The “Gluing” of the Brain

(This is with a hat-tip to a friend, Tanner.) I loved this Front Page Magazine article (also in National Review) by David Horowitz, it reads in-part (I invite you to also read the CS LEWIS quotes after the excerpt):

The Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky once described Stalinism as “the perfect theory for glueing up the brain.” What he meant to dramatize was the fact that a regime as monstrous as Stalin’s, which murdered 40 million people and enslaved many times more, was nonetheless able to persuade progressives and “social justice” advocates all over the world to act as its supporters and defenders. These enlightened enablers of Stalin’s crimes included leading intellectuals of the day, even Nobel Prize winners in the sciences and the arts like Frederic Joliot-Curie and Andre Gide. Brilliant as they were, they were blind to the realities of the Stalinist regime and therefore of the virtues of the societies they lived in.

What glued up their brains was the belief that a brave new world of social justice – a world governed by progressive principles – existed in embryo in Soviet Russia, and had to be defended by any means necessary. As a result of this illusion, they put their talents and prestige at the service of the totalitarian enemies of democracy, acting, in Trotsky’s words, as “frontier guards” for the Stalinist empire. They continued their efforts even after the Soviets conquered Eastern Europe, acquired nuclear weapons and initiated a “cold war” with the West. To the progressives seduced by Stalinism, democratic America represented a greater evil than the barbaric police states of the Soviet bloc. Even half a century later a progressive culture still refers to the formative phase of the Cold War as years of a “Red Scare” – as though the fifth column of American progressives whose loyalties were to the Soviet enemy, whose members included Soviet spies, was not a matter of serious concern, and as though a nuclear-armed, rapacious Soviet empire did not pose a credible threat.

How were these delusions of otherwise intelligent and well-intentioned people possible? How were otherwise informed individuals able to deny the obvious and support the most brutal and oppressive dictatorship in history? How did they come to view a relatively humane, decent, democratic society like the United States as evil, while regarding the barbarous communist regime as its victim? The answer lies in the identification of Marxism with the promise of social justice and the institution of progressive values, which will take place in a magical socialist future. Defense of the progressive idea trumped recognition of the reactionary fact.

Once the Stalin regime was identified with the imaginary progressive future, everything followed – its status as a persecuted victim, and its adversary’s role as a reactionary force standing in the way of the noble aspiration. Every fault of the Stalin regime, every crime it committed if not denied by progressives was attributed to the nefarious actions of its enemies, most glaringly the United States. Once a promise of redemption is juxtaposed to an imperfect real world actor, all of these responses become virtually inevitable. Hence the glueing of the brain.

[….]

Our country is at a perilous crossroads, one that is made immeasurably more dangerous by a treacherous national party, which blames its own country for the crimes of its enemies, and by a political opposition too feckless and timid to hold its fellow citizens accountable for their treasonous acts.

 

“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.”

C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2002), 292 (Full text).

I can imagine no man who will look with more horror on the End than a conscientious revolution­ary who has, in a sense sincerely, been justifying cruelties and injustices inflicted on millions of his contemporaries by the benefits which he hopes to confer on future generations: generations who, as one terrible moment now reveals to him, were never going to exist. Then he will see the massacres, the faked trials, the deportations, to be all ineffaceably real, an essential part, his part, in the drama that has just ended: while the future Utopia had never been anything but a fantasy.

C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night (New York, NY: Mariner Books, 1984), 131.

A Quote from John Toland’s Book, Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography

“In America what conservatives are trying to preserve is liberty. And there’s nothing fascist about that” ~ Andrew Klavan, PJ Media (via Libertarian Republican)

I found this clear delineation by Hitler of the movements direction he headed up to be interesting, and one many Democrats could say (and do say) today — the main quote ends the longer portion:

In this and subsequent orations Hitler seemed to be following the socialist line of Gregor Strasser; he even used the terminology of the leftists in attacks on capitalism and the decadent bourgeoisie. But the brunt of the battle to win urban workers over to National Socialism he left to someone more qualified. Josef Goebbels had set off for Berlin in a third-class railroad compartment with a worn satchel containing two suits, sev­eral shirts, a few books and a pile of manuscripts. He arrived to find the Berlin Gau in complete disarray and later would write that “what went as the party in Berlin in those days in no way deserved that description. It was a widely mixed collection of a few hundred people with National Socialist ideas.” Although much of his account was more fictional than his diaries, this was no exaggeration. Meetings in the capital often degener­ated into shouting matches and slaps in the face were commonplace. One quarrel between Gregor Strasser and a man named Hagemann became so acrimonious that it ended in a challenge to a duel.

