Democrats are American Nazis

Democrats are “facilitating” riots and violence in major American cities and encouraging “radical leftists” who are threatening Americans, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Tuesday on “Hannity.”

Precisely. This is why we must face the difficult truth we are already in a civil war. Or simply a war against an organized, invasive enemy with no regard whatsoever for individual rights or the U.S. Bill of Rights. Leftist mayors and governors tyrannize citizens with a mostly nonfatal virus as an excuse. And they terrorize cities by aiding, encouraging and possibly even planning violent attacks against lives and property.

They have shut down most businesses and schools, and are literally holding Americans hostage so they may use “cheat by mail” as a means of acquiring full power–a coup– without being legitimately elected. But even a legitimate election would not legalize or justify their efforts to defy the U.S. Constitution and turn America into a socialist prison camp.

If the Democrats are not America’s Nazis, then what would American Nazis look like?

Michael J. Hurd

How Today’s Left is Promoting White Supremacy

A staple of ancient Greek tragedy is a plot twist in which a protagonist attempting to avoid a negative result inadvertently brings that result into being. Over the last decade, the American left has been engaged in just such a tragedy. Critical race theory, with its arsenal of white privilege and cultural appropriation, was intended to decenter whiteness in our society and create more equitable and multicultural social norms. But in practice, the exact opposite is occurring.

Let’s take the example of cultural appropriation. Generally speaking, the concept is meant to give ownership of cultural phenomena to members of the racial group that created it. Through this, the goal is to resist assimilation of minority cultures into the broader American culture and to assure that cultural symbols stay, in a sense, “pure.”

But one vital exception to this rule undermines the broader project of decentering whiteness. That is, of course, that cultural appropriation does not apply to white culture.

This creates an essential imbalance that does two very harmful things. First, it defines whiteness as a cultural default. Indeed, perhaps the only way to define “white culture” is that which no other culture can claim. Second, in so doing it makes white culture the only culture that is universal. That is to say, white culture is anything that everyone, regardless of race, may partake of freely and without paying some tribute to the racial group that created it.

The musical “Hamilton” is a perfect example of this. There is no, or at least almost no, objection to black and brown actors playing the white Founding Fathers. However, were a play to be cast with a white actor as Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman, there clearly would be objections to this. While this is meant to protect the cultural legacy of black Americans, it does so by putting it in a cage and stunting its growth and cultural impact.

The concept of cultural appropriation is rooted in what was historically a very real problem. We can take an example from American music in the mid-20th century. Elvis Presley can be credibly accused of appropriating the song “Hound Dog” from Big Momma Thornton.

But the problem with that was not that Presley created a new version of the song, but that the music industry of the time privileged his version with more air time, opportunity, and pay than it did hers. The answer to this problem is to level the playing field, not to segregate artistic output.

What makes this problem even worse is that white culture, or again, cultural output that no non-white group can claim, becomes the only one that everyone can engage in. This makes absolutely no sense especially given that year-by-year America becomes less white and more ethnically varied.

Minority cultural output is protected only in the sense that Victorian-era women were protected. They were put on a pedestal and praised for their purity, but also denied freedom in an effort to maintain that purity.

We saw the negative results of this way of thinking at work in a recent poster created by the Smithsonian Institution, which purported to explain elements of whiteness. Among the signs of whiteness it listed were individualism, hard work, objectivity, and delayed gratification. Critics were quick to point that this is pretty much exactly how a white supremacist would go about describing whiteness. But how did it happen? Why did the museum think these were traits of whiteness to begin with?

It goes back to the definition of whiteness being what everyone can partake in. The museum was certainly not suggesting that non-whites cannot or should not value or exhibit these qualities, but that because these qualities are not “owned” by any specific non-white group they are universal and therefore white.

The fundamental fallacy at work here is the belief that cultural output is the result of some innate racial difference, either biological or environmental, that locks what is created by non-whites into a proprietary box. But as the country becomes more diverse and as more mixed-race people are born, this effort to maintain the purity of cultural output becomes impossible without instituting segregation, something that the left now often embraces in ways that 25 years ago would have been anathema to it.

The American left has traditionally prided itself on being on the right side of history, but today their efforts to make sure that everyone stays in one racial or cultural lane puts them in the position of standing athwart history shouting “Stop!” Their opposition to an America in which cultures blend to create a national identity runs counter not only to our nation’s traditions but also to the cold reality of cultural and racial mixing.

In the long run, this is a fight they can’t win, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause a good deal of harm and discord in the short term. The sooner they desist with these futile efforts, the healthier and more equal our society will be.

David Marcus, The Federalist

“Of all tyrannies….

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

The End of America’s Cities

I heard a great point today: What’s the point of living in cities? Consider Manhattan, Chicago or Los Angeles. Those are very expensive places to live. What’s the point anymore? Even if you like cities? Consider the things people like about cities: Culture, theater, restaurants, exciting shops. Those things are all gone, thanks to COVID lockdowns. The lockdowns are not simply the product of people’s fear. Those lockdowns are the product of (1) deliberately distorted reporting of “facts” to hurt Trump, and bring down the economy; and (2) government overreach and tyranny.

The point is: The lockdowns are here to stay, at least for awhile. So how can you enjoy the cities? You can’t go to a restaurant. If you do, it’s not the same. They’ll take your temperature in some places, and under government order they’ll “ask” you to provide your cell phone number, name and address so the government may track you. They won’t let you sit at the bar or near another table. Restaurants are not the same experience. Staff members wear masks. You can’t tell if they’re smiling or frowning, you can’t convey body language and often you can’t hear what they’re saying. You’re forced to wear masks when you get up to go to the bathroom, enter or leave the restaurants. The REALLY woke twits eat with their masks on (I actually have witnessed this), moving the mask only to insert food down the slot as needed. It’s creepy and disgusting. I used to LOVE going to restaurants. For me, that time has passed, and I honestly don’t believe the old days are going to come back. Why? Because (1) most people appear to be sheep who will put up with anything; (2) in the entire history of humanity, once government officials get power they never surrender it; they only expand it.

