….Regardless of how people may feel about the Thanksgiving Holiday, one thing should be obvious to even the most casual observer of history: Thanksgiving was (and still is) founded on the Christian notion we have something to be thankful for and someone to be thankful to. These first observers of Thanksgiving understood who it was they were to thank. Over and over again, through the early years of the colonies to the most difficult days of our national history, believers and leaders have affirmed and humbled themselves to the providence and protection of God. Those who initiated this national holiday intended it to be a day of thanksgiving and prayer; a day in which all of us could offer thanks to the God of the Universe.
In 1534, Jacques Cartier of France set off to discover a northwest passage to China. Though encouraged by his discovery of the Gulf of St. Lawrence on his first voyage; and, in a subsequent voyage, his discovery of the St. Lawrence River, he eventually accepted that what he had discovered wasn’t a northwest passage, but was a vast territory inhabited by various tribes of Indians, with a harsh and unforgiving climate. In three voyages, he traded with the Indians, possessing as he did useful things made of metal, that the Indians found to be quite valuable since they had not mastered metal-working. But, because of the harsh winters and Indian raids, the place was less than ideal for colonization.
In 1604, an attempt was made by the French to establish a permanent colony at St. Croix, in present day Maine, on the Bay of Fundy. (The bay is located between Nova Scotia on the east and New Brunswick and Maine on the west.) The site was terrible. The change in altitude from inland to the coast acted like a flue, bringing the freezing cold wind from the northwest down upon the settlement. Half the colony died that winter. The next year, the survivors relocated across the bay, at Port Royal. This became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas north of Florida, following the abandonment or other end of the Viking settlements at the onset of the Little Ice Age.
The first permanent English colony in the Americas north of Florida was established at Jamestown, Virginia, two years later, in 1607. This colony would have failed if not for the assistance of the local Indian tribe, the Powhatan Indians. Even so, the colonists and the Powhatan Indians recurrently warred against each other. To cement the peace treaty ending one of these wars, an Indian princess named Pocahontas married one of the leaders of the colony, John Rolfe. She converted to Christianity and returned with her husband to England where she entered society as a lady. In 1619, the colony organized a representative body, the House of Burgesses, to provide local government.
The Virginia colony had been founded as a joint stock company based on the prospect of discovering gold and diamonds and such. But, as an investment, the company proved to be a complete loss. The king dissolved the corporate charter, and reorganized the colony as with a royal charter. But, eventually the colony began turning a profit with the cultivation of tobacco.
Further to the north, a second permanent English colony was organized in Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts, in 1620. It, like the original location of the French in the Bay of Fundy was unfortunately sited in terms of the local climate. Cape Cod, jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, directed the warming currents of the Gulf Stream eastward, leaving the shores of the bay particularly cold. The first winter proved very harsh, and half the settlers perished. An Indian named Squanto of a local tribe arrived on the scene and helped the survivors with fishing, hunting and planting. The local tribe allied with the colony and became something of a conduit for the exchange of metal tools and such for furs acquired from inland tribes.
The Plymouth Bay colony consisted of religious dissidents, known as Puritans, for whom the Church of England, though a Protestant church, was a backsliding church. Their journey to the New World was a search for an isolated place where their rules would be law. It is possible that their celebration of Thanksgiving was in keeping with the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, an eight-day holiday, that is to culminate in a community-wide dinner. During the week, you are to live outdoors, if this is possible, and eat outdoors, under an open canopy. It is a time to remember the wandering in the desert, when Israel was guided by the Shekinah Glory and God was with his people. It is also a time to anticipate when the Shekinah Glory will return, and when God will again be with his people.
The Story of Squanto… WHY the Pilgrims saw God’s providential hand on their lives, and gave thanks to God for this Providence over the course of mankind. Here, Eric Metaxas talks about some of this history in his Wall Street Journal article (as well as an excellent video by Ben Shapiro):
…Every Thanksgiving we remember that, to escape religious persecution, the Pilgrims sailed to the New World, landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620. But numerous trading ships had visited the area earlier. Around 1608 an English ship dropped anchor off the coast of what is today Plymouth, Mass., ostensibly to trade metal goods for the natives’ beads and pelts. The friendly Patuxets received the crew but soon discovered their dark intentions. A number of the braves were brutally captured, taken to Spain and sold into slavery.
One of them, a young man named Tisquantum, or Squanto, was bought by a group of Catholic friars, who evidently treated him well and freed him, even allowing him to dream of somehow returning to the New World, an almost unimaginable thought at the time. Around 1612, Squanto made his way to London, where he stayed with a man namedJohn Slany and learned his ways and language. In 1618, a ship was found, and in return for serving as an interpreter, Squanto would be given one-way passage back to the New World.
After spending a winter in Newfoundland, the ship made its way down the coast of Maine and Cape Cod, where Squanto at last reached his own shore. After 10 years, Squanto returned to the village where he had been born. But when he arrived, to his unfathomable disappointment, there was no one to greet him. What had happened?
It seems that since he had been away, nearly every member of the Patuxets had perished from disease, perhaps smallpox, brought by European ships. Had Squanto not been kidnapped, he would almost surely have died. But perhaps he didn’t feel lucky to have been spared. Surely, he must have wondered how his extraordinary efforts could amount to this. At first he wandered to another Wampanoag tribe, but they weren’t his people. He was a man without a family or tribe, and eventually lived alone in the woods.
