Obama’s economic “stimulation” strategies that mirror those of the Progressives who caused/prolonged the 1929 depression

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/stimulating_our_way_to_depress.html

September 27, 2009
Stimulating Our Way to Depression
By David Nace

In 1932, FDR had an opportunity to change the conventional way that governments deal with a recession. His predecessor, Herbert Hoover, who also had a tendency towards central planning, had started the process. Instead of allowing markets to correct themselves as they had in all the previous panics, as depressions were then called, both men instituted programs of government intervention.

Hoover signed the Smoot Hawley tariff even after many of the leading economists of the time personally implored him not to sign it. A tariff would help improve farm prices, which was a cornerstone of the progressive movement. He asked businesses not to lower wages, as had been done in previous panics. Wages remained high but unemployment soared.

Although Roosevelt had campaigned on a platform of balanced budgets, once in office things changed. Many of his advisors were college professors and writers from within the progressive movement. Very few were trained economists, but several had been to Russia and seen Stalin’s central planning first hand. Others had an admiration of Benito Mussolini’s nationalization of industry in Italy. Once FDR was in office they were determined to apply what they had seen in America.

The utility industry had been one of the most highly leveraged industries to be affected by the Stock Market Crash, and was essential to industrial production. The newly developed utilities were grossly overvalued similar to the internet companies of the 1990’s or the housing industry of early last year. By 1932, utility stocks were worth a mere fraction of their 1929 value. FDR began to plan how the government would replace private utilities as a large scale electrical power producer. This would also enable him to take credit for providing thousands of construction jobs and control energy production. The first government utility was the Tennessee Valley Authority. It would provide power in the Appalachian region rather then allow private industry to electrify the area.

To prevent wages from going down in response to the demand for labor, FDR instituted the National Industrial Recovery Act, which allowed large business to form cartels in exchange for allowing unionization of their plants. This helped large businesses that had lower costs absorb the additional costs of unionization but was very damaging to small businesses. Wage rates were 25% higher than they should have been, but so was unemployment. Prices for goods were also 25% higher then they should have been.

When unemployment failed to go down as the result of the NIRA programs and the associated unionization, FDR instituted numerous make work programs through out America. These programs employed not only construction workers but also actors, artists and writers. These programs also greatly increased government expenditures and the national debt.

FDR and his progressive advisors generally resented those people that earn more then their college professor salaries, especially industrialists. They blamed industrialists for not hiring more people to reduce unemployment. This gave progressives justification to raise the marginal tax rates on the wealthy from 26% to above 90%. The wealthy responded by investing in other types of investments and their share of the total tax revenue actually fell during the Depression.

Even though the ideas and programs that FDR and the progressives instituted were not effective in preventing the stock market crash of 1929 from turning into the Great Depression, they were effective in creating a loyal voting base. By demonizing the wealthy, FDR was able to take credit for the government jobs his programs created at the expense of jobs in private industry that the provisions of the NIRA took away. FDR learned by 1935 that a crisis should never go to waste.

If this narrative sounds familiar, it should. The progressives of the 1920’s that had been shut out of politics since Wilson’s administration needed a crisis to return to power and institute their ideas of central planning in America. Today liberals are trying to do the same. Progressives of the 1930’s stifled industrial production with regulation and unionization and today they want to do the same. During the Depression, progressives wanted to control the production of energy, today they propose cap and trade to do the same thing.

Socialists then and now rely on the writings of the economist, John Maynard Keynes to justify large government spending programs to stimulate the economy. However, Keynes himself wrote to FDR in 1938 questioning his spending programs and why FDR would use only one aspect of his economic theories. The answer is very simple: government programs create the illusion of improving the economy. People only see the jobs created by government programs, never the jobs that are lost in the private sector to create them. Programs focus on the benefits that will be provided to a particular segment of society, never to who pays for those benefits. Progressive solutions buy votes but not economic prosperity.

