January 14, 2021
By Peter Roff • Newsweek
Adapt or die.”
In business, it’s a well-known maxim but it surprisingly doesn’t carry much weight in politics. For some reason the consultants, donors and strategists driving candidate selection too often go with folks they know, thinking that a bit of tinkering with the message will be enough to carry them to victory.
They’re wrong—as many recent Virginia elections have demonstrated. Once a reliably red state at the federal level, the Old Dominion has turned blue. In Richmond, the Democrats who came roaring back into power in 2019 are of a radically different bent than the ones who made up the legislative majorities through most of the 20th century.
Being known as the party of limited government, standing for life, supporting Second Amendment rights and allowing people to keep more of what they earn still works. It’s in sync with what voters in most parts of Virginia and most parts of the nation generally believe.
To win going forward, Virginia party leaders and the folks at the grassroots level need to be bolder when choosing their messengers. It’s all well and good to talk about what policies mean for the working class, for the poor, for the communities of immigrants that have sprung up throughout Northern Virginia—all of whom, of late, have thrown in with the Democrats. To be convincing, the GOP is going to have to look beyond its traditional pool of candidates in the state legislature and in the county courthouses.
The party must expand its reach. It needs to nominate candidates who can talk convincingly about Virginia and America as places where hard work, luck and adherence to the rules and values of society should still make it possible for people to pursue, as one prominent Virginian put it, happiness.
The best candidates are the ones who know this to be true because they’ve walked the walk. Standing out among the other potential 2021 gubernatorial candidates in this regard is Sergio de la Peña, a recently retired career Army officer who spent the last four years at the Pentagon dealing with serious national security issues.
He’s a modest man of modest means. Talking with him about his accomplishments, and there are many, is difficult. He likes to share credit where it is due and regards everything he’s done as the result of team efforts. That may be his military training talking, but it works. Of late, we’ve had our fill of braggadocious politicians on both sides of the aisle who think the people’s business is all about them.
“I came to America from Mexico in 1961. I immigrated legally, went to work, learned to speak English and eventually traded my Mexican citizenship for a uniform, olive drab,” Mr. de la Peña told me. “It was the best decision I ever made.”
“Now,” he continued, “I want to pay America and Virginia back for the opportunities it afforded me by doing what I can to create an environment in which others can achieve all that their potential allows. That’s why I’m running for governor, to bring hope and opportunity to all the people of the commonwealth.”
Mr. de la Peña has strong words for what he calls “the liberal elites” who presume immigrants like him are natural Democrats and support a hard turn to the left. “Just like everyone else, [immigrants] want the chance to make it in America. We don’t want handouts. We want to work hard and build a better life for ourselves and our children. I did and I know others can too, given the chance. What the liberals in Virginia now are offering are the kinds of proposals that took Venezuela from the most prosperous country in Latin American to just about the poorest.”
“Socialism always fails,” he said. “It hurts countries and it hurts most the people it’s supposed to help. The elites, meanwhile, continue as before, fat, happy and comfortable in the belief they’re helping. I’m not afraid to say that and I won’t be intimidated into not speaking my mind. I’ve seen it firsthand and I know what I’m talking about.”
Mr. de la Peña doesn’t fit the media caricature of a typical Republican. His policy positions are thoroughly Reaganite, which the traditional GOP vote outside Northern Virginia will find appealing. If the voters who live in the counties and communities connected to the region around the Capital Beltway—many of whom, like him, are immigrants to the United States who’ve been voting Democrat for many years—give him a fair hearing, he’s confident he can win many of them over. Enough, at least, to form a winning majority that will make him the commonwealth’s next governor.
December 21, 2020
By George Landrith • Townhall
Venezuela’s recent facade election makes the country’s recovery a great deal less likely and it strengthens dictator strongman Nicolas Maduro’s grasp on power. The election results were a foregone conclusion because the entire charade was overseen by Maduro’s cronies and the opposition led by rightful Venezuelan president, Juan Guaidó, boycotted the election because of its obvious deficiencies.
American foreign policy should not strengthen the hand of a ruthless dictator who lacks any semblance of legitimacy. Likewise, American foreign policy should not harm Americans or strip away their property rights in an attempt to help said ruthless dictator. This much should be obvious.
To many Americans, Venezuela’s problems and its slide into a socialist dictatorship seem like a theoretical plight thousands of miles from our shores. But the truth is — Venezuelan government-owned CITGO is a sizable oil company with significant operations within the U.S. Thus, as Venezuela’s problems have mounted, its troubles find their way to America.
The Biden transition team includes people who have a long history of being soft on the Venezuelan dictatorship and who have opposed actions by American creditors to collect debts they are justly owed from CITGO. It is important that the Trump Administration immediately take action to allow real and rightful creditors to be paid the debts they are owed by the Venezuelan government and CITGO.
The ongoing effort by mining company Crystallex to try and reclaim damages from the Venezuelan government illustrates this fact. In 2002, the company was awarded a contract to operate in the Las Cristinas region of Venezuela. They invested more than $500 million in infrastructure upgrades and social projects to benefit the local community. But in 2011, dictator Hugo Chavez seized the mine and stole Crystallex’s property after the company refused to pay bribes. Crystallex has since been granted compensation for this theft by the World Bank, and several U.S. federal courts. However, the Trump administration’s Treasury Department refuses to approve Crystallex’s claim and allow them to be repaid with CITGO’s assets. This inaction rewards a socialist dictator at the expense of a private business and property rights.
The bottom line is that until a true, democratic Venezuelan government is in place, Venezuela’s dictatorship shouldn’t be able to lock out American creditors from being paid the sums they are rightfully owed. This point is doubly true when one realizes that the repressive Maduro regime is all too happy to raid CITGO corporate assets in the U.S. to the detriment of Americans and also use them as way to generate cash that can be used to repress Venezuelans who seek freedom, democracy and a legitimate government.
Countless companies and investors are owed millions of dollars from the Venezuelan government for the crimes of expropriation committed under the brutal and dictatorial regimes of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. As the current and illegitimate Venezuelan regime refuses to give these companies and investors their due, it makes no sense to do anything that would harm the property rights of American firms and citizens.
The rightful president of Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, has also asked that the United States prevent the current Venezuelan dictatorship from using the pretext of law to obtain their stolen dollars from CITGO. Guaidó hopes to get his nation back on a firm financial footing and he knows that allowing the current dictatorship to steal expropriated assets would only further endanger the future of Venezuela. So, it is clear that both the interests of the United States and the legitimate government of Venezuela strongly align and run parallel.
The Trump Administration should make it clear to Venezuela that the United States stands for property rights. Property rights promote economic stability, justice, and growth — all things that Venezuela desperately needs. Moreover, standing up for property rights will protect the interests of Americans who are owed money by CITGO. There is simply no good reason to allow Maduro to raid company coffers and leave investors with nothing to collect on their investments.
November 15, 2020
By Dr. Miklos Radvanyi • Frontiers of Freedom
During and after the Vietnam war in the 1960s and the 1970s, the American as well as the foreign media conditioned most of their readers and viewers to focus their attention on the lonely trees of isolated events and ignore looking comprehensively at the global forest, called the world. While doing so, they have begun the long hypocritical march toward the destruction of the American national consensus about the foundational principles of the Republic. The result has been predictable. Gradually and in increasing numbers, Americans have divorced themselves mentally from the basic principles of the Constitution and have embarked on questioning, or even denying their individual responsibilities for the present and the future of the United States of America. This process, in turn, has started to eat into the mental equilibrium and the development of a stable personality of successive generations, because it has conditioned the individual to interpret events not the way they have happened, but in the manner he or she read or saw them in the media.
Clearly, throughout the first two decades of the 21st century, this latent self-denial has also led to call into question the undoubtedly extraordinary past of the Republic. Presently, the people of the United States of America lack the solid foundation of this past, upon which they could erect the national structures of the present and the future. What has been left after four years of relentless barrage of scandalous lies and infinite hatred against the duly elected President, including the baseless charges of the “Russia Collusion,” the unconstitutional “Impeachment” charade, the ridiculous charge of “Systematic and Institutionalized Racism,” and the artificially triggered pointless mayhem and destructive riots, is the Democrat Party’s insatiable hunger for the attainment of absolute political power by any means and the confiscatory drive for the taxpayers’ equally abundant monies. Today, in this manner, Democrat politicians and their disgustingly manipulative media marionettes mostly present the almost 250 years old Republic as a despicable felon with an endless criminal and immoral record.
Having observed the world and the United States of America through the distorted lenses of self-serving politicians and corrupted media personalities, Americans have stopped to view their universe through their own two eyes. Moreover, having been robbed gradually of their patriotism and even their fidelity to their families, they have succumbed to the illusion of the twin evils of identity politics and social justice. With such a mentality, they have lost their sense of justice, and with it their unbiased thinking in politics. What has remained for each person has been a variety of ideological rubbish full of one-sided reasoning and emotionally charged prejudices. This deliberate strategy of gradual intellectual and spiritual uprooting has allowed both politicians and the media to dumb down as well as to militarize the political and the socio-economic discourse. The thus perverted communications have been filled with the totally disgraced and absolutely defunct tenets of Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, and the other already spectacularly discarded pile of social justice gibberish.
