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Some of these goals are very worthwhile goals; however, we live in a representative republic that is supposed to be governed by the people. Using a disease to jam through policies without the approval of the people is not acceptable. There is also the aspect of the viability of some of these goals.

I love the idea of no poverty. However, people make decisions that result in their living in poverty. Does it help them for the rest of us to continually bail them out, or should we help them learn from their mistakes?

Clean and affordable energy is a great idea, but how realistic is it with the current technology? How clean is it? What about the children working in the Lithium mines? Are they part of clean and affordable energy?

Reduced inequalities also sounds like a great concept. The Pilgrims thought so too until they almost starved to death. People have different levels of ambition. Those who work the hardest need to be rewarded the most. Otherwise no one will bother to work hard. Read the history of the Plymouth Colony for further illustrations of that point.

Peace, justice, and strong institutions also sounds great. Who would be in charge of those institutions? Does justice include freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, freedom of assembly? Who determines what justice is?

This little chart of wonderful ideals actually illustrates the wisdom of the Founding Fathers of America. All of the ideals listed in the chart are possible under the government our Founding Fathers created. Poverty is still with us because people have the freedom to make their own decisions. A number of years ago, an American author pointed out that there are three things that you can do that will give you a 90 percent chance of avoiding poverty–finish high school, get a job, and get married before you have children. Statistically if everyone did that, we could end poverty.

The chart above is simply an illustration of the wonderful-sounding concepts those who would take away our freedom would use to advance their agenda. Don’t be fooled.

A Short History Lesson

Many Americans have not been taught the history of socialism in America. In November 2011 Liberty Under Fire posted a short article about the Pilgrims’ experiment with socialism.

The article reports:

William Bradford, the colony’s governor its first 30 years, wrote of the agreement between the Pilgrim passengers and the financial “Adventurers” in his book Of Plymouth Plantation. He noted that the seven-year contract signed July 1, 1620, before leaving Plymouth England, stipulated that the Pilgrims were to pool, for common benefit, “all profits and benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons…” It further noted “that at the end of the seven years, the capital and profits, viz. the houses, lands, goods and chattels, be equally divided betwixt the Adventurers and Planters…” During this time the colonists were to “have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock and goods of the said colony.” It doesn’t get more socialistic than this because the government divvied out the goods and loafers received the same as those who worked.

The first two years the result was shortages and starvation. About half the colonists died. No one did more than the minimal because the incentive to excel was destroyed. The industrious were neutralized. Bradford wrote of the scarcity of food “no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any.” The socialist experiment Bradford added, “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to the benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense….” In other words, socialism made strong men lazy. In another book written by the same author, History of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford spoke of another problem because of the government created famine—thievery. Even in this Christian community, “much was stolen both by night and day….”

After two years of such, with the survival of the colony at stake, they contemplated upon “how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.” They opted to abandon the incentive killing socialist contract in favor of the free market. And so they “assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end…”

The effects were almost immediate. A delighted Governor Bradford wrote: “This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor… could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.” In other words, the free market is a much greater stimulus than governmental force. The Pilgrims now wished to work because they got to keep the benefits of their labor. “Instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God…. Any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.”

The article notes that secure property rights are the key to prosperity. This principle was  embraced recently by Hernando de Soto.who has focused on a revolutionary concept that is having repercussions throughout the world’s poor countries: the lack of formal property rights is the source of poverty in poor countries. (see article here)

We have watched the decline of Venezuela as they have moved into socialism (article here). We need to learn the lessons of history–not repeat the mistakes.

This Is Not A Surprise

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article about recent events in Venezuela.

The article reports:

For the first time in a century, there are no rigs searching for oil in Venezuela.

Wells that once tapped the world’s largest crude reserves are abandoned or left to flare toxic gases that cast an orange glow over depressed oil towns.

Refineries that once processed oil for export are rusting hulks, leaking crude that blackens shorelines and coats the water in an oily sheen.

