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Hitler Mussolini FDR and Obama February 18, 2016

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Many people today feel as if President Obama has been leading America covertly into the Socialism Bernie is overtly proclaiming.  Many feel that they are no longer living in the America of their youth.  To understand how we got here it is necessary to understand how we got here.

History not only allows us the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others it also provides us with a mirror to show us how we are continuing the mistakes of others.  The present does not appear like a virgin birth in a vacuum it is the child of the past.  The America of today was born in the progressivism of the 1890.

Teddy Roosevelt started the progressive ball rolling.  His place holder William Howard Taft kicked the can down the road a little further.  Woodrow Wilson trampled over the Constitution to create the framework of tyranny.  Then after Silent Cal Coolidge and the interlude of the 1920s, the Crash of 29 provided the golden opportunity for Progressives to capture the government and impose upon a willing America its regimented dream of central planning at home and intervention abroad: the welfare/warfare state.

On May 7, 1933, just two months after the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New York Times reporter Anne O’Hare McCormick wrote that the atmosphere in Washington was “strangely reminiscent of Rome in the first weeks after the march of the Black Shirts and of Moscow at the beginning of the Five-Year Plan.  America today literally asks for orders.” The Roosevelt administration, she added, “envisages a federation of industry, labor and government after the fashion of the corporative State as it exists in Italy.”

The broad-ranging powers granted to Roosevelt by Congress, before that body went into recess, were unprecedented in times of peace. Through this “delegation of powers,” Congress had, in effect, temporarily done away with itself as the legislative branch of government. The only remaining check on the executive was the Supreme Court. In Germany, a similar process allowed Hitler to assume legislative power after the Reichstag burned down in a suspected case of arson on February 28, 1933.

In the North American Review in 1934, the progressive writer Roger Shaw described the New Deal as “Fascist means to gain liberal ends.” He wasn’t hallucinating. FDR’s adviser Rexford Tugwell wrote in his diary that Mussolini had done “many of the things which seem to me necessary.” Lorena Hickok, a close confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt who lived in the White House for a spell, wrote approvingly of a local official who said, “If [President] Roosevelt were actually a dictator, we might get somewhere.” She added that if she were younger, she’d like to lead “the Fascist Movement in the United States.” At the National Recovery Administration (NRA), the cartel-creating agency at the heart of the early New Deal, one report declared forthrightly, “The Fascist Principles are very similar to those we have been evolving here in America.”

Roosevelt himself called Mussolini “admirable” and professed that he was “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” The admiration was mutual. In a laudatory review of Roosevelt’s 1933 book Looking Forward, Mussolini wrote, “Reminiscent of Fascism is the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices.… Without question, the mood accompanying this sea change resembles that of Fascism.” The chief Nazi newspaper, Volkischer Beobachter, repeatedly praised “Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies” and “the development toward an authoritarian state” based on the “demand that collective good be put before individual self-interest.”

Soon after having taken his second Oath of Office in January 1937, President Roosevelt, in a conversation with a speechwriter, articulated his belief that the limits on governmental power that were enshrined in the U.S. Constitution were impediments to the transformative social and economic policies he wished to implement:

“When the chief justice read me the oath and came to the words ‘support the Constitution of the United States,’ I felt like saying: ‘Yes, but it’s the Constitution as I understand it, flexible enough to meet any new problem of democracy — not the kind of Constitution your court has raised up as a barrier to progress and democracy.'”

FDR chose to attack the depression with his so-called New Deal: a series of economic programs passed during his first term in office. These programs greatly expanded the size, scope, and power of the federal government, giving the President and his Brain Trust near-dictatorial status. “I want to assure you,” Roosevelt’s aide Harry Hopkins told an audience of New Deal activists in New York, “that we are not afraid of exploring anything within the law, and we have a lawyer who will declare anything you want to do legal.”

Personally Roosevelt never had much use for Hitler, but Mussolini was another matter. “I don’t mind telling you in confidence,’ FDR remarked to a White House correspondent, ‘that I am keeping in fairly close touch with that admirable Italian gentleman.” Rexford Tugwell, a leading adviser to the president, had difficulty containing his enthusiasm for Mussolini’s program to modernize Italy: “It’s the cleanest … most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen. It makes me envious”

Why did contemporaries see an affinity between Roosevelt and the two leading European dictators while most people today view them as polar opposites? We all suffer from Presentism which means that people read history backwards: they project the fierce antagonisms of World War II, when America battled the Axis, to an earlier period, the 1930s. At the time, what impressed many observers, including as we have seen the principal actors themselves, was a new style of leadership common to America, Germany, and Italy.

