The View From 1776
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
Feckless And Destructive Government Intervention
However well-intentioned the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies, they have done almost nothing to create jobs for ordinary citizens, while greatly enriching Wall Street bankers and stock market speculators.
See Yellen’s Missing Jobs, an editorial of The New York Sun, March 31, 2014.
Keynesian macroeconomic policies pursued by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee are the present-day embodiment of ideas crystalized into socialist theory during the first decades of the 19th century. The earliest systematic work was done by Henri de Saint-Simon.
In Saint-Simon’s socialism, one part of the new ruling group was to be the scientists who, in theory, understand the principles of history and the dynamics of society. The other was to be professional managers and bureaucrats. One of the most important tasks of the highest-level administrative councils was to foresee future trends and thus to allocate the state’s financial resources to the most productive future manufacturing and commercial uses. We see that presumption in Obama’s dogged funding of “green” energy projects and his efforts to kill coal mining and to stall drilling for vastly more energy-efficient petroleum and natural gas.
Beginning in the late 19th century, “progressive” politicians and academics became dissatisfied with the state of American society and looked longingly toward the giant strides of Bismarck’s German Empire in education, chemistry, physics, and medicine. Progressives attributed Germany’s rapid progress both to its strong collectivized leadership by Bismarck, and to the dominance of the German Socialist party, which was the largest and most influential in Europe.
Liberal-progressivism in this country was an amalgam of socialistic disdain for individualistic capitalism and confidence in the science and engineering that had transformed the United States after the Civil War. Progressives believed that businesses and government ought to be run by professional managers, a view leading to the foundation of the Harvard Business School in 1908 by the newly-secular Harvard University to train such professional managers for the coming socialist society.
This faith in technocrats remains a prominent feature of liberal-progressivism in the United States. Liberal-progressives, impervious to real-world experience, remain convinced that government planners always can do a better job for society with class-based programs and regulations than private individuals can do in managing their own lives.
Note that fiscal policies are expressed in government’s taxes and so-called stimulus spending, usually of borrowed money. Monetary policy affecting interest rates and the money supply is under the Federal Reserve’s purview.
The Federal Reserve Board today, as well as the officers and staffs of the Fed’s twelve regional banks, are almost entirely from academic, theoretical backgrounds, without practical experience in the business or financial worlds. Fed technocrats maintain steadfast faith in their theoretical doctrine and believe firmly that gaining effective control over the entire economy is just a matter of fine-tuning their computer models.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that today’s Keynesian macroeconomics theories, in both fiscal and monetary policy, reprise the failed practices of the 1930s Depression era New Dealers, who had placed similar reliance upon the presumed intellectual superiority and foresight of academic theorists. During the Depression, Harvard economist Alvin Hansen (Keynes’s chief promoter in the United States) and independent analysts like Stuart Chase (who coined the term New Deal) declared that private business never again would be able to regain the level of production reached in 1929. The private business economy having permanently stagnated, declared Hansen, unemployment would remain at cripplingly high levels unless the Federal government undertook a permanent role to employ those out of work and to fund new technology and industry.
In monetary policy the Fed’s major move during the Depression was creation of the Federal Open Market Committee to control interest rates and the money supply among banks. The Fed, between 1914 and 1927, had flooded the banking system with a five-fold increase in lendable reserves, leading to an artificially induced expansion of productive capacity funded excessively with debt. In 1928 and 1929 the Fed recognized the inflationary effect of its money supply expansion and reversed course. Rapid contraction of business ensued, and the stock market notoriously crashed in 1929.
This pattern was essentially the same as that of the housing market bubble that burst in 2007 and 2008, for exactly the same reason: the Fed’s loose money policies had encouraged and supported debt-financed over-expansion of business.