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Obama and the Last Hurrah of Liberalism

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/obama_and_the_last_hurrah_of_l.html

September 25, 2009
Obama and the Last Hurrah of Liberalism
By Steve McCann

Sometimes in the history of a nation what appears to be an action that could lead to long term disaster may, in fact, be its long term salvation. A case in point: the election of Barack Obama as President and the Democrats in full control of the Congress. To be certain the far left domination of government was not a situation to be wished for but in a perverse way one that was necessary.

Over the past fifty years, regardless of who was in the White House or in charge of Congress, no one has been able to halt the incessant spread of left-wing radicalism in our institutions and the uncontrolled spending and growth of government. When a President as accomplished as Ronald Reagan was unable to do so it is apparent that no future Republican President or Congress, short of major national catastrophe, will ever be able to fully turn back this tide as they cannot overcome the apathy of the people and the hostility of a partisan media, entertainment establishment, academia and federal bureaucracies.

A long as the American people remained largely disengaged the damage done to the society as a whole and to the long term financial health of the country was unknown to the vast majority of the population. This indifference has begun to show some change as the reality of the nation’s future comes into focus, but that reality has started to come to the fore only as the result of the policies being perused by a far left government.

Today, thanks to a confluence of two factors, the opportunity exists to reverse the course we have been on and change the political power structure in the country.

The first: the emergence of alternative news sources to once and for all break the stranglehold of the dissemination of news by the traditional outlets dominated by the left.

The second: The election of a radical left-wing President and a Congress controlled by the same radical element of the Democratic Party.

President Obama is an offspring of the 1960’s radical movement. He has spent most of his life surrounded and tutored by members of this group. He is the culmination of the ideal stealth candidate able by his gift of rhetoric, race and good timing to ascend to the office of President. The left found, as Joe Biden put it “a clean and articulate” nominee with surface charm and charisma able to fool enough citizens into voting for him.

A trait common to those on the far left is an inability to have any humility; there is an intense conviction of superiority both intellectually and in their capability to rule the masses. The true believers are incapable of hiding their philosophy and, once elected, are convinced that nearly everyone does or should share their dedication to the power of a central government. Those that do not conform will be demonized. These extremists will move heaven and earth to achieve their ends regardless of any long term consequences and cannot avoid shouting from the rooftops what they are doing as tribute to themselves.

The determination of Obama and the Congress to exploit the financial and economic crisis in order to pass their radical agenda has had the effect of kicking over the rocks and exposing for all to see the undermining of the social and fiscal foundation of the nation by the left-wing radicals in Congress, the Administration and within many of our institutions.

Would the country be as aware of the following if not for an extremist government in power in Washington? Acorn and the “community organizer” groups have been revealed to be nothing more than corrupt partisan hacks exploiting the poor and the taxpayers. The unions and their leaders exposed as power hungry ideologues with no interest in the long term well-being of their members. The mainstream media’s willingness to lose all credibility with the vast majority of the public with its not so subtle cheerleading for their preferred politician has become obvious to all. The Democratic Party, at one time the self-declared defender of the little guy, has openly declared war on small business and capitalism. The Democratic members of Congress have been revealed to be indifferent to the voters, incapable of reading bills and fully in the pockets of liberal special interests groups

Further the Administration has blithely declared a tripling of the national debt over the next 10 years as if it were immaterial. President Obama has championed “health care reform” and a “carbon tax” in an attempt to control the day-to-day lives of the American people. There are now 32 advisors (czars), to the President, most being left-wing ideologues, with the power to implement his agenda, none of whom have been approved by the Senate.

While the readers of the American Thinker, viewers of Fox News and the listeners to Rush Limbaugh may be expected to be aware of these factors, now with the backdrop of unfettered spending, the high jobless rates and the potential for national bankruptcy more and more of the general public has become aware of the radical nature of the present government.

