Posts

Progressivism’s Dark Side by George J. Marlin

George J. Marlin writes about the shadows that envelope Progressivism: a legacy of elitist eugenics and racism.

In early March, I had the privilege of attending the oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole at the U.S. Supreme Court. It was both an extraordinary and eerie experience.

The eight justices questioned Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller and pro-abortion advocate Stephanie Toti about a 2013 Texas law – passed in response to the gruesome Gosnell revelations and trial in Philadelphia – which requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within a thirty mile radius of the place at which the abortion is being performed.

I was seated in one of the seven guest rows, where most attendees were pro-abortion. To my left: Planned Parenthood C.E.O. Cecile Richards. Fives minutes before the justices took their seats, President Obama’s top aide, Valerie Jarrett, came in and sat down in front of me.

President Woodrow Wilson

The issue before the Court was whether the Texas law imposes “undue burden” on women seeking abortions. The progressive justices’ cross-examinations were very clinical. In fact, I have never heard the word “abortion” used so often in such a detached manner.

For instance, when Solicitor General Keller pointed out that the law would save the lives of victims of botched abortions, Justice Stephen Breyer dismissed the argument as immaterial because there were only 200 such instances out of Texas’ 70,000 abortions per year.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor snapped at Keller, asking sarcastically, “The slightest benefit is enough to burden the lives of a million women. That’s your point?” In other words, all lives don’t matter.

By the end of this morbid session, I thought I was in a eugenics court. Then it dawned on me, I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the modern Progressive movement has been dominated by a self-anointed elite, like several of the justices, who had contempt for the common people. In the early 20th century, they even promoted social and economic policies driven by anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic impulses.

Click here to read the rest of Mr. Marlin’s column . . .

Shakedown Socialism: Second edition, improved and expanded

The positive response to my first book was overwhelming. Many readers on Amazon praised Shakedown Socialism for its insights, style, and originality, regretting only that it was too short. By popular demand, I have republished it with more relevant material and a new, more attractive cover.

Shakedown SocialismHere is one such review:

I’ve bought books on Amazon for a while but never felt the need to write a review before. This is not a typical anti-socialist book at all. None of the familiar rhetoric you might be expecting. While not an academic work by any means, the author makes some of the most compelling arguments I’ve ever read, and from an angle you seldom think about. His anti-union argument is so perfect, I will be repeating it in conversations for the rest of my life. Some serious mental ammunition for arguments with any unfortunate, collectivist-leaning friends you may have. Even if they refuse to read it, the images (on practically every page) might catch their attention if you can get them to flip through it. Do not click off this page without buying this book.

It inspires me to write and publish more books, and I already have a few good ideas.

For more information, see the updated and improved ShakedownSocialism.com.

You can look inside the new edition, read the reviews, or even buy the book on Amazon.

Amazon buttonAmazon

If you are a fan and would like to support the author and the People’s Cube, buy it directly from the printer at CreateSpace – the price is the same, but I’ll be getting a bigger royalty.

CreateSpace button

But if you really want to support the author, order an autographed copy!

Buy book button

If you like to read on Kindle or any other tablet, there’s an eBook:

Buy book button

Here’s a fun promotion of the first edition: The Best Book Promotion Ever!

Obama reads Shakedown Socialism

Brwzhnev reads Shakedown Socialism

Shakedown Socialism

EDITORS NOTE: To learn more about Shakedown Socialism and The Peoples Cube click here.

Why Students Give Capitalism an ‘F’ by B.K. Marcus

bernie sanders half of a sign socialismNot only are young voters more likely to support Democrats than Republicans, they are also more likely to support the most left-wing Democrats. In recent polls of voters under 30, self-declared democratic socialist Bernie Sanders beats the more mainstream Hillary Clinton by almost six-to-one.

Former professor Mark Pastin, writing in the Weekly Standard, acknowledges some of Clinton’s flaws as a candidate, but concludes that “the most compelling explanation” for young Democrats’ overwhelming preference for Sanders “is that young voters actually like the idea of a socialist revolution.”

I’m embarrassed to confess that when I was a young voter, I probably would have been among the “Sandernistas.”

I don’t think Pastin is right about the revolution, though. Much of Sanders’s success in defanging the word socialism is in pairing it with an emphasis on democracy, as George Bernard Shaw and the Fabians did in an earlier era. Democratic socialists — at least among my comrades — preferred the idea of evolutionary socialism, and we tried hard to distance ourselves from the revolutionary folks.

Whether by evolution or revolution, however, what we all sought was less competition and more cooperation, less commerce and more compassion. Above all, we wanted greater equality.

“When I asked my students what they thought socialism meant,” Pastin writes, “they would generally recite some version of the Marxist chestnut ‘from each according to ability and to each according to need.'” That sounds about right, but add to that the assumption that it’s government’s job to effect the transfer.

My father, gently skeptical of my politics, pointed out a problem confronting American socialists: we tended to imagine ourselves on the receiving end of the redistribution — rob from the rich and give to the rest of us. “However poor we may think we are in the United States,” he told me, “we would have to give up most of what we now have in order to make everyone in the world equal.” This was strange to hear from someone always behind on the rent and facing ever-growing debt.

Pastin makes a related point: “I’ve always thought that socialism appealed to students because they have never not been on the receiving end of government largesse.”

As an informal test of his students’ egalitarian beliefs, Pastin “would offer to run the class along socialist principles, such as the mandate to take from the able and give to the needy.” Specifically, he proposed subtracting points from the A students and transferring them to those who would otherwise earn lower grades.

Even the most ardent socialist students balked at this arrangement. In fact, according to Pastin, the highest-performing students were both more likely to be self-declared socialists and more likely to meet his proposal with outrage: grading, they argued, should be a matter of merit.

Is it pure hypocrisy on the part of these rhetorical radicals, or is there a logical consistency behind this apparent contradiction in their values?

Trying to recall the details of my own callow political folly, I seem to recall three main issues behind my anti-capitalistic mentality:

  1. “Capitalism” was just the word we all used for whatever we didn’t like about the status quo, especially whatever struck us as promoting inequality. I had friends propose to me that we should consider the C-word a catchall for racism, patriarchy, and crony corporatism. If that’s what capitalism means, how could anyone be for it?
  2. Even when we left race and sex out of the equation, our understanding of commerce was zero-sum: the 1 percent grew rich by exploiting the 99 percent.
  3. For whatever reason, none of us imagined we’d ever be business people, except on the smallest possible scale: at farmer’s markets, as street vendors, in small shops. Those things weren’t capitalism. Capitalism was big business: McDonald’s, IBM, the military-industrial complex.

I don’t know how many of today’s young socialists hold these same assumptions, but a question recently posted to Quora.com sounds like it could have been written by one of my fellow lefties in the 1980s: “Should I drop out of college to disobey the capitalist world that values a human with a piece of paper?” (See Praxis strategist Derek Magill’s withering advice to the would-be dropout.)

Even if a different array of confusions drives the radical chic of millennial voters, what is clear is that they see American capitalism as rigged. “Crony capitalism,” from their perspective, is redundant — and “free market” is an oxymoron. They’re not necessarily opposed to meritocracy; they just don’t see what merit has to do with the marketplace.

Grading that would penalize the studious to reward the slackers is obviously unfair, and a sure-fire strategy to kill anyone’s incentive to do the homework. It’s not that the socialist students are applying the principle inconsistently; it’s that they don’t see what merit has to do with commerce. Some of that may be intellectual laziness, some is the result of indoctrination by anti-capitalist faculty, but much of it is also based in the reality of America’s mixed economy.

Not only have young voters spent most of their lives sheltered from the productive side of the commercial world, schooled by men and women who are themselves deliberately insulated from the marketplace, but time spent in the reality of the private sector is hardly an education in what the advocates of economic freedom have in mind when we talk about the free market.

If my own experience is any guide, today’s democratic socialists will have to spend a lot of time unlearning much of what they’ve been taught.

Pastin’s informal experiment is an illuminating first step, and it’s a powerful way to expose the conflict between his students’ understanding of merit and the socialists’ understanding of equality. But there’s also a danger in comparing the economy to the classroom. By offering his grade redistribution as an analogy for socialism, Pastin seems to imply that the merit-based grade system better resembles a free market. But that’s silly.

For one thing, studying hard for your next exam may improve your own GPA, but it probably doesn’t help your classmates. In contrast, an unhampered marketplace makes everyone better off, however unequally.

More significantly, in a free economy, there is no one person in the role of the grade-giving professor. In the absence of coercion, power has a hard time remaining that centralized. Yes, wealth can be seen as a kind of grade, but in the free market, an entrepreneur’s profits and losses are like millions of cumulative grades from the consumers. A+ for improving our lives. F for wasting time and resources.

That kind of spontaneous, decentralized, self-regulating prosperity is every bit as radical as the visions of young socialists, minus the impoverishing effects of coerced redistribution. It’s almost certainly not what they imagine when they say they oppose “capitalism.”

B.K. MarcusB.K. Marcus

B.K. Marcus is editor of the Freeman.

Why the Holocaust Should Matter to You by Jeffrey Tucker

People tour the nation’s capital to be delighted by symbols of America’s greatness and history. They seek out monuments and museums that pay tribute to the nation state and its works. They want to think about the epic struggles of the past, and how mighty leaders confronted and vanquished enemies at home and abroad.

