Saturday, February 14, 2009

Socialism: A Long-Term Bipartisan Project

A tip of the hat to my friend Greg, a missionary in Africa with roots in the Crescent City, also a fellow advocate of constitutional, limited republican government and individual liberty - for this. He is indeed right about the picture to words value ratio - the above picture says it all, and leaves one speechless.

Obviously, the nationalization of banks and the federal grab of entire industries and the specter of the President of the United States setting corporate salaries in a hasty trillion dollar federal spending spree supported by only one party is an obvious paradigm shift into Marxism - we need to guard against seeing this as a sudden act of the Democrat Party.

Our slide into Socialism has been gradual, and a result of Republican and Democratic cooperation - as can be seen by the graph above. And the old paradigm that Republicans advocate the warfare state while Democrats push the welfare state has shifted as well, as those partisan lines are being thoroughly blurred.

President Bush and the GOP ballooned the size of the national debt while pushing increased domestic pork projects, such as federal healthcare funding and unconstitutional involvement in "education." For their part, the Democrats have recently engaged in aggressive nation-building and unconstitutional military endeavors as much as the Republicans. How quickly we forget that Truman (D) dropped the atomic bombs, and Kennedy (D) and Johnson (D) radically escalated the Vietnam "war" - while it was Nixon (R) that ended it.

It was also President Nixon who closed the gold window and imposed fascist and unconstitutional domestic "wage and price controls," and it was President Clinton (D), whose aggressive, imperialist foreign policy was roundly criticized by Republicans, chiefly by presidential candidate George W. Bush, who advocated a "humble foreign policy" and "no nation building" - in the GOP's broken promise to restore constitutional balance. It was President Eisenhower (R) who warned America about the looming "military industrial complex" and it was President Clinton who was far more fiscally conservative and who did a much better job of balancing the federal budget than any Republican in recent memory.

President Obama is intent on increasing both the welfare and warfare state at any cost - be it blood or money, be it at the cost of the destruction of the Constitution or the dollar. He toyed with the anti-war element of his own party by promising withdrawal from Iraq, while keeping the economics of arms production and international intervention moving forward with pledges to escalate American involvement in Afghanistan (aka the Graveyard of Empires, the same country that cost the Soviets their empire, where U.S.-trained Osama bin Laden led militias to defeat the mighty invaders from the USSR). Obama is taking the next logical step of escalated socialist fascism at home and imperialism and aggression abroad. He also has a Congress of rubber-stamp Democrats who will not check his power - but then again, nor would a Republican majority do anything to rein in the Chief Executive, as we saw during the Clinton years.

Bipartisanship has become a unified commitment to fascism, socialism, despotism, and imperialism - with two rotating teams taking turns sitting in the big chair. I'm afraid that only a catastrophic failure of our economy, and perhaps even a decisive military defeat, will cause the American people to wake up, learn the dangers of Big Government and imperial blowback, and rise up against the Democrat and Republican two-headed monster and re-chain it with the Constitution. The question is, will the awakening come too late?

Expect the above graph to not only continue, but to increase, as the government becomes ever-increasingly central to the American economy, at home and abroad, even as domestic manufacturing becomes nearly a thing of the past.


Greg said...

Hey Frere!

So let's see - I posted the picture and wrote (exactly) 10 words about it. You posted it and wrote (exactly) 631 words. All really interesting and appropriate words, mind you, but 631 all the same.

I've known a few other preachers like that over the years ...

Seriously, your excellent analysis is greatly appreciated. The Lord has blessed you with a sharp intellect.

Don't forget the _____(chocolates, flowers, whatever) for Mrs. Hollywood today!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

I'll vote for you if you run for President.

Cecil The Sea Sick Sea Serpent said...

While I'm not a proponent of big government, what do you know about it? Perhaps a preacher should wax eloquent on matter political. I''m not sure, but what is your experience as a civil servant?

After swimming around 250 plus years as a sea serpent I became a civil servant for the Department of Defense. I worked 41 years at a Department of Army manufacturing facility that provides organic supply of weapons of peace. My question to you is (provided that any government facility is useful/necessary) why should a useful civil servant performing a task comparable to a private sector job be paid less?

