Before delving into the below videos, one should keep in mind that what socialism does is produce giant monopolies. THAT is the theme you see in all socialist countries. Criminal, governemtn, or corporate monopolies — Milton Friedman:
We’ve read and watched the news of Venezuelan society collapsing under the weight of socialism. But how bad is it really? See this firsthand account from documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz.
Many of America’s legal and illegal immigrants fled nations that were ruined by corrupt politicians and failed government policies. But once here, they support the same things. Why? Gloria Alvarez, Project Director at the National Civic Movement of Guatemala, explains. (Here is her interview on Dennis’ radio program.)
Is Bernie Sanders right? Are people living under socialism better off? Brazil is a good case study. Felipe Moura Brasil, a journalist and Veja magazine columnist, explains how his country has fared under socialism.
What is democratic socialism? What makes it different than regular socialism? Has it been tried? Could it work in the United States? Comedian and political commentator Steven Crowder, host of Louder With Crowder, explains.
Which is better: socialism or capitalism? Does one make people kinder and more caring, while the other makes people greedy and more selfish? In this video, Dennis Prager explains the moral differences between socialism and capitalism, and why anyone who wants a kind and generous society must support one and oppose the other.
Was America once socialist? Surprisingly, yes. The early settlers who arrived at Plymouth and Jamestown in the early 1600s experimented with socialist communes. Did it work? History professor Larry Schweikart of the University of Dayton shares the fascinating story.
“The Progressive Income Tax” is one of those economic terms that gets bandied about, but few actually know what it means or how it works. This tale of three similar brothers with three different incomes (but one shared expense) helps explain the tax system under which we live. Adapted from an article by noted investor and economist, Kip Hagopian, and narrated by actress Carolyn Hennesy of “General Hospital” and “True Blood” fame, this animated story will change the way you think about how you pay your taxes.
Dennis Prager first read from an AP story about Jamie Foxx visiting the death hole known as Venezuela (see the Free Republic post: http://tinyurl.com/z8phhkz). Later in the show he actually gets a call from Caracas, Venezuela. I teared up a bit during the call, as did Prager apparently. Good stuff Maynard!
Here is Dennis’ Facebook comment:
Actor Jamie Foxx will pay no price for his visit with Venezuela President Maduro. A rare combo of doing evil — supporting a brutal dictator — and being stupid. Foxx will get picked up by a limo and go home to his mansion in California while the people of Venezuela starve and wait in line for toilet paper thanks to the socialist revolution.
Leftists don’t care about people, they care about ideas. This is Jamie Foxx. He care doesn’t care about the Venezuelan people. He cares about an idea. He loves the idea of equality. It’s painful. Just painful. Will there be a price paid for such radical stupidity? There is nothing a a left-winger could do that would elicit criticism.
Is capitalism moral or greedy? If it’s based on greed and selfishness, what’s the best alternative economic system? Perhaps socialism? And if capitalism is moral, what makes it so? Walter Williams, a renowned economist at George Mason University, answers these questions and more.
Cultural depictions of capitalism are almost all negative. There’s the Monopoly guy with the top hat and cigar. There’s Gordon Gekko saying, “Greed is good.” And, most recently, there’s the hedonism of the “Wolf of Wall Street”. The message is clear: capitalism is selfish. Socialism, or something like it, is selfless. In fact, the opposite is true. Renowned social critic George Gilder offers this startling insight: capitalism, at its core, is first an expression of altruism; that is, of giving. An entrepreneur can only succeed by satisfying a customer’s need. This is why capitalism, and only capitalism, can create the prosperity that all societies crave and why all other economic prescriptions are doomed to failure.
This election season there’s a lot of talk about corruption, about politicians being “bought and sold”, and about “crony capitalism”. What do those terms mean? Why should we care? Is there a way to reduce corruption and restore our trust in government? Author Jay Cost, staff writer at The Weekly Standard, answers these questions and proposes a solution that every society could benefit from.
Small businesses employ over 57 million Americans. And yet, the government’s taxes and regulations overwhelmingly favor big businesses at the expense of small ones. Why? Find out in this short video.
How big should the government be? And what is its proper role in the daily lives of Americans? The Left and Right have opposite answers.
From transportation to energy, and everything in between, should the government invest money in as many promising projects as possible? Or would that actually doom many of those ventures to failure? Burt Folsom, historian and professor at Hillsdale College, answers those questions by drawing on the fascinating history of the race to build America’s railroads and airplanes.
