Pat Condell doesn’t hide the truth about the strong correlation between Third World Muslim men and rape:
I was cruel to a young Swede the other day when, without being at all rude, I told him unpleasant, unnerving truths about his country. First, I told him that his country never really had socialized medicine. Instead, it had “paid for by America” medicine. During the Cold War, Sweden was able to put aside a nation’s first obligation to its citizens, which is to defend it against foreign enemies, when America took on that role. With the money freed from defense, Sweden could have pretend socialized medicine.
The second thing I told him is that Sweden never had real socialism. (Yes, I’m sure this is a shocker to many of you, because Sweden is considered the ultimate socialist success story.) The reality, though, is that Sweden never truly had an all-powerful central government. That anomaly is due to something sui generis about the Scandinavian countries: In the years after WWII these countries were small, racially homogeneous, and comprised of citizens all of whose minds had the identical values. This meant that Sweden’s socialism was more of a societal collaboration. It never needed the strong arm necessary for socialization in countries lacking any one of those specific and unique factors.
At a lawyer level, this has been a somewhat frustrating day, with me struggling to fit my facts (always true and honest ones) to the law (which sometimes refuses to cooperate), capped by a power outage that lost me an hour of time. Add to that the usual cries for attention from family, and I’m feeling a little . . . ummm, stressed. Still, I have stuff I want to share with you, so let me whip through it:
Chilling look into the near future at what the next school attack might look like
Mike McDaniel, who blogs at Stately McDaniel Manor, has looked at past school shootings, both at home and abroad, and come up with a possible scenario for the next assault on an American school. I don’t doubt that he’s accurately predicting a possible American future unless we take steps now to head it off.
The New York Times ran an article the other day noting that there’s been a big change in Sweden, in that increasing numbers of ordinary Swedes are turning against the countries famously relaxed immigration policy. I’ll let the Times explain:
Opposition to the rising numbers is growing. The far-right, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats had their best showing ever — nearly 13 percent of votes — in elections in September.
The entry of the Sweden Democrats to parliament in 2010 had already opened the door for a previously unthinkable discussion about turning back the country’s policy of taking in foreigners on humanitarian grounds and granting them access to the country’s generous welfare system.
In an ordinary world, anybody reading the above paragraph would, of course, wonder why the famously welcoming Swedes are suddenly becoming hostile to immigration. I’m sorry, but not surprised, to say that the New York Times is not writing for an ordinary world. It’s writing for its Progressive readers who don’t want to hear bad things about immigrants, especially politically correct Muslim immigrants.
That’s presumably why virtually the entire article focuses on the immigrants’ suffering, with only some vague allusions to the problems their presence creates:
As Khalif Samantar knelt for afternoon prayers at the Eskilstuna Islamic Dawa Center on Christmas Day, he sensed a growing heat and a low, rushing sound coming from a nearby hallway. He focused his mind on the ritual, only to realize seconds later that someone was shouting, “The mosque is on fire!”
“We left our country as refugees. We were not looking for food or benefits, we were looking for somewhere to feel safe,” said Abdirahman Farah Warsame, the imam at the mosque where the fire occurred on Christmas Day. He is originally from Somalia. “Now that is gone. We have a feeling that society is turning against us.”
After having made clear where its sympathies lie (with the poor, peaceful, dispossessed Muslim immigrants), the article points out how nasty Europe is becoming, whining about money problems and inchoate fears:
Indeed, the relentless stream of migrants to Europe — propelled by the war in Syria and turmoil across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa — has combined with economic troubles and rising fear of Islamic radicalism to fuel a backlash against immigrants, directed most viciously at Muslims.
After having read the above paragraph, I, unlike the average Times reader, started wondering “When will the Times start explaining the reasons behind — or, at least, the reasons people give for — “a backlash against immigrants, directed most viciously at Muslims.” Let me save you the problem of reading the article: The Times doesn’t explain the reasons.