Goebbels was faced with an apparently impossible task. Besides being at odds with one another, the thousand party members under his jurisdic­tion were opposed on the streets by overwhelming numbers of Com­munists and Social Democrats. Gau headquarters were located in a “filthy basement” of a building in the Potsdamerstrasse. “There was complete confusion. The finances were a mess. The Berlin Gau then possessed noth­ing but debts.” This state of affairs inspired rather than depressed Goebbels. He moved his headquarters to a better area, set up regular office hours and established a sound accounting system under his personal control. By February 1927 the Gau owed nothing while owning almost 10,000 marks’ worth of office equipment as well as a used car.

Goebbels decided it was now time to broaden the base of membership and to do that he had to attract the attention of a jaded public. “Berlin needs its sensations as a fish needs water,” he wrote, “this city lives on it, and any political propaganda not recognizing this will miss the mark.” His speeches and articles took on a crisp, graphic style attuned to the Berliner; his SA troops deliberately sought physical combat with the Reds—preferably when the odds were in their own favor—on his theory that “He who can conquer the streets can also conquer the masses; and he who has conquered the masses has thereby conquered the state.”

He rehearsed his speeches before a full-length mirror and, according to his landlady, would practice body movements by the hour. Once on the podium he was a brilliant improviser, and soon perfected a variety of styles. Before a meeting he would ask what audience he would face. “What record must I use—the national, the social or the sentimental? Of course, I have them all in my suitcase.”

He appealed directly to the masses in graphic, aggressive language. A consummate actor, he could switch from humor to sentiment and then to invective. Often he deliberately provoked the Reds into vocal protests which he would twist to his own advantage. “Making noise,” he once said, “is an effective means of opposition.” To him propaganda was an art and he was, by all accounts, including his own, a genius at it—and he sold Na­tional Socialism with American-style showmanship as if it were the best soap in the world.

He entered the lists of battle in the working-class district of Wedding by announcing in glaring red posters that “The Bourgeois State Is Approaching Its End,” and inviting workers to a mass meeting on Febru­ary 11, 1927, at the Pharus Hall, a center commonly used for Communist Party gatherings. It was an open declaration of war. No sooner did the chairman open the meeting than a Marxist worker shouted out that he wanted to clarify a point in the agenda. The chairman ignored him and when the worker repeated his request he was thrown out by storm troopers. This touched off a brawl in which eighty-three Reds were beaten up. A dozen Nazis were also injured and Goebbels showed his talent as propagandist by bringing these men on stage where their moaning was more effective. The Battle of Pharus Hall brought the party to the front pages of the newspapers, and Berliners who knew little or nothing about Hitler and his movement were made aware of a new political force in town. The publicity was meant to be derogatory but in the next few days 2600 applications for membership were received, and 500 of these appli­cants also wanted to join the SA.

With every meeting the size of the audience increased and by the time Hitler appeared at the Clou restaurant center there were 5000 pres­ent. The occasion was a closed celebration of the Marxist holiday, May Day, and the Führer began like a Lenin: “We are socialists, we are ene­mies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

John Toland, Adolph Hitler: The Definitive Biography (New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1976), 223-225.

Loch Ness Socialism ~ FIREWALL (Updated: Scandinavian Social Contract)

The Myth

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

…continuing…

Scandinavian Hell

Kyle Smith, writing in the NY Post, digs a little deeper and discovers that, like almost everything Progressive leftists believe, the Myth of Scandinavian Utopia really is as much a myth as the college rape epidemic, the genius of Barack Obama, or the popularity of gun control.

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…

…read it all…

Economics 101

In an excellent Bloomberg article entitled, “Booming Sweden’s Free-Market Solution,” the myth is dismantled in toto by Anders Aslund. Here is a snippet:

…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:

The Above Video Description via Reason.org:

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.

A Challenge Directed At Me

In conversation about an audio upload to my YouTube Channel of Dennis Prager discussing Bernie Sanders, I was challenged with this:

  • Sweden is not a Nato member so how does the US pay for Sweden defense? Pointing at Whittle and saying “because he say they do” won’t cut it.

To which I responded with a quote from an International Business Times article:

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.

Here is the info from the old article via WIKI:

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….

