Skip to comments.Some Ammunition To Use In The Battle Against The Hate-America Gang
Posted on 11/19/2008 8:52:35 AM PST by jazusamo
One of the great mysteries of life is the prevalence, in our own country, of so many hate-America types. This week I've discussed their power and presence in our colleges and universities and how they indoctrinate and teach their students through lectures and writings how to hate America.
I must admit that when someone hates America, the greatest democracy in the history of the world, which has produced virtually unlimited opportunity for all, I can't explain it. When you encounter such an irrational force, there seems to be no rational explanation. So some of the most powerful observers of the scene, such as the great British historian Paul Johnson, attribute it to mental disease. The trouble with that diagnosis is that it is exceptionally hard to treat. So it would be wise to make another diagnosis, if that is possible. Others have suggested most of the hate-Americanism is based on profound ignorance. That is a happier diagnosis, as the cure seems easier, education and enlightenment.
With that diagnosis, Michael Medved, the talk show host and author, went ahead to prescribe a cure in his new and important book, The Ten Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation. He argues the hate-America types have developed "a complex, even tortured relationship with their own past," and have lost touch with the greatness of America.
That frayed connection with America "rests on a series of destructive lies - sweeping distortions that poison our sense of who we are and what our country means." He argues a series of grotesque distortions and big lies about America feed this kind of insecurity and even hatred of America. These lies feed hate of America and sometimes feed mistaken public policy decisions.
He also reasons that many Americans instinctively know these anti-America lies and other distortions are just that, but lack the information and arguments to counter them. That's what his book is about. He writes:
"This book hopes to fill that void. The 10 big lies exposed here constitute the most common and destructive distortions about the nation's past and present. My goal is to explode the most obvious lies and to arm Americans with the information and approaches they need to answer bitter indictments against our country.
"In many corners of the continent, educators and psychologists fret over the self-esteem of our young people, hoping to protect their tender egos by encouraging them to declare 'I'm a wonderful kid' or, on too many occasions, 'I'm part of a wonderful - though often victimized - group.' Even more important to their sense of security and confidence would be the recognition, 'I'm part of a wonderful country - a wonderful and unprecedented national adventure. And I can most appropriately express my gratitude for the gifts I've received by making the most of my opportunities."
Setting the record straight is crucial to our national well-being and even survival. As Mr. Medved reasons, "A nation with no pride in its past won't feel confidence in its future. The big lies about America have transformed our heritage from a blessing into a burden, promoting impotence and paralysis. Achieving an accurate understanding of the privileged position we enjoy can replace self-pity with pride, apology with affirmation. Only this sense of shared gratitude will sustain our occasionally strained communal connections, providing elusive common ground in this freakishly favored nation in which every day brings occasion for thanksgiving."
One of the 10 big lies struck me as it has such overwhelming relevance at this moment in history. Mr. Medved states this lie as follows: "Government programs offer the only remedy for economic downturns and poverty."
That lie unfortunately gains even more acceptance in a time of crisis, when everyone tends to look to government for solutions. It is a lie that has historically been accepted by the Democratic Party and seems to be accepted by President-Elect Barack Obama. In fact, the mainstream media seems to be playing up this moment of crisis to pave the way for all the usual Democratic/liberal/radical welfare and anti-poverty schemes that have already been tried and failed. Time magazine just ran a cover story with Mr. Obama with a hat and cigarette holder in a car to suggest a second coming of FDR and his approach to solving the problems of the economy.
The article in Time seems to perpetuate the myth that FDR's programs were just what the doctor ordered and somehow solved our unemployment and other financial problems coming out of the great depression. But now, more and more historians are evaluating the New Deal and finding that by and large it slowed our recovery from the Great Depression rather than speeding it up. Time, as usual, is wrong.
Sometimes a single statistic can almost prove the case and here is one that jumps off the page with its persuasive quality. In 1931, during the darkest days of the Great Depression and the Hoover Administration, the unemployment rate was 17.4 percent. Now, you can guess what it was seven years later, after five years of the New Deal, with all of the following having been accomplished, as described by Mr. Medved: "After more than five years of FDR and literally hundreds of wildly ambitious new government programs, after more than a doubling of federal spending, the national unemployment rate stood at - 17.4 percent." Yes, five years of the New Deal lowered the unemployment rate by one big fat goose egg, by that big zero.
And here's more statistical dynamite from Jim Powell's book, titled FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression: "From 1934 to 1940, the median annual unemployment rate was 17.2 percent. At no point during the 1930s did unemployment go below 14 percent. Even in 1941, amidst the military buildup for World War II, 9.9 percent of American workers were unemployed. Living standards remained depressed until after the war."
In his first inaugural address of March 4, 1933, FDR declared: "Our greatest primary task is to put people to work. This is no unsolvable problem if we face it wisely and courageously."