But his story didn’t end there. In the bleak November of 1620, the Mayflower passengers, unable to navigate south to the warmer land of Virginia, decided to settle at Plymouth, the very spot where Squanto had grown up. They had come in search of religious freedom, hoping to found a colony based on Christian principles.
Their journey was very difficult, and their celebrated landing on the frigid shores of Plymouth proved even more so. Forced to sleep in miserably wet and cold conditions, many of them fell gravely ill. Half of them died during that terrible winter. One can imagine how they must have wept and wondered how the God they trusted and followed could lead them to this agonizing pass. They seriously considered returning to Europe.
But one day during that spring of 1621, a Wampanoag walked out of the woods to greet them. Somehow he spoke perfect English. In fact, he had lived in London more recently than they had. And if that weren’t strange enough, he had grown up on the exact land where they had settled.
Because of this, he knew everything about how to survive there; not only how to plant corn and squash, but how to find fish and lobsters and eels and much else. The lone Patuxet survivor had nowhere to go, so the Pilgrims adopted him as one of their own and he lived with them on the land of his childhood.
No one disputes that Squanto’s advent among the Pilgrims changed everything, making it possible for them to stay and thrive. Squanto even helped broker a peace with the local tribes, one that lasted 50 years, a staggering accomplishment considering the troubles settlers would face later.
So the question is: Can all of this have been sheer happenstance, as most versions of the story would have us believe? The Pilgrims hardly thought so. To them, Squanto was a living answer to their tearful prayers, an outrageous miracle of God. Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford declared in his journal that Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God” who didn’t leave them “till he died.”…
On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs.
Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.
“But this was no pleasure cruise, friends. The journey to the New World was a long and arduous one. And when the Pilgrims landed in New England in November, they found, according to Bradford’s detailed journal, a cold, barren, desolate wilderness,” destined to become the home of the Kennedy family. “There were no friends to greet them, he wrote. There were no houses to shelter them. There were no inns where they could refresh themselves. And the sacrifice they had made for freedom was just beginning.
During the first winter, half the Pilgrims – including Bradford’s own wife – died of either starvation, sickness or exposure.
“When spring finally came, Indians taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish for cod and skin beavers for coats.” Yes, it was Indians that taught the white man how to skin beasts. “Life improved for the Pilgrims, but they did not yet prosper! This is important to understand because this is where modern American history lessons often end. “Thanksgiving is actually explained in some textbooks as a holiday for which the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians for saving their lives, rather than as a devout expression of gratitude grounded in the tradition of both the Old and New Testaments.
Here is the part [of Thanksgiving] that has been omitted: The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share.
“All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well. They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. Nobody owned anything. They just had a share in it. It was a commune, folks. It was the forerunner to the communes we saw in the ’60s and ’70s out in California – and it was complete with organic vegetables, by the way.
Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives.
He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace.
“That’s right. Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism. And what happened?
It didn’t work! Surprise, surprise, huh?
What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation!
But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently.
What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild’s history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering in the future.
“‘The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years…that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,’ Bradford wrote. ‘For this community [so far as it was] was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense…that was thought injustice.’
Why should you work for other people when you can’t work for yourself? What’s the point?
“Do you hear what he was saying, ladies and gentlemen? The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford’s community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property.
Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result?
‘This had very good success,’ wrote Bradford, ‘for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.’
Bradford doesn’t sound like much of a… liberal Democrat, “does he? Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? Yes.
“Read the story of Joseph and Pharaoh in Genesis 41. Following Joseph’s suggestion (Gen 41:34), Pharaoh reduced the tax on Egyptians to 20% during the ‘seven years of plenty’ and the ‘Earth brought forth in heaps.’ (Gen. 41:47)
In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves…. So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London.
And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the ‘Great Puritan Migration.'”
Now, other than on this program every year, have you heard this story before? Is this lesson being taught to your kids today — and if it isn’t, why not? Can you think of a more important lesson one could derive from the pilgrim experience?
So in essence there was, thanks to the Indians, because they taught us how to skin beavers and how to plant corn when we arrived, but the real Thanksgiving was thanking the Lord for guidance and plenty — and once they reformed their system and got rid of the communal bottle and started what was essentially free market capitalism, they produced more than they could possibly consume, and they invited the Indians to dinner, and voila, we got Thanksgiving, and that’s what it was: inviting the Indians to dinner and giving thanks for all the plenty is the true story of Thanksgiving.
The last two-thirds of this story simply are not told.
Now, I was just talking about the plenty of this country and how I’m awed by it. You can go to places where there are famines, and we usually get the story, “Well, look it, there are deserts, well, look it, Africa, I mean there’s no water and nothing but sand and so forth.”
It’s not the answer, folks. Those people don’t have a prayer because they have no incentive. They live under tyrannical dictatorships and governments.
The problem with the world is not too few resources. The problem with the world is an insufficient distribution of capitalism. 