It would be difficult to provide all public services by the private sector ... think of the conflict of interest problems. So use/manufacture/disposal of pesticides should be regulated by chemical companies? I don't think so. Same with medications. Granted there are sometimes scoundrels in regulatory agencies, but industry does not have a exemplary record of regulating itself. On the other hand the government can over-regulate.

As I stated I don't want the government in any form taking over functions that should be done by private free enterprise.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Cecil:


A goodly number of the bureaucrats who enforce regulations for the federal government are themselves former lobbyists for those industries. It's a revolving door.

For the most part, everything government can do, the private sector can do better and more efficiently. Of course, there is some role of government, but that role is limited. If you read the Constitution, you can see what the Federal government is supposed to be doing - and you can see from the above diagram, in recent years, government (especially at the federal level) is like an engorged rabid tapeworm sucking out the life of its host.

This is why the Soviet Union fell, and unless we repent and change our ways, we are headed to something similar in this country.

There was a headline on Drudge (I will be blogging it) that shows the current obligations of the federal government (such as future unfunded liabilities) exceed the current GDP of the entire world.

Uh, Houston, we have a problem.

But of course, there is always a bureaucrat with his hand out (or gun drawn) saying with a smile on his face: "Hello. I'm from the government. I'm here to help."

Yes, indeed, we have more than enough "help." If we get a little more "help," very soon every aspect of our lives will be regulated, mandated, controlled, monitored, and recorded by the federal government.

Thanks. But no thanks.

I want my son to learn lots of foreign languages. There will indeed be someplace on earth that values freedom. It is decreasingly the case in this country.

And yes, I have been a civil servant in my past life - as though that matters. I've never taken the tack that only the clergy may have an opinion about God. And as a taxpayer, and as a citizen, I have never felt compelled to shut up and refuse to have opinions about government, and just leave the freedom to think about how we are governed to the professional ruling elite.

For the time being, I am entitled to my opinion. ;-)

As a former DOD guy, you might appreciate the trilogy of books written by Chalmers Johnson. Very compelling stuff.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Anastasia:

Wow. I'd get one vote then (because I don't think I'd vote for myself). ;-)

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Greg:

That's because you are more efficient with your words, my friend. I have to process all this stuff through my little brain. I even read out loud - which the Evelyn Wood folks say is bad. But I get the reading and thinking done eventually.

But that's why we have eternity - so we will have time to read and think and write.

In fact, Mrs. H. and I spent St. Valentines Day reading together. She would have scolded me if I would have spent money on flowers - but then again, our orange and lemon trees are full of blossoms right outside out bedroom window.

Blessings to you in your work. If you'd like some Mardi Gras beads, we've got a bunch on the floor right now. :-)

Peter said...

How soon we forget that ONLY Republicans have nominated pro-life judges. Yes, I know they've blown it. But Democrats have NEVER supported a pro-life person. Also with the economy. Your pox on both houses is wrong on the economy true, though you have legitimate points. The Democrats are, by platform, always wrong. The Republicans, if they follow their platform, are on the right track, if often weak, and in need of your support.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Peter:

President George W. Bush signed the *first* bazillion dollar bailout (you know, the one "we the people" said by a 90%+ margin should not have been adopted, basically shutting down the Congressional phone system). Obamanomics is just not that much of a "change." The Republicans are also Keynsians, though they favor borrow-and-spend more than tax-and-spend.

Neither party wants to curb the "spend" part of the equation - which is why we are *broke.*

President Reagan (who had great domestic ideas, but failed miserably to execute them), bloated the national debt and federal deficit to unimaginable heights. President Nixon actually instituted wage and price controls - which is as Socialist (if not fascist) as anything done by the Democrats. That was right out of FDR's playbook.

Republicans can talk the talk, but every time they get in power, they fail to walk the walk. They are always better as an opposition party than when they actually get elected.

As far as being pro-life goes, the GOP has a solid platform in opposing abortion - though only a few Republicans advocate the pro-life position of the doctrine of just war.

