The sense of Sowell 2

At Allen West’s website, Matt Palumbo quotes just a few of the many wise sayings of Thomas Sowell, the great economist and political philosopher, who retired last year at the age of 86:

1. On taxes:

“Elections should be held on April 16th — the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders.”

2. On Obamacare:

“If we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs now, how can we afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs in addition to a new federal bureaucracy to administer a government-run medical system?”

3. On welfare:

“The biggest and most deadly ‘tax’ rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits — food stamps, housing subsidies, and the like — if their income goes up.”

4. On social justice:

“Many years ago, there was a comic book character who could say the magic word “shazam” and turn into Captain Marvel, a character with powers like Superman’s. Today, you can say the magic word “diversity” and turn reverse discrimination into social justice.”

5. On political correctness:

“The first time I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, as the plane flew into the skies over London, I was struck by the thought that, in these skies, a thousand British fighter pilots fought off Hitler’s air force and saved both Britain and Western civilization. But how many students today will have any idea of such things, with history being neglected in favor of politically correct rhetoric?”

6. On liberals in academia:

“The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political Left is that they do not work. Therefore, we should not be surprised to find the Left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive.”

7. On higher education:

“When words trump facts, you can believe anything. And the liberal groupthink taught in our schools and colleges is the path of least resistance.”

8. On diversity:

“The next time some academics tell you how important diversity is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department.”

9. On the rule of law:

“A generation that jumps to conclusions on the basis of its own emotions, or succumbs to the passions or rhetoric of others, deserves to lose the freedom that depends on the rule of law. Unfortunately, what they say and what they do can lose everyone’s freedom, including the freedom of generations yet unborn.”

10. On truth:

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

11. A farewell note:

“We cannot return to the past, even if we wanted to, but let us hope that we can learn something from the past to make for a better present and future.”

Posted under Economics by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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The desirable dissolution of Europe’s unnecessary union 3

Why was the corrupt and undemocratic European Union (EU) brought into existence?

The Germans wanted to dissolve their guilt  – for starting two world wars and perpetrating the Holocaust – in the sea of a European superstate. Which they knew they could dominate through their economic strength.

The French wanted to be part of an entity that was more populous, more prosperous, and more powerful than the United States of America, even though it meant sharing power.

The ambitious politicians of Western Europe wanted a bigger stage to strut on. As well as a perpetual ride on a gravy train.

Eastern European nations had a more respectable motive for joining the EU after the collapse of the Soviet Union, under whose heel they had suffered for some 40 years: they saw the EU as a shelter from renewed Russian imperial ambition. Some of them – notably Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – are now defying dictatorship from Brussels, the EU capital, by refusing to admit unlimited numbers of Muslim “refugees”.

The annual budget of the EU is about 145 billion euros ($153 billion US dollars). By its own accounting, 4.7% of the budget is lost in fraud and corruption. That is some 6.97 billion Euros.*  

It employs 33,000 people.

There are 28 member states and 24 official languages. Every document has to be put out in all 24 languages.

The EU leaders see their supra-national, “post-nationalist” union as a model for world government.

The Council of the European Union governs by decree. The European Parliament consists of elected members but they do not have the power to legislate. They can approve or reject a legislative proposal, or propose amendments. In other words they give advice, but the Council is not legally obliged to take it. It is treated as mere opinion. For appearance sake, and as a result of case-law decisions by the EU Court of Justice, the Council must receive that opinion before it can act on its own decision. This is pure gesturism. The ritual salutes democracy without adopting it.

In sum, the EU is a political and economic monstrosity. It cannot and will not endure.

Elections this year in the Netherlands may well bring Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom into power. If so, there could be a referendum on whether the country should leave the EU (though legislation would be necessary to make this possible), and a majority vote in favor.

Nationalist movements in France and Italy may also bring those countries to leave the EU.

All of which threatens the continued existence of the rotten, superfluous, and positively harmful European Union.

From Gatestone, by Timon Dias:

At its core, what is the EU? And why, despite its vast resources, does it seem perpetually unable to make sense of the world and meet its objectives? …

First, there’s the EU’s primary internal contradiction: EU federalism is an ideology that propagates post-ideologism; a culturally amorphous post-ideological world. … It is acting as if the world has already arrived at this so badly coveted post-cultural/ideological end station.

This is why the EU’s foreign minister is convinced political Islam should be part of the solution for Europe’s bicultural malaise. It is why for almost a decade now, the EU is maintaining it is reasonable to expect a German fiscal discipline from Greece ― a country in which tax evasion has been a central pillar of its culture ever since it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire some 600 years ago. It is why the EU fails to grasp the fact it’s deepening the migration crisis by acting as a ferry service for human traffickers. It is why the EU refuses to acknowledge an inherently expansionist religion like Islam views Europe’s open borders as an invitation to conquest. And it is why it was caught off guard by the mass rapes in Cologne etc. …

In short, the EU is treating the world as if it’s already an earthly EUtopia in which everything can be solved through dialogue and the right subsidies. And that’s why it will keep on chasing facts until its imminent demise.

But there’s something even more fundamental obstructing the EU’s ability to solve crises.

The EU is artificial and unnecessary. 

What is the EU? The EU is a government looking for people to govern. It didn’t evolve organically from a community’s desire to be governed.

It was an elitist ideological hobby project ― one that European Commission first Vice-President Frans Timmermans a few weeks ago referred to as:

Arguably the most successful peace project in human history.

This, however, is a deception. A deception so pervasive, it has become the most pivotal element of the Eurocrats’ belief system. But the EU is no peace project. It neither caused nor consolidated peace.

True peace is being able to hurt one another, but simply not wanting to. In 1945, after centuries of conflict, European nation states finally reached this status. Subsequently, the European Economic Community (EEC) consolidated this peace in 1958 by entangling the French and German economies.

The EU came afterwards, without there ever being an actual need for it ― the continent was peaceful and that peace was consolidated. …

So, if the EU neither caused nor consolidated peace, what is the EU’s fundamental raison d’être? The simple answer is: it has none.

There is nothing fundamentally positive about Europe, that could not exist without the EU.

This is no trivial matter.

Because the EU is a highly artificial and non-organic governing body, one without a fundamental raison d’être, the EU’s priority objective, at all times, is self-preservation. Even when this means not solving problems at all.

The euro and migration crises serve as prime examples. The EU is not only not solving the euro crisis, it’s prolonging it by insisting fiscally dysfunctional member states remain member states, simply because their ejection from the EU would endanger and obscure the EU itself.

The same is true for the migration crisis. It’s not hard to solve. To simply stop being a ferry service for human traffickers and implement the very straight forward Australian model, is hardly rocket science. It’s no coincidence Australia’s migration architect claims Europe doesn’t even seem to be trying to solve this crisis.

In 2016, 490,547 migrants reached Europe. The total number of asylum applicants is almost 2.5 times higher at 1.205 million, which is a modest drop from 2015’s 1.323 million. During the first months of 2017, almost 13,000 arrived by sea.

So what is the EU’s priority during the migrant crisis?

Instead, the EU’s highest priority seems to be preventing nation states from bypassing the EU, by taking their own measures against the crisis.

For if that were to happen, the EU would lose its “greatest achievement”: the federal control of European national borders, without which, the EU is nothing.

The EU must go.

The nation-state with strongly defended borders must be resurrected as an ideal.

