About theartfuldilettante

The Artful Dilettante is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, and a graduate of Penn State University. He is a lover of liberty and a lifelong and passionate student of the same. He is voracious reader of books on the Enlightenment and the American colonial and revolutionary periods. He is a student of libertarian and Objectivist philosophies. He collects revolutionary war and period currency, books, and newspapers. He is married and the father of one teenage son. He is kind, witty, generous to a fault, and unjustifiably proud of himself. He is the life of the party and an unparalleled raconteur.

Three Reasons the Left Keeps Winning

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Even if Trump somehow manages to win in November, the Left (i.e., “progressives” and social democrats) can rest easy knowing that the Left’s influence over the country’s institutions and ideological views have only increased in recent years.

Naturally, the Left has portrayed itself as somehow victimized, declaring itself to be “the resistance” and making numerous predictions of doom in which the opponents of the Left would gain untrammeled control over the population. In this view, the nation is always just a few days away from enduring a mixture of social darwinism and theocracy as imposed by libertarians and conservatives, respectively.

After four years with the Trump administration in power, of course, the nation isn’t even heading in this direction. Government control over healthcare isn’t going away. Most states have only expanded Medicaid. Gun control laws have become more stringent, not less. Government spending has risen to unprecedented levels and almost no political candidate at the federal level would seriously argue in favor of any substantial cuts. Anti-Christian rhetoric has become more fashionable than ever, so that now any Christian who actually practices his or her religion—i.e., Amy Coney Barrett—is portrayed in the media as a religious zealot.  Even minor deviations from the demanded orthodoxy—such as actor Chris Pratt’s lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden—earns hate campaigns from the guardians of acceptable public opinion.

These trends have only accelerated in recent years. The Left has consolidated and increased its control over academia, the media, social media firms, Hollywood, the recording industry, and corporate America. In other words, outside some legislative and legal institutions—and a shrinking handful of religious institutions—the Left’s control of the nation’s educational, cultural, artistic, and media institutions is very safe indeed.

If the electoral success enjoyed by Donald Trump and his supporters has offered any meaningful opposition to this, it lies only in the fact that the Trump party has in some ways slowed these trends. But by no measure has the trend leftward been stopped or reversed.

But why has the Left been so successful in this?

The reasons for this are many, but there are three reasons that stand out: the Left recognizes the importance of education in forming Americans’ ideology. The Left takes a long-term view. The Left accepts partial victories, and then proceeds from there.

One: The Left Understands the Importance of Ideas and Ideologies

The Left long ago mastered the art of intellectual activism. What is intellectual activism? Legal scholar David Yamada offers a helpful definition: “intellectual activism involves conducting and publishing original research and analysis and then applying that work to the tasks of reforming and improving the law, legal systems, and the legal profession.”

Yamada is referring to intellectual activism within the field of law. But, of course, it can be applied to any number of fields. Within economics, intellectual activists conduct research, provide analysis, and then apply that work to reforming political and economic institutions. Historian often do similar work within their own fields.

In recent decades, the Left’s dominance of intellectual activism has grown to the point of dominating most fields. Leftwing (i.e., anti-capitalist) historians, sociologists, anthropologists, legal scholars, and economists routinely publish studies illustrating their views. But the activism doesn’t stop there. Journalists, pundits, and artists then cite these studies, rehash them, popularize them, and repackage them for public consumption.

These views are then passed on to the next generation of scholars, imbibed by school-teachers-in-training, and parroted by elected officials. These views filter down to the voting public, the TV viewer at home, and school children in the classroom.

Certainly, there are other intellectual activists offering differing views. There are still courageous scholars who attempt to do the work of fighting the Left’s dominance through research that dissents from the usual zeitgeist.

If these intrepid scholars did not exist, the Left’s success would be even more complete. Dissenting views would be even more marginalized, and even more in the minority. As Lew Rockwell noted:

A new BBC poll [reported November 2009] finds that only 11 percent of people questioned around the world — and 29,000 people were asked their opinions — think that free-market capitalism is a good thing. The rest believe in more government regulation.

As to those who would despair at this poll, consider that it might have been much worse were it not for the efforts of a relative handful of intellectuals who have fought against socialist theory for more than a century. It might have been 99% in support of socialist tyranny. So there is no sense in saying that these intellectual efforts are wasted.

And yet, there are many on the Right who want to completely abandon the field to the Left. For those of us involved in the work of intellectual activism, we’ve heard something like this many times: “We don’t have time to read books or spread ideas! We need to win elections now! All this stuff about spreading ideas and changing ideology will never work!”

Of course, what these people might as well be saying is “stop using the methods that the Left has employed so successfully for decades! Sure, after 12 years of public schooling, four years of university education, and a lifetime of watching TV news and Hollywood movies, most people are fully steeped in the Left’s ideology. But I have a newfangled plan that will magically undo all those years of ideological conditioning just in time for the next election!”

Needless to say, this isn’t exactly a recipe for success.

The Left wins because leftists understand that if the goal is to “win elections now!” one must first lay the groundwork that makes the public open to one’s ideological agenda. Sometimes this work takes decades. Without doing this necessary and time-consuming work before hand, however, long-term failure is assured.

This is why leftists have spent so much time writing books, teaching classes, getting graduate degrees, becoming journalists, and editing newspapers. They know that ideas matter, and that the long term goals of any ideological movement depend on spreading ideas through scholarship, media, and art.

In other words, the Left has long understood that ”politics is downstream from culture.” If we want to change political institutions, we must first change cultural, educational, and intellectual institutions first. Once the public’s ideas have been changed, then political change will follow.

Two: The Left Takes a Long-term View

It seems if there’s anything conservative and libertarians like to do, it’s to declare defeat at the earliest opportunity.

We see it in the language employed by conservatives and libertarians all the time. Every time the state seizes some new socialism-inspired powers, conservatives and libertarians frequently response by saying “oh, we’ll never get those freedoms back. The government will never give up those powers!” To quote Yoda when Luke Skywalker declared he’d never get his spaceship out of the swamp: “So certain are you.”

After all, “never” is a very long time. Consider the following two statements:

  • “The Soviet Union will never give up its rule over Russia and all the other republics of the USSR.”
  • “The Roman Empire will never allow Christians to worship legally and in peace.”

Both statements, of course, were wrong when uttered in that time and place. It’s true, the timeframe for breaking Soviet rule was 70 years. It took the Christians three centuries to obtain an edict of toleration from the emperor. But it’s a good thing the freedom fighters in the old USSR and the Roman Empire didn’t have modern-day conservatives and libertarians around to assure them that their attempts at gaining more freedom were futile and impractical.

