My Progressive friends are flooding my Facebook feed with posters dedicated to what they perceive as the “wit and wisdom” of avowed socialist and Democrat Party candidate Bernie Sanders. I thought I’d take a look at what passes for intelligence from Bernie Sanders and his acolytes on the Left. My comments are below each poster. Please feel free to chime and, most definitely, to correct me if I’m wrong:
You’ll constantly see Bernie use this type of “cause” and “effect” rhetoric. To Bernie, too many millionaires and billionaires equals poor children. In this, he is just as sophisticated as the Climate Changistas who attribute every weather event and every societal wrong to climate change.
Here’s the reality about those poverty stricken children, and it has nothing to do with the Koch Brothers (who are Bernie’s favorite bête noire and scapegoat). In a free(ish) market system, there is one sure way to become financially secure: study, marry, and have children, in that order. If you skip studying (and this is true no matter how useless America’s higher education system is), you’re less likely to have money. And if you skip marriage on your way to children, you’ve virtually consigned those children to poverty:
A dramatic rise in unwed births and the accompanying decline in marriage are the most important cause of child poverty in the United States. As Chart 1 shows, in 2009, 37.1 percent of single-parent families with children in the U.S. were poor. In the same year, only 6.8 percent of married couples with children were poor. Single-parent families were nearly six times more likely to be poor than were married families.
The overwhelming majority of poor families with children in the U.S. are not married. (Overall, a third of all families with children at all income levels are not married.) But a staggering 71 percent of all poor families with children are unmarried. By contrast, married couples comprise only around 29 percent of poor families with children. (See Chart 2.)
I strongly suggest you read the entire post to which I’ve linked, because it spells out in great detail, with a wealth of data, that billionaires and millionaires have nothing to do with child poverty. Instead, child poverty has increased dramatically because of the fifty-year-long Leftist assault on the nuclear family.
Ah, the corporate tax issue. Notwithstanding Bernie’s repeated encomiums to Sweden and other socialist countries, and his desire to have America emulate those countries, America has a higher corporate tax rate than most first world countries. This rate takes money away from jobs and investments (i.e., takes it away from families with children), and pours it into the government sinkhole. Let me quote myself:
In the United States’ maximum rate for individual taxpayers, which can go up as high as 56% (welcome to New York or California), is higher than the maximum individual tax rate is such proudly socialist or semi-socialist countries as the Netherlands (52%), Cuba (50%), Israel (50%), Japan (50%), Norway (47%), United Kingdom (45%), France (45%), Italy (43%), and New Zealand (33%).
The United States fares even less well when it comes to corporate taxes, which play a huge role in attracting or repelling businesses. The federal tax rate ranges from 15% to 39%, with additional state (0%-12%) and local (0%-3%) taxes added on. Again, just think about the difference between California’s inability to hold on to corporate jobs and Texas’s ability to lure those jobs. Meanwhile, as with individual tax rates, ostensibly socialist or semi-socialist countries place a much less onerous burden on companies that want to do business there. Canada, for example,, has a federal tax rate of 11%-15% federal rate plus a highly variable 0%-16% provincial rate.
Other countries have rates that are higher than 15% (the lowest federal corporate tax rate), but significantly lower than 39% (the highest federal tax rate, and that’s not even counting state or local add-ons). Among those countries are the United Kingdom (20%), Sweden (22%), Austria (25%), Denmark (25%), Netherlands (25%), Norway (27%), and so on. It’s more expensive to do business in ostensibly “free market capitalist” American than it is to do business in all of those ostensibly socialist nations.
While I’m on the subject of corporate revenues, taxes aren’t the only problem afflicting corporations. We also regulate wealth creation to death. From the same post:
In addition to the fact that we tax the Hell out people and businesses, we also regulate the Hell out of them. Businesses are not left to make their own market-based decisions about products, prices, sales practices, etc. Instead, federal, state, and local governments micromanage them. To keep a market honest, some regulation is always going to be necessary, but that regulation should take the form of a few big, unbreakable rules necessary to keep markets honest (don’t lie in your financial reports, don’t commit fraud, don’t poison the public, don’t enslave workers, don’t manufacture cars that explode, etc.). Instead, all too often, whether it involves replacing a chair, tiling a floor, installing a machine, or shipping a widget, some government entity or other has pages and pages of rules and regulations detailing precisely how these activities must be done. (For a primer on this circa the early 1990s, when regulations were less onerous than today, check out Philip K. Howard’s The Death of Common Sense: How Law Is Suffocating America.)