Theaters are closed. I believe Broadway is done for, at least for a year and maybe two. By then, it won’t be profitable to reopen, assuming politicians in control of New York City and state decide to surrender their power. They won’t. Either they never will let theaters open again, or they’ll run them like Communists would … because, as we know, they all are Communists. Or, even better, they’ll simply make everyone wear masks EVERYWHERE AND FOREVER, probably actors and singers too, thereby ruining the experience as virtually everything else has been ruined in four short months across the once civilized world.

And now, if you live in a city, you have to face having no police. Police are no longer woke. So when it comes to crime … well, you’re on your own. That’s bad news for city dwellers, most of all. The cities have either outlawed your right to own a gun, or made it so difficult and cumbersome to get one that you’ll have to postpone your life for 3 years just to focus on buying a gun. But you must have a gun, because the police will no longer defend you. They can’t, because it’s politically incorrect to fight back against a killer, looter, thief or even a rapist (where the hell are feminists when you need them?) They’re going to release all or most of them from prison. Prisons are no longer woke. So why on earth would you want to live anywhere NEAR a city?

I realize some people don’t like cities under any circumstances, and that’s fine. But millions do prefer cities, which is why they live in or near them. How can they possibly do so now? They will have to pay HUGE property taxes, especially in places like New York and California, to keep paying for schools that WILL NOT BE OPEN AGAIN FOR A LONG, LONG TIME. Again, what’s the point?

America may be falling. But America also may be starting over. The Communist leftist Democrat governors and mayors have literally DESTROYED everything worthwhile about cities. They’re just getting started. And they will still be in office after President Trump hopefully gets reelected. President Trump can keep the rest of the country reasonably safe and sane, but I believe it’s now too late for cities. If you think I’m wrong, then tell me what gives you hope.

Michael J. Hurd

Socialism in America

Lost in the ongoing debate in America as to whether the United States should embrace socialism is a discomforting fact: America embraced socialism a long time ago. The problem is that many Americans have simply not wanted to accept that fact and instead have preferred living a life of denial.

Do you want socialism or do you want freedom? You can’t have both.

A complete socialist system would be one in which the state owns everything in society, including businesses and real estate. In a pure socialist society, the government is the sole employer, and everyone is a government employee. No private grocery stores, computer companies, restaurants, movie theaters, or anything else. The government owns and operates everything, and everyone works for the government.

Moreover, in a pure socialist society, all the homes are owned by the state. There are no private houses or apartments for sale or rent because nothing is privately owned. Everyone lives in public housing because the state owns all the dwellings. How do people determine where they are to live? The state assigns everyone his own particular housing unit.

How does the socialist state fund all this? It owns and operates all the businesses and enterprises in the hope of generating revenues to finance its socialist system. One problem, however, is that state-owned enterprises are notorious for inefficiencies and corruption, which means that they inevitably end up losing money rather than making money. Think of Amtrak and the Postal Service. Or state-owned petroleum companies in Latin America. They produce losses, not gains, for the state.

Thus, to fund its socialist enterprises, the socialist state inevitably permits a small number of citizens to engage in private enterprise. Once those people begin making money, the state taxes them and uses the money to fund its operations. The state does its best to
extract as much money as it can from these private-sector enterprises without pushing them out of business.

There are few purely socialist countries. North Korea comes closest to the socialist ideal.

There are countries, however, that adopt programs and policies that are socialist in nature. The United States is a premier example of such countries, even though many Americans are loathe to acknowledge it. They have convinced themselves that America is a “free enterprise” country and that they themselves are “capitalists.” The last thing they want to confront is that they are living a life that embraces socialism.

Let’s examine socialism in America.

Social Security
Contrary to popular opinion, especially as held by seniors, Social Security is not a retirement program. There is no investment fund into which people place their savings for retirement. There are no lock boxes at Fort Knox labeled with each person’s name and containing his “contributions.”

Social Security is a straight socialist program, one that uses the government to take money from people to whom it belongs and gives it to people to whom it does not belong. This process of coercive redistribution of wealth is based on a principle enunciated by Karl Marx: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The state takes money from those who have produced it and gives it to people who are said to need it more.

For more than a century after the United States was founded, Americans lived without Social Security. The idea for this particular socialist program originated among German socialists in the late 1800s. The so-called Iron Chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, adopted it into law in Germany. The program was later imported into the United States and became a legally established program in the 1930s. Today, the U.S. Social Security Administration displays a portrait of Bismarck on its website.

From its inception, Social Security has been a straight socialist, welfare-state program, one that uses the state to forcibly take money from some and give it to others. It
is no different in principle from food stamps, education grants, farm subsidies, or other socialist programs.

Seniors have a valid point when they say that the state plundered and looted them throughout their work lives, which has left them without savings for their retirement years. They say that they are just getting their money back under this program.

But that is simply not the case. Their money is long gone. It was spent in the same year that it was collected, on Social Security payments to people who are now long dead, to fund other welfare-state programs, or to fund the national-security establishment and its vast and ever-growing array of warfare-state programs. The money that is being given to seniors today is coming out of the pockets of their children and grandchildren and their friends in those generations, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. The problem is only getting worse because seniors are demanding more, which means even more taxes must be imposed on young and middle-aged people who are still working.

Proponents of Social Security say that this socialist program reflects how good, caring, and compassionate Americans are. That’s ridiculous. Social Security is founded on force. Young people are forced to pay Social Security taxes. There is nothing voluntary about paying such taxes. If a young person refuses to pay his Social Security taxes, the authorities will come after him, arrest him, fine him, and send him to jail. If he resists with force, he might well find himself dead at the hands of some trigger-happy cop.

Goodness, care, and compassion can come only through the voluntary choices of people. When a young person chooses to help his parents in their old age with financial assistance or personal care, that’s goodness, care, and compassion. When the IRS takes a young person’s money and gives it to seniors, that’s just political stealing.

There is no way to reconcile Social Security with the principles of a free society. Freedom necessarily entails the right to keep everything you earn and decide for yourself what to do with it.