(Editor’s note: A recent federal bill memorializing as a National Historic Trail what has come to be known as the Cherokee Indian Trail of Tears is based on false history, argues William R. Higginbotham. In this article, the Texas-based writer delves into the historic record and concludes that about 840 Indians not the 4,000 figure commonly accepted died in the 1837-38 trek west; that the government-financed march was conducted by the Indians themselves; and that the phrase “Trail of Tears” was a label that was added 70 years later under questionable circumstances.) The problem with some of our accounts of history is that they have been manipulated to fit conclusions not borne out by facts. Nothing could be more intellectually dishonest. This is about a vivid case in point.
Happens every Thanksgiving, doesn’t? Some bleeding heart liberal you’re “related to” gets on their moral high Crazy Horse and lectures about how horribly rotten the white man was to the Native Americans. Which is why this year we’re throwing in the tomahawk. Time to scalp the facts about the Indians. Feathers not dots….
MYTH: THE NATIVE AMERICANS WERE A PEACEFUL CULTURE TO WHOM THE CONCEPT OF WAR WAS FOREIGN
FACT: MANY WERE BRUTAL, CONQUERING ***HOLES
Native Americans warred with each other since, forever. Sometimes it was over hunting or farming grounds, sometimes revenge, sometimes to steal, sometimes to kill. I don’t say this to demonize them, they were no different than any other regressive, Neolithic cultures on other continents.
But the truth is that the only way settlers were able to conquer this land was through the help of Native Americans who teamed up with them to settle the score with the other, more assholish tribes. You think Cortes was able to conquer with only 500 Conquisadors. Course not, it took 50,000 ANGRY allied Native Americans who’d had it up to here with being enslaved and forced to carry gold for the other, Native Aztecs.
Some of of the Indian tribes were the most brutal in existence.
They practiced enslavement, rape, cannibalism, would sometimes target women and children, tribes like the Commanchees would butcher babies and roast people alive… and by the way, where do you think we LEARNED scalping?
MYTH: NATIVE AMERICANS WERE AN ADVANCED SOCIETY
TRUTH: NOT EVEN CLOSE
Smell that? It’s your sacred cow being torched. After I scalped her, of course. Unlike Rome, Greece, China, or pretty much any great empire which had already existed at that time, the Native Americans didn’t have advanced plumbing, transportation, mathematics or really… anything that led to the iphone on which you’re currently watching this. That whole beautiful “horseback Indian” culture you read about? It’s a lie because they hadn’t even domesticated horses. Not only that, but they didn’t even use the WHEEL. No really. 1400 AD… no wheel.
Even more reason that, when you’re that far behind, the clash of civilizations is going to be THAT much more drastic when the new wheel-using world catches up to you.
MYTH: THE SETTLERS DELIBERATELY INFECTED NATIVES WITH SMALLPOX BLANKETS TO WHIPE THEM OUT
TRUTH: ONLY IDIOTS COULD POSSIBLY BELIEVE THIS
Think about it. You really believe Europeans waged microbial, biological warfare… long before discovery, mass acceptance or even close to an understanding of advanced germ theory?
So it’s not true. You can look forever for historical accounts of mass smallpox blankets being pajamagrammed to the peaceful Indians, but you won’t find them. But there is SOME truth to the myth, which brings us to our final point.
MYTH: EUROPEANS COMMITTED MASS GENOCIDE. KILLING EVERY NATIVE AMERICAN FOR SPORT
TRUTH: NOT EVEN CLOSE
However, it is estimated that at high as 95% of pre-Columbian Native Americans were in fact killed off by disease, WHY? Because Europeans introduced new diseases to which the Native Americans hadn’t developed an immunity not only with THEMSELVES but now contact with animals like again HORSES which Native Americans hadn’t domesticated. Again, because they were such an archaic, unadvanced society.
Sure there were plenty of bloody, horrendous, unimaginable battles that occurred, and generally when it comes to neoloithic tribes and more advances settlers, the guys with the boom-boom sticks win. This isn’t exclusive to America or all that uncommon.
But Europeans were not hellbent on wiping out Native Americans, they were actually encouraged to bring the people into European culture and convert them to Christianity. Plus, inter-marrying was incredibly common. How else do you explain Johnny Depp, Angalina Jolie, Kid Cudi and even imaginary Elizabeth Warren claiming to be 1/16th Cherokee?
Killing people is bad. But so is milking, misleading and guilting all future generations for crimes they didn’t commit. Yep, Europeans conquered the Native Americans, created a Constitutional Republic, and advanced in mere centuries what Natives couldn’t do for thousands of years here on the plot of land that is America. So close this smartphone window, go enjoy your turkey and tell your social justice warrior cousin at the table to shut that mustached, single-origin-coffee drinking-hole. Or just… hand him a smallpox napkin.
Among all the tricks and treats, cultural appropriation is an undeniable problem this time of year.
By “undeniable problem” she means “irresistible opportunity for moralistic preening by social leftists.” In this case, she recommends cornering those whose costumes are deemed “offensive” and delivering a stern lecture on the sin of “cultural appropriation.”