Many of Roosevelt’s ideas and policies were entirely indistinguishable from the fascism of Mussolini. In fact, Jonah Goldberg writes in Liberal Fascism, there were “many common features among New Deal liberalism, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism, all of which shared many of the same historical and intellectual forebears.” Like American progressives, many Italian Fascist and German Nazi intellectuals championed a “middle” or “Third Way” between capitalism and socialism. Goldberg further explains:

“The ‘middle way’ sounds moderate and un-radical. Its appeal is that it sounds unideological and freethinking. But philosophically the Third Way is not mere difference splitting; it is utopian and authoritarian. Its utopian aspect becomes manifest in its antagonism to the idea that politics is about trade-offs. The Third Wayer says that there are no false choices—’I refuse to accept that X should come at the expense of Y.’ The Third Way holds that we can have capitalism and socialism, individual liberty and absolute unity.”

I don’t know about anyone else but I was taught in grade school and high school that America no longer had a capitalist economy.  Instead America had combined capitalism and socialism into what we were taught was now a mixed economy.  And that was back in the 1950s and 1960s.

In Three New Deals the German cultural historian Wolfgang Schivelbusch states “To compare is not the same as to equate. America during Roosevelt’s New Deal did not become a one-party state; it had no secret police; the Constitution remained in force, and there were no concentration camps; the New Deal preserved the institutions of the liberal-democratic system that National Socialism abolished.” But throughout the ’30s, intellectuals and journalists noted “areas of convergence among the New Deal, Fascism, and National Socialism.” All three were seen as transcending “classic Anglo-French liberalism”—individualism, free markets, decentralized power.

Since 1776 liberalism had transformed the Western world. As The Nation editorialized in 1900, before it too abandoned the old liberalism, “Freed from the vexatious meddling of governments, men devoted themselves to their natural task, the bettering of their condition, with the wonderful results which surround us”—industry, transportation, telephones and telegraphs, sanitation, abundant food, electricity. But the editor worried that “its material comfort has blinded the eyes of the present generation to the cause which made it possible.” Old liberals died, and younger liberals began to wonder if government couldn’t be a positive force, something to be used rather than constrained.

Others, meanwhile, began to reject liberalism itself. In his 1930s novel The Man Without Qualities, Robert Musil wrote, “Misfortune had decreed that…the mood of the times would shift away from the old guidelines of liberalism that had favored the great guiding ideals of tolerance, the dignity of man, and free trade—and reason and progress in the Western world would be displaced by racial theories and street slogans.”

The dream of a planned society infected both right and left. Ernst Jünger, an influential right-wing militarist in Germany, reported his reaction to the Soviet Union: “I told myself: granted, they have no constitution, but they do have a plan. This may be an excellent thing.” As early as 1912, FDR himself praised the Prussian-German model: “They passed beyond the liberty of the individual to do as he pleased with his own property and found it necessary to check this liberty for the benefit of the freedom of the whole people,” he said in an address to the People’s Forum of Troy, New York.

American Progressives studied at German universities. Schivelbusch writes, and “came to appreciate the Hegelian theory of a strong state and Prussian militarism as the most efficient way of organizing modern societies that could no longer be ruled by anarchic liberal principles.” The pragmatist philosopher William James’ influential 1910 essay “The Moral Equivalent of War” stressed the importance of order, discipline, and planning.

Schivelbusch finds parallels in the ideas, style, and programs of the disparate regimes even their architecture. “Neoclassical monumentalism,” he writes, is “the architectural style in which the state visually manifests power and authority.” In Berlin, Moscow, and Rome, “the enemy that was to be eradicated was the laissez-faire architectural legacy of nineteenth-century liberalism, an unplanned jumble of styles and structures.” Washington erected plenty of neoclassical monuments in the ’30s, though with less destruction than in the European capitals. Think of the “Man Controlling Trade” sculptures in front of the Federal Trade Commission, with a muscular man restraining an enormous horse. They would have been right at home in Il Duce’s Italy.