President Obama and his Party have failed to understand the basic character of the American people and the many polls taken over the years showing this to be a right of center country. They further underestimated the power of the alternate media before they had an opportunity to silence it. While the timing may have been there to have to have a “moderate” Barack Obama elected President, the timing to turn the United States into a bastion of socialism was not. The infiltration of the various institutions by the left has not been in place long enough to change the character of the majority of the population and the use of the strategy of guilt to intimidate the American citizens has run its course, it has been overused.

To date the damage done has been considerable, but it is not irreversible. In essence Barack Obama and the Congress won their offices too early in the history of our nation to achieve all their objectives; by doing so and overreaching this left wing government has given the country an opportunity to awaken from its 50 year slumber and repair the foundation. Only a radical Presidency and Congress could have achieved this before it was too late. The only questions that remain: will the aroused and more knowledgeable populace continue to be aware and elect those that will make the changes necessary and will we as a nation take advantage of this potential reprieve?

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America Spoke Yesterday

2009-09-13_173808http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/america_spoke.html

http://www.foxnews.com/video/index.html?playerId=011008&streamingFormat=FLASH&referralObject=9479241&referralPlaylistId=playlist

September 13, 2009
America Spoke
By James Simpson

America spoke September 12th in Washington, DC. Real America. Not black America, not white America, not Hispanic or Asian America, not even conservative or liberal America. Real America. There were mothers, sons, fathers, daughters, newborn children and kids on the way up; there were many, many elderly and a lot of disabled folks, young and old, in wheelchairs. Many of these people had never been to a protest before in their lives. People were pleasant, polite and considerate. There was not a drunken eye in the house. The most unlikely bunch of domestic terrorists one could ever imagine. Contrast that with the Leftists’ “peace” movement in Seattle a few years back.

We are not liberals or conservatives. We are Americans. I am not a conservative, I distain that label. It was dreamt up by some leftist so people like me could be buttonholed and dismissed as, “oh, he’s just a conservative.” And as the media has fallen further into the Left’s maw, conservative has morphed into “rightwing” which has morphed into “radical rightwing nut” and inevitably, “fascist!” Of course Hitler was in fact a leftist, and allied with Stalin until he realized he had been duped. But the left glosses over that inconvenient truth, as they do with the truth generally.

I am an American. I believe in American values; that is, the principles and guiding documents on which this country was founded. Is it conservative to understand, appreciate and defend the United States Constitution? All public officials make a solemn pledge to uphold it. Are they all conservatives? Is it conservative to believe in the First Amendment? So are all journalists conservatives? These days, many “journalists” are actively trying to suppress any news that doesn’t fit their agenda. They are not trying to suppress “conservative” speech; they are not hypocritically trying to stifle “alternative” views. They are attempting to systematically shut out the truth.

In fact, there are no “conservatives” and “progressives,” there are Americans and un-Americans. There are no “traditional values” versus “progressive values,” there are those who have values and those who do not. There is not traditional morality and new morality; there is only morality and immorality. There is no “Right” and “Left,” there is only right and wrong!

And the Left, personified today by Barack Hussein Obama, is horribly, horribly wrong.

This rally resoundingly confirmed that America has woken up. Of course, before we even got there, we fully expected the mass media to play down the event. On the bus drive in, we agreed the media would put the attendance at “tens of thousands.”

Sure enough, practically every news outlet in the United States has reported “tens of thousands.” ABC, NBC, CBS and even Fox gave those figures; however the CBS headline only said “thousands.” Dan Rather’s ghost must still haunt the editorial rooms. Interestingly, The British Daily Mail newspaper reported “up to two million.”

Early on, someone erroneously reported that ABC had said “two million.” ABC later reported an estimate of 60,000-70,000. That quickly became the news of the hour, as the Leftist netroots sought to discredit the event by focusing on this mistake, even accusing Michelle Malkin of somehow posting a fake screenshot of the march. They later recanted, but continued to accuse her of inflating the attendance numbers, a charge easily disputed by just reading what she said.