President Roosevelt took office in 1933 avowing his faith in state-planning and declaring that the old system of government based on Jeffersonian individualism had failed. There were, of course, only two varieties of socialistic state-planning in existence at that time — Fascist Italy and Soviet Russia. Liberal analysts of the day made it clear that what the new President had in mind was former Democratic Presidential candidate Al Smith’s prescription that “the Constitution should be wrapped up and put away on the shelf for the duration.”
The New Deal tried dozens of academically-designed programs intended to end the Depression, none of which worked. As we entered World War II in 1941, the Depression was still with us, after eight years of Franklin Roosevelt’s tinkering. Economic conditions in 1937 and 1938 were worse than in 1933 when Roosevelt took office. President Roosevelt, in his budget message of January 3, 1940, acknowledged that in the 1930’s, “…fiscal policy was exceedingly simple in theory and extraordinarily disastrous in practice.”
For the past five years, Federal Reserve monetary policy has blindly followed the same expansionary Keynesian macroeconomic policies, with the same lack of effectiveness.
Economics • Junk Science • Political Theory • Welfare-State Socialism • (9) Comments
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Is Obama’s Inept Foreign Policy Incompetent Or Intentional?
Maybe Obama wants the United States to decline into third-rate status in world affairs.
Read Thomas Sowell’s assessment on the Investors.com website.
The pessimistic view of Obama’s policy aims is looking more likely with each passing week.
• The Democrat/Socialist Party, at Obama’s impetus, has imposed such extensive regulation of our banks and other finical institutions that the government has become the effective owner, able to push the nation’s entire financial structure in any direction it wishes.
• The government confiscated bondholders’ capital invested in the original General Motors and Chrysler and gave it to socialist labor unions. Political considerations, not productive and financial efficiency, now impel corporate decisions. The market flop known as the Chevy Volt is but one example. With its fuel-economy regulation noose continually tightening, coupled with measures designed to force people to buy “green” automobiles, the government effectively controls the transportation industry.
• Every imaginable effort is being made to prevent expanded production of natural gas and petroleum, by far the cheapest and most efficient sources of energy. Costs of energy for homeowners will soar, as they have in the UK and Germany, forcing many people to forego heat during ever-colder winters. Businesses will be forced to ratchet down production in the United States, laying off still more workers.
• Human nutrition needs are sacrificed, from dairy farms to California growers, to impose greenhouse gas restrictions and to support an ever-growing list of “endangered” species.
The end-point of these policies? It appears to be realizing the dream of socialists, beginning with Henri de Saint-Simon shortly after the 1789 French Revolution: forced equality of consumption in an economy run by ivory-tower academics and bureaucratic drones. Animating Obama’s gnostic vision is his apparent conviction that conspiracies of capitalists, Christians, and religious Jews have kept our world from becoming its historically foreordained perfect realm under collectivized socialistic rule.
The United States, it appears more likely every day, is headed toward a Soviet-style system in which everyone is equally a ward of the state without the means to resist any whim of Big Brother. Small wonder that the majority of citizens regard proliferating gun-control regulation as a means to prevent resistance to the encroaching, grasping, and ravenous power appetite of liberal-progressive-socialism.
Constitutional Principles • Political Theory • Thought Police & PC • (6) Comments
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Friday, March 07, 2014
Narcissism And Gnosticism
Radical left-wing Democrat/Socialists not only are blinded to reality by their narcissism, but also are led into disastrous social and political policies by their gnosticism.
With respect to narcissism, columnist Michael Barone echoes my recent posting.
With respect to gnosticism, the other radical left deformation of reality, I outlined the problem in The Liberal Jihad - The Hundred-Year War Against the Constitution:
Eric Voegelin addressed the persistence of gnosticism in Science, Politics & Gnosticism, based on his 1958 University of Heidelberg lecture. He wrote:
“The more we come to know about the gnosis of antiquity, the more it becomes certain that modern movements of thought, such as progressivism, positivism, Hegelianism, and Marxism, are variants of gnosticism… The death of God is the cardinal issue of gnosis, both ancient and modern. From Hegel to Nietzsche it is the great theme of gnostic speculation, and Protestant theology has been plagued by it ever since Hegel’s time. In recent years, it has been taken up by American theologians who are faced with the pressing phenomena of urbanization and alienation.”