The British showed the way with Brexit – its majority vote last year to leave the EU.

President Trump lights the way for the European nations with his slogan, “Make America Great Again!”

 

*We quote an article on EU corruption by Richard Milton.

Have the EU’s accounts for the past 19 years been signed off by the auditors or not? The EU says they have been signed off, while critics in parliament and the media say they have not. So who is telling the truth about the accounts? What are the real facts?

First, a little background to the controversy. Since 1977, the EU’s budget has been audited annually by a body called the European Court of Auditors, based in Luxembourg. The Court is nominally independent, although it is funded by the EU.

In the 1980s, the EU’s budget became the subject of allegations of fraud, so in 1988 the EU formed UCLAF – the Unit for the Co-ordination of Fraud Protection.

A decade later, In 1997, the Court of Auditors investigated UCLAF and discovered that it was dealing with 40 cases of potential corruption, conflict of interests, favoritism or just bad management. Many of the cases had been brought to UCLAF by members of staff of the Commission reporting their suspicions about other officials.

In a report described as “devastating”, the Court revealed that no-one had been prosecuted for fraud and no-one was likely to be prosecuted, because UCLAF had no powers of investigation or arrest and there was no European prosecutor to take on such cases. It recommended that UCLAF be replaced by, in effect, an economic FBI with the staff and the powers to police the EU’s huge budget – a fully fledged operational fraud squad.

Later the same year, 1998, Paul van Buitenen, an assistant internal auditor in the European Commission’s Financial Control Directorate, turned whistleblower and wrote directly to the European Parliament expressing his  “discontent with the way the Commission services are dealing with irregularities and possible fraud”.

His whistleblowing led ultimately led to the resignation of the Commission presided over by Jacques Santer. His reward was to be suspended with his salary halved. He fought back and his exposures triggered the collapse of Santer’s Commission.

In the wake of the “Santergate” scandal UCLAF was replaced by a new organization, OLAF [Office européen de lutte anti-fraude]. This was said to be an improvement since OLAF had more staff, more money and clearer guidelines and was described as representing a move towards a more serious investigative prosecuting body. But it remained the case that only national member states could take legal action against suspected fraudsters – the same central weakness that had defeated UCLAF.

OLAF is notified of some 12,000 cases of possible fraud every year, and says that it adopts a “zero tolerance” policy towards corruption and fraud in EU institutions. In reality, OLAF must be somewhat more tolerant than “zero” as it investigates only some 200 cases per year – that is to say 98% of reported cases go uninvestigated.

This is the most likely explanation of the fact that, since 1999, OLAF has sent only 335 people to jail and recovered only 1.1 Billion Euros of EU money – less than one-thousandth of the amount unaccounted for.

One other obstacle to OLAF nailing anyone inside the EU is that EU law gives EU officials immunity from prosecution both while they work in the EU and then for the rest of their lives for any acts committed in the course of their duties. Even if OLAF managed to put together a case against an EU employee, he or she could not be prosecuted anyway.

This long history of corruption and fraud brings us to the case of Marta Andreason, who in 2002 was appointed the EU’s first Chief Accountant, the director responsible for budget execution and the EU’s accounting officer.

From the start, Andreasen was critical of the EU’s accounting system for being open to fraud, criticisms she raised with  her superior but to no effect. She voiced her doubts to Commissioner Michaele Schreyer and the Commission President Romano Prodi, and when she got no reply approached members of the EU Parliament’s Budget Control Committee.

Because of her doubts, she refused to sign off the 2001 European Commission accounts and went public with her concerns. She suffered a similar fate to Paul van Buitenen before her, and was sacked for speaking out (“failure to show sufficient loyalty and respect”.) In reality she was fired for refusing to sign the account and embarrassing the Commission by letting the cat out of the bag about the extent of fraud.

A series of other EU officials tried to blow the whistle on the fraud and corruption of their colleagues and all received similar treatment, Dorte Schmidt-Brown, Robert Dougal Watt and Robert McCoy. …

At this point, in 2002, EU officials realized that they could no longer conceal or ignore the extent of fraud and corruption in the EU budget and that they must act to try to restore public confidence in the EU’s financial affairs. So they did what most large bureaucratic organizations do in these circumstances. When you cannot change the facts, you change the way the facts are presented. So the EU turned to public relations to solve their problem.

From 2002 until the present, the Court of Auditors continued to audit the budget annually, but they no longer signed off the accounts as a whole. Instead, they have split the budget into two sections – the part to which they are willing to give a clean bill of health, and the part to which they are not willing to give a clean bill. The Auditors refer to this second part as its “opinion on the underlying payments which have been negative or adverse”.

To justify this change in established auditing procedure it came up with a number of arguments. The budget is too big and too complicated for us to expect them to account for every penny. Every large organization has amounts missing and unaccounted for. We can’t expect the EU Auditors to know every little thing that goes on inside member countries. The bit that’s not signed off is “only” a few per cent of the budget so it’s not worth making a fuss about. And, in any case, said the Auditors, although we do not know where the money went or who took it, we can say that it definitely wasn’t fraud or theft.

“Errors”, said the auditors,  “do not mean that EU money is lost, wasted or affected by fraud.” When asked to give an example of some money that had gone missing that wasn’t fraud, the EU said, “A farmer was granted a special premium for 150 sheep. The Court found that the beneficiary did not have any sheep. The corresponding payment was therefore irregular.” The missing money is accounted for by changing the word “fraud” to the word “irregular”. …

Remember, the question we are trying to answer here is … “Have the EU accounts been signed off for the past 19 years?” And the only honest answer to this second question is clearly, “No, they have not been signed off.”

What the EU has done is not to make extra efforts to get to the bottom of its accounts and sign them off, but to change the normal rules of accounts auditing so that they no longer apply to the EU, and to change the meaning of ordinary English words to try to persuade us that this procedure is acceptable. …

The amount not signed off by the Court of Auditors was “only” 4.7% of the budget.  The problem is that 4.7% of the budget is 6.97 billion Euros

Our rulers on high 2

The World Economic Forum meets this month, 17-20 January, in the Swiss Alpine city of Davos, “the highest city in Europe”.

At Fox News, Peter Schweizer exposes the nasty facts about the World Economic Forum – the dirt on Davos:

Later this month hundreds of private jets are expected to descend on a small town in the canton of Graubünden, Switzerland, for a few brief days.

They will be carrying the elite of the elite, who will be attending the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Held in the beautiful Alpine mountain resort of Davos-Klosters, attendance [at it] is strictly by invitation only. Basic membership in the WEF costs $50,000. A premium membership can set you back $500,000. But in recent years the WEF has enjoyed another source of income. Since 2013, the Obama administration has been sending foreign assistance dollars to the WEF through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to government records, the tab to taxpayers thus far is $26 million.

Davos attendees include a global elite, including heads of state, business titans, and celebrities. There are cocktail parties sponsored by multinational corporations and dinners catered by world-class chefs and served by bartenders performing magic tricks.

Celebrities like Leo DiCaprio and Bono mingle with current heads of state and tech billionaires from around the world. Attendance is so tight for the 2017 event the WEF is considering housing staff in “temporary containers” to make room for guests.

This is without a doubt the most connected non-profit on the planet.

The organization boasts that it “provides a platform for the world’s 1,000 leading companies to shape a better future’.

