Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink (12 page)

BOOK: Live Free Or Die: America (and the World) on the Brink
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Compare all this with the history-making areas of opportunity President Trump has created for black Americans and other minorities. He has been a major supporter of historically black colleges, and prior to coronavirus, his economic policies led to record low unemployment for African Americans.

GUN CONTROL

It's self-evident that the left wants to emasculate the Second Amendment and take our guns. Every time there's a horrific mass shooting, especially in a public school, Democrat demagogues rush to the
microphone and, blaming the weapons instead of the shooters, clamor for gun control. This attempt to emotionally manipulate people reeling from tragedy is extremely disingenuous, as they know gun control measures would have little effect on stopping school shootings. Consider these statistics:

  • Some 94 percent of public mass shootings since 1950 have occurred in “gun-free zones.”
    92
  • The average age of mass public shooters is thirty-four,
    93
    indicating there would be little benefit in increasing the minimum age for buying guns.
  • Most American mass shooters used guns owned by a family member rather than one they had purchased.
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  • The Heritage Foundation reports that some 80 percent of gun-related crimes are carried out with illegally owned firearms. The vast majority of gun-related homicides are committed with handguns, with rifles being responsible for only 3 percent of such killings. More people are stabbed to death every year than are murdered with rifles. And almost two-thirds of America's annual gun deaths are suicides.
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  • Mass killings account for 0.2 percent of homicides every year.
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  • In countries with more restrictive gun laws, mass killers find other methods to kill—bombings, stabbings, and car attacks. For example, Australia's ban on assault weapons failed to reduce homicides, suicides, or unintentional firearms deaths, and its effect on mass shootings is disputed.
    97

True to form, Democrats demand that we believe them instead of our lying eyes. The trouble is, our eyes aren't lying. They want our weapons—as they've made clear for decades. Beto O'Rourke came right out and said it during a Democratic presidential debate. “Hell,
yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.” When accepting O'Rourke's endorsement, Biden hailed his gun control advocacy. “I want to make something clear: I'm going to guarantee this is not the last you're seeing of this guy,” said Biden. “You're going to take care of the gun problem with me. You're going to be the one who leads this effort. I'm counting on you. We need you badly, the state needs you, the country needs you, you're the best.”
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Former Democratic presidential candidates O'Rourke, Harris, and Booker support mandatory buybacks for certain guns, and other Democrats would ban them outright.
99
In response to a Twitter user who asserted that former candidate Eric Swalwell risked provoking a war by his plan to prosecute gun owners who refuse to comply with his proposed mandatory gun buyback scheme, Swalwell charmingly asserted that the government could use nuclear weapons “on noncompliant citizens.”
100

I suspect nearly every Democratic presidential candidate would have supported some form of gun confiscation if they thought they could get away with it politically. Their favorite boogeyman is the National Rifle Association, which they treat as a satanic organization that has all Republicans under its spell and financial control. Democrats have consistently shown us they support severe restrictions on the Second Amendment. When asked about the issue, Buttigieg said, “Look, right now we have an amazing moment on our hands. We have agreement among the American people not just for universal backgrounds checks, but we have a majority in favor of red-flag laws, high-capacity magazines, banning the new sale of assault weapons. This is a golden moment to finally do something.”
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DEBT AND ENTITLEMENTS

Most Americans are concerned about the national debt, but not many Democratic politicians appear to be—they've never met a federal
dollar they wouldn't spend except for national security purposes. Admittedly, deficits are still too high under President Trump, especially since the coronavirus stimulus expenditures, but his deficits pale next to the budget-busting effect of the Democrats' multitrillion-dollar schemes. What's important to understand is that entitlements—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—are by far the principal drivers of the deficits and debt. If we don't restructure them soon, we won't be able to balance the budget no matter how much we restrict discretionary spending. Though Trump didn't campaign on entitlement reform, I've always been confident he would eventually tackle the problem, as he understands their exponential growth, and he sincerely wants deficit reduction to be part of his legacy. But the problem every Republican president faces is that Democrats are steadfastly opposed to entitlement reform. The mere mention of the subject sends them into dyspeptic spasms and brings out their inner demagogue.

When Trump said he would examine possible cuts in entitlements “at some point,” Democrats accused him of harboring a sinister second-term plan to gut the programs. “Even as the impeachment trial is under way, Trump is still talking about cutting your Social Security,” Senator Chuck Schumer warned. This put Trump on the defensive, leading him to tweet that he would save Social Security, as promised. It was Democrats who were going to destroy it.
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This rings true because these programs are going insolvent, and the only way to save them is to restructure them. The Democrats' position is dishonest and illogical, for their obstruction of entitlement reform guarantees that the programs will go broke. Reforming these programs will cause some sacrifice in the short run, but failure to do so will cause catastrophic fiscal problems. Republicans have tried to tackle the issue and failed because the left successfully demonized the reformers, portraying them as murdering madmen pushing a wheelchair-bound grandmother off a cliff.
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We do need reform and we must support President Trump in his efforts to restructure—and thus save—these programs.