Conditions became even worse after 1958. In the 1970s, President Johnson’s socialistic Great Society of welfare entitlements led to student anarchism, anti-Vietnam War hysteria, riots, burning, and looting in cities. Many Christian churches effectively abandoned Christianity. Many urban ministers became supporters of paganism within the walls of their churches, opting for the flower-child spirituality of drugs and sexual promiscuity. Christianity was degraded into a feel-good association in which moral standards were rejected as offensive to people’s sensitivities.
Professor Voegelin continued:
“[In the gnostic world view], The world is no longer the well-ordered, the cosmos in which Hellenic man felt at home; nor is it the Judeo-Christian world that God created and found good. Gnostic man no longer wishes to perceive in admiration the intrinsic order of the cosmos. For him the world has become a prison from which he wants to escape… the aim always is destruction of the old world and passage to the new. The instrument of salvation is gnosis itself— knowledge.”
Foreseeing the effect of American liberalism’s gnosis, Voegelin concluded:
“Self-salvation through knowledge has its own magic, and this magic is not harmless. The structure of the order of being will not change because one finds it defective and runs away from it. The attempt at world destruction will not destroy the world, but will only increase the disorder in society.”
Foreign Policy • Political Theory • Welfare-State Socialism • (3) Comments
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Our Unconstitutionally Established Religion Of Socialism
Is socialism a secular religion? And is inculcating it at public expense in our schools violating the First Amendment’s prohibition of establishing a religion?
Socialist intellectuals have repeatedly affirmed that socialism is a religion, not just an economic doctrine.
The late Bertrand Russell, one of the world’s most prominent spokesmen for socialism, said of the World War I German socialist party,
For Social Democracy is not a mere political party, nor even a mere economic theory; it is a complete self-contained philosophy of the world and of human development; it is, in a word, a religion and an ethic. To judge the work of Marx, or the aims and beliefs of his followers, from a narrow economic standpoint, is to overlook the whole body and spirit of their greatness. (from Lecture One, German Social Democracy).
Liberal-progressive historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., notes in The Politics of Upheaval that Mussolini in 1931 referred to communism and fascism as the new socialist religions with the power to move mountains by faith.
Irving Howe was a leading New York socialist intellectual after World War II, as well as the founding editor of Dissent magazine. In A Margin of Hope: An Intellectual Autobiography, he wrote,
Call it liberal, call it social democratic, a politics devoted to incremental reform even while still claiming a utopian vision— how can such a politics satisfy that part of our imagination still hungering for religious exaltation, still drawn to gestures of heroic violence, still open to the temptations of the apocalypse? ... Perhaps it was recognition of this fact that led the leadership of the European social democracy in the years just before the First World War to maintain some of the “revolutionary” symbols and language of early Marxism, though their parties had ceased to be revolutionary in any serious respect. Intuitively they grasped that the parties they led were not just political movements but, in some sense, branches of a “church” ...
In A Yippie Manifesto, published in May 1969, Jerry Rubin wrote,
America and the West suffer from a great spiritual crisis. And so the yippies are a revolutionary religious movement… A religious-political movement is concerned with people’s souls, with the creation of a magic world which we make real… We offer: sex, drugs, rebellion, heroism, brotherhood. They offer: responsibility, fear, puritanism, repression.
Rubin was a founder of the Yippies (Youth International Party) and one of the more prominent student radicals in the mid-1960s protesting the Vietnam War at the University of California - Berkeley.
Liberal jihadists are intent upon transforming the United States, both culturally and economically. Liberals are not just employing the democratic process to advocate policy modifications. They are motivated by their intensely religious drive to change American society into a collectivized, socialistic state in which an intellectual elite will regulate all aspects of your life.