(Hoover Insitute, “Defining Ideas: The Surprising International Consensus on Healthcare“)

THEY CAME WITH A BATTERING RAM ~ John Doe Gets Militaristic

Wintery Knight pulls together some of the above discussion with detailed information that should scare us all!

This story, which was written up in National Review by religious liberty defender David French, has two parts.

The first part talks about the police raids. I can only snip a little to capture the horror of the raid.

It says:

THEY CAME WITH A BATTERING RAM

Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking.

She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.

She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door.

“I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic.

“I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”

She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee….

….They wouldn’t let her speak to a lawyer.

A little later Knight has this:

The article talks about a few more of the home invasions, and the warnings not to tell anyone were the same.

Here’s another:

Don’t call your lawyer. Don’t talk to anyone about this. Don’t tell your friends. The kids watched — alarmed — as the school bus drove by, with the students inside watching the spectacle of uniformed police surrounding the house, carrying out the family’s belongings. Yet they were told they couldn’t tell anyone at school.

They, too, had to remain silent.

The mom watched as her entire life was laid open before the police. Her professional files, her personal files, everything.

SO! Who is doing this? Wintery Knight tells us:

District Attorney Chisholm was a Democrat, a very partisan Democrat.

Almost immediately after opening the John Doe investigation, Chisholm used his expansive powers to embarrass Walker, raiding his county-executive offices within a week. As Mr. O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth explained in court filings, the investigation then dramatically expanded:

Over the next few months, [Chisholm’s] investigation of all-things-Walker expanded to include everything from alleged campaign-finance violations to sexual misconduct to alleged public contracting bid-rigging to alleged misuse of county time and property. Between May 5, 2010, and May 3, 2012, the Milwaukee Defendants filed at least eighteen petitions to formally “[e]nlarge” the scope of the John Doe investigation, and each was granted. . . . That amounts to a new formal inquiry every five and a half weeks, on average, for two years.

This expansion coincided with one of the more remarkable state-level political controversies in modern American history – the protest (and passage) of Act 10, followed by the attempted recall of a number of Wisconsin legislators and, ultimately, Governor Walker.

[….]

I suggest reading more of this. I can hear the marching as I type.

Bernie `Socialist` Sanders debates Michele Bachmann on Economy (CNN)

Read more at Media’ite:

The Guarding confirms the statement of Michele Bachmann (implicitly) in the emboldened portion — GM is pulling out of Australia… Toyota probably following. Minimum wage increases adding pressures to business:

…GM Holden will cease producing cars in Australia from 2017, putting 2,900 employees out of work and Australia’s remaining car and components industry and its 45,000 workers in immediate danger.

“The decision to end manufacturing in Australia reflects the perfect storm of negative influences the automotive industry faces in the country, including the sustained strength of the Australian dollar, high cost of production, small domestic market and arguably the most competitive and fragmented auto market in the world,” GM Holden’s chairman, Dan Akerson, said.

In a statement from Detroit, Holden said “approximately 2,900 positions will be impacted over the next four years. This will comprise 1,600 from the Elizabeth vehicle manufacturing plant [in South Australia] and approximately 1,300 from Holden’s Victorian workforce…

The Counter Culture vs. God ~ A Skateboarding Magazine Tells Its Readers to Steal

The above comes from the April 2013 (vol 31) Transworld Skateboarding magazine. They are effectively telling its readers to steal from someone they love, thus breaking a commandment they picture in the magazine. Many in this generation do not know the full impact of these commandments and the entirety of a life lived… a life lived well that is.  As an ex-three-time felon, I know how hard it is to live a life well in God’s eyes… and I couldn’t do it at all without His daily help.

Let us just peruse some commentary on Commandment number eight from a few different sources:

There is only one solution to the world’s problems, only one prescription for producing a near-heaven on earth. It is 3,000 years old. And it is known as the Ten Commandments.

Properly understood and applied, the Ten Commandments are really all humanity needs to make a beautiful world. While modern men and women, in their hubris, believe that they can and must come up with new ideas in order to make a good world, the truth is there is almost nothing new to say.

If people and countries lived by the Ten Commandments, all the great moral problems would disappear.

Or, to put it another way, all the great evils involve the violation of one or more of the Ten Commandments.

8. Do not steal.

This commandment prohibits the stealing of people, the stealing of property, and the stealing of anything that belongs to another. The first prohibition alone, if obeyed, would have rendered the slave trade impossible.

