The PSYCHOLOGY of Something for Nothing

The holiday buying season (and in fact, most of today’s news reports) are becoming more and more marred by reports of shoplifting. And our seemingly safe and quiet Cape Region is no exception. The nationwide Police Foundation reports that shoplifting continues to be a major crime problem in spite of millions of dollars spent on surveillance and enforcement. Over two million shoplifting cases per year are detected but not reported. And of the almost 400,000 shoplifters turned over to the police annually, the vast majority are not arrested, partly because shoplifters are often not tried and sentenced.

So who shoplifts — and why? According to Kids Health magazine online, there are basically two types of shoplifters. The first are professional shoplifters who steal expensive items that they can resell easily. The second type are amateur shoplifters who don’t usually go into a store with the intention of stealing. They see the opportunity to take something and they do.

For some, it’s the thrill of the chase. It’s like betting that you can get away with something and not get caught. If you don’t get nabbed, the thrill is more than just having the merchandise; it’s the satisfaction of getting it for nothing. It’s not all that different from the feeling a gambler experiences when winning.

Shoplifting is not kleptomania. Kleptomania is the psychiatric condition of being unable to resist the urge to collect or hoard things. One thing that shoplifters and kleptomaniacs do have in common is an “after the fact” sense that there was no rational reason to steal. In the case of children and teens, peer pressure is sometimes a factor. However, shoplifting is most often not the result of a need for material things. We hear all the time about rich people, including celebrities, who get caught shoplifting.

Peter Berlin of Shoplifter’s Anonymous describes the motivation for shoplifting: “In simple and concise terms: TO GET SOMETHING FOR NOTHING …. But why? To most shoplifters, getting something for nothing is like giving themselves a ‘gift,’ which in turn gives them a ‘lift.’ Many people feel they need a ‘lift’ just to get through the week or even the day. A recent study by MasterCard International found that shopping was second only to dining out as the primary way that people reward themselves.”

Berlin goes on to explain how shoplifting can be a “substitute for loss” after a death or a divorce, or a relief mechanism to reduce anxiety, boredom or frustration. Some people drink, some people gamble — others steal.

So why do some people place such value on getting something for nothing? Though it’s true that most people don’t shoplift, I’ll bet that that there are those out there who would, if they could get away with it. Yes, I’m talking about morality here, but I’m also talking about personal motivation.

What makes some people want “something for nothing” enough to steal it? It could have something to do with envy. Some people carry around a pervasive sense of resentment and anger, which can result in a feeling of entitlement and a desire for revenge. It’s a fact of life that some people have more than others. But if you perceive yourself as having less than you want — or less than you feel you’re “entitled” to have — there will inevitably be emotional consequences, including a conveniently twisted rationalization for shoplifting. Obviously, these feelings are baseless and are not even the slightest excuse for stealing from another person.

I feel for storeowners and employees who must keep an eye on their goods. Being victimized by a thief leads to strong feelings of personal violation, as well as anger at the obvious injustice. And we all pay for it when retailers understandably raise their prices to cover their cost to control thieves. Many shoplifters probably don’t think about that, since their motivation is, by definition, all about them. Nobody has the right to burden others with their impulses and issues. Shoplifters choose to place themselves above the standards of civilized society and should not expect anyone to make excuses for them.

Michael J. Hurd, Life’s a Beach

Dave Chappelle Leads the Way Against Woke Bullies

Comedian Dave Chappelle has refused to apologize to woke students who call him a “bigot” and claim his comedy “kills” people. [Breitbart News 11-25-21]

This is key. NEVER APOLOGIZE to irrational, toxic, nasty, unhinged, bad people. Never give in. As much as possible, ignore them: Make them feel invisible and unimportant, as they deserve to feel. When you must respond, make it clear that you will not budge one inch to their tantrums. Triple down in defiance. Be more immovable than a rock. When they scream bloody murder, you will know you’re on the right track. Do like Dave Chappelle is doing.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Thanksgiving is the Triumph of Capitalism

This time of the year, whether in good economic times or bad, is when we gather with our family and friends and enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. It marks a remembrance of those early Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the uncharted ocean from Europe to make a new start in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What is less appreciated is that Thanksgiving also is a celebration of the birth of free enterprise in America.

The English Puritans, who left Great Britain and sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower in 1620, were not only escaping from religious persecution in their homeland. They also wanted to turn their back on what they viewed as the materialistic and greedy corruption of the Old World.