IDENTITY POLITICS

I can't conclude a discussion of the Democrats' agenda without mentioning the elephant in their room—identity politics, which permeates every policy idea they have. They used to tout themselves as the party of inclusiveness, but today they demand we obsess over race, gender, sexual orientation, and other group identities. In fact, their dramatic move to the left is tied to their fixation on identity politics. It overshadows everything. “The Democrats' focus on identity politics is ruining any semblance of meaningful principle in the party,” noted Owen Mason in the
Washington Examiner
. “After all, isn't defining someone as
what
they are and not
who
they are the very opposite of liberal?”
104

Biden has been among the most shameless practitioners of identity politics. “I commit that if I'm elected president and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the [Supreme Court], I'll appoint the first black woman to the court,” said Biden. “Secondly, if I'm elected president, my Cabinet, my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I'll pick a woman to be vice president.”
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Law professor Jonathan Turley was appalled. “Biden's promise to appoint a black female to the Court is a remarkable moment for the presidency,” Turley tweeted. “It is saying that there will be a race and gender prerequisite for appointments to the Court. This follows the pledge in the earlier debate to impose a litmus test on nominees.”
106

Any Democratic debate on policy descends into an argument about identity politics. Democrats can't offer any policy solutions without falsely accusing Republicans of bigotry. They never claim Republican policy proposals are simply deficient—it's that all our policies, from the economy to abortion, are grounded in hatred for some group. Democrats have gone to the well too many times with this tactic—to the point of parody—and it's bound to backfire as ordinary Americans grow weary of being constantly accused of prejudice every time they disagree with some left-wing policy prescription. Instead of uniting us
as a people, it divides us as oppressors and oppressed, whites versus minorities, gays versus straights, and men versus women. The Democrats can't win an argument on the merits, so they resort to inflammatory accusations in a desperate and socially destructive attempt to conceal their lack of constructive ideas.

During the Democratic presidential primaries, the party proved it has no practical plan to improve social harmony, boost the American economy, or competently address any other important issue. On virtually every topic, the Democratic position can be summed up in a single word: socialism. So let's take a look at the origins of that concept and the disastrous results it's had over the last century.

CHAPTER FOUR
Socialism: A History of Failure

For the nearly two-hundred-year history of socialism, its core problem has always been its dishonesty and broken promises.

Socialist parties and leaders don't declare that if empowered, they'll build an authoritarian police state, suppress dissent, rip away every vestige of freedom from society, run the economy into the ground, and transform their nation into an unlivable hellhole that specializes only in producing refugees. Yet time and again, that is exactly what has happened under the rule of socialist planners.

The ability of socialism to wreck an economy is actually pretty incredible—it's an awesome force of nature, like a tornado or a tsunami. Socialism managed to turn Soviet Russia from the world's largest grain exporter into a major importer, humiliatingly forced to turn to its chief geostrategic rival—the United States—to help feed its own people.
1
In Venezuela, oil production has dropped 75 percent since the socialist revolution began there in 1999, despite the country having the world's largest proved oil reserves.
2
And just look at the former East Germany—thanks to socialism, the nation stopped producing anything extraordinary except steroid-infused athletes, a gigantic internal spying apparatus, and a massive wall designed to keep its captive subjects from fleeing their centrally planned dystopia. Socialism found a way to do what Germany's enemies for nearly a century could not achieve—it made Germany poor.

Unsurprisingly, the Russian, Venezuelan, and German socialists
did not forewarn people that that's what they'd do. To the contrary, socialists everywhere promise to bring about a bright, shining future in which people's needs and desires will all be fulfilled for the grand bargain price of zero dollars. There will be fantastic free health care for all, terrific free housing, wonderful free college education, and guaranteed jobs for everyone. They don't promise to snuff out opposing viewpoints or strangle entrepreneurship or micromanage your life. No, it's rainbows and unicorns and justice for everyone. All that's asked of you, as a citizen, is to trust the government with most of your money and all your liberties.

Bafflingly, thirty years after the free world celebrated the collapse of communism behind the Iron Curtain, socialism has become trendy in America. For decades we were the world leader in the Cold War between communism and freedom, but as discussed earlier in this book, rising numbers of people, particularly young people, now want our nation to be more like the giant prison systems we helped to liberate.

