The weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo laughed at all religions. It mocked religion as such, mercilessly. It dared to mock the nastiest religion of them all, Islam, defying its vengefulness. It was doing a great job for civilization.
Because of the killing of the journalists and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo yesterday in Paris, we repeat part of our post, Religion and the crippling of the mind – an existential threat (January 2, 2013):
Human survival depends on progress, and progress depends on the criticism of ideas.
Religions are the most dangerous sets of ideas because they are the most dogmatic. Dogma chains and cripples the mind. It denies knowledge and prevents discovery and innovation. The only possible form of argument between opposing dogmas is violence. Religions must be questioned.
Any idea that requires a law to protect it from criticism is ipso facto a bad idea.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation [formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference], the United Nations, and the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are actively engaged in trying to silence criticism of Islam. If their campaign succeeds it will greatly advance Islam’s jihad, its war to impose universal Islamic rule.
The victory of Islam would put humanity under a death sentence.
And this is also a good time to repeat an even earlier post, The need to knock Islam (September 3, 2011):
The greatness of the West began with doubting. The idea that every belief, every assumption, should be critically examined started the might of Europe. When those old Greek thinkers who founded our civilization learnt and taught that no one has a monopoly of truth or ever will have, they launched the intellectual adventure that has carried the human race – not without a long interval in the doldrums – literally to the skies.
Socrates taught the utility of suspicion. He is reputed to have said, “The highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.” He was not, however, the first to use doubt for discovery. Thales of Miletos, who was born 155 years before Socrates, dared to doubt that religion’s explanatory tales about how the world came to be as it is were to be trusted, and he began exploring natural phenomena in a way that we recognize as scientific. He is often called the Father of Science. With him and his contemporary, Anaximander, who argued with him by advancing alternative ideas, came the notion – for the first time as far as we know – that reason could fathom and describe how the universe worked.
Science is one of the main achievements of the West, but it is not the only product of constructive doubt that made for its greatness. Doubt as a habit of mind or tradition of thinking meant that new, foreign, even counter-intuitive ideas were not dismissed. Europe, before and after it stagnated in the doldrums of the long Catholic Christian night (and even to some extent during those dark centuries), was hospitable to ideas wherever they came from.
Totally opposed to this intellectual openness were the churches with their dogma. Those who claim that the achievements of our civilization are to be credited to Christianity (or in the currently fashionable phrase to “the Judeo-Christian tradition”) have a hard case to make. It was the rediscovery of the Greek legacy in the Renaissance in the teeth of Christian dogmatism, and the new freedom from religious persecution exploited by the philosophers of the Enlightenment that re-launched the West on its intellectual progress, to become the world’s nursery of innovation and its chief factory of ideas.
Our civilization cannot survive without this openness. Critical examination is the breath that keeps it alive. But it is in danger of suffocation. It is more threatened now than it has been for the last four hundred years by dogmatisms: Marxism, environmentalism, religion – above all Islam which absolutely forbids criticism.
The Founding Fathers of the United States perfectly understood the necessity for an open market of ideas. Every citizen of the republic, they laid down, must be free to declare his beliefs, to argue his case, to speak his mind, to examine ideas as publicly as he chose without fear of being silenced.
Islam is now the major threat to the West. Its ideas are the very opposite of those on which the USA was founded. It is an ideology of intolerance and cruelty. It forbids the free expression of thought. By its very nature, even if it were not now on a mission of world conquest (which it is), it is the enemy of the West.
The best way to defeat it is by criticizing it, constantly and persistently, in speech and writing, on the big screen and the small screen, in the schools and academies, in all the media of information and comment, in national and international assemblies.
If the weapon of words is forbidden, the only alternative will be guns.
Obama did not hide his intention to transform America. He stated that he would. What he did not say is what he would transform it into. But even a superficial acquaintance with his upbringing among dedicated Communists, education by Marxist professors, chosen affiliations to revolutionary and even terrorist Leftists, and activity as a “community organizer” could have told anyone paying attention in what direction he would try to move the country if he was elected to the presidency. He clearly intended to transform, if he could, a free capitalist country into an unfree socialist country. (What could not have been foreseen, but has become starkly clear, is that he also favors the advance of Islam in the US and the world.)
How a radical Leftist activist, once in power, might set about transforming America into a socialist country was blueprinted by Saul Alinsky – initiator of “community organizing” – in his Rules for Radicals. And Saul Alinsky had a blueprint in the works of Antonio Gramsci.
There’s an excellent survey of the life and works of Antonio Gramsci at Discover the Networks. Here’s an extract:
Antonio Gramsci was born in Sardinia on January 22, 1891. After graduating from the Dettori Lyceum in Cagliari, he won a scholarship to the University of Turin in 1911; by this point in his life, he was ideologically a socialist.
Four years later he became an active member of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) and began a journalistic career that saw him develop into one of Italy’s most influential writers. In the Turin edition of Avanti! (PSI’s official organ), Gramsci wrote a regular column on various aspects of the city’s social and political life.
Also active in educating and organizing Turin’s workers, Gramsci in 1916 began speaking periodically at workers’ study-circles on such topics as the French and Italian revolutions and the writings of Karl Marx.
