Saturday, April 22, 2017

Holocaust Denial for the Left, by Robert Tracinski



April 22, 2017


Holocaust Denial for the Left
Denying the Gruesome Record of Socialism

by Robert Tracinski

British athlete James Cracknell was recently caught citing North Korea and Cuba as examples of how to "get a handle on obesity"--which both regimes have done by starving their people. 

Cracknell posted a half-hearted apology, and I don't want to be too hard on him, because in all likelihood he is simply not very bright and just needs to refrain from speaking in public ever again. This is unfortunate for him, since he has ambitions of running for Parliament. 

The problem is that Cracknell has clearly been educated and lives in an environment where the reasons for starvation in Communist regimes are considered to be vague and complex and maybe can just be chalked down to "behavior modification." Cracking jokes about the Holocaust is a line not to be crossed, but insensitive offhand references to brutal communist dictatorships? No big deal. 

This sort of thing is not new. As Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, by way of The Federalist's Bre Payton, there was once a craze about the "Cuban diet," telling us how healthy it is to be starved by your government. (I'd like to link you to the original article, rather than just a screen-shot of it, but it has not-so-mysteriously disappeared from the Web.) 

If you want to find another country that is really doing something about obesity, you can look to Venezuela, which is providing a wonderful model for involuntary weight loss

But a lot of people don't seem to want to look at Venezuela, because that would be uncomfortable. A few years back, a lot of them were praising Venezuela as a model of socialism, the same way they praise Cuba. Here's just a small sample: David Sirota in Salon proclaimed Venezuela's "economic miracle" thanks to Hugo Chavez's "full-throated advocacy of socialism" and "fundamental critique of neoliberal [i.e., free market] economics." Left-leaning celebrities traipsed to Caracas to pay their respects. Bernie Sanders declared just a few years ago that "the American dream is more apt to be realized in...Venezuela" than here. He concluded by asking, "Who's the banana republic now?" 

We're seeing the answer to that. Today, Venezuelans are starving and the remainders of the Chavez regime are sending gangs of armed thugs into the streets to attack anyone who protests. And all of the people who praised the Venezuelan regime as a paragon of socialism? They suddenly don't want to talk about it. 

This is just the tip of an iceberg of insensitivity, ignorance, and denial when it comes to the ongoing and historical track record of socialism. The bodies keep piling up, but the ideology that produced those bodies always gets a free pass. 

You know what this is? It's the equivalent of Holocaust denial for the left. 

There has long been a ritual, which I sincerely hope will continue, in which young people are required to immerse themselves in the horrors of the Holocaust. There is no shortage of books and movies and documentaries and first-hand accounts--really harrowing stuff that keeps you up at night and gets seared into your brain so you can't forget it. And that's the point. You're supposed to remember it and have it haunt your nightmares so that you will never allow it to happen again.
But our culture never did that for the horrors of socialism, which is how you get a majority of young people having a positive view of socialism

What have they missed that they can believe that? Here's what they've missed: the artificial famine in Ukraine, the Soviet Gulags, the forced deportation of Lithuanians, the persecution of Christians, China's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, the killing fields of Cambodia, North Korea's horrific prison camps and famines, the systematic impoverishment of Cuba, and now Venezuela's collapse into starvation and mass-murder--all of this should be absolutely required background knowledge for any educated person. 

I didn't provide links for the second half of those examples. If you don't know them, your assignment is to go look them up, because you're precisely the sort of person to needs to learn about them. 

Now when I cite all of this history, there's always someone who insists that it isn't fair to pin all of these crimes on "socialism" because those examples weren't really socialism. The only "real" socialism is the warm, fuzzy welfare-statism of a handful of innucuous Western European countries. This is a pretty obvious version of the No True Scotsman fallacy, and also a good way of disavowing responsibility for the disastrous results of a system you praised just a few years earlier. 

But these crimes follow inevitable from the basic idea behind socialism: the idea that the good of "society" as a collective is more important the rights or even the life of the individual. That's the "social" in "socialism," and by throwing out the rights and liberty of the individual, it serves as a rationalization for an endless amount of carnage. Who cares if this particularly person--or a few million people--suffer, so long as you can claim that mankind as a collective benefits? 

Consider the name of the roving thugs who are beating and killing dissidents in Venezuela right now: the call themselves collectivos. That says it all. 

Socialism has been tested out more times and in more variations than probably any other social system, It has been implemented in every continent, every culture, every stage of economic development. It has always led to disaster, to the extent it has been implemented. If you're lucky, your country gets off with a mere economic crisis, as in Greece. At the worst, your country is in for decades of living hell. 