The bottom line is that, in a free market (which we had periodically during the booming fifties, when there was virtually no competition from abroad), corporations create wealth; in a government-regulated economy, they do not. Or put another way, forcing corporations to bear the financial burden of taxes (along with shackling them with ridiculous anti-competitive, anti-wealth creation regulations) decreases rather than increases overall wealth.
I don’t think I need to write at length here. The above commentaries address the logical fallacies that permeate so many of Sanders’ “sage” pronouncements.
That statistic sounds suspect. Does anyone have further information on it?
Additionally, Bernie, it wouldn’t be the kind of country you describe were it not for the crony fascism that characterizes the Obama administration. Let me quote myself again:
Under full-bore fascism, the socialist government, rather than nationalizing businesses as happens under communism, simply takes the businesses under its wing, directing all of their activities and decisions, while allowing the businesses “owners” to collect whatever profits are available once the government has had its say and taken its cut. Crony capitalism is less formal, with businesses paying the government various sums to encourage it to destroy competitors or provide unfair market advantages for the business. The government still has the ultimate say, but the businessmen have the illusion that they’re calling the shots. As with fascism, the only one getting really shafted under this arrangement is the consumer.
The tighter government control over an ostensibly “capitalist” economy, the more likely that vast sums of wealth will be directed towards those people and corporations that act as lickspittles for the government and agents for its agenda.
And of course, what Bernie misses altogether is that, even under crony fascism, the rich still pay a price. As those of us who pay attention know, the top 1% of Americans — the ones he attacks with the fervor of a 21st century Robespierre (who died, incidentally, at the hands of his own revolution, and under quite miserable circumstances) — pay more than the bottom 90%:
In 1980, the bottom 90 percent of taxpayers paid 50.72 percent of income taxes. In 2011 (the most recent year the data is available), the bottom 90 percent paid 31.74 percent of taxes. On the flip side, the top 1 percent paid 19.05 percent of taxes in 1980 and now pay 35.06 percent of taxes.
Beyond the unfairness of saddling an increasingly smaller number of taxpayers with an increasingly larger percentage of the tax burden (the top 50 percent of income earners paid 97 percent of all taxes in 2011), there are basic government finance issues with such a tax code. Tax structures that rely on such a small base (specifically a small income tax base) are more susceptible to the ups and downs of the economy.
In the above poster, you see the words of a man who fundamentally misunderstands a free, competitive market. What he’s describing is a crony capitalist market, one in which the government uses its coercive power (police and prisons) to steer business towards favorite providers. These providers owe their allegiance, not to the consumer, but to the government. They therefore have no incentive to improve their product, because they are assured of income stream regardless.
In a true free market, one with maximum competition, a company makes the sky’s-the-limit profits that Bernie imagines if it offers a better product or value than its competitors. If you want examples, think of every bit of technology you own. In all cases, as competition increased, quality went up or prices went down — or, if the consumers were lucky, both happened. Here’s a short, familiar laundry list: TVs, computers, smart phones, thumb drives, and printers. That’s not just true for technology, either. Look around your house and you’ll see that your appliances also improve from year to year, even as prices remain relatively stable: washers, dryers, dishwashers, vacuums, etc. As long as there’s competition, consumers benefit.
The important thing to remember about health insurance before Obamacare is that it was never a free market, at least not in my lifetime. A few years ago, between state and federal regulations, any company that managed to sell health insurance in California was subject to over a thousand regulations. No wonder insurance in California was triple what it was in Texas. Some regulations, those intended to prevent fraud and encourage the free spread of market information are a good thing, because it’s a government’s useful function to keep the marketplace honest. But, oh those other regulations, the ones that are aimed at favoring one thing or provider over another, or that aim for an unattainable goal so perfect it utterly destroys the good along the way.