Thus, what is almost impossible to comprehend in 2020 is the fact that, in spite of the insane overproduction of news, the people in the United States of America and across the globe are living in an actual information vacuum, which prevents them from forming a true picture of their local and global existence. This information vacuum hides behind the alluringly attractive term of neoliberalism, which in reality is intellectual oppression, or in an alarmingly burgeoning magnitude spiritual terrorism. Such an intolerance boosted by the emotionally enticing concept of victimhood has been in full display throughout the last year of the Trump presidency in the Democrat Party-controlled states and cities. Again, camouflaged as real and just cause, Democrat politicians and the subservient media have failed misleadingly to distinguish between honest victims and venal individuals. Yet, such a distinction is unambiguous: an honest victim is a person who believes in the rule of law, namely, that if he or she suffers injustice, it could happen to anybody. On the other hand, if a venal individual believes that he or she is victimized, becomes convinced that he or she alone is innocent and deserves impunity. In this artificially, yet deliberately distorted surreal world, what is natural becomes phony and what is fake turns into seemingly convincing reality.
Exactly in the same vein Democrats want impunity. Impunity from trying to paralyze the government, impunity from lying to the American people and the rest of the world about the nonexistent crimes of President Trump, impunity of intentionally sabotaging the will of the voters, impunity from relentlessly working against the United States of America’s domestic as well as international interests, and impunity from stoking fears about an imminent second civil war if their destructive identity politics is opposed even by peaceful means. A large number of Democrat politicians, including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelocy, Cory Booker, alias Spartacus, and even the Obamas, told the American people not to trust President Trump and the Republican Party, while urging them to rely on their utopian promises. Meanwhile, they continued to encourage the riots and the mayhem across the country, pretending all along that breaking doors and windows, looting, firebombing police stations and businesses, the senseless and indiscriminate killing of policemen, brandishing weapons at innocent people, and terrorizing entire neighborhoods are peaceful and permissible reactions to over two hundred years of alleged oppression of the black people by so-called white supremacists.
However, creating evil moral authoritarianism and terroristic fear were only two aspects of the Democrat Party’s threat to the Republic and to the constitutional order of the Union. Equally significant has been its enduring and organized campaigns to undermine the credibility of the Judiciary, the Congress, and the Executive Branch. Accordingly, the Democrat Party directly and through its numerous institutions have gradually occupied all the ranks of the Civil Service, the Intelligence Agencies, and the courts. The establishment of the bureaucratic state on the federal level enabled the Obama/Biden Administration to illegally penetrate the election campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s opponent, Donald J. Trump. The attempted coup d’etat by former President Barack Obama and his minions in the CIA and the FBI was clearly designed to steal the elections from the majority of the American people. The crimes then committed by President Obama, his Vice-President Joe Biden, CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and others have never been properly investigated. Instead, high ranking federal officials who committed extremely serious crimes against the United States of America and its people cashed in on their criminal conducts by earning millions in book royalties and serving as talking heads in the anti-Republican and anti-Trump media. Combined with the increasingly blatant censorship by the media at large and by the openly communistic social media platforms, these high ranking civil servants enjoyed, and still enjoy, undeserved impunity.
Following the swearing in of President Trump, the deeply entrenched Democrat Party-created bureaucracy never served him loyally. Whenever these hostile bureaucrats were able to ignore, slow down, or outrightly obstruct policy implementations, partly viscerally and partly deliberately, they did everything in their powers to undermine the Republican administration. To wit, they knew that in doing so they could rely on the unconditional support of the Democrat Party and their hired hands in the media. This formidable opposition has acted in the self-serving belief that what is good for the United States of America and its people might be detrimental to their selfish interests.
Of course, the federal bureaucracy’s opposition to the fighter/disruptor President Trump also has had its roots in the Democrat Party’s increasingly militant dogmatism of identity politics and social justice ideology. Identity politics as well as social justice ideology has its gruesome theoretical roots in Marxism, its practical implementation in the Bolshevik revolution, and Lenin’s as well as Stalin’s blood drenched reigns. Their “Salami Tactic” called for driving multiple wedges between workers and peasants, between rich and poor workers and peasants, between the numerous religious organizations and the countless ethnic groups that populated the Soviet Union, and so on and so forth.
In the United States of America this ideology, in turn, has aggressively gravitated between 2016 and 2020 toward the utopian notion of “authentic Socialism”, which in the best case is a mirage and in the worst case global despotism. The four Congresswomen of the so-called Squad, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Cory Booker, alias Spartacus of New Jersey, Senator Kamala Harris of California, and many other members of the United States Congress, have openly espoused sectarian socialist and even doctrinaire communist dogmas.
Armed with an illusion that they could do better with these bankrupt socialist and communist theories and led by an intellectually below mediocre weakling, the Democrat Party in general and Joe Biden in particular, will surely prove to be successful losers. Collectively, they are what the Germans call “Weltfremd,” unworldly in English. As such, they are divorced from their country, their society, their people, and their families. In this manner, they are hostages to their faulty beliefs. As a consequence, they cannot judge the truthfulness of their actions. In this respect, they cannot be distinguished from the Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and the other terrorist organizations. In addition, they are prone to accept conspiracy theories, because they are devoid of real values. Finally, they see the world not through their own eyes, but through the grossly distorted lies of Socialism and Communism. The final outcome of the 2020 presidential election will be a determinative event not only for the future of the American people, but for the entire world. The nine justices of the Supreme Court shall rise above their political convictions and only follow the laws in their entireties. Anything less could lead in the future to unforeseen chaos and tragedies across the globe.
November 7, 2020
By Alex Nester • The Washington Free Beacon
Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.) rushed to defend fellow left-wing Democrats after a colleague blamed their socialist messaging for her near loss in Tuesday’s election.
In a chaotic call with other House Democrats Thursday, Virginia congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who eked out reelection by less than 5,000 votes, blamed left-leaning Democrats’ push to defund the police and defense of socialism for the closeness of the win.
While Spanberger insisted that Democrats should never again utter the word “socialism,” though, Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib, two leftists known for squabblingwith more moderate members of their party, aren’t backing down.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Friday that she hasn’t seen “any compelling evidence” that her progressive push let Republicans flip 10 House seats on Tuesday. Instead, she blamed Democrats’ failure to widen their House majority on poor digital messaging.
The Bronx native then claimed that every Democratic representative who had backed her progressive environmental and health care measures won reelection.
In reality, two Democrats who cosigned the Green New Deal, Florida representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and New York representative Thomas Suozzi, fell to Republican challengers.
After the call, Tlaib declared that she wouldn’t change her messaging.
“Look, I want to feed the poor,” Tlaib said Thursday on The Mehdi Hasan Show. “I want to make sure that we are not picking corporations over people. I want to make sure that we have equity in education funding in our school systems… Nothing’s going to change.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, whose purpose is to secure congressional victories for Democrats, hosted the post-election phone call. Tensions ran high over Republicans’ upset victories and the forecasted blue wave that “never materialized.”
While Spanberger managed to cling to her seat, 10 other House Democrats lost their reelection bids Tuesday, preventing the party from expanding its majority. Despite polling numbers that forecast Democrats taking the majority in the Senate, they have failed to do so there as well.
October 30, 2020
By Larry Fedewa Ph.D. • DrLarryOnline.com
Last week’s column attempted to illustrate how a new feudalism can occur under the guise of a Socialist takeover of the government. The are many moving parts to this movement, and a number of the key elements are already in place. The trap is nearly ready to be sprung. The only obstacle in the new Republican Party of Donald J. Trump. This is why such frantic efforts are continually sustained to defeat him.
In order to more easily understand how this takeover will work, the key pieces of the puzzle will be presented here in a notebook format. (More detail can be seen in last week’s column, “How the new feudalism will happen” (See DrLarryOnline.com)
The underlying issue of this entire movement is the wealth gap which exists in the United States between the mega-billionaires who constitute about 1% of the population and who soon will own about 80% of the financial and real assets of the United States of America and the rest of us. The reasons this trend constitute such a threat to the Republic are several: first, 68% of the US Gross National Product (GDP) – that is the sum of all the economic activity in the entire country – depends on consumer spending. But if the consumer cannot afford to buy those products and services, the economy will shrink, jobs will be lost, more people will be on welfare, and only the wealthy will continue to thrive.
This is true, because the very rich do not do as much purchasing of goods and services as the majority of people do. For example, how many shirts can one man wear? He will spend his money on stock, buying other companies and other investments, thus increasing his wealth. Eventually he and his peers will own or control everything, and everyone will be working directly or indirectly for the billionaires.
This trend has been going on for a long time, aided by the digital revolution and internationalism. The reason I have called this trend “feudalism” is because this kind of economic system was called “feudalism” in the Middle Ages. The nobility owned all the land and all the “serfs” worked for them. Although the serfs were called “free”, they were in fact as tied to their master and his land as any slave.
So, the second reason why the new feudalism is such a threat is the reversal of the Western world’s march toward freedom and equality most notably, and the United States of America most notable of all. The lighted city on the hill would be darkened, its beacon extinguished, its spirit crushed.
The basic strategy is for the billionaires to form what I have called “an unholy alliance” by which they would pool resources and secure the levers of power (the “players” below). The main obstacle to this alliance besides Trump is the reluctance of some major players to join the group. There hasn’t yet been a room big enough to hold all the giant egos. But it will soon come.
Clearly, much of this agenda had already been achieved. The only remaining task is to bring together all the players under one tent. The winning of the 2020 elections with sufficient positions to control the federal government should convince all the players to join the Unholy Alliance and take over the country.
The observation has been made that the takeover of the new oligarchy will be a “soft revolution”, meaning without violence or bloodshed. It will be done through automation, With the communications of the entire nation under the control of High-Tech, the citizens will not be able to communicate except in person or through “Big Brother” as George Orwell predicted in his book, 1984, (he may have been early in his timing, but his description of ordinary life was very revealing!).
From last week’s column, “Most of this scenario has already taken place. The 2016 election was a trial run for the future. The planners believe that the mistakes of 2016 have been analyzed and corrected. The only obstacle is Donald J. Trump. He should have been one of the oligarchs but instead chose to defy the entire alliance, so they tested their system by using the press to neutralize him by a hate campaign, used their bought House of Representatives to impeach him based on their enlistment of the Deep State to provide false evidence.