When Russia’s Bolshevik revolution broke out in 1917, Gramsci embraced the goal of spreading socialist transformation throughout the capitalist world.
In the spring of 1919, Gramsci co-founded L’Ordine Nuovo: Rassegna Settimanale di Cultura Socialista (The New Order: A Weekly Review of Socialist Culture), which became an influential periodical among Italy’s radical and revolutionary Left. Meanwhile he continued to devote much of his time and energy to the development of the factory council movement, which sought to advance the cause of a proletarian revolution in Italy.
In January 1921 Gramsci aligned himself with the Communist minority within PSI at the Party’s Livorno Congress, and soon thereafter he became a central committee member of the Italian Communist Party (PCI).
From May 1922 to November 1923, Gramsci lived in Moscow as an Italian delegate to the Communist International. In 1924 he relocated to Rome and was named general secretary of PCI. He also began organizing the launch of PCI’s official newspaper, L’Unità (Unity).
In 1926, Italy’s Fascist government enacted a host of “Exceptional Laws for State Security,” designed to suppress political opposition. On November 8th of that year, Gramsci was arrested in Rome and was sentenced to 5 years in confinement on the island of Ustica. In June 1928, his prison sentence was increased to more than 20 years, including a stint in solitary confinement. …
He died, still under guard, in a Rome hospital in 1937.
During his years as a prisoner, Gramsci filled 32 notebooks (containing almost 3,000 pages) with his political and philosophical meditations on how Marxist theory could be applied practically to the conditions of advanced capitalism. …
Gramsci accepted Marx’s assertion that perpetual struggle between the ruling class and the subordinate working class was the driving mechanism that ultimately made social progress possible. But he rejected the notion that direct physical coercion by police and armies was the method of choice for achieving and maintaining victory in that struggle. Rather, Gramsci held that if a population at large could, for a period of time, be properly indoctrinated with a new “ideology”—specifically, a set of values, beliefs, and worldviews consistent with Marxist principles — a Marxist system could be sustained indefinitely and without coercion or force. In short, Gramsci held that Marxists needed to focus their efforts on gaining “hegemony” (i.e., control or dominion) over the core beliefs of non-Marxist societies; to change the population’s understanding of what constitutes basic “common sense.”
Such a development, said Gramsci, would never occur naturally as a result of some inexorable, unseen, “historical laws” that Marx had accepted as axiomatic. Rather, Gramsci asserted that Marxism’s potential for transforming society was wholly dependent upon the willful initiative of activists committed to using a “reversal strategy” designed to establish a “counter hegemony”—i.e., an alternative dominant worldview—in opposition to the existing capitalist framework.
Specifically, Gramsci called for Marxists to spread their ideology in a gradual, incremental, stealth manner, by infiltrating all existing societal institutions and embedding it, largely without being noticed, in the popular mind. This, he emphasized, was to be an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary, process that, over a period of decades, would cause an ever-increasing number of people to embrace Marxist thought, until at last it achieved hegemony. Gramsci described this approach as a “long march through the institutions”.
Among the key institutions that would need to be infiltrated were the cinema and theater, the schools and universities, the seminaries and churches, the media, the courts, the labor unions, and at least one major political party. According to Gramsci, these institutions constituted society’s “superstructure,” which, if captured and reshaped by Marxists, could lead the masses to abandon capitalism of their own volition, entirely without resistance or objection.
Gramsci’s formula was followed by Marxists throughout the Western world. “The long march through the institutions” was doggedly pursued. From the 1960s on, they began to achieve success, perhaps beyond their own optimistic expectations. And in 2008 their efforts were crowned by the election of Barack Obama to the most politically powerful position in the world.
Socialism (or “Communism” – even in the USSR the two words were used interchangeably) is an economic dream-system that cannot succeed. So it will not succeed. But it takes time for a socialist state to fail completely, and in the meantime it does ruinous and painful harm.
In Europe the failure of socialism is gathering pace as calamities crowd to a fall.
In America the harm is only just beginning.
Why was Obama, the Islam-loving communist, twice voted into the presidency of the capitalist, Islam-attacked United States?
Why do most Americans “think” that Obama is doing a good job – though they know the economy is bad, millions are unemployed, businesses are overburdened with regulations, travelers are manhandled and humiliated at airports, an American ambassador is killed abroad with impunity, the Taliban is back in business in Afghanistan, the Middle East is in flames since Obama assisted the displacement of allied rulers with Islamic fundamentalists … and so on and on?
Why do millions of Americans “think” that economic equality is morally desirable?
Why are tens of millions content to live on state support without attempting to improve their standard of living by their own efforts?
Why do millions of university students in America admire intellectuals who hate America, such as Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, and why do they make an icon out of the sadistic mass-murderer Che Guevara?
The broad general answer is simple. They’ve been told to. They’ve been told that good people do and “think” these things. They want to be good. They believe what they’ve been taught. This is so obvious that the statement “they believe it because they’ve been taught it” could be dismissed as a truism.
