A revolutionary idea to win the White House and save the world

Trevor_Loudon_2_small[UPDATE:  Because I have some of the smartest readers in the world (and yes, maybe I'm a little biased), may I strongly recommend that you read not just my post, but their comments, which raise objections and suggestions.]

Last night, I got to hear Trevor Loudon, the New Zealander who believes, as Ronald Reagan did, that America is truly a shining city on a Hill and the world’s last, best hope against global totalitarian rule.  It is this belief that has taken Trevor from his once quiet life in New Zealand to America, on an endless round of research and talks, all aimed at convincing ordinary Americans that their country is at risk (as is the world’s security), but that Americans can turn it around and revitalize a constitutional America.

Trevor’s talk was eye-opening and exciting.  He devoted the first quarter of his talk to detailing how significant numbers of Congress people are currently members of communist organizations or were once open communists (who, significantly, have never repented and reformed).  In the second quarter of his talk, Trevor explained the communist long game, one that started in the 1960s or before, which enabled communists to infiltrate and co-opt American institutions. In the third quarter, Trevor got started on amnesty, which is the Left’s single most important initiative. Finally, when we were all completely depressed, Trevor offered the most revolutionary idea I’ve ever heard for winning the White House in 2016 (but we have to start working on it now, or maybe yesterday.)

I’ll never be able to replicate Trevor’s passion, knowledge, or oratorical brilliance, but I can offer you a short summary of each part of his talk. I urge you to read this entire post, because it will inform you and inspire you in ways you may not have previously imagined.  If you can’t wait to see what the idea is, just scroll down, because I’ve marked clearly where I’ve spelled out Trevor’s revolutionary idea for re-taking the White House.

The communists in Congress: It’s become fashionable of late to deny that communism still exists (“Communists? Hah! It’s just a handful of Russian KGB agents and a few old hippies in San Francisco. Even China isn’t communist any more.”)

Alternatively, scoffers will acknowledge that communism is still around, but assure people (especially ignorant, vulnerable young people) that it’s essentially harmless. This latter argument effectively erases the 20th century, along with the murder and enslavement of tens of millions of people behind the Iron Curtain, in China, in Vietnam, in Cambodia, and in Cuba, not to mention large swathes of Latin America and Africa. Modern communists, we’re told, are just nice people who want to save us from the economic depredations of capitalists as well as the moral and social slavery of traditionalists, especially religious traditionalists.

Because we’ve been told for the past four decades that American communism is a harmless chimera, we currently have 51 House members and 14 Senators all with strong, documented Communist ties. As Trevor said, while these people couldn’t pass the FBI investigation necessary to become a janitor at Fort Hood, the fact that they won an election (often through fraud and voter manipulation), means that they were able to walk right through the front door of our government. They now hold the levers of power controlling taxes, the military, national security, the border, education, etc. They dictate government policy and their goal is antithetical to the America created under the Constitution. Rather than being a government of limited powers, they are working to create a government of absolute powers.

Many of the names Trevor recited will be familiar to you because the media routinely gives them a lot of airtime to explain why Progressive plans (which are just re-labeled communist ideas) are good for America: Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Charles Rangel, Sheila Jackson Lee, etc. — they’re all on the list. You can read about these people in Trevor’s newest book, THE ENEMIES WITHIN: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress. There, Trevor provides detailed evidence documenting Congress peoples’ ties to communist groups, communist front groups, communist individuals, and communist liaisons.

Even Trevor acknowledges that it makes one sound like a conspiracy theorist to call all these serving members of Congress communists or fellow travelers, but the documentation is there. This isn’t a case in which Trevor is trying to convince a room of people wearing tinfoil hats that “Nancy Pelosi was in San Francisco on July 7, 1967, a mere four days after Mr. Communist Bigshot gave a speech in Minneapolis in which he said, ‘July is a great month in San Francisco, because it’s not so hot,’ which was clearly a coded reference telling her to subvert more of America’s youth by selling acid in Haight Ashbury.” That kind of imaginary dots connecting invisible lines is true conspiracy stuff and Trevor doesn’t traffic in that garbage.

Instead, what Trevor offers are verifiable facts:  Membership records and newsletters from openly communist organizations or communist-front groups, decades-long close associations between Congress people and open members of the Communist Party, etc. No imaginary dots or invisible lines here. These are cold, hard, very unpleasant facts. So yes, more than a quarter of the American Senate has strong and documented communist ties, and these Senators, because the Democrats control the Senate, hold powerful positions in our country.

The communist long game: None of what’s happened since 2008, says Trevor, is a coincidence. Every single part of the current Democrat agenda originated, not in small town, old-fashioned American Democrat Party outposts, but, instead, in hardcore communist circles. For example, Quentin Young, who died recently at around age 90, was a physician and an open communist. Indeed, he was so open that, during the Vietnam War, he traveled to North Vietnam and offered his medical services to the Vietcong (those would be the same Vietcong who were killing American soldiers and torturing American POWs).  Young was also Obama’s next door neighbor and his personal physician. Young was also Obama’s adviser on Obamacare. Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

The most significant example of the communist long game is America’s unions. Up until the 1990s, the AFL-CIO, America’s most powerful private sector union, was headed by rabidly staunch anti-communists. The AFL-CIO’s platform specifically stated its opposition to communism. That all changed in 1995 when Thomas Donohue took over the AFL-CIO’s presidency from Lane Kirkland. The anti-communist platform went out the window, and the AFL-CIO was suddenly inundated by openly communist members. With that membership change came a push to get communist or communist-friendly people into government.

With the AFL-CIO’s reversal on communism, and its open-door policy for communists, something happened that we oldsters never saw before the mid-1990s: Unions became integral parts of the Democrat election process. More money than ever before went from unions to politicians. Union works devoted themselves to “get out the vote” efforts, handling everything from registering voters (living or dead), to canvasing, to getting people to polls (legal or illegal), and to staffing polls. What this meant was that every Democrat elected due to union efforts owed the unions big time — and what the union leaders demanded were political acts entirely consistent with demands that communist had been making for decades: socialized medicine, socialized student loans, socialized banking, etc.

Amnesty: Today’s communists are interested in socializing this and that, but they actually have one absolutely overriding goal: amnesty. It’s not because communists (aka Progressives aka socialists aka leftists) love Latin Americans more than the rest of us do. Heck, it’s not about love at all. It’s about creating a permanent Democrat majority. Texas is the pivot point: If Democrats can turn Texas blue (which also means that Arizona and New Mexico and other still-reddish Southwestern states will turn solid blue), it will become numerically impossible for Republicans to take the White House, not just in the short term, but in the long, long term . . . maybe forever, because a solid Democrat majority will change the rules to preclude anything but a one-party White House and, if possible, Congress.

Again, this is not a conspiracy theory. Trevor detailed speeches and writings from people involved in the amnesty movement (including Antonio Villaraigosa, the L.A. mayor who turned LA into an illegal refuge), boasting about the 8 million new voters they are planning on having in order to change forever America’s political identity.

When conservatives oppose amnesty, it’s not because they hate Latinos, anymore than the Democrats love them. It’s because conservatives understand that the point behind amnesty isn’t to reward “acts of love” or to be charitable or to preserve human rights or to prove we’re not racists. Instead, its our recognition (based on Democrat admissions) that amnesty is dedicated to a single goal: destroying America’s two-party system through a tidal wave of newly legal, permanently-Democrat-Party voters. Opposing amnesty is about preserving constitutional government, not about discriminating against the illegal aliens that the Democrats (with the president’s cheerful collusion) are inviting into America and into the voting booth.

But . . . but . . . what about the Republicans who are supporting amnesty (a group that includes most of the Republican leadership)? Surely amnesty can’t be so bad, given that it’s not reasonable for these people to commit political suicide, right? Wrong.  The Republican leadership owes as much to the American Chamber of Commerce as the Democrat Party owes to the unions. The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t care about Left or Right, constitution or totalitarianism. It cares about the bottom line, and the bottom line is always better if labor is cheap.

I am absolutely not calling Chamber of Commerce members Nazis, but it’s worth remember from a political,  not genocidal, perspective, that one of the reasons German industrialists supported the Nazis was that they got free slave labor and they got to keep their profits.  The cheapest labor in America is the illegal alien or newly legalized citizen with no English and no skills. Trevor says that it’s no coincidence that the most pro-amnesty Republicans are the ones who receive the most money from the Chamber of Commerce.

That explains the RINOs and GOP’s support for amnesty?  But what about the fanatical, hysterical union support for amnesty? Doesn’t illegal immigration and amnesty hurt union members for the same reason that the Chamber of Commerce likes it, by lowering wages? Yes. And the unions, both leadership and members, understood that right up until 1995. The old leadership’s opposition to communism wasn’t just ideological, it was pragmatic. Open borders lowered wages and otherwise depressed working conditions for ordinary Americans.

The new union leadership, though, doesn’t care about its members’ well-being. Members are merely cash cows subject to mandatory dues that ultimately pay for the union members’ own slaughter.

There is hope for the future: By the time Trevor finished the first 3/4 of his talk, all of us listening were depressed. I looked around and saw slumped bodies and sad faces. Not to despair, though, since Trevor held out hope and, as I said, offered a revolutionary idea for a Republican comeback. He broke this last part of his talk into three segments: the Tea Party, Reagan’s victory, and what we can do.

The Tea Party: In 2008, all the ducks were in a row for a complete, irreversible Leftist takeover of America’s political system. What stopped it, Trevor said, was something unforeseeable, and that black swan was the Tea Party’s organic and meteoric rise.

Thanks to the Tea Party, the Democrats only got 2 years of legislative victories and, since then, they’ve been on the defensive. At every level — local, state, and national — Tea Partiers roared out their disapproval at this, the greatest flowering of the American communist party.

No wonder that the backlash was so immediate and so vicious (racist, racist, war on women, Islamophobic, homophobic, racist, racist). The Tea Party had to be destroyed and quickly too. Trevor attended a major socialist/communist party event and said it was dead boring. All they did was talk about how terrible the Tea Party is and how it could be destroyed.

Trevor said that we in the Tea Party are feeling demoralized now, since Obama took back the White House in 2012. What he says we’re missing, perhaps because we’re too close to things (unlike a New Zealander, who gets a long view), is how big our victory was. We’re like “Baby Supermen,” he said, because we don’t realize the type of power we have. Instead, we focus on our losses and then retreat to lick our wounds, yielding the floor once again to the indefatigable left.

Tea Partiers also have a problem with the GOP itself, which bitterly resents the upstarts who disagree with the GOP’s “go along to get along” policies and, most especially, with its Chamber of Commerce-funded press for amnesty, cheap labor, and a permanent Democrat majority. There is hope, though.

Reagan: Trevor reminded us that, when Reagan emerged from California in 1976 and strode onto the national scene, the GOP hated him. The Ohio GOP refused to let him speak there. Essentially, the Grand Old Party, which Reagan later owned, blackballed him, denying him the 1976 primary, which went to Gerald Ford. Reagan, however, spent the next four years coalition building like mad. With his sunny personality; his gift for taking complex subjects and presenting them in simple, but not simplistic, terms; and his unabashed love for America, he brought everyone under his umbrella. He won by a landslide that originated with his newly cohesive base, revitalizing America.