Medicare and Medicaid
The United States once had the finest health-care system in the world, one that was largely based on free-market principles. Health care in the 1950s was reasonably priced. In fact, hardly anyone had medical insurance except perhaps for catastrophic illnesses. Health-care costs were so low and stable that people considered them just a regular cost of living, like going to the grocery store.

Medical innovations, discoveries, cures, and inventions were surging. Doctors loved what they did in life. Many of them, along with private hospitals, provided free medical services to the poor, all on a voluntary basis.

It all came to an end in the 1960s, with the adoption of two socialist programs — Medicare and Medicaid. These two programs were based on the same Marxian principle as Social Security — using the political process to take money from people who have it to provide or subsidize health care for others.

With the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, health-care costs began climbing and then soaring. Doctors came under strict regulations, which sometimes brought fines and criminal prosecution for Medicare or Medicaid fraud. A never-ending series of health-care reforms began to be adopted to deal with the ever-growing health-care crisis. Doctors began hating what they did in life and couldn’t wait to retire.

Today, the direction is clear — with each new health-care reform to fix the crises generated by previous reforms, the American people are heading toward a complete government takeover of health care, just as in Cuba and North Korea. The difference will be that Americans will call it “saving free enterprise,” while the Cubans and North Koreans correctly call it “celebrating socialism.”

As with Social Security, there is no way that socialized health care can be reconciled with the principles of a free society. To restore freedom to America, it is necessary to repeal, not reform, Medicare and Medicaid and to end all other governmental involvement in health care. Moreover, the eradication of health-care socialism is also a necessary prerequisite for restoring a healthy health-care system to our land.

Public schooling
It would be difficult to find a better example of a socialist program than public schooling or, more accurately, government schooling. This is a state-run program, one that is based on coercion and compulsion.

Parents are forced to subject their children to a state-approved education, on pain of fine and imprisonment for failing or refusing to do so. Most parents comply with this directive by sending their children into the state-run schools. But even private schools are subject to state supervision through licensing laws. Private schools know that if they fail to satisfy public officials, they risk losing their license or accreditation. Most home-schoolers have to satisfy state officials that they are meeting education standards set by the state.

Funding for public schools is by coercion. People are taxed to fund the system. Among those taxed are people who don’t have children. It is a classic example of the Marxian principle that undergirds Social Security, Medicare, and other socialist programs — from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The state authorizes the textbooks and sets the curriculum. Schoolteachers and administrators are state employees. If a teacher teachers things that are dramatically outside acceptable boundaries (such as libertarianism), he is subject to being dismissed or pressured out of the system.

The entire public-schooling system is based on the concept of central planning, which is a core principle of socialism. Whether at a national, state, or local level, a board of government officials plans, in a top-down, command-and-control manner, the educational activities of hundreds, thousands, or millions of students.

Public schools inculcate regimentation and conformity in children, while smashing out of them the natural propensity to wonder, question, and challenge. Indoctrination is the order of things, especially when it comes to teaching children that they live in a free country, one characterized by a welfare-warfare–state way of life. By the time they graduate from high school, many students are absolutely convinced that they are free and that they work in a “free enterprise” economic system. The indoctrination is so effective that sometimes it lasts a lifetime.

It is impossible to reconcile a system of state schooling with the principles of a free society. A genuinely free society entails a separation of school and state, in the same way that our ancestors separated church and state. That means an entirely free-market educational system, one where families, not the state, are responsible for education and where entrepreneurs are vying for their business in a free and unhampered market economy.

Trade restrictions and immigration controls
Border controls are based on the socialist concept of central planning. Government officials plan how much trade Americans are going to be permitted to engage in with people in foreign countries; and they plan the movements of millions of people in a complex labor market. That’s what trade restrictions, tariffs, trade wars, immigration controls, visa restrictions, travel restrictions, and restrictions on spending money in foreign countries are all about. They are all designed to fulfill the visions of central planners.

As people in Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, and other socialist countries can affirm, socialism produces crises or, in the words of Ludwig von Mises, “planned chaos.” That’s why farmers who previously were prospering by selling to foreign countries are now being sent into bankruptcy because of tariffs and trade restrictions imposed by U.S. central planners. It’s also why there are thousands of foreigners backed up at the border trying to get into the United States to work, even while there are farms in the United States where crops are rotting owing to a scarcity of workers.

Socialism often comes with a police state, as the citizens of many socialist countries can also attest. That’s because people naturally try to avoid the crises and the chaos that socialism produces. That makes government officials angry. To ensure compliance with their measures, they begin adopting and enforcing an ever-increasing array of harsh and brutal measures.

That’s how Americans have ended up with an immigration police state in the American Southwest. Highway checkpoints. Warrantless searches. Boarding of Greyhound buses to check people’s papers. Felony prosecutions for hiring, transporting, or harboring illegal immigrants. The types of things one would expect in communist and totalitarian countries.

There is also the massive death, suffering, and impoverishment that comes with a socialist trade and immigration system.

There is no way one can reconcile a system based on central planning of trade and immigration with the principles of a free society. A genuinely free society necessarily is one that is based on the rights of economic liberty, freedom of trade, and freedom of association. Americans, like everyone else, have the natural, God-given rights to travel wherever they want, spend their money anywhere they want, associate with whomever they want, and hire whomever they want. Freedom necessarily means free trade and open immigration — i.e., open borders — the free movements of goods, services, and people across borders.

The national-security establishment
Perhaps the best example of a socialist system is America’s national-security state, which is a totalitarian form of governmental structure. North Korea is a national-security state. So is Egypt. And Cuba. Russia. Pakistan. And post–World War II United States.

The Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, like all socialist structures, are operated by bureaucrats, both military and civilian, in a top-down, command-and-control fashion. There is nothing “free market” or “free enterprise” about the national-security state. The system is based entirely on force, regimentation, conformity, indoctrination, deference to authority, and obedience to orders.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a socialist governmental structure has come with dark-side practices that one would ordinarily expect from communist and totalitarian regimes. Invasions. Wars of aggression. Wars without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. Coups. Alliances with dictatorial regimes. Foreign aid to dictatorial regimes. State-sponsored assassinations. Drug experiments on unsuspecting people. Extra-judicial executions. Kidnappings. Torture. Secretive prison camps. A kangaroo judicial system. Sanctions and embargoes that impoverish or kill innocent people for political purposes. Denial of due process of law. Denial of trial by jury. Persecution of people who blow the whistle on dark-side practices. And much more.

None of this can possibly be reconciled with the principles of a free society. A genuinely free society entails the restoration of a limited-government republic, which was the type of governmental system that the Constitution called into existence. That means the dismantling of the national-security state and the termination of its dark-side practices.

Like the rest of the world, Americans are faced with a choice: Do you want socialism or do you want freedom? You can’t have both.

This article originally published in the January 2020 edition of Future of Freedom.

Categories: Freedom Daily Archive, Socialism

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.

Irreconcilable Differences

Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, told Fox News Thursday night that America’s leaders must find the “language, the methods and the means to unify this country” amid the coronavirus pandemic and increasing urban violence and unrest.

“We really need leadership that leads the entire country,” Eisenhower told host Martha MacCallum, later adding, “it’s so serious, it really is a national security issue.”

Here’s the problem with unity: When half the country wants freedom, and the other half wants totalitarian, unlimited government, no reconciliation is possible. I no longer consider most Democratic, leftist voters merely ignorant and uninformed. I consider them bad, dangerous people who personally threaten my liberty. I consider them enemies no different than Communists and Nazis of earlier eras. Ms. Eisenhower is living in the past. And that’s truly a regrettable thing.

Michael J. Hurd

Welcome to the Welfare-Warfare State

WILLIAM S. SMITH

According to a current tenet of conservative groupthink, the movement suffered a terrible blow with the ascension of Donald Trump, who it is alleged hijacked conservatism and its political vessel, the Republican Party. But while political conservatism is in crisis, Trump is not the cause. By embracing an ideology of military interventionism alien to American constitutionalism—while tolerating an ever expanding welfare state—conservatism lost its way.

When the Cold War ended, the Republican Party had an historic opportunity to lead the United States toward a more modest role in the world and to return to smaller government, federalism, foreign-policy restraint, and constitutionalism. Even for Ronald Reagan, setting such a direction would have been impossible given our Cold War military commitments, but in 1990, the window of opportunity suddenly opened. Unfortunately, the Republican Party and an influential portion of the conservative movement fumbled this moment and embraced a Jacobinistic ideology, vowing a crusade to create a New World Order and to democratize nations near and far, even those with no historical foundation for democracy.

The post-Cold War Democrats were divided on questions of war and peace, but they also recognized that wars tend not only to expand the national security state but also domestic programs. Thus, despite the presence in the party of dovish leaders, the Democratic establishment quietly acceded to America’s military interventions. They understood that a nation that swells its chest in the foreign arena inevitably swells it also in domestic affairs. As Woodrow Wilson and LBJ knew well, the rush of power felt when America engages in a foreign crusade is effortlessly converted to a domestic crusade. Wars tend to undermine federalism.

Many conservatives do not grasp that World War I accelerated Wilsonian progressivism, that World War II brought us the first general income tax, that Vietnam coincided with the Great Society, and that the Iraq War was concurrent with the largest expansion of Medicare. The three presidencies in the last century that displayed skepticism about military interventionism—Coolidge, Eisenhower, and Reagan—also were the leaders most successful at controlling overall spending.

Since 1990, Democrats have cleverly leveraged the GOP’s seemingly ever-present desire to engage in costly wars to ratchet up domestic spending. In 1991, when “emergency supplemental appropriations” were required to fund Operation Desert Storm, the Democrats loaded up the bill with increases in food stamps, unemployment insurance, housing assistance, and a $100 million payment to the D.C. government. President George H.W. Bush, whose priority was the war, promptly signed the bill, setting the GOP pattern for the post-Cold War era.

The 2003 Iraq War provided enormous spending opportunities for the Democrats. When The Heritage Foundation rightly complained in 2008 that “Congress Again Lards Iraq War Spending Bill,” they did not seem to recognize that a war funding-domestic spending alliance had emerged. As the Cato Institute pointed out, George W. Bush “presided over an 83-percent increase in overall federal spending, which includes defense, domestic, entitlements, and interest.” George W. Bush was not a conservative president. He was a war president who supported huge domestic spending in order to secure a coalition that would fund his main priority: wars. Bush vetoed a mere 12 bills, compared with 181 for Eisenhower, who regularly used the pocket veto to limit congressional spending.

For FY 2018, Congress funded the government through a series of continuing resolutions that will push spending to $4 trillion. The last installment of that spending was the $1.3 trillion bill recently signed by President Trump. Republican leaders agreed to dramatic funding increases for the Democrats’ domestic priorities (including Planned Parenthood) because the bill fulfilled the GOP’s dearest desire: a massive increase in defense spending.

When he signed the bill, President Trump made clear that defense-spending increases were a priority above all else: “We’re very disappointed that in order to fund the military, we had to give up things where we consider in many cases them to be bad or them to be a waste of money.”House Speaker Ryan was quoted in The Hill saying that this gluttonous spending was necessary because the nation’s leaders had asked the military “to do so much more with so much less for so long.” One can describe this approach in a variety of ways, but “conservative” is not a fitting adjective.

When analysts point out, for example, that our national security apparatus costs more than $1 trillion per year if you include the intelligence community, veterans programs, and other spending not found in the Pentagon budget, they are underestimating the costs of the national security state because they ignore massive domestic spending accepted by Republicans in return for greater military funding. National-security spending has become the foremost political principle of the Republican Party and conservatives seem not to realize that promiscuous military interventionism and elaborate alliance commitments stand in historical opposition to fiscal rectitude.