The globalist missionary zeal of the organization combined with its luxurious parties has earned it – the Davos meeting – the nickname “Burning Man for Billionaires.”

Not surprisingly, the WEF is also flush with cash. According to the non-profit’s 2015-2016 annual report, the organization took in $223 million (current exchange rate) in revenue, most of it from membership dues and partnership fees.

Despite the obvious wealth of the WEF and its members, USAID has given “assistance” to the WEF in the form of tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Since 2013, USAID has given the World Economic Forum $26,091,370 under its Foreign Assistance to Programs Overseas initiative, which comprises nearly two-thirds of all grant and other funding WEF took in over that time period.

So why is USAID, which is supposed to focus on disaster relief and poverty relief, subsidizing such an organization?

According to the federal government’s spending website usaspending.gov, it’s unclear. The money came in sizable grants of $9.5 million in 2013, $11.1 million in 2015, and $5.7 million in 2016.

The taxpayer money began to flow the same year USAID administrators began attending the luxurious confab. USAID administrators Rajiv Shah (2011-15) or Gayle Smith (2016) have attended every Davos meeting since 2011.

In 2013, USAID changed its mission statement to make its prime goals to “end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies”.  Well, Switzerland is a “resilient democratic society”. They got that part right.

According to government contract reports, it’s unclear if taxpayer funds were taken by the WEF and sent to Africa or Asia, but it doesn’t seem so.

The “principal place of performance” of these grants was Switzerland, with the “recipient” city of Cologny, where the WEF has its headquarters. Not surprisingly, a search of online real estate records reveals the town has a substantial luxury real estate market.

A USAID official, when asked to comment, said this:

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works with public and private partners to advance America’s security and prosperity by promoting resilient, democratic societies and ending extreme poverty. USAID has awarded grants to the World Economic Forum (WEF), including an innovative public-private partnership to spur economic growth and reduce poverty by reducing the time and costs to trade in developing countries. USAID remains committed to stringently vetting, tracking and evaluating the results of awarded grants, to include those disbursed to the WEF, and to its public and private sector partners.

How the global elite choose to spend their time is their business, but U.S. taxpayers should not be subsidizing their social lives.

The 47th annual World Economic Forum convenes on January 17th and the theme is “responsive and responsible leadership”.

In keeping with that idea, the responsible thing for the incoming Trump administration to do would be to halt grants and funding of this elite organization with taxpayer dollars.

Victoria Friedman writes at Breitbart:

The political and business elite, who attend the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, are beginning to admit their push for globalization and open borders contributed to the worldwide populist backlash and the rejection of the mass integration project.

Harvard professor and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund Kenneth Rogoff told Bloomberg that following WEF 2016 he “started to grow concerned” then-candidate Donald J. Trump would become the next president of the U.S. because his fellow frequent attendees of the gathering in the Swiss town of Davos were certain that Mr. Trump would not win. “A joke I’ve told 1,000 people in the months since leaving Davos is that the conventional wisdom of Davos is always wrong,” said the former IMF chief who is scheduled to attend Davos again this year along with some 3,000 other members of the political, business, media, and academic elite.

“No matter how improbable, the event most likely to happen is the opposite of whatever the Davos consensus is,” he added.

Davos also failed to predict the rise of populism in Europe, Italy’s rejection of constitutional change that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Mattheo Renzi, or the UK voting to leave the European Union (EU) which Forbes described as the “populist revolt against Davos Man”.

Davos Man” was coined by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington who described “these transnationals” as “[having] little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations”.

One of the eight Oxford University academics set to attend the meeting, Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said, “There has to be some humility. For 30 years the elite have said, ‘We’re managing globalization, and we’re making it work for everyone’.”

“They cannot just keep repeating that,” added the frequent Davos visitor.

However, WEF founder Klaus Shwab has alleged that globalization was an “easy scapegoat” for world angst, and argued that populism wasn’t the answer, saying, “We cannot just have populist solutions”.

Good grief, no! Imagine a world in which people make their own choices instead of being forced to do what their betters know is best for them!

With populism high on the agenda at Davos, one of the sessions will include a panel of psychologists offering thoughts on “cultivating appropriate emotions in a time of nationalist populism”.

It’s not enough that we must act as they wish; we must also think and even feel according to their superior understanding of what is “appropriate”.   

Managing Director of the IMF Christine Lagarde, who was found guilty in December of criminal negligence in an arbitration case over the misappropriation of funds, expressed that she wanted to rehabilitate the appearance of globalism. She said she wanted a “move toward globalization that has a different face, and which is not excluding people along the way”.

“Globalism” – aka their rule from the commanding heights – must somehow be made to look nicer. 

Lagarde will be headlining a session at Davos entitled: “Squeezed and Angry: How to Fix the Middle Class Crisis” along with hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio.  Days before the EU referendum vote, the French lawyer belittled Brexit voters by implying they were small-minded, called for a “united Europe”, and launched a report claiming a ‘Leave’ vote would lead to half a million job losses.

It didn’t – quite the opposite. But then, as Professor Rogoff said, the wisdom of Davos is always wrong

Also anticipated to attend the exclusive conclave is billionaire open borders activist and founder of the Open Society Foundations George Soros, who admitted involvement in Europe’s Migrant Crisis and called national borders “an obstacle” [to world communist government] …

George Soros has bought himself the power to spread despair and death on at least three continents. The fact that he attends the Davos SUMMIT is enough all on its own to condemn the World Economic Forum and all its works.  

The arrogance of this new royalty, the risen Left which marched through the institutions of the West and reached this snow-capped peak, is typified by the reaction of the European  Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström who, when asked a question by a poverty campaigner regarding the unpopular Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between America and the EU, which was opposed by millions of Europeans, responded,“I do not take my mandate from the European people”.

Many of these kings and queens were Communists in their youth (and would still say they are “on the Left”). They “identified” with the “masses”. Their aim was to overthrow the ruling class and establish a “dictatorship of the proletariat” – represented of course by them, the intelligentsia, bourgeois intellectuals hungry for power. They got power. They are using it to destroy nation-states, to abolish borders, to pour the Third World into the First World, to make themselves rich at the expense of the powerless – to rule the globe.

The British and American electorates woke up to what was happening to them and saved themselves; the British by voting to leave the Union of Socialist European Republics aka the EU, the Americans by voting against the Left and for Donald Trump, champion of the people. Now dozens of rebel populist movements in Europe are clamoring for the chance to do the same.

The New Royals of Davos hope to destroy them by calling them “neo-Nazi” movements.

Because the rebels are patriots, the New Royals call them “xenophobes”. Because they do now want the savage Third World to flood their countries and impose nasty primitive alien ways on them, the New Royals call them”racists”. Because they do not want to be conquered by Islam they are called “Islamophobes” – fear of terrorism and sharia cruelty being deemed an “inappropriate emotion”.

From Davos go out the bat-winged minions of the earthly devils to implement their evil schemes. They must be stopped.

Power to the People!

Collectivist idealism: an obituary 1

The Marxist movement that tormented the human race for 100 years – 1917 to 2017 – was a Western bourgeoisie revolt against itself.

Almost all its leading idealists came from middle-class well-educated families. (Stalin was an exception.)

Its victims were multitudes of vulnerable individuals in frail societies.

Its last desperate heave for enduring power was the successful campaign of the Democratic Party to get Barack Obama elected to the presidency of the United States.

