Monday, May 16, 2016

A Conversation with a 30-Something Ukrainian Socialist

Over the weekend, I ran into a 30-something gal who recently arrived in San Francisco from Kyiv, Ukraine.

She is doing graduate work in the states on Russian propaganda and is emphatically anti-Putin. She is also a socialist and apparently is ready for another revolution in Ukraine.

She told me that "all revolutions are good." I said to her that I wasn't sure about that. and specifically mentioned Mao's Cultural Revolution that resulted in many millions dead and the Bolshevik revolution that led to Lenin and Stalin and millions dead in what became the Soviet Union. I recommended to her that she read Death by Government by R. J. Rummel.

I also suggested to her that the revolution in Ukraine was a US instigated color revolution. She said it was a color revolution for sure because she participated in it but she did not think it was U.S. instigated. I mentioned the Victoria Nuland recording which caught Nuland plotting the Ukranian government overthrow.

 I also told her she should read Gene Sharp's book, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation. I told her that it was the manual the CIA used when fomenting trouble outside the United States and it specifically mentioned color revolutions. "I am sure you will find a lot of tactics you used that came right out of that book," I told her. She didn't seem interested in the book.

We also talked about my Private Property Society theory. She objected to the idea of private property. This knocked me backed a bit since the objections I usually get in the U.S. to PPS are about security protection and courts without government, not objections to private property.

I told her that I thought private property was fundamental to a prosperous society. She did not see it that way. She said her favorite Ukranian teacher taught her that first man was a hunter-gatherer, then he became a farmer, then comes socialism, then communism which will ultimately lead to a society without private property.

I tried another tact with her. I had shown her my book collection, so I said, "I don't want to share my books with anyone, It sounds that under your system, I would have to share them, perhaps the communist leaders could take them away from me at the point of a gun."

I emphasized the gun thing a couple of times.

She said, "I don't like this talk of guns."

I replied, "But that is what it would ultimately come down to. I am not going to give up my books unless it is at the point of a gun."

At this point, it seems my books got some kind of special protection in her otherwise non-private property society.

"You will be able to keep your books, No one will take them away from you," she said.

We went on to other topics.



  1. Really intelligent socialists always object to private property. They will even use the libertarian argument that private property is "an initiation of force" since you are depriving them of their rightful share of the "property". In fact, their arguments are very much like the anti-IP crowd's arguments against IP.

    That's one reason I always talk about property rights being axiomatic. The definitions of your axioms (and IMHO, IP is axiomatic in its definition just like tangible property) determine how your rules work. The more things covered by property rights, the better.

  2. You cannot reason people out of ideas they weren't reasoned into.

    I grew up in Sonoma County surrounded by hippies. I first read Harry Browne in fifth grade. I've been talking to socialists about liberty for a long time. Leave your reasoning at home.
    When someone is clinging to an unreasonable idea, it is because the idea bridges some gap in their understanding of the world. Such ideas can't simply be wrangled out of their hands. You have to be like Indiana Jones replacing the idol with the bag of sand.

    The way liberals fundamentally understand the world is that there are mean people and there are reasonable liberals (including them). A talk about government stealing property won't lead anywhere because untrue minds, the people being stolen from are mean and they deserve it. Their instinct is that the rich and powerful exploit the poor and vulnerable, so the gov remedy of eat the rich seems reasonable.
    Typically libertarians try to explain the virtues of private property, but all the liberal hears is a selfish mean property owner not willing to help out all the poor people with no property. They dismiss you as a jerk long before they hear anything you say.

    A better strategy is to embrace their instinct that the rich and powerful exploit the poor, fan that flame, but frame it around central banking, baikouts, the war on drugs, the military industrial complex etc.

    Libertarians waste so much energy battling people's sentiments and it is totally counter-productive. All it does is identify you as an enemy in their mind. Embrace the sentiments of whoever you're talking to. They are not going to change. Then use some Jedi mind judo to plant the flag of liberty in their head without stepping on any of the landmines that 12 years of government school laid down.

    If you talk to libertarians who used to be socialists/progressives and ask what changed there mind, exactly zero of them will tell you an abstract story about economics.

    1. YES. Very smart psychology there. You're probably not gonna find another Rothbard this way, but at least on some issues, an ally.

    2. I've found it very effective to frame everything around how the wealthy use the state to exploit everyone else. It won't change them into libertarians but they'll listen. They will then think various government departments can be reformed, then I explain how they are working as they are designed to work and not broken. This seems to put a seed of doubt into them. They become distrusting of the state and its mechanisms. Sanders running for president has really made it sink in.

      The first step is to get them to hate the state and see it as their real enemy.

  3. She must've been smoking hot for you to waste that much time on her bullshit.

    1. Ukrainian women, and Russian women, can be very attractive. You just have to break down all the statist indoctrination.

  4. If you like your books, you can keep your books.