Yet far more is at stake than fiscal excess: Constitutionalism itself frays badly in a warlike regime. Just ask the 2,000 American dissenters prosecuted by Woodrow Wilson under the Espionage Act or the 100,000 Japanese-Americans thrown into internment camps by FDR or even Michael Flynn whose Kafkaesque prosecution emerged from a political conspiracy justified by anti-Russian war fever. Not only have congressional leaders ignored their obligation to provide constitutional sanction for recent wars, they have also built a surveillance state so powerful that it was likely used in an attempted coup d’état against a legally elected President. In fact, Congress reauthorized the FISA surveillance program at the very time when they were aware of its unconstitutional misuse.

America is now in uncharted territory. The Constitution is virtually inoperative as a check upon government surveillance of its own citizens or waging wars. Conservatism has weakened because it failed to recognize what history teaches, that the political culture in nations with imperial ambitions is never constitutionally conservative. A recent book has labeled this phenomenon “the boomerang effect.”

The connection between military interventionism, constitutional flaccidity, and profligate domestic spending is not some odd coincidence. These trends converge because they are each inspired by a certain temperament of character in leaders, a lack of restraint, and a will to power for its own sake. The American framers assumed that a certain type of constitutional personality would animate American statesmanship. But any government that regularly goes abroad in search of monsters to destroy will tend to be led by people whose temperament ignores the constraints of constitutionalism and who in turn will become a threat to fiscal prudence and to its own citizens. Recent wars are merely a symptom of a decline in the general culture and an eroded constitutionalism. Donald Trump is largely a non-factor in this decades-long conservative crack up.

When will we ever have a government that protects civil liberties and shows some fiscal discipline? The answer is that conservatism may have revived if the nation begins reducing its alliance commitments, launches fewer wars, speaks with less bellicosity, and generally acts with more restraint. Restraint abroad would probably coincide with restraint at home. The John Bolton wing of the Republican Party, by contrast, is the very last political force that might lead the nation in a conservative direction.

William S. Smith is managing director and research fellow at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America.

Fourth Grade Teacher Explains How Schools Ban History and Push Leftist Ideas

A world without textbooks or homework and where getting the wrong answer is celebrated may sound like an elementary student’s dream, but if such a fantasy becomes a reality, it would damage a generation of young minds. That is, however, exactly what is happening in many public elementary schools.

Recently, I spoke with a fourth-grade teacher from the midwest, who shared her experience witnessing the shifting of curriculum from history and science towards overt political indoctrination, all to the detriment of students’ learning. To protect this person’s privacy, she will remain nameless.

In supervising fourth grade, she teaches a little bit of everything: math, reading, language arts, social studies, and science. Recently, her school district, like many others, switched to an “integrated curriculum.” On paper, an integrated curriculum sounds like a fair idea. Students learn subjects by exploring their intersections to deepen understanding. In practice, however, the curriculum all but eradicates history while working to push politics on impressionable children.

As the teacher reports, “It says ‘integrated curriculum,’ and some of its science, and some of its social studies but it really isn’t. It’s more of a push for the progressive movement.” Indeed, it’s a movement that has fundamentally altered her curriculum. As the school district’s new curricula are online, outsiders have the ability to dictate curriculum to teachers. The result? This teacher’s science and history classes were gutted.

History Deemed Expendable
In history classes, she taught things like U.S. government, the explorers, and the Civil War from a nuanced perspective that is still accessible to her young students. She told me:

I used to do a whole unit an Abraham Lincoln, and for some reason, it’s just all of that is gone, based on an integrated curriculum. When you look at our curriculum, they’ve removed everything that was in the textbook. They say, ‘Don’t use the textbook, and you don’t need to teach that anymore.’

The kids are missing out on learning why there was a civil war in the first place. They don’t learn the true meaning of slavery and how it got resolved because it’s just disappeared from the curriculum.

The only thing I can teach in social studies was a little bit of government. There wasn’t anything anymore about the Civil War; that was completely gone. I felt bad about that.

I spoke to a friend, who’s a fifth-grade teacher, and her Revolutionary War unit was gone. She used to do a great job on the colonists of America.

Science Replaced With Propaganda
Before the integrated curriculum began, this teacher engaged her students in an array of scientific studies. In the new curriculum, however:

My last unit of teaching was just a long unit on petroleum and how bad it was. It would talk about oil spills. We’d have an experiment that kids have to mix tempera paint and oil to simulate an oil spill, so when that happened, the kids would see how awful it was on plants and animals.

In reality, these are few and far between, where we have oil spills and causing great damage. But they take something that was awful that happened back in history, we’ll take that and say, ‘This is why no one should never use oil or gas.’

They’re trying to tell the kids that you are bad if you think that you should drive a car or a school bus without it being with renewable energy. I’m teaching renewable energy in the 4th grade and feeling that is there should be a debate on it, and it should be taught both ways.

Instead, it’s video after video after video how we killed animals, how it’s bad for the environment. It’s one-sided education instead of the time for debate. That is what it’s really changed in the elementary school year. It’s a one-sided script.

Science class under this curriculum mandate is not science, but political propaganda. Students have lost out on foundational skills that would benefit them greatly in middle and high school.

They don’t give you the base level of what these little students need, and so these younger kids are not experiencing what the past children learn, which was things like: how does the machine work?

They’re not looking at the different levels of electricity. They’re not looking at anything about the water cycle. It’s all in the electronics area or it’s always on the Internet. Nothing is about reading a book and learning about following directions anymore. It goes backward.

Science is taught in a very progressive manner. No longer the kids ever going to see a textbook in schools. It’s called ’21st-century learning’ so therefore without a textbook now.

I go to the Internet to get the curriculum guide and it’s about computers and making robots work. They’re just kind of step by step guides. Instead of learning where the energy comes from, we go right to the Internet and we just build a robot, but they don’t even know what’s going on. They don’t learn how the robot works.

Beloved Projects on the Chopping Block
In a tragic bit of irony, even the beneficial use of an integrated curriculum was taken from students. Every year, this teacher would allow each student to research a state and give a presentation and report about it.