But America is not a frail society. The people are not poor, helpless, vulnerable. They have been made strong by 240 years of constitutionally protected liberty and property-owning free market capitalism.

Obama weakened America militarily and put it into heavy debt, but he is being constitutionally replaced by a patriotic capitalist, and there is nowhere for the Marxist movement to go now except into oblivion. 

There will still be idealists of collectivism, chiefly in the academies, for some years to come. Communist regimes linger on in a few sad places – North Korea, Cuba. But it is unlikely that there will be new regimes of that sort.

Here’s Milton Friedman explaining, kindly and politely but inarguably, how collectivism is bad for people and freedom is good for them:

Posted under communism, Cuba, Economics, Leftism, Marxism, North Korea, Soviet Union, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 5, 2017

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The Trump effect 2

… working already, even before he has been inaugurated.

The steel industry is willing to re-hire 10,000 steel workers now that Trump’s de-regulation agenda fires optimism in the market.

And steel shares are soaring,

CNBC is notoriously no cheerleader for Donald Trump. Here’s its own text:

United States Steel would like to accelerate its investments and hire back laid-off employees now that Donald Trump will be occupying the Oval Office, CEO Mario Longhi told CNBC on Wednesday.

“We already structured to do some things, but when you see in the near future improvement to the tax laws, improvements to regulation, those two things by themselves may be a significant driver to what we’re going to do,” he said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch”.

In addition, the belief that the U.S. economy can grow at least 3.5 percent also adds to what the company can do, Longhi noted.

“I’d be more than happy to bring back the employees we’ve been forced to lay off during that depressive period,” he said, which “could be close to 10,000 jobs.”

In a statement to CNBC later, U.S. Steel clarified that Longhi was “referring to the American steel industry overall, not just to employees of United States Steel Corporation”.

Shares of the Pittsburgh-based company have soared about 80 percent since Trump’s stunning victory on Nov. 8. Investors appear to be betting on increased infrastructure spending, which the president-elect has promised, as well as further restrictions on China-produced steel.

Corporate America is also cheering Trump’s promises of less regulation. Longhi said regulation has a role to play, but believes it “has to be done smartly”.

“When you get into some situations where we’re being asked to control some substances in water that are far lower than what nature naturally offers, that’s irrational,” he said.

There was a point in time in the past couple years that I was having to hire more lawyers to try to interpret these new regulations than I was hiring … engineers. That doesn’t make any sense.”

The US economy stirs and wakes.

Posted under Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, December 8, 2016

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Crony capitalism or not crony capitalism? 6

President-elect Trump’s “wildly popular” deal with Carrier has elicited sharp criticism from some conservatives, notably from Ben Shapiro (who has consistently displayed antipathy to Trump), and more surprisingly from Sarah Palin.

They accuse the president-elect of “crony capitalism”.

We quote the Investor’s Business Daily editorial opinion of the deal:

President-elect Trump’s deal with Carrier isn’t important because it saved 1,000 jobs. It’s important because of the message it sends to businesses everywhere: Help is on the way.

The reaction to Carrier’s decision to retain some of its employees after meeting with Trump has been amusing. On the one hand, Trump’s critics say the deal was a mere trifle, since there are still so many people out there hurting. On the other hand, they claim that Trump is acting like a third-world despot.

A few headlines paint the picture:

“Trump’s Carrier Victory Is the Economy’s Loss”

“Trump’s Carrier deal is right out of Putin’s playbook”

Is Trump’s Deal With Carrier A Form Of Crony Capitalism?

“Trump Cheered for Carrier Deal Even as Other Jobs Are Trimmed”

“Bernie Sanders: Donald Trump ‘Has Endangered’ U.S. Jobs With Carrier Deal”

The White House, meanwhile, sniffed that saving 1,000 jobs was a mere fraction of all the manufacturing jobs supposedly created on Obama’s watch. (Earth to White House: Trump isn’t even president yet. Plus, there are 300,000  fewer  manufacturing jobs today than when Obama took office in January 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

To be sure, we are not thrilled with the fact that Indiana agreed to cough up $7 million in special tax breaks for Carrier to keep some of its jobs in the state. It’s a misallocation of resources that only encourages companies to hold states for ransom. But this is, unfortunately, a routine practice among state governments these days. And Democrats can hardly complain about it, since their only recipe for growth is to hand out special tax breaks to companies that do their bidding.

Nor are we fans of Trump’s threats to impose tariffs on companies for making products abroad — since the only people hurt by such tariffs will be the very working class families Trump is claiming to champion.

But listen to what Carrier said after meeting with Trump. It said its decision was made possible “because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate.”

If that’s the message Trump is delivering to business leaders, we should all be cheering

It means an end to eight years in which President Obama, instead of supporting U.S. companies, arrogantly scolded business leaders and treated businesses as either piggy banks to be raided or as enemies to be brought to heel through regulations and mandates. We’ve seen the effects of Obama’s approach — eight years of dismally slow growth, stagnant wages, and a surging population of labor-force dropouts.

What’s more, if Trump succeeds in cutting business taxes, allowing companies to repatriate money parked overseas, and easing the regulatory burden on job creators — as he’s promised — he won’t have to browbeat companies into keeping jobs here, because they will already be doing that, and creating millions more.

We can hardly wait to see how Trump’s critics try to put a negative spin on that.

And we have canvassed opinions on this issue among those of our like-thinking Trump supporters who are also free-market economists, and here is a summary of them:

This is not “crony” capitalism. This is all about reducing Government Tyranny to keep business in this country.

It is basic economics. Pro-business tax and regulatory reforms are now certain to be a part of the first 100 days of Trump’s administration. Carrier has to make a clear business decision not just about building furnaces but in all of their business dealings. If you want government contracts you need to not only be competitive with those contracts but you have to qualify even to bid. If a new administration gives preference to American-made, or to companies that keep jobs in America, that is just good policy, not crony capitalism.

If you do the math on it, this deal is win/win and quite compelling (even without including the supposed threat of 6.7 billion in other business). If you take 7 million dollars and divide it by the number of jobs saved (1100) it would cost the state of Indiana $6,363.63 for each job saved. The tax savings is spread over 10 years so that cost is $636.36 per year for 10 years. This cost is easily offset with the potential savings to unemployment insurance, state agency relief for families, health care costs, food stamps etc. This also does not consider that instead of 1100 people drawing from the system they will continue to pay into it. Not to mention the fact that the Carrier plant will continue to be a consumer of goods and services from the local community and continue to pay taxes in excess of their credit. And instead of all those dollars going to Mexico for producing these products, they’ll stay in the US. That has an exponential effect, a clear benefit that is difficult to quantify.

Then there are all the businesses in the area of the Carrier plant that support the 1100 families who will continue to work and spend money in their local communities. Those businesses will not see a dramatic drop in their business as those 1100 families no longer will need to scrimp and save just to get by. Plus Carrier has pledged to spend 16 million on facility improvements which will no doubt help the local economy. This will help everyone in those communities which in turn benefits the state of Indiana directly in the form of taxes.

This deal was also very good for Carrier as it turned a PR nightmare into a huge positive for them. They will likely see an increase in sales when they might have been expecting a decrease (as a backlash to their action). It may even help them to get more government contracts for being willing to work to save American jobs.

So in truth it likely cost Indiana nothing and might even be a windfall. It is the kind of “outside Washington” thinking that will likely turn this country around.