One thing sticks out in my mind that shows the strange dichotomy between being truly "pro-life" and not merely "anti-abortion" which dates back to my time at the seminary:

One day after chapel, the big-screen TV was locked in on FOX-News - which was showing a bombing run that destroyed a bunch of houses. My classmates (who were nearly Republican to a man) were cheering. They had just taken the Lord's Body and Blood, and were now stuffing their faces with doughnuts safely in front of a TV in Indiana - and were *cheering* as the footage of a bomb entering the chimney of a house was repeated ad nauseum. They were cheering and high-fiving like they were watching a college football game.

That's called *pro-life."

War is a necessary evil at times. And if you want to argue that the Iraq War is a just war, okay, we can have that discussion. But *cheering* the dropping of bombs and the loss of life (which no doubt included children) is not being *pro-life.* War is a somber thing, not a sporting event - unless you hold human life to be cheap and expendable. And how many future generations of terrorists have we spawned by the wholesale slaughter of a generation of Iraqis - for the most part carried out by folks claiming to be *pro-life.*?

I have no doubt my classmates were all anti-abortion to a man, but the kinds of atrocious lack of respect for human life during that period was shameful - most especially for men aspiring to the holy office. The outright hatred and blood-lust was anything but *pro-life.* And of course, any criticism will be met with excuses, appeals to patriotism, and the old Vietnam canard about the necessity of destroying the village to save it.

Being elated at the death and destruction of women and children is not pro-life, and is certainly not Christian. Foreign (and domestic) policy that encourages future wars is not pro-life.

And, though I'm not a Democrat, you're simply wrong when you use the "universal quantifier." We have oodles of pro-life Democrats in the South. In fact, it is not that uncommon to have a left-wing pro-abortion Republican running against a right-wing pro-life Democrat. But Northerners seem to know about as much about Southern politics as the folks in Hollywood know about Indiana's.

I also read an interesting piece recently how a lot of Democrats flip-flopped on the abortion issue - including Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, and the Kennedys. The current paradigm has not always been the case - nor will it always be the case.

For, mark my words, as the GOP moves in a more "centrist" and "less extreme" direction under their new "big tent" pragmatist leader, you will see pressure to abandon the anti-abortion plank. Once the Christians are no longer "useful" to the Party Apparatchiks, they will be discarded in the interest of winning. If the party leadership can gain in numbers by sacrificing the Christian constituency, we will be cut loose like ballast and allowed to fall overboard. That's how politics works. That's how the GOP works.

Already, we've seen Republican compromises and concessions in matters of "gay rights" and stem cell research. How many Republicans are left who will currently speak against Social Security, Medicare, and the Federal Reserve? They have capitulated, and worship at the altar of those sacred cows as much as any Democrat. I believe the Republican Party will continue to embrace the increasingly Socialist Washington paradigm out of a sense of survival.

Anyone interested in a Republican Party that is truly pro-life, truly small-government, truly Constitutional and truly dedicated to economic freedom (as opposed to the current crop who helped put us into this fix), I encourage you to check out the folks at Campaign For Liberty.

I think you're right, Peter, in that the GOP is more pro-life and pro-liberty than the Democrats. If we can actually get them to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk, we might make progress. But it won't be with the "Old Guard" of big-government compromisers and imperialists who run the party now.

Campaign For Liberty wants to set the GOP ship aright - which won't happen until there is a revolution within Republican Party itself. And I would be more than willing to heartily back the GOP after such a revolution.

But with the current GOP leadership and most of its elected officials, Newsweek is spot on: "We're all Socialists now" - at least insofar as the "we" means the major parties.

Cecil The Sea Sick Sea Serpent said...

Well blow me down. I've re-examined the graph and see that it is illustrating the "growth" in government employment compared to the private sector over a 40 year span. I took it to show a salary discrepancy. I gota quit eating all those clams before bed. :-)

So no employment growth in the private sector during the past 40 years?
So 20-30 million Mexicans sneak over the border to be employed in the private sector ... ah but wait the the private sector does not report them to the authorities ... does not pay them a prevailing wage ... even if the authorities know about this they look the other way ... the private sector employers don't pay anything into the treasury (neither does the treasurer) the government gives them citizen benifits ... what a country ... wow who can you trust?