“Cultural Appropriation” is a term created by sanctimonious social leftists to attack white people who enjoy partaking of non-white, non-European culture. White entertainers that incorporate elements of African, Caribbean, or Asian influences into their art and music: jazz, for example or Kabuki-inspired costumes, are guilty of cultural appropriation. Note that “Cultural Appropriation” only goes one way; to suggest that Africans should not attempt “white European art” such as ballet or classical music would be racism. “Cultural appropriation” has been extended by the sanctimonious social left to condemn colleges that serve tacos on campus and people who dress up as ninjas or bandidos for Halloween.
In reality, “cultural appropriation” is something privileged leftists made up to lord over other people because they have no real problems and no real morality. There’s also an element of the Baby Boom Left — for whom race sensitivity rivals only hyper-environmentalism as their religion of choice — that needs to keep their pieties from dying out in the Next Generation; even as racism becomes culturally and socially irrelevant.
“The original cultural appropriators”
More on the YALE PROFESSOR
(Young Conservatives have a really good post on this) This comes via Gay Patriot’s commentary on “a generation is raised to believe that they are so wonderful and so special that anything that offends them…”
They were mad because a professor said in an email that if someone’s Halloween costume offended them, they should try and act like adults about it. (The longer version can be found here)
Michael Knowles explains the difference between leftist lies and reality, and why Christopher Columbus is the Left’s public enemy #1
To analogize the main point, it would be like taking the political attacks in politics as who a person really is. Here is a great example:
Jefferson called Adams “a blind, bald, crippled, toothless man who is a hideous hermaphroditic character with neither the force and fitness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.”
The Federalists attacked the fifty-seven-year-old Jefferson as a godless Jacobin who would unleash the forces of bloody terror upon the land. With Jefferson as President, so warned Adams (actually the Connecticut Courant), “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.” Reportedly New Englanders hid their Bibles for fear that the infidel Jefferson would declare them illegal if elected. In 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams called Andrew Jackson a murderer and a cannibal.
John Stossel investigates a New York City park bathroom that cost $2 million to build. For that price you might expect gold-plated fixtures—but it’s just a tiny building with four toilets and four sinks.
New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver says $2 million was a good deal because “New York City is the most expensive place to build.” He estimates that future bathrooms will cost more than $3 million. Commissioner Silver argues that this park, on the outskirts of Brooklyn, will get so much use that it must be built to last, and that can be expensive.
Yet privately managed Bryant Park, in the middle of Manhattan, gets much more use and its recent bathroom renovation cost just $271,000. Since government spends other people’s money, it doesn’t need to worry about cost or speed. Every decision is bogged down by time-wasting “public engagement,” inflated union wages, and productivity-killing work rules. Two million dollars for a bathroom. That’s your government at work.
Gay Patriot introduces us to the myth often put forward by the left. This post by Gay Patriot will add to the video by Bill Whittle that follows it:
One of the myths Progressive Leftists elevate to “fact” by constantly repeating it to each other is the idea that Scandinavian countries are the closest on Earth fulfillment to their socialist dream utopia. ~ Gay patriot
Visitors say Danes are joyless to be around. Denmark suffers from high rates of alcoholism. In its use of antidepressants it ranks fourth in the world. (Its fellow Nordics the Icelanders are in front by a wide margin.) Some 5 percent of Danish men have had sex with an animal. Denmark’s productivity is in decline, its workers put in only 28 hours a week, and everybody you meet seems to have a government job. Oh, and as The Telegraph put it, it’s “the cancer capital of the world.”
So how happy can these drunk, depressed, lazy, tumor-ridden, pig-bonking bureaucrats really be?
I think my favorite paragraph is where he cites the Scandinavian Social Contract as the “Ten Commandments of Buzzkill.”
“You shall not believe that you are someone,” goes one. “You shall not believe that you are as good as we are,” is another. Others included “You shall not believe that you are going to amount to anything,” “You shall not believe that you are more important than we are” and “You shall not laugh at us.”
They read like the 10 Commandments of Progressive Leftism…
…From 1970 until 1989, taxes rose exorbitantly, killing private initiative, while entitlements became excessive. Laws were often altered and became unpredictable. As a consequence, Sweden endured two decades of low growth. In 1991-93, the country suffered a severe crash in real estate and banking that reduced GDP by 6 percent. Public spending had surged to 71.7 percent of GDP in 1993, and the budget deficit reached 11 percent of GDP.
TURNING POINT The combination of the crisis and the non-socialist government under Carl Bildt from 1991 to 1994 broke the trend and turned the country around. In 1994, the Social Democrats returned to power and stayed until 2006. Instead of revoking the changes, they completed the fiscal tightening. In 2006, a non-socialist government returned, and Finance Minister Anders Borg, with his trademark ponytail and earring, has led further reforms. Sweden successfully weathered the global financial crisis that started in 2008, and the Financial Times named Borg Europe’s best finance minister last year.
Before 2009, Sweden had a budget surplus, and it has one again. For the past two years, economic growth has been 4 percent on average, and the current-account surplus was 6.7 percent in 2011. The only concerns are the depressed demand for exports caused by the current euro crisis and an unemployment rate that is about 7.5 percent.
Sweden’s traditional scourge is taxes, which used to be the highest in the world. The current government has cut them every year and abolished wealth taxes. Inheritance and gift taxes are also gone. Until 1990, the maximum marginal income tax rate was 90 percent. Today, it is 56.5 percent. That is still one of the world’s highest, after Belgium’s 59.4 and there is strong public support for a cut to 50 percent.