Instead, as you can confirm yourself, there are “debates,” “resentments” and “suspicions” about Muslim immigration, although the Times reader never discovers the contents of those debates, or the reasons behind resentments and suspicions. Instead, we learn that
- Swedes gathered to show solidarity with Muslims;
- Sweden was third only to Germany and France in the number of asylum seekers in 2012;
- Sweden is getting a boatload of Syrians;
- Swedes have always kept their immigrants out of the mainstream “but that the success of the Sweden Democrats has made racism more socially acceptable;”
- Sweden’s parliament entered into there was some sort of “last-minute deal” that saved the government from the racist Swedish Democrat attack [more on that later];
- the Islamic Association of Sweden (their CAIR) is unhappy about rising protests, including women having their hijabs snatched off; that
- mosques are getting vandalized; and
- Muslim immigrants are family oriented people who just want peace and are having a hard time sleeping.
Indeed, the only inkling one gets about what might be disturbing the Swedes’ tranquility is this single paragraph:
The party’s growth has occurred despite the fact that roughly a fifth of Sweden’s 9.6 million people were born abroad or to immigrant parents in Sweden. Most immigrants here have access to education, but government figures show a disproportionate unemployment rate for them, more than twice the national rate of about 8 percent. The disparity helped fuel riots in immigrant neighborhoods outside Stockholm in 2013.
Let me say right away that I’m not condoning mosque burnings or hijab snatching. I’m a big supporter of the rule of law, but here’s the little secret the Times tries so hard to hide: The rule of law is precisely what 13% of Sweden’s citizens stood for when they used the ballot box to elect representatives who would slow (not halt, but slow) the seemingly endless influx of Islamic immigrants and the rate of handouts given to those immigrants.
Of course, the traditional powers that be in Europe — the hard right and hard left — can’t have a moderate middle that’s hostile to a third world takeover. Thus, when the Swedish Democrats flexed their muscles in parliament by refusing to approve a budget unless their concerns about slowing immigration and welfare were met, thereby forcing a snap election that would undoubtedly have worked to the Swedish Democrats’ favor, the hard left and hard right entered into a sleazy backroom deal to vote on budgets through 2018 so as to shut the Swedish Democrats (and the voters) out of government. (I’ll explain in a few paragraphs why, even though I’m disgusted by this anti-democratic behavior, I can’t weep too many tears for the Swedish Democrat party.)
And now back to the original point, which is to wonder what the New York Times wasn’t saying when it wrote about Swedes’ growing animosity to Muslim immigrants. The secret lies in the Times’ throwaway line about immigrant resentment leading to “riots” outside Stockholm. Muslims are rioting? Who would have guessed that!
So, here’s a little information about those Swedish immigrants that the New York Times didn’t think was part of “all the news that’s fit to print”:
1. Already back in the early years of this century, Fjordman was writing about the fact that the rape rate is skyrocketing in Sweden. When I mention this to Progressives, they immediately say that it’s because Sweden (pretty much like every American college campus) defines rape so broadly that just looking cross-eyed at a woman is rape. These same Progressives have nothing to say, though, when I point out that “In Sweden only around 3-4% of all rapes are committed by natives who make up 85% of the entire population. The rest are by immigrants – Muslim immigrants.” Even Progressives aren’t foolish enough to pretend that the same Muslims who brutally rape women all over the world suddenly, when they get to Sweden, stop their violent physical rapes and just start looking at women cross-eyed.
2. Even when they’re not rioting, Muslim neighborhoods have become so dangerous that they are now “no-go” zones for Swedens’ police and firefighters. There are now 55 Muslim enclaves in which criminals rule supreme. You only need to look at Malmo, which is about 25% Muslim and incredibly violent, to see the future of things to come.
3. Significant numbers of Swedens’ mosques aren’t the sunny ecumenical spots described in the New York Times article. They are, instead, hotbeds of radicalized Islam, of the type that doesn’t just provide moral support for ISIS, but that actually goes off and fights for it.
In other words, those Swedes casting their lot in with the Swedish Democrats aren’t just being petty people moved only by their pocket books — although it would be reasonable for them to start resenting the vast demands the immigrants make on the system. After all, the only reason socialism worked in Sweden in the first place was that it was such a small, politically and culturally homogeneous county that everyone cheerily contributed to the classic Marxist plan of “from each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.” The Muslims, however, don’t buy into that cooperative socialism, which is driving the system closer to collapse.