Protecting the sanctity of private property makes moral civilization possible. That is why the recent riots in London should frighten every citizen of the U.K. and the West generally. Just as the burning of books leads to the burning of people, so, too, the smashing of windows and the looting of property leads eventually to the smashing of heads.

The rampant violation of this commandment by the governments of Africa is the primary reason for African poverty. Corruption, not Western imperialism, is the root of Africa’s backwardness.

(Prager)

There are also economic systems in mind all-thru-out the Bible, and they do not — even the eighth commandment — support socialism as an economic system.

Socialism Has Never Been Tried (Mantra’s of the Left)

I wish to post some ideas and thoughts by others here that will allow a framework to reply to such a challenge. Many professors will infect young minds with this idea, which is, “you cannot criticize Marxism, socialism, or the like because its ‘pure form[s]’ have never been implemented on earth.” To which I would reply to said professor that he then would not be able to criticize Christianity, Republicans, Capitalism, etc…. because the ideal they hold has never been purely implemented on earth. [In Christianity I would note that the faith was modeled perfectly in the man of Christ Jesus.]

So if you have a professor who is harping on Capitalism, Bush, Republicans, Reagan, Newt, Ted Cruz, whomever…, you just need to point out that since  FDR’s “New Deal” and Johnson’s “Great Societyall they are really criticizing is regulation and redistribution. Because we are far from a truly free-market.

So, what are some good resources to build a cumulative case or allow deeper — non-sophomoric thinking as the author of The Politically incorrect Guide would say — on this subject? While I responded to the person where I work with the quick answer of, “that is essentially copping out of dealing with what is produced by such beliefs,” my thinking on the matter goes beyond how I could or can express it in the work environment. This frustration of quick interactions has led me partly to blog on various topics so not only myself, but others can access this “nugget” if-you-will for both personal edification and learning or linking to friends, co-workers, and family that you discuss this issue with. Especially young people at university.

I do wish to note that just because I am posting items by others below, it does not imply I fully agree with their position stated or worldview. For instance I use Student of Objectivism’s (SO) video (spliced with a quick “baked in the cake” precursor), while I enjoy and agree with Ayn Rand on many points… on many others I disagree. I CAN recommend wholeheartedly — for the lover of theology that really wishes to understand the political divide — a book by Thomas Sowell entitled, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. While this is a must read for any political junkie, it is all the more powerful for one who believes in The Fall of mankind, objective grounding of ethics, man’s spark of life/creativity as well as mankind’s depravity. So to all the pastors and apologists that read this… add that book into your reading hopper.

Okay, I wanted to begin with this chapter, at least the opening pages of it, the chapter can be seen below or on Google Books here.

In it the author notes that “baked into” socialism is serfdom… by violence if necessary. Scott Huber of Brightlight Books comments well on this idea and the book:


Williamson ended Chapter 1 (see that summary here) with the observation (from Hayek) that socialist planners always lead an economy on the “road to serfdom”. This is because socialist economic planning cannot work because the planners cannot have enough information or knowledge to make the proper economic decisions. So, in lieu of having enough knowledge to properly make economic decisions, they opt for varying and escalating levels of coercion to enforce their Plan.

In Chapter 2, he begins by refuting what he calls the high school debater’s trick of claiming that socialism in “theory” is great (and true and just and compassionate, etc.) but it just gets screwed up in practice.

Not so, he says:

In truth, the theory behind socialism is deeply flawed: it is intellectually narrow, inhumane, and deeply irrational in that it fails to account for the ways in which knowledge works in a society. Socialism in theory is every bit as bad as socialism in practice, once you understand the theory and stop mistaking it for the common and humane charitable impulse.

Here is a key question? How is economic value determined? Next, we can ask a slightly different set of questions: How should economic value be determined and, perhaps more importantly, by whom?

Williamson argues that on the issue of determining economic value Marx (and every socialist) is a moralist. How so?

Because for Marx, and every other socialist, the value of economic activity, which is to say the value of any product or service, is (or more precisely should) be objectively related to the labor of the worker who produces it. This contrasts with the subjective approach of the capitalist marketplace which basically says that the value of a product or a service is related to how people in the marketplace subjectively value it.

In other words, let’s say you spend a lot of time, human labor, and other resources to produce something. The socialist approach to value says that your product is, at least roughly, worth the sum of the costs required to produce it especially the labor costs. To price it higher or lower is an injustice.