The kids really had a great understanding of states, regions, and the economic reasons for them why you might want to grow up and go somewhere else based on temperature, based on jobs, based on the natural resources of each state…

It was so much fun doing state reports. Now, sadly to say, I’m told not to, because there’s no time for it. That it would be a waste of time. It was probably the best thing about 4th grade.

They say, ‘What are you doing, teaching states? Why are you letting the kids do a state report?’ I said, ‘It’s reading, it’s writing, it’s research.’ There is so much to learn, and now I’m not allowed to do that because of the integrated curriculum.

These state projects were not just social studies. They taught kids valuable research and communication skills. The cross-section of skills that coalesced into a beloved annual tradition is how an integrated curriculum should function. Now it’s gone, and so is the teacher’s ability to be creative in working with her students.

Throwing Out Textbooks
This teacher’s district, like many others, has not just done away with history and science, but also textbooks in general.

The frustrating part of being a teacher in elementary grades is that they have no foundational skills. The textbooks that were used went through the different states and regions, the government, Abraham Lincoln… As far as studying history, we kind of lost all of that because I was told, ‘Please discard all of your textbooks.’ That was frustrating, and I asked why over and over and over again and was told that we now have an integrated curriculum, so do not use textbooks.

Ditching all books for computers teaches students to disregard the information that can be found in books, the teacher noted. Instead, they are being taught that everything can and should be learned online. Despite this push towards the internet, the students are not taught how to evaluate online sources for accuracy.

In youth and inexperience, it can be easy to mistake a valid source of historical or scientific facts with a poor alternative. This is a recipe for ill-prepared children armed with a legion of bad facts.

Parents None the Wiser
With the removal of important foundational skills and basic subjects, one would think the school district parents would be up-in-arms about the schools’ curriculum shift. Conservative parents especially should be fighting the school’s attempted indoctrination of their children. However, they are unable to have opinions on their children’s education, because they have no idea what’s happening.

The parents don’t even know what’s going on because it’s all at school. We hardly give homework anymore, which is so frustrating. I just disagree with a lot of things, but they keep it in school so that the parents don’t have to worry. The parents question very little and they just assume the teacher knows what they’re doing.

With limited homework, parents lack a window into what is being taught to their children. Likewise, the students are losing an important aspect of early education — drilling foundational subjects, like basic math, in order to better understand in the future.

It’s Great to Get the Wrong Answer
Just like an integrated curriculum, a “growth mindset” sounds great in theory. Rather than focus on shame of past mistakes, students can use their errors to learn and grow. Yet often, the in-school application of a so-called “growth mindset” actually keeps students from learning and growing. The teacher explains:

The way of teaching is to get them to get the answer first, and then some of the kids won’t know how they got there because they’re always in a group setting. We have to work together. We’re always talking about cooperative learning. I feel that too much cooperative learning now. We don’t have the skill base anymore.

We test them, but by the time we’ve tested them, they really have never learned anything in the first place. We know they’re at the bottom and they stay at the bottom because nobody sitting there saying, ‘Well let’s just skill and drill.’ They’ve left out all the basic skills. They left out drills.

No longer can a teacher do things like math flashcards, because that’s not acceptable. Some principals think that that would belittle the children if they see that they’re not getting their math facts fast.

We’ve changed a lot of ways that used to work in the past by saying, ‘We can’t identify the kids that are low.’ So they try to pretend that that’s why we need cooperative learning. Just give the answer. Don’t let them say the wrong answer and feel bad about it.

And then, they come up with this new math, and just say, ‘Getting the wrong answer is good because that helps your brain grow.’ So we’ve got this growth mindset, which is fine but we’re really allowing kids to get wrong answers and not be curious about how do we get to this right.

The fear of belittling or saddening students is directly keeping them from learning and thriving academically.

Paulina Enk, The Federalist

Hey Teachers: No Work, No Pay

Now that Iowa GOP Gov. Kimberly Reynolds has said that the state’s schools must hold at least 50% of their core instruction in person unless they have a positive coronavirus test rate of at least 15% in their county and at least 10% absenteeism among students, Iowa teachers are reacting by sending her mock obituaries.

The obituaries were triggered by art teacher Jeremy Dumkreiger, who penned an obituary for himself on the local news blog Iowa Starting Line, The Hill reported. He urged other teachers to write their obituaries to “demand Gov. Reynolds declare a statewide school mask mandate,” adding, “If we do not require this mask mandate, we risk the chance of driving our teachers and schools into the ground, literally.”

Imagine if Walmart employees, McDonald’s employees, police, utility workers or grocery store staff said what teachers are saying. In effect, “We will not go back to work until we feel 100 percent sure nobody can ever, ever get a cold–and yes, that may be never. Oh, and we still want full pay and benefits. Forever.” I say let’s defund these schools until further notice.

Michael J. Hurd

The Great Society: A Libertarian Critique

The Great Society is the lineal descendant and the intensification of those other pretentiously named policies of twentieth-century America: the Square Deal, the New Freedom, the New Era, the New Deal, the Fair Deal, and the New Frontier. All of these assorted Deals constituted a basic and fundamental shift in American life—a shift from a relatively laissez-faire economy and minimal state to a society in which the state is unquestionably king.1

In the previous century, the government could safely have been ignored by almost everyone; now we have become a country in which the government is the great and unending source of power and privilege. Once a country in which each man could by and large make the decisions for his own life, we have become a land where the state holds and exercises life-and-death power over every person, group, and institution. The great Moloch government, once confined and cabined, has burst its feeble bonds to dominate us all.