Fuel shortages have brought the country to a standstill. At gas stations, lines go on for miles.

Venezuela’s colossal oil sector, which shaped the country and the international energy market for a century, has come to a near halt, with production reduced to a trickle by years of gross mismanagement and American sanctions. The collapse is leaving behind a destroyed economy and a devastated environment, and, many analysts say, bringing to an end the era of Venezuela as an energy powerhouse.

First of all, American sanctions are a very small part of the problem. When the government began taking over industries, it did not know how to run them successfully and there was no real incentive for innovation and progress. Innovation and progress are much more commonly associated with the free market than socialism. This was entirely predictable.

In November 2013, I posted an article reporting the following:

On Friday the Associated Press reported that PDVSA, the government-owned oil producer in Venezuela, seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

Before socialism, Venezuela was one of the richest nations in South America. They had a booming economy. Now people are starving. The is the fruit of socialism. People are designed to work for a reward. When there is no reward for extra work, there is no extra work done. The Pilgrims attempted a communal system of farming when they originally settled Plymouth. They abandoned the idea and gave each family their own plot of land to farm after they nearly starved to death. America tried socialism already. It didn’t work. Now we have a candidate who embraces socialistic policies running for President. If Joe Biden is elected, America will eventually go the way of Venezuela.

All Cultures Are Not Equal

The political left has made a career of criticizing western culture. Somehow they have avoided noticing the scientific advancements western culture has been responsible for, the modern conveniences that help protect our rivers from pollution, and the clean energy that helps with carbon emissions. Somehow the critics have also overlooked the women that have contributed to the scientific knowledge of the west. Well, every now and then an article comes to light that illustrates that the knowledge of science and germs is so much a part of western culture that we take it for granted.

Breitbart posted an article today that illustrates what happens when science gets overruled by religious extremism.

The article reports:

Devout Iranian Muslims are releasing online videos showing the faithful licking and kissing shrines to show they have no fear of infection during the country’s escalating coronavirus outbreak.

Officials have confirmed 978 cases in Iran and 54 deaths, the highest death toll of any country outside China. But religious leaders continue to reject advice from the Health Ministry to close holy sites to help stop the spread of infection.

Instead the videos, which have reportedly emerged from Iran’s coronavirus epicentre of Qom, show Islamic devotees spreading misinformation about the virus while forcing young children to also take part.

…Touching and kissing surfaces in shrines is a common practice for pilgrims, and religious hardliners argue the holy sites of Qom are “a place for healing.”

But many Iranians are worried the clerical establishment is not taking the outbreak seriously, while Iranian health workers have reportedly admitted the number of people that have died from coronavirus could be five times more than government figures claim.

Still many hold a contrary view that Islamic faith will beat any virus.

“There are people who say that this shrine spreads coronavirus. I’m here to lick the tomb so that I can fall ill. This way, I’ve removed the virus. You can come and visit,” one man says in a video.

U.S. Department of State senior advisor for public affairs Len Khodorkovsky shared a clip, captioning it: “Don’t do this. Ever. But especially during the coronavirus outbreak.”

Another video from the city of Mashhad, where the Imam Reza shrine is located, shows a man licking the shrine and reportedly saying: “I have come to lick the Imam Reza shrine so that I contract this disease and allow others to visit the shrine with peace of mind”.

That is so sad.

The Actions Of The People Who Know The Truth

Breitbart posted an article today about the reaction of Cuban-Americans in Miami to Bernie Sanders’ defense of Fidel Castro.

The article reports:

Caravans of Cuban-Americans rallied in support of President Donald Trump on Saturday after Sen. Bernie Sanders defended Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s policies.

Photos and videos emerged on social media in Miami featuring long lines of cars and trucks flying Cuban and American flags and honking their horns. Others wore MAGA hats and waved Trump 2020 flags to show their support of the president.

…The vehicles featured signs and painted slogans such as “Viva Trump,” “Free Cuba, “Cambio es ya” (Change is Now), and “Abajo La Dictadura” (Down with Dictatorships).