It is why Muslim women believe they must put up with being sexually mutilated and enslaved to men. Why multitudes the world over believe that there was a nation called Palestinians who were driven off their land by aggressive usurping Jews. Why Christians believe that a man who once lived and died lives on as one part of a three-part god. Why Muslims and Christians imagine that when you are dead you are still alive in another place. Why Jews believe that their benign and omnipotent God has some unguessable but just purpose in having six million of them enslaved, starved, tortured and murdered by Germans.
They believe it because they were taught it. It was drummed into them. They were raised to know that that is how it is.
Yet few if any ideas are easy to spread. To get an idea accepted by large numbers of people takes patience, persistence, conviction, tireless energy on the part of those who want to spread it. The idea need not make good sense, be reasonable, come with proofs that it will work as its advocates say it will. It doesn’t even have to appeal strongly to the emotions. It just needs to become what “everybody” accepts. How?
If you want your idea to prevail over others, this is what it takes. First the conviction that it is right and everyone should know it. Next, a decision to spread it. Then it takes energy, persistence, patience, time, repetition – and eventually force.
What made Christianity catch on? It wasn’t the life-style – poor, austere, hard, humble. Even the promise of eternal life was not a reliable recommendation as anyone’s eternity could as easily be endless agony as endless bliss (it was a 50-50 tossup). The theology was so hard to make sense of that the Church itself to this day has not settled it. And the morality it demanded was against human nature. So what made it succeed? Energy, persistence, patience, time, repetition, force.
Look how long it took. From the time St Paul invented “Jesus Christ” to the time the emperor of Rome accepted the new god and the doctrines that had accreted to him, thus making it fashionable to be Christian (just a few decades before force was applied and it became compulsory), nearly three hundred years had passed. Three hundred years of persistent, patient, energetic proselytizing. Even then, it was not securely implanted in the minds of the subjects. One Emperor – Julian – came along and actually tried to reverse the trend by suppressing Christianity and re-instating paganism. He didn’t have enough time. He died in battle, his successors went back to favoring Christianity, and finally the Emperor Theodosius decreed that Christianity was to be the religion of the state. With him the last phase of force arrived.
Marxist Communism took less time to get a real grip on the minds of multitudes. Means of communications had speeded up considerably between the 4th and the 19th centuries, but still it took half a century (if one arbitrarily dates it from the first publication of Marx’s Das Kapital in 1867 to the success of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917). And still the same method had to be employed: energetic, patient, persistent, repetitous proselytizing. The fever of enthusiasm had to be caught by two generations of intellectuals before the infection became a pandemic.
The creed must become the norm. So pervasive must the doctrine be that anybody who does not subscribe to it wholeheartedly will appear egregious; an oddball, a rebel, a danger to everyone else and even to himself. The orthodoxy must be accepted without question as good, so anyone who opposes it is ipso facto a bad person.
By the late 20th century communications had become even faster, so the New Left could achieve irreversible success in Europe in less than thirty years, in America in forty (1968 to 2008). It started as a weak revolutionary movement which brought nothing good with it to Western Europe and America, but much that was bad: recreational drugs, AIDS, terrorism as self-expression. New Leftists complained that they had too much freedom, too much choice, that tolerance of their politics was repressive. (That’s what Leftist theorists mean by “the dialectic” – every concept is also its own opposite.) And this irrational case was widely accepted, even while, on the other side of the iron curtain, a young man burnt himself to death to protest against the lack of freedom, choice, and tolerance.
The New Left movement was ignorant, blind, puerile, unreasonable, sadistic – yet it became, it has become, the prevailing belief-system of the greater part of the Western world, and at present in almost all “free” countries the standard ideology (or religion) of the state, no matter what political party is in power. How?
The plan was made. The plan was put into execution. Antonio Gramsci, founder of the Italian Communist Party, proposed the strategy: “The Long March through the Institutions”. It wasn’t enough that the New Left should protest, should threaten and carry out violent attacks, should shout and write and publish, should display their slogans, should bomb their native cities and maim and kill their neighbors. They must take over the institutions of power, every one of them, by achieving a majority of votes in them: from the smallest citizens’ groupings – such as library committees – to town councils, news media, boards of education, the schools, the universities, the civil service, the publishing industry, the legal profession, the law courts, a major political party, the country’s legislative body, and eventually prime-ministerships and presidencies. Police forces and the military were formidable challenges. The tactic with them was first to discredit them, then pressure them from outside by means of public opinion guided by the converted press, then to infiltrate them, and finally to bend them from within to conform to the doctrine and so advance the cause.
Books, films, articles, lessons, lectures, systems of reward, prizes must all promote the cause. It took the three or four decades, but it succeeded.
How otherwise could the free Western world, whose policies and armies opposed the oppressing, enslaving Communist Eastern world, have been successfully converted to the very doctrine that in the East oppressed, enslaved, tortured and mass murdered? The idea itself was no more innately and manifestly true and good than the idea of Christianity. But as in the case of Christianity, it took conviction, decision, planning, energy, persistence, repetition, and finally (now even in America, under the Obama administration) force.
