Monday, July 02, 2012
century. (As it turns out, he was also an anti-Semite.) His belief
in socialism was based on silly and absurd utopian fantasies.
Specifically, he believed that the adoption of socialism would produce
a world in which the seas turned to lemonade, a drink fashionable just
back then in Paris. (Among his other ideas were that adopting
socialism would result in 6 moons orbiting the earth, women always
having four husbands simultaneously, and the North Pole would be
warmer than the Mediterranean.) He called himself the Messiah of
Since the start of the "social justice protest" movement in Israel,
the protest leaders have been co-opted by a small group of radical
leftist academics, led by professor of education Yossi Yonah from Ben
Gurion University (where else?). The Yonah team postured as the true
academic social justice public commission, in contrast with the
Trajtenberg Commission appointed by the government. The social
justice protesters have all cozied up with Yonah and his band.
The Yonah team, which includes a few other academics and also the head
of the Histadrut trade union, has just issued its own manifesto for
social justice in Israel. In comparison with its "thinking," Charles
Fourier was a rational deep thinker.
The Yonah team's road map is little more than a collection of naïve
wishes, amounting to little more than the wish that all Israelis
should be happy. It nowhere explains how any of its wishes can be
realized. The only thing it is missing is a sea made of lemonade.
The first and lead item in its "program" consists of this: It thinks
Israelis should be equal and prosperous while preserving the
environment. Just how it thinks any of that can be achieved is never
spelled out. The committee exhibits no understanding whatsoever
regarding the factors that affect income distribution and wage
determination. I doubt Yonah has ever stepped into an economics
classroom. He just wants incomes to be equal. He does not care how
incomes are determined in a market.
The rest of the lemonade-sea program is no better. The Yonah team
unabashedly calls for a massive increase in the size of the public
sector (the same week that Americans are up in arms over a Supreme
Court decision that would allow the government to order them to buy
health insurance). The Yonah manifesto calls for the government to
provide a much wider scope of services currently provided by the
private sector. It calls for suppressing "short term capital
investments" because these supposedly harm "stability," whatever that
is. It calls for better education and health services, without saying
how this can be achieved. The manifesto proclaims housing a "right,"
which means presumably that, if you do not own a housing unit, it is
my duty to pay for your getting one.
The Yonah team wants a halt to privatizations and to the operation of
manpower agencies, a bugaboo of the radical Left because it allows low
income people to find jobs not covered by the "social regulations"
imposed on the market by the bureaucrats. It demands an immediate
reduction in "the cost of living," and while it offers no ideas of how
that can be achieved, the Yonah team evidently has in mind massive
subsidization. Finally, it wants to make governmental budgeting more
"democratic," by making it less democratic and stripping the
representatives of the people of their control over it, passing on
this power to leftist NGOs. It is all a sort of mixture of Lenin with
The main thing that the Yonah social justice program really
illustrates is what has become of academic standards at Ben Gurion