Archive for April 15th, 2012

Will America Remain a Democratic Republic or become a Social Democracy?

By Jerry A. Kane

The 2012 presidential election is not just the most important election in our lifetime; it is the most important election in this nation’s history because it will determine whether America remains a Democratic Republic or becomes a social democracy.

The focus of this election should not be on the economy, it should be on freedom. When there’s freedom, the economy will take care of itself. Unemployment is the result of a bad economy, and a bad economy is the result of a lack of freedom. If America’s experiment in representative democracy proves anything, it proves that economies thrive where freedom exists. The freer the people are, the more an economy grows; and the more an economy grows, the more jobs it produces; and the more jobs produced, the more prosperous the people.

What’s more, the American experiment proves that freedom transforms lives. When people control their own destinies, there’s no limit to what they can achieve. But when a powerful centralized government constrains creativity with unwise and unnecessary laws, shackles success with over-reaching regulations, and confiscates wealth through overburdening taxation, dreams die and the economy crumbles.

In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich von Hayek warned Americans that some of the forces that destroyed freedom and gave rise to the totalitarian regimes in Russia and Germany were also at work in America. Although the National Socialist Workers Party (Nazis) of Germany and the Social Democratic Labor Party (Soviets) of Russia really hated freedom and democracy, they convinced the citizenry that government control of the economy would not jeopardize democracy and freedom.

At one time, the American people saw socialism as the gravest threat to freedom. The supreme tragedy today is that too many Americans have been duped into believing that government should guide and direct the nation’s economy, and that economic planning should replace the free market system.

Because democracy negates government planning, Hayek warned that democracy and freedom wither and die when they are mixed with a powerful, centralized government. That is to say, economic power in the hands of government bureaucrats controls people. Once bureaucrats obtain the legal power over people to plan and control an economy, democracy and freedom are lost forever.

A social democracy rests on the belief that democracy can be combined with a powerful, centralized government, but in the real world, democratic socialism is simply not achievable. A thriving economy is not produced by assigning planning tasks to a thousand bureaucrats. As William F. Buckley pointed out, “You cannot paint the ‘Mona Lisa’ by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters.” It was the hand of one artist (not a thousand) that painted the Mona Lisa, and it is the invisible hand of a free market (not a thousand bureaucrats) that produces a thriving economy.  

Nazism and Soviet communism were not reactions against the socialist trends of a preceding period; they were the logical outcome of those socialist trends. The supreme irony not seen by the German and Russian people was that their socialist policies actually paved the way for the totalitarian regimes that imposed everything they detested.

It’s tragic that so many Americans refuse to recognize that a social democracy will pave the way for a similar tyranny. The destruction of freedom and servitude are the consequences of a social democracy.

According to Hayek, a totalitarian government attracts a docile, gullible people who have been conditioned to accept a ready-made system of values and solutions. Totalitarian governments follow a pattern; they first destroy freedom in the name of some greater good or some government-promised right. They stoke the fires of jealousy and envy to create an “us verses them” mentality. They pit rich against poor and blame greed for the country’s stagnant economy. They require that rich people sacrifice their wealth for the common good to fix the problem their greed created.

There you have it, the modus operandi of the two most abhorrent totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century according to Hayek. Sound familiar?

Americans find themselves in economic freefall, headed for a fiscal apocalypse of exorbitant taxes, runaway inflation, and financial collapse. Obama and Senate Democrats refuse to pass a budget to stop the riotous spending and reduce the crushing federal debt; and what’s worse, the feckless Republican leadership and those elected in 2010 haven’t put up much of a fight.

America’s growing discontent over government corruption, increased bankruptcies and foreclosures, mounting unemployment, rising food prices, and higher fuel costs is understandable; however, America’s system of government does not need to be transformed to solve its problems. The problem is not that representative democracy has failed, or that the Constitution doesn’t work; the problem is that America’s leaders govern as rulers and don’t abide the rule of law.

Americans must face the truth, they elected the enemy of freedom in 2008, and now America’s sovereignty, security, and economy are being destroyed from within. Many Americans are unable to sustain their way of life, and their strength, resolve, and character are being tested. The question Americans will answer this November is whether or not they will abandon the founding principles of this Republic for the empty promises of a social democracy.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, tells a story about a Jewish friend whose parents emigrated from Europe to America to escape tyranny. His parents lived and worked in New York and were not well to do. The father died when Blair’s friend was young; and the mother lived on. In time Blair’s friend became wealthy, and he repeatedly asked his mother if she would like to travel outside America; but she always refused.

Eventually his mother died, and he returned home to gather her belongings. While going through the safety deposit box where she kept her jewelry, he discovered another box inside. There was no key, so they used a drill to open it. He wondered what precious jewel his mother kept in it. When he lifted the lid there were wrappings and more wrappings and finally an envelope. He opened the envelope and inside were her U.S. citizenship papers. Nothing else. That was the jewel that was more precious to her than any other possession; that was what she treasured most.

The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance, yet we continue to take freedom for granted in this country; but freedom is not free. We inherited it from those who sacrificed everything. Every step we take in this country is on ground hallowed by those who died for freedom. We breathe the air of freedom because millions of patriots paid the ultimate price defending it.

Our Founders pledged their fortunes and their lives to rid this country of a tyrant king, so they could live as free men. Now posterity calls on us to rid America of another tyrant and a leftist administration this November, so that we can continue to live as free men.

In closing, I’d like to quote something P.J. O’Rourke said during a speech at the Cato Institute, “The Tenth Commandment sends a message to socialists, to collectivists, to people who believe that wealth is best obtained by redistribution, and that message is clear and concise: Go to hell!”

The following speech was delivered at the Indiana Armstrong Patriots Tax Day Tea Party rally Saturday April 14, 2012,  on the steps of the Indiana County Court House in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

NOTE I do not charge a fee for speaking at political rallies and tea party events. Interested groups may contact me by e-mail at misterjkane@gmail.com.

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