Yes, I get it. In many cases, these people who insist good things will never happen recognize things are different in the long term. But if that is the belief, why not be clear about it?

Leftists, in contrast, are often quick to emphasize their belief that it will have the long-term victory with phrases like these: “It’s just a matter of time until we win! We’re on the right side of history! When we take over we’ll machine-gun everyone we don’t like!”

Meanwhile, many conservatives and libertarians spend their time debating whether or not they should give up and retreat to a mountain compound right now, or maybe wait until after the next election.

Successful ideological groups, of course, are in it for the long haul. Any modern day political or ideological activist who gives up after ten or twenty or thirty years simply was never serious to begin with.

Three: The Left Pursues Partial Victories

And how exactly do the leftists execute their long-term strategy? They accept partial victories.

Here’s something we never hear from the left: “Well, we got the legislation we wanted. It’s time to declare victory and rest on our laurels.”

Here’s the reality: the Left pushed and pushed for Obamacare. And then, when it was passed, not more than five minutes passed before the Left began advocating for Medicare for All.

Imagine also if the Left managed to win a federal mandate for a 15-dollars-per-hour minimum wage. Does anyone seriously believe the demands would stop there? We’d never stop hearing about the need for a 17-dollars-per-hour wage. And then one at 20 dollars.

In other words, leftists are willing to take partial victories, one step at a time. What we don’t hear leftists say is “if I call for a a 15-dollars-per-hour wage, that implies I don’t think a 20-dollars-per-hour wage is needed. Therefore I will oppose any wage mandate below 20 dollars-per hour!”

Yet, a sizable and vocal contingent of conservatives a libertarians use this line all the time: “Why, if I support a ban on late-term abortion, that implies I think abortion is fine!” Or, “if I support a cut to the income tax, that implies I think income taxes are fine!”

Here’s a real world example: in 2015, Colorado pro-gun-rights activists had almost everything they needed to increase gun magazine limits to 30 rounds, almost totally undoing a 2013 Democrat-passed bill reducing gun magazine limits to 15 rounds. Clearly, this would have been a significant victory for gun freedom. But then Rocky Mountain Gun Owners stepped in to prevent the passage of the bill by threatening elected officials with primaries if the officials voted for the change. “If you let them limit mags to 30 rounds, that implies we accept limits of any kind,” the “pro-gun” activists huffed. So, they killed the bill. To this day, the magazine limit is 15 rounds instead of 30. Gee thanks, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners!

This short-sighted and half-witted strategy can be contrasted with the strategy of the abolitionists — the strategy recommended by Murray Rothbard.

Rothbard understood that it is important to always “hold aloft” the ultimate goal, which is the evisceration of state power. But as with the abolitionists, it is important to also accept even partial victories, so long as these partial victories move us closer to the goal.

The Left understands this. A great many libertarians and conservatives, on the other hand, have apparently not yet figured this out.

Ryan McMaken

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts

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Alex Newman: False History Taught in Schools Incites Children to Hate American

The Epoch Times

A classroom at the MESA Charter High School in Bushwick, Brooklyn, N.Y., on Oct. 28, 2014. With the New Year upon us, a host of changes in education is set to mark the lives of the city’s students, parents, and educators alike. (Petr Svab/Epoch Times)

A classroom at the MESA Charter High School in Bushwick, Brooklyn, N.Y., on Oct. 28, 2014. With the New Year upon us, a host of changes in education is set to mark the lives of the city’s students, parents, and educators alike. e America

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese Red Guards, high school and university students, waving copies of Chairman Mao Zedong's "Little Red Book," parade in Beijing's streets at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution on June 1966. During China's Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), under the command of Mao, Red Guards rampaged through much of the country, humiliating, torturing, and killing perceived class enemies, and pillaging cultural symbols that were deemed as not representative of the communist revolution. (Jean Vincent/AFP/Getty Images)

The history taught in public schools is “a complete and total reversal of reality” and the root cause of the civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis that has spread across the nation, said Alex Newman, an author, and award-winning international journalist.

President Donald Trump said during the Independence Day celebration at Mount Rushmore on July 3, “Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains.”

“The violent mayhem we have seen in the streets of cities that are run by liberal Democrats, in every case, is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism, and other cultural institutions,” Trump said.

“He hit the nail right smack on the head. That’s what I’ve been arguing for years,” said Newman, co-author of the book “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children.”

“Now, when i say [what’s been taught is] a complete and total reversal of reality, that’s what i mean,” he told The Epoch Times‘ “Crossroads” program. “It’s not hyperbole, that’s not exaggeration.”

He said what defines American people as Americans are principles enshrined in the country’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal, and that everyone is endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights,” Newman said.https://www.youtube.com/embed/DkLTQQw9aWA?wmode=transparent&wmode=opaque

Interview with Alex Newman starts at 14:47.

However, the history taught in schools has been replaced by a historical narrative that reverses those principles, claiming that the country’s founding principles were “slavery, oppression, racism, white supremacy,” and similar things, Newman said.

An example of U.S. history reversal is a New York Times series, called the 1619 Project, created by New York Times reporter Nikole Sheri Hannah-Jones, whose opening line of an essay that won her a Pulitzer was, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written.”

According to the 1619 Project, America was founded in 1619 when a group of 20 Africans, who were considered to be the first enslaved Africans in British America, arrived in the colony of Virginia.

The project is “essentially fake history, as historians from across the political spectrum—and even The New York Times’ own fact-checker—publicly confirmed,” Newman wrote for the Epoch Times.

Despite this criticism, the series, which posits that America was not founded on the basis of liberty in 1776, but on the basis of slavery in 1619, has become school curriculum that is taught across America, Newman said.

According to Hannah-Jones, the notion is that racism and evil are embedded in the very DNA of America, Newman said. Since DNA cannot be changed or removed, “and so what she’s really saying—as the mullahs say in Iran—’Death to America.’ You’ve got to kill America to get rid of this horrible DNA,” Newman said.

“This could not be more wrong,” because America’s founding fathers wanted to abolish slavery as it was incompatible with the country’s founding principles based on Christian values, Newman said, adding that Thomas Jefferson fought a war against slave catchers in North Africa, and James Madison, the father of the Constitution, “loathed slavery” and expressed this view on many occasions.

Almost every civilization or culture has practiced some form of slavery at a certain point in its history, Newman said.