Posted under Economics, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 6, 2016

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“Racisssts!” 1

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What is that hissing sound emanating from the Left?

It is the sound of the defeated Democrats calling their enemies “Racists!”

The Left is obsessed with race. It is reasonable to assume that Barack Obama was elected to the presidency more because he is black that for any other reason. Many voters wanted to prove that they were not racist by voting for him. But to vote for someone because he is black is patently racist. Obama’s election was a colossal manifestation of racism. The man had nothing in his record to commend him for the presidency of the United States. Quite the contrary. Considering that he was raised by Communists, and worked to organize black communities into Communist activist groups, he was peculiarly unqualified to have any role in the government of the United States.

It cannot be repeated often enough that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery. One of the main reasons why the Republican Party came into existence was to free the slaves. No Republicans owned slaves. No Republicans lynched black men. The KKK did, and the KKK was created and manned by Democrats.

Yet the Democrats succeeded in persuading a large majority of African-Americans that theirs was the party that would best serve the interests of Blacks. The result has been that African-Americans elect Democrats to govern them, decade after decade, in cities like Detroit and Chicago – where Black mayor after Black mayor turns out to be a criminal defrauding the voters and being sentenced to prison. (See here and here and here.) Still, the Black citizens vote Democrat.

Donald Trump, during his campaign for the presidency, pointed out to Black voters that the Democratic Party has kept them in poverty. He asked them what did they have to lose by trying something new – by trying him. It seems quite a few were persuaded to do so on November 8, 2016.

But according to the Left, Donald Trump is a “Racist!”

According to some of those irredeemably Leftist institutions, the universities, every White is a racist. So in their view the American population consists for the most part of Blacks and Racists.

Why does the Left want “racism” to be the supreme cause? (Even taking precedence over “sexism” and “man-made global warming”.)

Rachel Lu asks that question and tries to answer it in an article at the Federalist:

Liberals need racist foes to vanquish. Most of the time they have to resort to finding them where they obviously aren’t there. … Paul Ryan can hardly order a sandwich without liberal pundits combing through in search of the racist “coding” that they know to be hidden within all Republican rhetoric. …

It’s too bad to get back to business as usual in the racism blame game, because quite recently, Jonathan Chait’s feature in New York Magazine offered some surprisingly helpful insights into liberals and their need for conservative “racism”. Chait’s piece, and the firestorm that followed, make a fascinating tutorial in liberal paradigms concerning racism. Looking through their eyes for a moment, it almost starts to make sense why they’re so certain that racism is a significant moving force behind American conservatism.

Initially it can be a bit startling to remind oneself that liberals really don’t see their accusations as the political equivalent to calling us poopy-heads; they actually believe that ethnic hatred is an important motivator for conservatives. Some even get frustrated that conservatives have gotten so clever about “coding” our racist messages, hiding them in subtle subtexts that liberal journalists can’t easily expose (even while our barely-literate backwoods voters apparently hear them loud and clear). You can almost picture liberals playing Ryan’s speeches backwards, hoping to catch that moment when the mild-mannered and professorial Ryan secretly taps into the seething cauldron of bigoted rage that he knows to be driving his base.

Apparently some of them do actually realize that they’re overreaching, though it isn’t something they like to hear. Chait poked the bear by explaining some of the history behind the “coding” paranoia and agreeing that conservatives have some reason to resent it. More importantly, Chait explains with admirable clarity one important reason why the racist-conservative dogma is so important for liberals. A second emerges from the responses to Chait’s piece.

Reason One:

The Ballad of the Civil Rights Movement has long been liberals’ favorite bed-time story. Martin Luther King Day may be the only day of the year when they feel completely, unambiguously proud to be Americans. It’s hard to exaggerate how important this is to liberal political thinking. They are perpetually looking for new ways to recapture that high.

Although, according to MLK’s niece, he was a Republican.

Conservatives tend to miss this because we see the Civil Rights story as settled history. We’re all pleased to have sloughed off the bigotry of our ancestors. Of course we want people to be judged “by the content of their character” and not by their skin. What’s left to debate here?

Liberals have yet to turn that page. This is their favorite series, and like every loyal fan base, they always want another sequel. Indeed, as Chait acknowledges, one of the most appealing things about a 2008 Senator Obama was the perception that he could be the star of a particularly thrilling new episode. Of course, if that’s the storyline, it’s no mystery which role was available for conservatives. “Racial coding” became a convenient fix for a glaring plot hole: Republican politicians’ refusal to follow their racist script.

Of course, for conservatives this is a pretty bad deal. We can’t stop being the racist party if that’s the only “role” our political enemies have available. At most we can ask liberals to consider who is served by their implicit demand that racism never die. … Modern liberal oppression narratives are far and away the most expensive dramas ever produced, and we all get dragged to see them whether we’re interested or not.

Reason Two:

As grim as this sounds, it may actually be the more remediable liberal fixation. Another liberal paradigm (which is well articulated by Brian Beutler of The New Republic), leaves even less wiggle-room for a conservatism that actually serves the common good.

Beutler is gracious enough to agree with Chait that, “the left’s racial analysis of conservative politics might lend itself to careless or opportunistic, overreaching accusations of racism.” But he doesn’t feel too bad about it, because as he goes on to argue, liberals are fundamentally right about conservative racism. White racial resentment is one of the primary sources of energy behind American conservatism. It has to be, because that’s the only plausible explanation for why anyone but the rich and privileged would support the GOP.

The number of the rich and privileged who support the Democratic Party is very high. The ruling elites of the US, Europe, and the whole Western World are themselves on the Left (even those in Europe who call themselves “conservative”). The majority of those who voted for Trump to overthrow the ruling elite in America were workers, and would-be workers who could not find work.

To his credit, Beutler doesn’t probe the sub-conscious of high-profile conservatives for unconfessed bigotry. He is cheerfully prepared to admit (and he thinks most liberals would agree) that racial hatred plays a small role in the motivations of the major players. For them, it’s all about greed. Their policies are pitched to protect their own wealth and privilege at the expense of the poor.

But the ultra-wealthy (as we have been reminded ad nauseum) are a small minority in America, and poorer voters have little reason to support a plutocratic agenda that doesn’t serve them. In order to stay viable, therefore, Republicans need a populist hook. That hook, Beutler believes, is racial resentment.

So to disguise their “greed”, Republicans pretend to be “racist”?

Conservative readers might be asking: why in the world would he believe that? To liberals it seems obvious. Conservatives are ferocious in their assault on programs that disproportionately enlist ethnic minorities, including Medicaid, food stamps and welfare. How else to explain that except as a manifestation of white Republicans’ racist Schadenfreude?

It’s hard to know where to begin with such convoluted reasoning. The conservative distaste for entitlements is deeply connected to our political philosophy; all of our most cherished values come into play here. And we have plenty of sociological evidence to present, now that the scars of entitlement dependency blight every major city in America, bequeathing to our poorest children a legacy of dysfunction and vice. But sure, let’s write all of that off as a manifestation of conservative greed and hatred. That would make so much more sense.