Intellectuals worried about inequality, the poverty of the working class, and the commercial culture created by mass production. They didn’t seem to notice the tension between the last complaint and the first two. Liberalism seemed inadequate to deal with such problems. When economic crisis hit, in Italy and Germany after World War I and in the United States with the Great Depression, the anti-liberals seized the opportunity arguing that the market had failed and that the time for bold experimentation had arrived.

Trace all that to today.   We have a president who entered office comparing himself to FDR, a president who said he aspired to be a transformative leader, a president who has promised to fundamentally transform America, and we can see that the New Deal is alive and well even if the Republic is not.

Fifty years of reading History on a daily basis has taught me one thing: we do not learn the lessons of History.  Look about us and find the great examples of socialism.  Mostly you will have to look in the dustbin of History although Venezuela provides a perfect example of where economies go when robbing Peter to pay Paul becomes national policy.

A soviet dictator, Nikita Khrushchev told us:

“We will take America without firing a shot … we will bury you!”

“We can’t expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have communism.”

“I once said, ‘We will bury you,’ and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.”

“We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within.”

No one gets to live in the world they grew up in — time moves too fast.  We could however preserve and pass on the country we grew up in — unless of course we don’t.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens. Dr. Owens’ first novel will be out soon.

 

 

 

The Empire Swallowed the Republic February 11, 2016

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Take a look at the size of the defense budget in America today as a percentage of federal spending.

In 2015 it accounted for 53.71% of the entire budget.  Now try to image what would happen to our economy if that spending was stopped and not immediately replaced by other federal spending.  See the problem?  We may have been warned by President Eisenhower about the military industrial complex.  However the thing he forgot to tell us was that the military industrial complex had already won and that we as a nation are dependent on military spending which is dependent on continuing crisis, wars, and garrison duties around the world.

In other words when our most idealistic sing give peace a chance while they are giddy in their idealism, if we chose to follow their advice it would lead us all to depression.

What is the result of all this?

The Empire has swallowed the Republic.

How can we know that?  What guide is there to evaluate if this is so?

Garet Garret, that great critic of the New Deal revolution which changed America forever outlined the characteristics of empire:

(1) Rise of the executive principle of government to a position of dominant power

(2) Accommodation of domestic policy to foreign policy

(3) Ascendancy of the military mind

(4) A system of satellite nations for a purpose called collective security, and,

(5) An emotional complex of vaunting and fear.

There are other versions of this metric used to recognize an empire.

  1. Imperial boundaries there is a distinction between imperial and non-imperial space.
  2. Dissolution of equality – subordinates are considered to be “client states” or “satellites.” In other words international relations are not between equals, but between a “center” and a “periphery.”
  3. The existence of most empires has been due to a mix of chance and contingency – most empires do not arise due to “will to empire” (imperialism) or a grand strategy, but rather a series of circumstances that lead to increased power and control of people and/or territories.
  4. The capacity for reform and regeneration – empires do not need to necessarily hold to the qualities of the original situation in which it was conceived. Often they become independent of the values/qualities of the founder(s).
  5. Inability to remain neutral in relation to the powers in its sphere of influence – empires will retaliate if there is an attempt at independence or non-participation on the part of its subordinates.

Ask yourself, are any of the current crop of presidential candidates from either side of the government party talking about ending America’s crushing commitment to empire?

If we would bring our troops home, use them to guard our borders, and held in reserve to protect our genuine interests we would have all the money we need to do anything we want.

Whichever guide for recognizing an empire you choose one of these or any of the many others available America transitioned long ago from a peaceful nation of farmers, shop keepers, and mechanics into a worldwide empire projecting power for many reasons, few of which have anything to do with either our vital interests or our security.  We have garrison troops in over one hundred nations.  We are spending billions building infrastructure for people who burn it down while our own nation crumbles.

We are spending ourselves into the poor house for nations that hate us.  Which brings us back to the problem imagined in the beginning of this essay: what would happen to our economy if that spending was stopped and not immediately replaced by other federal spending?

The answer to this question is found in a fundamental need in the American psyche: the need for a mission.  Today our mission is portrayed as being the world’s unipolar hegemon involved in everything everywhere a roll completely inappropriate and incompatible with a free republic.  History is littered with the dust left behind by republics that have tried it and found themselves becoming slave states with imperial dictators on their way to being debtors who collapse in economic ruin.  Look at Athens. Look at Rome. If they could not avoid this, how can we?