Rewriting American History

Mt. Rushmore, in Keystone, S.D. The presidents were selected on the basis of what each symbolized. George Washington (L) represents the struggle for independence; Thomas Jefferson (2nd L), the idea of government by the people; Theodore Roosevelt (2nd R), for the 20th-century role of the United States in world affairs; and Abraham Lincoln (R) for his ideas on equality and the permanent union of the states. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

The consequence of teaching wrong and reversed American history to children is that “our children hate America” and “they’re burning down our cities,” Newman said.

One of the most popular history books in the United States is Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” which is a key text in schools and has sold more than 3 million copies, Newman said.

Dr. Mary Grabar, a resident fellow at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, exposed Zinn’s distortions of American history in her book, “Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History that Turned a Generation against America.”

Zinn portrayed Christopher Columbus as a “genocidal monster” in his book, according to Newman, who added that Grabar already knew that Zinn’s book was biased when starting her project. However, Grabar wrote in her book that “even I was surprised by how blatantly and deliberately Zinn lied.”

Reading Columbus’s own diaries shows very clearly how Columbus was mischaracterized by Zinn. Columbus wanted to bring the Bible and Christianity to people, Newman said, and was inspired by his religious belief to embark on his journey.

“The truth, I believe is much more powerful than lies” and this is our big advantage, he said.

“Anybody can go look at the primary source documents, and investigate these things for themselves, and see what really happened.”

Chinese Communist Party Applauds 1619 Project

Chinese Red Guards, high school and university students, waving copies of Chairman Mao Zedong’s “Little Red Book,” parade in Beijing’s streets at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in June 1966. (Jean Vincent/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been openly celebrating the 1619 Project,” Newman said, because through propaganda, brainwashing, lies, indoctrination, misinformation and disinformation, and psychological warfare, Americans can be convinced to hate their own country and dismantle it from the inside. Then America’s economic or military power will no longer pose a threat to the CCP.

Americans will just “burn their own country up and that’s what we’re seeing right now,” he said. “It’s incredibly dangerous.”

The CCP, which understood this principle, launched the Cultural Revolution, one of the key elements of which was wiping out China’s true history, Newman said.

“China was this incredible civilization with thousands of years of the amazing, incredible history that contributed so much to humanity,” Newman explained, so the communists “were burning books, and they were pulling down statues and setting libraries on fire and murdering people who knew real history so that they could start from a blank slate.”

Everything prior to the communist revolution was branded “evil, backward, uncivilized, barbarous, and so on,” he said. “Everything post-Communist Revolution was wonderful and glorious, and all the rest of it.”

“That is exactly the same thing they’re trying to do in America and it’s the same thing they’ve done around the world.”

Joshua Philipp contributed to this report.

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Key Libertarian Concepts

The key concepts of libertarianism have developed over many centuries. The first inklings of them can be found in ancient China, Greece, and Israel; they began to be developed into something resembling modern libertarian philosophy in the work of such seventeenth‐ and eighteenth‐​century thinkers as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine.

Individualism. Libertarians see the individual as the basic unit of social analysis. Only individuals make choices and are responsible for their actions. Libertarian thought emphasizes the dignity of each individual, which entails both rights and responsibility. The progressive extension of dignity to more people — to women, to people of different religions and different races — is one of the great libertarian triumphs of the Western world.

Individual Rights. Because individuals are moral agents, they have a right to be secure in their life, liberty, and property. These rights are not granted by government or by society; they are inherent in the nature of human beings. It is intuitively right that individuals enjoy the security of such rights; the burden of explanation should lie with those who would take rights away.

Spontaneous Order. A great degree of order in society is necessary for individuals to survive and flourish. It’s easy to assume that order must be imposed by a central authority, the way we impose order on a stamp collection or a football team. The great insight of libertarian social analysis is that order in society arises spontaneously, out of the actions of thousands or millions of individuals who coordinate their actions with those of others in order to achieve their purposes. Over human history, we have gradually opted for more freedom and yet managed to develop a complex society with intricate organization. The most important institutions in human society — language, law, money, and markets — all developed spontaneously, without central direction. Civil society — the complex network of associations and connections among people — is another example of spontaneous order; the associations within civil society are formed for a purpose, but civil society itself is not an organization and does not have a purpose of its own.

The Rule of Law. Libertarianism is not libertinism or hedonism. It is not a claim that “people can do anything they want to, and nobody else can say anything.” Rather, libertarianism proposes a society of liberty under law, in which individuals are free to pursue their own lives so long as they respect the equal rights of others. The rule of law means that individuals are governed by generally applicable and spontaneously developed legal rules, not by arbitrary commands; and that those rules should protect the freedom of individuals to pursue happiness in their own ways, not aim at any particular result or outcome.

Limited Government. To protect rights, individuals form governments. But government is a dangerous institution. Libertarians have a great antipathy to concentrated power, for as Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Thus they want to divide and limit power, and that means especially to limit government, generally through a written constitution enumerating and limiting the powers that the people delegate to government. Limited government is the basic political implication of libertarianism, and libertarians point to the historical fact that it was the dispersion of power in Europe — more than other parts of the world — that led to individual liberty and sustained economic growth.

Free Markets. To survive and to flourish, individuals need to engage in economic activity. The right to property entails the right to exchange property by mutual agreement. Free markets are the economic system of free individuals, and they are necessary to create wealth. Libertarians believe that people will be both freer and more prosperous if government intervention in people’s economic choices is minimized.

The Virtue of Production. Much of the impetus for libertarianism in the seventeenth century was a reaction against monarchs and aristocrats who lived off the productive labor of other people. Libertarians defended the right of people to keep the fruits of their labor. This effort developed into a respect for the dignity of work and production and especially for the growing middle class, who were looked down upon by aristocrats. Libertarians developed a pre‐​Marxist class analysis that divided society into two basic classes: those who produced wealth and those who took it by force from others. Thomas Paine, for instance, wrote, “There are two distinct classes of men in the nation, those who pay taxes, and those who receive and live upon the taxes.” Similarly, Jefferson wrote in 1824, “We have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” Modern libertarians defend the right of productive people to keep what they earn, against a new class of politicians and bureaucrats who would seize their earnings to transfer them to political clients and cronies.

Natural Harmony of Interests. Libertarians believe that there is a natural harmony of interests among peaceful, productive people in a just society. One person’s individual plans — which may involve getting a job, starting a business, buying a house, and so on — may conflict with the plans of others, so the market makes many of us change our plans. But we all prosper from the operation of the free market, and there are no necessary conflicts between farmers and merchants, manufacturers and importers. Only when government begins to hand out rewards on the basis of political pressure do we find ourselves involved in group conflict, pushed to organize and contend with other groups for a piece of political power.

