Wayne Root: The Marxist in the Mirror

It’s official. President Obama has declared war on capitalism, which is funny because he never officially declared war on Libya. But our fearless Marxist-in-chief reserves a special brand of hatred for capitalism, entrepreneurship and rich people. Just days ago, Mr. Obama publicly blamed “speculators” for the rising price of gas. Mr. Obama publicly announced a war on speculators and speculation, imposing the Justice Department, government lawyers, Cabinet heads and the whole Big Brother kitchen sink on this “evil” bunch of capitalists.

Well I have news for you, Mr. Obama. You better go after many other Americans, too: home buyers, stock buyers, gold buyers, art buyers, classic-car buyers, wholesalers, small-business owners and investors. Because everyone who risks money to buy things and attempts to resell later at a profit is a speculator.

Click here for article in Washington Times

48 thoughts on “Wayne Root: The Marxist in the Mirror

  1. Wayne Allyn "Birther" Root's Latest

    Wow! Such originality!

    Root’s certainly never called Obama a Marxist before!

    This latest piece of original insight almost made me forget all that Birther egg smearing Root’s mug.

  2. rloy

    “It’s official. President Obama has declared war on capitalism.”

    If only!

    Fuck Wall Street, fuck the oil companies, and fuck the Pinochet/Suharto style dictatorship Wayne Allyn Root would have us live under.

  3. interesting

    So # 1 and # 2 must be proponents of Marxism?
    That is great, but how much of my money in my wallet do you want to extract?

  4. Eric Sundwall

    Obama knows that the price of oil will effect his re-election chances. While he may be decrying the speculation in the market, the task force he formed is investigating fraud in the market.

    To constantly decry Obama as a Marxist doesn’t increase the LP’s stock with the average voter who might be more inclined to blame big oil for one reason or another.

    Certainly the case can be made that drilling moratorium’s and the federal reserve may be the real reasons for these price rises, but the cheap Marxist shot simply conflates the idea that libertarians are equivalent to birthers and troofers.

    It sounds like Wayne is using rhetoric similar to all those crusty radicals of yore in the LP.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    4 es: It sounds like Wayne is using rhetoric similar to all those crusty radicals of yore in the LP.

    me: Yes! To be a “Marxist” requires an adoption of the entire (or nearly entire) Marxist philosophy. There’s no reason to believe that BHO is a “Marxist,” even though he reaches conclusions that rely on views that share some commonality with actual Marxists.

    Unless we can see that BHO buys the whole loaf of Marxism, it’s inadvisable to make this accusation. It’s inaccurate and shrill-sounding.

    C-.

  6. Marc Montoni

    I agree. From here on out, Libertarian commentators should highlight areas where Our Savior **differs** with Stalin et al, and we’ll grow from there.

    Hmmmm… Even the crickets are quiet now. Ahhhh…. Peace! At last!

  7. Michael H. Wilson

    Wayne writes; “Without speculation there is no free-market economy – only a socialist state with industry, prices and wages controlled by the government.”

    Not to nit pick, but I think it would help to be clear that the U.S. of A. does not now and never had a free market.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    mhw, the quote doesn’t say there ever was a free market. Perhaps there IS a market in stateless places, but generally markets require institutions to maintain the peace and allow for the ability to make contracts and to speculate.

    Whether there has ever been a free market is an interesting question. It’s a question of relative performance, and generally freer markets perform better than less free ones.

  9. Michael H. Wilson

    Cappozi I realize that, but most people, including those in the media in this country do not. I hope that is clear and I figure most of the readers of this blog probably understood my point.

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 8,

    “Perhaps there IS a market in stateless places, but generally markets require institutions to maintain the peace and allow for the ability to make contracts and to speculate.”

    True enough.

    However, evidence for the idea that the state is such an institution is sorely lacking.

  11. P

    Two things:
    First, I am good friends with Marxists, and Obama is most certainly not a Marxist.

    Second, claiming that Marxism failed based on the Soviet Union is like claiming that libertarianism fails because of Somalia.

  12. Eddie

    I actually had someone give me a 3 question interview last weekend at an Obama rally and one of the questions they asked me was, “Is Obama a socialist?” I basically said no. I also stated it depends on a person’s interpretation of what is a socialist.

  13. Carol Moore

    Root wrote: “Speculation is the underpinning of our entire economy, the very foundation of capitalism.” Spoken like a Huckster who makes his living encouraging people to blow the rent and kids food money on gambling.