What Obamacare’s government control over the marketplace has done is increased prices and decreased coverage from the previously existed, less-regulated, semi-private insurance market. Bernie would say the answer is socialized medicine, but all that socialized medicine does is to get you a place in line. It doesn’t actually get you into the doctor’s office (people in Europe and at the socialized Veterans Administration die while waiting in line) and the medical care you receive is sub-par — but at least the socialists can boast endlessly about that place in line. As places such as Greece show, now that the United States is no longer footing the bill for the Cold War, the European economy is drying up. I can assure you that in the new Europe, medical care is getting worse, not better.
Bernie’s unshakable faith in government would be charming if his faith wasn’t grounded in stupidity. Entitlements suck wealth out of the economy and give nothing back. With Social Security, there is no lockbox and there is no fund. Instead, the government pays for social security by drawing current wealth out of the economy. (And remember, government can only print and coin money; it cannot create the wealth that keeps these entitlements going).
Moreover, as the bulk of the population ages, channeling ever more money to entitlements will only worsen the economic situation, creating a negative downward economic spiral. Remember Ross Perot’s “giant sucking sound“? This will be worse, as the entire U.S. economy collapses in precisely the same way that cities such as San Bernardino and Detroit have. When you have more takers than makers, your inevitable choices are always anarchy or tyranny.
The smart thing, of course, would be to leave the money in people’s own hands. And yes, a lot of people won’t save if their lives depend on it. (As I’ve noted before, the very poor have different values from those of the upper- and middle-class Leftists’ who populate the upper echelons of the Democrat Party.) We could even go so far as to make saving a certain percentage of ones earnings mandatory, while leaving to individuals the decisions about how to invest those funds. The government would be relegated to ensuring the free flow of information and protecting against market fraud.
I just include the above to show yet another one of Bernie’s bizarre equivalencies. Pot smoking and market malfeasance are totally unrelated. This is just random red meat talk from the Left, meant to stir up little minds.
If clean energy were as good as its supporters promised, it wouldn’t constantly need the government to prop it up. The reality is that clean energy is remarkably ineffective. Take wind energy for example:
The cost of wind energy is significantly more expensive than its advocates pretend, a new US study has found.
If you believe this chart produced by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), then onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of power – more competitive than nuclear, coal or hydro, and a lot more than solar.
But when you take into account the true costs of wind, it’s around 48 per cent more expensive than the industry’s official estimates – according to new research conducted by Utah State University.
Read the rest here.
Wind energy is also just plain ugly, not to mention deadly for wildlife:
What the Left refuses to understand is that there’s nothing magic about renewable energy. Indeed, it’s less magical than fossil fuel, which provides continuous energy, unlike wind and sun, which come and go at nature’s whim:
The idiosyncratic physics of electricity will ultimately doom the aspirational goals of the new 1,560 page Clean Power Plan, more than will an army of lobbyists, lawsuits and laborious studies. It is an inconvenient truth that electricity is profoundly different from every other energy source society uses; it is, in fact, weird.
In energy equivalent terms, the nation’s electric utilities deliver 5 oil supertankers every day. This feat is performed on a network where operational dynamics and disasters can happen at near lightspeed. And here is the critical singular fact: Over 99 percent of all electricity has to be generated at the same instant that it is consumed. Try doing that with wheat, steel, or oil.
Thus the problem: The Clean Power Plan (CPP), as by now everyone knows, sets a course to radically increase the use of wind and solar power everywhere in America. And, cost aside (which it never is in the real world), it should go without saying that neither wind nor solar are available all the time.
Read the whole thing here. It’s fascinating.
Oh. One more thing: Vermont’s green energy is very, very expensive.
Just another Robespierrean attack on the rich. Bernie may look like a sweet little old man, but when it comes to scapegoating individuals, he’s right up there with the best demagogues. Please refer to the discussions above, including the taxes those rich people pay, to see just how baseless Bernie’s demagogic attacks are.