…A group of over 150 Cuban Americans in Kentucky also held a similar protest, giving speeches before driving through the Cuban community blasting car horns and music, while some waved Trump flags and signs.

The Courier-Journal reported that the caravan featured over 150 people protesting Cuba’s socialist government after Sanders defended Castro’s literacy programs.

Signs on the cars read “No Socialism in America,” “Cuba Libra,“ and “Make Cuba Great Again.”

These are people who love Cuba and would probably return there if the dictatorship there ended. They understand socialism and communism. I am old enough to remember when Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. At first Americans celebrated the prospect of freedom for Cubans. However, it soon became obvious that freedom was not what Fidel Castro was about. Castro came into office promising Cubans free stuff and a better life. What he brought them was tyranny and the murder and imprisonment of anyone who disagreed with him. Socialism does not lead to freedom–it leads to tyranny, loss of freedom and poverty. This is the history of socialism. We do not need to experiment with socialism in America again–the Pilgrims tried it and gave it up when it failed,

This Lady Needs To Read American History

The Herald Mail Media reported yesterday that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, stated the following:

“Capitalism is an ideology of capital — the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit,” Ocasio-Cortez said. And that comes at any cost to people and to the environment, she said, “so to me capitalism is irredeemable.”

Although she said she doesn’t think all parts of capitalism should be abandoned, “we’re reckoning with the consequences of putting profit above everything else in society. And what that means is people can’t afford to live. For me, it’s a question of priorities and right now I don’t think our model is sustainable.”

…While America is wealthier than ever, wealth is enjoyed “by fewer than ever,” she said.

“It doesn’t feel good to live in an unequal society,” she said, citing an increase in homelessness in New York City among veterans and the elderly while penthouses sit empty. “It doesn’t feel good to live in a society like that.”

Let’s look at those statements through the lens of American history. In November 2005, the Heritage Foundation published an article about communism in America.

The article included the following notes on American history:

Recalling the story of the Pilgrims is a Thanksgiving tradition, but do you know the real story behind their triumph over hunger and poverty at Plymouth Colony nearly four centuries ago? Their salvation stemmed not so much from the charitable gestures of local Indians, but from their courageous decision to embrace the free-market principle of private property ownership a century and a half before Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an “injustice” that they were paid the same as those “not able to do a quarter the other could.” Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of “slavery.”

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

There will always be inequities in wealth. A person who works 12-hour days will generally earn more than a person who works a 6-hour day. People who invent things or have new ideas generally do very well financially. Rewarding innovation provides an incentive for progress. Capitalism (or the free market economy) is not perfect, but it creates fewer problems than any other economic system. Those touting the wonders of socialism need only look at the economic history of Venezuela during the past ten years. Once the wealthiest country in South America, now a place of unspeakable poverty. That is the fruit of socialism or communism.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez, please learn your history.

Plymouth Rock Began As A Socialist Colony.

The new Democrat party has moved left very quickly in the past two years. The term Democratic Socialist has been used to describe some of the young Democrats just getting their footing in the party. Actually, Socialist would probably be a better description. These young Democratic Socialists are a tribute to the damage done in recent years by our education system. They have not been taught the failures and atrocities associated with Socialism and believe that it is a fair system. They are not familiar with the Pilgrims early socialist experiment.

OffTheGridNews has a brief description of what happened:

Since the Pilgrims did not have enough funds to outfit for the journey and establish a colony, they sought help from the Virginia Company of London and the Virginia Company of Plymouth, companies known as “adventurers,” which were organized to fund and equip colonial enterprises.

One of the key points of the contract between the Pilgrims and the Adventurers said that all colonists were to get their food, clothing, drink and provisions from the colony’s “common stock and goods.” In addition, during the first seven years, all profits earned by colonists would go into the “common stock” until they were divided.

“Today we would call this a socialist commune,” Patton wrote. “In other words, the Pilgrims accepted the socialist principle, ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.’ Each person was to place his production into the common warehouse and receive back, through the Governor, only what he needed for himself or his family. The surplus after seven years was to be divided equally, along with the houses, lands, and chattels, ‘betwixt the Adventurers and Planters.’”