  14. Robert Capozzi

    11 tk: However, evidence for the idea that the state is such an institution is sorely lacking.

    me: Perhaps comparing per capita GDP for most (if not all nations) in 1900 vs. 2000 is unpersuasive for you. How many datapoints do you need before you change your mind that states provide some semblance of certainty?

  15. Robert Capozzi

    18 and 19, when I use the word “peace,” I mean “domestic tranquility.” It’s self-evident to me that if there’s a war on in the streets, it’s highly unlikely that the spontaneous order of economic activity will unfold at it optimum.

    Per capita GDP is the best metric I can think of. If there are others, please do share.

    Wars and violence do seem to occur in both “stated” and “stateless” places. People die of various causes. Generally, per capita GDP has risen, as has population.

    States are prone to fight wars, most of which I don’t support. Non-states fight wars, too, but instead of formal armies, gangs form militias battling for turf, as in Somalia.

    I do suspect that one could come up with a normalized metric for per capita GDP, adjusting for wars, however. The long term trend is still up.

    Anarchists of the non-asymptotic variety are asking the rest of us to make a gigantic leap of faith, that the “stated” configuration is inferior to the stateless configuration. IMO, the enormity of that leap > my lessarchism.

  16. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 20,

    You write:

    “It’s self-evident to me that if there’s a war on in the streets, it’s highly unlikely that the spontaneous order of economic activity will unfold at it optimum.”

    That’s one of the best utilitarian arguments against the state I’ve ever heard.

    “Per capita GDP is the best metric I can think of. If there are others, please do share.”

    Generally per capita GDP statistics tend to capture activity that doesn’t belong there. For example, the CBO’s economic statistics for Q1 2011 attribute slowed growth to a reduction in government spending, which in no way could be considered legitimate “production.” They also tend to not capture activity that does belong there (the non-state-approved economy).

    I’m disinclined to let the state choose which statistics I use to evaluate its performance.

    “Anarchists of the non-asymptotic variety are asking the rest of us to make a gigantic leap of faith, that the ‘stated’ configuration is inferior to the stateless configuration.”

    I don’t consider it a leap of faith to judge the “stated” configuration’s performance as so abysmal that any alternative is worth at least a test drive.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    21 tk, like I say, if there’s a better metric, I’m open to it.

    And, sure, a test drive seems like a splendid idea.

    As for utilitarian considerations, I definitely and unabashedly consider them. If your test of a “moral,” non-monopolistically-governed territory leads to a Mad Max outcome, I’d say the experiment didn’t work. IF, OTOH, your only consideration is whether there’s a State or not, I’d say most would likely find your metric insufficient.

  18. Ross

    Obama is that rare Marxist who gives banks bailouts, appoints corporate leaders to his cabinet, and is extra cozy with Wall Street. Come on! This is one of several reasons a lot of people don’t like Root.

  19. Steven R Linnabary

    It seems to me that attacking Obama as not progressive enough would be a more rational approach to building the LP. If that is Root’s aim.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/davis04282011.html

    People generally respond better to warm and fuzzy logic than they do to outrageous name-calling, such as referring to someone as a Nazi or a Marxist.

    PEACE

  20. Michael Cavlan RN

    Ross and All

    Wayne Root no longer has any credibility.

    Expect Fox News to do a Glen Beck on him.

    Good God, he has been challenged on this often enough.

    Oh and Mr Root, I do not doubt for a second that you are reading this.

    It is my own humble opinion that you are both a liar and a coward.

    You have proven that to me countless times now.

    You are also too much of a coward to respond to this.

    Grin

  21. Tom Blanton

    Root proclaims:

    “Speculation is the underpinning of our entire economy, the very foundation of capitalism.”

    Root is an idiot.

    QE1 and QE2, TARP, 1/4% interest money for banks that really aren’t banks, over-priced stocks (based on P/E ratios), artificially low interest rates, and a tanking dollar don’t constitute the underpinning of our entire economy and the very foundation of capitalism, but these things are the reason there is speculation in commodities markets.

    The policies of the Obama regime and the fed are creating the conditions that are giving birth to a commodities bubble. Obama knows what is going on as do the rest of the lying bastards in DC.

    It is Root that remains clueless thinking America has a free market that is being undermined by a Marxist. Maybe Root just thinks that the Marxist angle plays well with the half retarded rubes that he targets with his diatribes, believing that will help the GOP.

    It could be that Root is so stupid and shallow that he doesn’t know that the talking points he parrots are designed to promote the GOP.