Peace. Libertarians have always battled the age‐old scourge of war. They understood that war brought death and destruction on a grand scale, disrupted family and economic life, and put more power in the hands of the ruling class — which might explain why the rulers did not always share the popular sentiment for peace. Free men and women, of course, have often had to defend their own societies against foreign threats; but throughout history, war has usually been the common enemy of peaceful, productive people on all sides of the conflict.

It may be appropriate to acknowledge at this point the reader’s likely suspicion that libertarianism seems to be just the standard framework of modern thought — individualism, private property, capitalism, equality under the law. Indeed, after centuries of intellectual, political, and sometimes violent struggle, these core libertarian principles have become the basic structure of modern political thought and of modern government, at least in the West and increasingly in other parts of the world.

However, three additional points need to be made: first, libertarianism is not just these broad liberal principles. Libertarianism applies these principles fully and consistently, far more so than most modern thinkers and certainly more so than any modern government. Second, while our society remains generally based on equal rights and capitalism, every day new exceptions to those principles are carved out in Washington and in Albany, Sacramento, and Austin (not to mention London, Bonn, Tokyo, and elsewhere). Each new government directive takes a little bit of our freedom, and we should think carefully before giving up any liberty. Third, liberal society is resilient; it can withstand many burdens and continue to flourish; but it is not infinitely resilient.

Those who claim to believe in liberal principles but advocate more and more confiscation of the wealth created by productive people, more and more restrictions on voluntary interaction, more and more exceptions to property rights and the rule of law, more and more transfer of power from society to state, are unwittingly engaged in the ultimately deadly undermining of civilization.

Media Name: dboaz.jpg

DAVID BOAZ

David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of The Libertarian Mind, from which this is excerpted.

When Democrats Panic, Things Get Ugly

“Democrats, fearful of a repeat of President Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016, are reportedly losing sleep over their candidate, Joe Biden, potentially seeing his lead in the polls evaporate and ultimately losing the election.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Times noted that Democrats are nervous about Biden falling behind in the final stretch of the presidential race when it matters most.” [Breitbart]

Normally, I would say “good”. But we already know what leftists do when they panic: place us under house arrest; set cities on fire; defund the police; and use social media to censor us. So brace yourself, regardless of the election outcome. The Democratic Party is both morally and mentally unhinged. If they win, they will enslave us under Communism and fascism; if they lose, they will enslave us under anarchy.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Black Voters No Longer Drinking Media Kool-Aid

My film and book of the same name, The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided America, are continuing have an impact on all Americans.  They are especially helping to awaken black Americans about the race hoaxes the Democrats and their media allies have been playing on them.  As I spelled out in my speech last year at the National Press Club, they use these hoaxes to control black thinking and ultimately black voting.

When the COVID crisis began, quickly followed by the George Floyd incident and riots, I put the Trayvon Hoax film on YouTube for free.  It has since garnered more than 225,000 views and thousands of comments.  The comments from black youths are both sad and revealing.  They talk openly about the massive anxiety they were made to experience over the fear of being shot down in the streets by armed white men.

Here is an email I received this week that I believe is worth sharing.  It comes from a young black woman named Lori who lives in Florida (I have made only three minor style edits).  Having read scores of other such comments, I would not be surprised if black Americans vote for Trump in no small part as a backlash against the media and Democrat race hoaxes they have had to endure.

Dear Director Gilbert:

As a lifelong resident in the State of Florida, the Trayvon Martin case gripped the state of Florida and the nation. At that time, the public trusted the news media and, with that said, we believed the narrative pushed by Attorney Benjamin Crump. I have begun to connect the dots with Attorney Crump’s false narratives due to numerous cases where he race-baits–Michael Brown, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake. His narrative is accepted as fact by the mainstream news media and never challenged or questioned. Your documentary is on-spot with indisputable forensic facts.https://lockerdome.com/lad/9371484590420070?pubid=ld-8832-1542&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.americanthinker.com&rid=www.americanthinker.com&width=582

Many black people drank the Kool-aid about Trayvon Martin. Trusting the news media, as a black person, I assumed their reporting was accurate, but with the most recent Breonna Taylor case I’m now ‘woke’ about the manipulation from the news and how Attorney Ben Crump uses the news to push false narratives to strong arm cities into large monetary settlements.

I have shared the link for your documentary on social media and with my family. Thanks for exposing the truth. Not all black people are still drinking Mr. Crump’s Kool-aid about Trayvon Martin. He leaves a path of riots he incited that causes destruction, property damage to small businesses and bodily injuries. He has ruined lives of the falsely accused in the name of ‘justice’ for his self-gain.

My suspicious antenna went up about Mr. Crump when he suddenly bounced from Minneapolis to Louisville, KY. There are millions of attorneys so why is it he seems to be on the scene every time white police officers shoot or injure a black suspect (in most cases who was violently resisting arrest).

This November 3 will tell the tale as to how far black Americans have come in rejecting media narratives and race hoaxes that have been deployed against them for so long.  According to Lori, the scam is up!

Hollywood film director Joel Gilbert (@JoelSGilbert) is president of Highway 61 Entertainment.  Among his many films are political documentaries including The Trayvon Hoax: Unmasking the Witness Fraud that Divided AmericaTrump: The Art of the InsultThere’s No Place Like UtopiaDreams from My Real FatherAtomic Jihad, and Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and the Revolt of Islam.

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The Wreckage of Socialism is not just Economic

I grew up in a socialist society, but I’ve found it hard sometimes to talk about socialism in America. When people like me identify the blatant failures of socialism, its advocates often argue that the socialist countries we’re talking about are “not really socialist.” In other words, no true socialism has ever existed. Hence, there is a need to practice true socialism here in America.

The Reality of Socialism

I think socialism should be defined based on historical facts, not on utopian fantasies that exist only in its campaigners’ heads. It’s like a mirage: it only looks good from a distance. That’s why its advocates are usually those who have never lived in a socialist place. But I have. I know what socialism is like because I did not view it from afar. I was in it.

In this election, choose freedom over tyranny.

In socialist societies such as, China, Cuba, North Korea, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, Slovakia, Ukraine, Venezuela, just to name a few, past and present, everything belongs to the centralized government, which directs and plans the economy. There is no private property.

The purpose of the system is to distribute wealth equally and to end inequality and poverty. On paper it sounds very attractive. In reality, all socialist countries end up in one place: shattered economies, poverty and the destruction of civilization. My own childhood experience illustrates this.

