "We're from the government and we're here to help."

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Vaughn, this might be the dumbest letter I have read in a long time.

I guess if Westar executives decide to give themselves a $50 million raise at our expense you will call that the result of bulls and cows getting together.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when our government no longer services the interests of average Americans. It is hard to compete with an army of lobbyists with bottomless expense accounts to buy any politician they want.

Those that don't go along with the program are targeted for removal by SuperPacs and powerful right wing groups such as ALEC and the KOCH brothers.

"ALEC “is a secretive and powerful front group of corporations that are investing millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation at the expense of the middle class,” Common Cause said."

What is going on in America today is that government of the people, by the people and for the people is becoming a thing of the past because average Americans are not paying attention.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

@ jayhawklawrence, did you read this post at all ?

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

Very typical and not at all surprisiing

kochmoney 2 years, 10 months ago

Indeed, you have its_just_math. Hard enough to refer to yourself in third person.

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

Blasphemy again, its_just_math. Can't you express your opinion without insulting Jesus Christ?

love2fish_ks 2 years, 10 months ago

""Unfortunately, we live in a time when our government no longer services the interests of average Americans."

Therein lies the crux of the issue. What is the proper role of government. Some, like JayhawkLawrence would suggest it is to 'service the interest of...' Others, like I, think government should have very little role in 'service' but has a legitimate role is creating an environment of freedom. Freedom comes individualism and indiviual responsibility.

Government has become the new plantation owner and keeps millions in poverty by servicing them. We have a record high number of people on food stamps, a record low number of people working (as a % of population), and a record high % (47%) that pay no taxes.

The Government has done enough servicing my Brother. It is past time for the Government to stop holding people down by doing for them what they should be doing for themselves.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

In his LTE, Mr. Vaughan correctly spelled it 'Stimulusism'. and you misspelled it as 'Stimulism'.

'Stimulusism' is not a common word, but it is not unknown.

'The fruits of bailoutism and stimulusism'

"Jobless Claims Jump, Leading Indicators Fall"

'Bad Week For Market..Nasdaq Doji Today...Weekly Bearish Engulfing Candles......' by Jack Steiman

"A 3-handle expected. We got 2.7% instead as the stimulus-ism clearly winding down."

'Stock Market Bad Week, Nasdaq Doji, Weekly Bearish Engulfing Candles......'

"A 3-handle expected. We got 2.7% instead as the stimulus-ism clearly winding down.

'Science Terms Made Easy'

"Apogeotropism Greek apo- away from, off, separate -geo- earth, world -trope- bend, curve, turn, a turning; response to a stimulus -ism state ..."

'Studies on the Time Course and the Effect of Cholinergic and Adrenergic Receptor Blockers on the Stimulus Effect of Nicotine'

"That a consistent: . Qamine, a-s'peeifie nicotine an . ' CJ adrenergic depleters and bi- ~ tine stimulus ism,ediated sp N tors."

'Current Events & Politics Group'

"The fruits of bailoutism and stimulusism, Jobless Claims Jump, Leading Indicators,"

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't doubt that's true. But the Republicans don't have very much time left to find a better candidate, because the sands of time are flowing very quickly. At the rate they're going, get ready for another four years of having Mr. Obama as President.

From 'The Wizard of Oz':

The Wicked Witch of the West: "Do you see that? That's how much longer you've got to be alive! And it isn't long, my pretty! It isn't long!"

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

What I am seeing is that the Republicans want to make themselves as the defenders of Capitalism and they are getting away with this lie because too many Americans have a simplistic notion of economic systems. The vast majority of Americans want to preserve a system that promotes a dynamic free market. They want to limit governments interference as much as possible, however, that idea has been distorted as too big to fail companies gain far too much power to write their own legislation and put their own executives in key government positions.

"In a free-market economy, the businesses that excel should be the ones that meet consumer needs by providing the best products at the best prices, not the ones that have the best lobbyists. The New York Times brought some attention to this issue when it reported that General Electric received more in tax refunds from the federal government than it paid in taxes. It turns out that, most likely, this is not true. What is true, however, is that General Electric lobbies for and receives select benefits in the tax code. General Electric is not unique in this way. "

We live in time when we have to address issues that we never had to worry about before and that requires possibly changing our party affiliation, or simply having none.

Personally, I think corporations have too mch influence in today's politics and this is preventing needed reform in health care, energy, environment and tax reform legislation to name a few.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

I will select "simply having none", if you don't mind.

And about corporations, the influence they have over our nation is simply unacceptable. Somewhere along the line, they began to have some of the legal characteristics of a person. The founding fathers of our democratic republic would be shocked at that idea.

I probably wouldn't mind that very much if every single stockholder had to spend some time in prison whenever the company he held stock in broke a law. Plus of course, also have pay for the cost of his own incarceration.

deec 2 years, 10 months ago

To continue a simplistic analogy, the government gives the well-connected guy free money to buy the cow, then gives him more free money to grow and feed the cow. The farmer puts the cow in a tiny pen so small the cow can't turn around, and pumps it full of antibiotics so it won't die long enough to fatten it up on food it is not designed by nature to eat. Then he sends the cow to a meat factory where it is processed at inhumane speeds by illegal aliens who will have immigration called on them if they dare to get hurt at work or demand to be paid a fair wage.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

You forgot the part about how the feed that the cow gets is full of pesticides.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, all these leave the market alone types seem to forget what happens when government isn't at least a little bit involved. I want them all to go back to my 11th grade American History class on the day we debated whether the Morgans and Rockefellers and Vanderbilts were "robber barons" or "captains of industry." Perhaps a refresher course on the early labor movement and the working conditions that movement was rising up against. A truly unregulated free market left entirely to its own devices would be catastrophic.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

Did you make that up or see that from an episode of The View

meggers 2 years, 10 months ago

This is an old joke that now has a number of variations. Here is another take on capitalism and corporatism:

Capitalism: You have two cows. You lay one off, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when she drops dead.