Trevor acknowledged that things are different now. Obama and his team will have had eight, not just four, years to pursue their agenda (even with the Tea Party operating as a counterweight and drag). The news and entertainment media are intractably in the bag for the Left and will throw themselves into the breach in 2016, especially for a Hillary/Michelle ticket. And we’re having conservative civil war headed by the GOP’s desire to destroy the Tea Party.

Ah, that GOP.  That nasty, weak, corrupt, amnesty-loving GOP.  We Tea Partiers would like to see it gone, just as the GOP would like the Tea Party to vanish.  There’s an unpleasant reality, though, that Trevor says the Tea Party must acknowledge:  We don’t have the time — just 2.5 years until 2016 — to put together the election infrastructure that the GOP already has. Moribund and corrupt though it may be, the GOP is the only game in town for winning elections. The task, then, is to preempt and co-opt the GOP, just as Reagan did.

The Tea Party also needs to stop trying to convince independents to get on board.  Trevor pointed out what we all know:  You don’t win elections by getting lukewarm support from fundamentally disinterested people. You win elections when your base is incredibly excited and the lukewarm people want to join in the fun (as happened for Obama in 2008).  The GOP, Trevor added, will also want to join the fun, primarily because the institution cannot afford to walk away from the seat of power.  It happened in 1980 with Reagan and it can happen again.

The main problem the conservative base has is this fragmentation and internal hostility, which extends beyond the GOP versus Tea Party fight.  Libertarians, social conservatives, and Evangelicals are also part of this cranky, disparate mix of people who are definitely not statists, but still can’t hang together enough to create a political wave advancing constitutional freedoms.  The big question, then, is How can we bring these disparate groups together, enthusiastically, to win in 2016, which will be our last chance at wresting the country from the communist-backed Democrats?

Here’s Trevor’s revolutionary idea

Trevor has what I think of as a brilliant, inspired, out of the box, crazy, entirely possible idea. To build a coalition, you need to promise something to everyone. That seems impossible when you consider how the various conservative groups have such vastly different issues. One person cannot possible be all things to all conservative voters. TREVOR SAYS THAT ONE PERSON DOESN’T HAVE TO BE ALL THINGS. The next Republican candidate should identify his running mate and cabinet now, to make sure that the GOP doesn’t suck all the money out of the system by 2015 and then funnel it to Romney (part II) or Christie, neither of whom can excite the base and, therefore, neither of whom can win.

Here’s as much of Trevor’s dream ticket as I can remember. It should be promoted, in its entirety, from the get-go (say, starting next month, or maybe yesterday):

President: Ted Cruz, a committed conservative who can talk brilliantly (and a man who happens to be Hispanic).
Vice President: Allen West, a committed conservative, a military commander (and a man who happens to be black and I adore him).
Treasury Secretary: Rand Paul (Tea Partiers and libertarians get their fiscal conservatism)
Secretary of State: John Bolton (the neocons get their national security)
Energy Secretary: Sarah Palin (Tea Partiers — and most Americans — get their cheap energy)
Labor Secretary: Scott Walker (Right to Work across America)
Attorney General: Mark Levin or Trey Gowdy, deeply committed constitutional conservatives
Education Secretary: A strong supporter of homeschooling

And so on, down the line, with the Republican ticket being fully formed from top to bottom.  Every conservative will know heading to the voting booth that the Republican ticket offers something to him or her personally.  That gets out votes.

Someone pointed out that the obvious problem with this list, which is the fact that all of these people want to be president themselves, and will not want to be subordinated to Cruz or West. Instead of joining forces, they’ll simply form the same circular firing squad that they formed in 2008 and 2012, and mow each other down again, with the Democrats cheering them on from the sidelines.

Yes, Trevor, acknowledged, some people are going to have to sacrifice their immediate presidential dreams in favor of presenting a strong united front. While the notion of self-sacrifice isn’t usually high on a politician’s list, perhaps they can be brought to see that a little self-sacrifice now provides long-term selfish benefits in the future.  By following his radical campaign plan, all these talents and egos can win in some way in 2016, setting the template for each of them to strike out on his or her own in 2024.  Alternatively, they can selfishly commit political and party murder-suicide in 2016, forever ending any possibility that a Republican will take the White House.

Trevor emphasized repeatedly that this revolutionary idea — running a president, veep, and entire cabinet in one fell swoop — must be done now. Any delay means conservative money is gone, the circular firing squad forms, GOP money rescues Romney or Christie from the bloodbath, the base stays home, the independents stay home, the Democrats win again, and America becomes a permanent socialized state that has abandoned all of its allies around the world, and serves as a materiels-supplier to the world’s dictators.

If you think this is a good idea, act on it:  Share it with your local conservative groups, put it out on Facebook, make clever posters, contact conservative leadership.  Do whatever you can do.  We have a very small window of time, and very limited resources, to reverse a trajectory that, if not changed by 2016, will be fixed forever.

By attacking Jonah Goldberg, a recent college grad reveals that the American mind is no longer closing, it’s closed

The-Closing-of-the-American-Mind-Bloom-Allan-9780671657154The etymology of the word “liberal” isn’t complicated. It’s from the Latin līberālis, meaning “of freedom,” which in turn derives from līber, meaning “free.” The problem with “liberalism” as a political doctrine comes about when people try to define the control from which they wish to be free.  As a recent attack on Jonah Goldberg reveals, America’s finest colleges are failing miserably when it comes to helping students examine what “liberty” really means, both in theory and in fact.

The definitional problem with the notion of “liberty” was already evident in the late 18th century, so it’s not as if American educational institutions haven’t had a while to wrestle with this intellectual problem. When Thomas Jefferson wrote about each individual’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the liberty that he envisioned meant an individual’s right to construct his own life: his own career, his own faith, his own personal relations, and his own economic progress.

The Bill of Rights, a binding contract between government and governed, established that Jefferson and the other Founders knew that this liberty could be achieved only through less government, not more. At various times throughout history, the federal government has stepped in to lift a heavy yoke off of people, including slavery and Jim Crow (both of which were state government initiatives), but the understanding was that the federal government wasn’t then supposed to fill the power vacuum it had created.

At the same time that the Founders were reducing individual liberty to what they hoped would be an iron-clad constitutional contract (with the enforcement mechanism being each individual’s jealously protected right to bear arms), French revolutionaries were contemplating a very different type of “liberty.” When they spoke of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,” they meant to substitute one heavy-handed government (the blood-thirsty commune) in place of another heavy-handed government (the ancien regime). The notion of individual liberty, a person’s right to be free from government encroachment, was not part of the French Revolution’s operating system.

In the 220 or so years that have passed since the Bill of Rights and the French Revolution, the diametrically-opposed meanings applied to the words “liberty,” have never changed. A steady strand of thinking in America has always held that liberty means a person’s right to determine his own destiny with minimal government intervention, control, taxation, and policing. Meanwhile, whether under the heading of socialism, fascism, communism, Naziism, or Progressivism, most Europeans and some Americans (including the modern Democrat party) have steadfastly insisted that liberty means a person’s right to be free from the burden of thinking about and caring for himself. (Islam makes that promise too.)

I was reminded of this definitional paradox when I read a 23-year-old’s throbbing denunciation of Jonah Goldberg’s challenge to the recycled communism found in a Jesse Myerson article published in Rolling Stone. The 23-year-old guilty of this purple passion in support of the Left’s liberty is Emmett Rensin, who describes himself for the L.A. Times as “a political activist and essayist living in Chicago.”  His website adds that he recently graduated from the University of Chicago, which is one of America’s premier institutions and was once Milton Friedman’s home base.

Rensin may be young, and he may consider himself Progressive, but his article is actually pretty funny because it’s so reactionary in tone. This is a guy who, after four years in a top American university, looks back in longing at communism’s glory days, and regrets that he was unable to live in those heady times himself. Even his insults have a dated quality, rolling of the tongue with all the clunky rhetorical elegance that used to character a good Stalin speech. Thus, Goldberg is a “professional colonialism apologist and perennial Democratic crypto-fascist hunter.” Wow! It’s 1948 all over again.

Obviously, Rensin’s writing is not the stuff of ages, although it’s probably the stuff of old, aged Leftists. Rensin is worth quoting, though, because he so perfectly embodies the long-standing Leftist notion, one that is now de rigueur in America’s colleges, that “liberty” means the freedom to have an all-powerful government take care of you:

Young leftists like Myerson and myself share a moral outlook that fundamentally differs from conservatives like Goldberg: Freedom, in the most prosperous nation on Earth, must entail the freedom to act without the constant specter of homelessness, hunger and preventable illness. But this is nothing new, and the very founders Goldberg implies would have defended the present status quo are cases in point. The revolutionary generation (many of whom, by the way, were theatrically radical young people) was made up of men of means. They were all comfortable; many were wealthy. They had time to recycle the old ideas of Locke and Montesquieu and to dream of a nation outside the shackles of English monarchy.

It’s hard to imagine squeezing in the Continental Congress in a world where Thomas Jefferson had to run across town to his minimum-wage night job.

If liberalism believes that freedom consists of freedom from want, then we want only to extend the means for such achievement beyond the wealthy, white and landed few. Not everyone needs their own Monticello, but an apartment and some groceries might suffice.

Rensin has the youthful college grad’s passion for supposedly erudite references and sweeping pronouncements, not to mention a good acquaintance with the Spark Notes version of Marx’s turgid, lugubrious, boring Communist Manifesto. What Rensin lacks, however, is actual knowledge. If he had knowledge, he would know that freedom from want (which is what he desires) happens best when a society lets individuals decide how to create and spend wealth, rather than in societies in which the state, promising freedom from want, makes decisions for individuals about how to create and spend wealth.

It’s absolutely true that every country predicated on individual liberty and economic freedom has failed to eradicate poverty and has made terrible moral mistakes. What’s also true, though, is that these same countries have raised the standard of living for every individual within the country, from the poorest on up; has contributed wealth around the world; and has repented and remedied its moral mistakes.  (A useful primer on this is Niall Ferguson’s Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World by Ferguson.)

The contrary is true for countries of the kind Rensin envisions, with a beneficent government caring for every individual. Without exception, the promises of a managed economy have failed.  Invariably, and quickly, many more, rather than fewer, people end up mired in abysmal poverty, grinding despair, not to mention existential fear of ones own all-powerful government.  The standard of living for everyone in these countries has gone down. There isn’t one communist country that doesn’t support Winston Churchill’s justly famous observation that “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.  Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery” (emphasis mine).

Worse, in every one of these socialist countries, as the promises failed and the people took notice of those failures, the governments did something that no magnate or corporation could ever do and on a scale so vast even now it’s hard to comprehend: they silenced, tortured, imprisoned, and executed people who failed to be adequately grateful for the state’s vision of “liberty.”  This is true whether one speaks of Soviet Gulags, Nazi and North Korean concentration camps, Chinese reeducation camps, or Cuban prisons.  In each case, people were sent there, not for committing crimes against their fellow citizens (assault, murder, robbery), but for being offensive to the state, sometimes by what they said, sometimes by what they did, and sometimes just by existing.