Current examples are ObamaCare and EPA regulations designed to destroy the coal industry and impede petroleum exploration and development, along with mandates eventually forcing everyone to buy unsafe, uneconomical, and difficult to use “green” automobiles.
The liberal-progressive jihadists’ picture of the world and of human nature is the opposite of the understanding upon which the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are based. Jihadists, therefore, necessarily must work to destroy the original ideas of individual moral responsibility under a government of limited powers. Their secular religion of socialism teaches that human beings and human societies can be made perfect when societies are correctly restructured and regulated in ways that only the intellectuals understand.
Liberal-progressive-socialism’s religiosity explains two of its most pronounced characteristics: first, its rule-or-ruin nature, and second, the willingness of its followers to keep pushing an ideology that always fails to live up to its own mythology.
Constitutional Principles • Political Theory • Thought Police & PC • Tradition & Morality • (8) Comments
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Monday, February 17, 2014
Is The Constitution No More Than Whatever Public Opinion Will Tolerate?
Liberal-progressive legal theorists have in recent decades touted the conception that the delegates who wrote the Constitution in 1787 didn’t really mean to make amending the Constitution so difficult. Evolving public opinion does the job without formal amendments.
During the New Deal of the 1930s, Princeton’s Edward S. Corwin decried the “well nigh impossible” process of amending the Constitution and, in the John Dewey pragmatist mode, sought a loophole to impose arbitrarily what liberal-progressives believed to be justifiable ends.
In more recent years, Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman has been widely cited by the liberal-progressive media as an authority on Constitutional law. He teaches the doctrine that the writers of the Constitution “must” have intended that changing public opinion alone effectively amends the Constitution. The writers of the Constitution, Professor Ackerman asserts, surely didn’t really mean to restrict amending the Constitution to the procedures set forth in Article V of the Constitution.
The truth, extensively documented in the lengthy debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, is that the founders intended to make amending the Constitution difficult and time-consuming. It seems not to have occurred to them that the founders wanted to impart stability and permanence to our federal republic.
President Obama, however, doesn’t bother even with public opinion. Opinion polls reveal a low regard for his stewardship and a strong distaste for Obamacare. Yet he has decided to ignore Congress, enacted laws, and public opinion to rule via executive orders in pursuit of whatever his liberal-progressive-socialistic religious faith dictates, and, to quote William Henry Vanderbilt, “the public be damned.”
Kings, Presidents, and Barack Obama, by Jonathan S. Tobin.
Constitutional Principles • Political Theory • Welfare-State Socialism • (4) Comments
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Consumption Is The Road To Dependence On The State
Without the accumulation of capital (i.e., savings), there is no capitalistic system. Liberal-progressive-socialism will have triumphed.
Liberal-progressive-socialism, adamantly opposed to the Judeo-Christian ethic of individual responsibility, focuses upon confiscating capital (savings) and redistributing it in order to control consumption.
In liberal-progressive-socialism’s Keynesian economic bible, consumption is the be-all and end-all of government economic policy. As we saw in the housing bubble that imploded in 2007 - 2008, government’s resources promoted going into debt to spend more than was being saved. Keynes, in fact, preached that saving causes economic recessions.
Until the administrations of Woodrow Wilson (1913 - 1921) and Franklin Roosevelt (1933 - 1945), when the liberal-progressive-socialist python began wrapping its strangling economic coils around American society, the prevailing ethic extolled personal hard work, thrift, and saving as the path to a better life. Empirical support for that ethos was readily at hand: the 19th century capitalist industrial revolutions in England and the United States had produced history’s greatest improvement, in the shortest time, of people’s standard of living.
Max Weber described the transition in his famous study, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905). The Protestant Reformation in northern Europe and Great Britain had emphasized personal responsibility in religious faith. Protestants who worked hard and succeeded in accumulating wealth were seen as conforming to God’s Will.