Nope, what’s bugging those cheerful, law-abiding Swedes is that they’ve nurtured a violent viper at their breasts, a viper that rapes their women, makes their shiny, clean cities dirty, destroys their communities, and emasculates law enforcement. No wonder 13% of them suddenly signed on to the Swedish Democrats.
Still, as I noted above, I’m not weeping too many tears for the Swedish Democrats, despite the fact that a dirty backroom deal locked them out of the political process. Even as the Muslims, who make up about 5% of the population, commit depredations against the Swedes, the Swedish Democrats are turning against the Jews, who make up only .2% of the population and have no history of violence or disruption whatsoever. It’s things like this, incidentally, that make me completely understand my friend’s belief that the Europeans are Amalekites and deserve no pity as their continent swirls down the drain of history.
And just a couple of wrap ups:
- My 2013 impression of Stockholm, based upon the admittedly very small experience of having spent just a few hours there; and
- Two Pat Condell videos:
A cold has been making the rounds in my neighborhood and it finally caught up with me. I don’t feel particularly ill, but I feel congested and quite desperately sleepy. I had a great deal to do today, and mostly managed to re-read Agatha Christie’s Mrs. McGinty’s Dead, which wasn’t too taxing (and, thankfully, I’d forgotten whodunnit). I’ve now roused myself enough to clean the kitchen, do the laundry, and share with you a few browser tabs I still have open from yesterday:
The all-around best post about the Rolling Stone’s journalistic malpractice
I’ve shouted my opinion about Rolling Stone’s UVA rape story from the treetops (“It didn’t happen that way!”), and I’ve linked to several posts that agreed with me, only they did so more thoroughly, more elegantly and, most importantly, from more prominent platforms than mine. These combined voices forced Rolling Stone to admit to gross journalistic malpractice.
Of all these bully-pulpit loud voices on the subject, my favorite is Jonah Goldberg. Writing before Rolling Stone walked back its story, Jonah Goldberg had this to say:
Friday, September 26, I attended the customary Friday prayers in a mosque in Norrköping. It’s a pretty small mosque with room for a hundred people. It’s usually so crowded that it stands shoulder to shoulder with their Muslim brothers when performing their prayer.
This day was different. I looked around while I listened to the Khutba (Friday sermon). There were 50 people in the prayer room, most older men. I turned to my Afghan friend next to me and whispered, “It’s almost just you and me who are younger here. It seems that the younger has stopped going to the mosque, it feels so empty. “My friend looked at me and said: “But do you not?” “You know what” I wondered. “Most have gone to Syria and Iraq for jihad. They have joined the IS. ”
The word IS sent shivers down the spine. I could not concentrate or focus at Friday prayers. The thought that I stood there, in the mosque, Friday after Friday, side by side with men who may now play football with people’s heads, made me nauseous. After this day, I no longer take part in Friday prayers, I pray at home instead.
It’s almost four years since I came to Sweden to seek asylum and thus protection. What I have learned in the mosque made me seriously concerned about my own safety and the Swedes. I managed to escape from drug barons and brutally murdering the Taliban, but from what I heard this Friday in the mosque only half full, I do not know anymore how safe I can feel in this country.
What happens when these warriors coming back here? Men who participated in the most cruel and brutal assaults on other people, the civilians in Iraq and Syria. Should they carry out holy war, jihad, also in Sweden? I see it as an entirely feasible reality. How to prepare Sweden before that?
I was even more worried when I spoke a few days later with a man I met at the gym in Norrköping. He told me that jihadists, members of the ICE, now coming to Sweden as asylum seekers. I wondered what they would have to gain from it. He replied: “When the time comes, they will rise up and call to jihad here, too. Zulmay, you must understand that the IS is not a joke, they are real. They send so-called ‘sleeping cells’ into the country and is based on the way up their readiness. ”
I was unfortunately not very surprised by what I heard, although it was also shocking. Due to the poor management of asylum, where one does not do enough thorough investigations and inspections of the individuals who come here and apply for asylum, the extremists to enter the country.