I can already hear Rensin saying that my statements only apply to the Soviet Union, Communist China, Cuba, Nazi Germany, East Germany, North Korea, and other “communist” countries, but are untrue when it comes to socialized Europe. Again, he would be wrong. Because Europe went for soft socialism, not hard, and because America supported it economically for decades during the Cold War, it’s decline has been the slow-mo version of hardcore socialist states.

When the Cold War collapsed, and America’s dollars dried up, Europe’s economy slowly disappeared. Living standards across Europe are falling, not rising. Moreover, the petty tyranny of the EU is ramping up. Free speech is increasingly verboten in England, the home of free speech; France is reliving the Dreyfus affair with virulent antisemitism rising to the fore; Greece is in social and economic free fall; Spain is broke; and on and on. Norway still does socialism successfully, but that’s primarily because it’s floating on a sea of the Beverly Hillbillies’ famous “black gold.” It’s easy to be socialist when you have an unending stream of one of the world’s most valuable commodities.  And of course, Norway is back away from socialism as fast as it can.

This post started with Jonah Goldberg, and it’s going to end with him too. His opinion piece today at the National Review notes that, while Allan Bloom once wrote about the “closing of the American mind,” that’s no longer true.  The American mind has stopped closing; instead, it’s closed, very tightly.  On college campuses throughout America — the ones that are training the Emmett Rensin’s who are let loose in newspapers and magazines — the door has shut firmly and definitively on wisdom, general knowledge, historical understanding, and analytical thinking.  We are in an intellectual dark age as stultifying and dangerous as the one that swept through Europe with Rome’s collapse and that only slowly lifted in the eight centuries thereafter.

As Obamacare defines America’s economic landscape, are we going to see a new trend of Soviet-era jokes?

Soviet-Bread-Line

Shopping Soviet style — the bread line

Those of us who remember the Cold War also remember the Cold War joke.  Many of these were jokes that had actually originated within the Soviet Union itself, as Russian citizens used mordant humor to deal with communist life.  When I was growing up, those jokes had a great deal to do with my understanding of the day-to-day realities of life in a Communist state, both in terms of the oppression and the deprivation.  Here’s a joke that illustrates both:

A man was somehow able to finagle visas to get his family out of the Soviet Union, but he was forced to remain behind.  He promised to write his family regularly to let them know how he was doing.  Because the family knew that the KGB would be monitoring everything the man wrote, they agreed upon a code:  If the man wrote  his letter in black ink, he was telling the truth; if he wrote his letter in red ink, he was telling a lie.  Not long after the family settled in their new home, they received a letter from the man written entirely in black ink:

My dearest family,

How foolish you were to leave our beloved Soviet Union.  Although you may remember a brief period of shortages, I can tell you that life now has gotten better in every way.  The stores are overflowing with food and merchandise.  At the green grocer, there are fruits and vegetables from all corners of our glorious Soviet Union.  In the clothing stores, the clothes available for purchase are packed so tightly on the rack that one needs to use excessive strength to pull out a shirt just to try it on.  Even though it is January, our dear little apartment is oppressively hot.  I must repeatedly tell the manager to turn the heat down.  Indeed, peculiarly enough, in the midst of all the plenty flowing from Stalin’s great Five Year Plan, the stores are short only one item:  red ink.

With love,

Papa

Other jokes spoke about deprivation and the pervasive, state-sponsored antisemitism:

On a bitterly cold day in Moscow, word has gone out that a store has received a shipment of food supplies.  People start lining up early.  Soon, the line doubles around the block.  After a couple of hours, an official emerges from the store.

“Owing to the Zionist-dominated American interference with Soviet concerns, supplies are slightly more limited than we had originally anticipated.  All Jews must therefore leave this line.”

Grumbling, but unsurprised, the Jews head home empty-handed.

The sun rises in the sky, but gives no warmth.  Another couple of hours go by, and the same official comes out.

“The Americans were worse than we thought, and our supplies are more diminished than we realized.  All of those who do not belong to the Communist Party must leave this line.”

Disgruntled non-Party members head home, leaving only the hard-core Soviets waiting for food.

The sun begins to set.  The cold becomes worse.  The Party members huddle together, trying to get warm.  At long last, after they’ve spent eight or ten hours waiting, the official emerges from the store one last time.

“We regret to announce that American depredations were so great that we have no food supplies available today.  You must all go home.”

As the Party members shuffle away into the cold night, one loudly says to the other, “Those damn Jews!  They get all the luck.”

(Incidentally, I published this joke in connection with a Maxine Waters comment, which reminds us that antisemitism is becoming pretty pervasive in today’s Democrat Party.)

For me, Obamacare is a rich area for Soviet jokes.  We’re being ordered to buy a product that we don’t want; that is described as being overwhelmingly full of delights, even though we don’t care about those delights; and that is, in any event, unavailable.  It’s a Soviet-style economic policy that is fully deserving of Soviet-style jokes.  To date, I’ve fallen back on one of my old favorites:

First Communist:  Come the revolution, we’ll all be driving Rolls Royces.

Second Communist:  But I don’t want to drive a Rolls Royce.

First Communist:  Come the revolution, you’ll have to.

What fascinated me was discovering that I’m not the only one dredging up the Cold War past in connection with Obamacare. Megan McArdle, an admirably level-headed, honest writer whose background as a programmer has given her solid insights into the Obamacare debacle, has felt the same impulse:

Left-leaning columnists and policy wonks have been suggesting that the cancellation letters were part of an insurance company scam to enroll their customers in expensive policies, but the administration itself has been remarkably oblique. It needs the insurers, especially with the exchanges in so much trouble. Their cooperation is essential to avoiding another round of nasty premium shocks next year.

It reminds me of a late-Soviet joke: A man stands in line all day for bread, only to have the baker come out and say there is none. He loses it, and begins ranting about the government. Eventually, a man in a trench coat puts a hand on his shoulder.

“Be careful, comrade. You know, in the old days, it would have been …” and he mimes a gun pointed at the head.

The man walks home, dejected. When he walks in the door, his wife takes one look at his face and drops the plate she is holding.

“What’s wrong, Ivan? Were they out of bread?”

“It’s worse than that. They’re out of bullets.”

The administration has run out of political bullets. Unless the Affordable Care Act starts working, and delivering big benefits to more people than are losing their insurance, it can’t do much to improve those sagging poll numbers.

I’m wondering now if we’re going to see a general resurgence of Soviet jokes.  They’re pretty much pre-made for the communist style economy Obama has thrust upon us.  So I have a twofold request for you:  First, do you remember any old Soviet-era jokes (and they have to be the genuine article) that work just as well now, in America, as they did during the Cold War in the Soviet Union?  Second, if you find other writers falling back on old Communist jokes in connection with Obamacare specifically or the Obama economy generally, could you let me know?

 

Game of Thrones and how the things that we watch reveal something about who we are and what we’ve become

Yesterday, my substantive Bookworm Room work was limited to a single post in which I linked to David Swindle’s article about Game of Thrones.  Having read David’s writing, one of my friends sent me his take on Game of Thrones.  I’d like to share parts of it with you, as well as my response.

My friend watched the first two seasons because there was a story there about good versus evil.  I agree.  That I didn’t like the ugly violence of the show (and I found the underlying books dull) doesn’t change the fact that it was simply an R-rated version of an age-old fable of good versus evil.  It was in the third season that the show changed and that my friend, whose life is built around a solid core of Jude0-Christian morality, had enough:

What concerns me is the way the show is written the scum bags are more intriguing characters than the honorable ones. Even scarier is seeing comments of fans on line who brush off the “good guys” in the show as naive idiots (mostly because they get killed off) and the slime balls as compelling heroes of the show. What? Recently there was someone on FB who after one episode wrote: “Jamie Lannister is a class act.” Jaime leaped into a pit with a bear to save another character and now all the fans love him. I reminded my FB friend Jamie was a class act except for the fact he pushed a kid out of a window to kill him, commits incest with his sister, rapes women, murders innocents, and is generally a selfish dirt bag. How everyone sees this one act as some kind of redemption is beyond me. The characters who do the right thing, keep their word, etc, are all murdered and betrayed by the “smarter” cool characters.

I’ve enjoyed GoT for 2 seasons but this season seemed to drag. Then the Stark family (honorable, noble, keep their word types) were betrayed and nearly assassinated to a man. At this point I can count the characters with any nobility left to them on one hand. Plus I’ve always hated shows portraying where the noble characters are somehow the most flawed and the slime balls are the ones we are to sympathize with. GoT does this very well.

I couldn’t agree more. What I wrote back to my friend is that I’ve always felt that, if I’m going to give time in my life to a show, I want to spend it with people with whom I’d want to spend time in real life. I don’t like spending time with sociopaths or psychopaths, so why would I want to spend umpteen hours getting close to Jamie Lannister or Tony Soprano?

I understand the need for dramatic tension. A show that’s just about good guys being good tends to lack plot movement. For centuries, we resolved this by having good guys defeat bad guys — and we identified with the good guys. Kids were Superman, Batman, Dick Tracy, etc. Somewhere along the line, that changed, and we started being expected to identify with the bad guys. (Was it The Godfather that did this or the 1950s James Dean antiheroes?)

We’ve now moved beyond having sympathetic bad guys face off against one-dimensional good guys, and, for the most part, done away with good guys altogether. They’re just so dull. But keep in mind that their dullness is not their fault:  The good guys in modern drama became dull because no one knows how to write interesting or charming characters anymore.  A witty, brilliant Lord Peter Wimsey, or a sparkling Elizabeth Bennett, or a bewildered, striving Pip, or whatever other good character you admire, both because the character is good and because the character is interesting — those people (and they are real to me) seem to be impossible for modern writers to create.

I was actually thinking this same thought last night when I finally got around to watching Skyfall this weekend. I was bored out of my mind, and for a very specific reason. James Bond used to be charming. Now he’s thuggish. That’s actually a bit truer to the books, which were noir-style, but it’s not true to the spirit that’s animated the Bond movies since 1963. In the old days, women wanted to meet the raffish Bond and men wanted to be him. Nowadays, with the psychopathic, possibly bisexual Bond, you want to run screaming from the room. So again, why would I want to spend two hours of my life sitting in the dark watching this so-called “hero”?

Some people I know raved about Big Bang Theory, shown on FX.  It was about a school teacher turned insane drug dealer. They marveled that I didn’t want to watch it. And I couldn’t understand why they wanted me to abandon Pride & Prejudice (always an uplifting, amusing book about charming, personable characters learning how to behave correctly, not badly) to spend hours and hours watching this guy sink constantly lower.

If you want an insight into our lost culture, just watch what serves for comedy, drama, or documentary on HBO or FX or any of the other cable challenges that stream into our homes and our children’s brains.  Seeing these shows is like an intellectual gathering place for all that’s bad about Leftist thought.

And here’s another thought while I’m (finally) on a roll.  Last night, our TiVo captured a dreary (but award-winning) Spanish-language movie called Pan’s Labyrinth.  It’s about an imaginative little girl in Spain in 1944, whose widowed mother has married a psychopathic fascist captain during the Spanish Civil War.  Naturally, the Communists are portrayed sympathetically.

In fact, if one reads about the Spanish Civil War, it was a war much like that taking place in Syria:  moral, decent people would want both sides to lose.  If I remember correctly, it emerged in the 1990s or so that the Communist leaders systematically slaughtered those starry-eyed idealists who had come from America and England to help the Communists fight the Fascists.  The fundamental truth was that both sides were socialist totalitarian bodies that simply wanted dibs on creating dictatorships in Spain.