This is a job for Super Cecil!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Cecil:

You do raise an excellent point about the illegal aliens. Even with a veritable tidal wave of what amounts to slave labor, the government is growing while the private sector continues to plummet.

As the illegals are often subsidized by government services, it is little wonder that they contribute to the growth of government, and as their presence also lowers wages, it also follows that those employed in the private sector are competing for pay.

In fact, the higher wage sectors are being siphoned off overseas, as domestic firms simply cannot or will not pay skilled labor at a wage that will keep Americans satisfied.

Moreover, the illegal aliens are not building cars or working in any manufacturing setting. They are not entrepreneurs. Nor is anything the illegals are doing contributing to overturning our trade deficit.

But we do see more government school teachers and bilingual and/or ESL programs, more government subsidized health care, more police and prisons, and more bureaucrats across the spectrum who can speak Spanish. And, as the illegals are largely untaxed, the tax burden falls upon citizens and legal residents.

Your point is well-taken that illegal immigration (and everyone's looking the other way) is a contributory factor.

The bottom line is that we Americans are increasingly living like indolent aristocrats - mindlessly consuming, throwing money around, squandering our inherited wealth, losing our entrepreneurial spirit, allowing our infrastructure to crumble - and in illegal immigration, we even have a virtual system of slavery so we don't have to watch our own children or cut our own grass.

But our inherited wealth is running dry. We're in debt. It's time to roll up the sleeves and become productive. Government is not productive. Government is a necessary evil, but it only costs, it never contributes. It only taxes and redistributes. The graph above is disturbing, and no society can survive for long if everyone works for the government in one way or another.

Anonymous said...
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Greg said...

Oh please - not the Mardi Gras beads! You don't know how many of them I have carted to Africa! Beaucoup trop mon cher, je t’assure!

My Mrs. would balk if I bought flowers as well, as that money could be better spent on chocolate.

wmc said...

This picture is worth a thousand words (or even 631 words), not to mention trillions of dollars. Socialism is knocking at our door. Or have we already let it in?

Greg said...

Hi Cecil,

I think you may have missed that the blue was not the entire private sector, but rather "manufacturing and construction".

Peter said...

Just for the record, I have no friends, that I know of, who rejoice in the loss of life. And, I might add, to a person, most of the folks I've met in the pro-life movement here in our area are wonderful people who put me to shame with their acts of kindness. None, as far as I know, rejoices in the loss of life in war. I'm sorry about awful people who stuff themselves with donuts. But, my guess is that they were not cheering that people were dying.

Pr. H. R. said...

An idea I heard, I think from John Derbyshire: anyone who works for the government loses the franchise. Seems fair: conflict of interest and all.

But you'd better hurry before gov't workers become an outright majority and not just more than construction and manufacturing. . .


Father Hollywood said...

Dear Peter:

A lot of folks in the formal pro-life movement are Roman Catholic, and they tend to have a more holistic understanding of what it means to be pro-life than do Lutherans and neo-Evangelicals. For example, the pope has roundly criticized the "Bush Doctrine" and the U.S. invasion of Iraq as being contrary to pro-life ideals and the doctrine of Just War. Most Catholic pro-lifers are also against the death penalty.

Non-Roman Catholics tend to be more selective as to which life is worth saving. To be clear, I believe capital punishment to be biblical, but it is not mandated or required. When we keep finding people condemned to death being exonerated by DNA evidence, it does give me pause. Government can't even fix pot-holes, and we trust government to kill only murderers?

I also believe in war for defensive purposes - something we Americans have abandoned in reality a long time ago. We now consider it "just" to take lethal military action if our "interests" are threatened (which often as not means "corporate interests"), and we don't flinch at "collateral damage" as a price for the continuance of our "way of life." War in America has an almost "tailgate party" feel about it, with t-shirts and high fives and almost sports-like TV coverage.

The Super Bowl featured a uniformed Gen. Petraeus tossing the coin, a flyover of fighter jets, a posting of colors by a color guard represented by all military branches, and not one, but two American "national anthems" - all for a football game (incidentally watched by billions around the world). We really are an imperial society, and we don't deal well with dissent.