Only Lefist doctrine – government control of the economy, government provision of welfare, confiscatory and punitive taxation – is politically correct now in America. Collectivist thinking is the norm. Good people vote left. (When, in 2008, a Californian woman came upon a stall set up on a main street to canvass votes for the Republican presidential candidate John McCain, she called the police, and was astonished to learn that to solicit public support for the Republican Party was not illegal.) Again, as with Christianity, the allegiance to the doctrine has little or nothing to do with the innate worth of the ideas themselves. Most adherents to either Christianity or Leftism could not explain what the ideas are. But they know that good people find them good, that good people vote for them. And that is all they need to know. Who doesn’t want to think of himself as a good person?
But the question of how did this become the case has not been fully answered. There is another aspect to the story. In order for one doctrine to succeed, it is necessary for counter doctrines to fail. If the ancient world had had enough confidence in paganism, enough enthusiasm for it, hadn’t taken it for granted, hadn’t become bored with it, hadn’t ignored the Christian missionaries with their crazy talk, could the weird, obscure, muddled, sorrowful, other-worldly new religion of Christianity have conquered it?
And the success of Leftism now – would it have happened if the conservative Right had been paying attention? The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and the Right was not being vigilant. It took little notice of the Long March. It didn’t bother to argue against political correctness. It disregarded the cynical shenanigans going on in the United Nations as if it were nothing but a zoo housing many clamorous beasts who were safely confined and could in no way threaten American life, liberty or happiness. If the Right was made to feel now and then the bullying, deceitful, sly, sometimes violent tactics of the Left, it shrugged them off. Conservatives went on being civil when the world’s mood had changed to favoring crassness, vulgarity and abuse. They put their confidence in the fact that America had been founded as the political embodiment of the idea of personal freedom; had demonstrated to the world – forever, they believed – that freedom brought prosperity and might and stunning innovation. They assumed that the rightness of individual liberty, the capitalist system, and government by the people had been established forever. So strong and free a country could afford to be tolerant. Let some wild, immature, misguided persons preach despotism (Communism, Socialism, Progressivism, Greenism, Feminism, whatever), the system was strong enough to be hospitable to alien ideas, and to allow dissent or even rebellion. Tested, it would prove itself inviolable. It could not only withstand opposition, it could absorb it and dissolve it. No special effort was required. American history was on the side of those who would defend freedom and the Constitution. The separation of powers would protect them. The free press would dilute propaganda. Open enquiry in the academies would ensure that all points of view were argued and the most rational, the most humane, would persuade serious scholars. But they were wrong.
In their complacency they did not even notice the Long March. They could not mark its stations of success. Only now, late in 2012, the Republican Party has woken up with a shock on discovering, in the November presidential election, that most of America likes collectivism; that it doesn’t object to electoral fraud; that it has no objection to a failing economy; that it would rather live on government handouts than become rich; that being rich has become a bad thing; that it’s okay for foreign powers to develop weapons that could kill vast numbers of Americans; that the press does not report what is happening in the world but only what it wants to happen; that courts of law are willing to apply foreign laws; that it doesn’t matter if American representatives abroad are attacked and murdered; that the concept of personal freedom is worthy only of derision; that American history is a trail of shame; that aggressive Islam is being protected by the government.
How did this happen? It happened because people patiently, energetically, persistently planned it and made it happen.
What can we do about it? What needs to be done to change the minds of the people?
Those who would change this state of affairs must first be sure that they want the free republic the founders established; that they want to maintain free markets; that they don’t want a welfare state; that they do want to preserve national defenses; that they want to stop indoctrination in the schools; that they want to forbid the application of foreign law; that they do not want to go on funding an institution – the UN – that consistently works against their interests; that Islam is inimical to their civilization. Then they must decide that their own political philosophy is right, uniquely right, and must be implemented at any and all costs. Then they must start teaching it with energy, persistence, patience and fiery enthusiasm. It will take time. Teach, preach, use every method of persuasion that works. Take back the institutions. Give up the idea that it’s better to be gentlemanly than sink to using the low methods of the opposition. The Left has made the fight low and dirty. Leftists will cheat, lie, turn dirty tricks. Will the Right, before it is to late, get down in the dirt and fight in the same way?
Have they – Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, the Tea Party – got the stomach for it? How badly does the conservative Right want to win power in America? How important is it to them that they should?
Are they prepared to shout down the shouters? Criticize and mock Islam? Make Communists feel passé and nasty? Tolerate only the tolerant and tolerable?
Will they start a process and persist with it, energetically and patiently? Or do they imagine that the innate rightness of their ideas, if politely explained, will win the electorate over to their side?
Will it be enough just to tell them?
Tell them that the free market is the only means of creating general prosperity, and why. Tell them that central planning of an economy cannot work, and why. Tell them why competition is good for everyone, producers and consumers alike. Tell them what profit is and why it is essential for ensuring abundance. Tell them that only where people are free can there be discovery and innovation, improvement in everyone’s daily life, better technology, the advance of civilization. Explain why. Show them the proofs of history.
Tell them the truth about life in other countries. Not politically correct sentimental drivel, but the actual awful facts about life in most other countries.
Tell them why impartial justice is the only justice. Why all sane adult citizens must be treated equally by the law. That people must be judged by their actions, not their intentions or feelings.
Tell them why government should be kept small and its powers limited. Tell them what the essential tasks of government are: protection of the nation, of the individual, of the rule of law itself. And why government should not be allowed more powers and money than it needs to fulfill its few essential functions.