It is, to my knowledge, not a single issue of the Swedish border police to persons with residence or citizenship in Sweden when departing from, or arriving at, Swedish airports. No single one of my asylum immigrant friends and acquaintances has ever said that they had to answer some questions at the departure or entry. This is true, as I understand, not only in Sweden but throughout Europe. I myself was smuggled and can say from personal experience that it is far too easy for traffickers and other criminals to evade airport security in Europe.
Reform aspirational! Make detailed and serious background checks on those seeking the privilege and right that it is to be granted asylum or protection. And ask questions on the boundaries of those who pass in and out of the country. The answers can be very important for all of us, for me as a refugee in the country and for my new compatriots, the Swedes.
(Funnily enough, although the article above ends with a note that it’s translated from the English, I could only find the Swedish version, so the above English-language text comes courtesy of Google translate. I apologize for any mistakes Google translate made, although it looks pretty nice to me.)
These are people who are attracted to the strong horse — and right now, that horse is the flood of radical Islam throughout the Middle East. I’d like to think that these Swedish Muslims, and others from around the world who are flocking to battle, are making it easier for us to pick the Islamists off (e.g., more fish crowding the barrel that’s about to be shot up) but, looking at Obama’s passivity, I think they’re right — they’re heading for the strong horse and making it stronger.
Moreover, to the extent Sweden thinks it can inoculate itself against the crocodile by recognizing a Palestinian state . . . well, all I can say is that Churchill will inevitably be proven right: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
Incidentally, in the same news cycle, Swedish police have announced that there are 55 “no go” zones the country, because they have become too dangerous for any emergency services, whether policemen, firemen, or ambulance crews. The news reports make no mention of Islam, but I’m quite busy reading between the lines.
We’re slowly moving out of Stockholm, and I have to admit that I won’t be sad to see it go. For reasons I can’t quite explain, it didn’t work for me. It’s definitely beautiful, but, but. . . . But I don’t know what. I just didn’t like it. The kids didn’t like it either, which might have affected my mood.
My main quibble boils down to the fact that the Swedes themselves struck me as products of a society at the end of its line. This perception may have been — indeed, almost certainly was — colored by my disdain for their anti-Israel sentiment, which too often shades into good, old-fashioned antisemitism. I know that there are individual Swedes who don’t subscribe to their country’s pro-Muslim, anti-Jewish policy, but they’re all tarred by the same brush as far as I’m concerned.
I also went sour when we went to their City Hall, a bizarre early 20th century faux Italian Renaissance building, and was reminded that it’s a shrine to the Nobel Prize. For me, the Nobel Prize started its descent into being a brainless travesty when it gave a Peace Prize Yassar Arafat, a mass murderer.
The “Peace” prize completed its slide into the abyss of stupidity when it gave the prize to Barack Obama, immediately upon his election to president when he had done exactly . . . NOTHING. The committee didn’t even have the decency to withdraw the prize when Obama presided over more deaths in Afghanistan than Bush, boasted about personally selecting kill targets in Pakistan, enabled the savage death of Qaddafi (who was an American neutral at the time), allowed the genocidal Iranian mullahs to continue unchallenged in the face of a popular revolt, turned a blind eye the night Americans died miserably in Benghazi, and otherwise contributed greatly to death and turmoil around the world.
And of course, in between Arafat and Obama, the Nobel committee awarded the prize to such luminaries as Al Gore, who has presided over a global warming scam that has snatched food from poor people the world over as their food crops have been used to power people’s cars, even as Gore enriched himself obscenely; to innumerable American-hating communists; to the UN climate change committee that has advanced Gore’s push for global malnourishment; to a rabidly antisemitic Irish president; and to every other anti-American, antisemitic nutcase, fraud, and tyrant the world over. You really cannot admire a country that considers the Nobel Peace Prize to be one of its greatest accomplishments.
The people, too, didn’t recommend Stockholm. Rather than looking like the descendants of Vikings — robust, golden, and powerful — they had a bleached, desiccated, effete look. They are what more than half a decade of government dependence will do to a people. Too many women had a pinched, weasely expression, and too many men looked as if the heaviest thing they ever lifted up was a cigarette. They look dissatisfied, not proud.
Stockholm also smelled bad. It looked clean enough, but wherever one went, there was eau de sewage, or eau de urine, or eau de unwashed bodies. I’ve never been in a tidy city that smelled so foul.