So if the primary task was putting people to work, the problem was apparently unsolvable to FDR and his administration. All of the endless programs of his administration and the colossal sums spent did not even dent it. It took 16 million Americans leaving the workforce to go into the military and millions more finding work in the exploding defense industry to start to bring unemployment down. Those statistics, in Mr. Medved's words, prove the New Deal is "a wretched, ill-conceived failure."
As George Santayana said, "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it." And he should have added, "Those who accept myth for history are doomed to repeat the catastrophic errors of history that should have been avoided."
In case you're still not convinced of the New Deal and its government programs failure to solve the unemployment and financial problems, there are other measures documenting that failure. Take another quiz.
The Dow Jones industrial average was 353 before the crash and under Hoover, after the crash, it hit 250 in 1930. So how high did it go between 1930 and 1940 after all those programs of the New Deal? Did you say 500? Try again. By January 1940, after seven years of the New Deal, the market had collapsed to 151. The Dow Jones remained in the low 100s during Roosevelt's terms and didn't return to its 1929 levels until the 1950s.
During that period, federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product went from 2.5 percent in 1929 to 9 percent in 1936 (long before war spending kicked in). So government's control of the economy increased dramatically with no discernible benefit to the economy.
Even Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the most famous historian of the New Deal and an adviser of JFK, in a textbook used by Mr. Medved in 1968, had to admit that the policies of FDR's first 100 days ended despair, but they did not produce recovery. Schlesinger notes the New Deal did do some important things in social reform, but did not achieve recovery. You have to credit it with such things as the FDIC, SEC, and Social Security. But in terms of recovery it was a total failure.
Schlesinger also had to write about the devastating crash of September 1937 that was more severe than it had been in the first nine months of the Great Depression (or any other period there are statistics). Mr. Medved writes, "National income fell 13 percent, payrolls 35 percent, durable goods production 50 percent, profits 78 percent. The increase in unemployment reproduced scenes of the early depression and imposed new burdens on the relief agencies."
The New Deal may have done more harm than good as evidenced than the rate of recovery around the world. Economic historian Lester Chandler notes in most places (without the benefit of the New Deal) recovery came faster than in Roosevelt's America. Despite overwhelming evidence, the New Deal is still viewed favorably, and we may be in a run-up to a second New Deal a la Obama. His people incidentally have been reading the books on FDR's first 100 days. His chief of staff has said you have to take advantage of a crisis. And Mr. Obama himself has pronounced readiness to proceed with some ambitious programs including universal health care. The Democrats keep rerunning the New Deal and the Great Society, and don't even realize they were both failures.
For the latest pronouncements on the failure of the New Deal, there is an important new history book by Amity Shlaes titled, The Forgotten Man. She said the New Deal was successful in one respect ... it was a great vote buying program. The Public Works Administration (PWA) put projects in all but 33 of the nation's more than 3,000 counties, spending $3 billion in a few years (at a time when the federal budget was only $6 billion). This was an earlier version of the pork barreling we now know as "ear marks."
There is another reason for New Deal failure. It viewed capitalists and businessmen as the enemy and let lose a flood of regulations, lawsuits and political attacks that kept business off balance and may have prevented it from doing long-range planning and performing other functions necessary for its success and that of the economy. Now we hear the same attacks on business, and in one of Mr. Obama's books, he said he viewed business as the enemy.
So the great FDR retarded recovery and spent bankrupting fortunes in various welfare and social programs. Presidents of earlier eras got us out of panics and depressions by simpler, more direct means.
Mr. Medved has a whole catalog of presidents who did the right thing. For example, President Martin van Buren had to deal with the devastating Panic of 1837. So what did he do (and does it sound familiar)? He sharply cut taxes and federal spending. As a result, the economy recovered and roared back shortly after van Buren left office. He did the right thing, and ironically the Panic he handled perfectly was what cost him reelection. And what does Mr. Obama promise. Exactly the opposite of what it takes for recovery. He will raise taxes (especially on small business) and send spending through the roof. His transition team should study President van Buren along with their other presidential reading.
We faced panics and contractions in 1815, 1837, 1873, 1920, 1958 and 1979. History shows presidents who cut taxes and spending brought recovery much faster than all the whistles and bells of the New Deal. This suggests that a Reaganism must be applied to the New Deal, a case of government being the problem rather than the solution.
Welfare, before the welfare reforms of the Clinton Administration (which actually originated with Rep. Newt Gingrich), is another example of government programs doing more harm than good. Welfare before the reforms virtually destroyed the black family, leading to an explosion of single-parent homes, illegitimacy, and abortion. LBJ's great society received the same acclaim as the New Deal, but history finds it was a total abject failure. It increased poverty, illegitimacy, crime and social dysfunction.
The question is now whether we will learn from history and if we listen to the left and the new breed of reformers and socialists now in power the answer may be no. Mr. Medved writes, "Seventy-five years later [than the New Deal], left-leaning politicians express undiminished (and deeply dangerous) faith in the power of Washington initiatives ... to remake society and transform private lives." Again, as President Ronald Reagan cautioned, beware when someone says, "I'm from government, and I'm here to help you."