I know many will try to broad brush these thoughts with the stain of isolationism or America First.  For one, I am not advocating for isolation because I advocate for peace and trade with all.  And secondly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with Americans thinking of America first.

Here is my solution.  End our occupation of Europe and Korea.  Stop the endless war in Afghanistan.  Close every military base in the world that does not directly protect the Homeland.  Build effective walls on our borders and use our returning troops to garrison them.  Instead of providing military aid to other nations refit, retrain, and retain our own military so that it is unthinkable that anyone would challenge us.

And what shall be our new national goal?

Let us dedicate ourselves to once again becoming not only the preeminent space faring nation but also the nation that sets its sights on the active exploration and colonization of the Solar System.  I believe if we build the Starship Enterprise in earth orbit no one would dare becoming the target for its phaser banks.  The technology that would evolve from a renewed move into space would expand our lives and offset the cost.

Today we are a dysfunctional republic masquerading as a functional democracy.  Tomorrow we may be an operating oligarchy with the veneer of a republic.  Following this trajectory how long will it be until we are a third world hellhole that used to be the United States of America.

As Garet Garret, told us “There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.”

Jettison the empire to save the republic!

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens.  Dr. Owes’ first fiction book, America’s Trojan War is coming soon.

 

 

Better Red Than Ted February 4, 2016

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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This may be an election that could seal the deal for the Progressive fundamental transformation of America, as 2016 is shaping up to be a watershed election.

Socialists and Communists have run for the presidency many times in America.  Between 1900 and 1920 Eugene V. Debs was the Socialist Party’s nominee in five presidential elections.  The Communist Party USA has not disappeared.  For many years, it has instead endorsed the Democrat candidates for president, which is understandable looking at their party platforms and the solid work the Democrats continue to do for their cause when in office.

However this year it is different.  Instead of the usual procedure of the Democrat contenders masking their true agenda under the cloak of Progressivism we have a major player who has proudly called himself a Socialist for decades though for this national bid he is trying to soften it by calling himself a Social Democrat.

This is enough to bewilder the low information voters who make up the bulk of Democrat supporters and their rank and file foot soldiers.  They will argue for hours that their guy isn’t a Socialist. No, he’s a Social Democrat, and though they can’t tell you what the difference is they want you to know it makes a big difference.   All this despite the fact that one click of the mouse reveals that up until this year their guy vocally asserted he was indeed a Socialist, and he didn’t join the Democrat Party until 2015.

And among the diehard apparatchiks and ideologues who make up the Democrat core when looking at the current field of Republican contenders they may well be saying, “Better red than Ted.”

This presidential contender is Bernie Sanders.  As stated above he now calls himself a “Democratic Socialist.” It’s a label he’s been asked to justify many times. When asked to describe what he means by this, he points to the progressive values of nations like Sweden, Denmark and Norway.  He shifts the target and describes his politics as a fight against the injustice that he says is inherent in American political and economic tradition.

Sanders praises Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.  He cites them for using the power of the government to create jobs and lift Americans out of poverty.  He also says their actions to create and strengthen the social safety net (which some today see as a hammock) were denounced by conservatives at the time and since as socialism.  In this he is right.  They did and we do.

Sanders says, these programs make up “the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class.”  He goes on to say what many have known about FDR’s programs since the 1930s and Democrats have denied since, “By the way, almost everything he proposed was called ‘socialist.’”

As pointed out above, though many of his supporters are quick to say he is no socialist and anyone who says otherwise is part of the mythical rightwing conspiracy Bernie isn’t shy about who he is and what he stands for.  He says without apology, “Let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what Democratic Socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans,”

Obviously referring to FDR’s Second Bill of Rights which he proposed in his State of the Union speech in 1944 and which was quickly buried even by a Democrat Congress.  These give away guarantees included:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad
  • The right of every family to a decent home
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment
  • The right to a good education

Neither the chairwoman of the Democrat Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz nor the leading candidate for their nomination, Hillary Clinton can explain the difference between a Progressive and a Socialist.  However when trying to get the votes of Americans Hillary who has called for curbs on “the excesses of capitalism” said, during the first Democratic presidential debate, after hearing Sanders refer to the Europeans who have built their systems on the fact that America defends and supports them, “I love Denmark. But we are not Denmark … We are the United States of America.”