But what if there was a monument that took a different tack? Instead of celebrating power, it counseled against its abuses. Instead of celebrating the state and its works, it showed how these can become ruses to deceive and destroy. Instead of celebrating nationalist songs, symbols, and stories, it warned that these can be used as tools of division and oppression.

What if this museum was dedicated to memorializing one of history’s most ghastly experiments in imperial conquest, demographic expulsion, and eventual extermination, to help us understand it and never repeat it?

Such a museum does exist. It is the US Holocaust Museum. It is the Beltway’s most libertarian institution, a living rebuke to the worship of power as an end in itself.

I lived in Washington, DC, when the Holocaust Museum was being built, and I vaguely recall when it opened. I never went, though I had the opportunity; I remember having a feeling of dread about the prospect of visiting it. Many people must feel the same way. Surely we already know that mass murder by the state is evil and wrong. Do we really need to visit a museum on such a ghastly subject?

The answer is yes. This institution is a mighty tribute to human rights and human dignity. It provides an intellectual experience more moving and profound than any I can recall having. It takes politics and ideas out of the realm of theory and firmly plants them in real life, in our own history. It shows the consequences of bad ideas in the hands of evil men, and invites you to experience the step-by-step descent into hell in chronological stages.

The transformation the visitor feels is intellectual but also even physical: as you approach the halfway point you notice an increase in your heart rate and even a pit in your stomach.

Misconceptions

Let’s dispel a few myths that people who haven’t visited might have about the place.

  • The museum is not maudlin or manipulative. The narrative it takes you through is fact-based, focused on documentation (film and images), with a text that provides a careful chronology. One might even say it is a bit too dry, too merely factual. But the drama emerges from the contrast between the events and the calm narration.
  • It is not solely focused on the Jewish victims; indeed, all victims of the National Socialism are discussed, such as the Catholics in Poland. But the history of Jewish persecution is also given great depth and perspective. It is mind boggling to consider how a regime that used antisemitism to manipulate the public and gain power ended up dominating most of Europe and conducting an extermination campaign designed to wipe out an entire people.
  • The theme of the museum is not that the Holocaust was an inexplicable curse that mysteriously descended on one people at one time; rather the museum attempts to articulate and explain the actual reasons — the motives and ideology — behind the events, beginning with bad ideas that were only later realized in action when conditions made them possible.
  • The narrative does not attempt to convince the visitor that the Holocaust was plotted from the beginning of Nazi rule; in fact, you discover a very different story. The visitor sees how bad ideas (demographic central planning; scapegoating of minorities; the demonization of others) festered, leading to ever worsening results: boycotts of Jewish-owned business, racial pogroms, legal restrictions on property and religion, internments, ghettoization, concentration camps, killings, and finally a carefully constructed and industrialized machinery of mass death.
  • The museum does not isolate Germans as solely or uniformly guilty. Tribute is given to the German people, dissenters, and others who also fell victim to Hitler’s regime. As for moral culpability, it unequivocally belongs to the Nazis and their compliant supporters in Germany and throughout Europe. But the free world also bears responsibility for shutting its borders to refugees, trapping Jews in a prison state and, eventually, execution chamber.
  • The presentation is not rooted in sadness and despair; indeed, the museum tells of heroic efforts to save people from disaster and the resilience of the Jewish people in the face of annihilation. Even the existence of the museum is a tribute to hope because it conveys the conviction that we can learn from history and act in a way that never repeats this terrible past.

The Deeper Roots of the Holocaust

For the last six months, I’ve been steeped in studying and writing about the American experience with eugenics, the “policy science” of creating a master race. The more I’ve read, the more alarmed I’ve become that it was ever a thing, but it was all the rage in the Progressive Era. Eugenics was not a fringe movement; it was at the core of ruling-class politics, education, and culture. It was responsible for many of the early experiments in labor regulation. It was the driving force behind marriage licenses, minimum wages, restrictions on opportunities for women, and immigration quotas and controls.

The more I’ve looked into the subject, the more I’m convinced that it is not possible fully to understand the birth of the 20th century Leviathan without an awareness of eugenics. Eugenics was the original sin of the modern state that knows no limits to its power.

Once a regime decides that it must control human reproduction — to mold the population according to a central plan and divide human beings into those fit to thrive and those deserving extinction — you have the beginning of the end of freedom and civilization. The prophets of eugenics loathed the Jews, but also any peoples that they deemed dangerous to those they considered worthy of propagation. And the means they chose to realize their plans was top-down force.

So far in my reading on the subject, I’ve studied the origin of eugenics until the late 1920s, mostly in the US and the UK. And so, touring the Holocaust Museum was a revelation. It finally dawned on me: what happened in Germany was the extension and intensification of the same core ideas that were preached in the classrooms at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton decades earlier.

Eugenics didn’t go away. It just took on a more violent and vicious form in different political hands. Without meaningful checks on state power, people with eugenic ambitions can find themselves lording over a terror state. It was never realized in the United States, but it happened elsewhere. The stuffy academic conferences of the 1910s, the mutton-chopped faces of the respected professorial class, mutated in one generation to become the camps and commandants of the Nazi killing machine. The distance between eugenics and genocide, from Boston to Buchenwald, is not so great.

There are moments in the tour when this connection is made explicit, as when it is explained how, prior to the Nazis, the United States had set the record for forced sterilizations; how Hitler cited the US case for state planning of human reproduction; how the Nazis were obsessed with racial classification and used American texts on genetics and race as a starting point.

And think of this: when Progressive Era elites began to speak this way, to segment the population according to quality, and to urge policies to prevent “mongrelization,” there was no “slippery slope” to which opponents could point. This whole approach to managing the social order was unprecedented, and so a historical trajectory was pure conjecture. They could not say “Remember! Remember where this leads!”

Now we have exactly that history, and a moral obligation to point to it and learn from it.

What Can We Learn?

My primary takeaway from knitting this history together and observing its horrifying outcome is this: that any ideology, movement, or demagogue that dismisses universal human rights, that disparages the dignity of any person based on group characteristics, that attempts to segment the population into the fit and unfit, or in any way seeks to use the power of the state to put down some in order to uplift others, is courting outcomes that are dangerous to the whole of humanity. It might not happen immediately, but, over time, such rhetoric can lay the foundations for the machinery of death.

And there is also another, perhaps more important lesson: bad ideas have a social and political momentum all their own, regardless of anyone’s initial intentions. If you are not aware of that, you can be led down, step by step, to a very earthly hell.

At the same time, the reverse is also true: good ideas have a momentum that can lead to the flourishing of peace, prosperity, and universal human dignity. It is up to all of us. We must choose wisely, and never forget.

Jeffrey A. TuckerJeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Digital Development at FEE and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email.

Will a ‘Socialist’ Government Make Us Freer? by Jason Kuznicki

“Socialism” is a weasel word.

Consider that the adjective “socialist” applies commonly — even plausibly — to countries with vastly different ex ante institutions and with vastly different social and economic outcomes. Yet Canada, Norway, Venezuela, and Cuba can’t all be one thing. Does socialism mean substantial freedom of the press, as in Norway? Or does it mean the vicious suppression of dissent, as in Venezuela?

We need more clarity here before we decide whether socialism is a worthwhile social system, and whether, as Will Wilkinson recommends, we ought to support a socialist candidate for president.

An approach that clearly will not do is to apply the term “socialism” to virtually all foreign countries. Shabby as that definition may be, some do seem to use it, both favorably and not. The result is that “socialism” has grown popular largely because a lot of people have concluded that the American status quo stinks. Maybe it does stink, but that doesn’t endow “socialism” with a proper definition.

Let’s see what happens when we drill down to the level of institutions.

Now, we might personally wish that the word “socialism” meant “the social system in which the state owns the means of production and runs the major industries of the nation.”

This is a workable definition: It has a clear genus and differentia; it includes some systems, while excluding others; and it’s not obviously self-referential. It’s also the definition preferred by many important political actors in the twentieth century, including Vladimir Lenin.

Lenin’s definition was not a bad one. But it’s far from the only current, taxonomically proper definition of socialism. As Will Wilkinson rightly notes, socialism also commonly means “the social system in which the state uses taxation to provide an extensive social safety net.”

And yet, as Will also notes, “ownership of the means of production” and “provision of a social safety net” are logically independent policies. A state can do one, the other, both, or neither. Of these four possibilities, there’s only one that can’t plausibly be called a socialism — and not a single state on earth behaves this way!

Better terms are in order, but I know that whatever I propose here isn’t going to stick, so I’m not going to try. Instead I want to look at some of the consequences that may arise from our fuzzy terminology.

One danger is that we may believe and support one conception of “socialism” —only to find that the agents we’ve tasked with supplying it have had other ideas all along: We may want Norway but get Venezuela. Wittingly or unwittingly.

Before we say “oh please, of course we’ll end up in Norway,” let’s recall how eager our leftist intelligentsia has been to praise Chavez’s Venezuela — and even declare it an “economic miracle” — until the truth became unavoidable: The “miracle” of socialism in Venezuela turned out to be nothing more than a transient oil boom. Yet leftist intellectuals are the very sorts of people who will be drawn, by self-selection, to an administration that is proud to call itself socialist.