What I thought as I watched the movie is that, even though the Fascists won, the Communists wrote the history.  And indeed, the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century is characterized by that phenomenon:  no matter who wins or loses on the ground, the Communists write the history.  It used to be that the victor got to own the past, which enabled the victor to keep a tight grip on the present.  Can you think of another place or time in which one side to the ideological battle, whether it wins or loses, always retains control over the narrative?

Here at home, we fought a fifty-year Cold War and, technically, we won.  Except our students all read Howard Zinn’s ultra Leftist People’s History of the United States.  Which means we lost, because even though the Soviet Union is gone, its ideology lives on in the hearts and minds of our children, as well as in the halls of our White House.

I’ve been depressed for the last few days, making it hard to write.  Having read what I’ve just written, I’m still depressed.

Young adult writers, dystopian fiction, and communism

Thanks to the success of The Hunger Games (which I’ve neither read nor watched), novels about dystopian futures are the “in” thing for young adult readers.  My daughter enjoys these books a great deal.  Yesterday, having read one, she said to me, “You know, Mommy, all of these dystopian books that take place in the future, are always communist.”  Further questioning revealed that none of these books involve futuristic scenarios in which people scrabble alone in the wild or are under the thumb of aliens.

Two comments:

Wow.  First, yes, she did use the word dystopian.  And second, she’s absolutely right.  The only way authors are able to imagine a future world that’s sufficiently bad to qualify for a Hunger Games style revolution is to posit a world of scarce resources, with a tyrannical government controlling the population by meting out small portions of remaining resources to the masses, while preserving most of the resources for the apparatchiks — in other words, communism.  Communism is the very worst form of government that literary minds an create.

Labels are often used to obscure meanings.  Sometimes, though, they can be remarkably clarifying.  This one, straight out of the mouth of a teen (dystopian future = communist world) falls into the latter category.

Incidentally, I’m willing to bet that large numbers of these writers are liberals who know little about the reality of communism.  They probably think they’re imagining a never-before-seen world, rather than one we’ve seen all too often in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Living in a police state — Communist Czechoslovakia had nothing on modern Wisconsin

One of the scarier moments in my life occurred back in 1987, when I was traveling with my mother in still-Communist Prague.  We’d originally planned to stay there six days, but a three-day taste of Communism — the shabbiness, the sullen people, the dirty air, the vile food — was all we could stand.  We studied our map carefully, tried to make sense of the completely foreign street names, jumped in our car, and headed for Brno, on the road to Vienna.

Or at least, that was the plan.  What actually happened was that we got hopelessly lost on Prague’s confusing network of streets.  And once lost, we couldn’t reorient ourselves, ’cause we couldn’t make sense of those darn Czech street names.

Eventually, we realized that we were making a vast circle, over and over.  Mom finally had it.  “We’re going south,” she said, making a hard left onto a vast, empty street.  That was a mistake.  We ended up on a big plaza, deserted except for one small Lada parked on the far right side of the plaza.  This did not look right.

Things looked even less right when the Lada suddenly emitted a siren-like sound, blue lights flashed, and it accelerated towards us.  Mom pulled over.  The Lada pulled over behind us.  The doors opened and, out of this teeny car stepped two of the tallest, skinniest police officers I’ve ever seen.  Their combined age couldn’t have been much more than 40.  One came to the driver’s window, and one to the passenger’s.

Mom tried German.  Nothing.

Mom and I tried English.  Nothing.

Well, maybe something.  The police officer next to my Mom stuck out his hand, the one that wasn’t near his gun, and said “Passports.”

Gulp.

We gave him the passports.

And that was one of the most helpless feelings in my life.  There we were, in a Communist country, on a deserted street, sans passports, with two very young, armed Communist police officers staring down at us.

Mom and I did what we do best.  We fluttered.  We flapped our hands.  We practically clucked.  We were both small and blonde.  We radiated harmlessness.  And we kept saying, “Brno.  Brno.  Brno.”

The officers conferred with each other in rapid Czech.  They came to a decision.

Suddenly, we had our passports back.  The officers got into their little car and signaled that we should follow them.  And within about five minutes, they had us on the road to Brno, bless their hearts.  Mom and I were kvelling with delight.  We also realized how lucky we were, and how badly it could have turned out for us, violating some unknown law and finding ourselves in the hands of an unlimited police bureaucracy.

Maybe that’s why David Willoughby’s story resonated so strongly with me.  David is the U.S. Marine Vet who was arrested when he held up a protest sign in Wisconsin.  Here’s how David describes his experience:

My name is Dave Willoughby. I am the one in the video.

Without being told what I had done, I was handcuffed and escorted off premise. Placed in a squad car and taken to a police station. I asked if I should have my rights read to me and was told “You’re not being arrested.” My personal property was taken from me, I was fingerprinted, mug shot taken and locked in a dark jail cell (lights off) still handcuffed.

I sat in that jail cell, looking out of a meshed wire window, at a large American flag flying in the background. Where am I? How can this be happening? What did I do wrong? I prayed for strength.

When I swore the oath to protect and defend the Constitution, I never realized until recently, how vulnerable our precious freedoms actually are.

I did nothing wrong. There were literally hundreds of cameras at this event. I challenge all media to find one shred of evidence, which would support the actions of the Milwaukee PD officers.

Think about that: my Mom and I, in a Communist state, where we didn’t speak the language, fared better than an American veteran on American soil.  That he spoke the language made no difference:

As I was walking, I felt this arm grab me and I felt this fist and I turned around and it was a cop! He told me ‘You’re gonna get your ass kicked.’ All the while I was asking the police officer if he was going to uphold his oath to protect and defend the Constitution? He never answered me.” “The whole time I’m asking ‘What did I do wrong?’ No answer. They handcuffed me. They took me into a car. I asked ‘Am I being arrested?’ and they said ‘No, you’re not being arrested.’ But they handcuffed me, and put me in a dark jail cell, all the while not arresting me.”

Americans always feel “It can’t happen here.”  But it can.  It routinely happened to blacks in the Jim Crow South, and now it apparently happens to foes of public sector unions (unions that include police officers) in the American North/Midwest.  Even if this was anomalous, we must take it seriously.  If we don’t, it creates a precedent.

I have the highest regard for police officers.  They’re doing a sometimes dangerous job and an often frustrating one.  Every interaction I’ve ever had with a police officer has seen the officer being professional, polite and, usually, quite pleasant.  Nevertheless, police officers have a lot of power and, for some, power corrupts.  The way to keep that thin blue line entirely honest is to let the police know that, even though we respect them and their service, we’re also watching them, as citizens of a free state can and should do.

Could Iraq be the reason Obama is so hostile to Poland?

Obama has not had a good week vis a vis Poland.  First, he insulted Lech Walesa; then he managed to insult the entire nation.  In the old days, before we got PC, we would have told a Polish joke . . . about Obama.  (Here’s an old, un-PC joke:  What do you get when you cross an Italian and a Pole?  A person who makes you an offer he can’t understand.)

Has anyone asked why Obama is so hostile to Poland?  The obvious reason, of course, is that Poland was the lever the broke the old Soviet Union.  (Would that make Walesa Archimedes?)  From Obama’s view, that falls into the “Shame on Poland category,” for messing with the great Socialist experiment that was ongoing in that nation.  (And who can ever forget that great Russian lab tech, Stalin, who may have said, and certainly believed, that “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.”)

I wonder, though, whether Obama is also hostile because Poland was one of the most enthusiastic participants in the Gulf War coalition.  I’m reading American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History. In it, Kyle has nothing but praise for the Polish special forces with whom he worked during the War in Iraq.  See, this makes the Poles double plus bad ungood.  Not only did they bring down Communism, the also embraced the evil George Bush’s War for Oil in Iraq.

The Administration’s focus on farmers: The bloodless version of the Soviet Ukrainian experiment? *UPDATED*

To date, I haven’t been paying that much attention to the Obama administration’s Big Government effort to keep America’s young down on the farms, now that they’ve seen TV.  Or can see TV . . . or should see TV, since the Obama administration is barring farm kids from actually working on the farm:

Last year, DOL Secretary Hilda Solis proposed rules that would restrict family farm operations by prohibiting youth under the age of 18 from being near certain age animals without adult supervision, participating in common livestock practices such as vaccinating and hoof trimming, and handling most animals more than six months old, which would severely limit participation in 4-H and FFA activities and restrict their youth farm safety classes; operating farm machinery over 20 PTO horsepower; completing tasks at elevations over six feet high; and working at stockyards and grain and feed facilities. The language of the proposed rule is so specific it would even ban youth from operating a battery powered screwdriver or a pressurized garden hose.

The internet has lit up with stories of young people who learned about responsibility on farms, who had happy hours and years working on 4H projects, and who were trained to take over the family farm.  It’s that last type of story that got my attention.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m reading (or, more specifically, listening to) Timothy Snyder’s excellent, and deeply depressing, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin.  Snyder makes clear from the beginning that one cannot understand the killing fields of central Europe (the lands between Germany and Soviet Russia) without understanding Russian Communism.  The original Bolshevik’s were fundamentalist Marxists.  Lenin and his crew believed in the truth of every word that Marx and Engel put down on paper.

These words, of course, included the theory that Marxism was the inevitable byproduct of industrialization.  For Marxism to reach its apogee, the workers of the world needed to unite — with the understanding that workers were those who worked in the factories, not those who worked on the land.  Peasants might labor, but they didn’t work.  For that reason, Marx and Engels pretty much ignored the peasants in their writings.  Who needed ‘em?

What Lenin and his crew couldn’t understand was why the first successful Marxist revolution happened, not in industrialized Germany, where they expected it to happen, but in primarily rural Russia.  The whole notion that, after the first labor pains of industrialization ended, industrialization would improve life, lessening the worker’s desire for socialism, eluded these true believers.  Instead, they concluded that theirs was an incomplete revolution, one that could reach fruition only if Russia was de-ruralized and properly industrialized. And so the Russians went after those pesky peasants.  (And do I remember Pol Pot’s minions and Mao’s crew doing precisely the same?)

Starved Ukrainian peasants 1933

In China, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union, the socialist purge of pesky peasants cost millions of lives.  People were shot, imprisoned and, in China and the Soviet Union, starved to death in the millions.  The politburos considered the cost in human lives to be a mere nothing compared to the glories of an inevitable socialist paradise on earth.  Moreover, in Mother Russia, those pathetic peasants still clung to an outdated religion that posited a paradise in the hereafter, so the politburo was just helping them towards their ultimate goal, in order to pave the way for the Soviet’s ultimate goal.

As for the fact that these irritating small farmers produced the food that fed the workers, the Soviets had the answer:  they would industrialize farming, making it just another cog in the socialist machinery.  The fact that the dead peasants took their hard-earned farming wisdom with them was irrelevant.  The collective brilliance of the state would have the answer.  Starvation was the inevitable result.  (And for a more recent example of this same thinking, take a peek into Zimbabwe, which went from lush bounty to starvation within less than a decade after Mugabe took the land from the farmers and gave it to the state’s friends, all of whom know nothing about farming.)