In order to make sense of such an apparently-crazy view, we need to remind ourselves of some further features of liberal ideology. To conservatives it seems crazy and wildly uncharitable to dismiss their (well-grounded) views as manifestations of an irrational animus against ethnic minorities. But to liberals this seems reasonable, because embedded deep within the liberal worldview is the idea that the end of the day all political activity can be seen as part of a story about warring classes. It’s another trope that we can lay at the feet of our still-fashionable friend, Karl Marx. (1)

Still fashionable among the elites who are stunned that the “masses” (to use the Marxist word for them) have voted them out. And still intensely fashionable in the universities. But there will be no new Marxist regimes.

Marx declares early in The Communist Manifesto that, “The history of all hitherto existing societies is a history of class struggles”. This is one of those sweeping interpretive claims that sounds silly to the uninitiated, but that starts to seem all-important to those who have adopted it as their central political paradigm. Marx was a wonderful storyteller, and his fairy tale still holds much power over the minds of modern people, as we’ve recently seen in the furor over Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”.

(See our review of it here.)

As Marx understands it, societies are made up of multiple classes that perpetually jockey for relative advantage. Open warfare is avoided through a complex balance of agreements that enable each class to “hold its own” in the larger social structure. Some are better off than others, but all have something to lose if the arrangement collapses and turns into open warfare. Before the Industrial Revolution humans had crafted a fairly well-functioning “class ecosystem”, but rapidly expanding markets interrupted that balance by massively empowering one particular class (specifically the medieval burghers) to bring all others to heel. Now called “the bourgeoisie”, these new overlords wielded the immense power of the modern market as a weapon, harnessing all the other classes in an exploitative system that overwhelmingly benefited themselves.

It’s a story we all know, whether or not we’ve read [it]. … It wafts its way through their dreams and colors their entire social outlook. Of course we know that capitalists are castigated as exploiters and tyrants. That’s only the beginning, however. Everything is a zero-sum game in this outlook. That means that every move Republicans make must represent an attempt to win some marbles away from Democratic voters, which of course will be tossed into the overflowing treasure chests of Republican elite.

How do we know that Republicans are racist? Well, we don’t get much support from ethnic minorities, and we dislike entitlement programs. If you see the world through a Marxist class-warfare paradigm, that really does look like adequate evidence to make the case.

Conservatives have favorite stories too. We love our Constitutional Convention and our melting-pot of immigration. We get misty-eyed over the Greatest Generation and their triumphs in World War II. We believe that America is a special country. Conservative narratives have a level of transcendence that liberals simply don’t understand, which means that they [conservatives] can reject the dreary sameness of perpetual class warfare. …

Class warfare was probably never true. And certainly since Europe recovered from the Second World War it became so untrue – the workers of Europe, and especially Germany, becoming very well off indeed and thoroughly content with the capitalist system – that the Left had to stop looking to the workers, the “proletariat”, to be the “revolutionary class”. The New Left looked instead to the world’s underdogs to take on that role; the “wretched of the earth”; the Third World; the non-white peoples. (2)

Most incredible to liberals, however, is our claim that good economic policy (especially when combined with a well-ordered social structure) is actually good for everyone. We’re not all jockeying for the same pot of goods. It isn’t a zero-sum game. More opportunity for me can mean more prosperity for you, and vice-versa. We can all win.

This is the conservative Gospel, as it were. Conservatives tell Americans: we don’t have to fight over the pie! Let’s just make it bigger! Success is not a rationed commodity! …

Indeed there is no pie. Wealth is never fixed. It is constantly being created in thriving economies.

[T]his just seems absurd to most liberals. Free markets are good for everyone? Get out. Can you people please just fess up and admit that you’re closeted racists?

 

Footnotes:

(1) Karl Marx himself was a vicious racist. It is important to know this. He poured contempt on Jews and Blacks. His anti-Semitism was fierce, though he himself was a Jew by descent. He considered Latins and Slavs to be “inferior races”. The Slavs, he opined, should be wiped out in a revolutionary war. And he was all for the continuation of slavery in America. (See here, where relevant quotations may be found.)

(2) The switch from “class analysis” to “race analysis” (to use Marxist jargon) happened earlier in South Africa. The slogan of the Communist Party of South Africa in the early 1920s was “Workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa” – until 1928, when the Comintern decided that the policy must be changed and the Party take up the cause of the oppressed “natives”. The Communists eventually allied themselves with the African National Congress – giving the White nationalist regime an excuse to continue their apartheid policy throughout the Cold War.

Obama’s abysmal legacy 7

… illustrated and summed up in 9 charts:

 

9-economy-charts

From the Federalist Papers:

What will be the legacy of Barack Obama’s presidency? Obama is leaving behind a mess. A train wreck.  An utter disaster. …

The numbers and ways this president has failed are numerous. Feckless foreign policy leading to a complete and total meltdown in the middle-east; more debt added than the previous 43 presidents combined; civil unrest resulting in ten riots, more than one per year, during his tenure; citizens hunting (and killing) police in the streets; lies told in order to pass a piece of legislation bearing his name that collapsed and cost the American taxpayer two trillion dollars. …

And the wrecking of the Democratic Party.

(Not that we have any complaint to make about that.)

Obama has destroyed Democrats from coast-to-coast in a manner that is astonishing.

Obama’s first midterm election (2010) was disastrous for Democrats. With the birth of the Tea Party movement Republicans gained 63 seats in the House, the largest midterm seat change since 1938, and six Senate seats. That year Republicans gained a record pickup of 680 seats in state legislative races, giving R’s control of 26 state legislatures and dropping D’s to just 15 of 50. Republicans also took 11 governorships from the Democrats for a total of 29. 54 incumbents lost re-election bids that year, 52 were Democrats.

Next, 2014 midterms. Up for grabs, all 435 House seats, 36 Senate seats, 38 governorships, 46 state legislatures. Though it didn’t seem possible, Democrat defeats in 2010 were dwarfed. Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2006, increased an already commanding majority in the House and gained two more governorships.

Things got much worse for Democrats. 2014 saw a sweeping in of the largest Republican majority in nearly a century, 54 seats in the Senate, 247 in the House, 31 governorships, and 68 state legislative chambers. Republicans gained their largest majority in Congress and largest majority of state legislatures since 1928.

State legislative elections were worse. After the 2014 election the number of Republican-controlled state senates and assemblies rose to 68, the highest number in Republican hands since 1928. The smallest number in Democrat control since 1860.

And then came Tuesday night, November 8, 2016 – when Obama finally finished off his party. Not only did Republicans win the Presidency and the Vice Presidency, not only did Republicans retain control of the Senate and of the House, Republicans actually flipped three more governor’s seats. Republicans now have the most number of Republican governors since 1922!

Thanks to his extreme narcissism, dislike for members of his party, the radicalness of his hope and change agenda, and somewhat lax work ethic – in just eight years Obama has done to the Democrat Party what Republicans couldn’t do in a century. He has obliterated it.

So focused has Obama been on remaking America into his uber-Leftist-socialist utopia that he neglected something very important; the people of the USA do not want his vision and its the people who vote candidates and parties into and out of power.

 

Later addition: After reading Jim Kennedy’s comment on this post, we realize that we should be positively congratulating Obama on his one and only admirable achievement – the wrecking of the Democratic Party.

If only it could be permanent!

Posted under Economics, government, Progressivism, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, November 29, 2016

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End of an era 3

The year 2017 approaches, and with it the centennial of the Russian revolution that first brought Marxists to totalitarian power.

For the last hundred years Marxism has been destroying human life, liberty and happiness on a vast scale. Far from ushering in paradise on earth as the Marxists proclaimed they would do, they used power wherever they acquired it to create earthly hells.