Marx’s analysis is morally normative [i.e. what should be] in that he insists that, since labor is the measure of value, wages must equal the price of the product. The mere existence of profits – squeezing economic value out of a product beyond what workers are paid – for Marx was proof of capitalist’s exploitation of workers. It was indistinguishable from outright theft.

And, according to Williamson, it’s this moral (and moralizing) context that fuels Marxists’ and other socialists’ revolutionary fervor. Note Marx’s most famous quote: The point of philosophy is not merely to understand the world, but to change it. And at the point of a gun if necessary, which it usually is since free people do not readily cooperate with the revolution.


Here is Kevin Williamson, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, responding quickly to Mark Levine about the above… followed by a longer response by SO:

You see, even on paper, if really looked at, the ideal is corrupted. repression and violence surely follow any implementation of socialism or its satellite Marxian or communist outgrowths. Even prior to Marx socialism was tried in the earliest years of our country, and FAILED:

And one should note that ALL of the above have a current application to what we are seeing the Democrats implementing. Socialized Medicine. And who better to explain this to us that the Gipper himself:

Walter Williams makes this real for us in a way that should perk the interest of those who love and cherish freedom:

…Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country, as they often marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving his little red book, “Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung.” President Barack Obama’s communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.

Whether it’s the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children’s Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism — a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.

Today’s leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. One does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.

The unspeakable horrors of Nazism didn’t happen overnight. They were simply the end result of a long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the quest for “social justice.”…

Social Justice. This social justice always leads to repression, from the NAACP asking the rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask to be investigated, to, Dr. Benjamin Carson being audited after his prayer breakfast speech by the IRS. These are murmurings of the greater end that always ends in violent repression. From pro-lifers being threatened on university campuses, to suppression of free speech, to… eventualy, the outgrowth — naturally — to violent repression. The difference between Marxism, Socialism, Communism, and Fascism, is a matter of degrees, only:

A Marxist will scream at you, argue and fist-fight you down the road to his dream, as he carries your belongings and says, “They belong to the collective”.

A Socialist will grab you by the hand or the hair, and beat you on the head with a stick and drag you along, as they make you carry your own belongings and tell you they, “Belong to the collective”.

A Communist will get behind you and make you carry your own belongings to his dream, as he points a gun to the back of your head, and kicks you in the back and screams at you, “They belong to the State”… as in the collective.

A Fascist will will have your neighbor carry your belongings, and shoot you if you do not agree with his dream of “Centralized Authority, and it all belongs to the State”,… the collective”.

…a matter of degrees.

Question is, which is our temperature to stop this from going further in our country?

And any person should acknowledge why someone should “fear” government more than business. In fact, I made this point on my FB outgrowth of this blog in talking to my liberal friend:

…the point was to show how the Obama admin is stacking the books with GM. You see, when the government chooses winners-and-losers instead of getting contracts with private companies (like Ford, GM, etc.), they are invested to [i.e., forced to] only choose a government run business and stock their fish (so-to-speak) with GM fleets… leaving the non-government company to flounder.

This next audio deals with the differences of the Koch brothers, in comparison to the Left’s version of them, Soros. There are many areas that one can discuss about the two… but let us focus in on the main/foundational difference. One wants a large government that is able to legislate more than just what kind of light-bulbs one can use in the privacy of their own home. Soros wants large government able to control a large portion of the economy (see link to chart below), and he has been very vocal on this goal. The other party always mentioned are the Koch brothers. These rich conservatives want a weak government. A government that cannot effect our daily lives nearly as much (personal, business, etc) as the Soros enterprise wants. And really, if you think about it, what business can really “harm” you, when people come to my door with pistols on their hip… are they a) more likely to be from GM, or, b) from the IRS?

The possibility of them being from the IRS is even more possible with the passing of Obama-Care [i.e., larger government]. So the “fear” (audio in next comment) I think the Left has of “Big-Business” is unfounded, and the problem comes when big-business gets in bed with big-government. Here I am thinking of (like with the penalties that were found to be Constitutional in the recent SCOTUS decision) a government that can penalize you if you do not buy a Chevy Volt, or some other green car in order to save the planet. When this happens, guys coming to my door because of unpaid (hypothetical… but historical examples abound of the tax history of our nation) “fines” are likely to be IRS agents because of a personal choice made in the “free-market.”

Appendix: If the above example didn’t inspire any liberal fear (forced to go green or be penalized), maybe this one will?