The 26 percent tax on corporate profits may seem reasonable from an American perspective, but Swedish business leaders want to reduce it to 20 percent. Tax competition is fierce in some parts of Europe. Most East European countries, for example, have slashed corporate taxes to 15-19 percent….
Reason.org Weighs in on the “Swedish” experiment, how it got its wealth, noting how it squandered it, and how it is returning to the pre-70’s ideology:
Sweden is a powerful example of the importance of public policy. The Nordic nation became rich between 1870 and 1970 when government was very small, but then began to stagnate as welfare state policies were implemented in the 1970s and 1980s. The CF&P Foundation video explains that Sweden is now shifting back to economic freedom in hopes of undoing the damage caused by an excessive welfare state.
And do not think for a moment that the free-market has not allowed Sweden or other Nordic nations to get back on their feet. This is is pointed out in the following “101” presentation on economics:
For those of us who place more trust in free markets than state-directed economies, we must inevitably (and repeatedly) confront the skeptical interlocutor who details the “successes” of Swedish social democracy. “If state intervention into the economy is so bad, high taxes so destructive, then why is Sweden such a success?” It’s an irritatingly simple question with a incredibly complicated answer, though I do recommend pointing out, when the conversation turns to health care and secondary education, that nothing, in a state the confiscates a massive portion of your income, is “free.” But as many have pointed out, during its boom years, Sweden was a pretty free market place; from the 1970s through the 1990s—when taxes and regulation dramatically increased—the economy slowed until it spun out in the early 1990s…
…So here is my bottom line: When some American pundit, with expertise is everything, explains why some European welfare state “works,” or how everything you know is wrong about taxing income at 75 percent, do a little digging, make use of Google Translate, and don’t trust that, because Swedes and Danes tell researchers that they are happy, the United States should introduce “daddy leave” and provide subsidies to syndicalist newspapers.
The best English-language explication of the Swedish model comes from my pal Johan Norberg, who wrote this brilliant piece for The National Interest a few years back. And watch my interview with Norberg on Swedish welfare politics here and on Naomi Klein here.
The following interview is Johan Norberg, author of In Defense of Global Capitalism, sits down with reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan to sort out the myths of the Sweden’s welfare state, health services, tax rates, and its status as the “most successful society the world has ever known.”
National Review seems like a good place to continue the theme of showing how the Nordic countries have used the free-market system to recoup what it has lost with previous regulations that crippled free-enterprise. Here is a comparison between Sweden and Venzuala that was helpful in explaining how Sweden has less regulations that us in many places (a recent phenomenon BTW):
Talk to a Bernie Sanders voter about “socialism” — and they can be very insistent about using the word — and you’ll get paeans to Sweden, which is not a socialist country but a country with large, expensive welfare state. The distinction is not trivial: There is relatively little in the way of state-run enterprise in Sweden; the Swedish government is in fact only a 60 percent partner in the postal service. The Swedish government is, alas, in the casino business, albeit in a more transparent way than American government is. On the Heritage economic-freedom rankings, Sweden isn’t that far behind the United States. It has very high taxes, but taxes are not the only burden that governments put on the economy, not necessarily even the most important, and Sweden outscores the United States on a number of important metrics: free trade, property rights, freedom from corruption, investment freedom, monetary policy, etc. The United States’ small edge in the rankings comes mainly from relatively low taxes and a much less regulated labor market.
Reason.org again weighs in on whether Sweden is the right model for the U.S. to emulate:
The Above Video Description:
To the American mind there may be nothing more quintessentially Swedish than the leggy, blond supermodel.
But there’s another Swedish model that inspires almost as much admiration—the Swedish economic model. With a generous welfare state and high living standards, Sweden seems to prove that socialism works. Much of the hope that swept Barack Obama into the White House rests on the belief that America could reach new heights under a regime of enlightened progressivism, that we could be more like the Swedes.
Not so fast, warns Stockholm University sociologist Charlotta Stern: “If an American told me that the US should be more like Sweden I would say I don’t think it’s possible.” The United States can centralize its health care system and pass other laws that mimic Sweden’s welfare state polices, says Stern, but it’s impossible to replicate a culture that allows those policies to operate about as smoothly as possible. Swedish bureaucracies inspire trust, but their American counterparts (DMV, TSA, IRS) inspire punch lines, if not outrage.
But America could emulate some of the Swedish policies that don’t require extensive bureaucracies. Take school vouchers. Teachers unions in America regard the idea as free-market radicalism, but families in Sweden enjoy universal school choice. Sweden adopted its famously progressive policies during the 1970s, but after years of sluggish economic growth the land of ABBA altered its course in the 1990s, adopting a host of free-market reforms, from deregulation to tax cuts.
Although much of the disco-era welfare state remains, economist Andreas Bergh credits the free market reforms with reviving his nation’s economy. “Sweden is moving in the market economic direction,” says Bergh, “but that does not mean America should be moving in the socialist direction.”
What if the two nations continue on in different directions? Maybe some day when America is looking for a way to rejuvenate its economy, pundits will point to a different kind of Swedish model. One that increases individual choice and competition.