By reasonable reckoning, 23 Communist regimes had killed (at least) 149,469,610 people by 2006. R. J. Rummel, who was professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, is the authority most cited for the statistics of deaths caused by Communist governments by means of executions, deliberate mass starvation, and forced labor. For mass slaughter of this sort, he invented the word “democide“.

In one of his papers titled How Many Did Communist Regimes Murder?, Professor Rummel wrote

How can we understand all this killing by communists? It is the marriage of an absolutist ideology with absolute power. Communists believed that they knew the truth, absolutely. They believed that they knew through Marxism what would bring about the greatest human welfare and happiness. And they believed that power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, must be used to tear down the old feudal or capitalist order and rebuild society and culture to realize this utopia. Nothing must stand in the way of its achievement. Government – the Communist Party – was thus above any law. All institutions, cultural norms, traditions, and sentiments were expendable. And the people were as though lumber and bricks, to be used in building the new world.

To many communists, the cause of a communist utopia was such as to justify all the deaths. The irony of this is that communism in practice, even after decades of total control, did not improve the lot of the average person, but usually made their living conditions worse than before the revolution. It is not by chance that the greatest famines have occurred within the Soviet Union (about 5,000,000 dead during 1921-23 and 7,000,000 from 1932-3) and communist China (about 27,000,000 dead from 1959-61). In total almost 55,000,000 people died in various communist famines and associated diseases, a little over 10,000,000 of them from democidal famine. This is as though the total population of Turkey, Iran, or Thailand had been completely wiped out. And that something like 35,000,000 people fled communist countries as refugees, as though the countries of Argentina or Columbia had been totally emptied of all their people, was an unparalleled vote against the utopian pretensions of Marxism-Leninism. …

But communists could not be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific, based on historical materialism, an understanding of the dialectical process in nature and human society, and a materialist (and thus realistic) view of nature. Marx has shown empirically where society has been and why, and he and his interpreters proved that it was destined for a communist end. No one could prevent this, but only stand in the way and delay it at the cost of more human misery. Those who disagreed with this world view and even with some of the proper interpretations of Marx and Lenin were, without a scintilla of doubt, wrong. After all, did not Marx or Lenin or Stalin or Mao say that. . . . In other words, communism was like a fanatical religion. It had its revealed text and chief interpreters. It had its priests and their ritualistic prose with all the answers. It had a heaven, and the proper behavior to reach it. It had its appeal to faith. And it had its crusade against nonbelievers.

[A]t the extreme of totalitarian power we have the greatest extreme of democide. Communist governments have almost without exception wielded the most absolute power and their greatest killing (such as during Stalin’s reign or the height of Mao’s power) has taken place when they have been in their own history most totalitarian. As most communist governments underwent increasing liberalization and a loosening of centralized power in the 1960s through the 1980s, the pace of killing dropped off sharply.

Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked. But there is a larger lesson to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one ideology. That is that no one can be trusted with power. The more power the center has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite or impose the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives are to be sacrificed.

We contend that the recent death of Fidel Castro, the Communist dictator of Cuba, marks the end of the terrible Marxist era. Cuba will continue for a while yet to be under the cruel Communist regime he established. And North Korea is still under Communist dictatorship. But no new such regimes are arising. Democracy is replacing dictatorships in South America. And with the defeat in 2016 of a second* Alinskyite presidential candidate nominated by the Democratic Party of the United States, the grip of Marxist ideology through government is loosening everywhere and – we contend – unlikely to strengthen again.

It is still, however, dominant in the academies of the Western World. What can be done about that rottenness in higher education?

With this question, Robert Conquest, one of the greatest historians of Communist Russia, was concernedIn a review of his book Reflections on a Ravaged Century in the American Spectator Online, Josh London wrote:  

The clearest picture to emerge from these pages is that the history of Communism is, at its simplest, little more than the history of an all-out assault on society by a series of conspiratorial cliques. These groups have, invariably, been led by excruciatingly cruel dictators who were revoltingly drunk on their own foolish ideology and power.  …

Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek pointed out over fifty years ago that “Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for an obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction of theorists, deriving from certain tendencies of abstract thought with which for a long time only the intellectuals were familiar; and it required long efforts by the intellectuals before the working classes could be persuaded to adopt it as their programme.” Though unquoted by Conquest, Hayek’s insight is exactly what worries him most about the 20th century and the prospects of life in the 21st century. Conquest’s work in this section constitutes an inquiry into the intellectual’s temperament and, in particular, the intellectual ingenuity required to go on believing when all is lost.

There follows an excellent and absorbing chapter on what is happening in education: A great many just swipes are taken at the academic intelligentsia who subvert it. Conquest reviews the rise of pseudo-science, and the application of quantitative methods and measurements in social science. Conquest also laments the influence of half-baked, trashy European ideas in Western, specifically American, academic thought: “At a recent seminar on the much resented influx of certain American movies in France, my old friend Alain Besancon remarked that a hundred soft-porn products of Hollywood did less harm in his country than a single French philosopher had done in the United States.”

[Robert Conquest] laments the academic unwillingness to be seen to criticize colleagues or step outside of the many and varied leftist solidarities rampant throughout academia. …

As Conquest’s essays demonstrate, we, the victors of the Cold War, have thrown away a great part of what should have been a victory for Western values. The Cold War has been won, but the ideas that produced Communism still go marching on in their well-organized, corrupting way, even though the people advocating them are a minority.

The Historian Edward Gibbon once wrote that “There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times.” Yet, standing from his vantage point at the end of the 20th century, surveying the history of the last 100 years, Conquest is probably right to end his book, as he soberly does, with a warning. Although we are now living through an exceptionally optimistic historical moment, he reminds us that the “past is full of eras of progress that ended in darkness.” We should not fool ourselves: “The power of fanaticism and of misunderstanding is by no means extinct.”

Nor will it ever be as long as humanity exists. Chriss W. Street, writing at Breitbart, warns that the Marxist aim of imposing Communism on the whole world is still being pursued with fanatical resolve:

Donald Trump winning the presidency based on his promise to torpedo globalism came exactly 27 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and represents the second leg down for “World Socialism”.

Although U.S. history books declare capitalist United States the victor in World War II, it was World Socialism that ended up dominating most of the globe. [The] Soviet Union and China carved out massive communist states, India adopted extreme socialism, and communist insurgencies were ascendant in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.

Socialist governments controlled Western Europe and the idea that the state should play some kind of role in economic life was not seen as strange or unusual. Socialists differed on just how extensive the role of the state should be, but all agreed that “natural monopolies” like the railroad, phone service, health and electricity should be nationalized.

Paul Samuelson’s Economics was the top selling U.S. economics textbook from the 1960s through the 1980s. It proclaimed world socialism’s more efficient use of resources would allow the Soviet Union’s Gross National Product to pass the U.S. economy by 1984.

But mainstream economists failed to recognize that President Ronald Reagan’s policies of doubling down on capitalism through tax cuts and strangling the regulatory state in the 1980s would end the West’s inflationary spiral that had allowed communist resource-based economies to flourish. After the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, Russia was forced into a U.S. bailout and China adopted “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics”.

But rather than accept a permanent home in the “dustbin of history”, socialists in Western Europe passed the Maastricht Treaty, which formed the 27 nation European Union. Meanwhile, Democrat President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement and gave Most Favored Nation status to China.

