Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

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Capitalism, like any human creation is not perfect. It is just the most efficient economic system we have found so far. When it is worshiped, as it has been by the successful or hopeful or merely Republican in our society and allowed to go unregulated, bad things have happened. Still no so bad as in a Soviet style command economy.

Moderation is a good thing, that's why we have labor, product safety and environmental regulation, just like we have traffic laws.


Purest common sense, Clark.

Sissy Willis

Thank you for a most thought-provoking essay.

I guess where you come down on whether capitalism is moral or not depends upon how you interpret the assertion that morality is "based in concern for others 'as thyself.'" Adam Smith's invisible hand comes to mind.

In response to your assertion that sometimes "government has to intervene to keep the cornucopia pumping by bailing out a Bear Stearns from the consequences of its hypercapitalism," I offer the thoughts of -- in self-described former "brain-dead liberal" David Mamet's words, "our greatest contemporary philosopher" -- Thomas Sowell:

"More fundamentally, markets readjust themselves for a reason. That reason is that people pay a price for their misjudgments and mistakes. Government interventions are usually based on trying to stop them from having to pay that price. People who went way out on a limb to buy a house that they could not afford are now being pictured as victims of a heartless market or deceptive lenders.

"Not only a fit subject, but the only subject of drama"


I think the argument for the morality of capitalism begs the question. What moral values are most important? Equality of opportunity? Equality of outcomes? Self-determination? Care for the environment? Care for others?

To oversimplify things, capitalism works because it's based on self-interest, or greed. It frees people to pursue their own interests and goals. For that to work, people's needs and interests have to being mutually reinforcing, so that trade is a win-win scenario -- until one partner becomes too powerful and games the system. That's why we need regulation and protections.

Interestingly, the economic model of the Old Testament community was not pure capitalism, but a capitalist/socialist mix with protections for the poor, the alien, and the powerless, limits on profit-taking, and the redistribution of wealth. As an experiment in religious-based economics, it was well-designed, but as best we can tell from history, it seems never to have been fully carried out because greed killed off the socialist elements.

Peter Hoh

I'm fine with capitalism, but crony capitalism should be fought, tooth and nail.

As to Ayers having influence on the educational system, I can think of no better way to discredit an idea than having it promulgated in the schools of education.

Sissy Willis

Wicked witty update, but I would have put it this way:

Living beyond your means and the infinite deferral of consequences are what keeps Big Government infinitely expanding.


Capitalism has demonstrated, pretty convincingly, that it is the most effective way to lift people out of poverty by improving the state of the economy overall. Certainly it is a large step ahead of socialism, which has demonstrated, equally convincingly, that it reduces wealth (except, perhaps, for the special, well-connected, few) and increases poverty.

What a delightful irony, then, that the self-proclaimed champions of the poor on the left devote so much time to denouncing capitalism. It would be one thing if they objected to capitalism because there was an alternative which provided more good for the poor. But from what I have seen, the evil of capitalism is a core principle for them, not merely a result of a principled advocacy for the poor.

I realize that lots of people hold beliefs which are, when examined, mutually contradictory. But the help-the-poor/bash-capitalism one is particularly telling. If I had much faith in psychological analysis (which I don't) it would be tempting to see both positions as symptoms of self-loathing: hatred of the wealth that they grew up with combined with hatred of the system which generated that wealth for them.

Because, you will notice, the vast majority of radical leftists are people who were not born poor. They were born into families which were not only upper middle class or better, but who had been so for more than a single generation. (See Ayers, above.) Because parents or grandlarents who had actually been poor themselves would have smacked them good for spouting such nonsense? I wonder.

RW Rogers

the self-proclaimed champions of the poor on the left devote so much time to denouncing capitalism do so because, when the revolution comes, they are convinced that they will be in charge of everyone and everything, as the proper leaders who know what the masses need better than the masses do. No one is an individual, just a part of a mass (except of course the beloved leaders).

What's the Matter with Kansas? is a good example of this kind of thinking. It seems to me that Ezra Klein fits this mold. Maybe Glenn Greenwald as well.


The other interesting characteristic of the far left is that, while some few of them seem to become moderates as they get older (and spend more time having to deal with reality), many more of them seem to shift from far left to far right. Without ever hitting moderate betweentimes. (I suspect the same thing happens in the opposite direction. I just haven't been aware of it.)

Perhaps it is the certainty of extremism that attracts them, more than the particular positions and issues of the moment....

Maxwell James

Capitalism is good in the way that wind is good. It is an amoral natural force, but one that can be put to good use with the proper structures.

Nonetheless, it may still shred those structures to pieces now and again.


I wonder the degree to which socialism descends from feudalism, at least psychologically.

A person who doesn't want to compete in the capitalist way might be willing to exchange labor -- and freedom -- for a degree of protection, and is willing to be "owned" by someone who is a "better."


Interesting! In Russia it was certainly from serfdom to serfdom.


It doesn't matter if people like capitalism or not. Hating capitalism is like hating nature -- pointless.

People who hate capitalism are usually academic types with too much faith in human intelligence. They look at all the apparent disorder and unfairness and it's "obvious" they could do a better job.

It's like the biologists who say living things are poorly designed and full of unnecessary junk. The assumption is they could do a better job than evolution, or god, has done.

It's the same with economics. Capitalism, or something similar, is the inevitable result when you get rid of the aristocracy. There is no other way to have a meritocracy, or for people to control their own lives.

Leftists are just people who are unable to see the fact that society is something we are part of, not something we create. No matter how many grand plans are tried and fail miserably, they're always drawing up a new one. Check out parecon if you want to see how bizarre and twisted the leftist obsession can grow.


Capitalism is a tool. It has all the moral good and evil of a hammer or a screwdriver.

As with all tools, what matters is "How is it to be used?" It's been said that to a man possessing only a hammer every problem appears to be a nail. Similarly for those that worship capitalism: Every problem can be defined as a market. Each view is myopic.

political forum

I think that if Ayers wants to write a book about how teachers should be teaching liberal propaganda, then that's his right. However, I disapprove of him acting in any official capacity as a professor teaching these things. I think that he should not be allowed to teach that kind of curriculum at prestigious schools like U of Chicago, not unless they are willing to allow the same kind of curriculum to be taught to the benefit of conservatism.



I think he's actually at U of Illinois' Chicago campus? is that right? Anyway, it's one of the most prestigious schools of ed.

Maybe besides separation of church and state we need separation of classroom and party, or ideology. Or an equal-time doctrine like the FCC's.

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