Devastating Human Corruption

But the most devastating effect of socialism is not economic. Power corrupts human beings. People inevitably abuse and misuse it. Jesus insists that within the Christian community, the ones who want to be great must act as servants instead of wanting to be looked upon as stars. In the secular world, however, the only way to prevent such an abuse is to allow competing powers to coexist through a system of checks and balances. Checks and balances are totally absent in socialism. A centralized planned economy demands that power be solely placed in the hands of the government.

This creates an elite class at every level of society. Exerting power over others brings enormous pleasure and satisfaction to the ones who are in authority. The lure is strong. It’s almost impossible to give it up under any circumstance. In the course of protecting their power, these elites will often use intimidation, manipulation, fear and anxiety as tactics to ensure subjects’ total obedience.

Traumatic Experience With Socialism

During the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), my family lived in an apartment in a college in China where my dad was a professor. When I was about 3 or 4 years old, I was awakened at midnight by the voice of a school official over a loudspeaker outside directing all adults to get up, get dressed and immediately report at the Square of the Red East. Within a minute, my parents were gone. I was horrified. I began to scream. Soon my cry was drowned out by the howling cries of children from every direction.

I recognized two of the voices belonging to my friends whom I had played with the day before. I felt a sense of relief. Suffering alone was the most horrifying experience for a child. A friend’s voice, even a terrifying cry, would signify the existence of another human being, and thus, the sense of not being alone. My parents came back the next day, but I still live with the trauma.

My family lived in one small room. Without space for privacy, I often heard my parents’ conversations and understood the fear and uncertainty adults faced each day. One must be extremely cautious in words and actions when living in a totalitarian society. One misstep with the authorities may result in a catastrophic change both to the person involved and to the whole family. Such wariness and anxiety must sound familiar to anyone who has lived in a socialist society.

Because of my early exposure to the adult world, I developed very early a sense of fear that something dreadful was about to take place. The oppression and maltreatment did not just come from authorities, however. An authoritarian regime extracts the vilest part of a person and drastically affects the interpersonal dynamics among ordinary people.

Socialist Oppression

When I first arrived in the U.S., I noticed the politeness and respect American people exhibited. It did not take long for me to conclude that such good manners in part resulted from a culture that values freedom and human rights. It recognizes that humans are free and created equal. No human possesses any right to control another’s life or dictate another’s belief. Along with that comes the strong sense of mutual respect and tolerance.

But this is not so in a socialist country. If you came from a poor family, you were considered pure and holy. You had more rights and were expected to be treated with decency. Conversely, people like my parents, who happened to be born in a not-so-poor environment, had to live like dogs with their tails tucked between their legs (my dad’s expression).Please Support The Stream: Equipping Christians to Think Clearly About the Political, Economic and Moral Issues of Our Day.

With no sense of security, the human survival instinct often kicked in. People did things that they normally would not do in a free society. Often people who were from rich backgrounds were compelled to denounce their own families and heritages, to show their contrition and seek amnesty. It was a common practice for friends to report friends to the authorities so as to gain favor and benefits. An authoritarian society produces the foulest behaviors among ordinary citizens.

It’s my conviction that freedom is a precondition for human dignity and human rights. Socialism, strengthening the government’s power, is the most oppressive machine in human history. The day before I left China for America at the end of 1989, I was summoned to the human resource office in the college where I worked. As soon as I showed up, the lady who held the lowest rank in the office opened up a rant, shouting at me for at least 5 minutes in seemingly one breath, demanding to know why I’d failed to show up at the remote mining village for reeducation. She shouted because I meant nothing to her. She shouted because she could. She shouted because it made her feel powerful and important.

America – The Last Bastion of Freedom

I have always felt it a challenge to show my native-born American friends what it is like when the concept of freedom doesn’t exist. But recently pictures circulating on social media have done what I had failed to do. The shaking fists and indignation shown to the diner in a restaurant who dares to disagree speaks volumes. I’m sure none of the provocateurs care about individual liberty. They are promoting something that is entirely anti-republican, anti-America. They intimidate those with whom they disagree, and rob them of their dignity and rights.

I would never have thought such a thing could happen in America. The socialist and authoritarian overtones are alarming. If we allow such behavior to flourish, however, soon this kind of conduct will become a norm instead of an aberration. By then, America, the last bastion of freedom, will be well on her way to become a tyrannical state.

The Ultimate Freedom

As a Christian, freedom has special significance to me. Though I’ve never perceived America as a Christian nation, I recognize the important role America plays in human history in general and in God’s salvation history in particular. Far from being perfect, still America is the city on the hill and beacon of the world, because it is the freest place on earth. Its political system ensures its citizens the highest degree of liberty. It safeguards human dignity, worth and rights. It brings law and order instead of chaos and oppression.

For me, American freedom points to a much greater spiritual reality, that is, the believer’s freedom in Christ (Rom 8:21; 2 Cor 3:17; Gal 5:1). Like a foreshadowing or a foretaste, American freedom provides a tiny glimpse of the ultimate freedom that the believer can have in Christ. Just as marriage reflects the relationship between Christ and the church, American liberty is emblematic of the greater reality the followers of Jesus enjoy in Christ. Just as we strive to protect marriage, we must also endeavor to defend American freedom because it, too, has sacred value!

In this election, choose freedom over tyranny.

Chenyuan Snider was raised in Communist China and majored in Chinese language and literature in college. After immigrating to the U.S. and having studied at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School, she became a professor and taught at Christian colleges and seminary. After March of this year, she sensed God was leading her to use her unique voice to provide a warning about various kinds of Marxist influences in our society. She lives in northern California with her husband and has two grown children.

Marxism: A Breeding Ground for Useful Idiots

Useful idiot” is a pejorative term for a person who propagandizes for a cause without fully understanding (due to naïveté, stupidity, or on purpose) the cause’s goals, who is cynically used by the cause’s founders.  It is used to describe otherwise sensible people who become, due to misrepresentations or outright lies, susceptible to Marxist/communist/socialist propaganda and manipulation.

Why is this important?  Because this is what Black Lives Matter is doing: using useful idiots to advance its cause.  One of BLM’s founders is Alicia Garza, a trained Marxist.  Why is that significant?  Because it explains BLM’s agenda.  Marxism’s (and BLM’s) ultimate goal is to ignite class warfare to provide an opportunity for the seizure of political power.  But the U.S. was created as a classless society with no royalty, no nobility, no caste system.  Everyone is equal under the law.  How, then, do Marxists ignite class warfare?  By creating false classes, then propagandizing them into existence.  This is where useful idiots come into play.  Once people believe that these false classes exist, class warfare can begin.

