Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom, by John Stossel State, National, International, posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2010 at 7:26 am
If we continue down the Road to Serfdom, our destination will be a poorer society, high unemployment, stagnation and complacency.
Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom, by John Stossel
Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn't just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.
F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote "The Road to Serfdom" in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom. The book was a hit. Reader's Digest produced a condensed version that sold 5 million copies.
Hayek meant that governments can't plan economies without planning people's lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama's economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government's single plan.
At the beginning of "The Road to Serfdom," Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that's at stake when the government controls our lives: "The most important change ... is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people."
This shouldn't be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can't help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.
I'll explore this tomorrow night on my Fox Business show, 8 p.m. Eastern (rebroadcast Friday at 10 p.m.).
According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest? Worse, the dependent class is growing. The 60 percent will soon be 70 percent.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin seems to understand the threat: He's worries that "more people have a stake in the welfare state than in free enterprise. This is a road that Hayek perfectly described as 'the road to serfdom.'" (Tomorrow I will ask Ryan why, if he understands this, he voted for TARP and the auto bailouts.)
Kurt Vonnegut understood the threat of government-imposed equality. His short story "Harrison Bergeron" portrays a future in which no one is permitted to have any physical or intellectual advantage over anyone else. A government Handicapper General weighs down the strong and agile, masks the faces of the beautiful and distracts the smart.
So far, the Handicapper General is just fantasy. But Vice President Joe Biden did shout at the Democratic National Convention: "Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you." If he meant that we're all equal in rights and before the law, fine. If he meant government shouldn't put barriers in the way of opportunity, great. But statists like Biden usually have more in mind: They want government to make results more equal.
Two actual examples of the lunacy:
When colleges innovated by having students use Kindle e-book readers instead of expensive textbooks, the Justice Department sued them, complaining that the Kindle discriminates against blind students. The department also is suing the Massachusetts prison system because it makes prospective prison guards take a physical test. Since women don't do as well as men on that test, Justice claims the test discriminates against women.
Arthur Brooks, who heads the American Enterprise Institute, says statism is becoming the "central organizing power in our economy," and that the battle between free enterprise and statism will shape our futures. He remains optimistic because a recent poll showed that 70 percent of Americans want free enterprise. I'm less sanguine. In that same poll, 54 percent of Americans said government should exert more control over the economy. Brooks discounts that, claiming people forget their "core values" during crises.
But he asks the right question: Do we want a culture of takers or makers? Ryan and Brooks say most people want "the American idea": freedom and self-responsibility. I fear they want a Mommy State to take care of them. What do you think?
The choice is crucial. If we continue down the Road to Serfdom, our destination will be a poorer society, high unemployment, stagnation and complacency.
Posted by Curious, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2010 at 8:52 am
Thank you for an excellent display of your cutting and pasting skills. Do you have anything new or novel to discuss or is this constant regurgitation of Fox News talking points the motivation for you to crawl out of bed every morning.
Let's see some analysis of the article you posted. Let's see some examples of the wild claims made in the article. Let's see something...anything...that could be considered original thought.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:46 pm
Actually the article is quite good and thought provoking all the way around. I truly believe that the Democratic leadership of this country are treating us just like the black leadership treats the blacks. Throws us a bone here and there and makes us feel good while they live in luxury.
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2010 at 11:03 pm
I'd much rather read Pleasanton Mom's excellent cutting and pasting selections vs. your mindless blather. Liberals like you are so predictably boring because all you know how to do is attempt to assassinate one's character vs. debate the issues. Why don't you have something to say about the content of Pleasanton Mom's post rather than criticize her?
Pleasanton Mom...keep up your selective cutting and pasting if you prefer. This selection was excellent.
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm
I appreciated your posts regarding the forced unionization of home health care workers. I am not surprised in the least that the Michigan Governor (very Democrat)...Jennifer Grandholm (sp?)...is in favor of this forced unionization. Anything to threaten private sector employees and strengthen unions is what Democrats support. Pathetic. This is destroying not only Michigan but America.
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:41 am
Dear Jeff and Rad Turd,
Thank you for your support. I appreciate it.