I know I was tired when we set out today. The kids were cranky too. I’d also been given erroneous advice about the weather and was dressed too warmly. Since I run hot anyway, I was sweltering. All of those are enough to make me have a bad attitude. I think, though, that Sweden’s antisemitism really is the filter through which I looked at this little capital. I have no respect for it and couldn’t like it.
Even the architecture didn’t charm me. The city is nice looking, but I didn’t feel that it was more than usually special. Nothing stood out for beauty, or style, or uniqueness, or historical wonder.
Having said all that, Stockholm did have one wonderful thing: the Vasa Museum. During the Thirty Year War, King Gustav II ordered that the greatest war ship ever should be built. The Vasa was a giant ship with two cannon decks, as well as cannons on the main deck. It was decorated with elaborate carvings, many of which were painted in brilliant colors.
When the Vasa left the harbor for its maiden voyage on August 10, 1628, it should have ruled the sea. Instead, when a light breeze hit it, it tipped over, water filled it through the gun whales, and it sank like a stone. It turned out that it had insufficient width and ballast for such a tall, heavily armed ship.
In 1960, a group of Swedes who still had the look of Vikings (strong, blond, and virile) discovered the Vasa locked in Baltic mud that had protected it from worm and decay. They then spent years carefully extricating it from its mud coffin and raising it from the bottom of the sea.
The Vasa emerged from the waters almost perfectly preserved. The paint had vanished, as had the bridge rail, but the rest of the ship was there — including some sails, ropes, clothing, personal items, cannons, etc.
The Swedes have built an amazing museum around the recovered ship. The entire ship is there, rising to the height of seven stories. The museum itself is a seven-story building raised around the ship. On each story, in addition to seeing the Vasa from a different point of view, one can see well-thought-out exhibits that focus on its creation and destruction, the various parts of the ship, the soft materials (sails, ropes, etc.) recovered from the silt, etc. The museum is so spacious and well-designed that it effortlessly absorbs the endless stream of tourists pouring in.
And that’s my Stockholm review — and a sour, misanthropic one, to be sure. Maybe on another day, I would have had nicer things to say, but not today. It just wasn’t my kind of town.
When multiple people send me a link to the same story, it’s obvious that I must talk about it. The story, which seems impossible to believe but is in fact true, concerns the Swede’s creative approach to dealing with those “youths” who are currently entering their sixth (or is it seventh) day of rioting in Stockholm.
Before I focus on the Swedes, I should say here that it seems downright cavalier for me to remind anyone that these “youths” are Muslims who refuse to assimilate. After all, Sweden doesn’t want to talk about it, and those of us with a few non-PC brain cells left have figured it out anyway.
In this regard, the PC crowd has managed to turn Muslim “youths” into the Victorian equivalent of piano legs. Victorians, horrified by the crude honesty of the word “leg,” are reputed to have referred to these piano appendages as “limbs” when they referred to them at all, and some are believed to have gone so far as to cover them with skirts. Some realities are just too dreadful to contemplate.
As with those piano “limbs,” we know that Muslim rioters are there, but the reality is so devastating for delicate sensibilities that the fine minds on the PC side of the spectrum have concluded that we must refer to them as “youths,” if we have to refer to them at all. They understand that those with dirty (or racist) minds will know what lurks beneath these gauzy, veiled allusions, while the pure will be protected from ugly truths.
Now back to Sweden’s creative approach to these euphemistically named “youths”: Swedish law enforcement is doing nothing at all. Rather like the Londoners who just milled about aimlessly when the Woolwich murderers slaughtered and then butchered Drummer Lee Rigby, and then trolled the streets for attention and applause, the Swedish police are merely “monitoring” the riots:
But while the Stockholm riots keep spreading and intensifying, Swedish police have adopted a tactic of non-interference. ”Our ambition is really to do as little as possible,” Stockholm Chief of Police Mats Löfving explained to the Swedish newspaper Expressen on Tuesday.
”We go to the crime scenes, but when we get there we stand and wait,” elaborated Lars Byström, the media relations officer of the Stockholm Police Department. ”If we see a burning car, we let it burn if there is no risk of the fire spreading to other cars or buildings nearby. By doing so we minimize the risk of having rocks thrown at us.”