In the New World, they wanted to erect a New Jerusalem that would not only be religiously devout, but be built on a new foundation of communal sharing and social altruism. Their goal was the communism of Plato’s Republic, in which all would work and share in common, knowing neither private property nor self-interested acquisitiveness.

What resulted is recorded in the diary of Governor William Bradford, the head of the colony. The colonists collectively cleared and worked land, but they brought forth neither the bountiful harvest they hoped for, nor did it create a spirit of shared and cheerful brotherhood.

The less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields, and were slow and easy in their labors. Knowing that they and their families were to receive an equal share of whatever the group produced, they saw little reason to be more diligent their efforts. The harder working among the colonists became resentful that their efforts would be redistributed to the more malingering members of the colony. Soon they, too, were coming late to work and were less energetic in the fields.

As Governor Bradford explained in his old English (though with the spelling modernized):

For the young men that were able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children, without recompense. The strong, or men of parts, had no more division of food, clothes, etc. then he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labor, and food, clothes, etc. with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignant and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc. they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could man husbands brook it.

Because of the disincentives and resentments that spread among the population, crops were sparse and the rationed equal shares from the collective harvest were not enough to ward off starvation and death. Two years of communism in practice had left alive only a fraction of the original number of the Plymouth colonists.

Realizing that another season like those that had just passed would mean the extinction of the entire community, the elders of the colony decided to try something radically different: the introduction of private property rights and the right of the individual families to keep the fruits of their own labor.

As Governor Bradford put it:

And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end . . .This had a very good success; for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted then otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little-ones with them to set corn, which before would a ledge weakness, and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

The Plymouth Colony experienced a great bounty of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between work and reward. Industry became the order of the day as the men and women in each family went to the fields on their separate private farms. When the harvest time came, not only did many families produce enough for their own needs, but they had surpluses that they could freely exchange with their neighbors for mutual benefit and improvement.

In Governor Bradford’s words:

By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God. And the effect of their planting was well seen, for all had, one way or other, pretty well to bring the year about, and some of the abler sort and more industrious had to spare, and sell to others, so as any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.

Hard experience had taught the Plymouth colonists the fallacy and error in the ideas of that since the time of the ancient Greeks had promised paradise through collectivism rather than individualism. As Governor Bradford expressed it:

The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst the Godly and sober men, may well convince of the vanity and conceit of Plato’s and other ancients; — that the taking away of property, and bringing into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that

would have been to their benefit and comfort.

Was this realization that communism was incompatible with human nature and the prosperity of humanity to be despaired or be a cause for guilt? Not in Governor Bradford’s eyes. It was simply a matter of accepting that altruism and collectivism were inconsistent with the nature of man, and that human institutions should reflect the reality of man’s nature if he is to prosper. Said Governor Bradford:

Let none object this is man’s corruption, and nothing to the curse itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.

The desire to “spreading the wealth” and for government to plan and regulate people’s lives is as old as the utopian fantasy in Plato’s Republic. The Pilgrim Fathers tried and soon realized its bankruptcy and failure as a way for men to live together in society.

They, instead, accepted man as he is: hardworking, productive, and innovative when allowed the liberty to follow his own interests in improving his own circumstances and that of his family. And even more, out of his industry result the quantities of useful goods that enable men to trade to their mutual benefit.

In the wilderness of the New World, the Plymouth Pilgrims had progressed from the false dream of communism to the sound realism of capitalism. At a time of economic uncertainty, it is worthwhile recalling this beginning of the American experiment and experience with freedom.

This is the lesson of the First Thanksgiving. This year, when we sit around our dining table with our family and friends, let us also remember that what we are really celebrating is the birth of free men and free enterprise in that New World of America.

The real meaning of Thanksgiving, in other words, is the triumph of Capitalism over the failure of Collectivism in all its forms.

How are the Unvaccinated a Threat ?

In recent days 24 vaccinated soccer players have collapsed on the playing field due to heart attacks. https://www.infowars.com/posts/world-number-1-novak-djokovic-likely-to-face-australian-open-ban-over-vaccine-freedom-stance/
See also: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2021/11/14/healthy-top-level-athletes-dropping-dead-worldwide-from-covid-vaccination/

Australia, once a free nation, has been turned into a vaccination-coercive Gestapo state, like Austria and much of Europe. Australian authorities, like Austrian ones and the Western media, are brainwashed and immune to scientific and medical evidence. As part of its coercive policy, Australia has banned the defending tennis champion Novak Djokovic from the Australian Open, because he says vaccination is a personal choice, not a qualification for playing tennis.