“Sweden—A Supermodel for America?” is produced by Daniel B. Klein, and written and produced by Ted Balaker, who also hosts. Shot by Jonathan Liberman and Henrik Devell, with additional production support by Zach Weissmueller and Sam Corcos and post production by Hawk Jensen and Austin Bragg. Special thanks to Niclas Berggren, Martin Borgs, Nils Karlson, and the Ratio Institute.
Finland is joining military exercises with other Scandinavian countries, as well as several members of NATO, in late May, Finnish media report. The maneuvers called Arctic Challenge will span 12 days, starting May 25, and include nine countries and close to 100 planes. The drills, over Sweden and northern Norway, come amid increased tensions between Russia and its Baltic and Nordic neighbors.
Sweden and Switzerland, which like Finland are not members of NATO, are expected to join the exercise, along with NATO members Norway, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Germany and the United States. Finland plans to send 16 F-18 Hornet fighter jets, while the other countries will supply Gripen “multirole” fighters, F-16s, Eurofighters and Jet Falcons, as well as transports and tankers, Russian news agency Sputnik reported. The Norwegian armed forces said the purpose of the Arctic Challenge exercise is to “learn to coordinate efforts in complicated flight operations conducted in cooperation with NATO.”
Russia has ramped up military activity along its borders with northern Europe, causing consternation in several Baltic and Nordic countries and pre-emptive actions to head off — or prepare for — a possible military crisis. Latvia, which reported a Russian submarine near its coast in mid-March, is beefing up security on its eastern border, while Finland recently began a letter campaign notifying some 900,000 reservists of their duties in a potential crisis. Sweden also intercepted four Russian planes flying over the Baltic Sea in March with their radios off. Russian jets have been intercepted in other instances while flying in European international airspace….
I also pointed out that this promise went back to the Cold War, and was not known about till a Swedish defense think-tank/security firm uncovered the agreements in 1994. The original story’s link has been lost, but it is here on FOI’s site. FOI’s “about us” page has this:
FOI is one of Europe’s leading research institutes in the areas of defence and security. We have 1,000 highly skilled employees with various backgrounds. At FOI, you will find everything from physicists, chemists, engineers, social scientists, mathematicians and philosophers to lawyers, economists and IT technicians…. The Armed Forces and the Swedish Defence Material Administration are our main customers. However, we also accept assignments from civil authorities and industry. Our clients from the defence sector place very high demands on advanced research, which also benefits other customers.
Initially after the end of World War II, Sweden quietly pursued an aggressive independent nuclear weapons program involving plutonium production and nuclear secrets acquisition from all nuclear powers, until the 1960s, when it was abandoned as cost-prohibitive. During the Cold War Sweden appeared to maintain a dual approach to thermonuclear weapons. Publicly, the strict neutrality policy was forcefully maintained, but unofficially strong ties were purportedly kept with the U.S. It was hoped that the U.S. would use conventional and nuclear weapons to strike at Soviet staging areas in the occupied Baltic states in case of a Soviet attack on Sweden. Over time and due to the official neutrality policy, fewer and fewer Swedish military officials were aware of the military cooperation with the west, making such cooperation in the event of war increasingly difficult. At the same time Swedish defensive planning was completely based on help from abroad in the event of war. Later research has shown that every publicly available war-game training, included the scenario that Sweden was under attack from the Soviets, and would rely on NATO forces for defence. The fact that it was not permissible to mention this aloud eventually led to the Swedish armed forces becoming highly misbalanced. For example, a strong ability to defend against an amphibious invasion was maintained, while an ability to strike at inland staging areas was almost completely absent.
In the early 1960s U.S. nuclear submarines armed with mid-range nuclear missiles of type Polaris A-1 were deployed outside the Swedish west coast. Range and safety considerations made this a good area from which to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike on Moscow. The submarines had to be very close to the Swedish coast to hit their intended targets though. As a consequence of this, in 1960, the same year that the submarines were first deployed, the U.S. provided Sweden with a military security guarantee. The U.S. promised to provide military force in aid of Sweden in case of Soviet aggression. This guarantee was kept from the Swedish public until 1994, when a Swedish research commission found evidence for it. As part of the military cooperation the U.S. provided much help in the development of the Saab 37 Viggen, as a strong Swedish air force was seen as necessary to keep Soviet anti-submarine aircraft from operating in the missile launch area. In return Swedish scientists at the Royal Institute of Technology made considerable contributions to enhancing the targeting performance of the Polaris missiles.
Some More Discussion
In this first back-and-forth, I noted some of the above and got this response:
Seems Sweden is searching for the viable balance of Capitalism and Socialism. Good for them. Bernie Sanders seeks the same.
To which I respond:
They want [and have] a lower tax rate than Sanders wants. They dumped their “wealth tax” and “death tax.” They lowered their corporate tax-rate and want it at 20% and below. Lessened regulations on businesses… on-and-on.
Bernie wants the 70’s through 90’s Sweden… I am down with the 2006 and beyond Sweden.
Someone else joined the discussion, and mentioned the following:
My family is Swedish and I can tell you with 100% accuracy they are way better off than we are…. Across the board pretty much.