With the smartest experts and the best economists, could the federal government run the U.S. economy? Could it keep America’s $17 trillion economy going like a well-oiled machine? Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media, explains why no one person or group can “run” the economy, and why any attempt to do so can only make things worse.
Dennis, Gloria, and Felipe discuss socialism in Latin America and how to show its young citizens that there’s a proven path to prosperity and freedom.
Is Bernie Sanders right? Are people living under socialism better off? Brazil is a good case study. Felipe Moura Brasil, a journalist and Veja magazine columnist, explains how his country has fared under socialism.
Dennis Prager discusses the issue of radical Leftism and the useful idiot that follow these people. The term “useful idiot” in political parlance means:
- In political jargon, a useful idiot is a person perceived as a propagandist for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of, and who is used cynically by the leaders of the cause
Dennis reads from a NEW YORK TIMES article where Tithi Bhattacharya, a member of the strike’s organizing committee, says the strike on Wednesday focuses on rejecting the “systemic violence of an economic system that is rapidly leaving women behind.” Continuing, she notes:
“This is the day to emphasize the unity between work done in the so-called formal economy and the domestic sphere, the public sphere and the private sphere, and how most working women have to straddle both,” says Ms. Bhattacharya. “Labor is understood to be work only at the point of production, but as women we know that both society and policy makers invisibilize the work that women do.” The strike calls for women to withhold labor, paid or unpaid, from the United States economy to show how important their contributions are.
The platform of the strike seeks to elevate the demands of the majority of women, not simply the demands of the loudest or most privileged women.
“The language of feminism in recent years has been used to talk about ‘Lean In’ feminism,” says Ms. Bhattacharya. “We do not want a world where women become C.E.O.s, we want a world where there are no C.E.O.s, and wealth is redistributed equally.” This, she explains, is why they decided to convey their “new international feminist movement” around the socialist philosophy of “Feminism for the 99 Percent.”…
At this point I do hope I am not confusing readers with the terms “fascist” and “socialist.” Both are forms of utopianism and are based on central planning by a few elitist individuals. The only true difference is in the ownership of production. In the classic socialist or Marxist state, the government not only directs but owns the means of production. In the fascist state—sometimes referred to as “national socialist” —the central planners still direct the means of production, but ownership or part ownership remains with individuals. Under this definition, the current single-party economic model of China is- “national socialist” or “fascist” rather than Communist.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo, The Problem with Socialism (New Jersey, NJ: Regnery, 2016), 138-139.
CNS-NEWS notes that,
…In a Dec. 14, 1975 interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, Reagan discussed his political philosophy, saying that “the heart of my philosophy is much more libertarianism, than –.” Wallace then interrupted, “Well, that’s the fashionable word these days, I guess. A conservative is no longer just that, he’s a libertarian.”
Reagan continued, “It always has been. How do we call a liberal? You know, someone very profoundly once said many years ago that if fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.”
“And what is fascism?” Reagan said. “Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise, but total government control and regulation. Well, isn’t this the liberal philosophy?”
“The conservative, so-called, is the one that says less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket, and let me have more control of my own destiny,” he said….
I updated a couple posts to compliment this excerpt, they can be found here:
- Obama’s Health Czar Donald Berwick and Redistribution;
- Sick Leftists Influencing Educational Through Czars;
- The Long Road To Hell – Statism and Truth.
This is an excerpt dealing with some short biographies of people Obama chose to surround himself with. You can see they are radicals who export Marxist ideals into public policy as well as some overtly anti-American positions. I would say “enjoy” the read, but I cannot.
- William J. Murray, Utopian Road to Hell: Enslaving America and the World With Central Planning (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2016), 165-174.
Cass Sunstein was the Edward Mandell House/Rexford Tugwell character in the Obama administration. He was appointed to run Obama’s White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in 2009. He left the administration in 2011 to return to Harvard, where he continues to brainwash his students into supporting his anti-Constitutional and totalitarian beliefs.
Sunstein is the consummate Progressive and utopian tyrant. He believes that the Constitution is a “living document”—code words for liberal judges having the power to interpret the Constitution and law in general to support the latest leftist political agenda.