    Regardless, the policy fueled speculation that is creating a commodities bubble is just the same old corporatism (fascism) we’ve had in America for many years.

    Root remains an embarrassment to the entire libertarian movement as he panders to fools who dwell on things like secret communist conspiracies, birth certificates, and secret religious affiliations.

    Root suggests that capitalism consists of well-connected firms, that produce nothing, who borrow fiat money (newly “minted”) from the Fed with a negative interest rate (interest below the rate of inflation) and then throw money at commodities knowing that there is no downside. And “libertarians” wonder why some people think capitalism is evil.

    If Root wants to attack Obama, attack him because of the policies that create bubbles, allowing the crony capitalists to profit while everyone else loses. The speculation that is behind increasing oil prices, along with other factors like a debased dollar, is a result of government policies and Obama knows this. He should be condemned for lying about his complicity and for pretending he has no responsibility in the situation.

  22. Tom Blanton

    It seems to me that attacking Obama as not progressive enough would be a more rational approach to building the LP. If that is Root’s aim.

    It would appear that it is not Root’s aim to build the LP. It seems obvious that his message is that the evil Obama must be defeated because Obama is an existential threat to America. This implies that everyone must vote for whoever can defeat him.

    Most people would correctly conclude that a third party candidate would be unlikely to defeat Obama and therefore vote for the GOP candidate.

  23. Robert Capozzi

    27 tb:

    WAR: “Speculation is the underpinning of our entire economy, the very foundation of capitalism.”

    TB: Root is an idiot. QE1 and QE2, TARP, 1/4% interest money for banks that really aren’t banks, over-priced stocks (based on P/E ratios), artificially low interest rates, and a tanking dollar don’t constitute the underpinning of our entire economy and the very foundation of capitalism, but these things are the reason there is speculation in commodities markets.

    me: I seriously doubt “radical” Ls like Block, Long, and even North would share your view here. “Speculation” is something ALL investors do under any circumstances. Some participate in riskier investments, sometimes as a hedge, and what drives the futures and options markets, for ex.

    You’ll need to explain the connection between the practice of investing based on PE ratios and government policies. It may be that PE ratios are distorted due to market intervention, and you may challenge securities analysis theory in favor of some other theory. If you invest, however, you ARE speculating, whether you know it or not. Buying gold and freeze-dried food is a form of speculation! Heck, posting on IPR is a form of speculation in a way, as you and I feel that our highest and best use of our time is to share ideas vs. some other activity!

    If your comment has some other theory that challenges what virtually every economist of any school would call “speculation” and “investment,” I’d like to hear it. As your comment reads, however, on its face your comment is simply off base. Perhaps you meant something else and wrote these words hastily….

  24. Robert Capozzi

    28 tb: Most people would correctly conclude that a third party candidate would be unlikely to defeat Obama and therefore vote for the GOP candidate.

    me: Yes, this critique makes sense. Threading this needle of challenging Obama while not pushing people to the GOP, in effect, is no easy task, particularly when in effect a duopoly is in place.

    Root’s anti-Obama theme is not a party building exercise, per se. He maintains he’s planting seeds. I do see that. I would, however, like to see more balance at least, more seeds being sprinkled against the GOP while showing Obama’s failures. No simple task in this format, but, I think, worth the effort.

  25. Tom Blanton

    OK, for the ignorant and the obtuse, here’s a lesson on the use of ordinary language where ordinary words have ordinary meanings:

    In finance, speculation is a financial action that does not promise safety of the initial investment along with the return on the principal sum. Speculation typically involves the lending of money or the purchase of assets, equity or debt but in a manner that has not been given thorough analysis or is deemed to have low margin of safety or a significant risk of the loss of the principal investment. The term, “speculation,” which is formally defined as above in Graham and Dodd’s 1934 text, Security Analysis, contrasts with the term “investment,” which is a financial operation that, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and a satisfactory return.

    There. The difference between speculation and investment. When entities that are deemed to be “too big to fail” can borrow at 1/4% from the Fed window and be bailed out if they lose, speculation occurs. This speculation causes bubbles – just like we have seen in recent years with real estate.

    To take matters to more extreme levels of insanity, like certain obtuse posters tend to do in these threads, consider Tulip Mania. Would the erudite and wise Capozzi consider paying thousands of dollars for a tulip bulb to be an investment? Apparently so.

    As for P/E ratios and government policy, there is no direct connection. But, like artificially low interest rates and treasuries, low P/E ratios make many stocks unattractive, therefore making commodities more attractive.