The Swedes seem to operate under the peculiar belief that Muslim rage will burn itself out. In fact, Muslim rage may be the one thing that can refute those who rely upon the non-Prophet-approved laws of physics to claim that there is no such thing as “perpetual motion.” We now know that there is definitely such a thing as “perpetual emotion,” with the laws of physics falling before the reality of Muslim rage.
Muslim rage is a perpetual fire that has burned untamed for more than 1,500 years. The closest analogy is probably to those burning mountains of tires one reads about periodically. They, by the mere act of burning, release ever more fuel to stoke their own perpetual flames.
However, even as the Muslim rage caravans passes by, once the dogs of war stop barking, life go on. In Sweden, while the rioters get a pass, law-abiding Swedes are still in the line of fire. The Swedish equivalent of “lovely Rita, meter maid” is undeterred by snow, sleet, rain, dark of night, or riot in the streets. Car owners who were unlucky enough to see their cars go up in flames are getting one more grain of salt rubbed into their still smoldering wounds:
Swedish parking laws, however, continue to be rigidly enforced despite the increasingly chaotic situation. Early Wednesday, while documenting the destruction after a night of rioting in the Stockholm suburb of Alby, a reporter from Fria Tider observed a parking enforcement officer writing a ticket for a burnt-out Ford.
When questioned, the officer explained that the ticket was issued because the vehicle lacked a tag showing its time of arrival. The fact that the vehicle had been effectively destroyed – its windshield smashed and the interior heavily damaged by fire – was irrelevant according to the meter maid, who asked Fria Tider’s photographer to destroy the photos he had taken.
Everyone who sent me an email telling me about this story alluded in some way or another to Nero, who was widely reputed to have set Rome on fire so that he could rebuild it as a city worthy of his magnificence, and then to have serenaded himself with the fiddle as the city burned around him. While that story is almost certainly untrue (the city probably burned because it had a lot of wood, a lot of refuse, and a lot of open flames, and Nero couldn’t have “fiddled” because fiddles didn’t exist), Sweden’s feckless behavior is a reality.
Nero is a cute analogy, but not a useful one. I find Sydney Smith’s tale of Dame Partington’s battle with the Atlantic a little more on point, except that Sweden, rather than doing battle against the jihadist storm gathering against her, is issuing citations against those who aren’t wearing proper swim attire:
In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm [at Sidmouth], Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop, squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused; Mrs. Partington’s spirit was up. But I need not tell you that the contest was unequal; the Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington.
At the end of the day, Sweden (and the rest of Europe) lacking Dame Partington’s fighting spirit, will be inundated more quickly even than she was, and will discover that the real problem was never the missing swimsuits.
One more thing. On the subject of “youths”:
I’ve spent today being very productive in a non-blogging way, but there are still a few things I’d like to share with you.
If you’re feeling in a giving mood, the National Review needs help in its fight against the lawsuit Michael Mann (yes, climate change Michael Mann) filed against National Review and Mark Steyn. It’s a laughable suit, but even laughable suits cost money. I’ve seen a lot of laughable suits drive defendants to very costly settlements, simply because the plaintiff had free counsel and the defendant didn’t.
And while you’re at the National Review, check out Victor Davis Hanson’s look at Obama’s America — it’s not pretty.
Will there ever come a time when the same press that got Obama elected starts to take umbrage at the Obama administration’s manifest disrespect for the Fourth Estate? I doubt it. True believers can always rationalize away even the worst things.
Speaking of the media, when does a newspaper stop being a purveyor of something even remotely resembling news, and start being a sordid party rag, with every utterance suspect? I can’t answer that question precisely, but I’m pretty sure that the New York Times (the self-proclaimed paper of record) has already reached the point of no return. Whether because of institutional ignorance or dishonesty, its articles are so replete with falsehoods that they don’t deserve serious consideration.
Unions have long had a reputation for violence. Today’s unions are no different. The really big question, of course, is whether our union-supporting POTUS is going to call them on it.
Also, if you have already subscribed to the Bookworm Room newsletter, please give it a try (you can always and easily unsubscribe). In addition to linking to post in the blog, the Newsletter contains original content that you won’t find on the blog.