There’s some resemblance to a “motte-and-bailey” process here: they cultivate the rich, desirable fields of the bailey, until they are attacked, at which point they retreat to the well-fortified motte. The easily defensible motte is the comfortable social democracy of northern Europe, which we all agree is pretty nice and happens to have quite a few free-market features. The bailey is the Cuban revolution.

This motte-and-bailey process does not need to be deliberate; it may be the result of a genuinely patchwork socialist coalition. No one in the coalition needs to have bad faith. An equivocal word is all that’s needed, and one is already on hand.

Even when we look only at one country, the problem remains: We may only want some institutional parts of Denmark — and we may want them for good reasons, such as Denmark’s relatively loose regulatory environment. But what we get may only be the other institutional parts of Denmark — such as its high personal income taxes. (Worth noting: Bernie Sanders has explicitly promised the higher personal income taxes, while his views on regulation are anything but Danish.)

Will thinks that electing someone on the far left of the American political spectrum could be somewhat good for liberty, but I’m far from convinced. Remember what happened the last time we put just a center-leftist in the White House: By the very same measures of economic freedom that Will uses to tout Denmark’s success, America’s economic freedom ranking sharply declined. And that decline was the direct result of Barack Obama’s left-wing economic policies. We got a larger welfare state and higher taxes, but we also got much more command-and-control regulation.

Faced with similar objections from others, Will has already performed a nice sidestep: He has replied that voting for Sanders is — obviously — just a strategic move: “Obviously,” he writes, “President Bernie Sanders wouldn’t get to implement his economic policy.” Emphasis his.

To which I’d ask: Do you really mean that Sanders would achieve none of his economic agenda? At all? Because I can name at least two items that seem like safe bets: more protectionism and stricter controls on immigration. A lot of Sanders’s ideas will indeed be dead on arrival, but these two won’t, and he would be delighted to make a bipartisan deal that cuts against most everything that Will, the Niskanen Center, and libertarians generally claim to stand for. Cheering for a guy who would happily bury your legislative agenda, and who stands a good chance of actually doing it seems… well, odd.

There is also a frank inconsistency to Will’s argument: The claim that Sanders will make us more like Denmark can’t be squared with the claim that Sanders will be totally ineffective. Arguing both is just throwing spaghetti on the wall — and hoping the result looks like libertarianism.

Would Sanders decriminalize marijuana? Or reform the criminal justice system? Or start fewer wars? Or spend less on defense? Or give us all puppies? I don’t know. Obama promised to close Guantanamo. He promised to be much better on civil liberties. He promised not to start “dumb wars” or bomb new and exotic countries. He even promised accountability for torture.

In 2008, I made the terrible mistake of counting those promises in his favor. We’ve seen how well that worked out.

It’s completely beyond me why I should trust similarly tangential promises this time around — particularly from a candidate like Sanders, whose record on foreign policy is already disturbingly clear. None of the rest of these desiderata have anything to do with state control over our economic life, which would appear to be the one thing the left wants most of all. (Marijuana: illegal in Cuba. Legal in North Korea. Yay freedom?)

Ultimately, I think that electing someone significantly further left than Obama will not help matters in any sense at all, except maybe that it will show how little trust we should put in anyone who willingly wears the socialist label. The only good outcome of a Sanders administration may be that we’ll all say to ourselves afterward: “Well, we won’t be trying that again!”

Now, I am prepared to believe, exactly as Will writes, that “‘social democracy,’ as it actually exists, is sometimes more ‘libertarian’ than the good old U.S. of A.” That’s true, at least in a few senses. Consider, for instance, that Denmark isn’t drone bombing unknown persons in Pakistan using a type of algorithm that can’t seem to deliver interesting Facebook ads. (One could say that, as usual, Denmark is letting us do their dirty work for them, with their full approval, but I won’t press the point.)

Either way, that’s still a pretty low bar, no? Meanwhile, there remains plenty of room for us to imitate some other bad things — things that we aren’t doing now, but that Denmark is doing, like taxing its citizens way, way too much. The fact that these things are a part of the complex conglomerate known as northern European social democracy doesn’t necessarily make them good, exactly as remote control assassination doesn’t become good merely by virtue of being American.

In short: Point taken about social democracy. At times, some of it isn’t completely terrible. But that only gets us so far, and not quite to the Sanders slot in the ballot box.

Jason KuznickiJason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is the editor of Cato Unbound.

School Is About Freedom, Marco Rubio, Not Just Money

Republicans including Marco Rubio parrot leftist lines about how education’s ultimate goal is money. It needs to be a great deal more than that if our republic is to survive.

Once again, presidential candidate Marco Rubio, when asked a question about education, disparaged liberal learning by repeating his well-rehearsed lines about preparing students for careers in a “global” and “twenty-first-century” economy.

During the CNN town hall last week, he said that rather than teaching philosophy (“Roman philosophy,” no less), colleges should teach practical things—like welding. Sadly, Rubio is not alone. Many Republicans, forgetting their conservative roots, have joined Democrats in advancing a utilitarian view of education.

Now, there is nothing wrong with being a welder. My father, an immigrant, was one. And there is nothing wrong with philosophy—for the student in a technical school. In fact, it was our Founders’ belief that only a literate, well-educated citizenry could govern themselves. Even the tradesman should be versed in the basics of literature, history, and ancient philosophy, they thought. “A well-instructed people alone can be permanently a free people,” said James Madison.

Modern Philosophy Is Merely Cynicism

Rubio, however, does not distinguish between legitimate philosophy and what philosophy, like the rest of the humanities, has become under the regime of tenured radicals. The problem is that philosophy professors no longer teach their subjects or, if they do, it is to cast suspicion upon the very enterprise, as I learned in graduate school in the 1990s.

Yancy would do well to review the Greek philosophers on the art of rhetoric and what they have to say about not insulting your audience.
My seminar on ancient rhetoric consisted of the professor elevating the sophists, the teachers who for fees taught the art of persuasion by making the worse case seem better. The ends were practical: so citizens could defend themselves in court. To my amazement, my professor ridiculed the traditional philosophical goals of searching for the truth.

In the intervening decades, the situation has become worse. Consider Emory University philosophy professor George Yancy. This full professor, according to the university’s website, specializes in “Critical Philosophy of Race (phenomenology of racial embodiment, social ontology of race),” “Critical Whiteness Studies (white subject formation, white racist ambush, white opacity and embeddedness. . .),” and “African-American Philosophy and Philosophy of the Black Experience (resistance, Black identity formation . . .).”

Yancy received national attention in December for penning the screed “Dear White America” in The New York Times. He began, “I have a weighty request. As you read this letter, I want you to listen with love, a sort of love that demands that you look at parts of yourself that might cause pain and terror, as James Baldwin would say. Did you hear that? You may have missed it. I repeat: I want you to listen with love. Well, at least try.”

Yancy would do well to review the Greek philosophers on the art of rhetoric and what they have to say about not insulting your audience (“Did you hear that?” “Well, at least try.”). Behind such appeals like Yancy’s is an implied threat. Invoking the names of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and other allegedly innocent victims of police violence, he accused “White America” of being racist through and through. Such rhetoric presages and justifies the angry mobs on our campuses and in our streets.

Philosophy Doesn’t Mean Grievance-Mongering

College campuses, once the places where the civilized arts of debate and the pursuit of truth were taught, have become places where the PhDs, doctors of philosophy, lead mobs of students in pursuit of retribution against some “systemic” wrong, usually in reference to race, ethnicity, or gender. Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, supporter of the Black Lives Matter mob movement, is promising to make such education free.

Our presidential candidates should consider what philosophy, rightly understood, could do. Indeed, by studying Aristotle’s “Rhetoric” students would be able to distinguish between different rhetorical appeals and learn the legitimate arts of persuasion—those that allow us to live in a civilized manner, where we resolve our differences through debate, not violence.

Were students to study Plato’s “Republic,” they might understand the dangers of a popular democracy and why the American Founders rejected one. They would consider Thrasymachus’s contention that justice is synonymous with strength, with being a “winner,” regardless of the methods. They might decide to evaluate such rhetoric carefully when it comes from a political candidate, like Donald Trump.

They would consider whether it is good for the government to put people in certain classes, as craftsmen or “guardians,” instead of allowing them to choose for themselves, or whether government should raise children rather than parents. What has been the historical outcome of such societies with centralized government, five-year economic plans, government-assigned jobs, and child-rearing from infancy? Are there any similarities to what Sanders is proposing?

Education Is Ultimately about Self-Governance

This is not to say that a class discussion should center on current political candidates. Indeed, the truly philosophical professor will keep the discussion largely away from the immediate. If the lesson is taught well, the student should come to his or her own conclusions and be able to carry those lessons into adulthood. That is the purpose of an education, not regimented job training and political molding.

The student should come to his or her own conclusions and be able to carry those lessons into adulthood. That is the purpose of an education.
The responses to Rubio’s statements in November, by such leftist outlets as ThinkProgress, CNN, and Huffington Post, were quite telling. They replied in kind to his materialist arguments. “Philosophers make more money than welders!” they said. In this they betrayed their utilitarian view of education, one that dominates the Obama administration, specifically through Common Core, a federally coerced program designed to produce compliant workers in the global economy.