“They came within one Senate vote of succeeding.
“But still he stands – between total power and secondary status of the Unholy Alliance. He had better beware – if he wins the pending election, he may be walking around with a target on his back.
“The table is set by the Unholy Alliance to take over the country. All that is lacking is a Biden victory in the coming election. The only force standing in the way is Donald J. Trump.
Unless we stand with him.”
October 24, 2020
Will the unholy alliance prevail ?
By Larry Fedewa Ph.D. • DrLarryOnline.com
The events of last week showed us how the new oligarchy will work. The tip-off was the censorship of the New York Post story about the corruption of the Biden family.
As this column presented the findings of the U.S. Senate Committees on the Judiciary and Homeland Security concerning the activities of Hunter Biden and his successful sale of his Vice President father’s influence on behalf of foreign countries for billions of dollars. The Post story presented in convincing detail a collaboration of the Senate Report.
The Tweeter note of this story was taken down by the Alphabet Corporation, which owns Google, and quickly followed by Facebook – both owned by billionaires who have signed on to the Biden campaign.
Social media, in the form of these two companies plus Microsoft, LinkedIn, and several others, have become the major source of new for much of the country and the world. For example, You Tube (also owned by Alphabet) is the primary source of news for 26% of the American population. That is more than any broadcast programming in America.
In order to understand this situation, we will approach its various aspects separately as 1) the basis of this attempt to set the USA on the road to socialism; 2) the National Security crisis which identified the players in this attempt to take over the country; 3) the unholy alliance and how it works; 4) the fallout from the crisis.
1) The basis of this attempt to take over the Government is the familiar problem of contemporary America, namely the wealth gap which now exists. In summary, the 80% of the country’s wealth will soon be controlled by 1% of the population.
The results of this disparity are potentially catastrophic to America because it means that the buying power of the middle class is fast disappearing in an economy which depends (68%) on consumer spending.
Secondly, it means that most of the population will depend on a few billionaires, who will employ most of these individuals.
Thirdly, all that has to be done is for these billionaires to band together in support of the politicians who are indebted to them for their financing and whose votes are therefore controlled by the oligarchs.
There are only three ways to rectify the wealth gap: the (rising water rises all ships – called the Reagan economy – which is also the Trump economy, which has never worked in re-distributing the wealth; give the extra money to the government through taxes, which then distributes it to the 68%, usually through welfare, thus turning independent citizens into an ever expanding welfare class, totally dependent on government.
The third way is a free market re-distribution of wealth. This is a recent movement which is based on a re-definition of capitalism, best exemplified by a new movement called Conscious Capitalism.
2) The National Security crisis which identified the players in this attempt to take over the country
This is the crisis concerning Hunter Biden and his successful sale of his father’s influence to foreign countries and individuals for billions of dollars.
This past week provided a treasure trove of emails and pictures from the younger Biden’s computer hard drive, which clearly identified the work which Hunter Biden was engaged in as well as evidence in his father’s complicit role in this corruption.
Since China was the biggest source of the Biden family take, it is clear that the Democrat nominee is unfit to serve as the Chief Executive of the United States. If true, he is a traitor to his country.
3) The unholy alliance and how it works
The next act in this drama was the withdrawal of the New York Post tweet announcing its story on the Biden’s, soon followed by Facebook. This incident brought to light these firms and the immense power they have accumulated by abusing the federal law exempting them from libel laws.
This was the identification of the final players in the unholy alliance. The observation has been made that the takeover by the new oligarchs will be a soft coup d’ tat, this without violence or bloody revolution.
It will be done though automation. With the communications of the entire nation subject to the control of the billionaires, the people cannot communicate except though “Big Brother” as George Orwell predicted in his book 1984 (he may have been off in his timing, but his description of ordinary life was vey revealing).
So, this is the way it works: The billionaires (player #1) unite to supply and direct the press (player #2), use high technology to control all personal communications (player #3), buy a political party (player #4), fund all its candidates ( player #5) which in turn funds the Deep State (player #6) and BINGO! The Socialist America is born.
Most of this scenario has already taken place. The 2016 election was a trial run for the future. They believe the mistakes of 2016 have been analyzed and corrected, they believe. The only obstacle is Donald J. Trump. He should have been one of the oligarchs but instead chose to defy the entire alliance. So they tested their system by using the presss to neutralize him with a hate campaign, use of the bought House to impeach him based on the enlistment of the Deep State to provide false evidence.
They came within one Senate vote of succeeding.
But still he stands – between total power of the unholy alliance and secondary status. He had better beware – if he wins the pending election, He may be walking around with a target on his back.
4) The fallout from the crisis.
a. The FBI held the Hunter Biden evidence for a whole year, including exculpatory evidence which would have proven that the president was innocent prima facie Leads to the probability that the Deep Sate is still active in the FBI.
b. The Justice Department has filed suite against Twitter and Facebook for obstructing justice (The grounds for the lawsuit are not yet public knowledge.)
The table is set by the unholy alliance to take over the country. All that is lacking is a Biden victory in the coming election. The only force standing in the way is Donald J. Trump.Unless we stand with him.
October 6, 2020
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a fuller essay by Professor Berman, “Leaving Socialism Behind: A Lesson From German History,” that is published by the Hoover Institution as part of a new initiative, Socialism and Free-Market Capitalism: The Human Prosperity Project.
By Russell A. Berman • The Hoover Institution
The images of East Germans eagerly pouring into West Berlin on the night of November 9, 1989, have become symbols of the beginning of the end of the Cold War and, more specifically, evidence of the failure of communist rule in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) and its socialist economic system. Yet that historic moment was only the final dramatic high point in the long history of dissatisfaction with living conditions in the eastern territory of Germany, first occupied by the Red Army during the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and, four years later, established as the GDR when, in Winston Churchill’s words, the Iron Curtain fell across the continent.
Between the formal political division of Germany in 1949 and the final hardening of the border with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, a constant population flow from east to west took place, a movement away from Soviet-style socialism and toward Western capitalism. East Germans stopped voting with their feet only when the construction of the Wall in Berlin made it impossible to leave; outside the capital, prohibitive barriers already had stretched across the whole country. Nonetheless, many continued to try to escape, and hundreds lost their lives, shot by border guards in brave attempts to “flee the republic,” as the crime was cynically designated.
To state the obvious: there are no similar accounts of throngs of westerners clamoring to enter East Germany. Between 1950 and 1989, the GDR’s population decreased from 18.4 million to 16.4 million, while that of West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany, or FRG) grew from 50 million to 62 million.1 This tally is an indisputable judgment on the failure of socialism. The GDR system was unable to persuade its population to remain willingly. Only the Wall and the rifles of the border guards prevented East Germans from departing.
Several distinct, if interrelated, factors contributed to the economic limitations of the GDR. As noted, it emerged from the Soviet Occupation Zone, and the Soviet Union’s treatment of its defeated wartime adversary was harsh. Extensive manufacturing capacity was systematically dismantled and moved to the Soviet Union, further undermining an industrial base already reduced through wartime destruction, although this phenomenon declined by the early 1950s. In contrast, West Germany was benefiting from the very different American occupation and the positive effects of the Marshall Plan. While the West German economy profited from access to the world economy, East German trade remained largely constrained to the Soviet bloc. In addition, from 1949 to 1961, the population flight to the west disproportionately involved middle-class and relatively wealthy East Germans, who took their skills and amplified capital flight. Each of these elements arguably put East German economic performance at a disadvantage.
Yet the primary difference between East German underperformance and the West German “economic miracle” involved the antithetical organization of the countries’ economic systems and the philosophical assumptions underpinning them. Jaap Sleifer writes:
The difference between the two systems may be characterized by the structure of ownership and the degree of centralization in decision-making. West Germany, as a capitalist country, mainly relies on private and individual ownership and control of the business enterprise, whereas in East Germany, as a socialist country, state enterprises were predominant. Regarding the degree of centralization, capitalism provides wide areas of discretion for freedom of individual choice, which leads to decentralization of economic decisions, whereas socialism shows a more centralized approach towards economic decisions.2
The comparative performance of the East and West German economies therefore provides a nearly textbook case of the difference between socialist and capitalist economic paradigms. To be sure, other factors played a role, such as the countries’ differing treatments by occupation forces and the ongoing migration from east to west. Yet each of these two potentially mitigating circumstances was also simultaneously symptomatic of the opposed economic systems: the East German economy was disadvantaged precisely because the Soviet Union imposed its model of socialist planning, while the brain drain (and capital drain) to the west was a function of and response to the effects of the socialist model. In contrast to the imposition of the Soviet model—a derivative of the Marxist ideological legacy—in the GDR, West Germany benefited from the free market vision of thinkers such as Walter Eucken and Ludwig Erhard, who steered it toward its successful model of a social market economy: i.e., a capitalist economy tempered by a social safety net and restrictions on monopolies.