This, too, should be seared into our brains so that we never forget and never repeat it again. Because it hasn't been, somebody is always trying to make us repeat it.


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Friday, March 10, 2017

Free markets are easy to understand....and they work!



From the Mises Institute...................

Repeal and Replace Needn't Be Complicated


The Republicans have a problem. Healthcare prices are so swollen by government imposed monopolies that most people cannot possibly afford to pay the crazy bills without subsidies. What to do?
Example: my son recently went to an out-of-state emergency room for food poisoning. The bill came in at over $8,000. And how is this for fairness: our insurance company knocked it down to about $4,000. An uninsured person would have been liable for the full amount. Might even have faced bankruptcy for failure to pay it.

I personally lobbied for a provision in Obamacare preventing hospitals for charging the uninsured more than the insured. Obama said no. Why? Because the idea upset the hospitals. They wanted to be able to continue to exploit the uninsured. Whew. What does that tell us about Obama?

Under these circumstances, average people cannot possibly pay their medical bills unassisted. Yet if you repeal Obamacare by imposing new price controls and subsidies, in other words, pour old, spoiled wine into new bottles, you just perpetuate the problem. So what to do?

Prices can never be reduced by price controls, much less by price controls on government imposed monopoly prices. Most people do not realize that the government, through Medicare, has fixed medical prices for half a century and the results speak for themselves. At the same time, government has fed price increases by protecting monopolies set up by the drug companies and the American Medical Association. This is what government always does, and it wrecks any sector of the economy where this crony capitalist system is applied.

The only way to get prices down is to get supply up. That automatically does the job. The only way to get supply up is to free prices and markets so that suppliers have an incentive to provide more supply, improved supply, and above all, innovative forms of supply. The opportunity to compete for profit in a genuine market will in short order start to bring more and better supply with lower prices.

This market system, well known by now, is how automobiles, which were once a luxury item for the rich, became affordable for the masses, or at least affordable until recently, when crony capitalism again began to push them out of the reach of even the middle class. In a similar way, the market system brought computers from down from costing millions in today’s money to something that most households can still afford. The key is to create a system in which sellers have to compete with one another for the dollar of the consumer. To make this work, the consumer must be in charge, not the insurance companies and other agents of government. Only a consumer controlled market can do this.

What to do in the meantime? Isn’t it obvious that millions of people will be stranded without medical coverage while this transition is taking place? There are three ways to handle this. One is to pull the subsidies decisively. That would cause a great deal of suffering, but it would not take long for the market to correct the problem. The pain would be intense but short. On the other side of it, healthcare would be affordable without subsidies for most, and charity would have to fill in when needed. The second way would be to keep existing subsidies, but cut them every single year by at least 10%. Legislate their extinction by the end of the period. A third, and utterly self-defeating approach would be to create a new set of subsidy entitlements and controls to replace the old ones.

Let’s be clear. A phase out is not a statutory cliff, a fantasy that politicians love to create. A cliff is created when subsidies do not decline gradually by statute year by year, but instead suddenly disappear all at once at the end of some imaginary period. Everyone knows what that means. It means the government will eventually blink and reinstate the subsidies, which will just set off more price increases that will quickly consume the subsidies, leading to calls for ever more of them. It is a vicious circle with which we are all too familiar, not only in healthcare, but in education and elsewhere. Of course the principal defect of a phase out is that other politicians can stop it at any time in the future anyway. A phase out would represent the triumph of hope over experience.

Let’s hope Congress has the sense to get government out of control of healthcare. Only a consumer controlled market with freedom for provider to compete can work this magic. Together providers and consumers will drive prices down so low that today’s subsidies will in retrospect seem unimaginable.
So far what we have seen from Paul Ryan in the House is not encouraging. He not only keeps a government mandate on what must be covered in an insurance policy ( the kitchen sink), which will make policies unaffordable for most. He even maintains federal subsidies for insurance companies. And he introduces a brand new price fixing scheme.  Ryan has certainly revealed himself to be a foe of free markets and a fan of crony arrangements, notwithstanding his rhetoric to the contrary.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A commentary on the recent unlamented "Women's March on Washington"--yet another exercise in immoral, robotic hysteria



The March to Nowhere

By Joan Swirsky —— Bio and Archives
 
January 30, 2017

A day or two before the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump on January 20th, 2017, I watched a reporter interviewing five attractive, intelligent, articulate women from California, who were all making the long cross-country trip to the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st

Amazingly, not one woman was able to express a persuasive or even rational reason for the trip, but instead resorted to time-worn platitudes, bromides, and leftist talking points about “unity” and “solidarity” and “getting the message out.” Um… what message?