Remnants of Pol Pot's Killing Fields

Consistent with the Obama’s soft, loving view of socialism, it isn’t using round-ups or mandatory collectivism.  Instead, it’s simply ensuring taking steps to ensure that the current generation of small farmer is the last generation of small farmer.

Need I add that it’s time for voters to throw the bums out before the damage they inflict on this nation is irremediable?

UPDATE:  The Obama administration has dropped this proposed regulation — for now.  As reading Bloodlands reminds me, Leftists never abandon an initiative; they just retrench.  This one will return if Obama is reelected, albeit in somewhat different form.

 

Yes, Obama is a Marxist, but the MSM has blunted America’s ability to care

At YID with LID, you get to see proof of something we all knew intuitively:  Obama is now and long has been a Marxist.

The problem is that this news, which ought to be staggering, doesn’t matter.  Even if one strips away the MSM’s reflexive denial about Obama’s Marxism, the fact that he is a Marxist still doesn’t matter.  I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, that forty years of Leftist education and media indoctrination have resulted in an America that views the word without fear.

After forty years of being taught aggressively that America is an evil imperialist; that American values are not only no better than other values but are actually worse; that women and all non-white races are superior to men and the white race (a form of reverse racism, rather than a step toward true equality); that capitalism destroys humans and the planet; that traditional religion is a form of white capitalist dominance; and on and on.  America may not yet be a Marxist nation in fact, but it will be because we’ve had two generations that have been inculcated in Marxist ideology.  It’s what they know and where they go.

I was the first generation.  I struggled with the cognitive dissonance of “the Communists are people just like us, and they want happy families, and they have elections, and we’re the warmongers, and fairies and unicorns,” even while contrasting that with meeting people from the Soviet Union, or getting reports out of China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, and other Marxist paradises putting the lie to these assurances.  Since 1989, though, Communism has been on the decline at the national level.  The Soviet Union is gone, China has gone to a weirdly capitalist economy, and we’re told that Cuba is a happy, sunny, laid-back, 50s-car driving Caribbean paradise, while the horrors in North Korea aren’t because of Communism, but simply because the Kim family is evil.  It’s Peyton Place on steroids, rather than the logical outgrowth of an evil ideology.  The cognitive dissonance with which I struggled is gone, because the past few generations have had no truth to balance against the lies.

So at the end of the day, no one in America cares that Obama is a Marxist.  The concept has been leached of meaning.

But, just so you know, he is a Marxist.

All of which gets me back to the point I made in the preceding post:  Andrew Breitbart got that the problem isn’t Obama.  He’s a symptom.  The problem is a media establishment that’s created a virtual Newspeak world.  It’s that ideological hegemony that we need to destroy, so that future generations of America can actually struggle with cognitive dissonance, rather than being fed a pure diet of lies and misinformation.  Then, if they’re lucky, they can choose actual facts rather than Marxist unicorns and fairies when they make the political choices.

UCSF researchers recommend that the government regulate sugar, just as it does alcohol and tobacco

Because our government isn’t yet doing enough, or costing enough, or interfering sufficiently in our lives, three researchers at the University of California San Francisco now recommend that the government should regulate sugar, just as it does alcohol and tobacco:

A new commentary published online in the Feb. 1 issue of Nature says sugar is just as “toxic” for people as the other two, so the government should step in to curb its consumption.

The United Nations announced in September that chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes contribute to 35 million deaths worldwide each year, according to the commentary. The U.N. pegged tobacco, alcohol, and diet as big risk factors that contributed to this death rate.

Two of those are regulated by governments, “leaving one of the primary culprits behind this worldwide health crisis unchecked,” the authors, Robert H. Lustig, Laura A. Schmidt and Claire D. Brindis, argued.

I’m struggling here to say something snarky and clever, but I just can’t.  You see, I have this sneaking suspicion that, if Obama gets another four years in the White House, we’ll see a Department of Sugar Regulation, complete with punitive taxes on its purchase, minimum age requirements, rationing to ensure that people don’t eat too much and, quite possibly, rules requiring that sugar and sugar products be kept in special locked areas in stores in order to prevent theft and underage use.

Incidentally, does it strike you as coincidental that this study got published two weeks before Valentine’s Day?  Yeah, I don’t think it’s a coincidence either.  Considering that Communist and Muslim cultures consider Valentine’s Day evil both because of its Christian origin and because of the fact that it triggers an orgy of spending (how capitalist!), it is “holiday non grata” in those totalitarian societies.  It seems as if the food police want to see the same thing happen here.

I am envisioning some sort of bumper sticker, though.  You know, something along the lines of “Protect Valentine’s Day.  Vote Republican in 2012.”

Hospital bedside blogging, with my thoughts turning to evil

Mom’s in the hospital again and suffering greatly, not in body, but in mind. She’s mildly delusional, and very paranoid, angry and anxious. I can’t imagine how grim it is to live in her head.

I slipped away for an hour and had lunch with Don Quixote. Our conversation turned to evil. I believe evil exists. Don Quixote pointed out, correctly, that many people who commit evil believe in their own heads that they’re doing a good thing.  They believe in their revolution or their God, and believe that they are serving that revolution or God (and, therefore, the greater good) by torturing or murdering mass numbers people who “get in the way.”

I’m going for moral absolutism here:  I believe that my system, which is predicated on maximum individual freedom within a framework of stable laws, is the best.  If two systems, mine and another that is more repressive, find themselves clashing over physical or mental control of people, I believe my system must win, and the other system must be defeated, even if that battle spills blood and causes the death of innocents.  I justify these deaths on the ground that, over the long run, my system will provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people, while any other system (e.g., Communism or radical Islam) will force great suffering on people for an indefinite amount of time.

At this point in my thinking, I don’t care that the Islamist or the Communist things I’m the evil and he’s the good.  If I lie down right now and refuse to do battle, he wins, and I will have perpetuated what is, in my absolutist universe, the greatest wrong of all, which is to allow evil — admitted evil as I define it — to flourish.

What do you say?  Does evil exist?  Am I evil for taking an absolutist position and being willing to fight and kill to defend it?  (Or more accurately, given my armchair warrior status, sending others to fight and kill to defend it?)

I am very interested in what you have to say on the subject.

Incidentally, it’s worth thinking in this regard that part of my Mom’s continuing mental anguish is that she spent WWII interned in a Japanese concentration camp in a war the Japanese started and that she spent the Israeli War of Independence getting shot at by Arabs who refused to recognize the Jewish state.  Those events created a lifelong anxiety that kept her alive during war, but that is slowly and depressingly killing her in old age.

China’s economy is rosy only if you don’t mind that it’s shrinking, corrupt and sometimes deadly

Andy Stern, who led the SEIU to its current status as a statist political powerhouse, has a lengthy op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, touting the wonders of China’s economic model.  His basic point:  China’s recent economic surge shows that government should control the economy.  To support this premise, he points, not to China’s current economic status, but to its wondrous five year plan:

I was part of a U.S.-China dialogue—a trip organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Center for American Progress—with high-ranking Chinese government officials, both past and present. For me, the tension resulting from the chorus of American criticism paled in significance compared to reading the emerging outline of China’s 12th five-year plan. The aims: a 7% annual economic growth rate; a $640 billion investment in renewable energy; construction of six million homes; and expanding next-generation IT, clean-energy vehicles, biotechnology, high-end manufacturing and environmental protection—all while promoting social equity and rural development.

Gosh!  Propaganda really sounds good when it’s read out loud to an adoring, credulous audience.

Andy Stern

I’d like to introduce Mr. Stern to another article about the Chinese economy, this one by Gordon Chang, a veteran China watcher who’s actually paying attention to the details.  Mr. Chang’s take, which is premised upon actual facts, not wishful thinking is a little different.  With a wealth of detail, he points out that, as with all socialist experiments, China is running out of economic gas:

On Wednesday, HSBC roiled markets around the world by releasing its Flash China Purchasing Managers’ Index for November. The widely followed indicator dropped from 51.0 to 48.1, crossing the crucial line of 50 that divides expansion from contraction. Most worrisome, it appears that the factory sector is shrinking due to weakness in domestic, as opposed to export, orders.

The drop in the HSBC Index, which normally moves only tenths of a point at a time, is just another sign that the world’s second-largest economy is contracting from one month to the next. The troubling news follows October numbers, which also pointed toward a rapid falloff. There was, for instance, a sharp decline in inflation, collapsing real estate prices, and a big decrease in bellwether car sales. The wheels are coming off the Chinese economy, with indicators dropping faster than virtually all analysts—including me—predicted.

Chinese technocrats have already started to react, applying monetary measures. The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, this month cut its required reserve ratio for 20 co-operative banks to 16.0%, a reduction of a half point. Officials maintained that this move did not represent a change in their tightening policy, but, as Tom Holland of the South China Morning Post points out, the denial “stretches credulity.” PBOC watchers, therefore, see the limited relaxation as a hint that the institution will soon cut reserve requirements, now at historic highs, for all banks.

You can — and should — read the whole thing here, and then go back and compare it’s tight focus on real world economic facts and figures with Stern’s airy-fairy press release on behalf of Communism.

Let me toss one more thing into the mix here, which is James’ Taranto’s masterful take-down of Eugene Robinson’s love letter to China’s heavy-handed economic management:

You Say Tomato, I Say ‘the Usually Large Rounded Typically Red or Yellow Pulpy Berry of an Herb (Genus Lycopersicon) of the Nightshade Family’

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson is in Red China, where his shoe-leather reporting has turned up evidence that . . . Republicans are stupid. Seriously, that’s the subject of the first of what he promises will be several columns filed from Beijing. Let’s examine his closing argument, which responds to a quote from Rick Perry:

But this ignores the big picture. Yes, China is governed–in an authoritarian, repressive, at times shockingly brutal manner–by a regime that calls itself communist. But communism self-immolated two decades ago. Walk down any commercial street in Beijing and you see storefronts, venders and hawkers selling anything under the sun. Communism is no longer a system in China. It’s just a brand name that officials haven’t figured out how to ditch.

I’m aware, of course, of the shameful human rights violations that the Chinese government commits every day–and of the government’s selfish, corrupt insistence on maintaining a monopoly of power. These atrocities can never be forgotten.

But I’m betting that the burgeoning middle class will find a way to cast off these shackles. The correct response would be to cheer them on.So, to recap: China’s Communist Party has already abandoned communist economics for something that looks very much like American commercialism. Politically, however, it remains a brutal and corrupt one-party state. But that can’t last. Robinson both thinks and hopes that the Chinese people will rise up and change the regime.

OK, now here’s the Perry quote: “I happen to think that the Communist Chinese government will end up on the ash heap of history.”

Perry said the same thing Robinson did, only much more pithily and memorably. How does that make Robinson the smart one?

And just in case anyone has forgotten that the Chinese economy also runs on slave labor (a peculiar thing for a former SEIU head to laud) and criminal corruption, the links I just gave you ought to refresh your recollection.

My bottom line:  Feudal, slave and communist economies all function the same way, which is to have a powerful central controls system over labor.  It enriches a few, and impoverishes the many, both physically and spiritually.  Even if it looks good on paper, it’s bad for the soul.

(Chinese factory photo by High Contrast.)