The job training part has lured some short-sighted or corrupt Republicans. In higher education, too, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker advanced short-sighted “careerism,” as if he had forgotten, as Peter Lawler pointed out, Alexis de Tocqueville’s argument for studying the Greek and Roman classics. Earlier this year, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin suggested that electrical engineering was worthy of support, while French literature was not.

The other part of the progressive vision for education is to produce graduates who adhere to the state’s status quo. Students are trained to work collectively, focus on emotions, refrain from making independent judgments, and read in a way that does not go beyond ferreting out snippets of information. They are not asked to read an entire Platonic dialogue or novel. They do not get the big picture, from the dawn of civilization.

Our current educational methods are a far cry from the Founders’ robust views, of preparing citizens who are literate, logical, and knowledgeable; citizens capable of voting intelligently.

We Need Cultural Renewal, Not Materialism

We should embrace this conservative view of education. Although it is extremely rare in today’s college classrooms, it is being advanced in more than 150 privately funded academic centers on and off campuses. According to the John William Pope Center for Education Renewal, these centers “preserve and promote the knowledge and perspectives that are disappearing from the academy.”

One of these is the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization, where I am a resident fellow. It was founded by three Hamilton College professors in 2007, and is located in the village of Clinton.

AHI offers students the option to read the classics in a manner that is increasingly difficult to find in the typically highly politicized open curriculum. AHI-sponsored reading groups have focused on the works of such important figures as Leo Strauss, St. Augustine, and Josef Pieper. This semester Dr. Elizabeth D’Arrivee is leading a discussion group on Plato’s “Republic.”

Political candidates would do well to explain how they will support such efforts for educational renewal, instead of disparaging philosophy and literature.

RELATED ARTICLE: Campus Protesters Try to Silence Conservative Speaker, Demand College President’s Resignation

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Federalist. Photo Crush Rush / Shutterstock.com

Why Bernie Sanders Has to Raise Taxes on the Middle Class by Daniel Bier

Willie Sutton was one of the most infamous bank robbers in American history. Over three decades, the dashing criminal robbed a hundred banks, escaped three prisons, and made off with millions. Today, he is best known for Sutton’s Law: Asked by a reporter why he robbed banks, Sutton allegedly quipped, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Sutton’s Law explains something unusual about Bernie Sander’s tax plan: it calls for massive tax hikes across the board. Why raise taxes on the middle class? Because that’s where the money is.

The problem all politicians face is that voters love to get stuff, but they hate to pay for it. The traditional solution that center-left politicians pitch is the idea that the poor and middle class will get the benefits, and the rich will pay for it.

This is approximately how things work in the United States. The top 1 percent of taxpayers earn 19 percent of total income and pay 38 percent of federal income taxes. The bottom 50 percent earn 12 percent and pay 3 percent. This chart from the Heritage Foundation shows net taxes paid and benefits received, per person, by household income group:

But Sanders’ proposals (free college, free health care, jobs programs, more Social Security, etc.) are way too heavy for the rich alone to carry, and he knows it. To his credit, his campaign has released a plan to pay for each of these myriad handouts. Vox’s Dylan Matthews has totaled up all the tax increases Sanders has proposed so far, and the picture is simply staggering.

Every household earning below $250,000 will face a tax hike of nearly 9 percent. Past that, rates explode, up to a top rate of 77 percent on incomes over $10 million.

Paying for Free

Sanders argues that most people’s average income tax rate won’t change, but this is only true if you exclude the two major taxes meant to pay for his health care program: a 2.2 percent “premium” tax and 6.2 percent payroll tax, imposed on incomes across the board. These taxes account for majority of the new revenue Sanders is counting on.

But it gets worse: his single-payer health care plan will cost 80 percent more than he claims. Analysis by the left-leaning scholar Kenneth Thorpe (who supports single payer) concludes that Sanders’ proposal will cost $1.1 trillion more each year than he claims. The trillion dollar discrepancy results from some questionable assumptions in Sanders’ numbers. For instance:

Sanders assumes $324 billion more per year in prescription drug savings than Thorpe does. Thorpe argues that this is wildly implausible.

“In 2014 private health plans paid a TOTAL of $132 billion on prescription drugs and nationally we spent $305 billion,” he writes in an email. “With their savings drug spending nationally would be negative.”

So unless pharmaceutical companies start paying you to take their drugs, the Sanders administration will need to increase taxes even more.

Analysis by the Tax Foundation finds that his proposed tax hikes already total $13.6 trillion over the next ten years. However, “the plan would [only] end up collecting $9.8 trillion over the next decade when accounting for decreased economic output.”

And the consequences will be truly devastating. Because of the taxes on labor and capital, GDP will be reduced 9.5 percent. Six million jobs will be lost. On average, after-tax incomes will be reduced by more than 18 percent.

Incomes for the bottom 50 percent will be reduced by more than 14 percent, and incomes for the top 1 percent will be reduced nearly 25 percent. Inequality warriors might cheer, but if you want to actually raise revenue, crushing the incomes of the people who pay almost 40 percent of all taxes isn’t the way to go.

These are just the effects of the $1 trillion tax hike he has planned — and he probably needs to double that to pay for single payer. Where will he find it? He’ll go where European welfare states go.

Being Like Scandinavia

Sanders is a great admirer of Scandinavian countries, such as Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and many of his proposals are modeled on their systems. But to pay for their generous welfare benefits, they tax, and tax, and tax.

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all capture between 20-26 percent of GDP from income and payroll taxes. By contrast, the United States collects only 15 percent.

Scandinavia’s tax rates themselves are not that much higher than the United States’. Denmark’s top rate is 30 percent higher, Sweden’s is 18 percent higher, and Norway’s is actually 16 percent lower — and yet Norway’s income tax raises 30 percent more revenue than the United States.

The answer lies in how progressive the US tax system is, in the thresholds at which people are hit by the top tax rates. The Tax Foundation explains,

Scandinavian income taxes raise a lot of revenue because they are actually rather flat. In other words, they tax most people at these high rates, not just high-income taxpayers.

The top marginal tax rate of 60 percent in Denmark applies to all income over 1.2 times the average income in Denmark. From the American perspective, this means that all income over $60,000 (1.2 times the average income of about $50,000 in the United States) would be taxed at 60 percent. …

Compare this to the United States. The top marginal tax rate of 46.8 percent (state average and federal combined rates) kicks in at 8.5 times the average U.S. income (around $400,000). Comparatively, few taxpayers in the United States face the top marginal rate.

The reason European states can pay for giant welfare programs is not because they just tax the rich more — it’s because they also scoop up a ton of middle class income. The reason why the United States can’t right now is its long-standing political arrangement to keep taxes high on the rich so they can be low on the poor and middle.

Where the Money Is – And Isn’t

As shown by the Laffer Curve, there is a point at which increasing tax rates actually reduces tax revenue, by discouraging work, hurting the economy, and encouraging tax avoidance.

Bernie’s plan already hammers the rich: households earning over $250,000 (the top 3 percent) would face marginal rates of 62-77 percent — meaning the IRS would take two-thirds to three-quarters of each additional dollar earned. His proposed capital gains taxes are so high that they are likely well past the point of positive returns. The US corporate tax rate of 40 percent is already the highest in the world, and even Sanders hasn’t proposed increasing it.

The only way to solve his revenue problem is to raise rates on the middle and upper-middle classes, or flatten the structure to make the top rates start kicking in much lower. You can see why a “progressive” isn’t keen on making more regressive taxes part of his platform, but the money has to come from somewhere.

The bottom fifty percent don’t pay much income tax now (only $34 billion), but they also don’t earn enough to fill the gap. Making their taxes proportionate to income would only raise $107 billion, without even considering how the higher rates would reduce employment and income.

The top 5 percent are pretty well wrung dry by Sanders’ plan, and their incomes are going to be reduced by 20-25 percent anyway. It’s hard to imagine that there’s much more blood to be had from that stone.

But households between the 50th and the 95th percentile (incomes between $37,000 to $180,000 a year) earn about 54 percent of total income — a share would likely go up, given the larger income reductions expected for top earners. Currently, this group pays only 38 percent of total income taxes, and, despite the 9 percent tax hike, they’re comparatively spared by the original tax plan. Their incomes are now the lowest hanging fruit on the tax tree.

As they go to the polls this year, the middle class should remember Sutton’s Law.

Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier

Daniel Bier is the editor of Anything Peaceful. He writes on issues relating to science, civil liberties, and economic freedom.

Bernie Sanders’s Plan to Fix College Is Worse than Nothing by Ariel Deschapell

Bernie Sanders has tapped into a frenzied millennial base by proposing “free” college tuition (that is, tuition paid for by the government). Bachelor degrees are pitched as the primary means by which individuals can gain skills and increase their incomes, so skyrocketing tuition is becoming a hot election topic. But are more subsidies to the university system a legitimate solution to the problem, or simply a stunt to capitalize on youthful outrage?

There’s no denying that the price of higher education is unrealistically high, and a fix is needed. But Sanders’ plan doesn’t even purport to be a solution. It does nothing to address the root problem of rising costs. It merely spreads those costs to society as a whole by socializing them.

Proponents of this idea don’t ever seem to explore the more fundamental question of why the cost of college continues to increase, let alone how socializing those costs stops the inflationary trend.