The real moral objection is to relaxation in the security of possession, the enjoyment of wealth for the consequences of idleness and the temptations of the flesh, above all of distraction from the pursuit of righteous life…
Not leisure and enjoyment, but only activity serves to increase the glory of God, according to the manifestations of His will… St. Paul’s ‘He who will not work shall not eat’ holds unconditionally for everyone. Unwillingness to work is symptomatic of lack of Grace… And even more important: the religious valuation of restless, continuous, systematic work in a worldly calling, as the highest means of asceticism, and at the same time the surest and most evident proof of rebirth and genuine faith, must have been the most powerful conceivable lever for the expansion of that attitude toward life which we have here called the spirit of capitalism.
When the limitation of consumption is combined with the release of acquisitive activity, the inevitable practical result is obvious: accumulation of capital through ascetic compulsion to save…
In mid-19th century, however, Karl Marx called for an end of capitalism. Marx’s labor theory of value postulates that physical and managerial labor hours are the only source of real value (what people wanted to buy, in his thesis, was a ‘commodity fetish’ having nothing to do with value). Hence liberal-progressive-socialists’ adulation for labor unions and their corresponding hostility to private business.
Marx characterized business profits as ‘surplus value’ that really belongs to the laborer; savings is thus another term for exploitation of labor. The proper role of government is to wrest profits from private business and redistribute the proceeds to laborers. This by definition rules out savings by business and emphasizes consumption, which is today the policy of the Obama government.
In Marx’s analysis, capitalists unjustly acquired the means of production, and their property rights were protected by government. Thus, to stop capitalists’ exploitation of labor, government must step in (by revolution or gradual legislation) to remove capitalists’ control of the means of production. This can be done either by government seizing ownership, or by gaining regulatory control of the means of production.
President Obama’s proposals faithfully adhere to this Marxian doctrine. Obama, for example, has called for restricting the amount of savings that high-earning individuals will be allowed to accumulate; he has overseen a de facto take-over of the banking system; in his ‘rescue’ of the automobile business, Obama ignored established bankruptcy property rights and gave bondholders’ capital to labor unions; ObamaCare is a massive scheme to redistribute wealth in proportions that liberal-progressive academicians deem appropriate for achieving the liberal nirvana of ‘social justice.’
The complimentary aspect of liberal-progressive-socialist antipathy toward savings is the desire to control consumption. Having stripped as much savings from businesses and individuals as political exigencies will allow, Obama aims to force us to expand ‘investment’ in green energy technology and to subsidize inefficient electric automobiles. Liberals like New York’s former mayor Bloomberg want to legislate control of what we eat. In any case, the aim is to curb saving and to make consumption as equal as possible in all sectors of society.
Unfortunately, as post-World War II history in the UK reminds us, that is a policy orientation designed to make us all equally poorer.
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Friday, January 03, 2014
Holman Jenkins On The Wall Street Journal Strips Away ObamaCares’s Hypocrisy
ObamaCare, billed as a program to reduce medical care costs and to increase the number of people with medical insurance, is nothing more than a typical liberal-progressive-socialist program to redistribute wealth and to force equality of consumption at legislative gun-point.
This is what in the secular, materialistic religion of socialism is called social justice.
As I wrote in The Liberal Jihad - The Hundred-Year War Against the Constitution, this was explicitly described by Michael Walzer, self-described as a liberal-progressive who identifies with socialism. He is co-editor of Dissent, the journal founded by the late Irving Howe, the dean of Manhattan’s post-World-War-II socialist intellectuals.
Walzer’s principal point is that possession of money amounts to power and that such power is both unjust and unjustly used. It enables the rich to purchase every sort of social good. Why should these goods be distributed to people who have a talent for making money? This, he says, is morally implausible and unsatisfying.