Managing businesses (badly): This is precisely what government — Big Government — does

My mother, who gets a lot of her news from the MSM, is nevertheless slowly becoming aware of the Solyndra scandal — not just the fact that a big solar panel company went bankrupt, but that it went bankrupt at great cost to her, because the Obama administration had bet the farm (or should I say, the taxpayer’s farm) on Solyndra.  “That’s not what government is supposed to do,” she said.

Au contraire, Mama,” I replied.  “This is precisely what Obama-style Leftist government is supposed to do.”

I went further than that.  The Obama approach to business is precisely like the Nazi approach to business.  And before anyone gets all hot and sweaty here, and despite Obama’s disgraceful attitude to Israel, I am not likening Obama to Hitler or trying to say that the Progressives are Nazis.  I am making, instead, a very specific point about American-style socialism, which is very different from Soviet, or North Korean, or Cuban style socialism.

When people think of socialism, they think in terms of government doing away with private industry entirely in favor of total nationalization.  That’s why, when you remind people that the fascists were socialists (i.e., Leftists), they’ll always deny it.  “That can’t be true.  Hitler didn’t take over private business.”

While it’s true that Hitler left ostensible corporate ownership in private hands, the practical reality was that the Nazis made the big decisions.  Baron von This and That and Herr So and So got to call the corporation their own, and got all the glamor that went with being rich industrialists, but the practical reality was that they looked to the Reichstag for direction and, because the Nazi Party conferred significant economic benefits on them, they supported it in word and deed.  One could say that German businesses, although nominally private, were in fact subsidiaries of the Nazi government.

That fascist approach, which sees businesses retain their status as “private,” even while being completely answerable to the government, is the Obama model.  He doesn’t want to nationalize companies, he just wants to direct them.  American businesses, in his mind, should be subsidiaries of the Obama White House.  That’s why Obama happily took over GM, and that’s why he and his Chicago cronies saw no problem with using taxpayer money to prop up an already failing solar company.

This same attitude permeates ObamaCare.  We conservatives sometimes forget that the hardcore Left hates the individual mandate as much as we on the conservative side do.  We hate it because it decreases individual freedom.  The Left hates it because the insurance companies will continue to thrive and, indeed, can profit mightily.  The Left cannot understand how their man in the White House could betray them that way.  They forget that Obama, although a socialist, is not a Communist.  He is an economic fascist, and merely wants to manage American business, which will keep a steady stream of money flowing from those same businesses right back to him.

In theory, it’s a lovely solution for both the government and the businesses.  In practice, as Solyndra shows, Obama is a disastrously bad business manager.  It’s also worth remembering, as the Germans learned to their great cost, that while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  It’s one thing for business to have a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” relationship with government.  That’s the nature of power.  It’s another thing entirely when a government simply co-opts a nation’s business.

Obama and socialism

I warned people close to me (mother, sister, etc.) that Obama was a socialist and they laughed at me and (quite lovingly, because they’re my mom and my sister) called me “extreme.”  I wonder if they would have laughed at Al Sharpton too, now that he’s finally let the cat out of the bag:

Al Sharpton isn’t the only one coming out of the woodwork.  David Leonhardt, writing with the New York Times’ approving imprimatur, spells out precisely what’s going on:

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Read the rest of Leonhardt’s euphoric socialist economic polemic here.

Stop me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the liberal media and the pundits go ballistic when all of us said that Obama’s statement to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth” was a purely socialist notion?  They just think it’s a good thing that it should be the government’s responsibility to, hmm, let me see if I’ve got this right: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”  Quiz those pundits and media-crities and they might suggest some authors for that famous expression.  Was that Adam Smith who said that?  No.  Reagan?  No.  Jefferson?  No.  Tell me that it was Karl Marx, the founder of modern socialism, and I bet they’d be surprised.

Finally, all the pieces have come together, and the MSM is still urging us to avert our heads and not to listen.

I’m sorry this post is incoherent, but I’m irritated, and still trying to get my thoughts organized right now.

Communism is not cute, it’s evil, and Glazov and Beck are helping to educate Americans

The American intelligentsia has a love affair with Communism that will not die.  The dead Soviets, the dead Hungarians, Czechs, Albanians, Poles, Bulgarians, etc., the dead Chinese, the dead Koreans, the dead Africans, the dead Cambodians, the dead Vietnamese, the dead Cubans, and the dead Latin Americans are all irrelevant.  Those are just mistakes from Communism done the “wrong” way.  The Left has absolute faith that, done the right way — the “American way” — Communism will bring about a paradise of plenty and perpetual peace.  All of which shows, as I’ve learned rather painfully over me life, that brains and sense are not the same thing.

One of the worst things that has happened since 1989 is that a new generation is growing up educated by the Left about the joys of Marxism in the abstract, but without any offsetting evidence of the horrors of Marxism in practice.  Yes, China and Cuba are still out there, but China has become such an important trading partner, and Cuba is so whitewashed by Hollywood, the average kid doesn’t see either as an example of Communism.  Those of us who grew up during the Cold War could hear people at Berkeley or Columbia waffle on about the glories of the Soviet (and the evil that was Reagan), but the evidence of our own eyes was pretty compelling.  When people keep trying to escape their own country, you suspect that more is going on than meets the ideologically blinded academic eye.

Glenn Beck is trying to meet and challenge this scary cultural ignorance.  Although I don’t watch his show, I’ve heard from many that he’s been on an educational crusade, trying to make his viewers appreciate just how disastrous Communism in action is.  (Actually, I would broaden this to say “socialism.”  Communism was just one variation of this political plague.  The word “socialism” better encompasses alternative forms of this type of government, including the Nazis.)  Jamie Glazov is especially appreciative what Beck is doing, because his family suffered so terribly under the Soviets:

The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit.

Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”

***

Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.

Please read the whole thing.  It’s not just an indictment of socialism, it’s also an attack against the “intellectuals” who shunned dissidents who actually experienced the evils of Communism.  How much better to live in a world of intellectual theory, with PepsiCo as the big enemy, than acknowledge the fact that the ideology you so cheerfully embrace is responsible for more than 100 million deaths, and uncountable incidences of torture and suffering.

The Communist cat is out of the climate change bag

Since the beginning, climate change skeptics have said that the hysteria of the man-made global warming movement, aside from being based on manifestly shoddy and often dishonest science, was in fact a Leftist political gambit.  The Communists, having failed to win the world over with a Cold War had regrouped and were seeking to win it over with a warm war.  By targeting Western (that is, capitalist) nations as the evildoers in the world’s imminent boiling destruction, and then playing on the fear, guilt and ignorance of those same Western nations, the Communists . . . er, global warming saviors . . . announced a solution:  the West should give up its wealth by transferring it en masse to poor nations.  The West should also give up its lifestyle, by abandoning electricity, gas and even toilet paper.  The West, in other words, should give true meaning to global warming by engaging in self-immolation.

The last month, though, has seen this Communist-inspired house of cards collapse as quickly as the Soviet bloc did back in 1989.  First came ClimateGate, which revealed to the whole world the fact that the most ardent climate “scientists” were, in fact, ideologues who cared little about science, and a great deal about achieving a political goal.  They lied about their data, destroyed their facts, and systematically set out to muzzle and destroy anyone who disagreed with them.

Second came word from Russia that the same “scientists” (and please understand that these “scientists” are responsible for almost all of the conclusions on which the hysteria was based) cherry-picked climate data from Russia.  This is no small thing.  Russia covers 12% of the earth, and it’s been the Siberian tree rings that have been at the centerpiece of the warmies’ claims.

And today comes news that definitively rips the mask off of this whole thing.  When Hugo Chavez, a man who seeks to turn his beleaguered nation into a Communist worker’s paradise, with himself as leader for life, announces in Copenhagen that capitalism is the real culprit, and is met, not with silence or boos, but with deafening cheers, everything becomes clear:

President Chavez brought the house down.

When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ – “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.” He won a standing ovation.

Let me translate Chavez’s speech:  “The capitalist pigs in the United States are the enemies of the people and need to be destroyed.”  Chavez’s speech, in other words, is pitch-perfect Communist Cold War rhetoric.  During the Cold War, non-Communist bloc nations would have been politely silent, even if they agreed with his sentiments.  Thanks to the brainwashing of global warming, however, people no longer feel compelled to hide their hatred for America and their desire for its destruction.

If Barack Obama had anything approaching human decency, he would use this Chavez speech — and, more importantly, the reaction to this Chavez speech — as the justification for refusing to go to Copenhagen.  He won’t though.  Obama has made it clear, time and time again, that he agrees with the Chavez speech.  He too believes that America is the cause of the world’s woes.  He too believes that America should be de-energized and debased, both because it would make the world a better place and because America deserves that kind of humiliation.  Chavez’s speech, rather than being the straw that should break the Obami back on climate change, is simply the spoken expression of of their innate beliefs.

Incidentally, I realize that I erred somewhat when I compared what’s happening now to 1989.  The difference between now and then is the media.  Although the media always hewed left, and was steadily dragging Americans into the relativist world of “Communism is just another way of life,” it was still able to recognize the shattering drama of the Solidarity movement and the physical destruction of the Berlin Wall.  These were visible symbols of a decades-long conflict, and their occurrence made for good TV.

Things are entirely different here and now.  The media, with almost no exceptions, had bought wholesale into the religion of Climate Change.  Media members don’t want to see their God fail.  Additionally, there’s no good TV here.  Instead of hundreds, and then thousands, of Polish dockworkers facing down Soviet guns, or brave people climbing a wall, again to the backdrop of loaded guns, here are have somewhat complex scientific discussions, a few disgraced academics, and Hugo Chavez (a man media people find charismatic).  They don’t want the American people to see or know anything about all of this and, because it lacks good visuals, it’s easy to hide.  There’s a revolution taking place, and the media is doing its damndest to bury it.

So folks, it’s up to us here, the ones in the blogosphere, to get word of the revolution out.  Bloggers need to write, readers need to email blog posts and news articles to their less news obsessive friends.  All of us need to put intriguing notes on facebook, linking to articles that will enlighten a population kept in the dark.  We need to write letters to our local editors chastising them (politely, of course), for missing out on the biggest story, so far, of the 21st Century — bigger even than the election of a vaguely black, completely red, man into the White House.  The one thing I suggest is that you don’t use the “I told you so” approach.  People tend not to respond well to that kind of thing.  It’s much better, in terms of piquing people’s interest, to strike a tone of incredulous amazement, or excited sense of discovery, or even vague sadness.

There’s a revolution happening here.  We have the weapons to destroy the Communist movement’s second attempt to destroy the Western world.  Don’t sit on the sidelines.  Do something!

Watch the Democratic dominoes fall *UPDATED*

There is a lot of talk about whether, looking ahead to the 2010 elections, we’re looking at 1980, or 1994, or 1932 or some other American political year that I can’t even think of right now.  I actually think we’re looking at a different year altogether:  1989.  As you may recall, 1989 was a big year.  While Obama can’t be bothered to get his sorry self over to Berlin, that was the year the Berlin Wall fell.  That was the year the former Soviet Union imploded.  That was the end of the 70+ year long European Communist experiment.  It was a big deal.