…First, the government needs to issue a mandate that all households must own at least one firearm. We will need a federal agency to ensure that people aren’t just buying cheap BB guns or .22 pistols, even though that may be all they need or want. It has to be 9mm or above, with .44 magnums getting a one-time tax credit on their own. Let’s pick an agency known for its aptitude on firearms and home protection to issue required annual certifications each year, without which the government will have to levy hefty fines. Which agency would do the best job? Hmmmm … I know! How about TSA? With their track record of excellence, we should have no problems implementing this mandate.

Don’t want to own a gun? Hey, no worries. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says citizens have the right to refuse to comply with mandates. The government will just seize some of your cash in fines, that’s all. Isn’t choice great? Those fines will go toward federal credits that will fund firearm purchases for the less well off, so that they can protect their homes as adequately as those who can afford guns on their own. Since they generally live in neighborhoods where police response is appreciably worse than their higher-earning fellow Americans, they need them more anyway. Besides — gun ownership is actually mentioned in the Constitution, unlike health care, which isn’t. Obviously, that means that the federal government should be funding gun ownership….

…read more…

(See More)

The Pilgrims could have benefited from sound theology which would have dissuaded their (and should ours) experiment with “communal” activities:


A. PRIVATE PROPERTY

According to the teachings of the Bible, government should both document and protect the ownership of private property in a nation.

The Bible regularly assumes and reinforces a system in which property belongs to individuals, not to the government or to society as a whole.

We see this implied in the Ten Commandments, for example, because the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15), assumes that human beings will own property that belongs to them individually and not to other people. I should not steal my neighbor’s ox or donkey because it belongs to my neighbor, not to me and not to anyone else.

The tenth commandment makes this more explicit when it prohibits not just stealing but also desiring to steal what belongs to my neighbor:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exod. 20:17).

The reason I should not “covet” my neighbor’s house or anything else is that these things belong to my neighbor, not to me and not to the community or the nation.

This assumption of private ownership of property, found in this fundamental moral code of the Bible, puts the Bible in direct opposition to the communist system advocated by Karl Marx. Marx said:

The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.

One reason why communism is so incredibly dehumanizing is that when private property is abolished, government controls all economic activity. And when government controls all economic activity, it controls what you can buy, where you will live, and what job you will have (and therefore what job you are allowed to train for, and where you go to school), and how much you will earn. It essentially controls all of life, and human liberty is destroyed. Communism enslaves people and destroys human freedom of choice. The entire nation becomes one huge prison. For this reason, it seems to me that communism is the most dehumanizing economic system ever invented by man.

Other passages of Scripture also support the idea that property should belong to individuals, not to “society” or to the government (except for certain property required for proper government purposes, such as government offices, military bases, and streets and highways). The Bible contains many laws concerning punishments for stealing and appropriate restitution for damage of another person’s farm animals or agricultural fields (for example, see Exod. 21:28-36; 22:1-15; Deut. 22:1-4; 23:24-25). Another com­mandment guaranteed that property boundaries would be protected: “You shall not move your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess” (Deut. 19:14). To move the landmark was to move the boundaries of the land and thus to steal land that belonged to one’s neighbor (compare Prov. 22:28; 23:10).

Another guarantee of the ownership of private property was the fact that, even if property was sold to someone else, in the Year of Jubilee it had to return to the family that originally owned it:

It shall be a Jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan (Lev. 25:10).

This is why the land could not be sold forever: “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me” (Lev. 25:23).

This last verse emphasizes the fact that private property is never viewed in the Bible as an absolute right, because all that people have is ultimately given to them by God, and people are viewed as God’s “stewards” to manage what he has entrusted to their care.

The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Ps. 24:1; compare Ps. 50:10-12; Hag. 2:8).

Yet the fact remains that, under the overall sovereign lordship of God himself, property is regularly said to belong to individuals, not to the government and not to “society” or the nation as a whole.

When Samuel warned the people about the evils that would be imposed upon them by a king, he emphasized the fact that the monarch, with so much government power, would “take” and “take” and “take” from the people and confiscate things for his own use:

So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day” (1 Sam. 8:10-18).

This prediction was tragically fulfilled in the story of the theft of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite by Ahab the wicked king and Jezebel, his even more wicked queen (see 1 Kings 21:1-29). The regular tendency of human governments is to seek to take control of more and more of the property of a nation that God intends to be owned and controlled by private individuals.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 261-263.