Surprisingly, MSNBC’s Tom Costello disputed NBC’s own reported “tens of thousands” which they claim came from Park Police. (Since the “Million Man March,” which the National Park Service estimated at much less than one million, they no longer provide formal estimates.) Costello said that “Our own people (NBC’s) say in the hundreds of thousands.” Surprisingly His report was perhaps the most honest, straightforward report of anything I saw from the networks. See it here.

I think NBC got it right. Here is a series of time lapse photos of the march from 8:00 am to 11:30am. The crowd was constantly anywhere from 25 to 50 abreast. I know. I walked in the middle of it, along the sidewalks to move forward quicker, and around the entire circuit, up to and beyond Senate Park. At times, we were so crammed together, breathing became strained. Taking the low number, and assuming a line of 25 crossing a given point every second for three-and-a-half hours, gives you about 300,000. Whatever the actual number, it was certainly magnitudes greater than “tens of thousands.”

It was fun checking out all the signs. I took tons of pictures. The collage below is just a few of the many good ones I saw.

As one blogger related:

Chants on the march included “Shut down ACORN!” and “Boot Charlie Rangel!” and “Don’t tread on me.” There was not a single “Hey Hey/Ho Ho” in evidence. Songs included “Glory Hallelujah” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” The most moving chant might have been when we walked past the Newseum, with its ginormous carving of the First Amendment on the side, and the crowd spontaneously said “Read that wall! Read that wall!”

I was in the crowd that began shouting “Read that wall!” as we passed the Newseum. It was indeed ironic to see the First Amendment covering the entire front of that ten story building, and to consider how vicious, unprincipled and dishonest has been MSM attempts to shut us up. It prompted that spontaneous outburst from the crowd.

My two favorites though, were “You Lie!” and “Here we are!” the latter being Steve Elliot’s retort to Barack Obama’s insulting threat, “we will call you out,” which prompted a riotous uproar from the crowd.

I only saw a few astroturfers at the entire event: one lonely, frightened looking ACORN girl trying desperately not to be noticed, and a singing troupe. This was obviously a professional gathering. The men were dressed in tuxedos and women in formal black dresses. They sang a well-rehearsed song about loving the evil Blue Cross/Blue Shield just as it was, and held perfectly printed signs, like “Our Death Panel Turns a Profit” and “Let them Eat Advil.” The satire of course, was meant to convey that this is what the “status quo” gets you: bad, expensive coverage. It was a prime example of the Left’s typical non-sequitur argument: things are terrible now and you’re terrible for resisting change. The argument illogically assumes things couldn’t get any worse. Newsflash: things can always get worse, and under Socialism, they always do.

Here’s a great short video of march highlights. See a good Glenn Beck video about the march too, with added comments by Chuck Norris.

Meanwhile, Obama fled to Minnesota for the weekend, finding, not surprisingly, an adoring crowd to sit raptly at his feet while he expounded on the virtues of his health plan as counterpoint to the march. The White House laughingly denied having any prior knowledge of the march. As the Washington Examiner reported:

On Friday the White House claimed they had no idea the rally was even planned. A ridiculous assertion that shows how dismissive the Obama administration and the Democrat-led Congress are of those who oppose their agenda. It is impossible to believe that President Obama knew nothing of the event. The denial is a perfect example of why the President is losing the trust of many Americans. He stretches his credibility to its limits, and beyond.

Amen.

All it all it was a great day for America. The sleeping giant has awoken again. We are on the march, literally. Now the work begins.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/america_spoke.html at September 13, 2009 – 06:37:51 PM EDT

Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose

http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/49525427.html

MEDICINE AND HEALTH: Here’s a Second Opinion
By Scott W. Atlas

Ten reasons why America’s health care system is in better condition than you might suppose. By Scott W. Atlas.

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Medical care in the United States is derided as miserable compared to health care systems in the rest of the developed world. Economists, government officials, insurers, and academics beat the drum for a far larger government role in health care. Much of the public assumes that their arguments are sound because the calls for change are so ubiquitous and the topic so complex. Before we turn to government as the solution, however, we should consider some unheralded facts about America’s health care system.

1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).

Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.

More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).

Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).
5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

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This essay appeared on the website of the National Center for Policy Analysis on March 24, 2009. An earlier version was published in the Washington Times.

Available from the Hoover Press is Power to the Patient: Selected Health Care Issues and Policy Solutions, edited by Scott W. Atlas. To order, call 800.935.2882 or visit http://www.hooverpress.org.

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Scott W. Atlas is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of radiology and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical School.

Find this article at: http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/49525427.html

Copyright © by the Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University

Liberal NY Times columnist praises autocracies, as long as they have “enlightened” leaders as in China today

From:

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

From: http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZDcxZDkzN2EyNDQwYTQzNWNjNjdiZWNiZTIzYTcwOTA=

Thomas Friedman is a Liberal Fascist [Jonah Goldberg]

Mark beat me to it, but I must put in my two cents. Thomas Friedman writes: (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/opinion/09friedman.html?_r=2)

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.

Our one-party democracy is worse….

So there you have it. If only America could drop its inefficient and antiquated system, designed in the age before globalization and modernity and, most damning of all, before the lantern of Thomas Friedman’s intellect illuminated the land. If only enlightened experts could do the hard and necessary things that the new age requires, if only we could rely on these planners to set the ship of state right. Now, of course, there are “drawbacks” to such a system: crushing of dissidents with tanks, state control of reproduction, government control of the press and the internet. Omelets and broken eggs, as they say. More to the point, Friedman insists, these “drawbacks” pale in comparison to the system we have today here in America.

I cannot begin to tell you how this is exactly the argument that was made by American fans of Mussolini in the 1920s. It is exactly the argument that was made in defense of Stalin and Lenin before him (it’s the argument that idiotic, dictator-envying leftists make in defense of Castro and Chavez today). It was the argument made by George Bernard Shaw who yearned for a strong progressive autocracy under a Mussolini, a Hitler or a Stalin (he wasn’t picky in this regard). This is the argument for an “economic dictatorship” pushed by Stuart Chase and the New Dealers. It’s the dream of Herbert Croly and a great many of the Progressives.

I have no idea why I still have the capacity to be shocked by such things. A few years ago, during the worst part of the Iraq war, I wrote a column saying that Iraq needed a Pinochet type to bring order to Iraq and help develop democratic and liberal institutions. To this day, I get vicious hate mail from liberal and leftist readers for my “pro-dictator” stance. Meanwhile, Thomas Friedman, golden boy of the NYT op-ed page, is writing love-letters to dictatorships because they have the foresight to invest in electric batteries and waterless toilets or something. It looks like there’s reason to hope I was wrong about Iraq (I certainly hope I was). But at least I favored a dictatorship of sorts — for another country! — because I thought it would lead to a liberal democracy. Here, Friedman lives in a liberal democracy but has his nose pressed up against the candy store window of a cruel, undemocratic, regime and all he can do is drool over the prospect of having the same power here. It’s disgusting.

Deformation of the English language to political correctness

From: http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?urlSeptember 05, 2009

The Point of the Dagger

By Jed Gladstein

A dagger is pointed at the heart of America. Its point is the deliberate misuse of the English language for the purpose of influencing how Americans speak and think. If the dagger is driven home, reason itself will be the principal victim.

Reason is the human faculty concerned with forming good conclusions and making sound judgments.[1] It is the power of intelligent thought, and it takes us step by step on a journey to knowledge. We use words to take that journey because, as the English philosopher Francis Bacon once observed, words are the “footsteps of reason.”

 

But, as Bacon understood quite well, words are a form of code. It is what they stand for that carries meaning, not the words themselves. Thus, to be meaningful, words must be faithful to what they describe. When words lack fidelity, they cease to convey authentic meaning and become an obstacle in the path to knowledge.