Writing in The Partial Constitution (Harvard University Press, 1993), Sunstein pushed the idea of a “First Amendment New Deal,” which would create a government panel of experts to ensure a “diversity of views” on the airwaves. Imagine a panel of presidential appointees determining what constitutes diversity on TV and radio.
Sunstein also believes hunting should be banned, that animals should have the same rights as humans, and that lawyers should be empowered to file lawsuits on behalf of animals. Despite being against the killing of rabbits or deer, he is, like all Progressives, perfectly agreeable to destroying unborn humans at any stage of pregnancy.
In 2004 he published A Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More Than Ever. In it, he proposed a series of “rights” for individuals that would inevitably result in greatly expanding the power of the federal government over every aspect of our lives.
According to Sunstein, “Much of the time, the United States seems to have embraced a confused and pernicious form of individualism. This approach endorses rights of private property and freedom of contract, and respects political liberty, but claims to distrust ‘government intervention’ and insists that people must fend for themselves. This form of so-called individualism is incoherent, a tangle of confusions.”
Sunstein’s views sound like those of Benito Mussolini or Philip Dru in the utopian novel.
President Obama appointed John Holdren to run the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and to cochair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Holdren sounds like a very dangerous tyrant in his written statements on population control and other issues. In 1977 he coauthored a book with Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich, titled Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment (W. H. Freeman, 1978), which seriously proposed, among other things, that women should be forced to abort their children; that populations should be sterilized by dropping drugs into the water supply; that people who “contribute to social deterioration” should be forcibly sterilized or forced to abort their children; that a “Planetary Regime” should assume total control of the global economy; and that an international police force should be used to dictate how all of us are to live our lives.
Because this was a White House office, the Senate did not have the authority to stop the appointment; however, some senators should have come forward and pointed out on the record that Holdren’s suggestions were very much the same as those of fascist utopian Adolf Hitler.
Holdren openly condemns the free enterprise system as the enemy of the people and a threat to the environment. Writing in his 1973 book, Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, also cowritten with the Ehrlichs, he called for a “massive campaign . . . to de-develop the United States” and other Western nations.
According to Holdren, the “mad czar” of science and technology:
De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation…. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.
Elsewhere, he wrote, “By de-development, we mean lower per-capita energy consumption, fewer gadgets, and the abolition of planned obsolescence.”
The Soviet Union successfully did away with “planned obsolescence” by eliminating innovation. As no new cars were designed for decades, vehicles like the unsafe Lada lived on unchanged for decades. Like many Progressives who believe jobs should be “preserved” as a right, Holdren does not understand that artificially preserving outdated industries and nonproductive jobs results in a failure for new industries to come into existence.
Dr. Berwick was picked by President Obama to run the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Knowing that Berwick’s views were so radical, Obama used a recess appointment to get him into this position so he wouldn’t have to undergo Senate scrutiny. Once his recess gig expired, he simply resigned to avoid having to answer questions under oath before a Senate committee.
Berwick has an open love affair with the British National Health Service (NHS). In his own words, “I’m romantic about the National Health Service. I love it!” In fact, he loves it so much that he says it is an “example for the whole world—an example… that the United States needs now.” ‘Why? Because he considers America’s health care system to be “immoral” and an example of the “darkness of private enterprise.” And in typical utopian-tyrant fashion, he believes that only government-enforced “collective action” can override “individual self-interest.”
He was, however, a bit more honest than his boss, President Obama. He openly admitted that under Obamacare, “the decision is not whether or not we will ration care, the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” Conservatives always find this a terrifying thing about central planners—their willingness, even eagerness, to assume the role of making life-and-death decisions about the fate of other individuals.
So, how is the love of his socialist life working for British citizens, keeping in mind that this is the same system he wanted to bring to the United States? The Boston Globe shares some quotes from UK newspapers:
“Overstretched maternity units mean mothers face a 100-mile journey to have baby.”
“Hundreds of patients died needlessly at NHS hospital due to appalling care.”
“Cash-strapped NHS trust introduces rationing for common children’s conditions.”
“Standard of care in some wards ‘would shame a third world country.”‘
“Stafford Hospital caused ‘unimaginable suffering.”‘
And to top it all off, in Britain 36 percent of patients wait more than four months for nonemergency surgery. In America, only 5 percent do.
According to Berwick, “Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent healthcare is by definition distributional.”
That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? From Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama, there’s a clear socialist utopian model in play that results in the control of Americans’ lives through rationed medical care.
