Friday, July 25, 2008

Speechless

This article about "theme" restaurants in general, and a "terrorist" restaurant in Beirut in particular is amazing enough.

That Buns 'n' Guns, a war and terrorism-themed cafe, has opened in - wait for it - Beirut, surely makes it a contender for the worst restaurant concept ever?

B 'n' G regulars can eat a Magnum with a side order of Grenade (grilled chicken with fries); a Kalashnikov (beef burger on "terrorist" bread); an RPG; M16; or Tactical meal deal, all cooked by chefs dressed in military fatigues, in a cafe - slogan: "A Sandwich Can Kill You" - decorated with mortars, ammunition and sandbags. And the background music? No, not A.R.E Weapons or WAR, but explosions and gun fire. Noises which you might have thought residents of this Hezbollah-controlled suburb had had enough of in recent years.

Full article here.

But this comment left me totally speechless....

"It's an old question - why is is left totalitarianism kitsch but right unacceptable?" Because fascism is inherently evil, it's [sic] start-point is terror. Communisim, in contrast, was a noble cause, perverted... beyond all recognition.

I would beg to differ with this viewpoint. IMO the start-point of communism is inherently perverted.

The premise of communism is redistribution of wealth, i.e., "To each according to his needs, from each according to his means." Funny how utopians who bemoan the "perversion" of this "noble" cause seem to avoid answering the inevitable question of who exactly gets to decide on other people's needs and means... and "redistribute" accordingly.

I mean, who would make sure it's done right? A Supreme Being they don't believe in, perhaps? Because if it's human beings, what else but perversion could you expect with an ideology that runs so contrary to human nature?

But of course, utopians espousing this "noble cause" (especially those who go around in trendy togs sporting hammers and sickles) generally don't like to be reminded of what happens when human beings take it upon themselves to decide. To them it's all "ancient history" since nothing like that is happening today because humanity is so good at learning lessons from the past.

So good luck convincing them that fascism and communism are in fact identical ideologies. If there is any difference it would be in the popular mythology built around them. But at their core, they are both inherently evil.

5 comments:

Vasyl said...

All I can say is "ditto"... You are not the only one who is left "Speechless!"

Vasyl said...

Pawlina,

By the way, I like the new look of the blog site!

Pawlina said...

Yes, Vasyl, it's incredible, isn't it?

Thanks for the kind words re the blog's "new look." I noticed your blog is sporting one as well, and had meant to compliment you on it. (I've been spending too much time on that road paved with good intentions...)

You inspired me to update mine, and I'm quite pleased with the new look.

Taras said...

Somewhat echoing Stanislav’s last comment, I decided to put my two Ukrainian kopiykas in.

And here’s what I have to say: If wealth redistribution epitomizes communism, then the United States scores much higher on communism than Ukraine.

You do the math:

Ukraine’s richest person, who also happens to be the richest person in Europe, owns $31.1B worth of assets, while Ukraine’s annual GDP per capita runs below $10K. The net worth of Ukraine’s 50 richest people exceeds two annual budgets of Ukraine. By comparison, in 2007 the net worth of America’s 400 wealthiest people amounted to $1.54T, or 55% of the country’s $2.8T budget for the year.

Q: So which country is more “communist” — Ukraine or the US? And what about the more redistribution-oriented countries like Canada, France and Germany?

IMHO, the term wealth redistribution, or any other liberal epithet, simply does not apply to empirical communism; expropriation does.

Communism exploited Ukrainians through genocide, while crony capitalism has done so through grabitization, the Kuchmanoid version of privatization. Millions of Ukrainians perished under communism and millions have either emigrated or failed to reproduce under crony capitalism because of the inhumanity of both systems.

Quick facts: During the last 17 years, Ukraine has experienced a net population loss of almost 7 million people. Ukraine has the highest AIDS growth rate in Europe.

As a Soviet-born Ukrainian, I never had a rosy picture of communism, but I did have a rosy picture of what followed. A teenager at that turbulent time, I had a vision of a bright future and grew up grabbing the best knowledge I could. Being too young to grab anything else, I ended up grabbing the wrong thing.

Now that I’m older, I know better. So whenever I argue with Western folks who see wealth redistribution as the root of all evil, I offer them to immigrate to post-Soviet Ukraine. I offer them a lifelong subscription to the Ukrainian social contract: a subsistence wage plus little-to-zero wealth redistribution.

So far, no one has accepted. Perhaps wealth redistribution isn’t so bad if you do the math?

Pawlina said...

IMHO, the term wealth redistribution, or any other liberal epithet, simply does not apply to empirical communism; expropriation does.

Taras, with all due respect, I think you missed the point I have been trying to make all along. Which is that, essentially, crony capitalism and soviet communism are pretty much ideological cousins (or possibly siblings, if not mates). And that the closest thing to empirical capitalism on this earth is, unfortunately, crony capitalism. So ideologically, we are in the same boat.

As for wealth re-distribution, who do you propose should do it?

To date, history has shown that those deciding on who gets to do the "redistribution" inevitably turn to expropriation ... and extortion. (Something called "human nature" seems to always throw a monkey wrench into the romantic equation.)

I don't disagree that Ukraine has been beset with "grabitization". I never have. But I fear that you (along with so many "liberal" idealists) don't seem to see that the "grabitizers" are ideologically shape-shifting parasites constantly on the lookout for new hosts to freeload off of. They have been operating here in the west for a long time ... and are in fact the role models for Ukraine's current crop of "grabitizers."

Essentially, your grabitizers are former soviet apparatchiks who just wrapped themselves in a popular (at the time) ideology and (mis)labelled themselves as "capitalists." Talk about expropriating an ideology. And history repeating itself.

The reality is that what morphed into soviet communism is a natural progression from "empirical" communism and it will happen time and again ad infinitum.

You can romanticize the notion of "wealth redistribution" all you like, but simply doing so will not change human nature, nor the inevitablity of that "natural progression" to totalitarianism. (Hey, I didn't make up the rules, I just (finally) noticed them.)

Wealth re-distribution is the new "opium for the masses" ... an impossible dream meant to mesmerize (and thus control) the masses by limiting the wealth people believe they can create for themselves... along with a system that keeps it safe from freeloaders.

When attempted in the real world, wealth re-distribution simply kills incentive in otherwise productive people. And so in the end, those re-distributing the fruits of the labour pool manage to wind up controlling both ... as they did in the soviet system and the imperialist systems before it.

Is that really what you want?