 

In America today, it isn’t difficult to find linguistic infidelity. A few conspicuous examples suffice to illustrate the point:

 

  • Undocumented immigrants for illegal aliens
  • English plus for Spanish language education
  • Economic justice for criminally confiscatory tax policies
  • Tax rebates for government handouts to people who pay no taxes
  • Tax loopholes for legal ways that people can try to keep their own money
  • Affirmative action for legally mandated racism
  • Equal employment opportunity for legally required ethnic and gender quotas
  • Reproductive health services for abortion clinics
Each of these linguistic deceits is an individual affront to reason, as are thousands of others just like them. But what is more important is that they are part of a deliberate campaign to manipulate our language in order to control how Americans speak and think.

 

More than three hundred years after the death of Francis Bacon, another Englishman by the name of George Orwell warned about the dangers of totalitarian language manipulation. In his book 1984, Orwell described a society that controls what people think by the propagandistic use of a language called Newspeak.[2]

 

Newspeak narrowed the range of human thought and shaped how people perceived reality by using manipulative words and phrases instead of authentic vocabulary. In Orwell’s book, any ideas that the power elite considered objectionable became literally unthinkable because “Big Brother” simply eliminated the words that expressed those ideas; and “Thought Police” made sure nobody used the remaining vocabulary in a way that expressed ideas the power elite considered unacceptable.

 

1984 was published in 1949, and sixty years later an Orwellian derivative of Newspeak is poised like a knife to strike at the vitals of America.[3] Of course, the modern power elite does not advertise itself as the ideological descendant of Big Brother, and its totalitarian functionaries don’t call themselves Thought Police. But the purpose of their movement is to strip the English language of its ability to communicate in any manner that the power elite considers unacceptable,[4] and the apparatchiks of the elite are just as determined as the Thought Police to control how people speak and how they think.

 

We have all become familiar, of course, with the transformation of our language by political elites who habitually invoke the name of “the people” while governing in an arbitrary and dictatorial fashion.[5] In an excellent article for the National Taxpayers Union, Mark Schmidt cites a few examples of this phenomenon and concludes that if the Orwellian trend in American politics continues, “our language will ultimately be useless to express the ideas that form the basis of rational political discourse in a healthy republic.”

 

The same process of Orwellian language manipulation is being pursued by America’s religious elite. In an article entitled “Making a Revolution by Changing the Meaning of Words,” Frank Mobbs alerts Christians to the fact that “familiar religious words have apparently lost their original meanings.” Many leading Scripture scholars, he says, “continue to use orthodox-sounding expressions, but behind these are radically different intentions and definitions”

 

Yet, as alarming as Orwellian language manipulation is in politics and religion, it is even more insidious in the American education system. For at least thirty years, the education elite has been manipulating words, textbooks, and course curricula in order to fabricate a “narrative” that will reshape the thinking of American students in ways that the elite considers more acceptable.[6] In the process, the education establishment has produced millions of supposedly well-educated citizens who lack a critical understanding of the significance of Western civilization in general and American history in particular. Charlton Heston recognized this in a 1999 speech he gave at Harvard Law School, in which he called the education elite to account for subverting America’s campuses with

 

“political correctness … that’s about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart.”

 

In his speech, Heston noted that PC-speak is part of a “culture war” being waged against America. A similar idea is expressed in a 2003 article for Newsmax by Paige McKenzie, in which she observed that by

 

“infiltrating … the halls of government at every level — along with the movie theater, the media, the work place and particularly the classrooms — the radical left has taken control of America’s culture, political language and national identity.”

 

McKenzie’s article goes on to supply some illuminating quotes from David Horrowitz’s book Left Illusions.

 

Horrowitz, one of the intellectual luminaries of what used to be known as the New Left, provides valuable insight into the culture war being waged against America. He correctly observes that

 

“It is culture that is the crucial factor in shaping the American identity, not ethnicity or race …The left’s multicultural offensive is an attack on America’s national culture, not on its racial or ethnic composition. ‘Inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ are not the real agendas of the left … [Their] agenda is the deconstruction of America’s national identity and culture and particularly the American narrative of inclusion and freedom. The multiculturalism narrative is not about the assimilation of minorities into the crucible of American freedom, but their liberation from American ‘oppression.'” [Emphasis added.]