Will that do the trick?
No. It will not be enough just to tell them.
Just how low and dirty the fight will have to be, just how hard the task necessarily is, can be learnt from David Horowitz’s book Radicals*. Here are a few indicators to be found in it:
Lenin “declared that the purpose of a political argument was not to refute one’s opponent but to wipe him off the face of the earth”.
“Because the left is inspired by the fantasy of a future that can never be realized, it is never defeated by its defeats.”
Alinskyites [eg Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] “will say anything (and pretend to be anything) to get what they want, which is power.”
Alinsky’s advice: “Advance your radical goals by camouflaging them.”
“[Lenin] was always engaged in a total war, which he used to justify every means he thought might advance his goals. These included summary executions, concentration camps that provided a model for Hitler, and the physical ‘liquidation’ of entire social classes. Lenin was the most dangerous kind of political fanatic – ready to resort to any means to get what he wanted, even if it meant pretending to be a democrat.”
“This is the art [Alinsky] taught to radicals trying to impose socialism on a country whose people understand that socialism destroys freedom: Don’t sell it as socialism. Sell it as ‘Progressivism’, ‘economic democracy’, ‘fairness’, and ‘social justice’.”
“[I]dentify one’s political enemies as instruments of evil and thus … justify the total war against them.”
“[Alinsky explains] to idealistic radicals who think of themselves as creating a world of perfect justice and harmony that the means they must use to achieve that world are dishonest, deceitful, and ruthless – and therefore indefensible by the moral standards they claim to be upholding. The radical organizer has no such standards … he ‘does not have a fixed truth – truth to him is relative and changing; everything to him is relative and changing. He is a political relativist.’” [Italics in the original.]
“[Alinsky writes;] ’To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles. The real arena is corrupt and bloody. Life is a corrupting process … he who fears corruption fears life.’”
Terrible, terrible! And of course immoral means pervert the ends.
The moral Right cannot do as the immoral Left does.
So how will the Left be defeated?
Jillian Becker December 17, 2012
* Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion by David Horowitz, Regnery,Washington D.C., 2012
We’ve seen three pigs flapping their way into the sky in the last few weeks.
The first became airborne when Barney Frank, who had protected the corrupt twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the flaming ardor of an angel at the gate of Eden, suddenly declared that they should be abolished. (See our post Gasp, August 19, 2010.)
The next swine soared up a few days ago when Fidel Castro, Communist dictator of miserable Cuba for over 50 years, announced that Communist economics don’t work. (See our post Oops! immediately below.)
Now we’ve spotted another.
Robert Fisk has spent a lifetime in journalism defending Arabs and Islam, and Palestinians in particular. He lied consistently about Israel (to my certain knowledge as I was witness to the same events during the Israeli intervention in Lebanon that he reported in 1982 and 1983 – JB.] Now he’s suddenly discovered that Islam oppresses, tortures and murders women. We’re glad that he has ferreted out this obscure fact, that he is appalled, and that he is publishing cases, descriptions, and the names of victims. We applaud him for it. But he’s the last person we would have expected to write this report.
Harrowing though it is, it needs to be read. This time Robert Fisk, the veteran liar, is telling the truth. …
Continued in the post above, The atrocity that is Islam.
Bertrand Russell wrote of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (who preached the Second Crusade) that “his sanctity did not suffice to make him intelligent”. No doubt the same could be said of all religious leaders.
Tenzin Gyatsu is the present (14th) Dalai Lama, exiled from Tibet by China. “His Holiness” has been in New York this week, “giving teachings” as his website puts it. Thousands of Americans waited in line to learn wisdom from him.
He declares himself to be a Marxist because he thinks Marxism “has moral ethics”, though he’s noticed that capitalism makes people better off and “brings freedoms”.
Funny that he fell out with the rulers of China.
This comes from First Things:
No wonder the American left loves him.
The Dalai Lama admits to being a Marxist.
He should have told Obama. Maybe he wouldn’t have been forced to leave the White House through the trash door following their meeting in February.
TIBETAN spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he’s a Marxist, yet credits capitalism for bringing new freedoms to China, the communist country that exiled him.
“Still I am a Marxist,” the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.
“(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits,” the Dalai Lama, 74, said.
“(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people’s living standards improved,” he said.
According to Fox News he himself doesn’t get a penny of profit from his lecture tour:
During a press conference this week, the Dalai Lama said Marxism remains “the only economy system expressing concern of equal distribution (of wealth); that is moral ethics.”
He takes no payment for his appearances and asks that proceeds from ticket sales go for hunger relief and other charities. But he admits he doesn’t keep track of where the money goes. “This is up to the organizer,” he says. “I have no connection.”
Obama says there should be a limit to how much money anyone should make. He and the “progressive” majority in Congress are trying, step by step, to turn America into a European-style socialist state. Only the state, they believe, can be extravagant, taking money from people who’ve earned it and will earn it in the future, and using it to extend and tighten the power of government. Austerity must be imposed on the people. Let them eat less, feel colder, do without cars. Let them have only the medical treatment and the education government will allow them to have. Limit the amount of wealth any individual may acquire. Profit is a dirty word. Tax, tax, and tax again.
It is a recipe for disaster.