Do you guys have anything to add? I can only survey a small fraction of the rich blogosphere, so I always appreciate your open thread contributions.
I’m finding some wonderful gems hidden in my inbox. This one goes back to April, but is too good not to share now. It’s a news story about the way in which the Swedish cultural elite — including the Minister of Culture — celebrate. Here’s a hint about what you’ll see at the link: even the KKK might have found this one a little bit over the top.
Two interesting things rolled across my desk today, interesting because they address the same topic — dependence on Big Government — but reach diametrically opposite conclusions. The first is a Dennis Prager column that examines why American conservatives are happier than American liberals. This isn’t just Dennis’ opinion, by the way. Instead, several recent polls have shown that, on the whole, conservatives are happier people.
Dennis opines that the matter essentially boils down to a few key differences in outlook. One is a sense of victimhood. In America, those who turn to the government for succor are those who feel betrayed by the American system, whether because they’re blacks invested in the notion of racism, or people of any color feeling that they haven’t succeeded in the American system as they deserved. Another is the notion of utopianism. Liberals believe in perfectibility, and are constantly disappointed; conservatives recognize flaws, and are always thrilled to live in the society that best harnesses negative human traits and gives the most rein to positive traits. Conservatives are also more generous — they give their money away to causes, rather than waiting for the government to take it. That affects how they feel about their own contributions to societal good.
The other article that came to me, via a very Progressive facebook friend, is one by Thom Hartmann that argues in favor of huge taxes on the rich, with the assurance that, in Denmark, people are happy because they pay such high taxes, with the rich taking the greatest hit, but not feeling it, while everyone else gets cheap, high-quality government services. It’s a very sophisticated argument, and often a correct one, about the differing effect taxes have on the rich and the poor.
As I understand it, Hartmann argument boils down to this. The rich earn far more than they can ever spend. This means that taxes affect only their non-discretionary income, not their discretionary income. If they’re taxed more, they might save less, but it won’t affect the money they spend annually on both life’s necessities and its reasonable frivolities. The non-rich, however, spend everything they earn after taxes. If taxes are raised, they have less after-tax money to spend, which hurts them. BUT (and this is the kicker), Hartmann contends that, invariably, the market adjusts so that, after a few years, the non-rich end up getting from their employers precisely the same amount in adjusted dollars to bring them to spending parity with their situation before the tax increase.
This means, says Hartmann that, if top marginal tax rates are increased, only the rich will suffer. Everyone else will remain the same, except that the government will have hugely greater number of dollars at its disposal for free health care and education. Further, the less money the rich people have to throw around, the more stable the economy is, because it prevents bubbles. This means that there is no great wealth creation, but there are no collapses either.
A large chunk of the article is concerned with trying to figure out why non-rich people are so stupid that they don’t want to tax the rich at a higher rate, considering that, in the long run, higher rates will leave non-rich people with pretty much the same amount of disposable income. Scaife comes into all of this, of course, as does the Heritage Foundation, William Kristol, and the usual conservative suspects. I found that part of the article uninteresting. When Hartmann got back to substance, he started making thought-provoking points again.
Thus, Hartmann asserts that, if you increase tax rates, government actually shrinks, which is what sensible conservatives should want. I can’t summarize the argument adequately, so let me quote it here:
From 1985 until 2008, William A. Niskanen was the chairman of the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, and before 1985 he was chairman of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and a key architect of Reaganomics. He figured out something that would explode Reagan’s head if he were still around. Looking at the 24-year period from 1981 to 2005, when the great experiment of cutting taxes (Reagan) then raising them (Bush Sr. and Clinton) then cutting them again (Bush Jr.) played out, Niskanen saw a clear trend: when taxes go up, government shrinks, and when taxes go down, government gets bigger.
Consider this: You have a clothing store and you offer a “50 percent off” sale on everything in the store. What happens? Sales go up. Do it for a few years and you’ll even need to hire more workers and move into a larger store because sales will continue to rise if you’re selling below cost. “But won’t the store go broke?” you may ask. Not if it’s able to borrow unlimited amounts of money and never—or at least not for 20 years or more—pay it back.