Despite once again losing the Democratic presidential primaries, the popularity of the Bernie Sanders campaign is a flashing red warning sign. After spending decades in Congress as a freakish left-wing oddball, Bolshevik Bernie attracted crowds of ten thousand people or more to hear him preach class warfare and promise to abolish all student debt, make health care free, reengineer the U.S. economy through the Green New Deal, and adopt countless other impossible programs that would bankrupt the country many times over.

We have to take the Bernie phenomenon seriously. That's where the Democratic Party's energy is, that's where its passion is, and that's where its youth are. Although Bernie is not the Democratic presidential nominee, it's clear his socialist ideas are having a huge effect on Democrats nationwide.

So it's worthwhile here to review the history of socialism—what it is, where it came from, and how it's worked out when it's been tried. Since it's not a new phenomenon, we have a lot of evidence to work with in many different countries and contexts.

DRENCHED IN BLOOD FROM THE VERY BEGINNING

In short, socialism is a political system in which the government owns and runs the key elements of the economy. But there isn't universal agreement on what defines socialism—socialists everywhere have always had a tendency toward schisms, infighting, and factionalism, as they battle one another over the minutiae of their destructive ideology and repudiate each other as heretics. As such, there have developed many kinds of socialism—utopian socialism, anarcho-syndicalism, Nazi-style national socialism, to name a few—but the dominant form is Marxism.

Karl Marx and his collaborator, Friedrich Engels, set out the basic principles of socialism in many different articles and books, their most influential work being
The Communist Manifesto
of 1848. According to them, all of history has been dominated by conflict between economic classes. The main conflict of their own time, they said, was the struggle between the proletariat, or factory workers, and their oppressors—the bourgeoisie, or the wealthier middle and upper classes. They predicted that the workers would inevitably seize power through a violent revolution and establish the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” in which the newly empowered workers would suppress their class enemies, seize control of the economy, and bring about socialism, in which the workers run the economy for their own benefit. Eventually, after some period of time, the other social classes would be wiped out, economies would begin functioning much more productively, and people would be working because they get satisfaction from it, not because they are compelled to do so. After this system reached its final stage—communism—everything would work so well, said Engels, that the government and the state itself would wither away, having become unnecessary for the functioning of society.

This scenario is ridiculous utopianism. Yet socialists would spend the next 170 years squabbling over the meaning and application of
Marx's statements as if they were the word of God come down from Mount Sinai. The godfather of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, drew from Marx that the whole economy should be organized along the lines of the post office
3
—which helps explain the Soviet Union's seventy-year record of economic dysfunction.

Some of the core problems of Marxism were mocked by Marx's rivals at the time. For example, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin noted that it's impossible to have a “dictatorship” of an entire social class. He predicted Marx's “dictatorship of the proletariat” would really be a dictatorship of a small group of Marxists who refuse to surrender power, leading to an authoritarian one-party state
4
—which is exactly what has happened just about everywhere Marxists have gained power.

When one socialist country after another turned out to be a horrific police state instead of the promised utopian paradise, socialists began arguing that the problem wasn't socialism itself but that no one was implementing it correctly. But the seeds of authoritarianism and violence are right there in socialist philosophy. Socialists these days cite “social justice” as their goal, but socialism is not focused on achieving justice of any kind. Instead, its main impulses are rage, envy, scapegoating, a thirst for vengeance, and a desire to violently overturn the entire existing order.
The Communist Manifesto
demonized the so-called bourgeoisie, characterizing them as merciless and fiendish exploiters of the workers, whom they supposedly kept as “slaves.”
5
The workers “have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property,” said Marx and Engels.
6
Communists, they declared, “support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things,” and “[t]hey openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”
7

So socialist revolutions were envisioned from the beginning as bloody insurrections that don't just change governments but violently
overturn all of society by abolishing private property—essentially, the workers seize control of the government, and then the government steals the property of their enemies and eliminates them as a social class. A class of people is scapegoated for causing everyone else's misery, and open season is declared on them. People are promised that not only will their lives get better, but they'll achieve utopia if they annihilate their class enemies. Once you understand this, you understand why socialism so often degenerates into mass murder.

The utopian end goal also helps explain the inherent violence of socialism. If you're promised not just better living conditions, or higher wages, or more equality but instead a whole new stage of development for mankind in which all exploitation and inequality are permanently ended, then you can justify using extreme means to achieve that miraculous end. Anyone who stands in the socialists' way can easily be demonized as an exploiter and a reactionary who is thwarting utopia.