Europe is experiencing the disaster. It is seeing its socialist dream go up in flames on the streets of Athens.
What cannot work, won’t work. Socialism, like all Ponzi schemes, can seem to be working for a time, but must fail. In a favorite word of the Left (applying it where the Left would not) Socialism is “unsustainable”.
Capitalism is sustainable. Capitalism is beautiful. A cornucopia. “The incredible bread machine”. It’s what Adam Smith called “the natural order of liberty”. It could also be called “the system of mutual benefit”.
You want the means to keep yourself alive? Provide something – goods, labor, services, ideas – that others want to buy. You want to live comfortably? Provide more of it. You want to live luxuriously? Provide it better than anyone else does. Both a seller and a buyer you will be. A buyer wants the thing he buys more than he wants the money he pays for it, just as the seller wants the money more than the thing he is parting with.
How can you know what others want? Put what you have to offer on the market and see if it sells. The right price for it is the best price you can get. The free market signals what traders need to know. As the great free-market economists, most notably von Mises, Hayek, and Milton Friedman have explained over and over again, government interference with price controls, minimum wages, rationing, compulsory purchase, bailouts, distort the signals and harm the economy.
Whether idealists and moralists like it or not, human nature is selfish. It has to be. If we were not selfish we would not eat when we’re hungry, warm ourselves when we’re cold, acquire what we need, protect ourselves from enemies. Without selfishness, the human race would not have survived. (It is not only or purely selfish. Individuals can and do choose to act unselfishly too – once they have seen to the needs of their survival.)
The Marxist idea of “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” ignores human nature. Any attempt by government to put the formula into effect by creating the welfare – or “entitlement“ – state invariably handicaps, suppresses, and impoverishes the nation.
Capitalism is the reverse of that idea. It is a system that encourages each to contribute according to his self-determined need, to be rewarded according to how ably he does it. From each according to his need and to each according to his ability would be a fair description of how the natural order of liberty works.
To satisfy bare need is a poor political aim. It reflects a pinched, narrow, joyless, life-quelling mentality. “O, reason not the need!” King Lear pleads, “our basest beggars are in the poorest thing superfluous.” Generally speaking, in practice, the only way to be sure of having enough of anything is to have too much of it. Profit is a very good thing. It is only when people have extra money and extra time that they can invent new things. And those who produce things that improve the lives of multitudes, things that millions of people want to own and use, are doing far more for the general good than the most generous philanthropist could ever possibly do. Bill Gates with his Microsoft (though he seems not to realize it but to hold some silly lefty views) has actually done more for mankind than all the charities that have ever existed put together.
That is why it’s reasonable to propose that there is no sin of greed. There is a sin of envy. Envy is the raw material of socialist idealism. But wealth, Mr Obama, is not a problem. Poverty is a problem. And your socialist policies will cause it on a massive scale. Let us be free to work for our own maximum profit. Let us have abundance. Let us have feasts, fatness, generosity, might, novelty, and splendor.
Jillian Becker May 11, 2010
Shock? Horror? Or did some see it coming?
Under the leadership of David Cameron, who now emerges as extremely dangerous, or stunningly stupid and ignorant, or both, the BRITISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY has moved to the left of the Labour Party!
The Party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher has been won over by the revolutionary theories of Saul Alinsky, of whom Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are disciples [see our post The radicals who rule, March 31, 2010].
The Conservatives have totally abandoned their traditional adherence to the principle of individual freedom and embraced egalitarian collectivism.
This is from the Conservative Party’s website:
The new policies announced as part of the Big Society plan include:
“Neighbourhood army” of 5,000 full-time, professional community organisers who will be trained with the skills they need to identify local community leaders, bring communities together, help people start their own neighbourhood groups, and give communities the help they need to take control and tackle their problems. This plan is directly based on the successful community organising movement established by Saul Alinsky in the United States and has successfully trained generations of community organisers, including President Obama.
This is from the speech in which David Cameron announced his big idea, to turn the whole of Britain over to what Americans will recognize as a government-sponsored version of ACORN:
In the United States the energy, enthusiasm and passion of community organisers has fired up whole neighbourhoods to take control of their destiny.
We want to see that right across the UK.
So we will use revenue from the Cabinet Office FutureBuilders programme, a programme the National Audit Office has criticised for its poor delivery, and redirect it to training thousands of new community organisers in the years ahead. …
To teach potential community organisers how to identify the doers and the go-getters in each neighbourhood and recruit them to their cause.
To teach them them how to bang heads together to get things done.
Indeed, Barack Obama trained as a community organiser in Chicago.
And I hope that in the years to come, a similar inspirational figure will emerge from community work in our inner cities – and go from the back streets of Bradford or Bolton or Birmingham all the way to Downing Street.
But I know the arguments that some people make – that this sort of community co-operation will only happen in the richest areas. (?! -JB]
In building the big society, I want to make sure that Britain’s poorest areas do not get left behind as they too often are today.
So again, we will take money from the Futurebuilders programme, and direct it to community organisers, social enterprises and neighbourhood groups in our most disadvantaged areas.
This is the big society made real – devolving power to the people while using the state to encourage social action and help the poorest.