The actions of three useful idiots illustrate how they foster class warfare.  They use what Teddy Roosevelt called the “bully pulpit” to propagandize.  There’s the Democrat party.  Then there are two useful idiots of note, one whose name AT readers will recognize and a name most AT readers will not recognize: Barack Obama and Lewis Hamilton.

About Democrats, J.D. Rucker wrote:

The party that once focused on workers and Big Labor detached their wagons from those horses around the time Barack Obama became president, opting instead to latch onto identity politics[.] … This served them well for years, but now that identity politics has been taken over by Black Lives Matter and Antifa, among others, Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are no longer in control.  It’s the radicals like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar who are the party’s new ideological leaders, but even they are simply higher-ranking pawns [of Marxists].

Rucker continued:

The plans of the Cultural Marxists at the top come down to three big lies.  First, they have the lie of authority in which they turn people against the leaders.  They say all police and the justice system in general is corrupt.  They say President Trump and the GOP are the problem despite unprecedented prosperity across the board in America.  They need to lie to get their foot soldiers fired up.

The second lie is the lie of action.  They tell their group that to achieve their goals, they need to riot, loot, tear down monuments, form autonomous zones, and act out in ways that lead towards governments at every level promoting further authoritarianism.  They don’t tell their foot soldiers that they’re supposed to be quashed[.] …

The last lie is the lie of results.  The people in their movement are told this is all going to lead to revolution.  They’re not told that they’re going to get put down by authoritarian measures, and that these measures are the true goal of the Cultural Marxists who need that precedent in order to allow for the real end goal of authoritarian communism, which is very different from the anarcho-communism the foot soldiers believe they’re producing.

Marxists create useful idiots.

Obama, an idiot before he became useful, said of Trayvon Martin, the BLM poster child: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”  “Defending the Black Lives Matter movement, President Barack Obama said Thursday [October 23, 2015] the protests are giving voice to a problem happening only in African-American communities, adding, ‘We, as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously.'”  Obama provided usefulness by giving a Marxist organization credibility and support.   

Now to Lewis Hamilton, Formula One racecar driver.  Why?  He is one of the most visible black athletes today.  He began his “useful idiot” tour at a BLM rally in London in June.  Ben Morse of CNN wrote: “Since George Floyd’s death last month, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has been one of sport’s most outspoken athletes in showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.”  Morse quoted Hamilton: “I was proud to be out there acknowledging and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, and my Black heritage.”

He then doubled down by bringing Breonna Taylor into his idiocy, obviously without doing any research.  On September 13, at the Tuscan Grand Prix, he wore a tee-shirt with the message “Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor.”  He wrote before the race: “It’s been 6 months since Breonna Taylor was murdered by policemen, in her own home.  Still no justice has been served.  We won’t stay silent.  #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor.”  Following the race, Hamilton said, “I’ve been wanting to bring awareness to the fact there are people being killed on the street.  And someone was killed in her own house and they were in the wrong house and those guys are still walking free.”  That’s non-factual propaganda.

Then, after the Russian Grand Prix on September 24, he said: “People talk about sport not being a place for politics but ultimately it is a human rights issue and that is something we should be pushing towards.  We have a huge, amazing group of people that watch our sport from different backgrounds and cultures and we should be pushing positive messages towards them, especially for equality” (emphasis mine).  Again, non-factual propaganda.  Hamilton is, without a doubt, a useful idiot.

This occurred in an ironic atmosphere.  Speaking of Hamilton on July 12, motorsport legend Mario Andretti told Chilean newspaper El Mercurio: “I think the whole point of this is pretentious.  And it’s creating a problem that doesn’t exist.”  Hamilton’s response: “Andretti should educate himself.”  Hamilton didn’t bother to look up facts, just spewed propaganda.

Here is another example of an international useful idiot: Mercedes-Benz.  Until this year, its F1 racecars were known as Silver Arrows.  But no longer — they caved to their useful idiot and painted their cars black. 

What now?  First, know that useful idiots are everywhere.  The vast majority of the MSM are useful idiots as well.  They refuse to be educated.  So, second, educate yourself.  Larry Elder at Epoch Times, Dennis Prager at Prager University, and Thomas Lifson at AT are but three of hundreds of internet sources providing the complete truth.  Third, reach out to those who can be educated.  Fourth, patronize sponsors of conservative websites.

Warren Beatty, American Thinker

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The Privilege of Politics

Actor Chris Pratt finds himself a target of left Hollywood and various social media enforcers for his apparent lack of support for Joe Biden, a sin in his industry. Pratt has endorsed neither Biden nor Trump, which seems eminently sensible for a boy-next-door type who plays superheroes and adventurers in big blockbusters. But staying quiet is never enough for the political jackals, who insist silence is violence and a form of privilege. Trump is a Nazi; his electorate is full of hateful fascist enablers and this is no time for quietude. To make matters worse, the reticent Pratt also belongs to a Christian church which is “anti-LGBT”—which is to say not anti-LGBT at all, but simply not in full conformity with the language and demands of its accusers.

When his actor friend and sometime costar Mark Ruffalo rushed to defend Pratt’s character, the Twitterati reacted angrily but predictably:

pratt1
Pratt2
Pratt3
Pratt4

This is a classic case of the Imposers positioning themselves as the Imposed Upon: LGBT advocates weaponize and contort simple words—hurt, harm, apathy, privilege, marginalized, vulnerable—in ways reminiscent of Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” They use words in consciously dishonest ways. They shift the parameters of what it means to “support” or “oppose” LGBT causes into a stark binary: you are for us or against us. Simply living one’s life peaceably is not an option in this bizarre worldview.

And the Imposer’s unconditional terms change constantly, seemingly overnight. One cannot avoid conflict by being “not overtly political,” as Ruffalo termed Pratt. The accusations against his church, for example, amount to nothing more than a demand for unconditional surrender of any theology or doctrine which does not comport with today’s instant (though far from universal) view of transgenderism. Unless and until that happens, his church is per se transphobic and evil: indifference, or even kind and loving disagreement, cannot satisfy the Imposers.

It does not matter whether Pratt’s church welcomes everyone, even those individuals it considers engaged in sin (which presumably includes just about every person on earth). It does not matter whether Pratt is a good person or friend to his fellow actors. His church must affirmatively endorse the views of LGBT activists; Pratt must actively endorse Biden. Anything else is weaponized privilege.

Of course this is nonsense, but the Imposers always claim to be the Imposed Upon. Media and politicians play along, and then social media voices join the chorus until the original reality becomes completely obscured: both Chris Pratt and his church were minding their own business and not hurting anyone. The Biden and LGBT activists came looking for them, not the other way around.