The assumption seems to be that rising costs are simply a law of nature that we have to deal with. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. If we look at the wider economy, the cost of higher education is clearly an anomaly. Products across the economic spectrum, from smartphones to automobiles, decrease in cost and increase in quality year after year, despite heavy demand. Indeed, consumer demand is what drives continuous innovation in these industries.

Could the problem be something as simple as decreased public funding? Even if that were true, it still wouldn’t explain why universities seem incapable of cutting costs and maximizing performance. Apple, Samsung, and most any other firms seem perfectly able to do so without any regular source of taxpayer funding.

Higher education possess no unique characteristic that prevents it from improving and adapting as every other industry regularly does. But incentives matter, and the market incentives that drive competitive innovation in other industries are heavily distorted in the college and university system.

For starters, under the Higher Education Act signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, universities and colleges gained a de facto monopoly on higher education.

As Senator Mike Lee explains,

Under the federal Higher Education Act, students are eligible for Title IV student loans and grants only if they attend formally accredited institutions. That makes some sense, for purposes of quality control.

Except that under the law, only degree-issuing academic institutions are allowed to be accredited. And only the U.S. Department of Education gets to say who can be an accreditor.

That is, the federal government today operates a kind of higher-education cartel, with federally approved accreditors using their gatekeeper power to keep out unwanted competition.

Can this explain why higher education seems perpetually stagnant and inefficient? Since 1965, computers have gone from being the size of a small building to vastly more powerful, more common, and more affordable pocket-sized devices. Whole other industries have been continuously disrupted again and again, giving way to newer and better models for doing business.

Yet despite a relentlessly increasing price tag, a college education is largely the same beast it was decades ago. In 21st century America, our higher education system is still governed by rules written in 1965.

Because of these rules (and a flood of taxpayer-backed loans), more students are funneled into accredited higher education every year, while the supply remains artificially restricted. Even the smallest regional colleges turn away more students than they could hope to take in.

Is it any surprise then that tuition continues to climb when there exists so little competitive pressure to keep it in check? Without the risk of losing potential students to superior alternatives, universities lack the basic incentives to maximize the value they provide while minimizing the cost.

With this in mind, what does Sanders’s proposal do to address the underlying structural problem in higher education? As it turns out, worse than nothing.

Instead of seeking to weaken the cartel and drive down prices by increasing competition, free tuition goes the exact opposite way. Like decades worth of failed higher education programs, Sanders seeks to continue stimulating demand while doing nothing to address the artificially limited supply and dearth of innovation. Unchecked by any last remnant of market forces college costs will continue to run away at an even faster rate than before.

Were it still 1965, the Senator might suggest we deal with the AT&T telephone monopoly by demanding free landlines for all Americans forever. Thankfully, this isn’t what happened, and instead of a sprawling federally subsidized landline monopoly, we have a cheap, competitive nationwide market for cellular and mobile internet providers.

But this is exactly what Sanders proposes for higher education: a stagnant, expensive, uncompetitive industry, stuck in the past and eating up billions in subsidies. In doing so, he threatens to deny us the creative destruction sorely needed to bring higher education into the 21st century.

Socialized college tuition may provide a popular and illusory respite for students, but only the competition present in free markets can actually reduce costs and spur sustainable innovation.

Ariel Deschapell
Ariel Deschapell

Ariel holds the Henry Hazlitt Fellowship for Digital Development at FEE. He is a student of Florida International University with a focus in finance and economics.

Capitalists Have a Better Plan: Why Decentralized Planning Is Superior to Bureaucracy and Socialism by Robert P. Murphy

To early 20th-century intellectuals, capitalism looked like anarchy. Why, they wondered, would we trust deliberative, conscious guidance when building a house but not when building an economy?

It was fashionable among these socialist intellectuals to espouse “planning” as a much more rational way to organize economic activity. (F.A. Hayek wrote a famous essay on the phenomenon.) But this emphasis on central planning was utterly confused both conceptually and empirically.

Ludwig von Mises made the most obvious rejoinder, pointing out that there is “planning” in the market economy, too. The difference is that the planning isdecentralized in a market, spread out among millions of entrepreneurs and resource owners, including workers. Thus, in the debate between socialism and capitalism, the question isn’t, “Should there be economic planning?” Rather, the question is, “Should we restrict the plan design to a few supposed experts put in place through the political process, or should we throw open the floodgates and receive input from millions of people who may know something vital?”

This second question came to be known as the “knowledge problem.” Hayek pointed out that in the real world, information is dispersed among myriad individuals. For example, a factory manager in Boise might know very particular facts about the machines on his assembly line, which socialist planners in DC could not possibly take into account when directing the nation’s productive resources. Hayek argued that the price system in a market economy could be viewed as a giant “system of telecommunications,” rapidly transmitting just the essential bits of knowledge from one localized node to the others. Such a “web” arrangement (my term) avoided a bureaucratic hierarchy in which every bit of information had to flow up through the chain of command, be processed by the expert leaders, and then flow back down to the subordinates.

Complementary to Hayek’s now-better-known problem of dispersed knowledge, Mises stressed the calculation problem of socialist planning. Even if we conceded for the sake of argument that the socialist planners had access to all of the latest technical information regarding the resources and engineering know-how at their disposal, they still couldn’t rationally “plan” their society’s economic activities. They would be “groping in the dark.”

By definition, under socialism, one group (the people running the state, if we are talking about a political manifestation) owns all of the important productive resources — the factories, forests, farmland, oil deposits, cargo ships, railroads, warehouses, utilities, and so on. Thus, there can be no truly competitive markets in the “means of production” (to use Karl Marx’s term), meaning that there are no genuine prices for these items.

Because of these unavoidable facts, Mises argued, no socialist ruler could evaluate the efficiency of his economic plan, even after the fact. He would have a list of the inputs into a certain process — so many tons of steel, rubber, wood, and man-hours of various types of labor. He could contrast the inputs with the outputs they produced — so many houses or cars or bottles of soda. But how would the socialist planner know if this transformation made sense? How would the socialist planner know if he should continue with this operation in the future, rather than expanding it or shrinking it? Would a different use of those same resources produce a better result? The simple answer is that he would have no idea. Without market prices, there is no nonarbitrary way of comparing the resources used up in a particular process with the goods or services produced.

In contrast, the profit-and-loss test provides critical feedback in the market economy. The entrepreneur can ask accountants to attach money prices to the resources used up, and the goods and services produced, by a particular process. Although not perfect, such a method at least provides guidance. Loosely speaking, a profitable enterprise is one that directs scarce resources into the channel that the consumers value the most, as demonstrated through their spending decisions.

In contrast, what does it mean if a particular business operation isunprofitable? It means that its customers are not willing to spend enough money on the output to recoup the monetary expenses (including interest) necessary to buy the inputs. But the reason those inputs had certain market prices attached to them is that other operations were bidding on them, too. Thus, in Mises’s interpretation, an unprofitable business enterprise is siphoning away resources from channels where consumers would prefer (indirectly and implicitly) that the resources be deployed.

We must never forget that the economic problem is not to ask, “Will devoting these scarce resources to project X make at least some people better off, compared to doing nothing with these resources?” Rather, the true economic problem is to ask, “Will devoting these scarce resources to project X make people better off compared to using the resources in some other project Y?”

To answer this question, we need a way of reducing heterogeneous inputs and outputs into a common denominator: money prices. This is why Mises stressed the primacy of private property and the use of sound money as pillars of rational resource allocation.

Robert P. Murphy
Robert P. Murphy

Robert P. Murphy has a PhD in economics from NYU. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism and The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Great Depression and the New Deal.

Cultural Marxism: Nobel Scientist Sacked for Making Innocent Joke about Women

We just heard about the Miami high-school principal fired for soberly disagreeing on social media with the McKinney narrative. Now comes an even more outrageous story involving what’s usually called political correctness, but should really be labeled what it is: evil.

Sir Tim Hunt is a darn good scientist. So good, apparently, that he won the 2001 Nobel Prize in physiology. But none of this matters to the University College London, which just forced this esteemed mind to resign over a joke he made at a conference on women in science in South Korea. The quip has been called “sexist,” you see.

And what was his trespass? Did he take the podium drunken and make lewd comments about women’s anatomy? Was it a remark about wife-battery? It must be just awful, as the 39 words uttered have now ended his career. Here’s the joke he told attendees:

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.”

No, I’m not joking. That’s it. Nothing more. Yet it inspired social-media campaigners to hunt for Hunt, and the 72-year-old was ousted from his research position. Is this shell of Western civilization we’re living in for real?

Hunt’s wife, Professor Mary Collins, whom The Guardian describes as “one of Britain’s most senior immunologists,” was not immune to the fallout. She said that her “relations with University College have been badly tarnished”; I guess this was for the sin of marrying a man who’d one day make a joke to which the evil ones would take exception.

This could remind one of the babies born in North Korean prison camps, who remain in those camps, sometimes being tortured, for having the temerity to be born to a female political prisoner. And it didn’t matter that Hunt and Collins quite sincerely did the requisite groveling. Writes The Guardian, “‘I stood up and went mad,’ he [Hunt] admits. ‘I was very nervous and a bit confused but, yes, I made those remarks – which were inexcusable – but I made them in a totally jocular, ironic way.’ …Collins clutches her head as Hunt talks. ‘It was an unbelievably stupid thing to say,’ she says.”