 

In describing the agenda of the radical left as the “deconstruction of America’s national identity and culture,” Horrowitz exposes the real purpose of the Orwellian language manipulation we are seeing in our country today. But the end game of the radical left isn’t just the deconstruction of traditional America; it is the reconstruction of America according to the precepts of a radical left totalitarian ideology. In a speech entitled “The Origins of Political Correctness,” Bill Lind traces how traditional economic Marxism morphed into the “cultural Marxism” that drives the radical left’s attempt to transform America today. In his speech, Lind notes that economic Marxism and cultural Marxism both:

 

  • Give special status and power to certain people at the expense of other members of society, not because they have earned it by their own merit, but because they are members of a “victim” group. In economic Marxism, it is the “workers” who are seen as victims and therefore entitled to wrest power from the “capitalists” and the “bourgeoisie.” In cultural Marxism, it is blacks, Hispanics, feminists, homosexual activists, and similar “victim” groups who are entitled to take power from “white society.” In both economic and cultural Marxism, anyone who objects to the totalitarian tactics used by the members of a victim group must be ridiculed, “reeducated” and punished.[7]
  • Look at history through the prism of a single-factor explanation. In economic Marxism, history is seen as being determined by who owns the means of production. Cultural Marxism says that history is determined by which group – defined in terms of race, sex, etc. – has power over which other group. Thus, “Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts any meaning desired. So we find, for example, that all of Shakespeare is about the suppression of women, or the Bible is really about race and gender.”
  • Rely on expropriation of wealth to empower members of the “victim” group. In Russia, for example, “… they expropriated the bourgeoisie, they took away their property.[8] In America, “when the cultural Marxists take over a university campus, they expropriate through things like quotas for admissions.” In fact, “affirmative action in our whole society today is a system of expropriation.”

 

Lind concluded his article by observing that although cultural Marxism is on the rise in America, “we don’t recognize it because we call it Political Correctness …”

 

He leaves his readers with this grim warning about political correctness:

 

“[I]t’s growing and it will eventually destroy … our freedom and our culture.”

 

These are frightening words. And they might be prophetic unless the American people begin to resist the Orwellian language manipulation that is taking place in our country. To do that, we have to recognize that there is nothing “correct” about political correctness. It is a propagandistic use of language designed to influence how we think to such an extent that the cultural Marxists will have a free hand to deconstruct America and replace it with their own totalitarian vision of society.

 

In their war against America, the cultural Marxists are counting on the assistance of a powerful tactical ally — the tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without critically thinking about the results of their action or inaction.[9] That is why the cultural Marxists put such a premium on the propagandistic use of language in politics, media, and education. They know that if the people can be lulled into complacency about political correctness, the war is already half won. And they know that linguistic deception is the easiest way to ensure people’s complacency.

 

The cultural Marxists also know that Truth is their enemy, but they do not understand that truth is more than a mere inconvenience — something to be suppressed whenever they think it is expedient to do so. What they don’t grasp is that Truth is a palpable reality, an actual force in the Universe; and it is far more powerful than the ideology of cultural Marxism. Unbeknownst to the cultural Marxists, Truth carries a unique resonance in the human heart, and regardless of how long it takes the conscious mind to receive the messages of the heart, anything less than the Truth will ultimately be perceived as dissonant and rejected by the human spirit.

 

Contrary to the view of cultural Marxists, it is the human spirit – not human ideology — that is the infallible arbiter of human history. And human history teaches that when we lay the foundations of civil society on the ground of untruth, we build civilization on quicksand. No matter how many resources we devote to propping up such a construction, it will inevitably slip into obscurity. That is why the forces of cultural Marxism that are seeking to build a totalitarian society in America through linguistic deceit will ultimately fail. But the death of the noble experiment that is America may well be the interim price of their failure, and a great many American lives may end up being sacrificed on the altar of their totalitarian ideology before Truth can restore the balance.