There is no known evidence that vaccination protects anyone, not even the vaccinated. Indeed, the scientific and medical evidence, attested to by thousands of experts, is that the vaccine is more deadly than Covid. The vaccine not only causes huge numbers of injuries and deaths (witness the soccer players) from adverse reactions, but also degrades the innate human immune system, leaving people exposed to a wide range of diseases. For example, there are reports that cancer cases are exploding.

If Djokovic is banned, no one should attend the Australian Open, and no one should watch on TV. Let the event proceed without attendees and viewers.This is the only effective way, other than dragging Australian authorities out in the streets and hanging the scum from the nearest lamp post, that people can protect their civil liberty. If people are brainwashed and overcome with an orchestrated fear, then the people are lost, and with them the Western achievement of liberty.

It is proven beyond all doubt that vaccination protects no one. But vaccination endangers the vaccinated from adverse reactions and from impaired immune systems, and via shedding endangers the unvaccinated. It has long been clear that it is the vaccinated who are a danger to the unvaccinated, not as the lying propaganda asserts, the unvaccinated who are a threat to the vaccinated.

Think about the official position for one second. Obviously, if the unvaccinated are a threat to the vaccinated, then the vaccine is pointless as it does not protect but does injure and kill. The adverse reporting databases of the US, UK, and EU prove that conclusively.

What is wrong with people that they cannot comprehend that when the medical establishment and its media whores say the unvaccinated are a threat to the vaccinated they are admitting that the vaccine does not protect.

If the vaccine protects, it protects, and the unvaccinated could only be a threat to themselves.

Please note that the media whores, bought off by advertisements, university professors, bought-and-paid-for-by-BigPharma-research grants, and the Big Pharma-influenced medical-establishment via grants to medical schools, all admit, everyone of the criminals, that the vaccine does not protect when they demonize the unvaccinated for “endangering the vaccinated.”

The fact that I have to point this out tells you how utterly stupid people are. How can people so stupid as to believe (1) the vaccine protects, and (2) the unvaccinated are a threat to the vaccinated going to survive.

Such people lack the intelligence to justify their existence. Maybe the depopulation agenda has a basis after all.

Whip Inflation Now

I was only a child when Gerald Ford was president, and he promised to eliminate inflation with “Whip Inflation Now” buttons. I remember the adults laughing about it. As if the problem of 1970s inflation was caused by ordinary people and a ridiculous p.r. campaign would make it all go away. Then we went from bad to worse with Jimmy Carter. It took Reagan to change everything, and make our lives better for a miraculous few decades.

You had better ask your older relatives if they can find any of those Whip Inflation Now buttons. Because in the absence of 180-degree course reversals in just about EVERYTHING WE’RE DOING, inflation is going to get worse. Probably a LOT worse, even worse than the 1970s.

Inflation is a tax. You pay it so the government can spend into oblivion to advance its power.

Read what economists say (sources below). Rising prices are not inflation; rising prices are a RESULT of inflation. Inflation occurs when a government-run money supply (which we have, via the Federal Reserve) is increased by the government at a higher rate than demanded by consumers. What happened in 2020 and 2021 was government literally spending trillions of dollars as compensation for shutting the entire economy down. It was morally obscene, politically illegal and — as it turns out — economically insane, as well.

It was not necessary to shut down the entire economy for any reason, and it never will be. That’s truly medieval madness happening in the 21st Century. Even if COVID had been as bad as projected — which it wasn’t — many things would have stayed open and no government “rescue bill” would have been necessary. But the government literally created a crisis so that it could run in, be the hero and get rid of Trump all at the same time. It’s the most brilliant scheme of evil since 9/11 — and maybe ever.

And now we’re paying. In the worst case, we may all end up ruined by it, because inflation (unchecked) will destroy the value of money. And that means your salary, your savings accounts and all of your possessions become economically worthless. Think about that. Even the great Joe Biden can’t save you from that; he’ll just snicker and sneer, while his dumb witch understudy cackles at you.

The Bidenistas excuse inflation by saying it’s merely the temporary result of the COVID shutdown. That’s only half the truth; and it’s not the real truth. In fact, it’s a lie. The real truth is that the government (first in 2020, then in 2021) spent more money than any government has ever spent in all of human history. We got inflation in the 1970s because the government spent like drunken sailors on the Great Society (LBJ) and the Vietnam War (LBJ-Nixon). That spending was nothing compared to now. Only when government retrenched on the growth of increase in spending, as well as taxation, in the early 1980s did inflation finally become relatively minimal. Until now.