Consider medical care. It should be distributed only to those who are sick, without regard to wealth, intelligence, or righteousness. But in America today, it is closely follows the income curve. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” would, however, be a fine slogan for medical care, he says. Taxes paid by all of us should pay doctors, and others who deliver similar sorts of social goods, for example, teachers and lawyers. It isn’t that every man should get what he deserves, as in the old definition of justice. The new standard is egalitarian, that is, everyone should have free and equal access to all the goods and services produced by our economy.
ObamaCare Is Redistribution, Not Reform
The law’s faults are daily being exposed. But maybe the mistakes will be instructive.
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Jan. 3, 2014 6:33 p.m. ET
HealthCare.gov has started to work as a new year dawns. But work at what? It still delivers a faulty vision of health-care reform.
Let it be said that ObamaCare provides fabulous benefits for some Americans. If you have serious health problems and a low income (but not low enough to qualify for Medicaid), you can get unlimited health care for a premium largely or completely subsidized by someone else.
If you are a young adult under 26, you can be covered on your parents’ policy at the expense of other insurance customers.
Down the road, if your employer doesn’t lay you off or reduce your hours, you may get health care.
But these benefits are delivered to some at the expense of others, thus qualify as “redistribution,” not “reform.” Reform, defined in any rigorous way, would benefit everybody because it would remove distortions that cause Americans to spend too much and get too little for their health-care dollar.
Way back in 2010, Mr. Obama’s strongest business supporter, Warren Buffett, made the case for reform before redistribution, telling CNBC: “Universality—yeah, I believe in insuring more people, but I don’t believe in insuring more people until you attack the cost aspect.”
One might quibble: Why couldn’t a proper law do both at the same time? But what we got instead, as Mr. Buffett foretold in the same television interview, was not reform but “2,000 pages . . . of nonsense.”
So let’s talk about deductibles. In terminal desperation, liberals now are calling Republicans hypocrites for criticizing ObamaCare’s high deductibles. After all, didn’t Republicans once favor higher out-of-pocket costs as a way to introduce more consumer sensitivity to the cost and value of health care?
With a stupidity that is an inexcusable imposition on their readers, some prominent bloggers have taken up this line in especially shrill fashion. But there is no right or wrong size for a deductible (or provider network for that matter), just one of the many features consumers trade off as they choose a policy.
The characteristic pathology of ObamaCare is that government is making the choices. Consumers aren’t. ObamaCare means higher deductibles than many customers would choose for themselves. It means a narrower choice of doctors and hospitals than many would choose for themselves. These sacrifices, in turn, are required to pay for a broader package of benefits than many customers would choose for themselves.
The biggest, dumbest ObamaCare lie of them all was that these distortions were necessary to cover the poor and those with pre-existing conditions. Direct tax dollars could have been used to cover these users. Everybody else could have been left free to buy insurance in a market not distorted by mandates—exactly what a broad spectrum of health-care reformers (not just Republicans) have sought for decades.
As serious reformers have always known, the real political challenge has been unwinding inefficient and illusory favors directed at various classes of health-care users and providers. In the absence of these government-mandated distortions (including tax distortions), then the market would necessarily gravitate toward insurance arrangements that help Americans make better use of their health-care resources.
You can blame congressional sausage-making for the crummy excuse for reform Mr. Obama gave us. You can suspect that its creators were mostly interested in undermining what’s left of our private system of health insurance.
ObamaCare was not the product of a blue-ribbon commission or some body of learned advisers, recall. It was assembled in logrolling exclusively among Democrats in Congress, led by Nancy Pelosi, who is not known as a policy thinker.
But, lo, a seasonal miracle is occurring. As liberals are forced to take into account the actual, real people whom their schemes seem so characteristically ignorant of, a new chance for reform is opening up. Every piece in ObamaCare is being postponed or rewritten. The individual mandate is becoming a comatose letter if not a dead one. In the latest doomed innovation from the White House, insurers are being sandbagged by a new requirement to sell to older, sicker customers policies designed and priced for a healthier, under-30 crowd.