 

Francis Bacon once said that “reason with speech” is a gift from God. By divorcing words from their true meanings and delegitimizing words with authentic meanings, the cultural Marxists are turning their backs on a divine gift and threatening reason itself. For those who understand that words are the “footsteps of reason,” the lesson is quite clear. The antidote to cultural Marxism in America is an authentic vocabulary – one that vigilantly preserves linguistic fidelity. “It is time,” as Wendy McElroy put it, “to reclaim the richness of the English language … verb by verb, adjective by adjective.” Anything less will be inadequate to stay the hand that holds the dagger that is pointed at the heart of America.

 

Jed Gladstein is an attorney, author and educator.

 


[1]  There is a school of thought that reason is somehow opposed to faith. However, reason is the mechanism we use to understand what is currently knowable at the empirical level. Faith is the mechanism we use to understand the exponentially greater part of reality that is currently unknowable at that level.

 

[2]  Largely by virtue of the book 1984, the word Orwellian has now achieved the status of a colloquial expression in the English language. It means the political manipulation of words by people in authority for the purpose of concealing the truth and eliminating ideas they consider objectionable. In 1984, any word, phrase or idea whose existence made it more difficult for the power elite to propagate and enforce its own point of view was ipso facto deemed objectionable.

 

[3]  America isn’t the only country threatened by Orwellian language manipulation. It threatens all of Western civilization. Indeed, even the word civilized has now been delegitimized in England.

 

[4]  A recent example is afforded by Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano’s refusal to use the word “terrorism” even once during her confirmation testimony before Congress. Although the primary mission of the Department of Homeland Security “is to prevent terrorist attacks” on America, and the department was created as a direct result of the Islamic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Napolitano insists on using the phrase “man-caused disasters” because “we want to move away from the politics of fear.” [Emphasis added.] According to Napolitano, the American people are supposed to accept this Orwellian manipulation of the English language as a mere “nuance.”

 

[5]  In a rare peek behind the façade of modern representative democracy, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently announced to a group of largely indifferent mainstream media reporters at the Washington D.C. Press Club that the Obama administration intends to “coerce people out of their cars.” [Emphasis added.] The totalitarian thinking that lies behind LaHood’s remark is the rule, not the exception, for the political elite in this country. Whatever one may think about LaHood’s professed objectives, his evident willingness to coerce Americans, rather than persuade them, is inherently repugnant to anyone who honors free will and understands the proper function of law in society. (See: Law and Lawfulness in a Civilized Society)

 

[6]  Although individual instances are easy to find, it would be a task of almost herculean proportions to compile a complete list of Orwellian manipulations by the education elite in this country. There are, however, some excellent articles available on the World Wide Web, and there are many books that deal with the subject, such as Diane Ravitch’s The Language Police – How Pressure Groups Restrict What Our Students Learn.
 
[7]  Lind notes that “terror against anyone who dissents from Political Correctness” is part of cultural Marxism, just as it has been part of economic Marxism. His criticism is harsh but suggestive. We don’t have Gulags and involuntary commitments to “psychiatric hospitals” for social dissenters in America (at least not yet), but cultural Marxists are making significant inroads on our freedom of thought and speech. As Wendy McElroy notes, American students are often required to attend so-called “sensitivity training” sessions as part of a re-education process that includes public ridicule and humiliation for whites and males because of their race and sex. As for punishment, one only needs to look at what happened to Carrie Prejean, who lost the Miss USA pageant and her position as Miss California-USA because she publicly declared her non-PC belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
[8]  Expropriation is the preferred method for totalitarians on both the left and the right to seize power from those who disagree with them, and to secure the grateful obedience of their followers. It amounts to legalized theft and social bribery. It is actually a tactical maneuver of questionable strategic significance, but it has the short-term virtue of being easier to accomplish than creating new wealth.
[9]  Hannah Arendt coined the evocative phrase “the banality of evil” to describe the atrocities that can flow from “the tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without critically thinking about the results of their action or inaction.”
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