Inflation has stayed with us because it’s the inevitable byproduct of a government-run currency. If the government didn’t control the currency — and if we had, say, a gold standard instead, where market forces were in charge — then it wouldn’t be possible to inflate or deflate the currency at will. A gold standard relies on human action, i.e., the law of supply and demand. The Federal Reserve relies on — well, on human whim. And, as we all know, the humans presently in charge are all idiots (at best) and tyrannical sociopaths (at worst).

Trump and the Pelosi Congress are to blame for the 2020 spending. Yes, Trump is partly to blame. Trump, to be fair, probably would have stopped with that terrible mistake, but Pelosi and the Bidenistas have taken us into the stratosphere on spending and inflation. And, unchecked by electoral concerns (thanks to election fraud), they are just getting started. The Green New Deal will ruin us financially, to say nothing of returning to the 1850s with respect to transportation and fuel.

It’s very simple: If we give people power to control the money supply, we give them the power to control our prices, our livelihoods, and our very survival. Eventually, that comes home to bite us.

If we give the LEAST morally and LEAST intellectually qualified people the power to control the money supply … well, it’s really, really scary.

And that’s where we are.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

The Demonization of Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a holiday of the founding of the English colony in Virginia that 169 years later with other colonial settlements became the United States. The New York Times, America’s newspaper of record, sees the Thanksgiving holiday through the eyes of its 1619 Project as a racist white supremacy holiday. Those who celebrate Thanksgiving are celebrating white supremacy.

The New York Times has been a Jewish newspaper since 1896 when it was purchased by Adolf Ochs for $75,000. Only in insouciant America would a people let the newspaper of record be in the hands of a tiny minority of Zionists hostile to the gentile majority that they believe is anti-semitic and persecutes them. A proud independent people would not permit a hostile minority to have the power over their country’s record with the ability to decide the facts and control the narrative of the country. But Americans did.

Their reward is that Americans are now institutionalized in the New York Times’ 1619 Project as racists who founded America on slavery. The removal of monuments of America’s founders, such as Thomas Jefferson, is a consequence of the demonization of the United States. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/23/thomas-jefferson-statuue-new-york-city-hall Americans seem powerless to stop the erasure of their history.

Paul Craig Roberts

Thank Private Property

Happy Thanksgiving!

But beware the “tragedy of the commons.” It almost killed off the pilgrims.

Now, via Washington, D.C., it’s probably coming for us.

Tragedy of the commons is a concept from an essay by ecologist Garrett Hardin. He wrote how cattle ranchers sharing a common parcel of land soon destroy that land. That’s because each rancher has an incentive to put cattle on the common. Soon, the extra animals eat all the grass. Shared grazing space is destroyed because no rancher has an incentive to conserve.

If the ranchers put up a few fences and divide the land, each rancher has an incentive to limit grazing. That saves the grass and the cattle.

Sharing things and “public” property sound nice, but only private ownership reliably inspires people to conserve and protect.

No one washes a rental car.

I bring this up now because the Democrats’ new multitrillion-dollar spending bills are all about expanding the commons: more free highways, free health care, free day care, free money for parents, housing subsidies, tax credits for electric vehicles, etc.

All these handouts discourage responsibility by making it easier to take from the “commons.”

Save for retirement? Why? The government will cover it. Save up for college? Why? Government will give you grants and loans and then forgive those loans.

I bring this up now because this same sort of thinking nearly killed the pilgrims.

When they came to America, the pilgrims decided to share everything. The governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, wrote that the pilgrims thought “taking away of property and (making it communal) … would make them happy and flourishing.”

Food and supplies were distributed based on need. Pilgrims would not selfishly produce food for themselves.

In other words, they, like Sen. Bernie Sanders and many American young people today, fell in love with the idea of socialism.

The result was ugly. When the first harvest came, there wasn’t nearly enough food. Many pilgrims died that winter. If the Wampanoag American Indians hadn’t helped them, all might have starved.

It was the tragedy of the commons. No individual pilgrim owned crops they grew, so no one had an incentive to work harder to produce extra to sell to others. Since even slackers got food from the communal supply, they had no incentive to work hard.

Many didn’t.

Strong men thought it was an “injustice” that they “had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could.” Women had to cook and clean for other women’s husbands, and they “deemed it a kind of slavery.”