What made 1989 a really big deal was that nobody in the establishment saw it coming.  As far as the realpolitik types were concerned (and the liberals, and the media), Communism was a rock solid, all-powerful entity.  In their world view, we were going to be in a perpetual stalemate with our Cold War enemy, because we were all equally weak and equally strong.  On college campuses we were also told that the European Communists really weren’t all that bad and, Rodney King-like, we should just all learn to get along.

Except that this controlling paradigm was anything but true.  European Communism was rotten to the core.  Its people were prisoners, but the prison walls were beginning to collapse under their own weight.  The government managed economies were completely unsustainable.  This internal rot mean that the external pressure the Ronald Reagan placed on those inefficient, dysfunctional economies, coupled with his relentless cheerleading for freedom, brought the whole festering edifice crumbling down.

What was so amazing about the crumble was the speed with which it happened.  If any of us had thought about it, we would have said that European Communism would slowly diminish over the years and the decades.  None of us envisioned the almost instantaneous collapse that occurred.  We oldsters remember that magic moment when the Berlin Wall, an overwhelming physical symbol of the Cold War, simply vanished.  Gone.

Up until about August 2009, conventional wisdom was that the liberal juggernaut was unstoppable.  Under the guidance of the God-like Obama, progressive liberalism was a rock solid, all-powerful entity.  Charles Krauthammer argues that Tuesday put the lie to that fairy tale:

In the aftermath of last year’s Obama sweep, we heard endlessly about its fundamental, revolutionary, transformational nature. How it was ushering in an FDR-like realignment for the 21st century in which new demographics — most prominently, rising minorities and the young — would bury the GOP far into the future. One book proclaimed “The Death of Conservatism,” while the more modest merely predicted the terminal decline of the Republican Party into a regional party of the Deep South or a rump party of marginalized angry white men.

This was all ridiculous from the beginning. 2008 was a historical anomaly. A uniquely charismatic candidate was running at a time of deep war weariness, with an intensely unpopular Republican president, against a politically incompetent opponent, amid the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression. And still he won by only seven points.

Exactly a year later comes the empirical validation of that skepticism. Virginia — presumed harbinger of the new realignment, having gone Democratic in ’08 for the first time in 44 years — went red again. With a vengeance. Barack Obama had carried it by six points. The Republican gubernatorial candidate won by 17 — a 23-point swing. New Jersey went from plus 15 Democratic in 2008 to minus 4 in 2009. A 19-point swing.

Ah,” say the skeptics (and Nancy Pelosi).   “You’re just looking at two elections.  That means nothing.”  Well, that may be true.  Except that Riehl World notes that Democratic politicians in more conservative communities are abandoning the sinking liberal ship.  And they’re not slowly abandoning it but, instead, are swiftly heading for the life boats in en masse departures:

Seven Simpson County officials have switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.

District Attorney Eddie Bowen, Sheriff Kenneth Lewis, Supervisor Mickey Berry, Justice Court Judge Eugene Knight, Constable Dan Easterling and D’Lo Alderman Michael Shoemaker made the announcement at the Republican Party headquarters in Jackson today.

“I’m just more of a conservative person,” Berry said.

I don’t track elections the way more savvy political observers do.  But I know a trend and can recognize a historic pattern when I see one — and I’m betting that 2009 is going to be the Democratic equivalent of 1989 for the European Communists.  Not only is the Party over, but it’s going to crater with mind-boggling speed.

That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, of course.  Even a damaged party, and a badly damaged party at that, can inflict plenty of wounds on the American economy.  Worse, with Obama in the driver’s seat for at least another three years, we can expect our foreign policy and our national security to continue to swing wildly into danger zones.  With or without Congress and the American people at his back, a hubristic Barack Obama is going to continue his bizarre foreign policy of bowing to dictators, offending friends, and turning his back on the hard work of keeping safe both Americans at home and American troops abroad.

UPDATE:  I’m not the only one who sees lessons in 1989.  Bruce Kesler also thinks it’s an important year for us to look back upon and learn from, with the Berlin Wall as the lesson’s centerpiece.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

What’s in a name? A lot, apparently, when you’re talking about Andy Stern and communism.

One of my favorite books, and one I highly recommend, is Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. The title is self-explanatory, so I won’t belabor what you’ll find when you read it. I mention it here because I believe it was in that book that I read that, from the 1950s through the 1970s, one of the staunchest anti-Communist forces in America was  . . . wait for it . . . the AFL-CIO!*  Yup, under the leadership of George Meany, big labor was enormously hostile to Communism.  This was not just a symbolic thing.  The AFL-CIO’s political and economic heft meant that it could affect America’s political and economic approach to the Soviet Union.  For that reason, the AFL-CIO contributed largely to the Soviet Union’s downfall — and the freeing of a significant part of the world as a result.

MediaMatters, a Leftist media watchdog, wants to assure us that unions are still anti-Communist.  MediaMatters has therefore mounted a full frontal attack against Glenn Beck, who in turn is contending the SEIU president Andy Stern is not only Obama’s best buddy, but is also a communist.  The problem as Beck sees it and as Kathy Shaidle explains, is that Andy Stern likes to go around quoting communist slogans as his guiding principles.  In a recent interview, he announced that “workers of the world unite, it’s not just a slogan anymore.  It’s the way we’re going to have to do our work.”

Stern hastened to add in a subsequent interview that he thinks it’s just great that communism is dead.  It’s certainly nice of Stern to say that, but his conclusory statement about communism’s death hasn’t assuaged anyone’s worry that he, like Anita Dunn, who quotes Mao with the best of them, looks for moral and practical guidance to some pretty rotten people with really bad ideas.

You and I aren’t simplistic or naive.  We know that even bad people have good ideas.  Indeed, to be a high functioning bad person, you have to have some good ideas or otherwise you won’t sell your overall ideology.  Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin were all effective managers, and Mussolini did get those trains to run on time.

Nevertheless, as I’ve said before and am happy to say again, there comes a point when someone’s reprehensible side is so extreme that simple decency means that you can no longer hold that person’s less reprehensible side up as a useful example for one thing or another.  Because reputation matters, when a person’s evil outweighs his good, we toss him from the role model pedestal for all purposes.

Still, one could argue that recyclying is a good thing, and that’s mere convenience for for Stern, who does want to unite workers, to rely on that recognizable  old Marxist standby about the world’s workings uniting.  It’s kind of like a Che shirt — everybody recognizes it but, to the average American, it’s been leeched of its associated horrors.  The only problem with this defense is that, in addition to a weakness for communist slogans, Stern also engages in communist behavior patterns.

I’ll digress here a minute and explain what I mean by “communist behavior patterns.”  Boiled down to its essence, communism is about government control.  It is statism.  It is the opposite of the American experience which, since the Founders’ days, has been committed to liberty.

To the committed communist, anxious to explain why his system is so good, communism is an economic doctrine, with the government simply ensuring that everyone contributes so that everyone gets back.  (Doesn’t that sound nice?)  In real world terms, proven on the ground in myriad countries (the Soviet Union, North Korea, China, Bulgaria, etc.), things aren’t that simple or sweet.  Without exception, in every country in which it has been tried, communism has resulted in a state that controls the individual absolutely and completely.

It’s quite logical.  Without that overarching control, how can the simple government bureaucrat be sure that everyone is contributing?  Only through the use of force can a statist government ensure those voluntary contributions.  Individual liberty yields so quickly to coercion that life in a Communist nation is tantamount to life in a prison.  Freedom vanishes.  The government sees all and knows all — and it makes sure its citizens are fully aware of its overarching police powers.

To be sure, Andy Stern doesn’t control a government, but he does have his own private fiefdom in the SEIU.  As king of that domain, he’s committed to complete control over both those who officially reside in his kingdom (that would be the union members) and those he views as enemies of his kingdom (business and its allies).  So, Stern, to show his commitment to SEIU’s agenda, proudly boasts of engaging in precisely the same Big Brother tactics that characterize life in a Communist nation:

STERN: We took names. We watched how they voted. We know where they live. (…)

STERN: There are opportunities in America to share better in the wealth, to rebalance the power, and unions and government are part of the solution.

In other words, the same man who openly quotes Marxist doctrine also openly engages in coercive Marxist conduct.  Shakespeare knew that labels are just labels.  What matters is the deeper quality that characterizes a thing or a person.  (“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.”)  Stern can disavow communism as much as he likes, but when he trumpets Marxist doctrine as his guiding principle, and loudly lets people know that he is willing to use spying and coercive tactics to ensure that everyone “contributes,” there’s a heavy Marxist stench rising around him — and disavowals simply aren’t going to deodorize the smell.

____________________________

* There are two other places I might have read about George Meany.  One is Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedm to Overcome Tyranny and Terror. The other is Ann Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right. By the way, even if I’m wrong and none of these books is the source for my knowledge about the AFL-CIO’s anti-communist activities, all three are such good books, you have nothing to lose by reading them.

Obama acolytes continue to deny human nature

Tom Elia links to an utterly fatuous statement from a 25 year old Obama supporter (who nevertheless gets a bully pulpit in a WaPo blog), saying that killing the profit motive will have no effect whatsoever on pharmaceutical innovation.  In the face of such stupidity, I have to drag out my family history once again.

My aunt was such an ardent Communist that, after WWII, she returned to Berlin.  When shocked friends in Israel asked, “How can you go back to the land of the Nazis?” she replied, “The Communists have cleansed that stain.”  She lived in Berlin until the day she died, sometime in the late 1980s.

In the early 1980s, my father had the opportunity to visit her.  Although she had retired by then, her status as a very high level party apparatchik meant that she had a “nice” apartment, which included having her own bathroom.  That bathroom proved to be very useful, because her kitchen sink didn’t work.  She had to do all of her kitchen washing up (preparing foods and cleaning up afterward) in the bathroom sink.

My father asked her why she didn’t get the sink repaired.  Her answer:  “I’m on the list for getting a repair.”  He asked, “How long have you been on the list?”  Her reply:  “Nine years.”

That is what happens when there is no profit motive.  If plumbers will get paid the same whether or not the rush out and repair your plumbing or sit back in the office, they will sit back in the office.

Humans have very few motivations:  passion (both physical and intellectual), hunger, fear, and a sort of overarching greed.  Unless the plumber is starving, being imminently threatened, or having sex with his/her customers, the only motivator left for him to get out and do the job is greed.  Harnessed through capitalism, you have a splendidly operating system; limited by communism, you have nothing but immobility and graft.

“I will change the world”

Obama said today, “I will change the world.”  Cal Thomas reminds us that he means it:

Is socialism too strong a word [for Obama's end goal]? Consider one of its definitions from dictionary.com and tell me it is something other than Obama’s economic philosophy: “A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor.”

A complete restructuring of society is what Obama advocated in a 2001 interview on a Chicago public radio station. According to Politico.com, in that interview, Obama, “reflecting on the Warren Court’s successes and failures in helping to usher-in civil rights, said, “I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples.” He has it backward. The Creator already endowed African-American people with these rights, which is precisely the argument powerfully made by Martin Luther King Jr. Any rights that are “vested” in people by other people may be removed by the same or future people. Endowed rights are “unalienable” and what America did was to finally recognize those rights. The distinction is crucial because it also relates to abortion and many other social issues. If a court can take away the right to life, then no endowed right is safe.