These are only three of the most high-profile utopian totalitarians to serve in the Obama administration, but they are typical of those whom the president picked to assist in an Imperial Presidency in which central planning of society has become the goal.
First Lady Michelle Obama and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg are what could be politely referred to as the “Food Police” by the vast majority of Americans who prefer to choose their own foods. A more accurate description would be Food Nazis, because they both desire to dictate to Americans what they will eat, how much they will eat, and what size portions they will be served at restaurants.
Mrs. Obama’s mind-set about Americans may be defined by her husband’s definition of her during pre—White House years as his “bitter half.” Apparently even President Obama knew that his wife was not capable of seeing a glass half full; how, then, could she possibly see that a hamburger with lettuce and tomato was actually a balanced meal?
Michelle Obama decided early on that she would seize the issues of “childhood obesity” and “food deserts” as her crusade while inhabiting the White House. She and her utopian handlers created the “Let’s Move” campaign to force restaurants, schools, and parents to feed children more “nutritious” meals. Initially she wanted a mere $400 million from taxpayers for her program.
Walter Williams was warning against this years ago:
Without any real evidence, Mrs. Obama has claimed that poor Americans are trapped in what she calls “food deserts,” where they must apparently trudge for miles outside of their dismal neighborhoods to buy a piece of fruit or some celery sticks. According to Mrs. Obama, a food desert is an inner city without a grocery store. She envisioned spending millions of federal dollars to plant grocery stores in those blighted areas so the “poor” won’t have to buy food at mini-marts.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan actually attended Al Sharpton’s National Action Network annual con‑
vention in April 2012. There he told an absurd story about how Barack Obama, who attended Harvard University, knows what “it’s like to take a subway or a bus just to find a fresh piece of fruit in a grocery store.” No fruit at Harvard?
The story may be ridiculous, but Michelle Obama was dead serious about extorting $400 million from American taxpayers to solve the nonexistent problem of food deserts.
In reality there are no such things as food deserts. Researcher Roland Sturm at the Rand Corporation studied food desert claims and found that individuals in urban areas can get any kind of food they want within a couple of miles. He suggested we call these areas “food swamps,” rather than food deserts.
In addition, researcher Helen Lee at the Public Policy Institute in California found that in poor neighborhoods, citizens had twice as many fast-food restaurants and convenience stores as wealthier neighborhoods had, and more than three times as many corner stores. These areas had twice as many supermarkets and large-scale grocery stores as wealthier neighborhoods.
The truth was exactly the opposite of Mrs. Obama’s claim, but hers satisfied the mind-set of the utopians, who believe they alone could solve problems that never existed. Mrs. Obama later began a second crusade to force restaurants and schools to serve “healthy” foods, ban “junk food,” and bully restaurants into serving smaller portions.
Michelle Obama worked in 2010 to get Congress to pass a nutrition bill that would give the Department of Agriculture new powers to regulate school lunches. The bill was passed in December of that year, and now that the regulations have gone into effect, it is having a devastating impact on students and their angry parents.
Under Department of Agriculture edicts, cinnamon rolls and chili are banned. School bands and groups can’t sell candy bars for fund-raising. The government is now mandating portion sizes, including how many tomatoes must go into a salad!
Children are permitted to refuse three items on a tray, but not fruits and vegetables. Of course, the Food Police can’t yet force them to eat their veggies, but it’s not far-fetched to think they might someday. After all, the Obamas have rammed through legislation that initially demanded that nuns buy insurance coverage for contraception and pregnancy. Fortunately the Supreme Court ended that requirement in 2014.
The new federal guidelines, thanks to Michelle Obama, now limit caloric intake to between 750 and 850 a day for schoolchildren. Teenagers require between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day to be healthy and grow, and high school athletes need up to 5,000 calories per day. In short, the First Lady is responsible for malnourishing kids through the school lunch program.
In 2006 the three-term mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, decided to add the title “Food Police Chief’ to his list of duties in the Big Apple. That year, he banished trans fats from city restaurants and, in 2010, forced food manufacturers to alter their recipes to include less sodium. He failed, however, to remove salt shakers from the tables. Patrons who receive a dish of food at a New York restaurant that they deem not salty enough may still simply add salt.
In spring 2012 Bloomberg decided that New Yorkers had to be protected even more from themselves, so he issued an edict banning soft drinks larger than sixteen ounces. The ban applied to restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, and arenas.