It should be clear to anyone that I am trying to protect our good and decent country, and my children's future, by speaking out and sharing analysis from smart people like John Stossel and others. I never imagined that the Liberals would attack me personally, and reduce my effort to a "cut and paste" exercise. But there you have it. What shocks me too is how they can be insulted by the notion of American Exceptionalism. Wow. WHO raised these people? What went wrong?
And you are so right, they NEVER debate the issues with their own reasons as to why Liberal policies are good or with examples of where their policies have been successful. I think they know deep down that Liberal policies are a lie, a fraud, and ALWAYS destructive failures (just look the failure of California and other Democrat-controlled States).
So, instead of acknowledging that they are wrong, they defend their egos (instead of defending our country, our way of life, and their own children's future) and they attack people who can see the truth.
This is why I have recommended a wonderful author on American Thinker.com, Robin of Berkeley. She writes about her change from left to right with such interesting detail. I now can't wait to read every new article she writes.
Another wonderful author (and singer) is Lloyd Marcus. He's a black guy who has seen liberalism for what it is, just like what you said, Rat Turd. I found Lloyd's website last year, and I spent three straight hours reading every single article he wrote. Then I had the pleasure of meeting him in person, and shaking his hand, and taking my picture with him at the Tea Party Express in Sacramento. He is a singer with their national tours. What a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, American Patriot.
Here's a link to Lloyd's July 2009 articles. Scroll down and read "No Wonder Black America Doesn't Have a Clue".
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 11:20 am
So you do believe you being born in America makes you better. Why don't you just say that instead of bring so amazed that someone else finds that appalling? I said what I meant, why don't you say what you mean?
After what Bush and his cronies have done to our great country, you can say dems are destructive. Now that's amazing!
Posted by wcollins, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 11:42 am
Pleasanton Mom would it be to much to ask you to put a thought in your own words?
The "Whiniest Man on TV" spends his entire show pleading with you to believe him, or trying to make you feel stupid for not seeing the world his way. You've chosen a source that constantly belittles disagreement. You come here and do the same. I think it is just the natural pattern of abuse by people with inferiority complex.
The best you can do is slap each other on the back for agreeing.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm
I do not know about anyone else but yes in my opinion I feel that being born in this country and contributing to it makes one special. I and you may not like what everyone says on this blog but the reality of it is that we have the freedome to express what we want, when we want, and where we want. For that, I am forever grateful to have been born in this country. I have lived in other countries (Canada and Japan) and I can tell you that there are huge differences and yes we are the envy of the world without a doubt. I was sitting in a pub in Canada some time ago and listened while the Canadians spoke about America and nothing about America at length both good and bad. I did not say a word and after about an hour one of the guys asked me where I was from and I said I was American and from California. He and they asked me my thoughts on the differences and I told them that not once in my entire life in the "states" did I ever sit in a bar and talk about Canada for an hour!
We are fortunate to live where we live and be the envy of the world. Do not mistake dislike and fear from other countries with jealousy. Janna, Bush is gone, retired, living in Texas, and acting dignified. By the way, the President the Canadians were talking about was Obama and it was not with glow.
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm
There's a difference between being glad you're born someplace and acting as though you're better because you were born here. Do you see the difference? I don't think Pleasanton Mom grasps the difference. I'm glad I was born here too, but that doesn't make me superior to anyone from any other country. I know some people are still living in the days of America the Superpower, but those days are long gone. We care more about invading other countries than taking care of our own in hard times. And then they call people who promote taking care of people over starting wars socialist. That's nutty.
Your conversation is anecdotal at best. No one respected us when Bush was president. Why do you think he was protested in every country he visited? We had a clown representing our country and you think people mocked and protested him because they were jealous of the US? Please! They felt sorry for us during those eight years and wondered what the hell was wrong with us.
He's gone, but history won't be kind. Acting dignified = too afraid of the derision he'll receive if he leaves the house.
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 2:10 pm
Simply being "born" in America does not make you any "better" than anyone else. That's not what American Exceptionalism is. American Exceptionalism refers to our God-guided Founding principles. What makes America exceptional is that God gave us our freedom, our unalienable rights. In other countries these notions are rescindable.