    The whole point being that Fed and government policies combined with other factors, like low P/E ratios are once again leading to the creation of a bubble, not in real estate this time but rather in commodities.

    Oil is a commodity. Prices go up when oil futures prices are bid up because of too many investment dollars chasing too few investments.

    If you have never heard of this crazy commodity bubble thing before and if you are able to read, and have access to the website known as Google, you might consider entering the words “commodity bubble” into the Google search field and then click on the “google search” button.

    Thousands of articles by radicals, conservatives, leftists, academics, mainstream publications, fringe groups, etc. suddenly appear to help the ignorant understand about the commodity bubble and speculation.

    Of course, not everyone thinks rising commodity prices are connected to speculation. Paul Krugman is one, for example. And then there is Wayne Root. Both idiots.

    It looks like the erudite and infinitely wise Bubby Capozzi sides with Krugman on this issue. I don’t find this surprising at all coming from someone who believes facts get in the way of good solid moderate opinions and believes it is best not to read about current events.

  26. Robert Capozzi

    32 tb, sorry, it depends entirely on the def. Here’s the one I understand to be the most common usage in the investing world”

    Speculation should not be considered purely a form of gambling, as speculators do make an informed decision before choosing to acquire the additional risks. Additionally, speculation cannot be categorized as a traditional investment because the acquired risk is higher than average.

    More sophisticated investors will also use a hedging strategy in combination with their speculative investment in order to limit potential losses.

    As for Benjamin Graham for an old school understanding, here’s the quote: “An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative.”

    Brother B seems to be reading other things into that are not there. Speculation is higher risk investing. Sometimes, “speculators” use futures and options to hedge their more traditional, lower-risk investments. Entrepreneurs speculate, too, as they invest in an enterprise that often has no “safety of principal.”

    Root’s statement is fine with me and fine with most in the financial community. “Speculator” is a pejorative that statists use to blame bubbles on the incorrect market actors. He was calling BHO out on that, and he’s on solid ground doing so, so long as one can look past the pejorative meaning of “speculator.”

    On matters of policy, I can’t think of a time the I agreed with Krugman. How you could possibly infer otherwise I cannot fathom. Perhaps you’re reading too much LRC! Anyone who might disagree with you MUST, in your mind, agree with Krugman. Gee, I hope that’s not what’s going on here!

    I would think most Ls recognize that oil prices are going up due mostly to dollar depreciation and geopolitical unrest. Futures “speculators” simply take these signals and take their best guess by buying and selling contracts. For a lot of good reasons, they are bidding the prices up. Root points out that BHO is attempting to deflect from the real issues at play, IMO. Root’s theory makes sense: “speculators” are not the problem, government is. BHO is engaging in what appears to be demogogic conspiracy theories.

    And, OK, I’ll try again on the matter of being “informed.” From my Hayekian perspective, I am fairly certain that humans cannot have ALL information. It’s helpful to be informed. It’s also helpful to have special knowledge of time and place. It’s also helpful to possess the ability to analysis and assess *salient* information. It’s also helpful to have what might be called a “moral compass,” a frame of reference for assessing both the virtue in a current fact set, and a sense of how changes will likely play out to the current fact set, making adjustments in how one behaves in the marketplace.

    An encyclopedic database of knowledge is useless without the ability to analyze and act.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    tb, another way to think of it, consider two extreme examples for models of being: Rain Man and Forrest Gump. Rain Man had an impressive, encyclopedic grasp of “facts.” Gump had a certain purity of heart.

    Using the Rain Man as a model misses the forest (no pun intended) for the trees. Yes, he might fly Qantas, but he analysis was deeply dysfunctional, and hyper anxiety-ridden.

    Gump’s grasp of facts seemed poor, yet things seemed to work out better for him, perhaps because he knew that life is like a box of chocolates, the wiser stance, as I see it.

    …5 minutes to Wapner… ;)

  28. Tom Blanton

    I didn’t suggest that there are other factors involved in driving up oil prices. I also didn’t suggest that I have all the relevant data. I also did not limit what appears to be a commodity bubble to oil. To the extent that speculation is causing price increases in commodities, Obama is fully aware that it is Fed policy and his own policies that is driving the speculation.

    I also notice that Capozzi suddenly recognizes that there are differences between investing and speculation.

