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August 24, 2021

This is one of those stories for which it would take a heart of stone not to laugh. The socialist magazine Current Affairs is on hiatus for a month after co-founder Nathan J. Robinson effectively fired the staff because they were trying to organize a worker’s co-op and assume collective ownership.

After the staffers went public, Robinson took to Facebook to issue the standard groveling apology, and to insist that he is not a capitalist and that the magazine is run on “sound leftist values.” For instance, everyone is paid the same $45,000 salary, he never exerts authority or orders people around, and everyone works when they feel like it. But he felt he should be in charge because the organization had "developed a kind of messy structurelessness where it wasn't clear who had power to do what and there was not much accountability for getting work done. The organization had become very inefficient, I wasn't exercising any oversight, and we were adrift.”

Yes, and as the article at the link points out, those are the predictable results of running anything according to “sound leftist values” and socialist principles. Maybe Mr. Robinson should use that month-long hiatus to think about that.

He made the cardinal mistake any socialist can make: actually trying to practice the nonsense that you preach. Just as successful drug dealers won't use drugs themselves, all your really successful socialists just peddle that stuff to the suckers. That’s how you get three houses like Bernie Sanders, or a designer wardrobe like AOC, or billions in foreign bank accounts like the daughter of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

If he wants to keep putting out a magazine full of socialist tripe and have it actually run efficiently, hit deadlines and show a profit, he’ll need to run it on sound capitalist values. After all, you don’t think the people who put out MAD magazine were actually insane, do you?

PS – Another piece of advice for Mr. Robinson: follow the example of Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German media conglomerate Alex Springer. In fact, a lot of CEOs need to follow his example. After an outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in Germany in May, he ordered the Israeli flag flown outside the company’s Berlin headquarters, alongside the German and EU flags (the company owns several Israeli websites.) Some employees complained about this. In response, Döpfner didn’t back down, grovel or apologize. Instead, he held a company-wide conference call and told the employees this:

“I think, and I’m being very frank with you, a person who has an issue with an Israeli flag being raised for one week here after anti-Semitic demonstrations should look for a new job.”

And miraculously, the whining ceased…

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