In August 2012 Bloomberg banned the distribution of baby formula in city hospitals unless it is medically necessary because he, a man, had decided that new mothers should always breast-feed regardless of their weight, professions, or other personal details. Free formula provided to mothers was also eliminated. Bloomberg determined that breast-feeding is best for children and that new mothers should not have a voice in the decision regardless of their circumstances. But Bloomberg did want women to have freedom of choice to kill their young before they are born. He was willing to give moms the option to abort their unborn babies, but not to feed formula to those who are living.
What is next for those like Obama and Bloomberg? Mandated calisthenics each morning at six? Currently the United States seems to be incubating and hatching utopian tyrants at an alarming rate.
[Green on the outside, “red” on the inside]
America is threatened not only by the Food Nazis, but by the Watermelon Utopians, who are working to destroy our industrialized civilization and bring us back to an agrarian society in the name of the environment.
These are the Watermelons. They’re Red (Marxist-Leninist) on the inside, but are using the Green movement on the outside to promote totalitarian central-planned government.
The poster child for this Watermelon movement is Van Jones, a Marxist with a nice smile who hates free enterprise just a bit less than nuclear power and fossil fuels.
In March 2009 President Obama picked Jones to be his “Green Jobs Czar.” In September 2009 Jones resigned after television host Glenn Beck exposed the fact that Jones was a militant Marxist radical.
After his departure from the Obama administration, Jones went to work at the Center for American Progress, a socialist group funded by one-worlder George Soros. Jones also began teaching at Princeton University at the African American Studies and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is a “senior fellow” at the Center for American Progress and is an advisor for the extremist group Green for All, which he founded in 2007.
In an unsurprising way, Van Jones symbolizes the support Barack Obama received from the left that helped him win two terms. Jones also highlights the vast portion of the US population who do want the government to take care of all their needs and are willing to allow government to be the god of their lives in return.
Jones openly said he became a Communist shortly after the 1992 Rodney King riots and the trial. According to Jones, “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28th” and “by August, I was a communist.”
In 1993 he moved to San Francisco and helped found the Bay Area Police Watch, which demonized the police in that city. In 1996 he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, designed to undermine the criminal justice system, which he saw as unjust to minorities. The Baker Center received more than $1 million from George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
As Jones’s commitment to Marxist-type central planning grew in the late ’90s, he became a leader of the group called STORM (Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement).
Then in 2006 Jones endorsed an antipolice day held by the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party. Jones considers all American prisons to be racist and nothing more than “slave ships on dry land.”
As a green activist, Jones demanded that America “build a pipeline from the prison economy to the green economy.” He wants the federal government to hire ex-felons to work in “green jobs” to do weather-stripping for energy efficiency in homes and offices. He did not mention if the home and business owners would be informed of workers’ felony convictions.
According to Jones, in an interview on Uprising Radio in Los Angeles, “The green economy will start off as a small subset” of a “complete revolution” against what he calls “gray capitalism.” The goal is the “redistribution of all wealth.”
Part of this anticapitalist effort is being accomplished through Green for All, funded in part by George Soros and our incredibly wealthy former vice president Al Gore—a true multimillionaire of the people. The organization’s alleged purpose is “building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.” In reality the plan would use taxpayer dollars to fund centrally planned government-run boondoggles in the inner cities.
Jones has openly admitted that his green agenda is designed to destroy capitalism. “We are going to push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society,” he said.
Before the excerpt, here are some short videos with the author, who happens to be the son of MADALYN MURRAY O’HAIR:
- William J. Murray, Utopian Road to Hell: Enslaving America and the World With Central Planning (Washington, D.C.: WND Books, 2016), 112-119.
…As Hayek noted back in 1944: “There can be no doubt that planning necessarily involves deliberate discrimination between particular needs of different people, and allowing one man to do what another must be prevented from doing. It must lay down by a legal rule how well off particular people shall be and what different people are to be allowed to have and do.”
From these examples you can see that the totalitarian nature of government does not suddenly appear in a democracy. First there must be social acceptance among the elite, who then persuade the rest of society to go along with them. Hayek noted this progress in his 1944 essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism”:
The political development of the Western World during the last hundred years furnishes the clearest demonstration. Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for the obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction of theorists, deriving from certain tendencies of abstract thought with which for a long time only the intellectuals were familiar; and it required long efforts by the intellectuals before the working classes could be persuaded to adopt it as their program.