Again, I respond:
There is a Swedish economist in the post that from first hand experience (and expertise in his field) telling you they are where they are because of the free market and a reduction [greatly] of the welfare state/socialism enterprise. [And, BTW, they use the many life saving drugs produced by the profit motivated “Big Pharma” spending on R&D to extend the lives of their fellow Swedes.]
When you get all these health care services for “free” then people start taking them for granted, calling ambulances without second thoughts, and going to the doctor for simple things that you don’t really need to see a doctor for… False alarms for ambulances and fire trucks end up costing the government and indirectly tax payers huge amounts of money every year. Which is why Sweden has as of late started to reform its health care system by privatizing parts of it. Mind you, these are somewhat limited in scope, but people are able to pay now for private care (1-in-10 now have private insurance/health-care).
…The paradox is that America has been doubling down on government authority over healthcare with the Affordable Care Act, just as more and more European governments, including Denmark, England, Finland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden, have been forced by public outcry to address the unconscionable waits for care by introducing new laws. But it is even more essential for American voters to realize, and for our government leaders to acknowledge, what other countries are beginning to recognize all over the world. These governments have started to understand that the cure for their failed nationalized health systems is a shift to privatization. And citizens under government-dominated health systems are increasingly circumventing their own systems, pursuing private healthcare to solve the uniformly poor access to care and limited choices.
Let’s consider Sweden, often heralded as the paradigm of a successful welfare state. The facts tell a very different story. Having failed its citizens in healthcare access, the Swedish government has aggressively introduced private market forces into healthcare to improve access, quality, and choices. Although once entirely public, over a quarter of Swedish primary care clinics are now run by the private sector. Sweden’s municipality governments have increased spending on private care contracts by 50% in the past decade. Private nursing facilities now receive substantial public funding to care for patients. Widespread private sector competition has also been introduced into pharmacies to tear down the pre-2009 monopoly over all prescription and non-prescription drugs. Since the Swedish government sold over half of its pharmacies to private firms in 2009, 20 private firms entered the market and over 300 new pharmacies opened, not only improving accessibility but providing the first pharmacies ever to many small towns.
Moreover, despite the fact that an average Swedish family already pays nearly $20,000 annually in taxes toward healthcare according to Swedish economist Per Bylund, about 12% of working adults bought private insurance in 2013, a number that has increased by 67% over the last five years. Half a million Swedes now use private insurance, up from 100,000 a decade ago, even though they are already “guaranteed” public healthcare….
…In the pre-Reagan Era, the media was just as left-leaning and reluctant to discuss the poverty and oppression that permeated the Soviet Union. But there were enough people willing to talk about it outside the media for the truth to get out. The pervasiveness of social media should make it easier, not harder, for conservatives to get a message out around the media gatekeepers. Millennials should be told what happened in Venezuela after his ideological brother Hugo Chavez took over; they should be told how toilet paper became a black market commodity and supermarket shelves became bare. And they should be made aware that Sweden is not quite the utopia they’ve been taught it is, either.
(Below video description) Poor students deserve just as good an education as rich students, right? So why are so many stuck in failing public schools? Denisha Merriweather, who benefited from school vouchers, explains the problem and the solution.
(Below video description) Can every child receive a good education? With school choice and competition, yes. The problem? Powerful teachers unions oppose school choice. Rebecca Friedrichs, a public school teacher who took her case against the teachers union all the way to the Supreme Court, explains why school choice is the right choice.
(Below video description) America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.
That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.
For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-ed…). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.
Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.
The above is another example of this Eco-Fascism… “…Justice Scalia released the Court’s opinion, with Justices Ginsburg and Alito seperately concurring, that private property and due process trump government “strong-arming of regulated parties.” And it feels so good.” (TOWNHALL)
I think this is an important story posted by HOTAIR. The whole topic of Leftist Eco-Fascism is in fact:
…Out in California, a farmer is facing millions of dollars in fines for plowing a field that he purchased and planting wheat. If that sentence sounds like something out of a George Orwell novel to you, you’re not alone. His supposed crime was to have “disturbed” the Waters of the United States, a term which gained massive popularity under the Obama administration’s EPA rules. In this case, the land that John Duarte purchased and was plowing did not include a river, or even a stream, but rather “seasonal wetlands” which develop swampy areas during the rainy season but then dry up for the rest of the year. (Free Beacon)
A California farmer is facing a $2.8 million fine for failing to get a permit to plow his own field.
John Duarte bought 450 acres of land near Modesto in 2012 and is now being sued by the federal government for plowing near areas the government considers to be “waters of the United States.”
The case will head to trial in August. The government claims that Duarte violated the Clean Water Act because he did not obtain a permit to work near the wetlands.
USA Today has all the details here but it’s reminiscent of other cases brought against landowners in the past. One of the major sticking points is that farmers are supposed to be exempt from these rules. But the government is claiming that the “ripper” blades he used while plowing were “discharging material” into “wetlands.” And for that he’s being fined millions of dollars.
Duarte never even got to harvest the wheat that he planted because the government was all over him. Keep in mind that we’re not talking about dumping chemicals into a stream or building some sort of permanent structure. The guy was plowing. He was literally moving dirt a foot or so to the side so he could plant his crops….