Sanders is speaking of the fact that many corporations have structured their businesses so as to avoid paying federal taxes, thanks to loopholes and credits. I agree that this is a problem. However, instead of making the tax code even more complicated or nationalizing businesses, we should put the IRS out of business and implement a flat tax. I’ve always liked the idea of a 10% sales tax . . . and no other taxes. The rich, who purchase more, would pay more. There would be no loopholes, no credits, no nothing. There are lots of other flat tax ideas out there, though, all of which are better than what we have now (or what Bernie wants to do).
The minimum wage idiocy never stops. I’ll let the New York Times explain the problem with Bernie’s proposal:
Anyone working in America surely deserves a better living standard than can be managed on $3.35 an hour. But there’s a virtual consensus among economists that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. A far better way to help them would be to subsidize their wages or – better yet – help them acquire the skills needed to earn more on their own.
An increase in the minimum wage to, say, $4.35 would restore the purchasing power of bottom-tier wages. It would also permit a minimum-wage breadwinner to earn almost enough to keep a family of three above the official poverty line. There are catches, however. It would increase employers’ incentives to evade the law, expanding the underground economy. More important, it would increase unemployment: Raise the legal minimum price of labor above the productivity of the least skilled workers and fewer will be hired.
If a higher minimum means fewer jobs, why does it remain on the agenda of some liberals? A higher minimum would undoubtedly raise the living standard of the majority of low-wage workers who could keep their jobs. That gain, it is argued, would justify the sacrifice of the minority who became unemployable. The argument isn’t convincing. Those at greatest risk from a higher minimum would be young, poor workers, who already face formidable barriers to getting and keeping jobs. Indeed, President Reagan has proposed a lower minimum wage just to improve their chances of finding work.
(And yes, it is an old editorial, from 1987, but it shows one of the last gasps of intelligence emanating from the Times. It also reveals how today’s extreme partisanship leads to stupidity as party members abandon common sense and knowledge to ensure that they don’t deviate from party policies.)
For the longest time, I’ve called Leftists “regressives,” because they live in the past. On the subject of abortion (a perennial rallying cry for the Left), I’m about to quote myself again, this time from an article I did for American Thinker in 2007:
One of the most retrograde areas in Progressive thought concerns abortion rights — and I think you’ll agree with me whether you are pro-Choice or pro-Life.
A couple of years ago, I found myself at the abortion rights webpage for the National Organization of Women. What struck me right away was how dated the organization’s position was regarding abortion. At that time, to make its point about the need for legalized abortions, it led with photographs of four women who died from abortions. Following the link, I was led to the story of seven women who died from botched abortions. The years of death were 1929, 1929, 1940, 1950, 1967, 1977 and 1988. The dates are significant, since only the last two occurred after abortion became legal.
The death in 1977 was blamed on the fact that the dead woman was denied public funding for her abortion; the death in 1988 was blamed on a young woman afraid to seek parental consent for a legal abortion. Thus, with the exception of the 1977 and 1988 abortions, all the highlighted deaths occurred in times when birth control options were nil to limited, and when the stigma of pregnancy for unmarried women was extraordinarily high. The 1988 abortion was also a “stigma” abortion, since the girl was afraid to tell her parents.
There is no doubt that, if you are pro-Choice, either whole heartedly or in a lukewarm kind of way, there are, in 2007, still arguments to make in favor of abortion — rape, incest, a high risk pregnancy, a woman’s right to control her body, etc. The old reasons, however, just don’t apply anymore. Aside from the easy availability of myriad forms of birth control, nowadays the average accidental pregnancy may well be difficult or inconvenient, but it is no longer social death. Women are not turned out at night into snow storms, women do not become community pariahs, women are not forever tainted because of having an “illegitimate” pregnancy and, despite NOW’s focus on teen abortions and parental consent, it’s the rare news story that concerns a teen dying of a back alley abortion in those states requiring parental consent. It may certainly be embarrassing for a woman to admit to a pregnancy, but it is no longer the end of life on earth as women know it. Certainly the abortion debate would be more honest, if less emotional, if the “Progressives” were to debate abortion in the here and now, instead of in the then and gone.