ObamaCare’s authors are being mugged by reality in real time, before our eyes. This is the most propitious development for health-care reform in decades.
Political Theory • Welfare-State Socialism • (10) Comments
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Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Further Thoughts About Capitalism And Socialism
Socialism is a materialistic, atheistic, secular religion. Capitalism is one manifestation of individual liberty and moral responsibility that derives both from the philosophical insights of Plato and Aristotle, and from the revelations of Hebrew Biblical prophets and Jesus Christ, carried forward in our Judeo-Christian moral teachings.
The Israelite prophets, Plato and Aristotle, and Christian apostles saw that the essential feature of social order that conforms to reality is the individual soul’s consciousness of its attraction towards the Divine Creator of our universe. As expressed by Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards, the human soul yearns for beauty, and the highest degree of beauty is love of God and reverence for the works of our Creator.
This attraction to the ground of being, i.e., to the most fundamental level of existence in the universe, leads the individual soul to strive toward personal morality in awareness that life on earth is but a transitional phase leading toward immortality of the soul. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of that journey.
Liberal-progressives reject this spiritual realm, focusing upon purely materialistic, mechanical aspects of life. In their atheistic doctrine, perfection is to be attained here on earth by participation in the political state, not in a future life of the soul beyond earthly existence.
To attain earthly perfection, liberal-progressivism stresses collective action by an increasingly powerful and all-controlling political state that is to be directed by intellectuals, who are the only ones qualified to do so by virtue of their allegedly superior understanding of history. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi exemplify this ‘better than thou’ self-certainty.
All brands of secular socialism, which includes our liberal-progressivism, as well as Communism, Mussolini’s Fascism, and Hitler’s National Socialism, share in the faith that human nature can be transformed and perfected here and now in our earthly existence. For Marx, the fiery furnace of bloody revolution of the masses was to purify and transform people into statistical units whose existence and station in life would become wholly dependent upon the political state. For today’s liberal-progressives, the slower, python-like crush by state regulation of all aspects of personal behavior is to accomplish the same end. For both Marx and present-day liberal-progressives, individuals are no more than interchangeable bricks molded by the state for use in a structure erected by the political state. Interests of the political state completely overshadow any individual’s asserted natural rights to life, liberty, and property.
In that vein, the Democrat-Socialist Party remains committed to expanding the welfare state, while strangling existing industries in the name of promoting green power and regulating the climate of the entire world through the power of their edicts. All of this is to be financed simply by increasing taxes levied upon “the rich.” Liberal-progressives assume that taxes don’t matter, that businesses will docilely submit to being led to the slaughter house, while maintaining or even expanding their payrolls and their benefits to socialistic labor unions. If not, the government will impose regulatory control of recalcitrant businesses, as it is doing with the energy sector, the auto industry, and the financial sector.
All sects of socialism, including our own liberal-progressivism, inherently tend toward totalitarian control. We see this in regulations to control our diets, to mandate medical care, to force crushingly expensive green-energy transportation upon us, and to outlaw public recognition of any religion other than atheistic socialism.
As Eric Voegelin noted, however, liberal-progressives can pretend that their social engineering will create a better society based on a new human being evolving from their social structures, but reality doesn’t bend to their pretensions. Continued failure to recognize the reality of human existence brings us Lenin’s Soviet Union, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, and Hitler’s National Socialist Germany.
Underneath the superstructure of socialism remains unchanged the real world of countless millions of individuals, each taking purposeful action to achieve what he conceives to be in his best interests. The Judeo-Christian emphasis on individual responsibility to strive toward personal morality and charity toward others is in a far better position to act as a positive ordering force for society than is collectivized liberal-progressive-socialism, which deals with statistical abstractions of class, sex, or race.