The Trump people are very similar to the social justice warriors (like #trigglpuff) that drown out reasoned discussion in the arena of free speech. In one call into the Medved Show (on my YouTube channel) a Trumper said if there were a brokered convention (which gave us Lincoln BTW) he would resort to violence. As society becomes more secular and moves away from a classical type of education that teaches people “how to think well,” we will see more emotive reasoning thrown behind opinions. One person told me Cruz did not have “compassion.” I mentioned that acting compassionately with government has gotten us our ever-growing unconstitutional nanny-state. I could care less if Cruz likes me… As long as he is doing his duty according to the document that runs our country and has a plan to curb it’s growth to date (for instance, his flat tax program, whereas Trump said he will raise taxes). Plus this gentleman was wrong (see the Federalist for instance). My view is that if Ted is following and acting oon the spirit of the Constitution… which may, to the modern feminized society seem uncharitable (un loving), it will be in fact the MOST compassionate thing Ted Cruz could do.
I hope another (if it is not Cruz) will be supplemented at the Convention. It is in the hands of the delegates.
Dennis Prager speaks to “American Philosophy” and then has the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center where he teaches constitutional law and contracts, and is Director of the Georgetown Center for the Constitution–Randy Barnett–on:
“If we are to be mothered, mother must know best…. In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science…. Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others…. The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.”
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. But to be punished, however severley, because we have deserved it, because ‘ought to have known better,’ is to be treated as a human persons in God’s image.”
This disconnect is amazing to me. What this exchange did for me was solidify that I cannot vote for Trump. Period.
Malcolm Muggeridge (a British journalist, author, satirist, media personality, soldier-spy and, in his later years, a Catholic convert and writer)said it best:
“If God is ‘dead,’ somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Heffner.”
Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 32.
Here is a great interview with Professor Randy Barnett:
In his forthcoming book Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People, Randy E. Barnett, the intellectual leader of a consciously libertarian legal movement that has hugely reshaped how courts interpret the law, lays out his case for “judicial engagement,” in which judges actively challenge and invalidate laws and policies that infringe on individual rights and freedom. Our Republican Constitution is a powerful rebuke to democratic majoritarianism, which holds that legislators have b
A professor at Georgetown Law School, Barnett has also been at the center of two major Supreme Court cases in the 21st century. He was the lead in 2005’s Raich case, in which the Court ruled that Congress’ power under the Commerece Clause was immense. And, as he recounts in gripping and compelling fashion in his new book, Barnett helped to create the nearly successful (and in his telling, partly successful) challenge to the individual mandate at the heart of President Obama’s controversial health care reform.
Born in 1952, Barnett grew up in the Chicago area, attended Northwestern as an undergad (he majored in philosophy), and went to law school at Harvard, where he was a classmate of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. Garland, he says, is a smart, nice guy who would be terrible from a libertarian perspective because of his reflexive deference to lawmakers under virtually any circumstance. “As a matter of judicial philosophy,” says Barnett. I think he would not be a good justice for us to have”. In the early 1970s, he was associated with the Center for Libertarian Studes and economist Murray Rothbard, whom he says continues to shape his thinking in important ways.
An alumnus of the Institute for Humane Studies and an active participant in the Federalist Society, Barnett is the author the highly regarded and controversial academic books The Structure of Liberty (1998) and Restoring the Lost Constitution (2004). Intended for a general audience, Our Republican Constitution is simultaneously intellectually rigorous and a real page-turner, filled with dramatic anecdotes that illustrate Barnett’s powerful and provocative argument that routine deference to elected legislators is the wrong way to interpret the Constitution or create a rich and flourishing society.
Barnett sat down with Nick Gillespie at Reason’s D.C. headquarters for a wide-ranging conversation about his experiences working in his father’s laundry, his favorite Supreme Court case (that would be Lochner), how he developed his nascent libertarianism at a time when few people called themselves such, why he thinks a new political party may be a necessity, why he thinks Donald Trump is an authoritarian, and why he believes Ted Cruz understands how the Constitution limits government power.
Georgetown Law’s Randy Barnett says his former Harvard Law classmate, Merrick Garland, is “qualified” for the Supreme Court.
But that doesn’t mean the Senate should confirm him.
Basic qualifications for a seat on the Supreme Court are “necessary but not sufficient,” says Barnett, whose new book, Our Republican Constitution, lays out his case for “judicial engagement,” in which judges actively challenge and invalidate laws and policies that infringe on individual rights and freedom. Our Republican Constitution is a powerful rebuke to long-dominant democratic majoritarianism, which holds that legislators have broad powers to effectively do whatever they want. Judges, in this reading of law, should defer to the wishes of lawmakers and government agencies.
Since the confirmation of recently deceased Antonin Scalia, Senate hearings have rightly focused not just a nominee’s “qualifications,” explains Barnett, but on his or her “judicial philosophy.” And on that score, he says, Garland would be terrible for people who care about limiting and restraining government. “He is a deference guy, par excellence. He defers to the EPA, he defers to administrative agencies, that guy defers like crazy,” says Barnett. “And for that reason, I do not think he would be a good justice for us to have.”
For Reason’s full, hour-long interview with Barnett with downloadable links, go here:
Who poses the biggest threat to America’s economy by striking deals with crooked politicians? Big Oil, Big Pharma, or Big Unions? Daniel DiSalvo, political science professor at the City College of New York, gives the answer.