Actually, no, we live in an unbelievably stupid civilization. That the couple is so sincerely contrite only proves again that great scientists are often social morons. After all, what reflected in Hunt’s joke is untrue? Men have, I understand, fallen in love with female co-workers; it has even been rumored that women sometimes fall in love with male co-workers. And everyone knows that, as a general rule, women are far more apt to cry than are men — including when being criticized. So what’s the problem?

It’s that we live in an age of cultural despots who subordinate Truth to the “party line.”

Note that one hallmark of tyranny is that it compels people to deny what they know is true.

The reality is that Hunt has been a good little liberal boy, but it didn’t save him. His wife proclaimed her feminism, and his, saying that he did all the cooking and chores around the house. Female scientists came forward and said he was “immensely supportive” of efforts at sexual equality and advanced the careers of both men and women researchers. But no deviation from the party line is allowed by leftist tyrannies. It’s no different from when Joseph Stalin said he would destroy even the Old Bolshevik, and “his kin, his family. Anyone who by his actions or thoughts encroaches on the unity of the socialist state, we shall destroy relentlessly.” You must be a new Bolshevik, comrade — and make sure that nothing you said yesterday was “old.”

But the “new school” people, as another great mind, Rachel Jeantel (remember her?), put it, are in like Flynn. Black Boston University professor Saida Grundy tweeted that white males are a “problem population” and viciously taunted a white rape victim on Facebook, and she will still be assuming her BU position July 1. Professor Jacqueline Warwick of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia said at a panel discussion that men should not be “allowed to speak first” in class, and she still has a job. Profane anti-Christian bigot and sex columnist Dan Savage once told high-school age kids to “ignore the bull[**]*t in the Bible” and called some of them “pansy-a**ed” when they took exception to his remarks, and he still gets paid to peddle perversion to students ($24,000 for one speech). But Hunt? He had to acknowledge, reports The Guardian, “I am finished. I had hoped to do a lot more to help promote science in this country and in Europe, but I cannot see how that can happen. I have become toxic.”

So let’s get this straight. While I’m not acquainted with Hunt’s work on cell division, I’m assuming that Nobel Prizes in science aren’t like the peace prizes, which can be awarded simply because you’re a “mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” as Joe Biden put it (Crazy Joe still has his job, too). This means that Western institutions will now choose ideological “purity” over a brilliant scientist. Is this not reminiscent of Marxist nations, which would often replace qualified doctors and researchers with goose-stepping incompetents?

The sad part of this submission to evil is that leftists are abject cowards and pack animals; stand up to them en masse, and they’ll scatter like the capons and clucking hens they are. Instead, legitimate freedom is being lost. Of course, there certainly are those in the hierarchy above Hunt who subscribe to the politically correct nonsense. But there no doubt are others who realize his joke was no big deal yet are making a calculation: “If I don’t fire the man, the guns could be turned on me and I’ll be next on the chopping block.” It could remind one of Ben Franklin’s words, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

And we are hanging separately, as sane people are picked off one by one and an iron muzzle descends across the West. It has already touched you, no doubt, as everyone is watching what he says. And barring a revolution, it’s only a matter of time before the effecting of oppression moves from the social to the governmental sphere, as we transition from the gag to the gulag.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwynDuke.com

Caitlyn Jenner? Hello Sucker!

It doesn’t matter that Bruce Jenner, famed Olympic athlete and member of the Kardashian family, thinks that he is female. He can never be female no matter what surgery he undertakes to make it reflect the fantasy in his head. Born a male, his body is a billion cells and nerve contacts whose DNA determines his true gender.

That’s why those who are buying into the pop cultural myth and news coverage of Jenner’s announced transformation should be greeted “Hello, Sucker!” It’s worse than just plain stupidity; it is the tip of a massive effort to alter society that dates back to those arrogant and deluded founders of communism who thought that, for it to succeed, the family as a key element of all societies, had to be eliminated.

TakedownDr. Paul Kengor, Ph.D., is a leading scholar on Communism and the author, among other excellent books, of “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century” and, just out, “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has sabotaged Family and Marriage.”

The only way progressives—communists—know how to advance their agenda is to lie about it in every way. Even a short look at the lives of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the authors of Communist manifesto, Das Kapital, tells you what motivated their wish to destroy the family.

As Dr. Kengor points out, Engels had written that he “favored that marriage should not be a legal relationship, but a purely private affairs” noting that Engels “revealed a highly promiscuous attitude toward sexual morality and marital relationships.” Between the two men, they had many mistresses. Of the six children Marx fathered, four died before he did and two committed suicide. Both men leached off of Engel’s inheritance, never working a day in their lives. Marx’s family finally refused to lend him a dime; in brief, two men with a disdain for traditional marriage and widely held Judeo-Christian moral values.

Therefore, to understand why we are drowning in anti-family propaganda and efforts to change the laws affecting what marriage is and is not, Dr. Kengor notes that “Even way back when, in the mid-1800s, the far left had its sights on the family, with marriage at its epicenter. And this particular component of the extreme left—the communist left—was devoutly atheistic in its orientation ambition, and mission. It rebelled against God, a rebellion against the Creator that was central to its new direction and fundamental transformation.”

“Fundamental transformation”? Where have we heard that term before? Oh yes, from President Barack Obama’s lips. This was the candidate for President who said marriage was strictly between a man and a woman before he was elected and “evolved” into supporting same-sex marriage. Hello, Sucker!

“Same-sex marriage,” says Dr. Kengor “is hardly a Marxist plot, a latent communist conspiracy. It is, however, a crucial final blow to marriage—the only blow that is enabling a formal, legal redefinition that will unravel the institution”, adding that “what the left has steadfastly said and written and done to marriage and the family over the last two centuries cannot be ignored.”

“Much of the wider American culture, outside of the far left, has also become secular and dismissive of traditional religious teaching on matters such as family and marriage…The radical left could never have achieved this ultimate takedown of marriage without the larger American public’s broad acceptance of gay marriage.” If you can believe that two men or two women can and should get married, than you will believe anything. In five thousand years of civilization, we are close to letting all of the moral and civil lessons learned in the past be ignored, forgotten or rewritten.

We have, as a society, been tending more and more in this direction, dramatically when the Supreme Court legalized abortion and, in its forthcoming decision on same-sex marriage, likely a similar acceptance. When that occurs, our society will be just decades away from a serious breakdown. As it is, more and more children are growing up in single-parent family settings, lacking as often as not, a father.

If you want to look at men dressing and acting like women, tune in America’s most famous drag queen, RuPaul’s television show. He’s male. Those on the show are male.

There are among us, men and women, whose sexual preference takes them in the direction of their own gender. They constitute 1.8% if the U.S. population. There are those who, born male, now claim to be female. That is their problem deserving of no special laws or attention. Changing our entire society and culture to benefit this slim nitch of society is a very bad idea.

Bruce Jenner’s absurd claims will make him a rich man. Not a rich woman.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Stalinism and the Destabilization of America

Stalin’s policy of Divide and Conquer has been implemented in many different areas and aspects of our society, including a racial division. The events in Ferguson, Baltimore, Wisconsin and Cleveland had confirmed it. It is a continuation of WWIII against America the Beautiful designed by our Founding Fathers. There are several factors that inflamed the predicament, yet nobody is talking about the major one–Stalin’s ideology of Soviet Fascism to obtain control of the local law-enforcement to nationalize and federalize it, like Stalin did in the Soviet Union. Obama began this policy within his first five years–dozens of agencies are being investigated. To know the source of that policy, the Stalin’s era must be studied by the next generations, as Stalin’s socio-political idea impacted the world during the last hundred years. Be prepared for the open season on the policemen and remember the definition of the Soviet Mafia, where politics intertwine with organized crime. The police already feel under the siege. Be prepared for a lot of killings and mob rules in America.

Blacks vs. Whites

It is for a reason, I have started this series with Marxist ideology. Karl Marx’s theory of Socialism and Communism is both a fraud and a utopia. Yet…the idea in the beginning of his historical research of socio-economic stages within the development of civilization was a logical one. While teaching in New York City, I have presented the idea to my students. Baltic Winds, Xlibris, 2002. In short, Marx as a historian was searching for productive forces in history. I accept his theory of history up to his fantasy of Socialism and Communism. As a matter of fact, his idea of productive forces in history maybe actually presents a factual development of the stages within our civilization. It sounded logical and reasonable to me. But I am not a philosopher or sociologist and I will present it in a possibly simplistic way. So…

The primitive men had difficulties in finding food alone. Therefore, human beings created rudimentary form of organization known in the modern terms as tribes to ease their existence. Marx called it the first stage of the human civilization. To achieve more productivity greater numbers of people were organized to create and improve a more productive force. The second socio-economic stage of civilization Marx identified as a slavery. Please keep in mind, the slavery took place worldwide at a certain time, regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. For your information: slavery or serfdom in Russia was abolished by Alexander II- Liberator in the exact time slavery was abolished by President Abraham Lincoln in the U.S. The next stage of civilization was supposed to provide the huge number of people with food. Marx called the third stage of civilization feudalism–the interactions or contracts between land-lords and vassals in developing the agricultural productive forces to provide the populace with the food. The fourth stage of human civilization was capitalism. To me those stages sounds logical, as they reflect the world history.

