“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”
– Joni Mitchell.
Everyone at the Kennedy Center honored one of the greatest of musical, lyrical, and visual-art talents, Joni Mitchell on December 5, 2021. Her music has spanned decades and her varied genres are hard to categorize. Her approach to music was never predictable, always unique, rich in content, poetic, and complicated. Although not for its original intended message, Joni Mitchell’s best songs should be heeded before we willfully allow central planning to throw aside free markets, given the size and divinely designed autonomy of the Earth’s human population; in exchange for global policy to fix a hyperbolic threat of a dystopian environment, which is not doomed to collapse given its enormous size.
Joni Mitchell’s Best Songs Teach About Socialism
Beautiful and haunting
No stranger to hardship from an early age (polio), Joni Mitchell sang of personal freedom; and once famous, lived the creative life fully, above the fray of the masses while rising to fame during the unfettered times of the 1960s. She kept bumping into life’s distractions, disappointments, and pain. So she wrote music about life’s reality on a personal level, but embraced the escape of fantasy (like most musicians) on a social and economic level. She could afford to do that, given her enormous talent and real economic success. Ironically that embrace was a necessary part of her creative career, but contrary to the economic and social reality of our world that allowed her to rise to fame and fortune.
One of her first big hits, Big Yellow Taxi, was released in 1970 with the above reprise, “Don’t it always seem to go…….” About that time the hippies had the notion that humans were ruining the climate with our economic activity. And the song, for all its creativity, inspired a generation to bemoan the evils of industry. Only eight years before, Rachel Carson had released the book, Silent Spring. 50 years later we are still captives to the agony and predictions of doom over climate change.
But hark! We are still alive, and the data indicates that the countries with the greatest economic freedom have the cleanest environments in the world, thanks to our industrial technology and our standard of living. There are still many challenges to the health of our bodies and our environment, but the discovery of solutions has never come from policy dictates; rather from competitive markets.
By the way, the application of free markets has not only cleaned-up environments, but has pulled more people out of poverty and into prosperity than any other social system on the planet; with or without the interference from government. It has also been observed that it is better to send free trade overseas, minus intellectual property, than armies.
Teaching Us About Socialism
Marxism By Many Names
Did a song by Joni Mitchell coming out of 1970 cause this mass cognitive dissonance in society? Did a big yellow taxi take us down this road to a vision of pristine nature with zero costs from human activity, by gradually dismantling competitive markets and replacing them with a politically forced economy? Let’s put it this way, it was an encouragement, but not really the initial start. The “intellectuals” and foot soldiers of a “new” ideology in universities, government, and media were quietly planning a future fantastic utopia. They were pouring this worldview into hearts and minds from before Joni Mitchell showed-up on the scene. The history and vision goes back further than the musings of a very talented artist. What was that “new” ideology?
The answer to that questions: Call it what you like, because the name and dilution (like soup du jour) keeps changing to protect the guilty – communism, national socialism, international socialism, fascism, Fabian socialism, central planning, neoliberalism, progressivism, or now – democratic socialism, all of which is plain old Marxism from the vision of Karl Marx.
Wait! – how about agrarian communism to appease the varied environmentalists down through the last five decades? Sorry, that didn’t work in Cambodia when Pol Pot forced everyone into the fields to work in “pristine” environments. Later Cambodia became known as the Killing Fields, when over 1.5 to 3 million bodies were found executed. Why? Is there anyone in Hollywood allowed to say? The Killing Fields was made into a money-maker low-resolution-messaged film for Hollywood, but the media giants intentionally ignored the reasons behind the tragedy.
Before it was called Marxism, this idea also didn’t work at Plymouth, today Massachusetts, in 1620 when governor William Bradford put an end to the communal sharing of property for farming.
Well here we all are in 2022 bumping along on this publicly-funded magic bus (so to speak) courtesy of the US government, promising us whatever we desire for free, but driving us to their predetermined final destination – Fantasy Inland. No longer are we riding on our chosen taxi that will take us individually wherever we like to go.
Famous artists, like Joni Mitchell, envision a life different from what we know, yet similar enough to be recognizable. The really good talents can instill feelings, ideas, and thoughts that help humans to be introspective about themselves and their relationships with others and the Earth, but their experience is only samplings of life at the local level, when they tour the world. What most artists cannot do, is clearly understand that our social and economic life is unknown to those who visit localities for the cultural exchange and experience, and at higher macro levels works mostly by its own volition the freer it is, Thank goodness that most celebrities in the arts keep their day jobs, because they are not very good at the social sciences. Miraculously, that understanding is really not necessary the further one is removed from home, especially for public officials who want to meddle in everything.