Maybe I'm a little more able to see the U.S. through the eyes of my foreign wife, but we do glorify war and death, from John Wayne and Clint Eastwood movies (which I love, by the way) to our toy soldiers, overpaid steroid-bloated athletes, and WWE wrestling. And we have really have less of a sense of chivalry, of men protecting women, of treating a defeated foe with human dignity.

I'm afraid the rest of the world sees us as bullies and barbarians.

And one of the consequences of this kind of "pro-life" mentality is the loss of liberty - whether from the "Patriot Act" and other domestic legislation pushing us toward a police state, or in the kind of cultural censorship we had at the seminary, where students kept any doubts about the Iraq War to themselves, lest they risk their calls and careers.

The atmosphere at the seminary (at least as a student) while I was there after 9-11 was simply toxic. And people were indeed cheering the loss of life, and did so on a regular basis. The animation-like TV footage dulls our senses to the devastation of warfare and desensitizes us to the violence. The Iraqi people were most certainly dehumanized in the form of jokes and pro-American screeds by my fellow students - many of whom are now parish pastors. And unless one was in the military, one was, it seems, not entitled to hold an opinion - at least not if that opinion was critical of American foreign policy.

This was the era of "freedom fries" and ethnic "humor" directed at the French. The country had lost its mind, and a lot of my "pro-life" colleagues were openly gleeful about the war, as though it were a Rocky movie. Some would even skip chapel so as not to miss the action on FOX-News.

We were immersed in the "culture of death" almost to the point of not noticing.

Do you remember the very popular cartoon that was posted on one of the bulletin boards on campus for all to see - students, faculty, and visitors alike - of the mushroom cloud with the caption that said: "Temperature in Iraq, a million degrees" ? Pro-life indeed. How many sermons in chapel were addressed at this kind of fifth commandment issue?

Like I said, that was my experience, and obviously, it made an impression on me. It makes it hard to combat the charges of hypocrisy from pro-abortionists, and led to such impossible-to-answer questions as the bumper sticker: "Who would Jesus bomb?"

At least the Catholic pro-lifers, for the most part, did not descend into the kind of "pro-life" eagerness for blood that I saw at the sem.

And again, being in favor of the invasions of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are not in and of themselves a repudiation of pro-life values - there can indeed be honest disagreements about foreign policy.

But I surmise that most of your colleagues in the local pro-life movement would not have been impressed by the attitudes and actions of our seminarians, nor with 730 American bases around the world, nor with water-boarding as accepted interrogation policy, nor with secret offshore CIA prisons and "interrogation centers," nor with holding people without charge for years in Guantanamo.

Hopefully, the GOP will spend the next four years finding its conscience and its conservatism again.

Cecil The Sea Sick Sea Serpent said...

Hi Greg,

Right I have been on the clams to long. Sorry. But when I was involved in major manufacturing it was recognized that small business constituted the majority of employment. That is suppliers to big manufactures employed more people then the BIG MANUFACTURERS. Can you graph a more realistic view of employment for the last 40 odd years?

Peter said...

Again, I have a differenct perspective. The people I know take no joy in the loss of human life.

Peter said...

Btw, you'll be glad to know I'll be hosting the pro-life meeting at our seminary this Sunday. There will be legislators (the President of the Indiana Senate and Republican), as well as Congressman Souder (also a Republican). I'm very proud to know these men. As I am of so many seminarians who are pro-life in an abortion culture.

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Peter:

Indeed, I am glad of that, and wish you great success in your endeavors. I was very impressed to meet Pastor Lamb of Lutherans for Life when they made their presentation to us at the seminary.

I am also glad to hear that the attitudes of indifference or even glee at the suffering of other human beings as a result of warfare seem to no longer be the accepted paradigm or culture at my alma mater.

Peter said...

If I witnessed friends who exhibited glee at human suffering, I'd be ashamed. I have never run across that type of attitude here.

SLJubilee said...

Wow, just wow.

Fatherhollywood, you have inspired me to run for political office as a pro-life Democrat in a Midwestern state.