Obama continues with a comment that the “Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of the redistribution of wealth and sort of basic issues of political and economic justice in this society, and to that extent as radical as people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical.” Does he mean that for real “justice” to have been achieved, the Warren Court should have taken from the rich and given to the black poor? Obama never said what would happen once the redistributed money ran out. Perhaps this was not to be a one-time event, but a lifetime of “reparations” for slavery, as some other left-wing black leaders have proposed.

My question for you:  Is the socialist dream really the world we want?

Victims of Nazi Germany would say no.  Victims of Soviet Russia would say no.  Victims of Communist Poland would say no.  Victims of Communist Eastern Germany would say no.  Victims of Communist Czechoslovakia would say no.  Victims of North Korea would say no.  Victims of Communist Bulgar would say no.  Victims of every foul Marxist regime in Africa would say no.  Victims of Communist China would say no.  Victims of Castro Cuba would say no.  Victims of Chavez’s Venezuela would say no.  Those watching Europe turn into Eurabia as the socialist dream turns into zero population growth creating a vacuum filled by radical Islam would say no.  Victims of Canadian socialized medicine would say no.  Victims of British socialized medicine would say no.

Obama in a nutshell

In four paragraphs, Mark Steyn hones in on Obama’s core communist ethos:

The Senator and his doting Obots in the media have gone to great lengths to obscure what Barack Obama does when he’s not being a symbol: his voting record, his friends, his patrons, his life outside the soft-focus memoirs is deemed non-relevant to the general hopey-changey vibe. But occasionally we get a glimpse. The offhand aside to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth around” was revealing because it suggests a crude redistributive view of “social justice.” Yet the nimble Hope-a-Dope sidestepper brushed it aside, telling a crowd in Raleigh that next John McCain will be “accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten.”

But that too is revealing. As John Hood pointed out at National Review, communism is not “sharing.” In a free society, the citizen chooses whether to share his Lego, trade it for some Thomas the Tank Engine train tracks, or keep it to himself. From that freedom of action grow mighty Playmobile cities. Communism is compulsion. It’s the government confiscating your Elmo to “share” it with someone of its choice. Joe the Plumber is free to spread his own wealth around — hiring employees, buying supplies from local businesses, enjoying surf’n’turf night at his favorite eatery. But, in Obama’s world view, that’s not good enough: the state is the best judge of how to spread Joe the Plumber’s wealth around.

The Senator is a wealthy man, mainly on the strength of two bestselling books offering his biography in lieu of policy and accomplishments. Many lively members of his Kenyan family occur as supporting characters in his story and provide the vivid color in it. But they too are not merely two-dimensional cartoons. His Aunt Zeituni, a memorable figure in Obama’s writing, turned up for real last week, when the dogged James Bone of the London Times tracked her down. She lives in a rundown housing project in Boston.

In his Wednesday-night infomercial, Obama declared that his “fundamental belief” was that “I am my brother’s keeper.” Back in Kenya, his brother lives in a shack on 12 bucks a year. If Barack is his brother’s keeper, why couldn’t he send him a ten-dollar bill and near double the guy’s income? The reality is that Barack Obama assumes the government should be his brother’s keeper, and his aunt’s keeper. Why be surprised by that? For 20 years in Illinois, Obama has marinated in the swamps of the Chicago political machine and the campus radicalism of William Ayers and Rashid Khalidi. In such a world, the redistributive urge is more or less a minimum entry qualification.

Friends of Obama

We all recognize that, as to the average American, Obama’s friendship with Bill Ayers is a big yawn.  Who cares that, as Obama said, Ayers bombed when Obama was 8?  Who cares, as Obama refuses to admit, that Ayers has never repented and, indeed, wishes he’d done more?  Who cares that Obama’s friend Ayers has replaced the vulgar bomb with more sophisticated intellectual infiltration in our school system, aimed at passing on the same radical agenda he once tried to move forward with bombs?  Well, as to that last one, people should start caring.  You see, the radical agenda Ayers envisions (and has always envisioned) is also one that readily contemplates the death of up to 25 million Americans in “reeducation” camps.  And those aren’t my words.  Those are his (and his friends).

So do Obama’s friends matter?  Yes, not because of their pasts, but because of their “presents”, and the plans they have for your future.

Convincing people with ideas

I carpooled to a soccer game today.  The driver, who is someone I don’t know very well, is a very charming man who is quite obviously a potential Obama voter.  He wasn’t quite sure about me and, since he was a very civil individual, he never came out and either insulted McCain or lauded Obama.  He did say, though, that he thought it was the government’s responsibility to provide medical care.  He also characterized Vietnam as a complete disaster.  That gave me an interesting opportunity to explain to him a few historic facts he didn’t know — because very few people know them.

I started out by reminding him of something that most people forget:  the Vietnam War was a Democratic War.  Kennedy started it and Johnson expanded it.  (Nixon, the Republican, ended it.)  I didn’t say this in the spirit of accusation, because I wasn’t being partisan.  I said it to give historical context to a larger discussion about freedom versus statism.

I noted that, in the 1930s — and, again, most people have forgotten this — the major battle in Europe was between two Leftist ideologies:  Communism and Fascism.  When he looked a little blank, I pointed out that the Nazis were a socialist party, a fact he readily conceded.   I also reminded him that, in the 1930s, given that Stalin was killing millions of his countrymen, and that Hitler hadn’t yet started his killing spree, Fascism actually looked like the better deal.  World War II demonstrated that both ideologies — both of which vested all power in the State — were equally murderous.

Men of the Kennedy/Johnson generation, I said, saw their role in WWII as freeing Europe from the Nazi version of socialism.  When that job ended, they saw themselves in a continuing war to bring an end to the Communist version of socialism.  Again, they were reacting to overwhelming statism.

Thus, to them, it was all a single battle with America upholding the banner, not of freedom, but of individualism. They knew that America couldn’t necessarily make people free or bring them a democratic form of government, but that it could try to protect people from an all-powerful state.  That’s always been an integral part of American identity.  He agreed with everything I said.

I then moved to the issue of socialized medicine, which I pointed out, again, gives the state all the power.  The state, I said, has no conscience, and it will start doling out medical care based on its determining of which classes of individual are valuable, and which are less valuable, to the state. My friend didn’t know, for example, that Baroness Warnock of Britain, who is considered one of Britain’s leading moralists, announced that demented old people have a “duty to die” because they are a burden on the state.

A few more examples like that, and we agreed that the problem wasn’t too little government when it comes to medicine, but too much. Health insurer companies operating in California are constrained by something like 1,600 state and federal regulations.  I suggested that, rather than give the government more control over the medical bureaucracy, we take most of it away.  He conceded that this was probably a good idea.

Lastly, I reminded him what happens when government steps in as the <span style=”font-style: italic;”>pater familias</span>.  He didn’t know that, up until Johnson’s Great Society, African-Americans were ever so slowly “making it.”  As a result of the Civil Rights movement, opportunities were opening for Northern Blacks, and they — meaning the men — were beginning to make more money.  The African-American family was nuclear and starting to thrive.

This upward economic trend collapsed in the mid-1960s, and its collapse coincided absolutely to the minute with government social workers fanning out to black communities and telling them that the government would henceforth provide.  Since it seemed stupid to work when you could get paid not to work, black men stopped working.  They also stopped caring about their families, or even getting married, since unmarried mothers did even better under welfare than intact families.  In a few short years, not only did African-Americans as a group collapse economically, their family structure collapsed too.  Men were redundant.  The state would provide.  Again, my friend nodded his head in agreement.

The ride ended at that point but, as he was dropping me off, my friend told me (and I think he was speaking from his heart), that it was an incredibly interesting ride.  And I bet it was, because I gave him real food for thought in the form of facts and ideas that fall outside of the orthodoxy that characterizes our ultra-liberal community.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and McCain-Palin 2008.

A backlog of links

Even thought I didn’t and couldn’t post yesterday, it didn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention.  I have a whole bunch of links I want to share with you.  I won’t take too much time on any one link, because I have only a short time before the Mom stuff starts again (summer, you know), but here goes:

If you haven’t yet read Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s postmodern deconstructionist style of communicating, you must.

If you haven’t yet read John Hawkin’s humorous and humane ideas for dealing with friends and families who haven’t yet made their personal journey to conservatism, you must.

If you haven’t yet learned that the Democrats seem compulsively drawn to old fashioned Communist symbolism, you can read more about that here.

You probably already read Andrew Breitbart’s column about the struggles conservatives have in Hollywood.  Coincidentally, it came out the same day that Jon Voight’s op-ed critique of mindless Hollywood liberalism was published.  In his most recent column, Breitbart takes on the mean-spirited, intellectually foolish and, yes, McCarthy-esque responses Voight’s column generated in Hollywood.

AJStrata launches a funny, yet pointed, attack on Barry the Cable Guy’s utterly unprincipled “get ‘er done” philosophy, which sees him saying or doing anything it takes to get to the big White House.

I commented yesterday on the wonderful pun in Soccer Dad used to title his post called Hello martyr, hello Fatah.  Elder of Ziyon took the sick tragedy underlying that pun and created a brilliantly sad/funny video.

Obama and reparations

Obama was caught during his speech to minority journalists making noises that sounded remarkably like reparations talk:

“I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said.

“I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”

There was immediate speculation about whether he really meant to have the US pay reparations, not to still-living former slaves (since there are none), but to the descendants by several generations of former slaves.

Unwittingly, the New York Times has provided further insight into the answer to that question.  In a long article describing Obama’s years teaching at the University of Chicago Law School, this little bit leaped out at me (and I probably wouldn’t even have noticed it if I hadn’t first seen this story about the reparations talk):

Mr. Obama was especially eager for his charges to understand the horrors of the past, students say. He assigned a 1919 catalog of lynching victims, including some who were first raped or stripped of their ears and fingers, others who were pregnant or lynched with their children, and some whose charred bodies were sold off, bone fragment by bone fragment, to gawkers.

“Are there legal remedies that alleviate not just existing racism, but racism from the past?” Adam Gross, now a public interest lawyer in Chicago, wrote in his class notes in April 1994.

If Obama had raised that as a hypothetical legal question in the context of an abstract talk about race relations in America, I could conceive of it being a truly open-ended discussion.  However, given that he paired it with requiring his students to read about the horrors African-Americans suffered generations ago, it’s easy to see that, lawyer-like, he is pushing his impressionable students to an affirmative answer to the question he asked of them.

James Taranto gives a good run-down of why reparations are a bad idea:

The idea of reparations is highly unpopular, and with good reason. Unlike the Japanese-Americans who in 1988 received compensation for their internment by a Democratic administration in the grips of wartime hysteria, no one alive today has ever been a slave. The idea of the government cutting checks to compensate people for a wrong that they did not personally suffer is unlikely to appeal to anyone except perhaps those who stand to receive those checks.

Taranto goes on to wonder why Obama would be making reparations an issue anyway?  African-Americans will vote for him regardless, and reparations are unpopular with anyone else.  What Taranto misses is that he provided the answer in the material I quoted above:  it’s about receiving checks.

To the extent that Obama seeks to raise taxes, not to fund the government (whether for popular or unpopular initatives), but instead to redistribute wealth a la the Communists, reparation is yet another tool in that arsenal.  That is, it’s not about race qua race, it’s about painting a sympathetic victim face on a socialist wealth grab.