The basic reason for this development is not difficult to fathom. It was best summed up by the great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer; Oppenheimer wrote that there were fundamentally two, and only two, paths to the acquisition of wealth. One route is the production of a good or service and its voluntary exchange for the goods or services produced by others. This method—the method of the free market—Oppenheimer termed “the economic means” to wealth. The other path, which avoids the necessity for production and exchange, is for one or more persons to seize other people’s products by the use of physical force. This method of robbing the fruits of another man’s production was shrewdly named by Oppenheimer the “political means.” Throughout history, men have been tempted to employ the “political means” of seizing wealth rather than expend effort in production and exchange. It should be clear that while the market process multiplies production, the political, exploitative means is parasitic and, as with all parasitic action, discourages and drains off production and output in society. To regularize and order a permanent system of predatory exploitation, men have created the state, which Oppenheimer brilliantly defined as “the organization of the political means.”2

Every act of the state is necessarily an occasion for inflicting burdens and assigning subsidies and privileges. By seizing revenue by means of coercion and assigning rewards as it disburses the funds, the state creates ruling and ruled “classes” or “castes”; for one example, classes of what Calhoun discerned as net “taxpayers” and “tax-consumers,” those who live off taxation.3​ And since, by its nature, predation can only be supported out of the surplus of production above subsistence, the ruling class must constitute a minority of the citizenry.

Since the state, nakedly observed, is a mighty engine of organized predation, state rule, throughout its many millennia of recorded history, could be preserved only by persuading the bulk of the public that its rule has not really been exploitative—that, on the contrary, it has been necessary, beneficent, even, as in the Oriental despotisms, divine. Promoting this ideology among the masses has ever been a prime function of intellectuals, a function that has created the basis for co-opting a corps of intellectuals into a secure and permanent berth in the state apparatus. In former centuries, these intellectuals formed a priestly caste that was able to wrap a cloak of mystery and quasi divinity about the actions of the state for a credulous public. Nowadays, the apologia for the state takes on more subtle and seemingly scientific forms. The process remains essentially the same.4

In the United States, a strong libertarian and antistatist tradition prevented the process of statization from taking hold at a very rapid pace. The major force in its propulsion has been that favorite theater of state expansionism, brilliantly identified by Randolph Bourne as “the health of the state,” namely, war. For although in wartime various states find themselves in danger from one another, every state has found war a fertile field for spreading the myth among its subjects that they are the ones in deadly danger, from which their state is protecting them. In this way states have been able to dragoon their subjects into fighting and dying to save them under the pretext that the subjects were being saved from the dread foreign enemy. In the United States, the process of statization began in earnest under cover of the Civil War (conscription, military rule, income tax, excise taxes, high tariffs, national banking and credit expansion for favored businesses, paper money, land grants to railroads), and reached full flower as a result of World Wars I and II, to finally culminate in the Great Society.

The recently emerging group of “libertarian conservatives” in the United States have grasped a part of the recent picture of accelerated statism, but their analysis suffers from several fatal blind spots. One is their complete failure to realize that war, culminating in the present garrison state and military-industrial economy, has been the royal road to aggravated statism in America. On the contrary, the surge of reverent patriotism that war always brings to conservative hearts, coupled with their eagerness to don buckler and armor against the “international Communist conspiracy,” has made the conservatives the most eager and enthusiastic partisans of the Cold War. Hence their inability to see the enormous distortions and interventions imposed upon the economy by the enormous system of war contracts.5

Another conservative blind spot is their failure to identify which groups have been responsible for the burgeoning of statism in the United States. In the conservative demonology, the responsibility belongs only to liberal intellectuals, aided and abetted by trade unions and farmers. Big businessmen, on the other hand, are curiously exempt from blame (farmers are small enough businessmen, apparently, to be fair game for censure.) How, then, do conservatives deal with the glaringly evident onrush of big businessmen to embrace Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society? Either by mass stupidity (failure to read the works of free-market economists), subversion by liberal intellectuals (e.g., the education of the Rockefeller brothers at Lincoln School), or craven cowardice (the failure to stand foursquare for free-market principles in the face of governmental power).6 Almost never is interest pinpointed as an overriding reason for statism among businessmen. This failure is all the more curious in the light of the fact that the laissez-faire liberals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (e.g., the Philosophical Radicals in England, the Jacksonians in the United States) were never bashful about identifying and attacking the web of special privileges granted to businessmen in the mercantilism of their day.

In fact, one of the main driving forces of the statist dynamic of twentieth-century America has been big businessmen, and this long before the Great Society. Gabriel Kolko, in his path-breaking Triumph of Conservatism,7 has shown that the shift toward statism in the Progressive period was impelled by the very big-business groups who were supposed, in the liberal mythology, to be defeated and regulated by the Progressive and New Freedom measures. Rather than a “people’s movement” to check big business; the drive for regulatory measures, Kolko shows, stemmed from big businessmen whose attempts at monopoly had been defeated by the competitive market, and who then turned to the federal government as a device for compulsory cartellization. This drive for cartellization through government accelerated during the New Era of the 1920s and reached its apex in Franklin Roosevelt’s NRA [National Recovery Administration]. Significantly, this exercise in cartellizing collectivism was put over by organized big business; after Herbert Hoover, who had done much to organize and cartellize the economy, had balked at an NRA as going too far toward an outright fascist economy, the US Chamber of Commerce won a promise from FDR that he would adopt such a system. The original inspiration was the corporate state of Mussolini’s Italy.8

The formal corporatism of the NRA is long gone, but the Great Society retains much of its essence. The locus of social power has been emphatically assumed by the state apparatus. Furthermore, that apparatus is permanently governed by a coalition of big-business and big-labor groupings, groups that use the state to operate and manage the national economy. The usual tripartite rapprochement of big business, big unions, and big government symbolizes the organization of society by blocs, syndics, and corporations, regulated and privileged by the federal, state, and local governments. What this all amounts to in essence is the “corporate state,” which, during the 1920s, served as a beacon light for big businessmen, big unions, and many liberal intellectuals as the economic system proper to a twentieth-century industrial society.9

The indispensable intellectual role of engineering popular consent for state rule is played, for the Great Society, by the liberal intelligentsia, who provide the rationale of “general welfare,” “humanity,” and the “common good” (just as the conservative intellectuals work the other side of the Great Society street by offering the rationale of “national security” and “national interest”). The liberals, in short, push the “welfare” part of our omnipresent welfare-warfare state, while the conservatives stress the warfare side of the pie. This analysis of the role of the liberal intellectuals puts into more sophisticated perspective the seeming “sellout” of these intellectuals as compared to their role during the 1930s. Thus, among numerous other examples, there is the seeming anomaly of A.A. Berle and David Lilienthal, cheered and damned as flaming progressives in the ’30s, now writing tomes hailing the new reign of big business. Actually, their basic views have not changed in the least. In the ’30s, these theoreticians of the New Deal were concerned with condemning as “reactionaries” those big businessmen who clung to older individualist ideals and failed to understand or adhere to the new monopoly system of the corporate state. But now, in the 1950s and 1960s, this battle has been won; big businessmen are all eager to be privileged monopolists in the new dispensation, and hence they can now be welcomed by such theorists as Berle and Lilienthal as “responsible” and “enlightened,” their “selfish” individualism a relic of the past.