And this is from Melanie Phillips’s comment in the Spectator:
Ye gods. Rub your eyes, folks. Saul Alinsky?? …
The seditious role of the community organiser was developed by an extreme left intellectual called Saul Alinsky. He was a radical Chicago activist who, by the time he died in 1972, had had a profound influence on the highest levels of the Democratic party. Alinsky was a ‘transformational Marxist’ in the mould of Antonio Gramsci, who promoted the strategy of a ‘long march through the institutions’ by capturing the culture and turning it inside out as the most effective means of overturning western society. In similar vein, Alinsky condemned the New Left for alienating the general public by its demonstrations and outlandish appearance. The revolution had to be carried out through stealth and deception. Its proponents had to cultivate an image of centrism and pragmatism. A master of infiltration, Alinsky wooed Chicago mobsters and Wall Street financiers alike. And successive Democratic politicians fell under his spell.
His creed was set out in his book ‘Rules for Radicals’ – a book he dedicated to Lucifer, whom he called the ‘first radical’. It was Alinsky for whom ‘change’ was his mantra. And by ‘change’, he meant a Marxist revolution achieved by slow, incremental, Machiavellian means which turned society inside out. This had to be done through systematic deception, winning the trust of the naively idealistic middle class by using the language of morality to conceal an agenda designed to destroy it. And the way to do this, he said, was through ‘people’s organisations’.
Community organisers would mobilise direct action by the oppressed masses against their capitalist oppressors…
The British Conservative party has signed up to the revolutionary Marxist politics of Saul Alinsky and his seditious strategy of using ‘community organisers’ to turn the people against the state and against the bedrock moral and social values of their country – and it is almost certainly too ignorant, lazy or stupid to realise that this is what it means.
British voters might now decide to return the Labour Party to power after all, as the lesser of two leftist evils! But it’s more than probable that Gordon Brown, or whoever succeeds him, will also embrace the community organizing idea.
So expect the launching of the USK – the United Soviet Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
After which, the ESU – the European Soviet Union?
Barack Obama’s autobiographical book Dreams from My Father is a quietly self-vaunting ‘tell-all’ mixture of narrative, nostalgia, apparent confession, disguised complaint and unfocussed accusation. As the self-portrait of a young man it is fondly self-indulgent, allowing a few small warts – or perhaps one should say acne spots – to show, just enough to deflect accusations of self-flattery. It emerges from the narrative, rather than it is said, that the young Obama resented being black. He implies that someone must be to blame for his having to feel like that. The self-pity is kept, however, as subdued as the self-flattery.
The story wears a candid expression on its face, so to speak, but gives itself away by inevitably raising questions which beg for answers not given. For instance, and significantly, Obama does not say who paid him to work as a ‘community organizer’, or why. A man, an ‘organizer’, named Marty Kaufman phones him out of the blue, meets him at a coffee shop and offers him the undefined job for a rather low wage. What this man’s interest in the work might be is not explained, other than that he’s been vaguely idealistic ever since the student protest movement of the 1960s. One is left to assume that this fellow ‘in a rumpled suit’, although he shows no signs of having disposable funds of his own, is some sort of selfless philanthropist nobly intent on alleviating difficult living conditions for the poor black tenants of a crumbling building in a seedy area of Chicago.
Now the truth is out. David Horowitz is providing the answer.
Since taking office Barack Obama, who promised during his campaign to create a moderate, inclusive administration, has engaged in actions that have created division and fear because they are meant to radically change America, not improve on what has always worked. As a result, David Horowitz writes in Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model, “Many Americans have gone from hopefulness, through unease, to a state of alarm as the President shows a radical side only partly visible during his campaign.”
Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model provides an understanding of the roots of the current administration’s effort to subject America to a wholesale transformation by looking at the work of one of the President’s heroes — radical Chicago “community organizer” Saul Alinsky. The guru of Sixties radicals, Alinsky urged his followers to be flexible and opportunistic and say anything to get power, which they can then use to destroy the existing society and its economic system. Alinsky died in 1972, but left behind an organization in Chicago dedicated to his malicious ideas. This team hired Barack Obama in 1986 when he was 23 and taught him how to organize for radical transformation.
In this insightful new booklet, Horowitz discusses Alinsky’s work in the 60s — and his advice to radicals to seize any weapon to advance their cause. This became the philosophy of Alinskyite organizations such as ACORN and to Alinsky disciple Van Jones, a self described “communist” who served as President Obama’s “Green Czar” until he was forced to resign when his extremist ideas became public.
After his analysis of Saul Alinsky, Horowitz points out what the grandfather of “social organizing” created “is not salvation but chaos.” Then he asks the crucial question: “And presidential disciples of Alinsky, what will they create?”
Melanie Phillips writes:
Twenty years ago today, supporters of freedom and human rights cheered and wept for joy as the Berlin Wall was torn down by jubilant young Germans.
To so many, that heady day seemed to herald the emergence of a better world. The spectre of communism had finally been laid to rest. Liberty had triumphed over tyranny.
The end of the Cold War even led some to proclaim that this was ‘the end of history’ — which was to say that liberal democracy was now the dominant and unchallengeable force in the world. However, the 9/11 attacks on America tragically proved this to be absurdly over-optimistic. The eruption of radical Islamism revealed that, while the West may have been rid of one enemy in the Soviet Union, another deadly foe had risen to take its place.