The shared farming, Bradford concluded, “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit.”

When the Pilgrims ran out of food, they “began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop … that they might not still thus languish in misery.”

Their solution was private property. They split up the collective farm and gave every family a plot of land.

That was a big success. “It made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been,” wrote Bradford. “The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.” Before, they “would allege weakness and inability.”

Thanks to individual plots of land, food shortages turned into a surplus that became the feast we now call Thanksgiving.

“All men have this corruption,” Bradford observed. In a common, everyone wants to take as much as they can.

Private property created prosperity.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for private property.

It’s why I can eat turkey.

John Stossel


How Communist is China ?

We don’t want even one politically unqualified person sneaking into the Party, fishing for personal gain. Xi Jinping.

A billion Chinese have applied for membership in the Communist Party of China since 2001. 907 million of them were rejected, mostly on moral grounds. It seems that most Chinese adults would take the Party oath, to endure the people’s ordeals first and enjoy their fruits last[1], subject themselves to constant scrutiny, and be held to higher ethical and legal standards than non-members. Adultery is cause for dismissal. Rape is cause for execution. Nonetheless, ninety-four million members are honoring their oath pretty well.

Party People

Founded in 1921, the CPC became the ruling party in 1949 after 300,000 members gave their lives in the war. Membership rose from 4.5 million to 94 million today, or ten percent of the adult population. Membership is prestigious, as I saw while wandering Shenzhen with a French Communist. He had only to produce his Party card to draw an admiring throng, yet members see little financial benefit:

We estimate the returns to membership of the Communist Party of China using unique twin data we collected from China. Our OLS estimate shows a Party premium of 10%, but the within-twin-pair estimate becomes zero. One interpretation is that the OLS premium is due to omitted ability and family background. This interpretation suggests that Party members fare well not because of their political status but because of the superior ability that made them Party members. The estimates are also consistent with another interpretation that Party membership not only has its own effect but also has an external effect on siblings.

Twenty-eight percent of members are farmers, herders, and fishermen, and ethnic minorities are overrepresented but, because membership involves much volunteer work, only twenty-five percent are women. Their average age is thirty years.

The Party’s organizational skills are legendary. When Covid-19 broke out in Wuhan, a million local members were called to duty and forty-eight thousand more–mostly medical specialists–were flown in to contain the virus.

After a Shanghai high-rise fire killed fifty-eight people in 2010, Party volunteers coordinated twenty-five fire stations, a hundred fire trucks, and a thousand firefighters along with police, hospitals, finance, insurance, housing, donations, counseling, criminal investigators, and schools. Forty-eight hours later, insurers compensated families for property losses and wrote $250,000 checks for each death. Ten days later, Shanghai mayor Han Zheng confessed, “Our poor supervision of the construction industry caused the fire”. He fired or demoted thirty officials, and indicted twenty-two, most of whom went to prison–two for sixteen years–and implemented new building codes. The contrast with Grenfell Tower–still under litigation–is stark.

Structurally Communist?

I have appended my comments to Marx and Engels’ ten-point test, from their Communist Manifesto:

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. Land reform was completed in 1953. All land is owned in common. 98% of people own their homes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. Individual Income Tax runs from 3% – 45%, rates that will likely remain unchanged until a proposed property tax (currently meeting stiff resistance) becomes law.
  3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. There is no inheritance tax but, once a property tax is legislated, an inheritance tax might follow. Thanks to universal home ownership, the nation’s wealth Gini coefficient is low.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. This was accomplished by 1960. Beijing is now the preferred domicile for most billionaires and most foreign investors.
  5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. Mao founded the world’s richest central bank, the People’s Bank of China. China’s Big Four retail banks are the world’s largest and most valuable.
  6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. China’s government-owned media are the most trusted on earth.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. Soil improvement has been ongoing for seventy years and crop yields continue climbing steadily.
  8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. Used effectively in the early years, this has been phased out in favor of mechanised agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the countryThe combination of agriculture and manufacturing was successfully implemented during the Cultural Revolution and the dispersion of manufacturing is still prioritized. Urban hukou are issued to those who want them to redistribute the population.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c. The OECD says, “China’s PISA test results showed the resilience of pupils to succeed despite tough backgrounds – and the high levels of equity between rich and poor pupils”.

Control of the Means of Production

Control of the means of production is through collective ownership of all banks, insurance companies, media, health providers, and defense industries, ensuring that they act in concert, for the general good. There are now more hungry children, drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, and imprisoned people in America than in China