What incredible arrogance and hubris! This is real privilege: the privilege of demanding others not only share your political views but also see the world in starkly political terms. This is real hate, actual hate, not the phony kind imagined on Hate Has No Home Here yard signs.

When taken to an extreme, a positive rights worldview requires not only conformity and acquiescence with the political project of the day, but your affirmative participation. Not keeping up with the latest outrage, political machinations, or campaign—not leading a wholly political life—becomes a dereliction of duty.

Political liberty is quite simple, but not easy. We all owe our fellow citizens a duty not to aggress against them or their property, and not to commit fraud against them. In the broader societal sense, we all should strive to be kind, open, and generous with everyone we meet, unless and until they give us a reason to be otherwise. But that is all we owe. Being apolitical or even antipolitical is your absolute right. At best, politics is an uneasy and imperfect mechanism for peacefully transferring political power; at worst, it is barely a substitute for war. More commonly, politics is a turf battle waged by rival gangs to control the state apparatus (the turf is us and our money). Politics is not noble, virtuous, or even necessary. The people attacking Chris Pratt, and even hoping to harm his career, reputation, and finances, hold no moral high ground.

My great aunt, now departed, once told me about a decision she and her husband made as newlyweds just after World War II. Starting life together in a very modest house, they wanted to build lasting memories with family and friends. So they made a pact: they would never discuss politics in their home or allow guests to discuss politics. In her view politics was like sex and religion, a private matter. They wanted to avoid the disharmony and rancor they had witnessed among their own parents and families a decade earlier over the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal programs. They determined their hearth and home would be devoted to happiness, an apolitical refuge where every visitor would be welcome.

The goal is a less political world, not a world which bends to our political will. We are not Imposers. So participate in politics and voting if you like, or refrain if you like. Voting is optional and anonymous for a reason. But never let anyone force you into taking a political stance, or even to hold a political stance. In 2020, privilege manifests as political extortion. Push back against these bullies.Author:

Contact Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. He previously worked as chief of staff to Congressman Ron Paul, and as an attorney for private equity clients. Contact: emailTwitter.

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Social Media Companies Aren’t the Good Guys. They’re Also Not Monopolists. 

Ryan McMaken

Social media has lied about user privacy and has misled the public about the platforms’ status as open forums. But none of this makes these companies monopolies. 

The Privilege of Politics

Jeff Deist

In 2020, privilege manifests as political extortion. Push back against these bullies.

Will Democracy’s Myths Doom Liberty?

James Bovard

If Biden is elected, we will hear the same “redemption” storyline that was trumpeted when Obama replaced (temporarily) disgraced George W. Bush. The  media will insist that Biden’s inauguration purifies Uncle Sam.

How Decades of Media and Faculty Bias Have Pushed America to the Left

Ryan McMaken

Silicon Valley and the media are moving even further left. This is what is to be expected when a single ideological group controls educational institutions and major media outlets over a period of several decades.

Chile Won’t Become a Developed Country If It Doesn’t Change Course

Victor Espinosa

Twenty years ago, it looked like Chile was well on its way to joining the world’s small club of developed countries. But this path looks less and less likely as Chile abandons its commitment to freedom and markets.MEET THE WRITER

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Jeff Deist

Jeff Deist is president of the Mises Institute. He previously worked as chief of…

Daniel Lacalle on the Biggest Bubble of All

Daniel Lacalle and Jeff Deist discuss why all of us have a stake in seeing central bank balance sheets shrink.

Jim Bovard on the Terrible Politicization of America

Jeff Deist and Jim Bovard take an unflinching look at the disastrous politicization of everything in America.

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Per Bylund

Per Bylund is assistant professor of entrepreneurship & Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the…

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Mises Institute is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent the law allows. Tax ID# 52-1263436https://s7.addthis.com/static/sh.f48a1a04fe8dbf021b4cda1d.html#rand=0.5106790950952418&iit=1603734836782&tmr=load%3D1603734836681%26core%3D1603734836749%26main%3D1603734836761%26ifr%3D1603734836805&cb=0&cdn=0&md=0&kw=&ab=-&dh=mises.org&dr=&du=https%3A%2F%2Fmises.org%2Fwire%2Fprivilege-politics&href=https%3A%2F%2Fmises.org%2Fwire%2Fprivilege-politics&dt=The%20Privilege%20of%20Politics%20%7C%20Jeff%20Deist&dbg=0&cap=tc%3D0%26ab%3D0&inst=1&jsl=17&prod=undefined&lng=en&ogt=secure_url%2Curl%2Cimage%2Cdescription%2Curl%2Ctype%3Darticle%2Ctitle&pc=men&pub=ra-5c464f0891517916&ssl=1&sid=5f970d34abb9d9ef&srf=0.01&ver=300&xck=0&xtr=0&og=site_name%3DMises%2520Institute%26title%3DThe%2520Privilege%2520of%2520Politics%2520%257C%2520Jeff%2520Deist%26type%3Darticle%26url%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fcdn.mises.org%252Fstyles%252Fsocial_media_1200_x_1200%252Fs3%252Fsilence-is-violence1-fb.jpg%253Fitok%253DYF6PfN0V%26description%3DActor%2520Chris%2520Pratt%2520finds%2520himself%2520a%2520target%2520of%2520left%2520Hollywood%2520and%2520various%2520social%2520media%2520enforcers%2520for%2520his%2520apparent%2520lack%2520of%2520support%2520for%2520Joe%2520Biden%252C%2520a%2520sin%2520in%2520his%2520industry.%26image%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fcdn.mises.org%252Fstyles%252Fsocial_media_1200_x_1200%252Fs3%252Fsilence-is-violence1-fb.jpg%253Fitok%253DYF6PfN0V%26secure_url%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fcdn.mises.org%252Fstyles%252Fsocial_media_1200_x_1200%252Fs3%252Fsilence-is-violence1-fb.jpg%253Fitok%253DYF6PfN0V&csi=undefined&rev=v8.28.7-wp&ct=1&xld=1&xd=123SHARES

Forget About November 3rd. What About November 4th ?

“You’re only as good as the information you have.” It’s a wise saying. If we apply it to the media in regard to the upcoming election, it’s eye-opening. Take a look at CNN and MSN headlines. “Biden eyes an expanded electoral map”; “Polls show Biden comfortably ahead of Trump, even in red states”; “Democrats plan Cabinet and transition team for the incoming Biden-Harris administration”. You’d think the election was already over. Then take a look at Breitbart, Fox News (sometimes), Fox Business, and the Daily Wire: “Trump pulling ahead of Biden in many swing states”; “Massive crowds for Trump, very small turnouts for Biden”. I will say that the conservative sites, while overtly pro-Republican, are more cautious. The left-wing MSNBC, CNN and those sites really are living in a post-election fantasy.