Hillary continues to wear the Progressive cloak to disguise her Socialism.  At least Bernie is honest enough to admit what he is even if his supporters continue to deny it to others and maybe even to themselves.

However perhaps Bernie is using the cloak of Socialism to cover something even more foreign to America?  Some say that if Sanders were vying for a Cabinet post, he’d never pass an FBI background check.

Is there any evidence to back this up?

While attending the University of Chicago, Sanders joined the Young People’s Socialist League: the youth wing of the Socialist Party USA.  What was the mission of the Young People’s Socialist League?

It was spelled out in the preamble to its constitution: “The Young People’s Socialist League of America calls upon all young people who are interested in the emancipation of the working class from the chains of wage slavery to join its rank and through it and its associated organizations of the International Socialist Movement, to work for the overthrow of the present capitalist system in all its social and economic ramifications, and for the establishment in its stead of a worldwide socialistic cooperative commonwealth.”

After graduating with a political science degree, Sanders moved to Vermont, where he headed the American People’s History Society: an organ for Marxist propaganda. There, he produced a glowing documentary on the life of socialist revolutionary Eugene Debs, who was jailed for espionage during the Red Scare and hailed by the Bolsheviks as “America’s greatest Marxist.”  Sanders still hangs a portrait of Debs on the wall in his Senate office.

In the early ’70s, Sanders helped found the Liberty Union Party, which called for the nationalization of all US banks and the public takeover of all private utility companies.

After failed runs for Congress, Sanders in 1981 managed to get elected mayor of Burlington, VT., where he restricted property rights for landlords, set price controls, and raised property taxes to pay for communal land trusts. Local small businesses distributed fliers complaining their new mayor “does not believe in free enterprise.”

According to the New York Post:

His radical activities didn’t stop at the water’s edge.

Sanders took several “goodwill” trips not only to the USSR, but also to Cuba and Nicaragua, where the Soviets were trying to expand their influence in our hemisphere.

In 1985, he traveled to Managua to celebrate the rise to power of the Marxist-Leninist Sandinista government. He called it a “heroic revolution.” Undermining anti-communist US policy, Sanders denounced the Reagan administration’s backing of the Contra rebels in a letter to the Sandinistas.

His betrayal did not end there. Sanders lobbied the White House to stop the proxy war and tried to broker a peace deal. He adopted Managua as a sister city and invited Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega to visit the US. He exalted Ortega as “an impressive guy,” while attacking President Reagan.

Sanders also adopted a Soviet sister city outside Moscow and honeymooned with his second wife in the USSR. He put up a Soviet flag in his office, shocking even the Birkenstock-wearing local liberals. At the time, the Evil Empire was on the march around the world threatening the US with nuclear annihilation.

Then, in 1989, as the West was on the verge of winning the Cold War, Sanders addressed the national conference of the US Peace Council — a known front for the Communist Party USA, whose members swore an oath not only to the Soviet Union but to “the triumph of Soviet power in the US.”

Today, Sanders wants to bring what he admired in the USSR, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other communist states to America.

For starters, he proposes completely nationalizing our health care system putting private health insurance and drug companies “out of business.” He also wants to break up “big banks” and control the energy industry, while providing “free” college tuition, a “living wage” and guaranteed homeownership and jobs through massive public works projects. Price tag: $18 trillion.

This may all sound radical.  At this point it isn’t.  After a century of the Progressive agenda, their Living Document, and their incremental moves to fundamentally transform the United States, this is just the capstone.  This is the point where they can finally take off their mask and show us who our neighbors, families, and co-workers have been voting for all these years.

To paraphrase the Rolling Stones:

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain.

For those of us who believe that freedom is given to us by God, who believe that free choice is an inherent right, who believe that the imposition or adoption of central planning and take from anyone to give to anyone plans are merely deceptive strategies used by demagogues to gain power, it becomes clear who is the real author of these programs our fellow citizens are rushing eagerly to embrace.

Does he have a chance?  It is hard to run against Santa Clause, and for those who have imbibed of the Sanders Kool Aide it might just be, “Better red than Ted.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens. Coming soon Dr. Owens’ first novel, America’s Trojan War.

 

 

 

 

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