The word slavery has been forgotten in Russia, Brazil, and in the rest of the world with homogeneous populations. In America, contrary to the rest of the world the notion of slavery intensified the racial hostility. My explanation is a simple one: None of the other countries of the world had such a visual difference as a COLOR. The COLOR is the inflammatory factor. In addition to that, the majority of the Blacks were brought to America from the second stage of civilization to the forth one, from slavery to capitalism, missing one stage in the development of civilization–feudalism. This is a very important factor. Do not talk to the Black crowd in Ferguson and Baltimore, including the prosecutor of Baltimore, they can’t understand this factor, they need time and the civic education, which Europe went through during 500 years. For them it is easy to destroy, loot, and burn cars than to create and produce. Look objectively at the statistics of crime among Blacks in America. Our homicide rate is equal to that of Yemen. The picture will confirm my point—Blacks are killing Blacks—11 percent of Blacks commit 70 percent of crimes. The role of the police becomes even more significant under these circumstances. Obama’s actions against the police are totally contradictory and inconsistent with the American national interests.

There is another factor that aggravates the racial hostility as well– Stalin’s ideology of Divide and Conquer. With the lack of the historical development in America, Blacks have some resemblance to the Muslim world that has not been reformed since the seventh century. This resemblance is very important as Stalin’s ideology and strategy have been applied to all minorities within Russia and outside the country. The KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov, a devoted Stalin’s disciple created the myth of a “Palestinian Nation” against Israel. One of his statements illustrated it the best: “the Muslims had a taste for nationalism, jingoism, and victimology. Their illiterate, oppressed mobs could be whipped up to a fever pitch. Terrorism and violence against Israel and her master, American Zionism, would flow naturally from the Muslims’ religious fervor.” Russian Footsteps, by Ion Mihai Pacepa, National Review Online, August 24, 2008.)

A couple of days ago, I heard Dr. Ben Carson, a Black candidate of the Republican Party for the presidency of the United States, who said: “My Mother did not want to be a victim.” A victim and victimology are the key words in the resemblance of the big group of the Blacks with the Muslims. The Blacks were indoctrinated by the ideology of Soviet Fascism the same way that the part of the Muslims were indoctrinated for several decades. Ben Carson is a uniquely qualified for the presidency of our country–he is a contemporary Uncle Tom and the majority of Blacks will not vote for him. Of course, there are some differences between the large group of Blacks and Islamic Jihadists, yet both, for different reasons are fighting America the Beautiful. Have you heard the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi? He, a Muslim himself had admitted that Islam itself has a problem and should be reformed. Have you heard any similar statements from the Black leaders of America? No, on the contrary—division is the only their motive.

Some Blacks called the White people the Oppressors, some are talking about “White Privileges” some “wanted to see cops dead.” I saw them all in Ferguson and Baltimore and I am glad that the notions of “the agents of influence” and the Soviet Mafia, designed by Soviet Fascism are already known to you. If you dig deeper the backgrounds of Sharpton and J. Jackson, you will find their quite strange political connections. Just think and research the root causes and history of the Black movement and you’ll be able to see how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. I did it in my books discussing Soviet Fascism. All factors mentioned by me, are reinforce one another. Only actual knowledge can solve the problem—both the Blacks and the political Islamite are indoctrinated with totalitarian ideology, I called Stalinism or Soviet Fascism. Knowledge of this ideology is a must.

As a young girl, I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the slavery in the far away America, it disgusted me, though it was a story of the past. Yet, it was something, I had never imagined and the negative feeling for slavery was left in my memory forever. Then I did not know that driven by a passionate hatred of slavery, “Bitchier Stow found time to write Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which became the most influential novel in American history and a catalyst for radical change both at home and abroad.” Living in America I found a complete revers of her ideas. Today,” the book has a decidedly different reputation, thanks to the popular image of its titular character, Uncle Tom — whose name has become a byword for a spineless sellout, a black man who betrays his race.”

What do you think? Who divided Black Americans on the crowd of Blacks and a group of Uncle Toms? The crowd of the Blacks, as a rule are not well educated supporters of the Democrats. Who did give the name of the other group of the Blacks Uncle Toms? Who are Uncle Toms? The answer is in the encyclopedia– “A black man who will do anything to stay in good standing with “the whites.” For me it is a good characterization of the group, the group is for unity with the rest of America. The group comprised of the educated Blacks is predominantly Republican. The unity bequeathed by the Founding Fathers is a must for them. Yet our Unity is the crux of the matter for those who are implementing the ideology of DIVISION. The division is not only racial, but more of an ideological one. “Black citizens appear to conclude that they do not share common political values with Republicans, whether black or not,” said the study. “As a consequence, black Republican candidates simply do not evoke the same response from black citizens as black Democratic candidates.” Do you recognize the division, the ideology of Soviet Fascism perpetrated by the Democrats making Blacks the victims of the society? Read more here.

Cuba mi Patria que AdoroExcerpts from Cuba Mi Patria Que Adoro, Amazon.com, 2012, P. 108. Translated by. Angela M. Aguirre, Ph.D.:

Those unsuspecting Cubans
That helped the traitor Fidel
They brought together with him
The horrendous communism….
He [Castro] urged blacks to start a fight
Against white with such hatred
Thus turning the whole society
Into a racial war.

The jackal came out of Oriente
To disunite all the Cubans
That were like brothers and sisters
Blacks and whites, all united.

We all lived in harmony
Like lawful citizens should.
But he brought much more:

He brought many criminals
From Russia and other countries,
To govern in our Cuba.
In his intent in punishing us,
He destroyed our nation.

Imposing a firing squad
That is always in action,
Killing blacks and whites alike
Without any distinction.

Media That Serves One Party System

Somewhere in 2011, I wrote an article titled The Communist Ideological Department; The Art of Brainwashing. I did it to acquaint you with the atmosphere of the life under Soviet Fascism. We, the former citizens of the socialist countries are constantly finding the events in America that resemble the ideological proceedings in our native countries: Cuba, the Soviet Union, Poland, Bulgaria or Venezuela. We often call mass media in America a leftist one. Alas, it is more than that. Just look at the recent article published in Huffington Post: Scientists Find Alarming Deterioration in DNA of the Urban Poor, by Nico Pitney, 05/08/02015.

I am not a scientist, but I have already written about the Soviet pseudo-science as an element of Soviet Fascism. The article in Huffington Post is attempting to explain that environment causing and changing human DNA. I think that this is the Stalin’s trick, promoted by the Democrats in their arguments for the redistribution of wealth in America. Fighting poverty have already cost American taxpayers $12-22 trillion with no result. I have already written about the same ideological trick in the Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s. Here it is: “I can’t omit another significant feature of the Soviet Socialism—pseudo-science. Have you ever heard about Academician Lysenko? To perceive all the agricultural troubles of the Soviet Union and the essence of the pseudo-science you have to know that name. A mediocre intriguer, a biologist from Ukraine, Trofim Lysenko had been building his career on the corpses of civilians dying from starvation in 1930.

“He led the campaign against geneticists of the world and exploited the ideological tenets. Stalinists had undermined the entire Soviet agriculture. In cahoots with the party bosses on the wave of Stalinist repressions and using the Marxist-Leninist ideology, he had begun a slanderous and vicious campaign against the geneticist’s scholars worldwide who proclaimed, ‘No ideology and politics in science.’ Of cause, the first were the Soviet Geneticists of the Soviet Academy of Science. Academician Vavilov was the main target of Lysenko’s campaign.” What is Happening to America, pp.80-81.Doesn’t it also remind you of the “climate change” hysteria in America?

This is not the only example of ideological infiltration into our American soil and culture. Have you heard about “bikes gangs” in Texas and killing of people there? I have addressed the issue of gangs 20 years ago when I saw two American movies of how gangs of different ilk, including drug-trafficking gangs and street gangs, are working in coordination with the political mafia, growing on our soil since the ‘50s. Stanley Kramer had warned Americans about the danger of gangs in his marvelous movie The Wild One, 1953. Nobody took it seriously. I did, watching the movie, I had sensed “an enemy’s sub-culture.” No American could conceive the situation where mobsters, gangs of organized crime, and political party would have shared a common purpose and agenda. Americans had no idea of Stalinism, Soviet Fascism, and WWIII.

Times have changed: We live in a more threatening atmosphere fifty years later and we should learn that the policy of containment we had always hoped for has never worked. It failed at its inception. The Soviets/Russians had not always moved their army of gangs into a foreign territory, they were infiltrating and using the American ones. And we gave the Soviet mafia the time to polish their criminal skills on our land. Do you remember the Soviet document of 1955? I have introduced it several times in this series. Organized crime as conceived by Stalin’s ideology has become a formidable force to fight Western civilization since the 1955. Beside organized crime, infiltration of the enemy forces was spread into different areas and aspects of life in America.

I had predicted in 1999 that the scale of Russian crimes against the world will quadruple, especially in the cyber space. Here it is: “Watch also for the further assaults on the regions rich with oil and attacks on our cyber systems, especially in California, to undermine our communication and economic power. Yet oil remains the first target—the lines for gasoline in the ‘’70s are still vivid in the mind of our enemies to create a raging and chaotic situation in America again.” The Russian Factor, Xlibris, 2006, pp.103-104. Today we found out that Russia infiltrated the cyber space of out IRS. I was talking about IRS in connection with Russia years ago. To win a war on terror we must know Russia and its Stalinist ideology, because Russia is the Evil Empire of Global Terrorism. Wake up America, we live in the 21st century!