As a result, the contrast between East and West German economic performance became a set piece in representations of the Cold War. In 1960, Bellikoth Raghunath Shenoy, a prominent classical economist from India, provided a journalistic account of his visit to Berlin, not yet divided by the Wall, which included these trenchant observations:
The main thoroughfares of West Berlin are nearly jammed with prosperous-looking automobile traffic, the German make of cars, big and small, being much in evidence. Buses and trams dominate the thoroughfares in East Berlin; other automobiles, generally old and small cars, are in much smaller numbers than in West Berlin. One notices cars parked in front of workers’ quarters in West Berlin. The phenomenon of workers owning cars, which West Berlin shares with the USA and many parts of Europe, is unknown in East Berlin. In contrast with what one sees in West Berlin, the buildings here are generally grey from neglect, the furnishings lack in brightness and quality, and the roads and pavements are shabby, somewhat as in our [Indian] cities.3
He goes beyond economic observations to remark on the culture he sees:
Visiting East Berlin gives the impression of visiting a prison camp. The people do not seem to feel free. In striking contrast with the cordiality of West Berliners, they show an unwillingness to talk to strangers, generally taking shelter behind the plea that they do not understand English. At frequent intervals one comes across on the pavements uniformed police and military strutting along. Apart from the white armed traffic police and the police in the routine patrol cars, uniformed men are rarely seen on West Berlin roads.4
Evidently more is at stake than contrasting consumer cultures or access to privately owned cars. East Berlin is, in Shenoy’s view, symptomatic of a repressive society in which the inhabitants fear authority and shy away from contact with outsiders lest they draw attention to themselves:
The main explanation lies in the divergent political systems. The people being the same, there is no difference in talent, technological skill, and aspirations of the residents of the two parts of the city. In West Berlin efforts are spontaneous and self-directed by free men, under the urge to go ahead. In East Berlin effort is centrally directed by Communist planners. . . . The contrast in prosperity is convincing proof of the superiority of the forces of freedom over centralized planning.
The Perils of Selective Memory
Today it is especially important to remember both objective economic differences between the two Germanies and these subjective experiences: i.e., the dynamic excitement Shenoy felt in the west as opposed to the timidity of the east. Preserving these insights is vital because of current attempts to idealize socialism retrospectively by pointing to allegedly positive aspects of the East German performance.
While socialist-era statistics are notoriously unreliable, it is likely that East German standards of living were in fact consistently the highest in the Eastern bloc: i.e., better than in the other satellite states and certainly superior to the Soviet Union. Yet that hardly proves the success of GDR socialism; Germany long had been wealthier than its eastern neighbors. GDR standards of living also reflected the political pressure on East German leadership to attempt to keep up with the standard of living in the west, of which the East German population was well aware. This constant comparison with the Federal Republic is one unique feature of East German socialism; Poland never had to compete with a West Poland, or Hungary with a West Hungary. Yet artificially propping up the standard of living in East Germany contributed to the indebtedness of the state and its ultimate fragility, and, in any case, the GDR’s living standards never came close to matching what West Germans grew to expect. East Germany’s per-capita GDP has been measured at only 56 percent of GDP in the west.5
Nonetheless, one can hear apologists for the GDR and its socialist system argue that the East German state provided social goods such as extensive child care, correlating to a relatively higher degree of participation by women in the workforce. In post-unification debates, such features are sometimes taken as evidence of the accomplishments of the GDR. Yet in fact they represent instances of making a virtue out of necessity: in light of migration to the west and the dwindling population, raising labor force participation through the inclusion of women became unavoidable.
Such retrospective considerations arise from rosy false memories in the context of post-unification reality. The past may look attractive to those who do not have to relive it. Yet there is in fact no evidence of any significant interest on the part of former GDR citizens in returning to the socialist regime. One can observe some dissatisfaction in the former East Germany with the character of the unification process for various reasons, including a perceived condescension on the part of West Germany. East Germans at times experience the western critique of the GDR as offensively triumphalist, and, worse, they believe that the western critique of the socialist system simultaneously belittles their own lives within the system. This dynamic can generate defensiveness on an individual level, but it rarely turns into a reactive identification with the former regime.
The abrupt transformation of life through the unification of 1990, the economic disruption as East German enterprises collapsed, and the GDR’s sudden integration into a West German and, more broadly, cosmopolitan world has produced the phenomenon of Ostalgie, a nostalgia for the east. Sometimes it is expressed merely as a yearning for the (few) consumer products of one’s childhood, and sometimes it is a more complex psychological orientation toward a remembered youth in an allegedly simpler past. In Ostalgie discourse, the repressive aspects—the role of the Stasi, the secret police, the extensive surveillance network, the lack of a free press—are minimized or absent. The psychological appeal of Ostalgie—of succumbing to the glow of a wrongly remembered past—can be used by left-of-center politicians to conjure the illusion of a better past in order to advocate for statist policies in the present.
The failure of East German socialism to establish its legitimacy by maintaining the loyalty of its population—who, given the chance, evidently would have largely decamped to the west—was a matter of economics, but not only of economics. At stake was instead the broad infringement on human freedom that made life in the GDR undesirable. It is not only in terms of material prosperity that socialism fails.
“We Are the People”
Two pieces of literary and historical evidence testify to the indigenous flaws in the mindset of the East European satellite countries and especially the GDR, where patterns of subordination, obsequiousness, and obedience worked against the disruptive capacities of individuality, creativity, and spontaneity that drive change and growth. The “really existing socialism,” as it was labeled, held a systemic bias against the recognition of any signals that might allow for autocorrection. Infallibility and determinism, hallmarks of socialist thought, systematically eliminate opportunities to undertake modifications on the basis of experience.
The first piece of evidence is the poem “Song of the Party” (Lied der Partei), which became the anthem of the ruling Communist Party of the East Germany. It was written by German-Czech Communist poet Louis Fürnberg in 1949, and remembered particularly for its repeated line that conveys the core message “the Party is always right.”
The Party, the Party, it is always right!
And Comrades, may it stay that way;
For whoever fights for the right
Is always in the right.6
It conveys an unironic insistence on absolute obedience to the organization, which in turn is regarded as all-defining for the existence of its members. Worse, the song propagates a radical consequentialism: if one is fighting for the right, one is necessarily in the right—the end justifies the means. No room remains for any ethical limitation on the instruments one uses to reach a goal. As a document of the psychology and values of GDR socialism, “Song of the Party” helps explain the widespread suppression of individuality. Fürnberg’s ethos also displays the desiccation of political life that radical revolutionary writer Rosa Luxemburg foresaw years earlier as a result of the essence of the Bolshevik program and the socialist enterprise.7
The second piece of literary evidence comes in the summer of 1953, after spontaneous worker protests erupt across East Germany, reaching a high point on June 17 with strikes in all major industrial areas. The Soviet occupation forces suppress the uprising quickly, as protestors are shot and executions follow. Poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht responded to the suppression with a poem that has been repeatedly cited to show the mismatch between statist governance and democratic legitimation. In “The Solution” (Die Lösung), he describes the head of the Communist writers’ organization handing out flyers criticizing the workers for disappointing the government. Brecht’s laconic suggestion: the government should “dissolve the people and elect another.”8
The poem captures the distortion of political life inherent in East Germany, corroborating the prediction in Luxemburg’s critique of the Bolsheviks: that the hollowing-out of democracy and the elimination of rights, consistent with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s animosity to “civil society” and merely bourgeois liberty, produces dictatorship as the defining feature of socialism.
Such was Communist culture in the early years of the GDR. Later, just before the end of the socialist regime, matters had begun to change. There is evidence that servility and subordination were giving way to different personality types no longer consistent with authoritarian rule. “Sometimes this results in exaggerated anti-authoritarian behavioral patterns,” wrote Walter Friedrich, the director of the Youth Institute, in 1988. There also were expectations of greater freedom in personal lives and in relationships, such as “the demand for freedom in choosing a partner, and surely also the phenomenon of cohabitation and the high divorce rates here,” Friedrich wrote. “The greater demands by women, especially younger ones, for self-determination should also be regarded from this perspective—right up to feminist postulates.”9 He went on to report on how changes in personality characteristics were also leading to greater engagement in organizations such as church groups and the environmental movement. A protest potential was growing.
A year later, the East Germans were pushing their way into West Berlin. Even after the border opened, some continued to harbor illusions that the GDR might remain a separate state. Parts of the East German intelligentsia and cultural elite promoted this idea; after all, they had often benefited from relatively privileged positions. But in the voices of the demonstrators during the fall of 1989, especially in Leipzig, where a series of “Monday demonstrations” unfolded, and then in Berlin, an important transition took place. The crowds expressed aspirations to end not only the dictatorship but also eventually the division of Germany. Before the opening of the Wall, in October and early November, the demonstrators regularly chanted, “Wir sind das Volk” (We are the people), asserting the democratic claim on popular sovereignty against a regime that had never achieved legitimacy through a free election. “We are the people” was, in effect, a call for a realization of the democracy that had been consistently denied by the dictatorial character of GDR socialism, precisely as Luxemburg had predicted would develop out of Lenin’s pattern of suppressing of elections and civil rights. As in Russia, so too in Germany.
On October 3, 1990, East Germany—or, more precisely, the five Länder in the territory of East Germany—joined the Federal Republic, leading to the formation of a single German state and the end of the post–World War II division. Whether this unification was inevitable is a matter of academic speculation at best. What one can say with certainty is that the specifically socialist character of the GDR—its poor economic performance and its constitutively repressive character that precluded political processes of democratic legitimation—made the continuity of an independent state deeply unappealing.
In the end, East Germans chose to abandon socialism to pursue greater prosperity and political freedom through integration into the liberal democracy and social market economy of the Federal Republic. There are few regrets.
October 4, 2020
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court, and the future of American democracy
By Matthew Continetti • The Washington Free Beacon
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has clarified what is at stake in the 2020 election. It is not, as some believe, democracy itself. Nor is it, as others assume, our continued existence as a nation. Democracy will survive Donald Trump, and the United States of America will outlast Joe Biden. The question that 2020 will help to answer is what sort of democracy, and what sort of nation, America will be as it prepares to enter the second quarter of the 21st century.
The reaction to Ginsburg’s death, and to Republican plans to fill her seat on the Supreme Court, underscores the choice before the electorate: Does it prefer to live in a democratic republic ordered toward the principles of the Founders and the constitutional structure they designed to protect individual liberty? Or would it rather dwell in a plebiscitary democracy where the original meaning of the Constitution, when it is not explicitly repudiated, is politely overlooked in order to satisfy ever more radical egalitarian demands?