The cruelest myth fostered by the liberals is that the Great Society functions as a great boon and benefit to the poor; in reality, when we cut through the frothy appearances to the cold reality underneath, the poor are the major victims of the welfare state. The poor are the ones to be conscripted to fight and die at literally slave wages in the Great Society’s imperial wars. The poor are the ones to lose their homes to the bulldozer of urban renewal, that bulldozer that operates for the benefit of real-estate and construction interests to pulverize available low-cost housing.10

All this, of course, in the name of “clearing the slums” and helping the aesthetics of housing. The poor are the welfare clientele whose homes are unconstitutionally but regularly invaded by government agents to ferret out sin in the middle of the night. The poor (e.g., Negroes in the South) are the ones disemployed by rising minimum-wage floors, put in for the benefit of employers and unions in higher-wage areas (e.g., the North) to prevent industry from moving to the low-wage areas. The poor are cruelly victimized by an income tax that Left and Right alike misconstrue as an egalitarian program to soak the rich; actually, various tricks and exemptions insure that it is the poor and the middle classes who are hit the hardest.

The poor are victimized too by a welfare state of which the cardinal macroeconomic tenet is perpetual if controlled inflation. The inflation and the heavy government spending favor the businesses of the military-industrial complex, while the poor and the retired, those on fixed pensions or Social Security, are hit the hardest. (Liberals have often scoffed at the anti-inflationists’ stress on the “widows and orphans” as major victims of inflation, but these remain major victims nevertheless.) And the burgeoning of compulsory mass public education forces millions of unwilling youth off the labor market for many years, and into schools that serve more as houses of detention than as genuine centers of education.12

Farm programs that supposedly aid poor farmers actually serve the large wealthy farmers at the expense of sharecropper and consumer alike; and commissions that regulate industry serve to cartellize it. The mass of workers is forced by governmental measures into trade unions that tame and integrate the labor force into the toils of the accelerating corporate state, there to be subjected to arbitrary wage “guidelines” and ultimate compulsory arbitration.

The role of the liberal intellectual and of liberal rhetoric is even more stark in foreign economic policy. Ostensibly designed to “help the underdeveloped countries,” foreign aid has served as a gigantic subsidy by the American taxpayer of American export firms, a similar subsidy to American foreign investment through guarantees and subsidized government loans, an engine of inflation for the recipient country, and a form of massive subsidy to the friends and clients of US imperialism in the recipient country.

The symbiosis between liberal intellectuals and despotic statism at home and abroad is, furthermore, no accident; for at the heart of the welfarist mentality is an enormous desire to “do good to” the mass of other people, and since people don’t usually wish to be done good to—since they have their own ideas of what they wish to do—the liberal welfarist inevitably ends by reaching for the big stick with which to push the ungrateful masses around. Hence, the liberal ethos itself provides a powerful stimulant for the intellectuals to seek state power and ally themselves with the other rulers of the corporate state. The liberals thus become what Harry EImer Barnes has aptly termed “totalitarian liberals.” Or, as Isabel Paterson put it a generation ago:

The humanitarian wishes to be a prime mover in the lives of others. He cannot admit either the divine or the natural order, by which men have the power to help themselves. The humanitarian puts himself in the place of God.

But he is confronted by two awkward facts; first, that the competent do not need his assistance; and second, that the majority of people…positively do not want to be “done good” by the humanitarian….Of course, what the humanitarian actually proposes is that he shall do what he thinks is good for everybody. It is at this point that the humanitarian sets up the guillotine.13

The rhetorical role of welfarism in pushing people around may be seen clearly in the Vietnam War, where American liberal planning for alleged Vietnamese welfare has been particularly prominent, e.g., in the plans and actions of Wolf Ladejinsky, Joseph Buttinger, and the Michigan State group. And the result has been very much of an American-operated “guillotine” for the Vietnamese people, North and South.14

And even Fortune magazine invokes the spirit of humanitarian “idealism” as the justification for the United States’ falling “heir to the onerous task of policing these shattered colonies” of Western Europe, and exerting its might all over the world. The will to make this exertion to the uttermost, especially in Vietnam and perhaps China, constitutes for Fortune, “the unending test of American idealism.”15 This liberal-welfarist syndrome may also be seen in the very different area of civil rights, in the terribly pained indignation of white liberals at the recent determination of Negroes to take the lead in helping themselves, rather than to keep deferring to the Lords and Ladies Bountiful of white liberalism.

In sum, the most important fact about the Great Society under which we live is the enormous disparity between rhetoric and content. In rhetoric, America is the land of the free and the generous, enjoying the fused blessings of a free market tempered by and joined to accelerating social welfare, bountifully distributing its unstinting largesse to the less fortunate in the world. In actual practice, the free economy is virtually gone, replaced by an imperial corporate-state Leviathan that organizes, commands, exploits the rest of society and, indeed, the rest of the world, for its own power and pelf. We have experienced, as Garet Garrett keenly pointed out over a decade ago, a “revolution within the form.”16 The old limited republic has been replaced by empire, within and without our borders.

Author:
Murray N. Rothbard

Murray N. Rothbard made major contributions to economics, history, political philosophy, and legal theory. He combined Austrian economics with a fervent commitment to individual liberty.