So much for abortion. What about birth control? Does Bernie seriously believe that because a tiny number of nuns and Christian-managed companies don’t want to buy birth control for their employees (birth control, by the way, that is cheaply and easily obtained over the counter), it’s suddenly Victorian England all over again? Sadly, I think he does believe this, as do my Progressive friends. Their world has become so warped that when the government won’t force people to purchase a freely-available product for other people, they believe the resulting situation is precisely the same as depriving those other people of all access to that product.
Lastly, we know that the whole “women get paid 72 cents for every dollar men make” meme is a total canard. The reality is that women do get equal pay for equal work. The other reality is that women, for reasons of their own (spelled K-I-D-S) often don’t do equal work:
Drawn from Census Bureau data, the 77-cent figure is a comparison of the earnings of women working full time compared to men working full time. Its fatal flaw is that it accounts for none of the important factors that play into the disparity, such as hours worked.
Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute note that men are twice as likely to work more than 40 hours per week as women. Then, there are differences in choice of occupation, in education and in uninterrupted years of work. Once such factors are taken into account, there is about a 5 percent differential in the earnings of women and men, about which various theories are plausible, including the effect of residual discrimination.
What is clear is that the wage gap is largely an artifact of the fact that women devote more time to caring for children than men do. Harvard economist Claudia Goldin points out that the earnings of women without children are almost equal to those of comparable men. Feminists are mistaking a byproduct of the laudable desire of mothers to spend time with their kids for a depredation of The Man.
Yeah, about Scandinavia. Let me start with a counterposter:
And now for a bit more data. Let me quote myself:
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.
The times they are a’ changin’, though, and Swedes are (and should be) getting worried. On the top of the list of worries is the fact that Obama is manifestly reneging on America’s long-standing promise to protect all those charming European socialist states. In the face of Putin’s aggression, Obama is just saying “Whatever.” He’s been completely apathetic regarding Ukraine, and there’s no reason to believe he’ll be less lethargic if Putin turns his hungry gaze to Sweden.
There’s no reason to believe that Putin won’t look further afield than Ukraine. After all, his policies and corruption have bankrupted Russia. With that gaping hollow place in the middle where an economy used to be, Putin can either look inward and let the economy implode, or he can expand and fill that empty space as empires have always done — with other nations’ wealth.
Sweden’s other big charge is that the Swedes are no longer a homogeneous people who happily collaborate on a pretend socialism. Thanks to their practically unlimited immigration policy aimed at Muslims from around the Middle East, they have become a racially diverse, heterogeneous culture. Had this diversity presented itself in the form of an in rush of Japanese immigrants, all educated, organization, well-behaved, and models of rectitude, all would have been well for little Sweden.
The Muslim immigrants, though, can be described as “the un-Japanese.” The hurt the economy because they refuse to play pretend socialism with the Swedes. Worse than that, the Muslims are misogynistic and are causing untold suffering to Sweden’s famously liberated women.
It seems that Sweden has become the rape capital of the West. And we’re not talking the kind of American college-campus, thought-crime rapes that ensnared the despicable Julian Assange during his sojourn with some Swedish ladies. Instead, we’re talking about what Whoopi Goldberg calls “rape rape” — the kind with knives, and guns, and fists, and boots, and blood, and multiple attackers:
Forty years after the Swedish parliament unanimously decided to change the formerly homogenous Sweden into a multicultural country, violent crime has increased by 300% and rapes by 1,472%. Sweden is now number two on the list of rape countries, surpassed only by Lesotho in Southern Africa.
Significantly, the report does not touch on the background of the rapists. One should, however, keep in mind that in statistics, second-generation immigrants are counted as Swedes.
In an astounding number of cases, the Swedish courts have demonstrated sympathy for the rapists, and have acquitted suspects who have claimed that the girl wanted to have sex with six, seven or eight men.