Take, for example, an order issued by Lenin concerning “kulaks,” which is a term of abuse the Russian communists used for wealthier peasants. Lenin wrote this order to his fighters in 1918 during the civil war that followed the communists' seizure of power in Russia the previous year: “1) Hang (and I mean hang so that the
people can see
)
not less than 100
known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers. 2) Publish their names. 3) Take
all
their grain away from them. 4) Identify hostages as we described in our telegram yesterday. Do this so that for hundreds of miles around people can see, tremble, know, and cry: they are killing and will go on killing the bloodsucking kulaks. Cable that you have received this and carried out (your instructions). Yours, Lenin. P.S. Find tougher people.”
8

Note that Lenin is not ordering his men to hang a hundred random people—he's ordering them to hang
at least
a hundred. There's a minimum but no maximum. But if you really believe in socialism, why not kill all these peasants and seize their grain and take hostages? Regardless of who they are or what good things they've done in life,
they're class enemies. By definition, they're reactionaries who are hindering mankind's progress.

Of course, Bakunin's observation also came true—that once a regime enters a “dictatorship” phase, it doesn't give it up voluntarily. And if revolutionaries are following Marx's blueprint, then dictatorship is their immediate goal. There's no need for democratic elections, or freedom of the press, or freedom of speech, or freedom of religion when a nation is being ruled by a cabal who, in their own minds, have unlocked the secret to history, society, economics, and politics. Dissenting views become unacceptable temptations to go down the wrong path. The dictators know all the answers, so all that's left is to implement them, not to debate them.

BACK IN THE USSR

Socialism got its first chance to prove itself in practice, on a mass scale, with the Bolsheviks' seizure of power in Russia in 1917 and their transformation of Russia into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). As is the case with many socialist power grabs that the left hails as popular revolutions, the October Revolution really wasn't a revolution at all—it was a coup secretly planned and executed by paramilitary forces of the Communist Party. In the standard way that coups unfold, armed Bolsheviks seized communications hubs, the post office, and other key points in the capital, imprisoned the ruling authorities, and declared themselves the new authorities. They cynically claimed they were acting to guarantee that democratic elections could be held to a new body called the constituent assembly. But when those elections didn't turn out well for the Bolsheviks, they shut down the assembly after its first meeting.
9

The Bolshevik coup sparked a years-long civil war that the communists eventually won. As they set about implementing socialism, they made clear that they took seriously Marx's demand for a
dictatorship. In a series of moves that would be repeated in socialist countries worldwide, they first suppressed the nonsocialist parties, then they eliminated the other socialist parties, and finally they banned dissent—or “factions,” as they called it—within the Bolshevik Party itself.
10
The USSR quickly became a totalitarian, one-party state in which the views of the party leadership were the only acceptable views. All other political parties were wiped out, the free press was crushed, and even trade unions—which represented the workers who supposedly now ran the country—were abolished or made subservient to the Communist Party. Religious expression and churches were also attacked with furious energy, inspired by Marx's denunciation of faith as “the opiate of the masses.” There was simply no space for any other viewpoints or initiatives in society than those of the all-powerful party, and in particular, the small group surrounding Lenin who led the party.

To smother any expressions or actions that might conflict with the party, the rulers created what would become a hallmark of socialist governments: a gigantic secret police force with nearly unlimited power. People lived in fear of a dead-of-night visit that could result in the victim's disappearance into a forced labor camp. These camps for those deemed enemies of the party began under Lenin and were expanded under his successor, Joseph Stalin, into the sprawling, nightmarish gulag system that imprisoned an estimated 18 million people.
11
According to the Russian historian Dmitri Volkogonov, at the time of Stalin's death in 1953, “there were eleven million people employed in one way or another on the task of watching the rest of the population. There had never been anything like it in history….”
12

As I mentioned, a key element in constructing the socialist paradise was to ruthlessly suppress the Bolsheviks' class enemies. They abolished private property, confiscated citizens' wealth, and nationalized most of the economy. Volkogonov explained how the so-called bourgeois were systematically humiliated, abused, starved, and murdered:

In December 1919 there was a fuel crisis in the country. Lenin appointed A. Eiduk to deal with the problem, and all manner of “bourgeois” were mobilized to gather and load wood onto trains: clerks, intellectuals, tsarist officers—any “ex-person” whom the new order had impoverished and as a rule denied a ration card. It was a common sight to see frail people, wrapped in what remained of a once-fine coat, clumsily loading frozen logs under the watchful eye of some “authorized” comrade. Later harried by a rule of 20 April 1921 under which their apartments could be packed out with poor and homeless people, or taken over altogether, these desolate individuals sought any excuse to avoid the drudgery of manual labour. Religious holidays were one such excuse. On 25 December 1919 Lenin told Eiduk: “it is stupid to tolerate ‘Nikola' (i.e., St Nicholas' Day); all Chekists [secret policemen] have to be on alert to shoot anyone who doesn't turn up to work because of ‘Nikola.' ”
13

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