We have two realities, psychologically and media-wise. But in truth: there is only ONE reality.

Not just on the election, but on everything, particularly since Trump came into office. If you read my posts, chances are you never read or watch CNN, The Washington Post, or the New York Times. Believe me, it’s a difficult undertaking even to glance at the headlines of leftist media outlets if you’re not a leftist. But the truth is still what it is: If you dislike Trump, or if you even consider yourself a “moderate” Democrat, you’re getting TOTALLY DIFFERENT INFORMATION than people on the other side. If you flew in as an intelligent alien from another galaxy, you’d marvel at not just the different ideologies, but the polar opposite version of truth presented by both sides in the election in the most important country on the planet.

Psychology is my field, so I’m looking at this psychologically. After the election, somebody is going to be really, really disappointed. Mass numbers of people — either the Trump supporters, or the Biden supporters — are going to be upset on a level that I don’t believe we’ve ever seen before. Not ever.

Somehow, the country will have to proceed beyond this election, lawsuits/recounts and all, as one country. We’re not like that now. I feel certain we’re going to be even less like this, after Election Day plus whatever upheaval follows. I don’t see President Trump leaving office humbly and quietly, given his legitimate questions about mail-in voting legitimacy; and I don’t see people who voted for Trump shrugging and saying, “Maybe next time.” Does anyone see that happening? Nor do I see it the other way. The reaction to Biden losing will make the four-year-old temper tantrum after Hillary Clinton’s defeat seem like a day at the beach. Does anyone seriously think otherwise? We have every reason to believe there will be unchecked riots, more defunding of police and probably even more brutal lockdowns by Democrats who still control many of the nation’s cities and states.

Married couples with irreconcilable differences divorce. Sometimes they never speak again, and at other times there’s an uneasy though always fragile peace, depending on the circumstances (property, money, kids). I’m not sure that’s a feasible option for America. So what will it look like after the election … regardless of who wins, and by how much?

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Why Equality of Outcome Can Never, Ever Work

A sharp, divisive cultural debate in the United States is that of equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome.

In the early 20th century, in support of equality of outcome, Soviet communist dictator Vladimir Lenin coined the phrase, “Who, Whom.”  The concept was simple.  In a socialist society, where equality of outcome takes precedence over equality of opportunity, a critical question arises: who plans, directs, and redistributes the resources of a society, and to who is the beneficiary, or victim — the object, the “whom” — of said redistribution?  Politically speaking, the central maxim is to represent “disenfranchised” groups, provide them with monetary resources and government or state positions, and reshape any imbalances of power that have come to exist.  The catch is that once power is given to central planners to initiate such action, “there will be no economic or social questions that would not be political questions in the sense that their solution will depend exclusive on who wields the coercive power” (Hayek, p. 138).  In other words, the question of Who, Whom is what equality of outcome hinges upon.  All internal struggles are squashed. 

In a society structured to foster equality of opportunity, three things tend to determine how successful someone is or isn’t: intelligence (or skill), industriousness, and luck.  On the surface, these things may seem unfair.  For example, someone born into a family that promotes and develops education, who was taught about the value of hard work and had resources and connections on hand, would clearly have an enormous advantage over someone born into a split or uninterested family, enduring a failing public school system, with few or no mentors.  Despite this, the equality of opportunity has two overwhelming advantages: first, success, or the lack thereof, is not predetermined by any bureaucracy or person in charge but instead by one’s own ability and fortune.  Second, it is the only guarantee that we have freedom to own property and control our own lives, whereas with equality of outcome, all properties and liberties must be tightly regulated by the bureaucrat.  As Hayek notes, “In a planned society we shall all know that we are better or worse off than others, not because of circumstances which nobody controls, and which it is impossible to foresee with certainty, but because some authority wills it” (p, 138). 

Who would these bureaucrats then be in a landscape that promotes equality of outcome?  One thing is for certain: it can never be the most qualified, honest candidates, as they would always promote meritocracy and the ability to achieve positive results as a primary criterion for redistributing resources.  Instead, tribes must be used or created to “be able to obtain the support of the docile and the gullible, who have no strong convictions of their own but are prepared to accept a ready made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently” (p. 160).  The bureaucrat must then be a person who collectivizes individuals based upon skin color, sex, orientation, or other superficial traits.  The bureaucrat must then create and enforce policy that is based solely on a) those superficial traits as a lowest common denominator to b) be able to rally behind the political establishment in sufficient to secure elections and power.  Equality of outcome, then, seeks not equality at all, but special privileges. 

Professor Jordan Peterson notes that the confusion of how to properly seek and apply equality lies in a philosophical disagreement between individualists and postmodernists.  Peterson claims that individualists seek to create hierarchies of competence — to produce the best brain surgeons, plumbers, carpenters, etc. — and to reward them based upon that competence.  Conversely, a postmodernist believes that hierarchies can exist only via power and is thus willing to use pure political power to seek his objectives.

If true, this is a dilemma that can be addressed not just politically, but philosophically.  Politically speaking, it’s worth noting that an emphasis on utilizing the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights, giving states powers not specifically given to the federal government, can act as a bulwark to protect citizens from the equality of outcome mindset with the totalitarian consequences that come with it.  Philosophically, it’s critical to educate and continually reinforce the notion that, in fact, the smallest minority is the individual himself.  Protect the individual, and one comes closer and closer to achieving equality of opportunity while preserving the liberties of U.S. citizens.  Failure to do so results in the ever increasing power and scope of the federal government. 

In The Road to Serfdom, Hayek laments that “twenty-five years ago there was perhaps still some excuse for the naive belief that ‘a planned society can be a far more free society than the competitive laissez faire order it has come to replace’.  But to find it once more held after twenty five years of experience and the reexamination of the old beliefs to which this experience has led, and at a time when we are fighting the results of those very doctrines, is tragic beyond words” (p. 209).  The fact that this fight has become existential over a half-century since that statement was made, in the most free, prosperous nation ever to exist to boot, adds a whole new dimension to the word “tragic.”

Troy Smith

Works Cited 

Hayek, F.A. The Road to Serfdom. Edited by Bruce Caldwell, University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Peterson, Jordan. Equality of Outcome vs. Opportunity. Youtube, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnOUFS3lUpEr

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