At the March itself, I was struck by the fact that women who pride themselves on their intelligence resorted to reading their statements, never veering a syllable off the scripts that were clearly written for them—scripts, by the way, that were not only boilerplate and banal, but shockingly blasphemous.

Madonna, punctuating her statement with foul-mouthed obscenities, looked down at her script, then lifted her head to speak into the microphone.  “I’m angry.” Pause. Again, she looked at her script, then read: “I’m outraged.” (Very difficult lines to memorize, to be sure). Pause. Again, back to the script where she read about her fantasy of “blowing up the White House.”

Gloria Steinem read from her script. America Ferrara read from her script. Ashley Judd both read and acted out her script. “We’re here to be respected,” she snarled, oblivious to the irony that her ghastly performance evoked the exact opposite.

On and on and on they intoned and screeched and railed, sounding remarkably like barnyard creatures and giving the rest of America the distinct impression that the conceit these women harbor of their superior intellects and evolved moral sensibilities are fantasies borne more of delusions of grandeur than of either objective IQ numbers or developed moral compasses.

But to be fair, they had genuine passion that inspired them to spend thousands of dollars to drive, bus or fly across the country, pay for lodging and food, and then travel back to their homes.

Just kidding. We all know that leftwing activists are notoriously cheap, believers as they are that either government or other benefactors should pay their way.

And sure enough, according to Matthew Vadum’s stunning article, “Soros’s Women’s March of Hate,” billionaire radical George Soros—the same man “who says Communist China’s system of government is superior to our own and that the United States is the number one obstacle to world peace”—was directly involved in funding at least 56 of the March’s ‘partners.’”

Vadum listed a good number of the radical-left and anti-American groups attending the March: Planned Parenthood, the National Resource Defense Council, MoveOn, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Center for Constitutional Rights, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch, Advancement Project; American Constitution Society; America’s Voice; Arab American Association of New York; Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Center for Reproductive Rights; Color of Change; Communities United for Police Reform; Demos; Economic Policy Institute; Every Voice; Green for All; League of Women Voters; Make the Road New York; MPower Change; NAACP; NARAL Pro-Choice America Fund; National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum; National Council of Jewish Women; National Domestic Workers Alliance; National Network for Arab American Communities; National Council of La Raza; PEN America; Psychologists for Social Responsibility; Public Citizen; United We Dream; and Voter Participation Center,” et al.

ENEMIES OF AMERICA

Vadum and others also reported that Muslim terrorist supporter Linda Sarsour, an advocate of Sharia law in America, was deeply involved in planning the March-related events. Sarsour, Vadum wrote, “has familial ties to HAMAS and works with the terrorist front group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).”

If you’re not sure what Sharia mandates, here are just a few of the grisly details, which include:
  • Relegation of women to a status inferior to men.
  • Testimony of a woman before a judge is worth half that of a man.
  • Muslim men are given permission to beat their wives and commit marital rape, and rape is not considered a felony.
  • Women who are raped are accused of adultery.
  • A woman is not allowed to travel outside the home without the permission of a male.
  • A Muslim woman who divorces and remarries loses custody of children from a prior marriage.
  • ‘Honor’ killing: a Muslim parent faces no legal penalty under Islamic law for killing his child or grandchild.
  • Female genital mutilation, while not required by Islam, is the norm in parts many parts of the world, including the Middle East.
Also among the motley crew of attendees at the March was featured speaker Donna Hylton, a convicted felon who, along with several others, kidnapped a man and then tortured him to death.

Then there was Angela Davis, former Black Panther, former fugitive from U.S. justice, former VP candidate for the U.S. on the Communist Party platform, and famous for her speeches praising American traitors, terrorists, and cop killers.
Also making appearances were Obama cronies, unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and his terrorist wife, Bernadine Dohrn.

On hand, as well, were members of the radical—but ultimately discredited and ineffectual—groups Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter.

Not to forget that most if not all of the women at the March who vehemently objected to then-candidate Trump’s interview with Access Hollywood’s host Billy Bush—in which Mr. Trump talked about the easy access rich and handsome guys like him had to women and how easy it was to grab them by the crotch—were thunderously silent when Bill Clinton was not only abusing and embarrassing and spitting in his wife’s face for decades on end, and also being routinely “serviced” in the Oval Office by one Monica Lewinsky.
Funny how their moral outrage is always reserved for Republicans. But enough about leftist hypocrisy and the piles of debris they left for others to clean up after the March, not quite as bad as the gross mess Barack Obama’s fans left after both of his inauguration ceremonies. What is it about Democrats and cleanliness?