The Pilgrims actually wanted to own their own lands and homes and to work two days a week for their own gain, but the adventurers would not allow it.

Once the agreement was signed, two ships were outfitted for the journey, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. But the Speedwell proved unseaworthy, so everyone still willing to make the journey—102 persons—crowded aboard the Mayflower and set sail.

Patton wrote that after landing on Dec 21, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered horribly their first winter, with around half the colonists perishing. Aid from the now-famous native, Squanto, helped them survive with new planting techniques, but the harvests of 1621 and 1622 were still small.

The colony’s governor, William Bradford, wrote that its socialist philosophy greatly hindered its growth: Young men resented working for the benefit of other men’s wives and children without compensation; healthy men who worked thought it unjust that they received no more food than weak men who could not; wives resented doing household chores for other men, considering it a kind of slavery.

Governor Bradford wrote that to avoid famine in 1623, the Pilgrims abandoned socialism, Patton said.

“At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land,” Bradford wrote.

The colonists, each of whom now had to grow their own food, suddenly became very industrious, with women and children who earlier claimed weakness now going into the fields to plant corn. Three times the amount of corn was planted that year under the new system.

Yes, America began as a socialist colony. When socialism did not result in prosperity, the Pilgrims switched to a free market economy and everyone prospered. We need to learn the lessons of history.

It Wasn’t Great, But It Could Have Been Worse

Sorry for the lack of optimism in the new year, but the basically the average American was not the winner in the budget deal passed by Congress this week. Yes, we avoided the fiscal cliff, but we continued the direction of more government spending and bigger government.

Bloomberg reported yesterday that the bill the Senate passed would raise taxes on 77 percent of American households. The Hill reported yesterday that the bill the Senate passed will add roughly $4 trillion to the deficit when compared to current law, according to new numbers from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

On December 31st, Breitbart.com reported that the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.

So where do we go from here? I guess it depends on what America wants to be. When you look at the history of America, you realize that America was settled by people who were not content to stay where they were in their social or religious situations. The Pilgrims came here to find a place to practice their religion without government interference, the Irish fled the potato famine and the harsh conditions imposed by their British lords, and many Jews fled the pogroms of Russia and European countries. All of these people (particularly early in our history) took risks in coming here. Americans later left the comfort of their eastern homes to settle the western frontier. Historically, we have been a people with a work ethic who expect to be rewarded for our efforts. If government spending and programs continue at their current rate of growth, will we be able to maintain that spirit of adventure, risk taking and achievement or will it be wiped out by government programs? Recently I was talking to a friend who is a retired teacher, and she shared a story with me about an experience she had while working on her graduate degree. One of the students in the graduate program was the third generation of his family to be on welfare. Obviously, one of his goals in getting an education was to break that cycle. That is wonderful. However, it was less wonderful when he stated that if he couldn’t get the job he wanted after completing the program, he would simply go back on welfare because that paid pretty well. That is the danger we face with an ever-expanding government.

With the current President and current Congress, our chances of changing our current direction toward bigger government and increased taxes is very small. Conservatives are a very small part of Congress, and frankly, the Republican establishment is not a whole lot different from the Democrats when it comes to big government. The only real hope to turn this country around is the mid-term elections in 2014. Otherwise, we can expect to become Greece very soon.

One (very unpopular) solution to our current fiscal problem would be to make sure that every person in America pays taxes. Right now approximately 50 percent of Americans pay no income tax. If all Americans paid income taxes, they might be more inclined to elect people who were not likely to increase them!

Just one other note on the general state of affairs. As the third Quantitative Easing (QE3) begins to take effect, expect gasoline prices to rise. The current price for gasoline that we are paying at the pump is more related to the sinking value of the U. S. dollar than it is the price of oil. Unfortunately, unless economic policy in Washington changes, that will continue to be the case.

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