Needless to say, the answer is up in the air, and has been for some time. But we may be nearing a settlement, one way or another. The civil unrest of the past several months has made unignorable the existence of a large body of opinion that holds something is terribly wrong with America as founded, something that cannot be redeemed, and that American history and American institutions must be drastically revised to atone for the injustices committed against racial minorities. President Trump, in his inimitable way, has made the opposite argument, and called for a renewed appreciation of the American story and a resurgence of national pride.
Ginsburg’s passing heightened the tension. Suddenly an abstract cultural debate was transformed into a concrete political-legal struggle, and the prospect of lasting victory for one team (Trump and Mitch McConnell’s) looked real. The fight over the Supreme Court vacancy Ginsburg left behind also illuminated the lengths to which some progressives are prepared to go to make real their vision of the future. And it is in their openness to institutional upheaval that the real import of this election may be found. If enacted, the measures these Democrats propose would warp our constitutional system. They would turn the American government into a creature far different from the one the Founders made. This would be the upshot of the “structural reform” that, until the last week, lived mainly on Twitter and in the heads of policy wonks.
These Democrats say that, if President Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg is confirmed, and next year brings a Democratic president and a Democratic Senate, then the first order of business for the new government, in the middle of a pandemic and a troubled economy, will be abolishing the legislative filibuster and packing the Supreme Court by adding anywhere from two to four justices. Such a move, which even the greatest president of the 20th century was unable to achieve, would polarize this country even more than it already is, and delegitimize the Court in the eyes of millions. But it is just the start of what some on the Democratic left would like to accomplish.
The Electoral College has been on the chopping block since 2000. If it goes the way of the dodo, presidential campaigns thereafter will be determined by who has the greatest allegiance in the biggest cities of the largest states. To override the supposed Republican advantage in the Senate, where every state enjoys equal representation, some progressives would grant statehood to Washington, D.C., and to Puerto Rico, and maybe Guam and American Samoa while they’re at it. These changes would make it much easier for Congress to eliminate private health insurance, enact universal vote by mail, “decarbonize” the economy, grant citizenship to illegal immigrants and voting rights to noncitizens, suppress political speech, resume taxpayer funding of abortion, and cross out the Second Amendment. The sheer number of bad ideas in play would be overwhelming.
Now it is true that at least the first item on this agenda would be debated according to the present rules. And the multiple veto points within the American kludgeocracy would no doubt interfere with, and sometimes upend, the boldest plans of the progressive Democrats. It is also the case that incorporating new states gives rise to challenges both constitutional (are we really willing to grant the remaining residents of the federal District of Columbia—the first family—three electoral votes?) as well as political (does Puerto Rico even want to be a state?). But the very fact that we are having this conversation at all—and that Biden, at this writing, has neither ruled out the court-packing scheme nor said whom he would nominate to the Court—ought seriously to worry defenders of the Founders’ Constitution.
In 1963, in the first chapter of The Conservative Affirmation, Willmoore Kendall offered his definition of American conservatism. Conservatives, Kendall wrote, oppose the “Liberal Revolution” that would replace representative government with majoritarian democracy:
Put an end, the Liberals insist, to ‘rural overrepresentation’ in the lower house of Congress and in the state legislatures—bringing them in line with the principle one-man one-equal-vote. And that principle, once adopted (it is French political philosophy, not American), must call finally for abolition even of the U.S. Senate as a check on majorities, and would in any case make the House the creature of numerical majorities at the polls. Abolish the electoral college, the Liberals insist further, and so make the President also the direct agent of the popular majority. Reform the party system, the liberals insist still further, so that each of our parties shall be programmatic, ideological—like those of the ‘real’ democracies in Europe—and that the two parties together shall submit, at election time, a genuine choice to the electorate. Abolish the filibuster—so runs the next point in the program—because it frustrates, serves no other function except to frustrate, the will of the majority. Rescind the seniority-principle in congressional committees, the program continues; it also obstructs the will of the majority. Now give the Liberal attackers their way on all these points, and the form of government explicated in the Federalist Papers will be no more.
That is what 2020 is about.
September 8, 2020
Is there still a place for labor at the table of a “Conscious” company?
By Larry Fedewa, Ph.D. • DrLarryOnline.com
My first experience with a union came when I represented the newsroom’s intention to hold a vote for a union to the publisher of a national weekly newspaper. I had a summer job there after my first year as a high school teacher.
Later, as a training developer, I wrote, produced, and oversaw one of the largest industrial training programs in history for the Railway Labor Executives’ Association (a council of all major rail union presidents). I also executed major projects for the Federal Railroad Administration, AMTRAK, Conrail, and others. Still later, I worked very closely with the National Education Association, the professional teachers’ union in a major joint venture, a national research project, and addresses to two national conventions.
The reason I mention all this background is to establish my position as an ardent supporter of the labor movement. My comments come from a firm commitment to the need for workers to take their place at any table which determines their fate. The purpose of this essay is to explore a possible alliance between unions and “conscious” companies.
The first factor in this dialog would be the fact that “Conscious Capitalism” promotes the most expansive view of workers’ rights ever to be advocated by corporate management in the history of capitalism. At last, workers are accorded the respect due to major stakeholders in the organization, whether a corporate giant or an entrepreneurial start-up. Almost always this means sharing in the profits of the company if not outright stock ownership.
This view of the business flows from an idealistic definition of the enterprise which includes, among other things, the function of profits as a necessary means to a greater good. The greater good is the mission of the firm as providing a community service through the sale of its goods or services. Conscious Capitalism challenges everyone in the organization to contribute to the fulfillment of this mission and provides the resources to do so.
Conscious Capitalists also tend to be anti-union.
Most believe with former Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, that unions introduce an adversarial relationship between management and labor which detracts from the collegial environment necessary for the Conscious Capitalist company to be successful.
True to that description, the unions argue that underneath the sheep’s clothing, Conscious Capitalists are really hiding their power to dictate and enforce their own definition of workers’ rights. The workers ultimately have to accept that definition or find another job. With every company defining workers’ rights in its own way, no standards will be set or recognized. This is just the same old thirst for power presented in modern dress.
So, what’s the answer? Is there a place for unions in a Conscious Capitalist company or not?
The first element of the answer is: if the employees want a union, there is a place for a union. During a transitional period such as the current one, there will continue to be employers who do not accept the new ways. The old paradigm of management versus labor will be in place and needs to be followed.
Over time. however, more and more companies will join the new movement – particularly since there is much evidence accumulating that indicates “Conscious” companies are substantially more successful financially.
In order to maintain its relevance, therefore, labor will have to adapt. The first step in that direction is to find a new answer to the question of a union’s role in a worker-friendly enterprise. Here are some ideas.
First, many companies will be trying to transition to the new style. Unions could help them succeed. But why not hire a consultant or new senior staff to guide the company in the new direction? These may be useful measures, but no one outside the organization has the same motivation and investment in success as the people working there now. However, they are generally as inexperienced as the owners.
Involvement of a knowledgeable and sympathetic third party can be welcome to all sides. However, the union must be truly invested in the cooperative approach in order to be credible. To achieve this posture, unions should be reaching out to the small but growing body of Conscious Capitalism experts. Honest discussions about sensitive issues will profit both sides.
Another role for unions in the new world of work we face is that of advocating national (and international) standards of what constitutes workers’ rights in this new century. As movements like Conscious Capitalism illustrate, 40-hour-workweeks, paid vacations, pensions and health care are not always enough to keep the economy going in the right direction.
Today’s workers want to be part of the company in new ways, ranging from profit-sharing, to shareholders, to open communication with governing bodies, including full financial disclosure, to a “cooperative culture”, and many other new practices. Workers want to be treated as persons, not robots.
This transitional period is reminiscent of the early days of the TQM (Total Quality Management) movement, which can be seen as an earlier step in this direction. The eagerness of workers to become involved in contributing their ideas and expertise to product development and manufacturing was often almost tangible. It revealed to many of us just how much talent had lain dormant in our workforce.
The contention here is, of course, that unions as well as management must embrace this new style of company culture as the means to solving our wealth gap between the rich and the middle class. The reduction of taxes and regulations of the Trump era are doing much to enhance the wages of the lowest income workers.
But from a macro view, the real challenge is to enrich the middle class, which is responsible for much of the consumer economy on which our national wealth ultimately depends. The Leftists want the government to use the tax system as the instrument for re-distributing America’s wealth from the very rich to everybody else (legal or illegal). That would weaken the individual’s motivation to work hard on which America’s free market capitalism has been built and which has created all this wealth.
Conscious Capitalism is an answer to the question of how we solve the wealth gap without turning to socialism. Union support – with an updated agenda – will help America achieve the right outcomes.
September 2, 2020
By George Landrith • Breitbart
President Trump has done a lot in his first term to strengthen the U.S. Economy, make America more competitive, and bring good paying jobs back to America. As a result, before the Chinese COVID pandemic and the almost complete economic shutdown imposed by various governors and mayors, Americans saw their wages on the rise at record levels and had record high employment opportunities. So President Trump gets high marks for his work on the economy and understanding market forces. But I am concerned that his administration’s “most favored nation” executive order, which would impose an international pricing index on medicines and drugs in Medicare Part B, is a huge mistake and will do a great deal of harm both to our economy and to those who suffer from illness and disease and are in need of cures.
Most of the nations that would be used in the international pricing index have socialized medicine. So, effectively such an approach would simply import an element of socialized medicine to America. President Trump has wisely opposed attempts to socialize our medical industry.