America's cherished notion of freedom and unalienable rights is guaranteed by the United States Constitution, the longest-surviving and most successful government charter in history. Being born in America means that you have a greater opportunity to achieve a highest standard of living in the world.
Achieving a high standard of living means that we can be the most generous, and most compassionate nation on the planet. Our strength, our productivity, our creativity helps make the world a safer place and a more tolerable place for people like the victims in Haiti. Americans are always first on the scene of a disaster, doing what we always do - coming to the rescue of people in need. Imagine if Hitler had won the war. Imagine if Russia had defeated Hitler and pushed east.
It is American Exceptionalism that draws immigrants to risk their lives to come America to improve their lives and the lives of their children. A new economic opportunity, and a new inheritance for their children is the American Dream.
So it's not that Americans are "better" human beings. No. Every human being is born equal. It's cultures and nations that are not equal.
Sadly, Progressives hate our Constitution, and for 30 years have villified our Founding Fathers, and lied about our founding principles.
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:41 pm
Oh, well, in that case...what a further crock. Our country was not founded on Christianity, it was founded by people who didn't want to have their religion dictated to them. That does not mean the same thing. That doesn't even make sense since not everyone who lives here now is Christian. That's just another kind of arrogance.
My eight year old daughter just turned in a book report today on James Madison, considered the Father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In addition, he was considered the strongest leader at the time and spent a good deal of it making sure that religion and government were separate and that anyone should be able to worship how they please. How is you pushing your Christianity on the rest of us who don't want it, honoring our Founding Fathers and our Constitution? That is exactly what they didn't want.
God didn't give us anything or start this notion. Men did that via their brains and desire to form our country.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:58 pm
Our country was founded by christians and the constitution only references that the government will not dictate the church in which the citizens of the US went to and that the government could not establish a church. This was based on the premise of the church of England established by the king of England because the Catholic church would not grant him another divorce. Very mistaken passage from our founding fathers. You do not think the US is a superpower? Go to another country and look at it through their eyes and you will see that the US is still that "shiny beacon on a hill" as Ronald Reagan used to say. Pleasanton mom please stop using "progressive" rather than calling them what they are and that is "liberals". The extreme left coined the phrase progressive because it sounds much more modern not what it really is and that is radical liberalism.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:59 pm
Several American celebrities, Sandra Bullock comes to mind, have donated more individually to the Haitian relief effort than most other nations, China included. That's incredibly "exceptional", never mind the rest of the exceptionable American examples this tragedy has brought out.
I agree with Janna that Bush was a big problem and had to go (wasn't he termed out anyway?). But Mr Obama, who is clearly educated beyond his intelligence, inexperienced, as dishonest as they come and surrounded by dangerous advisers, is meteorically becoming the worst POTUS our country has ever seen. A terrible detriment to the rest of us, and history will agree I guarantee it.
Fortunately, he and his congress can not hold a candle to the American Exceptionalism that is now about to fix this problem for the better as we have so many others.
Only because of that thankfully, "Surfdom" is not in ours, our children's or grand children's future.
Posted by wcollins, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm
Steve, Surfdom is perpetual debt don't fool yourself. The American dream is framed by crushing debt, and your only true free choice is whether or not to participate. Once you have become a slave to your debt and it's promise of giving you false value it owns you.
Posted by steve, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm
God's blessings on this great country go much deeper than most realize.
The American dream is a very important element of American Exceptionalism, and imho "we the people", through that divine blessing will fix the crushing debt, no matter how bad our previous and present self serving public servants have screwed things up. We must wake up, "participate" and act NOW however, and that is what is happening. Makes my heart pound with pride.
Posted by no longer free individuals, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm
Janna, the founders never intended "taking care of America's own in hard times". The founders intended we be free INDIVIDUALS to chart our own course.((good or bad, up or down)). That's the choice of individuals not the government. The KING or our new government was not to confiscate to rewards of any individuals sweat. What I earn I was to have the RIGHT to keep.....and donate and care of some IF I choose. But I was NOT to be a subserviant serf to the dictates of any leaader or government. The founders would be saddened to see that the ideals they so fought to provide us, have been squandered to transfer & trash their dream into a giant welfare state. their goal was not a giant Salvation Armny that we have sadly become. Big brother forcing us to provide (pay) for services to others.... like college aid....leaving nothing for our own children. That's twisted and sick...NOT the INDIVIDUAL freedom founders left us. We can only read about it in books.