And Reagan would be the first to say we better get our history right and answer the hate-America crowd or we simply won't survive. In his last address from the Oval office he said:
"An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? ... We've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important ... If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.
"And let me offer lesson number one about America: all great change in America begins at the dinner table. So tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let 'em know and nail 'em on it. That would be a very American thing to do."
Americans have work to do, and strangely enough it is to sell the greatness of America to many of our fellow Americans. Our success or failure will determine our future. As Lincoln said, "We - even we here - hold the power and bear the responsibility ... We shall nobly save or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."
All Americans should agree on at least one thing - that America is that shining city on a hill, the last best hope of earth, the greatest democracy in the history of the world, the land of the free and the home of the brave, and despite its faults, still the best place to be on earth. Yes, there is a reason everyone is trying to get in and no one is trying to get out.
Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trust me, lots of people are wanting to get out. Companies and individuals.
If the taxes don't kill us regulations and political correctness will.
While not quite nonsense, this is utterly inapplicable to today.
The federal government was a great deal smaller in the 1830s and whatever it did it was going to have minimal effect on the economy.
I don't think it is surprising at all. Although the US is not an officially Christian nation, it is founded on Christian principles and remains a devout nation to this day. Blame-America intellectuals believe that religion in general and Christianity in particular are the root cause of the world's problems and secularism is the solution. Every day the US exists is an offense to them. It is proof that their ideas are wrong. Of course they hate the US.
Good point. Families that believe in Christian principles don’t buy into the socialistic leftist agenda.
“An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world? ... We've got to teach history based not on what's in fashion but what's important ... If we forget what we did, we won't know who we are. I'm warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let's start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.
“And let me offer lesson number one about America: all great change in America begins at the dinner table. So tomorrow night in the kitchen I hope the talking begins. And children, if your parents haven't been teaching you what it means to be an American, let ‘em know and nail ‘em on it. That would be a very American thing to do.”
Americans have work to do, and strangely enough it is to sell the greatness of America to many of our fellow Americans. Our success or failure will determine our future. As Lincoln said, “We - even we here - hold the power and bear the responsibility ... We shall nobly save or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.””
Have you noticed that the truth is looked over and some convoluted scheme is preferred instead of simply doing what worked and will work and holding on to values that are necessary, and primary to achieving in this generation what was achieved in generations before?
All this distraction away from our core values: and calling it progressive.
Man has not changed. His needs are still the same. Our individual values are constant ...
then comes “the evil one” to tempt and corrupt these values in the name of progressive action ... which really means, it is going to give power and authority to those that do not have the interest of the people of this country at heart.
It is POWER, FAME, AUTHORITY, SUPREME CONCEIT TO RULE THE NATION, AND TO RULE, STEAL, CHEAT THEM OF THEIR MONEY AND POSSESSIONS, FREEDOM, LIBERTY, PROPERTY, SELF RESPECT AND ENSLAVE THEM. All in the name of unity, welfare, political correctness, etc. And we like sheep walk ahead of them: doing as they ask. Voting our own enslavement, loss of the American way.
Accepting one World Government is next.
They really don't; or else they'd leave.
Great read, thanks.
As will Obama's big "change" result i total abject failure, but unfortunately, like LBJ, He will be praised throughout his term(s), and for decades following. The left ALWAYS, without exception ignores truth and writes history as they envision it to be, always in their favor truth be damned.
Wouldn't want to accidentally injure a person who actually produces something of value to their fellow man.
I disagree. They know that they can't conquer America from the outside, but they know that they can destroy it from the inside. Plus, they want to be here when the collapse comes, because they hope that they will be part of the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat".
Former KGB officer Yuri Bezmenov explains the Soviet subversion of America
I’m afraid you’re correct.
To many of us LBJ’s great society was a disaster when it was taking place and if a great many of BO’s supporters were old enough at the time of LBJ’s farce to realize what was happening BO probably wouldn’t have been elected.
I believe history is about to repeat itself.
Next? We are already far down that road, and near the end of that process which has been in the works for decades, the framework has been slowly but deliberately erected by each successive government which have all had members supporting world governance it them, overseen by the elitist Marxists who sit at the top of the world governance club. Slowly but surely, schools, municipal governments, lower and higher courts, and federal powers have been infiltrated with them. How many NGO's do we have running around lobbying government? They are who government listen to, not us.
Read The Federalist Papers by Madison, Hamilton and Jay.
All the talking points you need and when you write your letters or emails quote from The Federalist Papers.
I was referring to the desire of the UN and the recent G20 meeting of the leaders of the countries world wide, that met in Washington with President Bush and their long range planning for the distribution of finances world wide.
It has long been held that we are such a rich country that we give too little to the third world countries.
That ... as a reality is what is coming next. Soon.
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