TYRANNY THROUGH THE BALLOT BOX
Hayek reminded us that socialist tyrannies can come through legal means in the democratic process just as easily as through abrupt totalitarianism. Adolf Hitler, for example, was elected to office, unlike Cambodia’s Pol Pot, who seized power. Thus, democracies aren’t necessarily a protection against utopian central planners taking away the liberties of individuals.
Quite often, democratically elected representatives can delegate authority to bureaucrats who have the authority to impose the draconian policies on an unwilling populace. Hayek wrote, “By giving the government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal; and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.”
Hayek isn’t the only philosopher or economist to warn about the dangers of tyranny being imposed through the democratic process. Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous French philosopher who visited the United States in the mid-1800s to study the democratic system and culture, warned that democratic systems could become despotic.
In Democracy in America, in his classic chapter “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear” (volume 2), Tocqueville accurately predicted the rise of bureaucratic czars and webs of legislation that would stifle human freedom and productivity. It is as if he were writing prophetically about the Environmental Protection Agency, which has imposed so many irrational rules on industry that our nation is in danger of losing its ability to compete in many industries, such as energy.
Tocqueville compared the ancient tyrannies of the past and noted that Roman emperors had tremendous power over the lives of their subjects who were scattered throughout the world, but that the “details of social life and private occupations lay for the most part beyond his control.” However, Tocqueville warned:
It would seem that if despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them. I do not question, that in an age of instruction and equality like our own, sovereigns might more easily succeed in collecting all political power into their own hands, and might interfere more habitually and decidedly within the circle of private interests, than any sovereign of antiquity could ever do. But this same principle of equality which facilitates despotism, tempers its rigour.
He continued: “I think then that the species of oppression by which democratic nations are menaced is unlike anything which ever before existed in the world: our contemporaries will find no prototype of it in their memories. I am trying myself to choose an expression which will accurately convey the whole of the idea I have formed of it, but in vain; the old words ‘despotism’ and ‘tyranny’ are inappropriate: the thing itself is new; and since I cannot name it, I must attempt to define it.”
According to Tocqueville, this kind of democratic oppression is
absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances—what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself.
America’s schoolchildren today are educated under policies of “no tolerance” that demand they become automatons. Showing various emotions, such as anger or love, can lead to expulsion from school, or worse. Children have been arrested for pointing a finger and saying, “Bang!” and suspended from classes for sharing a hug in the hallways. Currently, some high school students, thanks to legislation promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama, are not allowed to eat more than 750 calories for lunch, even boys on the football team, who require upwards of 3,000 calories a day. This is exactly the type of democratic oppression that both Tocqueville and Hayek discussed, and it continues to spread in Western nations.
Tocqueville described what happens to citizens when they’re slowly enslaved by an all-powerful central government:
It [the statist] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.
I have always thought that servitude of the regular, quiet, and gentle kind which I have just described, might be combined more easily than is commonly believed with some of the outward forms of freedom; and that it might even establish itself under the wing of the sovereignty of the people.
Like a frog placed in cold water, and then the temperature is increased slowly until the frog is cooked, the populace do not notice the melting away of individual liberty. For instance, the American people were placed in the cold water of a “small” income tax imposed by President Woodrow Wilson that has become today almost total control of the economy by the central government. Hayek and Tocqueville both described accurately the destruction of individual liberty, not only through absolute dictatorships, but by democratic totalitarianism as well.
THE END OF TRUTH
Hayek devoted a full chapter in The Road to Serfdom to the function of propaganda in a socialist welfare state. He pointed out that in such a totalitarian system, it isn’t enough just to force everyone to work for the end desired; they must also be convinced that those ends are actually theirs and that they are obtainable. Thus, the propagandist must be able to brainwash the populace into believing that the central planners are benevolent and that their goals are actually those of the people.
As Hayek observed, “The skilful propagandist then has power to mold their minds in any direction he chooses, and even the most intelligent and independent people cannot entirely escape that influence if they are long isolated from all other sources of information.”
According to Hayek, the moral consequence of totalitarian propaganda is that it undermines the sense of and respect for the truth. In fact, the totalitarian propagandist isn’t concerned with the truth. He only wants to convince the populace that the rulers are acting in the best interest of the enslaved citizens, to achieve their utopian dreams. Lying becomes the standard of utopian governments.