That’s what happens when we have unfunded tax cuts. Taxpayers get government services—from parks and schools to corporate welfare and crop subsidy payments—at a lower cost than they did before the tax cuts. And, like with anything else, lower cost translates into more demand.
This is why when Reagan cut taxes massively in the 1980s, he almost doubled the size of government: there was more demand for that “cheap government” because nobody was paying for it. And, of course, he ran up a massive debt in the process, but that was invisible because the Republican strategy, called “two Santa Clauses,” is to run up government debt when in office and spend the money to make the economy seem good, and then to scream about the debt and the deficit when Democrats come into office. So while Reagan and W were exploding our debt, there wasn’t a peep from the right or in the media; as soon as a Democrat was elected (Clinton and Obama), both the right-wingers and the corporate media became hysterical about the debt.
And when Clinton raised taxes so that people actually started paying the true cost of government (a balanced budget as in the years 1999 and 2000), they concluded that they didn’t need as many services, so government actually shrank—in terms of both cost and the number of federal employees.
As a non-economist, I have to admit that what Hartmann says makes a certain amount of superficial sense. I suspect, though, that there’s more to it. For example, Laffer’s curve may be involved. That says that lower tax rates create greater wealth, which actually increases government revenue. With greater government revenue, profligate politicians and greedy citizens have more to play with. The problem, then, isn’t the tax structure; it’s the boondoggles, and earmarks, and “other people’s money” syndrome that inevitably plagues an organization that lacks fiscal discipline.
My core problem with Hartmann’s whole premise, though, is that it works because his allusion to Denmark shows that what he really wants is a world in which the government is responsible for all income that’s not dedicated to life’s necessities. Under the current American system, that “excess” money that the “rich” have floating around — the money that Hartmann thinks the government should take and redistribute — is money that goes to banks that lend it to future homeowners and entrepreneurs; it goes into businesses that hire people; and it goes into funding innovation that improves people’s lives.
Having wealth circulate in the marketplace increases the risks of a slap happy economy, but it also vastly increases the possibilities of life improvement. It increases innovation and, yes, greed, which is a powerful motivator. In the Scandinavian countries, which until recently had stunningly homogeneous populations, no defense budgets, and no sense of obligation to the rest of the world (which we, in the U.S., heavily fund), it’s easy to have a tight little loop of shiny, clean, teeny houses; lean, mean Danish modern furniture; health care for that homogeneous population; and an almost zero track record on innovations that improve life for most of the world’s population.
Hartmann envisions a world in which everyone is happy with a brightly colored Danish modern version of very little. Hartmann also fails to take into account dynamic populations. The Scandinavian countries worked so well for so long because they were populated by people with precisely the same values and precisely the same life habits, habits that happened to be particularly neat and self-disciplined. The tremors are starting, though, as these same countries struggle to deal with newcomers who have nothing in common with this nice, neat, egalitarian very white world view. The welfare scams, violence, polygamy, cultural incest, etc., that the Muslim populations are bringing to Denmark and Sweden, and other northern countries, are all going to place a very interesting burden on these happy little taxpayers who could always rely on each other for homogeneity and on Papa America for world stability.
Before being quite so smug, places such as Sweden and Denmark might want to cast a jaundiced eye on Holland and Britain and France, all of which started with less homogeneous populations than the northern countries; all of which have had a head start on the challenging task of incorporating Muslims into their closed world views; and two of which (Britain and France) actually had to set aside defense budgets. Hartmann, too, might want to consider that America is Holland, Britain, France, etc., on speed when it comes to population diversity; constant immigration; and defense spending upon which the entire Western world has relied since 1942.
At bottom, I’d rather be a happy American iconoclast, living with a fairly low level of risk (heck, we’re not yet Argentina, Greece or Ireland) and wedded to the infinite possibilities of a dynamic economy that trusts the innovation and drive individuals, rather than coping with a government’s overarching static, inefficient bureaucracy. I’d also rather be in a surging country that, better than any place in the world, incorporates incomers, even illegal ones, as opposed to a country that is, for the first time, has to deal with profound outsider disruptions to its cozy little system. I’m happy here. Not droned, not pacified, not opiated, but happy.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News