Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Some things never change

Curious, isn’t it, how you can reach back and pluck one of these commie swine right out of the antebellum era, plop them down in the middle of present-day New York City or San Francisco, and they’ll fit right in perfectly with their fellow Progressivists? They’ll be mouthing the same platitudes, pushing the same program, and complaining about the same “issues.” The only difference will be the hairstyles—maybe.

Guess that’s what these new-ideas people consider real “progress.”

Born in 1866, Magie was an outspoken rebel against the norms and politics of her times. She was unmarried into her 40s, independent and proud of it, and made her point with a publicity stunt. Taking out a newspaper advertisement, she offered herself as a ‘young woman American slave’ for sale to the highest bidder. Her aim, she told shocked readers, was to highlight the subordinate position of women in society. ‘We are not machines,’ she said. ‘Girls have minds, desires, hopes and ambition.’

Travelling around America in the 1870s, George had witnessed persistent destitution amid growing wealth, and he believed it was largely the inequity of land ownership that bound these two forces – poverty and progress – together. So instead of following Twain by encouraging his fellow citizens to buy land, he called on the state to tax it. On what grounds? Because much of land’s value comes not from what is built on the plot but from nature’s gift of water or minerals that might lie beneath its surface, or from the communally created value of its surroundings: nearby roads and railways; a thriving economy, a safe neighbourhood; good local schools and hospitals. And he argued that the tax receipts should be invested on behalf of all.

Determined to prove the merit of George’s proposal, Magie invented and in 1904 patented what she called the Landlord’s Game. Laid out on the board as a circuit (which was a novelty at the time), it was populated with streets and landmarks for sale. The key innovation of her game, however, lay in the two sets of rules that she wrote for playing it.

Under the ‘Prosperity’ set of rules, every player gained each time someone acquired a new property (designed to reflect George’s policy of taxing the value of land), and the game was won (by all!) when the player who had started out with the least money had doubled it. Under the ‘Monopolist’ set of rules, in contrast, players got ahead by acquiring properties and collecting rent from all those who were unfortunate enough to land there – and whoever managed to bankrupt the rest emerged as the sole winner (sound a little familiar?)

The purpose of the dual sets of rules, said Magie, was for players to experience a ‘practical demonstration of the present system of land grabbing with all its usual outcomes and consequences’ and hence to understand how different approaches to property ownership can lead to vastly different social outcomes. ‘It might well have been called “The Game of Life”,’ remarked Magie, ‘as it contains all the elements of success and failure in the real world, and the object is the same as the human race in general seems to have, ie, the accumulation of wealth.’

The game was soon a hit among Left-wing intellectuals, on college campuses including the Wharton School, Harvard and Columbia, and also among Quaker communities, some of which modified the rules and redrew the board with street names from Atlantic City. Among the players of this Quaker adaptation was an unemployed man called Charles Darrow, who later sold such a modified version to the games company Parker Brothers as his own.

Here’s the really funny part, in bold:

Once the game’s true origins came to light, Parker Brothers bought up Magie’s patent, but then re-launched the board game simply as Monopoly, and provided the eager public with just one set of rules: those that celebrate the triumph of one over all.

Hm. You mean she sold out her “liberal” values and took money for her idea? From a big evil corporation? This staunch Soljer of the Peepul abandoned her dedication to The Struggle and enlightening the benighted masses, opting to take the Boeing instead? Blithely walked away from Fighting The Power with every fiber of her being, took the easy way out, and cashed in?

And that right there is as good a demonstration of the reason socialism is, was, and always will be a failure you’ll ever see: it never once takes human nature into account. The desire to improve our lot in life by our own efforts is born into each and every one of us…including our socialist “betters,” as will be shown each and every time the opportunity presents itself to them. Even when they’re in full-on lecture mode, they’re keeping an eye out for the main chance. Which is why, in every socialist country you’d care to examine, the nomenklatura are riding around in limousines, surrounded by servants, and availing themselves of every perk they can lay their hands on, and soaking up all the graft within reach.

Cross their palms with silver and Higher Socialist Principle takes a fucking hike every time. They just don’t want any of YOU nasty, grubby, workaday villains cashing in alongside them, that’s all. As another great socialist once said: “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.” Emphasis, always and forever, on “YOU.”

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"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

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