It is worth noting that the U.S. is the unchallenged world leader in the development of new, innovative, and life-saving medicines. There is a reason for this, and it isn’t because all the smart medical minds are born in America. We are the world’s leader in innovation because our system of intellectual property makes it potentially profitable to invest millions and even billions into research to develop new devices, processes, and medicines. Most medicines cost hundreds of millions of dollars to develop. Some work and provide miracle cures. Some don’t pan out. But that investment has to be recovered at some point. That’s simply how reality works.
If you’re going to invest and risk millions of dollars trying to develop something new and innovative, you want to know that if you’re successful, you can get your investment back over time when the new product is sold to the public.
If government makes it clear to those who do such research that the law will not permit them to recover their investment, that needed research will come to an effective end. Then we will see far fewer innovative cures that save and improve lives in the future. Who pays the cost of that policy? Everyone who at some point during their life becomes sick, needs medical help, and hopes not to live a diminished life or even worse, die. People who are suffering and dying of terrible diseases will be left to suffer and die because government de-incentivized medical research that could have treated them.
Many of the nations that would be used in the international pricing index tell American drug manufacturers what they will pay and typically demand prices well below the costs of developing the medicine. Often, they are only willing to pay the cost of producing the pill, but won’t accept paying for the full research and development that made the pill possible.
Why do American firms sell to them given the legal plunder that these governments engage in? Because often if they don’t sell at the demanded price, they are told they cannot sell any medicine in that nation. So in effect, these foreign governments engage in legalized robbery or blackmail of American pharmaceutical firms. That leaves Americans to pay the full cost of the research and development. And it is one of the big reasons Americans pay more for medicines than Europeans. Simply stated, Europe cheats and steals.
President Trump has worked hard to be sure that Americans are treated fairly in the trade agreements that he has negotiated. As a result, we see a resurgence in American manufacturing and good paying American jobs. The administration should use trade agreements to require developed nations — like those in Europe — to pay their fair share for the medicines they use.
Every developed nation should be sharing the costs of research and development. When Europeans buy mobile phones or computers or TVs, the cost they pay includes not just the cost of the parts to build the device, but also the costs of research and development for the product. There is no reason why they shouldn’t do the same for medicine.
If developed nations are paying their fair share of the research and development costs, Americans won’t be forced to bear the full cost. So if you want to have lower cost medicine and lots of future new and innovative medicines and cures, forcing developed nations to pay their fair share is a much better approach than importing their incentive-killing socialized medicine tactics.
I encourage the administration to continue to use trade agreements as a way to make sure that Americans are not cheated and robbed by other nations. This is a win-win approach. We will get the benefit of less costly medicines and we will get the benefit of a system that incentivizes innovation and research into new cures and medicines. This will save American dollars and lives! That is a policy that we can all get behind!
August 17, 2020
By Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyi • Frontiers of Freedom
Presently, in the United States of America sanity is on the defensive and ubiquitous idiocy is on the offensive. The destructive fascination with money and power has overtaken not just the entire Democrat Party, but also the most radicalized and extremist fringes of their fellow travellers. The labels they all employ against their real and perceived opponents are stupid and non-sensical. Moreover, those labels are meaningless too, because they do not define the essence of human intentions and conduct. Finally, anything that does not fit their anti-American, anti-Democratic, and anti-Capitalist rhetoric is simply eliminated from their vocabulary. Calling the police, the national guard, and the military racist for just doing their duty, which is the maintenance of law and order, is an outright lie. Designating illegal aliens who break the law dreamers, while those whom they kill or injure are not even mentioned, are the height of hypocrisy and heartless cynicism. Their ideologically blinded harping on “White Supremacy” demonstrates that they still do not understand why they lost the 2016 elections so badly.
American society appears to be on the brink of an approaching civil war. The only person standing between law and order and total anarchy is President Trump. Therefore, the ultimate success of his campaign for reelection lies in how effectively it can manage to face his opponents, to provide a positive vision for the present and the future, and to unite the people around the motto of genuine love for the country.
For the better part of the second half of the 20th century and the subsequent two decades of the 21st century, the marauding anti-American forces, headed by the Democrat Party, have been attempting to undermine the constitutional principle of rule by majority, the concept of equality under the law, and the theory of political, economic, cultural, as well as educational freedoms. With such a mindset, the Democrats’ policies have been shaped for the streets and not for the country at large. The result has been the abandonment of the political culture based on the rule of law and the glorification of anarchy and chaos. Their latest campaign to substitute in-person voting with mail-in ballots amounts to an attempted revolution at the ballot boxes, which surely will result in wholesale electoral fraud. Clearly, no democracy can be built on lies.
Their other hoax has been identity politics. In essence, this is tribalism on steroids. Ultimately, it is based on false racist authority and not on individual merit. Its application in real life has led to lies, abuses, and ultimate betrayal of the constitution and the objectivity of the judiciary. If the United States loses its merit-based character, Americans will end up with a spineless and dysfunctional society. The fake Steele Dossier, the Flynn investigation, the Russia Hoax, and the attempted coup d’etat by former President Barack Obama and his political appointees should be sufficient warning signs for the future.
To sum up, the Democrat Party has set itself on a collision course with the majority of the people and adopted a political strategy that will ultimately destroy the United States of America. The most glaring trait of the Democrats’ destructive politicians is their nauseating hypocrisy by putting social justice before freedom. The Democrat Party’s current so-called leaders have created in the last three and a half years a crisis every month with different persons and groups of people as a way to fan political extremism and hatred, while distracting from the hollowness of their policies. Thus, by emphasizing diversity to the extreme, they have undertaken to divide the nation, while employing poisonous rhetoric to ensure that the thus differentiated groups will hate each other. In this manner, politics and justice have been corrupted for nefarious power purposes.
Diversity has also given rise to the politics of personal dislike. Under this mentality, President Trump is an enemy, because he has been doing what is best for America and not for privileged minorities that will support discriminatory policies. To add international insult to domestic injury, the newfound hatred of the Democrat Party against Russia is also based on personal emotions rather than sound policy. Russia is the living reminder for Democrats that Socialism failed before reaching the political apex of Communism. Simultaneously, they hate the United States of America, because it beat the Soviet Union and thus demonstrated the superiority of Democracy and Capitalism over the Communist Party’s dictatorship. Conversely, the People’s Republic of China appears to be more successful with its Communist Party in total control of the country. Accordingly, Democrat criticism of President Xi has been minimal, if at all.
Not trying to be facetious, but the Democrat Party has succeeded to rewrite Marx’s Communist Manifesto by calling upon their “Sturmtruppen” to destroy America thus: “Looters, Marauders, Criminals of the World Unite.” Furthermore, as the Manifesto claims, a “spectre” or specter is haunting the United States of America, and this “spectre” is the Democrat Party’s convulsive and insane attempts to replace the Republic with a pseudo-Marxist Communist dictatorship. Not unlike Marx, who never gave any attention to the individual, because with him it was always about the cause and the ideology, the Democrat Party inspires to gain absolute power to the detriment of the national soul of the United States of America. Clearly, Marxism has always run against human nature. For this reason alone, the current Democrat Party’s policies are absolutely inhuman and antisocial.
However, history has taught the world that there is no greater disaster than greed. If a government becomes a bureaucracy of men and not the laws, the entire nation is destroyed. If the political culture abandons conversation and relies exclusively on hateful argumentation, national unity will cease to exist. Clearly, the Democrat Party maneuvered itself into a vacuum of lies. It has no useful messages, no leaders, and no consistency. The macabre return of Joe Biden, a totally useless idiot and at best a mental case, will only further radicalize the party and its followers. His tortuous selection process that produced Kamala Harris reinforces the fact that America was founded by geniuses but under the current misguided political requirements are claimed by idiots. The Democrat ticket only offers a progressively demented presidential nominee with a running mate that is a complete fraud.
For all these reasons, the Republic is in mortal danger. A minority that worships absolute power wants to overthrow the constitutional order by undemocratic means. Having failed to obtain permanent majorities on the local, state, and federal levels, they have targeted the weakest branch of the federal government, the judiciary. In addition, for this purpose, they have also conquered the media and the institutions of education from kindergarten to universities. With the election of Barack Obama, the most incompetent president in American history, who famously promised to “fundamentally change America,” meaning to introduce Nkrumah’s amd Kenyatta’s African Socialism in the United States of America, this minority, which only amounts to no more than 20% of the population, believed that they finally reached their goal. They thought that the country is marching toward Socialism. Suddenly they were stopped on their tracks. The dream was over and the momentum was gone with the unexpected defeat of their nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016. This development understandably pushed them into total desperation. They just could not reconcile themselves to the new situation. Thus, the movement of illegal, unconditional, and total resistance to President Trump was born. Since his inauguration, the Democrats have been fighting like the rat that is cornered.
Meanwhile, Democrat presidents have reacted by launching political as well as economic campaigns with alternating intensity and varying degrees of success. Strategically, all of them have shown hesitation as well as weakness, and almost total disregard for the cultural aspects of a fringe minority’s extremist agenda. In general, mostly it was the politics that was more public, while the economic efforts were discussed and implemented usually behind the scenes.
Yet, the political and the economic measures taken have lacked coherence. With the exception of President Reagan, his Democrat successors were more concerned about protecting their electoral base, rather than creating a comprehensive vision for the future. For this reason, instead of confronting the destructive challenges of the radical and extremist minorities, they tried to survive politically by forging ambiguous compromises with the latter. These usually unprincipled and multipronged solutions were totally inadequate to successfully face the uncompromising and increasingly violent forces, especially the irrationally radicalized and insufficiently educated black gangs.