The internet radio station Granskning Sverige called the mainstream newspapers Aftonposten and Expressen to ask why they had described the perpetrators as “Swedish men” when they actually were Somalis without Swedish citizenship. They were hugely offended when asked if they felt any responsibility to warn Swedish women to stay away from certain men. One journalist asked why that should be their responsibility.
You can read more here.
And finally, just for ironic fun, a little bit about how horribly dangerous once pure, clean, and homogeneous Sweden has become:
Sweden is practically the rape capital of the world, maybe because the punishment for a rape is practically nil (a few years in prison if you’re an adult, a lot less if you’re under 18) or because most of the rapes are being perpetrated by Muslim immigrants (shhhhh, we’re not supposed to talk about that, it’s racist) who are flooding into the country. If the USA adopted Sweden’s leniency towards its criminals, our prisons would be a lot less populated too. On the flip-side, our general populace find themselves a lot less raped. Just saying.
There’s a video at the link if you’re interested. (Snark warning: I can’t resist saying that, right about now, Sweden may be even more dangerous than an American college campus where, if you believe the feminazis, women are more likely to be raped than they are in a South African slum.)
If we were going around waging war for the fun of it, Bernie would have a convincing point. However, since we waged war because the Islamists declared their fervent desire to kill and enslave us all, he just sounds like an idiot. Sadly, too many of my friends are idiots too, because they believe this is a valid point. I keep trying to explain to them that preschools and nutrition programs have little meaning if your country looks like this:
And your children look like this:
(Both those photos, incidentally, come from Syria.)
There are just so many things Progressives can’t grasp….
The above poster is part of the series showing what a dangerous demagogue
Koch Sanders really is. Statesmen tackle issues; demagogues attack individuals or groups. Whenever this happens, bad things follow.
Interestingly, Obamacare has resulted in more, not fewer, emergency room visits, precisely the opposite what was supposed to happen. If the bright minds on the Left had talked to me first, I could have told them what would happen, since I have a surprising amount of insight into deep poverty:
I was speaking to my friend just yesterday about her healthcare and she offered a very interesting observation: She and her husband, the only middle class people in a sea of poverty, are the only people she knows, amongst both friends and acquaintances, who have signed up for Obamacare. The others have no interest in getting health insurance. Even with a subsidy, they don’t want to pay a monthly bill for health insurance. Even a subsidized rate is too onerous when they can get all the free health care they need just by showing up at the local emergency room. Additionally, the ER docs are usually better than any doc who’s willing to belong to whatever plan they can afford. Nor are these people worried about the penalties for refusing to buy Obamacare, since none of them pay taxes.
Not only are the people in my friend’s world refusing to buy Obamacare, they resent it. According to my friend, someone she knows abruptly announced that she’s getting involved in local politics, something she’s never done before. Until recently, this gal was one of those people who just floated along, getting by. Now, though, she’s fired up.
The reason for the sudden passion is unexpected: She’s deeply offended by a law that forces people to buy a product they don’t need — never mind that she might benefit from the product, that she would pay far below market value for the product, or that she’s too poor to be penalized for ignoring this government diktat. The mere fact that the diktat exists runs counter to her notion of individual liberty. Her view of government is that, while it’s fine if it hands out welfare checks and food stamps, it goes beyond the pale when the government uses its power and wealth to coerce activity.
And finally, something on which Bernie and I agree:
On this one, Bernie actually (and probably accidentally) got it right. America’s media works hard to keep Americans uninformed. Where Bernie gets it wrongs is that this type of forced ignorance actually benefits his agenda. If people really knew what was going on, they wouldn’t like twice at him. Don’t believe me? Read this great Glenn Reynolds article:
Nassim Nicholas Taleb recently tweeted: “The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits.”
This drew a response: “The most valuable propertyof the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news.” These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.
It is simple really: When the “Great Leader” builds a new stadium, everyone sees the construction. Nobody sees the more worthwhile projects that didn’t get done instead because the capital was diverted, through taxation, from less visible but possibly more worthwhile ventures — a thousand tailor shops, bakeries or physician offices.
Read the rest here. It is a perfect defense of a free-information, free-market economy, as opposed to the low-information, government-controlled economy Bernie so fervently touts to his true believers.