Read The Myth of the Failure of Capitalism (1932), by Ludwig von Mises for a more detailed exposition from the perspective of economic theory. NOTE: Mises uses the term “liberal” in its original, 18th century meaning, that is, freedom from government intervention apart from the most basic and vital requirements. In the early 20th century, liberal-progressives highjacked the term to deflect public scrutiny from the fact that liberal-progressivism is simply a version of the materialistic, atheistic religion of socialism, which is the diametric opposite of 18th century liberalism.
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Setting The Record Straight
Liberal-progressives were quick to interpret, incorrectly, the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation as condemnation of capitalism. According to Edward Morrissey’s post in The Fiscal Times’s website, the emphasis, instead, was on individual responsibility for charitable action, along with condemnation of corrupt, crony capitalism that oppresses the poor.
Liberal-progressives frequently assert that socialism is more in accord with original Christianity than Christianity itself.
Even before the 1917 Russian Revolution, leading universities in the United States had begun a transition from the Christian roots of our nation into atheistic, secular materialism in their teaching of the so-called social sciences.
Nominally-Christian theological seminaries were in the vanguard of the movement toward socialism. Rochester Theological Seminary’s professor Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the best known socialist spokesmen of his era, was a founder of the Social Gospel movement late in the 19th century. Social Gospel was nothing more nor less than socialism masquerading as Christianity.
Social Gospel embraced the avowed aims of socialism, which sound similar to the results that flow from the Bible’s commandment to love one’s neighbor as he would wish to have his neighbor love him. The insurmountable problem is that socialism, and therefore Social Gospel, is atheistic and materialistic, i.e., the antithesis of Christianity and religious Judaism.
To believe that Social Gospel is true Christianity is to believe that the Soviet dictatorship of the proletariat was truly democratic.
In “Christianizing the Social Order” (1912), Professor Rauschenbusch wrote:
“The Socialists found the Church against them and thought God was against them, too. They have had to do God’s work without the sense of God’s presence to hearten them…..Whatever the sins of individual Socialists, and whatever the shortcomings of Socialist organizations, they are tools in the hands of the Almighty…....Socialism is one of the chief powers of the coming age…...God will raise up Socialism because the organized Church was too blind, or too slow, to realize God’s ends.”
Two other prominent seminaries, among many others, were active promoters of socialism. Their spokesmen also were nationally known figures: Dr. Harry F. Ward of Union Theological Seminary in New York and Dr. Bernard Iddings-Bell of St. Stephens College in Annandale, New York.
Dr. Ward wrote “The New Social Order,” to express sympathy for Socialism and to laud the Bolshevik revolutionary movement in Russia, which he regarded as a desirable replacement for the Russian Orthodox Christian Church. Dr. Ward also was chairman of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which actively defended the terrorist tactics of the radical IWW labor organization, whose members murdered more than a dozen employees and executives of industrial companies they sought to intimidate with demands for labor seizure of management control.
Dr. Iddings-Bell in “Right and Wrong After the War,” in this case World War I, advocated Sigmund Freud’s version of Marxian materialism, in which human life is controlled by hunger and the sex urge. From this theory of secular and materialistic human nature, he concluded that (1) private property should be abolished; (2) income earned from investments, savings accounts, and rental property is robbery; (3) the family as a social unit should be abandoned except as a temporary arrangement for purely sexual relations. In his sermon delivered on May 23, 1920, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Dr. Iddings-Bell gave his support to revolutionary labor demands for abolishment of the wage system and control of industry by communistic labor unions.
He declared that the New Social Order had arrived and that people were obliged to accept it. Among other things, that meant that internationalism must replace American patriotism.
Political Theory • Tradition & Morality • Welfare-State Socialism • (2) Comments
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Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Pretensions of The Liberal-Progressive Elite
Do we really need Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Mayor Bloomberg to run our daily lives? Is ObamaCare evidence of superior intellect to be found only among the scientistic, self-appointed gods of liberal-progressive-socialism?
Read ‘Nothing Is so Galling to a People as a Meddling Government’, on the Mises Institute’s blog, The Circle Bastiat.