At least from the justified shooting of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, by Officer Darren Wilson, that gave rise to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the Democrats have undertaken several attempts to change the political and legal foundations of the nation, while further eroding the constitutional order. In spite of repeated attempts by the Republicans and from 2017 by President Trump, measures to protect the constitution have failed to stop the Democrats to promote the domestic and international destruction of America. Therefore, if the Democrats could maintain their control over the House of Representatives, additionally take over the Senate, and defeat President Trump in November 3, 2020, they assuredly will try to force the country into a new and politically disastrous equation. In this case, the United States of America as we have known it for over 240 years will cease to exist. Coupled with the present economic situation that is already significantly damaged, due to the pandemic, the present and future viability of the greatest nation on earth will be fatally compromised.
Under these exceptional circumstances, the skill and prowess of President Trump have lay in how he has managed thus far to simultaneously promote his pro-American, pro-rule of law, and pro-economic growth agendas in an unimaginably hostile and even hateful political atmosphere. Yet, for the better part of his presidency, President Trump has been on the defensive against the Democrats as well as the overwhelming majority of the written, electronic, and social media. By trying to exploit the pandemic, they routinely disseminate false information and outright lies about President Trump, the Republicans, their supporters, and the international reactions.
In order to counter these nefarious attacks, the President and his campaign must launch a comprehensive political and cultural campaign. The effectiveness of his campaign will depend on how it will manage addressing the electorate on a number of fronts: in the written, electronic, and social media, within the various groups of society, in the different regions of the country, and in the mobilization of all patriotic Americans. Each of these fronts presents in and of itself a unique challenge, but taken together they comprise the great Leftist threat. Therefore, instead of executing a global election strategy, the campaign must be broken down into more individual components and apply heightened flexibility and creativity to confront each one in a unique way.
Being on the offensive mainly means that the campaign’s chief target should not be the ticket, but rather the American electorate. As far as the ticket and the opposition to President Trump are concerned, the strategy must be relentless and aggressive attacks on all possible and imaginable fronts. In this context, exploiting human and non-human weaknesses of the opposition is a must. Planting fact-based stories with lightning speed and utilizing the methods of investigating journalism must be a priority too.
Lastly, and perhaps the most complex challenge, is the international situation. Recognizing this complexity is important, because the Democrat Party will use Joe Biden’s non-existent experience and expertise to criticize President Trump’s and his administration’s handling of foreign affairs. Neither is Kamala Harris endowed with any foreign policy knowledge and experience. In fact, she knows nothing about foreign affairs or the global economy. Consequently, major efforts must be exerted to expose these glaring weaknesses of the Democrat ticket. Any distortion and lie must be immediately rebutted. This will require a group of specialists and close cooperation and coordination among political, economic, financial, cultural, and global international experts. Whether through American or foreign individuals, the extent of the Democrat ticket’s incompetence is so obvious, any option must be welcome and put into practice without any delay. Any opportunity to expose the ridiculous claim that Joe Biden is a foreign policy genius must be utilized to its full extent. At the same time, President Trump’s campaign must emphasize that America’s allies and friends must unite against Joe Biden and his supporters, because together they represent a common threat to everybody.Finally, the campaign must adopt a slogan that would encapsulate its essence: “Love America.” Protecting and maintaining the Republic must be the overriding requirement for all Americans. To be loved is to be understood. Those who want to erase, to falsify, and to distort American and world histories must be confronted with decisive force. Those who falsely glorify tribal racism, also called “multiculturalism” must be exposed and defeated. What will save America and the world from the onslaught of the uneducated, destructive, and immoral mob is the vigorous defense of American and universal values. On this issue alone there cannot be any compromise. Any guilt syndrome, namely a psychologically sick response wherein a goodhearted individual starts to identify with his or her executioners, has no place in the United States of America or in the rest of the world. Otherwise, the infantilization of America and the world would only lead to the denial of reality and the glorification of hopeless destruction.
August 8, 2020
By Dr. Miklos Radvanyi • Frontiers of Freedom
In today’s America, as so many times before in the country’s history, the responsible majority that has always desired to uphold the founding principles of the Republic and the good-for-nothing miniscule minority that has been hell-bent to destroy everything, are splitting up into a non-symbiotic rite of passage between the past and the present, as well as between assuming power through legitimate elections versus seizing power by employing malicious lies combined with ruthless violence. However, when these two conflicting viewpoints to political and economic powers are juxtaposed, the events and occurrences of the past several months can be put into perspective for anyone paying even scant attention to the future of the United States of America.
The protests that have been triggered by the death of a hardened criminal George Floyd during his arrest for alleged criminal acts on May 25, 2020, first in Minneapolis and then in several other Democrat controlled cities, have taken over an outsized portion of the political discourse in America and across the globe. Quickly joined by an opportunistic as well as politically braindead Democrat Party and an irredeemably corrupt media, the often hate-filled narrative surrounding George Floyd’s death first became a spicy and exciting story, and then a discombobulated myth nurtured by racial hatred toward the overwhelming majority of the American people.
The pernicious and highly inciting narrative initially has focused on the misleading reporting that George Floyd was an innocent and even saintly black man murdered without any reason by four evil, racist policemen. As the protests have spread, this lying narrative has expanded to claiming that all anti-racist, meaning non-white, people are taking to the streets and rightfully demanding wholesale changes in a disciplined and peaceful manner.
At the same time, America is marking three-and-a-half years of the Trump presidency with the new presidential election looming on the horizon amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The artificially manufactured baseless political crises by the Democrat Party slavishly propagandized by most of the official and social media, have given rise to a general atmosphere of mutual hatred. What started out as protests against alleged police brutality and racial bias has quickly deteriorated into ubiquitous mayhem and senseless violence. Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and an assortment of loosely organized mentally unstable groups that later have become known as “anti-racist” and “social justice” protests, have come together to oppose the Trump Administration as a systematically racist and even “Nazi” and “Fascist” government.
Yet, these increasingly hateful and extremist fringe groups have not captured the minds and hearts of the vast majority of Americans across the nation. Clearly led by individuals who admittedly espouse extremist Communist ideas and egged on by like minded idiotic Democrat members of Congress, their hateful and overtly political message against the President has already alienated the overwhelming majority of the American people. Moreover, beyond alienating this majority, the claims that the United States of America is an institutionally and systematically racist country, with all the police forces, national guards, and military, which is trained for brutality against the black population, have angered not only the Caucasians, but also all the non-black minorities.
Clearly, the political strategy of the Democrat Party is to utilize this destructive mob to propagate lies about the United States of America, its citizens, and the rest of the world. Moreover, this political strategy also aims at preventing everybody from fighting against these egregious lies by getting to the truth. Finally, the deeply complicit official and social media are used to disseminate subjective, unreliable, and untrustworthy information, in order to hide the facts from the people.
Allowing these viscerally anti-American and scantly educated so-called politicians, journalists, and rag-tag idiots to control the political, economic, and social narratives is a sure recipe for an inevitable national catastrophe. For this reason alone, they must be stopped decisively. Dialogues and compromises will only lead to the gradual erosion of the federal, state, and local institutions, and the constitutional principles upon which their legitimacy rests.
Accusing almost the entire American nation of its alleged moral shortcomings for being the most predatory and humanly despicable country is factually absolutely incorrect. Its purpose is to create moral equivalency between the current lawlessness that destroys statues, expresses utter disdain for the national anthem by kneeling, burns the flag as an expression of anti-patriotism, wages war on America’s history, intimidates law abiding citizens, terrorizes nonconforming students, distorts world history, spreads lies about the state of affairs across the globe, and attacks free speech by using hateful sobriquets against all opponents, and the real historic achievements of a great country.
A mere rejection rather than the total defeat of this toxic and evil movement would only mean the steady weakening of the Republic as we know it. Even well-intentioned political compromises would result in the likely regrouping of the destructive forces to repeatedly attempt their coup d’etat in the future under more favorable circumstances. In the minds and at the hearts of individuals championing a single issue, proposing compromises is perceived as weakness on the part of their opponents that can be exploited rather than being viewed as constructive offers that should be contemplated, and even reciprocated.
It is in this uncompromising and hateful context that the presidential election in November will have to take place. Allowing a mentally clearly demented person to assume the presidency would only move the United States of America closer to the global abyss. Being governed by the lies of the Democrat Party would take America into a political vacuum with no chance of future recovery. To prevent such an outcome the American people must reject the destructive forces and vote for the constitution-based constructive vision of President Donald J. Trump.
March 22, 2020
By Steve Forbes • Real Clear Policy
Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders recently told “60 Minutes” it would be “unfair” to say “everything is bad” about Cuba’s Fidel Castro and the Communist revolution he staged during the 1950s. Even fellow Democrats could not believe their ears. Sanders went so far as to describe Castro as a man of accomplishment, noting how Castro started a “massive literacy program” for the people of Cuba. Sure he did, right after he wiped out thousands of his political opponents, created forced labor camps, seized the property of all dissidents, and imposed country-wide religious repression. Sanders sounds like the defenders of Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator of Italy, who praised Mussolini for making the trains run on time and draining the malarial swamps around Rome.
Bernie conveniently ignores how the brutality of Castro’s government forced millions of Cubans to flee their homeland, leaving behind all their possessions. And let’s be clear, Sanders’ commentary was not a mistake. Even the New York Times notes how Bernie has a long history of lauding Castro’s government, expressing “…praise not only for Mr. Castro in Cuba but also support for the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Sanders’ remarks likely cost him the recent Florida Democratic primary given the widespread opposition to communism and socialism within the Latino community.
The sad reality is that Bernie Sanders honestly believes Cuba’s model of government should be replicated all over the world. This process is happening in Venezuela, where another brutal dictator, Nicolas Maduro, with the backing of Cuban security forces, is destroying the nation he is supposed to represent.