FREDERIC BASTIAT’S WARNINGS AGAINST SOCIALIST UTOPIANISM
French economist and politician Frederic Bastiat’s writings aren’t well known in the United States these days, but they certainly should be. Bastiat was the deputy to the Legislative Assembly in France during the mid-1800s, when that nation was rapidly turning into a socialist state.
Alarmed by the trend, Bastiat spent his time and energies debunking all of the excuses that were used to impose statism on the French people. His classic, The Law, was published in 1850 and followed some of the similar lines of logic as did Hayek’s later work. It was his desire to convince his fellow Frenchmen that socialism would inevitably lead to slavery and Communism. Regrettably, his warnings were mostly ignored, but his prophetic writings against socialism are very timely, as our own nation’s leaders play with totalitarian ideas about how to turn us into dependent serfs.
Bastiat began The Law by clearly asserting that God gave us life, including physical, intellectual, and moral life. In addition, God gave each person the ability to use resources to create value and to own property. He further asserted, “Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?”
He defined law as the “organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.”
But what happens when the state uses the law to destroy freedom? It is engaging in what Bastiat rightly called “lawful plunder.”
When a state legalizes plunder, wrote Bastiat, one of the first effects is to erase “from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice. No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”
When legalized plunder becomes commonplace in a socialist government, noted Bastiat, every group in society will want to get their share of it. Everyone will begin plundering from everyone else: “Under the pretense of organization, regulation, protection, or encouragement, the law takes property from one person and gives it to another; the law takes the wealth of all and gives it to a few, whether farmers, manufacturers, ship owners, artists, or comedians. Under these circumstances, then certainly every class will aspire to grasp the law, and logically so.”
Bastiat clearly shows us how we can determine if a law is actually legalized plunder. His definition perfectly fits much of the transfer of wealth that occurs in Western nations today, including in the United States.
See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law—which may be an isolated case—is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.
Sadly, when Woodrow Wilson introduced the income tax, the people had the opportunity to stop just such an evil, but out of the promise that it would benefit the many at the expense of the few rich of the time, a constitutional amendment was approved to allow the theft of the income of those who produce value through labor or investment. The result is massive government today, which takes from virtually everyone’s earnings to some degree.
Bastiat continued: “Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help.”
Augustine of Hippo made a similar statement regarding government plundering in the fifth century:
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity.
Following a road to serfdom as described by Hayek inevitably leads to what might be called a benign authoritarian system, where everyone is brainwashed into docile obedience, or to a brutal dictatorship that includes a police state, a reign of terror, and gulags to keep the populace under control. Authors George Orwell and Aldous Huxley have described these two kinds of societies, but the result is the same in both: freedom of the individual is destroyed and the state rules from cradle to the grave.
BREITBART notes the following:
The Russian-made jeep carrying the ashes of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro broke down in the middle of his funeral procession on Saturday, forcing soldiers to push the vehicle until it could be repaired.
Nearly every major news website buried the news, though it was perfectly symbolic of the Cuban regime’s economic failures, and those of socialism in general.
Fox News reported:
- The breakdown of the jeep in the midst of adoring crowds chanting “Long live Fidel!” was symbolic of the dual nature of Castro’s Cuba. While his legacy inspires fierce adulation by many of the nation’s citizens, others continue to grumble about Cuba’s autocratic government, inefficient bureaucracy and stagnant economy.
I just want to note that a man who had 900-million dollars, was brought to his final resting spot by a crappy Russian jeep the broke down. And those guys pushing their leaders ashes — by hand — is the best visual of the failure of socialism. (NEWSBUSTERS) Conan O’Brien mocked the moment, making the obvious comparison to the problems of communism:
- “Here’s a weird story: On Saturday, the hearse carrying Fidel Castro’s remains broke down and had to be pushed. The hearse was being driven Cuba’s minister of metaphors.”
Many of America’s legal and illegal immigrants fled nations that were ruined by corrupt politicians and failed government policies. But once here, they support the same things. Why? Gloria Alvarez, Project Director at the National Civic Movement of Guatemala, explains.
Here was her appearance on the Dennis Prager Show:
Dennis Prager first read from an AP story about Jamie Foxx visiting the death hole known as Venezuela (see the Free Republic post). Later in the show he actually gets a call from Caracas, Venezuela. I teared up a bit during the call, as did Prager apparently. Good stuff Maynard!