So much is, sadly, all too evident. But what is perhaps less obvious is that communism did not just vanish in a puff of historical smoke.
The Soviet Union was defeated and fell apart, for sure. But the communist ideology that fuelled it did not so much disintegrate as reconstitute itself into another, even more deadly form as the active enemy of western freedom.
Soviet Communism was a belief system whose goal was to overturn the structures of society through the control of economic and political life. This mutated into a post-communist ideology of the Left, whose no-less ambitious aim was to overturn western society through a subversive transformation of its culture. …
The collapse of communism was actually a slow-burning process. Its moral and political bankruptcy became obvious decades before that glorious Berlin day in November 1989. … But as communism slowly crumbled, those on the far-Left who remained hostile towards western civilisation found another way to realise their goal of bringing it down. This was what might be called ‘cultural Marxism’. It was based on the understanding that what holds a society together are the pillars of its culture: the structures and institutions of education, family, law, media and religion. Transform the principles that these embody and you can thus destroy the society they have shaped.
This key insight was developed in particular by an Italian Marxist philosopher called Antonio Gramsci. His thinking was taken up by Sixties radicals — who are, of course, the generation that holds power in the West today.
Gramsci understood that the working class would never rise up to seize the levers of ‘production, distribution and exchange’ as communism had prophesied. Economics was not the path to revolution. He believed instead that society could be overthrown if the values underpinning it could be turned into their antithesis: if its core principles were replaced by those of groups who were considered to be outsiders or who actively transgressed the moral codes of that society.
So he advocated a ‘long march through the institutions’ to capture the citadels of the culture and turn them into a collective fifth column, undermining from within and turning all the core values of society upside-down and inside-out. This strategy has been carried out to the letter.
The nuclear family has been widely shattered. Illegitimacy was transformed from a stigma into a ‘right’. The tragic disadvantage of fatherlessness was redefined as a neutrally-viewed ‘lifestyle choice’.
Education was wrecked, with its core tenet of transmitting a culture to successive generations replaced by the idea that what children already knew was of superior value to anything the adult world might foist upon them. The outcome … has been widespread illiteracy and ignorance and an eroded capacity for independent thought.
Law and order were similarly undermined, with criminals deemed to be beyond punishment since they were ‘victims’ of society …
The ‘rights’ agenda — commonly known as ‘political correctness’ — turned morality inside out by excusing any misdeeds by self-designated ‘victim’ groups on the grounds that such ‘victims’ could never be held responsible for what they did. …
This mindset also led to the belief that a sense of nationhood was the cause of all the ills in the world, precisely because western nations embodied western values. So transnational institutions or doctrines such as the EU, UN, international law or human rights law came to trump national laws and values.
But the truth is that to be hostile to the western nation is to be hostile to democracy. And indeed, with the development of the EU superstate we can see that the victory over one anti-democratic regime within Europe — the Soviet Union — has been followed by surrender to another.
For the republic of Euroland puts loyalty to itself higher than that to individual nations and their values. It refused to commit itself in its constitution to uphold Christianity, the foundation of western morality. …
We agree with most of what she says, but not with the value she places on the Christian religion and Christian morality. We do not believe that the greatness of Europe is due to Christianity. We share with Edward Gibbon the opinion that Christianity brought a thousand years of darkness down on Europe. What made Europe great was the Renaissance and the Enlightenment: the rediscovery of Greco-Roman civilization, the displacement of a deocentric by an anthropocentric world-view, the rise of scientific enquiry, the revival of the Socratean questioning of ideas in general, the ideal of personal liberty, the triumph of rationality. In other words, by the loosening and finally the casting off of the shackles of religion, even though Christianity, in proliferating variety, continued to exert a malign influence on Europe’s history for some centuries after Spinoza and Hume crippled it.
The dark ideologies of Leftism and Islam cannot be overcome by the darkness of another religion, but only by reason. Physical force may be necessary, and should not be shirked when it is. But victory in war – as victory in the Cold War demonstrated – is not sufficient if the ideology lives on, whether openly or incognito under new names. It is the argument that must be won, however hard it is to change by reason a view that has not been arrived at by reason. Reason’s victory is enormously aided by its practical achievements in science and technology. Even the dark-age Muslims extant in our world want vaccinations, organ-transplants, aircraft, telephones, television, computers, the internet, refrigerators – and also, ever more determinedly and dangerously, nuclear weapons. The West failed to keep those out of the hands of Communist and Muslim states, which is why war may be necessary again quite soon. Our side, the side of reason, demands that our weaponry should always be more advanced than the enemy’s. As long as we can innovate, we can win. Innovation is the child of freedom and rationality.
Judi McLeod in Canada Free Press reports:
Pravda, former official voice of the Soviet Union in the days of former President Mikhail Gorbachev, is cheering the Death of America under the leadership of “Marxist” Barack Hussein Obama [no need for those quotation marks – JB].
In his Pravda-run piece, blogger Stanislav Mishin gloats in ‘American capitalism gone with a whimper’.
“It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American descent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people” writes Mishin.