The situation in Venezuela is tragic. The country has experienced near-total economic and social collapse under Maduro’s corrupt regime. President Trump is correctly acting to oust Maduro by imposing harsh economic sanctions against Maduro’s government and the Russian and Cuban businesses helping him. The tough sanctions are placing massive pressure on Maduro, and the president should stay the course.
But the Trump administration should take care not to eliminate America’s presence in Venezuela as part of a strategy to drive Maduro from power. America has maintained a century-long relationship with Venezuela — specifically with Venezuela’s energy industry. Venezuela sits on the world’s largest oil fields, and it’s imperative that Russia, China and Cuba are not allowed to gain unconstrained access to these oil fields. If American companies remain in the country, they will be able to help the next democratic Venezuelan government rebuild quickly.
Some of President Trump’s advisors believe it might be a good idea to force American companies to exit Venezuela and further tighten the economic screws on Maduro. But if American companies leave Venezuela, it will likely make it harder for the Trump Administration to remove Maduro and his criminal regime from power. An American exit would only empower Maduro and strengthen Russia, and Cuba’s hold on the country.
We certainly don’t want Venezuela to become another Cuba, but this could happen if America withdraws completely. If American companies leave, it will remove the last barriers to a complete Communist takeover by Cuba, financed by Russia, drug cartels and other criminals.
President Trump has wisely imposed crippling sanctions against Venezuela’s Maduro and the international actors that support him. The Trump team should let this process play out while preserving America’s Venezuelan presence for the future.
Sanders’ flippant remarks are a sharp contrast with President Trump’s tough but fair approach to Venezuela. Hopefully, America will continue to stand strong against Maduro while keeping the door open for a future relationship with a democratic Venezuela.
March 17, 2020
Everybody gets a free ride!
By Dr. Larry Fedewa • Dr. Larry Online
Recent polls show that a large plurality of Americans prefer socialism over capitalism. On its surface, such a preference is shocking. Digging beneath the surface, however, we find a somewhat less alarming reality. So, let’s dig a little.
The first question is, what do most of those Americans think “socialism” means? To many of our fellow Americans, “socialism” has been defined by Bernie Sanders, the socialist Senator from Vermont. He describes socialism in terms of an expansion of “human rights” into services, notably health care, higher education, and income parity, if not equality. He advocates free delivery of these services to every American. He also believes that the USA should have open borders, inviting anyone who wishes to become an American citizen to come at will.
Then there is the other side of his views. He also believes that Americans’ access to gun ownership should be severely restricted. He says that climate change is “an existential threat” to the world and adopts the “green agenda”. That agenda includes the elimination of fossil fuels, and the substitution of renewable forms of energy (even though no such energy sources exist) and the re-entry of America into the Paris Accord, which obligates the USA to pay the bill for converting the major polluters of the world (China and India) to renewables. These are samples of the price we would pay under a Sanders idealized world-view for all the “free” services.
The Sanders followers tend to be one of three types: 1) inexperienced and idealistic youths, 2)people who see themselves as victims of life because of poverty or rejection or discrimination, and 3) the educated idealists who long for a perfect world, frequently from the safe perch of academia. They are not the people who have to pay the price of this fantasy. It is therefore not hard to understand why this vision has attracted so many followers that it now dominates the Left Wing of the Democrat Party.
While this description of socialism consists principally of concrete policies, there is an underlying theory on which these policies rest, and which is not much discussed by Mr. Sanders and his followers. That theory in a nutshell is that the rich and privileged of society occupy their elevated position due to their oppression of the poor and neglected people in that society. Justice therefore demands that the elite be rejected in favor of the underclass and the wealth of the society be spread equally among all its members. Essentially, that means the riches of the elite be taken away and be distributed to the poor. The only instrument which could accomplish this feat is government. But, in the end, the means by which the upper class retains its power over the underclass is force through police and army. The shorthand for this is “whoever has the guns rules”.
Revolution is therefore inevitable. To this point the description of socialism follows the views of Karl Marx, a 19th century German philosopher. It was his works which were the basis of the Communist revolutions of Russia and China, among others. Marx’s ideas led to dictatorships because, the revolt of the proletariat (i.e. the oppressed) took military force to achieve, and the strong leaders of these armies were not about to give up power as soon as they won the war, especially since the transitions to new leadership were long and bloody. Once established, the leaders became dictators, and in the name of the revolution, the new State took over virtually everything. Personal freedom was no more available to the Communist society than it had been under the royalty.
Another version of socialism evolved in Europe and other areas, such as Canada, Australia, and South America. This version maintained the supremacy of the State and its obligation to provide free services to the masses, but it recognized private property as well as democracy in the form of elections of government officials. Some countries found this system very unstable, with frequent changes of government, e.g. Italy and Greece. For others, it was stable and productive, e.g. Germany and France. Many of these nations adopted strong strains of capitalism (i.e. free markets and independent judiciary). Some of these countries cannot be called “socialist” in the 21st century (e.g. Denmark, Iceland).
It is reasonable to assume that Bernie Sanders is talking about this form of socialism, which he calls “democratic socialism”, although he does not speak in ideological terms. The issue then becomes, what is the difference between “democratic socialism” and “democratic capitalism”?
There are two major differences: 1) Government responsibilities versus individual responsibilities; and 2) Restrictions on government versus restrictions on individual freedoms.
Responsibilities: government and personal
Restrictions: government and individual
In the 21st century, however, our experience is that many of the characteristics of capitalism are also evident in socialist countries. The differentiator is the trajectory into the future which each form of government is on. Socialism leads invariably to dictatorship (China, Russia, Venezuela, Cuba) or bankruptcy (Greece) and capitalism leads to resilience and prosperity (USA).
For now, Americans must follow their instincts – freedom forever!
March 14, 2020
Column: Bernie Sanders isn't a relic. He's a preview of things to come.
By Matthew Continetti • The Washington Free Beacon
Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief. Joe Biden’s victories on “Mini Tuesday” make his delegate lead all but insurmountable. Bernie Sanders’s electoral weakness, compared with his performance four years ago, has dulled the fear of an incipient socialist takeover of the world’s oldest political party. The left is said to have talked itself into believing its own propaganda and helped President Trump equate Democrats with socialism. Victory in the primary did not come from pledges to eliminate private health insurance or impose wealth taxes. It followed from the perception that Biden is the candidate best able to defeat Trump.
Don’t write off the socialist revival just yet. Sanders might not win the Democratic nomination. But this outcome does not mean the forces that propelled him to second-place finishes in the two most recent Democratic primaries will vanish overnight. Abandoning the intellectual fight against socialism, both inside and outside the Democratic Party, would cede the field to an increasingly sophisticated and networked band of ideological activists whose influence in media and politics is greater than their numbers. Such ambivalence could have devastating consequences for American society.
The resurgent left has pushed Biden far beyond where he stood as vice president. And a socialist infrastructure guarantees the philosophy’s longevity. Aspiring Democratic politicians must at least deal with, if not pay obeisance to, groups such as the Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America. Especially if they inhabit a deep-blue district ripe for picking by the “Squad.”
Fashionable, lively, radical, and controversial outlets, including Jacobin, Current Affairs, the Young Turks, Chapo Trap House, and Secular Talk, complement popular Instagram and Twitter accounts. And the New York Times magazine’s “1619 Project” shows that the mainstream media is responsive to, and willing to participate in, the latest trends in anti-Americanism.
The most obvious reason not to dismiss the Sanders phenomenon is demographic. On Super Tuesday, Sanders won 30- to 44-year-olds by 18 points, and 18- to 29-year-olds by a staggering 43 points. He defeated Biden by 9 points among Hispanic voters and by 25 points among Asian voters. Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country. Hispanics are second. Sanders’s protegée, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 30-year-old woman of Puerto Rican descent, represents this ethno-generational cohort. Their place in American life will not be denied.
Right now, socialism is unpopular. Last month only 45 percent of adults told Gallup they would vote for a socialist for president. Last year a 51-percent majority said socialism would be a “bad thing” for the United States. But Gallup also found that the number who said socialism would be a “good thing” had risen to 43 percent in 2019 from 25 percent in 1942. A majority of Democrats have held positive views of socialism since 2010. A willingness to adopt the socialist ideal is most pronounced among the young. A YouGov poll conducted last year for the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 70 percent of Millennials are either “somewhat” or “extremely” likely to vote for a socialist.
It is the decline in institutional religion that drives the resurgence of socialism. Gallup found that church membership among U.S. adults has dropped precipitouslyover the last two decades, to 50 percent in 2018 from 70 percent in 1998. Why? Because the percentage of adults who profess no religious affiliation has more than doubled. It has gone to 19 percent from 8 percent. The Millennials exhibit the lowest percentage of church membership among generations. Pew says the number of Americans who identify as Christians fell more than 10 points over the last decade as the number of religiously unaffiliated spiked. Here too the largest falloff was among Millennials.
Religion not only offers answers to the most powerful, definitive, and ultimate questions of human existence and purpose. It anchors individuals in a particular authoritative tradition defined by doctrinal orthodoxy and refined through multigenerational practice. People released from these bonds are capable of believing anything. Thus, socialism has returned at the same time as climate apocalypticism, transhuman and transgender ideology, anti-vaccination movements, anti-Semitism, conspiracies, and ethnonationalism. In this climate of relativism and revisionism, where the most outlandish theories are a Google search away, both Marxism and utopian socialism seem credible. Nothing is too absurd.
Irving Kristol said that it is easy to point out how silly and counterproductive and even deadly socialism has been, in so many respects, but difficult to recognize its pull as an emotional attachment. The love of equality and progress makes for a special and durable political passion. “Socialism,” wrote Irving Howe in 1954, “is the name of our desire.” In the absence of an intellectually coherent and morally compelling account of the inequalities inherent to liberal democracy, so will the desire remain.