American Corporation: You have two cows. You sell one to a subsidiary company and lease it back to yourself so you can declare it as a tax loss. Your bosses give you a huge bonus. You inject the cows with drugs and they produce four times the normal amount of milk. Your bosses give you a huge bonus. When the drugs cause one of the cows to drop dead you announce to the press that you have down-sized, reducing expenses by 50 percent. The company stock goes up and your bosses give you a huge bonus. You lay off all your workers and move your production facilities to Mexico. You get a huge bonus. You contribute some of your profit to the President's re-election campaign. The President announces tax cuts for corporations in order to stimulate the economy.

pizzapete 2 years, 10 months ago

Don't forget corporations are people, too.

SnakeFist 2 years, 10 months ago

Capitalism: One percent of the country owns all the cows and relocates the herd to China in order to minimize labor costs and maximize profit. Meanwhile, fewer and fewer Americans can afford beef or milk.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche." (Translation: "Let them eat cake.") - commonly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, but there is no record of those words ever being uttered by her.

In Chinese culture, there is a similar story that involves rice and meat, instead of bread and cake:

"An ancient Chinese emperor who, being told that his subjects didn't have enough rice to eat, replied, 'Why don't they eat meat?'"

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Just for starters, the social security number thing is nonsense.

Snopes has the explanation, though I don't expect you'll read it. The short story is that prior to 1973, the first 3 digits of the SSN had no connection to the application, but were tied to the office that issued the card. Post 1973, the digits were tied to the zip code of the mailing address listed on the application, which doesn't have to have anything to do with the residence of the actual person for whom the card is being requested.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Before cutting and pasting this from a website, did you fact check ANY of it? I'm gonna go with no.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes because ignoring reality is so much better than opening your eyes

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Who is ignoring reality? The person who cut and pasted all this drivel without looking into any of it? Or the person who has already fact-checked several of these claims? The mere fact that I have even bothered to check out any of this stuff would suggest I'm ignoring nothing.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 10 months ago

"from a source????" Give me a break. If you are afraid of folks checking on your source, then don't post it at all. Turns out that you indeed have something to fear, since I found at least one of the postings of your "source:"

Unfortunately for you, I also checked with Politifact, which did a spot check of the "source" claims, and found on its scale of truth, which ranges from true, to mostly true, on down to "pants on fire" false, your source rated the jump-in-the-water-before-your-rear-gets-burned end of the spectrum.

Next time, find a credible source and then post it. And good luck!

gudpoynt 2 years, 10 months ago

Sensational-oversimplificationism: Insisting that everybody within our economic system starts off with two cows, while simultaneously demonizing the government as heartless cattle rustlers if the constituency ever demands some type of safety net to prevent seriously undesirable conditions for citizens who are on the low end of the bovine distribution inequalities (which do not exist, according to the sensational-oversimplificationist).

Foxism: Using sensational, oversimplified analogies, like the piece of conserva-spam about owning two cows, to perpetuate the juvenilization of political discourse in the U.S, while simultaneously demonizing those who insist upon a higher degree of critical thinking as "elitists".

Modern American Conservatism: Elevating property (i.e. money) ownership as THE freedom among freedoms, to be favored above all others.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

gudpoynt, the cow example was dumbed down so even the simple could understand the point. How much dumberer does this have to get before the light comes on for the gifted / left?

verity 2 years, 10 months ago

Since this thread went off the rails early on, I only skimmed it so maybe this has already been pointed out---democracy and capitalism are not synonymous.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 10 months ago

Just for starters, they're spelled differently.

SnakeFist 2 years, 10 months ago


Find far right-wing source that tells half-truths and outright lies; copy-and-paste from it; make vague reference to "a source"; repeat stale "hope and change line" preferably while simultaneously denigrating women, gays, or other races; and celebrate perceived victory with bout of passionate self-love. Synonymous with Limbaughism.

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Vaughan's definitions are cute, but not very accurate. They'd earn about a D- in any reputable History or Economics course.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

Yep, ever met an educator who can make it in the real world.

crickets then silence

kochmoney 2 years, 10 months ago

Why don't we ask Professor Obama if he ever did anything after being an educator.

ebyrdstarr 2 years, 10 months ago

Like his roommates? Or the professor who taught the year-long course Obama took his senior year at Columbia that he described the President as "acing?" The only reason you're waiting is that you haven't bothered to find the readily-available information.

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

Sorry, Armstrong. Educators are in the real world. It doesn't get more real than a public school.

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

You're right. I have no beef with primary education. The institutions of
" higher learning" that routinely indoctrinate their own political views on our kids are the clowns I have issue with. KU a prime example

Mike Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

you know....maybe some of the finer institutions in this area should limit the computer time of some of their patients and instead require more occupational therapy time. maybe then some of the lunacy spoken on here would decrease and intellectual conversation would occur.....

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

You know I think you guys are right. I hear from my inside Washington contacts President Obama, Mr. Hope and Change, the man who will single handedly unite our great country and lead us to the economic goal he has long been planning is getting ready to write a new chapter in American History.

It's called Chapter 7

Armstrong 2 years, 10 months ago

Ok my guess is overly medicated. Everyone will Quite looking at your bootsies too

Bob Forer 2 years, 10 months ago

I hope this guy doesn't teach. He hasn't a clue about political theory.

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