Robert Wolfe, in the book SocialistGlobalization, calls this “internationalist movement”, a system of planning and production that transcends the boundaries of the individual nation-states:

The goal of socialist globalization should be the treatment of the entire world as a single economic unit within which the provision of necessary goods and services would be maximized and the [alleged man-made] damage to the environment minimized.

Leftist economist Joseph Stiglitz in January 2015 announced that “The American Century” had ended and “The Chinese Century” had begun, following the ‘World Bank’s International Comparison Program’ declaring China’s gross national product surpassed the U.S in 2014.

Stiglitz stated that the “rise of China also shines a harsh spotlight on the American model, due to capitalist economic and political “systemic deficiencies — that are corrupt”. He demanded that America must “pivot” to accept that the economic interests of China and the U.S. are now “intricately intertwined” in the new global order.

China would boast that it played a “crucial role” in formulating a new global development pact called “Agenda 2030,” which was signed by 193 members of the United Nations on September 28, 2015. The world socialist and corporatist pact aimed at re-engineering civilization through that imposition of 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” and setting 169 accompanying targets in what was referred to as a “Great Leap Forward”. 

China said that to “combat inequality domestically is simply not enough — international socialism is needed to battle inequality even among countries”. 

But, like us, the writer thinks that the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency marks a turning-point; that the zealots for international socialism are aware that their path to world domination, for so long all too smooth, could now be made impassable.

The election of Donald Trump now represents an existential threat to World Socialism across the planet.

Socialists know that when President Reagan went rogue with his muscular capitalist policies, communism quickly imploded. Trump has already torn up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have internationalized the law covering $28 trillion in trade and investment, about 40 percent of global GDP.

Trump seems determined to destroy “Socialist Globalization” with the same capitalist tax cuts and regulatory relief that President Reagan used to destroy communism.

Though not yet dead, Marxism/Communism/International Socialism has had its day. Its era is over. It will not go quietly. It will howl, it will grumble, it will whimper – but it will go. Perhaps as a minority secular religion it will linger, but as a power in the world it is done.

The Marxist professoriate remains to be muzzled. Agenda 2030 must not only be stopped, but the damage it has already done (under the name originally given to it by its parent the UN, “Agenda 21”) needs to be reversed. The prophets of doom by human beings overheating the planet need to be discouraged to the point of despair, because they are using “climate change” as a pretext for imposing world socialist government. But the Age of Marx is over.

That does not mean that “the power of fanaticism” – to use Robert Conquest’s words – is “extinct”. As we have said, it never will be.

We face another enemy of mankind. Islam.

As Marxism was to the last century, Islam will be to this century. Islam is an equally crippling totalitarian ideology, another mass killer and bringer of darkness.

Will a new era of American greatness save the world from it?

 

Footnote: * Barack Obama was the first Alinskyite to stand – in his case successfully! – for election to the US presidency.

Will the stupid and vicious inherit the earth 3

… blessed by the governing elites of Europe and the United Nations?

The supremacist and totalitarian movement called Islam, whose declared intent is world conquest, has become an extremely serious threat.

Its unarmed armies of believers are marching into Europe without encountering the least resistance. Democratically elected European governments have actually invited them in. In Europe they will proliferate, while the indigenous populations shrink, and before long they will be majorities in all western European countries, able to use the democratic process to take over government. Once that has been achieved, there will be no more democracy.

This movement of conquest and total subjugation is passionately encouraged by the UN. 

Virginia Hale reports and comments at Breitbart:

The incoming Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) told a room of policymakers in Europe on Wednesday that “migration is not the problem but the solution”, and said politicians should ignore voters.

Speaking in Lisbon at the Vision Europe Summit, António Guterres said European nations have no right to control their borders and that they must instead take in floods of the world’s poorest people.

“The idea that management of migration is a matter of national sovereignty is extremely limited.”

An idea cannot be “extremely limited”. He means that in his opinion the power of sovereign nations to control who comes into their territory ought to be  – not just “extremely limited” but – non-existent.

“The truth is that in the meantime, the real controllers of international mobility are the smugglers and criminal organisations. It must be recognised that migration is inevitable and will not stop,” the socialist told the crowd of policymakers and researchers.

Regarding priorities for the UN, when he takes over from South Korean Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-General, Guterres said he already has “several items to put on the discussion table to drive positive developments” with regards to the goal of making Europe accept more migrants.

This will take place in the form of “develop[ing] legal migration opportunities as the only way to fight against criminal networks”, he hinted.

Guterres insisted that every European Union (EU) nation must be forced to “share the burden” of mass migration.

Despite having used the word “burden” to describe giving residence to large numbers of aliens, the 67-year-old went on to declare: “We must convince [Europeans] that migration is inevitable and that it is the multiethnic societies which are multicultural and multireligious who are building wealth.”

The UN’s next head acknowledged he is “not convinced that it will be easy, given the state of [public] opinion”. Calling for politicians to put “tolerance” and “reason” at the heart of their decision making, Portugal’s former prime minister urged lawmakers to prioritise “values” over respecting voters’ wishes.

He stated: “When elected officials hesitate to choose between values and the next election, I would advise them to choose values. If they go for short term [electoral gain] they will lose both, because there will always come a time when they lose an election  At that point, it becomes very hard to recover the values that have been abandoned.” …

What “values” would those be? Just one. And not so much a value as a sentiment. PITY. The sentiment at the heart of Christianity – which ruled half the world with utmost cruelty for a thousand years.  

And wherever did he get the idea that where the Muslim hordes have poured into European countries, those countries are “building wealth”? What is actually happening is the exact opposite, as the author points out:

Far from being linked to wealth, data from different European countries support the idea that non-European migrants are a net cost to nations’ treasuries. In the Netherlands, 65 per cent of non-European migrants who arrived during the 1990s are still living on welfare.

And Virginia Hale goes on to quote a professor who dares to say that the Muslim populations which are replacing the indigenous Europeans are mentally inferior. He doesn’t use that term. He calls it “lower  intellectual competence”, but the two phrases mean the same thing.

The research of University College London psychology professor Dr. James Thompson shows Europe is being harmed by mass migration from poorer countries, as on average the newcomers’ intellectual competence is much lower than that of natives.

Partly as a result of their culture and partly due to genetics, he notes that the difference in intelligence results in migrants having “lower status, lower wages and higher resentment” at perceived differences.

“On the latter point, if the West cannot bear to mention competence differences, then differences in outcome are seen as being due solely to prejudice,” Thompson warns.

Being made poorer and stupider are two of the ways in which “Europe is being harmed” by the immigration of millions from the mainly Muslim parts of the Third World. The vast increase in crime, especially rape, is not mentioned. Nor the appalling terrorist attacks carried out by the Muslim warriors of jihad.

Enforced conformism, harsh subjugation of women, floggings and amputations and stonings to death, all the horrors of totalitarian enslavement are still to come.

About all of which the incoming Secretary-General of the UN, António Guterres, and the current crop of European leaders such as those of Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, Austria, the EU, are either in denial or unperturbed.

Since America, in it recent elections, rejected the sort of thinking on migration those persons represent, Europeans may be encouraged to use their democratic right, while they still have it, to vote their betrayers out of power.  

And after that the Western nations – led, we ardently hope, by President Trump – will destroy the UN. 

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