The Halo Effect
Famous people, like Joni Mitchell, (and politicians) think they know more than they do.
Unfortunately, some of the famous celebrities going back before Joni Mitchell’s day, engage in political public relations campaigns (consciously or unconsciously) using what is known as the halo effect on a crowd. Just a few of weeks ago, to my disappointment, Joni did the same in the Joe Roogan-Spotify-Neil Young situation. The halo effect is a type of cognitive bias whereby our perception of a person’s positive trait, skill, narrow and specific knowledge base, affects our perception of their person, product, service, or ideas of which they are not experienced. Modern politics has made an art form of this art form. Today it is hard to distinguish the difference between motivations, behaviors, and personalities in Hollywood and in Washington DC.
Considering that young Mitchell gained notoriety in the late 60s and early 70s, it is no wonder that the culture of the time has had an undo bearing on her and our worldview; including subsequent generations. Many prominent people in public life and all their admirers are still stuck in the nostalgia of the 60s and 70s and are ideologically possessed, disconnected from the conscious observation that most of that era was just one of great entertainment, but junk Marxist philosophy.
“Who” is driving the “Magic Bus” now? It is hard to say, because central planning must spawn slowly in the dark under various assumed names in order to emerge suddenly upon society. Otherwise it would never gain acceptance.
We doubt the driver is the guy that occupied the presidential box at the Kennedy Center recently, but more likely a whole network of people just inland from the East Coast in Washington DC and New York’s media enclave. A complex bevy of socialists spread even further inland to our schools, institutions, universities, corporations, churches, and bureaucracies; all the way to the left coast and to the center of fantasy just inland from the West Coast in Hollywood.
Many in Washington DC, where the rubber meets the road of political power, believe that they know the way to prosperity and to rid the world of suffering by creating a “democratic” socialist utopia (both parties). However, the history of central planning’s end game and failed states has paved a fantastic road to nowhere. Central planning that starts with good intentions always ends in suffering, because the knowledge required for a prosperous society is distributed amongst the participants in an economy. Those who rise to the top in politics on the backs of the supporting artists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and workers, have dreams of fixing the world, often without understanding the different challenges of those they lord over from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Prosperity, Meaning, and Purpose
Socialism vs the Freed Market
The journey to prosperity, meaning, and purpose is not driven by some mastermind intellectual, groups of smart people, or any number of people wielding the power of political force. For life to be universally fulfilling and successful, it must be guided by God and the spirit of each individual.
Many of the US Founders understood that idea. Only subordinate to Creator’s sovereignty, is the individual’s peaceful activity and sovereignty, which reigns supreme above the sovereignty of a state. That idea came through the Founders to us by its codification in the Declaration of Independence.
The domination over one’s life by another human, or a group of humans, is a very old and tired idea that can be found in empires, socialism and its numerous iterations. Much like environments, economies and societies are organic in nature. They both require balance. Too much ignorant distant tweaking and interference becomes parasitic and causes unintended consequences. Too little knowledge and skill from stewards of the land causes the chaos of nature to environments and loss of equilibrium to economies and societies.
Conclusion: Joni Mitchell’s Best Songs Teach About Socialism
“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.”
― Friedrich Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism
“Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”
– Joni Mitchell
Although not for its original intended message, Joni Mitchell’s advice should be heeded before we willfully allow central planning to throw aside free markets, given the size and divinely designed autonomy of the Earth’s human population; in exchange for global policy to fix a hyperbolic threat of a dystopian environment, which is not doomed to collapse given its enormous size. The real danger is a uniform population of ignorant complacent minions unwilling and unable to resist a dystopian economic and social collapse at the hands of socialists (note: Al Gore’s visible bitterness over his loss of political power in the documentary – An Inconvenient Truth). The former climate observations by politicians have a short and unclear history and unreliable predictions into the future.
What was once a warning of climate catastrophe using the public relations ploy of fear, has become a full-blown chicken-little-the-sky-is-falling panic. What was once just a taxi ride is now a manufactured express train wreck about to happen, unless we learn what we have……before it’s gone.