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February 21, 2008

Michael Bloomberg, Political Philosopher

Here's Michael Bloomberg today, appearing on NPR with Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, bringing the knowledge to America's non-billionaires:

(at 13:50)

NPR: One of the criticisms Mayor Fenty has gotten from parents since taking over the schools is that his decisions are being made from the top down, with not enough input from grassroots education reformers. What advice would you, Mayor Bloomberg, give to him—

BLOOMBERG: That's what mayoral control is about!

NPR: —based on mistakes and changes you've made with your own system over the years?

BLOOMBERG: I don't know of any—the last time we had an organization try to be run where everybody had a say, it was in Russia, it was called communism, and we all know how well that worked.

Exactly: if there's anything that was wrong with Stalinism as a political system, it's that it wasn't top-down enough. People would wander through the gulag, plaintively wondering why no one in society had the power to make important decisions.

If that's the type of rational, non-demagogic response to criticism you want in a president, you can catch the Unite for Mike fever here.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at February 21, 2008 06:12 PM

capitalism is necessary for democracy, see? and democracy is good, see? so money is the same as rightness. and that means because money was less inequitably distributed in the USSR, that meant people had voting rights, which is not the same as democracy, because democracy is good, because it needs capitalism to live.

Posted by: hapa at February 21, 2008 06:31 PM

Thank god we live in a democracy, where not everybody has a say.

Posted by: StO at February 21, 2008 07:03 PM

I'm voting for Michael Meyer.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 21, 2008 08:38 PM

I'll vote for Mike Meyer too. Then I'll call him every day to have my say, which won't matter because we're not communists.

Before I became a convert to Professor Yksmohc, I was very skeptical about his contentions regarding the meaning and mis-meaning of words. But here's a perfect example, and I've been a convert for a while now. Tinyrevolution was my finishing school, in fact.

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at February 21, 2008 09:50 PM

Why, the whole country's talking like they did in "Blazing Saddles."
Don't matter, ye see, if evrrybudy got their say, it's if their say's worth a bucket o spit or a pot o gold at the old Bank.
Frontier gibberish R us.

Posted by: donescobar at February 21, 2008 10:15 PM

"bloomberg has a campaign slogan, did you hear?"

"no. what is it?"


"it's -- short."

"so's he."

"no, i mean, shouldn't it say something like, 'vote bloomberg'?"

"ha ha ha, that's funny, but, hello, berlin wall, let freedom ring, hallelujah? were you sleeping?"


"anyway the idea is wherever mike puts a sign, that's his office. so he just goes to washington on january 19 and sticks the sign on the white house and it's done."


"cleanest campaign ever."

"can we go back to that 'berlin wall' part?"

"no. you lost. get over it."

Posted by: hapa at February 22, 2008 01:48 AM

well, for once you make a point. So Bloomberg used an inartful historical analogy, and you noticed it. Well done. Meanwhile, his company has transformed the financial markets, including helping dirty backward Indians make it into the modern era. And he's apparently a very effective mayor of the most important city in the world.

In one sense, though, he's actually right. The initial premise of the October Revolution was "all powe to the soviets" i.e. the werkers and peasants, which quickly degenerated into Soviet communism. Letting the old nobility, the merchants and the Tsardom continue to run things would have been a million times better for 99% of Russians.

Posted by: xyz at February 22, 2008 02:07 AM

"xyz", you are a sub-literate troll with no knowledge of the Russian Revolution -- or just about anything else you've ranted about in these comments sections.

The fact that you blithely attribute the 'all power to the soviets' slogan as the 'initial premise' of the 'October Revolution' is sufficient to demonstrate your profound ignorance and confusion.

The notion that the 'October revolution' (which refers specifically to the Bolshevik Party coup, not the 'Russian revolution' as a whole) had 'giving everyone a say' as the goal, is ludicrous twaddle, peddled by deluded Leninists and rightists alike for different reasons. For Leninists, to allow them to not only claim 'socialism' (whatever that nebulous term even means) has been shown to be possible (although the Bad Man Stalin and/or Reactionary White Forces ended up wrecking it), but can also likely only be achieved by adopting Leninism, since it alone has proven successful at replacing capitalism it with someone better. Rightists claim the Bolshevik coup had to same goals as well ... to defame the genuine democratic ideals associated with many genuine revolutionary forces in Russia, by pretending any attempt at a more fundamentally democratic society must inevitably degenerate to 'communist' tyranny -- after all -- just look at what happened in Russia!!

The facts are quite different. The Bolshevik leadership from the beginning were utterly contemptuous of the democratic ideals of much of the revolutionary movement (including their own party rank-and-file), were always harshly 'centralist', authoritarian, in favour of a one-party state, dictatorship, etc.

For just one well known text on Bolshevik hostility to anything resembling, for instance economic democracy and democracy generally, see Maurice Brinton's 'The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control':

Alexander Berkman's 'The Bolshevik Myth is quite good too.

This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg of the issue. Now go at least begin to educate yourself. Not that you'll be fully enlightened after reading the above, but it will doubtless be a baby step toward getting your two neurons to work.

Posted by: goobla at February 22, 2008 03:29 AM

To clarify, my point is that the Russian Revolution did not naturally, by some mysterious process that inheres in systems of organization that try to 'give everyone a say', 'degenerate' into tyranny.