I’d like to end the column with two interesting stories of the year 2015. One is about President Obama. He received an offer from a young Kenyan man, a proposal to marry Obama’s daughter Maliyah. The Kenyan man saw her when she was ten years old and fell in love with her. He promised to give for her 50 pigs and 100 cows. I do not know the Obama response yet. The second story is a simple one. Western civilization commemorates 800 years of Magna Carta in the year 2015.

To be continued www.simonapipko1.com.

EDITORS NOTE: To read all of Simona Pimko’s columns on Soviet Fascism in the 21st Century click here.

Real Hero Peter Fechter: The Berlin Wall and Those Who Refused to Be Caged by Lawrence W. Reed

For the 28 years from 1961 to 1989, the ghastly palisade known as the Berlin Wall divided the German city of Berlin. It sealed off the only escape hatch for people in the communist East who wanted freedom in the West.

No warning was given before August 13 when East German soldiers and police first stretched barbed wire and then began erecting the infamous wall, not to mention guard towers, dog runs, and explosive devices behind it.

By one estimate, 254 people died there during those 28 years — shot by police, ensnared by the barbed wire, mauled by dogs, or blown to bits by land mines — most of them in the infamous “death strip” that immediately paralleled the main barrier. The communist regime cynically referred to it as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Wall.”

In my home hangs a large, framed copy of a famous photo of a poignant moment from that sad day in 1961. It shows a young, apprehensive East German soldier glancing about as he prepares to let a small boy pass through the emerging barrier. No doubt the boy spent the night with friends and found himself the next morning on the opposite side of the wall from his family. But the communist government ordered its men to let no one pass. The inscription below the photo explains that, at this very moment, the soldier was seen by a superior officer who immediately detached him from his unit. “No one,” reads the inscription, “knows what became of him.” Only the most despicable tyrants could punish a man for letting a child get to his loved ones, but in the Evil Empire, that and much worse happened all the time.

Like millions of others, a strapping 18-year-old bricklayer named Peter Fechter yearned for so much more than the stifling dreariness of socialism. He hatched a plan with a friend, Helmut Kulbeik, to conceal themselves in a carpenter’s woodshop near the wall and watch for an opportune moment to jump from a second-story window into the death strip. They would then run to and climb over the 6½ foot high concrete barrier, laced with barbed wire, and emerge in freedom on the other side.

It was August 17, 1962, barely a year since the Berlin Wall went up, but Fechter and Kulbeik were ready to risk everything. When the moment came that guards were looking the other way, they jumped. Seconds later, during their mad dash to the wall, guards began firing. Amazingly, Kulbeik made it to freedom. Fechter was not so lucky. In the plain view of witnesses numbering in the hundreds, he was hit in the pelvis. He fell, screaming in pain, to the ground.

No one on the East side, soldiers included, came to his aid. Westerners threw bandages over the wall but Fechter couldn’t reach them. Bleeding profusely, he died alone, an hour later. Demonstrators in West Berlin shouted, “Murderers!” at the East Berlin border guards, who eventually retrieved his lifeless body.

Christine Brecht, writing on the Berlin Wall Memorial website, reveals subsequent events involving the Fechter family:

In addition to the painful loss of their only son, the family of the deceased was subjected to reprisals from the East German government for decades. In July 1990 Peter Fechter’s sister pressed charges that opened preliminary proceedings and that ultimately ended in the conviction of two guards. Found guilty of manslaughter, they were sentenced to 20 and 21 months in prison, a sentence that was commuted to probation. During the main proceedings, Ruth Fechter, the victim’s younger sister who served as a joint plaintiff in the trial, expressed herself through her attorneys. They explained that she thought it important to speak out, to no longer be “damned by passivity and inactivity” and to get out of “the objectified role that she had been put in until then.” She movingly described how she and her family experienced the tragic death of her brother and had felt powerless to act against his public defamation. They had been sworn to secrecy, an involuntary obligation that put the family under tremendous pressure. “We were ostracized and experienced hostile encounters daily. They were not born of our personal desire, but were instead imposed on us by others, becoming a central element in the life of the Fechter Family.” After all those years, participating in the trial as a joint plaintiff offered Ruth Fechter an opportunity to participate in the effort to explain, research and evaluate the circumstances of her brother’s death. And she added that the legal perspective occasionally overlooks the fact that in this case “world history fatally intersected with the fate of a single individual.”

The world must never forget this awful chapter in history. Nor should we ever forget that it was done in the name of a vicious system that declared its “solidarity with the working class” and professed its devotion to “the people.”

We who embrace liberty don’t believe in shooting people because they don’t conform, and that is ultimately what socialism and communism are all about. We don’t plan other people’s lives because we’re too busy at the full-time job of reforming and improving our own. We believe in persuasion, not coercion. We solve problems at penpoint, not gunpoint. We’re never so smugly self-righteous in our beliefs that we’re ready at the drop of a hat to dragoon the rest of society into our schemes.

All this is why so many of us get a rush every time we think of Ronald Reagan standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 and demanding, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” This is why we were brought to tears in the heady days of 1989 when thousands of Berliners scaled the Wall with their hammers, picks, and fists and pummeled that terrible edifice and the Marxist vision that fostered it.

Peter Fechter and the 253 others who died at the Berlin Wall are real heroes. They deserve to be remembered.

For further information, see:


Lawrence W. Reed

Lawrence W. (“Larry”) Reed became president of FEE in 2008 after serving as chairman of its board of trustees in the 1990s and both writing and speaking for FEE since the late 1970s.

EDITORS NOTE: Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.

Living Under Marxism is a Joke

Last week Cliff Kincaid interviewed me via Skype for America’s Survival channel on Roku, and it is now also on YouTube. Most of it is improvised, combining new and old material. Had I known that the questions would be so much focused on the People’s Cube, I would have used more props and given a better presentation of the site. Still, according to certain thoroughly objective, authoritative sources (Mrs. Red Square), the interview turned out well and is fairly watchable.

Pope Francis: Left, Right and Wrong? Left on Marxism, Right on CEO Capitalist Greed, Wrong on Prosperity

This is a response to the pope’s attack on capitalism referenced in the UK Telegraph, January 9, 2014. This Pope is destined to impact the world, but is he right?

This author, as a college youth who spent summers in Colombia and Venezuela, landed in Caracas in 1960 and was shocked to see a Communist demonstration because a Communist diplomat from Cuba was arriving. I was told that the poverty in Latin America was fertile soil for their ideology.

Why the poverty in Latin America? Those countries were colonized by Spain and Portugal at the same time the United States was forming. They have an abundance of natural resources without the severity of climate in the northeast where the pilgrims landed. But after centuries of Catholic dominance, I witnessed a country where millions of people were illiterate and could not read or write. Yet in every village, high above the sheds and shacks, was a cathedral built by money from these poor people. I was told the gold in a Panama cathedral was white-washed to disguise and save it from an invading army.

Alberto Rivera, a converted Jesuit priest, says when his father died, his mother had to give their only cow to the priest to get daddy out of purgatory (a word not found in the Bible). Rivers’s wife believes he died of poisoning. One of his revealing books, The Godfathers, is linked at the end of this article.

The pope admits Marxist friends, but says they are wrong—after all, they don’t believe in God, and one of the pope’s titles is ‘Lord God the Pope.’ That claim and the persecution of those who would not bow to the pope led Protestant Reformers to believe the papacy was the “little horn” power that grew out of the Roman Empire in the imagery of Daniel 7’s sequence of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia and Rome.

The pope is right about capitalistic greed of CEO’s paid such inordinate amounts. The Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” [1 Timothy 6:10]. But the pope forgets the Sermon on the Mount; We can’t take the speck out of our brother’s eye till we take the beam out of our own. [Matt. 7:3,4].

The Vatican is the largest holder of land titles for any organization or government in the world with visible title at around USD $316 Billion of property (churches, schools, hospitals etc.) and around USD $264 Billion of investment property hidden in extremely complex networks of hundreds of thousands of trusts and front companies. AND THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING!” [Sic, Comment in UK article]

The Bible teaches prosperity and America flourished from 1776 to JFK when conflict with his church over the Vietnamese War may have contributed to his demise. Since JFK, every president may have been threatened with the same destiny as they moved us toward a New World Order with Rome behind it all. Rome is the recipient of wealth from banks as Karen Hudes reveals half-way through her expose.’ Search YouTube for Karen Hudes World Bank Whistle-blower; huge revelation that may get her killed.

Now we have a majority of Supreme Court Justices that are Catholic and Congress is mostly Catholic or catholic (universal—go along to get along). Where are the Protestants? No wonder this country is about to get flushed down the toilet of economic greed, moral pollution, and spiritual depravity.

Rome’s role in both World Wars is exposed in Rivera’s Godfathers and may be read online. The Bible describes the harlot (a woman represents a church in Bible prophecy, Jeremiah 6:2) as decked with gold and precious stones (wealthy church) and is the mother of abominations, Revelation 17:4,5. How it got there is well-described in a chapter of The Great Controversy a best-seller that can be read online.