So there they all were—the hysterical harridans of Hollywood and the music industry and the hate-America-firsters—along with ordinary women and their children, all of whom when interviewed also didn’t quite know why they were there but appeared to be perfectly okay with all those “F” words and women dressed up as the female sex organ.

Yuk.

Writer Vadum goes on to quote Asra Q. Nomani—a former Georgetown journalism professor and Wall Street Journal reporter who described herself as “a lifelong liberal feminist who voted for Donald Trump for president.” Nomani wrote that “the march really isn’t a ‘women’s march.’ It’s a march for women who are anti-Trump.”
Nomani was right, but she didn’t zero in on the animating cause of their rage.

THE REAL REASON BEHIND THE RALLY: ABORTION

The Holy Grail of the left is abortion. There is not one subject—including ISIS beheadings, inferior public-school education, unaffordable healthcare, even child pornography—that is more important to leftwing women than unwanted pregnancies, i.e., ending the lives of inconvenient embryos.

But now that science and technology have evolved past the point when feminists like Steinem pronounced embryos “blobs of tissue,” and everyone who views a sonogram can see the vital, heart-beating, active life of the developing baby, let’s review what abortion destroys forever:
  • At two-to-four weeks of pregnancy, the blueprint for an entire human being is established.
  • By four weeks, the ball of cells in the womb is already forming into three layers that will later become your baby’s organs and tissues:
    1. In the top layer, the neural tube begins to form, where your baby’s brain, backbone, spinal cord, and nerves will develop. Skin, hair and nails will also develop from this layer.
    2. The middle layer is where the skeleton and muscles grow, and where the heart and circulatory system will form.
    3. The third layer houses the beginnings of what will become the lungs, the intestines and the urinary system.
  • At six weeks, a baby’s nose, mouth, and ears begin to take shape.
  • At seven weeks, the baby’s hands and feet are formed.
  • At eight weeks, the baby is moving.
  • At 10 weeks, the organs are in place.
  • At 11 weeks, the baby’s hands can open and close into fists, and tiny tooth buds appear.
  • At 12 weeks, the heart is beating, urine is being produced, and the baby’s unique fingerprints are being developed.
All of this is miraculous and awe-inspiring. Still, leftwing women—and their cowed and sissified partners—insist that literally killing the baby they’re carrying is more important than every other issue on earth.

That is why they ostracized—literally banned—any pro-life woman from their March, even feminists who agreed with them on this or that social or foreign policy issue. Bottom line, if the pro-life women didn’t believe in killing babies in the womb, the “inclusive,” tolerant abortionistas were psychologically unable to either include or tolerate them.
Did I fail to mention how inherently racist abortion is? An overwhelming 76.5 percent of aborted babies are either black or Hispanic, according to Californian Stephen Frank, a political activist and commentator.

THE BOTTOM LINE

In one of his first acts, President Trump signed an Executive Order to defund the abortion mill known as Planned Parenthood. He also issued an executive memorandum reinstating the Mexico City policy, which bars federal funding for overseas groups that provide access to or counseling about abortions. And he has vowed to appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe v Wade, the law that legalized abortion in 1973, effectively returning abortion back to the states, “and then the states will make the determination,” he said.
This is what the mass hysteria was all about—the “right” to end the lives of unborn babies.
Happily, the vast majority of Americans “got” the entire meaning of the anti-life March, which included:
  • The immense hypocrisy of the Left.
  • The surprisingly large number of leftist mothers who thought it was perfectly fine to hurl vile F-bomb epithets in front of their young children.
  • The intellectual and moral impoverishment of leftists.
  • The staggering irrationality of killing in-utero babies instead of waiting a few months and allowing desperate infertile parents to adopt and love them.
All this reinforced to the more than 63-million people who voted for Donald J. Trump for president that his pro-life stance was more timely and powerful than ever!
“Are so many women so shallow?” asks  editor and writer Ruth S. King. “They came, they howled, they carried signs and wore stupid ‘pussyhats’ and they accomplished nothing, nada, zilch other than street theater.”

Joan Swirsky is an award winning author and journalist. Her work can be found at joanswirsky.com. She can be reached at joanswirsky@gmail.com.

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