    The information that is available from a wide variety of sources indicates that many in the financial community believe that Fed policy fuels the type of speculation that creates bubbles and many that warned of the real estate bubble are now concerned about a commodities bubble. If you don’t read, you might not be aware of this. If someone is aware that there is concern over a commodities bubble, pretending otherwise is dishonest – whether you agree with it or not.

    Krugman, a statist, believes speculation has nothing to do with rising oil prices. Capozzi and Root believe this also. Krugman attributes this to the increasing energy demands of China. This is certainly one factor, but one over which the U.S. government has no control – unlike the debasement of the dollar and pushing money out of the Fed window at rates lower than the inflation rate, which encourages malinvestment (including bidding up commodity prices).

    I would classify bidding up the price of future oil contracts to be speculation because if the market price drops, the spread becomes an actual loss of principal.

    The notion that statists would complain about government policies that encourage speculation, propping up markets, and/or malinvestment is remarkable. This is type of proto-fascist corporatism that statists embrace.

  29. Tom Blanton

    An encyclopedic database of knowledge is useless without the ability to analyze and act.

    I’ve never suggested otherwise. What I have suggested is that the opinions of people who have little to no knowledge of current events are worthless.

    The opinions of people who repeatedly demonstrate that they are unaware of what their government is doing are worse than worthless. A basic understanding of current events beyond the headline soundbites of TV news programs is not exactly what most people would consider an encyclopedic database of knowledge.

  30. Robert Capozzi

    35 tb: I also notice that Capozzi suddenly recognizes that there are differences between investing and speculation.

    me: There are various sorts of “investing” with different levels of assumed risk. Assumed risks are not ACTUAL risks, since risk is itself a guess. Assuming that risks are greater than other investment vehicles could be labeled a “speculative” investment. One can attempt to quantify risk, but assuming away uncertainty seems, well, silly to me. Investing seed capital in a nano-tech startup or buying oil futures would seem riskier than buying a money market fund…it’s a reasonable assumption, but even that assumption is not 100% certain. I consider this view non-controversial.

    I’m not going to waste my time pouring over Krugman’s opinions, as I see him as more Rain Man than Gump. If he believes that oil prices are going up due to increasing demand in China (perhaps India, too), that may well be a factor, but whether it explains the recent trends, I’m skeptical. Could be.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    37 tb: A basic understanding of current events beyond the headline soundbites of TV news programs is not exactly what most people would consider an encyclopedic database of knowledge.

    me: I agree. Knowledge can be useful. Knowledge in “Rain Man’s” mind is not especially useful. TV news in my experience is also not especially salient knowledge, at least for me, so I don’t watch TV news. Reading LRC can be useful for me, though I often find the information there tainted by a worldview (often atomistic and sometimes hateful and/or childish and/or highly victimized) that doesn’t work for me. I don’t read Alex Jones, however, except very occasionally, and only to monitor the especially conspiratorial-minded among us.

    Like anything, there is a point of diminishing marginal returns in any activity, and that point is a subjective assessment. Some may find reading everything Jones, Rockwell and Rothbard ever wrote to be valuable. Others, including me, don’t. When confronted with arguments informed by or based on LRC-ish sources, I admit that I don’t put much stock in the source, since I find the worldview there dysfunctional for me. Foundations built on sand generally don’t stand, in my experience.

  32. Tom Blanton

    People who read Alex Jones, Lew Rockwell, and Murray Rothbard for news content will be among the most poorly informed people in the world.

    I realize that some people are unable to discern between opinion and news, but reading editorials by someone who died 15 years ago is ridiculous. That would be taking willful ignorance to the extreme.

  33. Tom Blanton

    Click on my name, Capozzi.

    Scroll down the page and among opinion pieces you will see numerous news sources including, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, AP, Reuters, The Guardian, BBC, Washington Post, AFP, Washington Times, Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera. McClatchy, Politico, Wired, among others.

    Among the many commentators like Glenn Greenwald or Justin Raimondo you will also find many news items which they link to. All the best commentators will source the items they discuss. Neocons and idiots like Wayne Root never provide sources – that’s because they make up most of their bullshit or steal it from some other propagandists.

  34. Tom Blanton

    Another good source for issue oriented news items are organizations like ACLU, IJ, NORML, Marijuana Policy Project, EFF, First Amendment Center, and various gun rights groups. They often link or reprint news stories relating to their issues.

  35. LibertarianGirl

    its my sincere wish that Nevada one up the ass handing embarrassment we dealt Wayne in 08 when not 1 single homestate delegate voted for him by doing it again IN NEVADA. now thats gonna hurt aint it:)

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