Ethics Quote Of The Week: Garry Kasparov, Former Russian Chess Champion And Dissident, And While I’m Thinking Of It, Is It Too Late To Draft HIM For President?

Checkmate Strategy

“I’m enjoying the irony of American Sanders supporters lecturing me, a former Soviet citizen, on the glories of Socialism and what it really means! Socialism sounds great in speech soundbites and on Facebook, but please keep it there. In practice, it corrodes not only the economy but the human spirit itself, and the ambition and achievement that made modern capitalism possible and brought billions of people out of poverty. Talking about Socialism is a huge luxury, a luxury that was paid for by the successes of capitalism. Income inequality is a huge problem, absolutely. But the idea that the solution is more government, more regulation, more debt, and less risk is dangerously absurd.”

—-Former chess grandmaster and Soviet dissident Garry Kasparov on Facebook, explaining to  clueless  U.S. citizens what they don’t appreciate about their own system, from the perspective of an immigrant who has seen where socialist fantasies lead.

Of course, Kasparov isn’t remotely eligible to be President, since he was born in Russia and is now a Croatian citizen. Yet if I could, I would vote for him over any of the leading candidates in both parties even if he couldn’t speak English and had to commute from Croatia.

Kasperov, who is the chairman of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation and the author of Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, elaborated on his theme at the Daily Beast, giving an American history lesson in the process (Does Donald Trump know any of this stuff? No chance!) and saying in part…

The government does have a role in addressing rising inequality. I turn not to Denmark or Venezuela or, god forbid, to the Soviet Union. Instead let us look to the last great battle between labor and capital in America, between public and private power. Just over 100 years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt spoke loudly and used his big stick against some of the world’s largest corporations when they were abusing their monopoly power. His successor, fellow Republican William Taft, continued the antitrust mission, at least initially…To give credit, Senator Sanders supports breaking up the giant banking institutions that dominate American finance and politics in a way that would evoke jealousy from John Pierpont Morgan himself. However, Sanders’s socialist policies would replace banks that are too big to fail with a government that is too big to succeed. Taft warned about exactly this in his 1911 State of the Union. Busting the trusts was to free the market, not to insert the government into it. It was necessary to break up Standard Oil and American Tobacco in order to preserve capitalism, not to institute socialism. Taft said, “The anti-trust act is the expression of the effort of a freedom-loving people to preserve equality of opportunity. It is the result of the confident determination of such a people to maintain their future growth by preserving uncontrolled and unrestricted the enterprise of the individual, his industry, his ingenuity, his intelligence, and his independent courage.”…Unfortunately, today’s progressive solution would instead be to raise Standard Oil’s taxes and those of its wealthiest shareholders in order to pay for more services, like free college and health care. It would have been an acceptable choice for many, but the American 20th century would never have happened.

Which, I gather, would have been fine with Bernie and his supporters.

Let’s see: persuade Garry to move here from Croatia, have him obtain citizenship, get a Constitutional Amendment that repeals the requirement of natural born citizenship, hope for a brokered convention…nah, there’s no time. Maybe we should just move to Croatia.


Pointer: Ann Althouse

20 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Garry Kasparov, Former Russian Chess Champion And Dissident, And While I’m Thinking Of It, Is It Too Late To Draft HIM For President?

  1. You get a little chill when someone exactly sums up your own thought. My first question for earnest progressives is, “How can you recommend restraining the power of corporations by subordinating them to a state that is even more powerful?”

  2. Does he just have a problem with the name “socialism”? Kasparov smugly lectures U.S. citizens, while enjoying what in the United States would be considered “crazy socialism.” Croatia is hardly some bastion of the free market economy, with free college tuition, one year mandatory paid maternity leave, and universal, state-run health-care. I think Bernie would be well-satisfied with any of that.

  3. From the article: “As long as Europe had America taking risks, investing ambitiously, attracting the world’s dreamers and entrepreneurs, and yes, being unequal, it could benefit from the results without making the same sacrifices. Add to that the incalculable windfall of not having to spend on national defense thanks to America’s massive investment in a global security umbrella. America doesn’t have the same luxury of coasting on the ambition and sacrifice of another country.”

    And actually, I think this is part of why both Bernie and Trump (both of whom have inveighed against current American trade/foreign policy) are making waves; a lot of Americans are tired of making personal economic sacrifices for a world that seems to see them as pariahs and suckers (there’s potential ripe ground for any candidate who coherently articulates a policy that pressures the rest of the West to pick up more of the international trade/security slack). In fact, when you combine this with environmentalist concerns, I think a lot of people in the West now really would be perfectly fine with a more slowly growing economy if it meant that a decent income would be 100% guaranteed both right now and forever. I will say that Kasperov is being somewhat unfair to Western Europe, which is actually comprised of fairly innovative societies in their own right (both artistically and technologically)

    • a lot of Americans are tired of making personal economic sacrifices for a world that seems to see them as pariahs and suckers….

      Sounds like what happens when your grown-up kids come home to roost.

  4. I heard Kasparov speak at a local presidential library and he was impressive. I don’t think it’s likely that it is likely that in the near future that a constitutional amendment will pass and make it possible for a naturalized citizen to run for president. However, I’d settle for him becoming Governor of California. He’d be a lot better than Brown or Arnold S.

  5. Kasparov is the greatest. (He may even be as smart as our current President. Or even Hillary Clinton. Who knows?)

    I am still constantly amazed by the children and grand children of Russian Jews who fled Russia to the United States and flourished here, and spend all their time militating for Stalinism to be brought to the United States ASAP. Bernie, Saul Alinsky, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Cohen, Katrina van den Heuvel. What are they thinking?

    And why are reparations discussed in the U.S. while Russia (not to mentions England), which, you know, (as Hillary Clinton would say) only freed its serfs via Nicholas II in 1862 (you know, while the U.S. was fighting a bloody civil war), gets a free pass?

    Sorry. Just a couple of my hobby horses.

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