However, neither was there an amorphous, unanimous force called 'the revolutionaries' that were consciously anti-democratic, aspiring to establish tyranny. Rather, the 'revolutionary forces' were composed of diverse, conflicting elements and tendencies, some of which were indeed quite committed to tyrannical methods of social organization -- and, which, tragically, happened to win out in the struggle between the various factions.

Posted by: goob at February 22, 2008 03:42 AM

I couldn't even read the above comments, they are so garbled and senseless. I will say this. Under conditions of extreme social and economic distress, a group of political fanatics managed to sieze power in a fatally weakened state. Under a slogan resembling "the peasants and the werkers ought to be in charge," this group of fanatics managed to impose a regime that oppressed its citizens and wrecked the economy for seven decades. And in general, populism also runs the danger that having people like you folks making policy is a recipe for disaster.

Posted by: xyz at February 22, 2008 06:29 AM

xyz, with all due respect, nobody is surprised that you have difficulty reading.

Anyway, I am flabbergasted by this Bloomberg fellow. Just flabbergasted.

Posted by: MFB at February 22, 2008 06:54 AM

I couldn't even read the above comments,

Well color us all very surprised.

If we've noticed anything about you sir, it's your command of language, reason and logic.

/end BS

Posted by: Earth at February 22, 2008 06:59 AM

Eh, I think my 770 GMAT (99.8 percentile), with a perfect verbal reasoning score, reflects reasonably well my reasoning abilities. And among my duties are writing research reports on complex subjects, which are distributed world-wide. I think I can say with confidence I write with more clarity and force than any of you jerk-off clods.
And as for the Soviet Union, having spent time in 13 of the successor republics, and being a fluent Russian speaker, I think I know this place better than any of you, by a country mile.

Posted by: xyz at February 22, 2008 08:18 AM

Now that xyz has infected us all with GMAT envy, there is nothing for us ("there you go again") "jerk-off clods" to unite. We have nothing to lose but our...Never mind.
As the old guys used to say in NYC cafeterias, after hours in the public library, "from history he understands nothing." Goob tried to explain, but unfortunately xyz doesn't understand that history is x and y and z.
Simplicity is good; Simple-mindedness is not.

Posted by: donescobar at February 22, 2008 08:56 AM

In one sense, though, he's actually right. The initial premise of the October Revolution was "all powe to the soviets"

And in another sense, Ponies!

We'll just overlooked the fact that to Bloomburg, the problem with Communist Russia was that Stalin didn't have enough control.

Posted by: Keith at February 22, 2008 10:08 AM

Wow. I'm sure those "dirty backwards Indians" must be so grateful to some effete New York white guy for graciously helping them! It's not like they had anything to do with their own improvement, oh, no!

I am beginning to suspect that xyz is Bernard Chazelle engaged in performance art to demonstrate the utter idiocy of the right and mushy center.

Posted by: Serafina at February 22, 2008 01:35 PM

well i think the alien is in mike meyer. he's the only one among us wants to be president.

Posted by: hapa at February 22, 2008 02:34 PM

hapa: Do YOU think I have a shot? 50/50 maybe? xyz seems to spell some words differently than I would expect in AMERICAN culture(werkers), so I'm guessing Quebec.
Since I'm running for office, I ASSURE YOU, I spend ALL MY time running for office and would not waste, even a second under a pseudonym that did not promote Mike Meyer. MY ideas bring more than enough shouts of controversy that I find NO shortages of people calling me an idiot.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 22, 2008 03:31 PM

But must you give Kissinger our first ambassadorship to Kosovo.
I'll take the one to Fredonia. Hail Meyer!

Posted by: donescobar at February 22, 2008 04:08 PM

I'd also like to point out that knowledge of Russian doth not an insightful observer make.
After all, most of us jerk-off clods grew up learning English, and somehow we learned the wrong lessons about how America is supposed to work.

Posted by: HDT at February 22, 2008 04:15 PM

If we're speculating on xyz being a mole, Jon Schwarz could easily settle a lot of confusion, but has not. Which means, either xyz is just some dude and there's nothing to say, or Jon is in on it somehow.

Or: I'm xyz, and I'm just bringing up these issues to throw you off the scent. !

Posted by: saurabh at February 22, 2008 04:46 PM

Goob, that's useful analysis, but you're missing the point, which is that zipper is incapable of ever admitting he is incorrect or learning anything. To try to educate is to waste your time, which is incidentally what he wants. It's better just to laugh at the ignorance and ridiculous self-promotion.

Posted by: StO at February 22, 2008 05:25 PM

Kissinger gets Kosovo---check
donescobar gets Fredonia---check

Posted by: Mike Meyer at February 22, 2008 07:09 PM

i was thinking bloommberg was bad, but then i saw that unite for mike thing.

two words: Comedic Goldmine

Posted by: almostinfamous at February 22, 2008 08:55 PM

Here’s another vote for MM, my innertube hero! And xyz, could you just post something in Russian, maybe one of Bloomberg’s (longer) speeches, so we could get a glimpse of all your learning?

Posted by: john in california at February 23, 2008 07:51 PM