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm
No longer free,
Nice twist of my words there. Your phrase attached to mine isn't even remotely to close to what I wrote .There are a lot of things that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights don't mention. That has nothing to do with the suffering that's happening right now.
Freedom in this country has little to do with speech, religion, etc. It has everything to do with what you can afford. That's where choice is in a capitalistic, consumer driven society.
Please tell me what you've lost freedom to do that doesn't involve money. I'm curious. I know we lost freedoms when Bush was in office with him authorizing spying of US citizens. What freedoms has Obama taken from you? How is your life different than it was than when Bush was in office?
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm
You are right that the radical Left coined the term "Progressive" to hide their radicalism.
This is what I have learned recently about their terminology:
Marxists became known as "Progressives" in America in early 20th Century. Marxists were all about a bloody revolution, but the American Marxists wanted a “bloodless coup”, so they began referring to themselves as Progressives.
But these Progressives so discredited themselves with their destructive policies, they had to withdraw for a time. However, they re-emerged calling themselves "LIBERALS".
But the Liberals have so discredited themselves with their erroneous thinking and destructive policies, that they are now trying to distance themselves from the term “Liberal” and are once again referring to themselves as "Progressives".
Obama and Democrats are radical Liberals/Marxists. And look at how badly they have discredited themselves in just one year! The most Liberal state in the country – Massachusetts – voted Republican to stop the Liberals’ bad-for-America policies.
Steve, you are so right, we have Freedom bred into us. It will be the very American Exceptionalism that the Libs are so insulted by that will fix the problem. It's already happening.
wcollins, I'd rather be free to get myself into crushing debt, and free to figure a way out it, than to have the tyranny of serfdom foisted upon us by an out of control radical government.
Posted by wcollins, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:46 pm
Dude when perception can only be real in your head it is called a delusion. The only thing that was ever supposed to be exceptional in our society was its ability to embrace ideas.
You are never going to wake up, you believe to many things that only you can prove. You do not seek what is exceptional in others, only to reflect what you believe is exceptional about you and your beliefs. The only thing you really are is useful to the morons who's words you constantly quote.
Try thinking before wrapping your self around God and country; it makes you look like a shallow buffoon.
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:47 pm
I totally love the idea that you think taking care of each other in society is radical.
Your explanation of the church has nothing to do with what I said about what James Madison did. His motives were clearly to keep religion out of government. I'm sure would think that what's happened in our country in an abomination of his ideals.
Interesting you feel the need to tell another con what I should be called. If you want to go there, all conservatives are blood-sucking, greedy, and selfish, and those are the nice ones. You pretend to give a damn, but if it's doesn't benefit you personally, you're not interested. How's that for a broad brush.
Posted by Janna, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:57 pm
I'm a radical. Look out! I'm going snatch your children! I've got to keep you from brainwashing your children with religion and immoral conservative values! Be afraid! Oh, that's right you already are.
You people are such a joke. All patting yourselves on the back, calling me a radical liberal. Accusing every free-thinking person of being unpatriotic because they don't buy into your version of history and the way our country should be run.
Posted by Patriot, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm
Republicans have a problem here. People like George Bush, Sarah Palin, and Paul Ryan supported more government intervention in the free markets. They all wanted billions and billions or our tax dollars sent to failed Wall Street companies like AIG. Then George Bush voted for the biggest increase in spending for a social program (Medicare D) in history. So which is it -- Do Republicans want more government or less government? More government spending or less? They say one thing and do another. Seems like they are more interested in getting votes then standing for any kind of principles.
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2010 at 8:24 am
You make a good point. Republicans did stray from their conservative principles, and that is what the Tea Party movemove is demanding now - that Republicans return to Conservatism. Though they have mistakes in trying to get along with Democrats, the Republican party has always been more aligned with Tea Party principles than the Democrat party, and now more so than ever since the Democrat party has been taken over by progressives whose goal is to replace capitalism and prosperity with sociaism.
However, I have seen articles and blogs indicating that the make-up of the Congress has more to do with the health of the economy, spending and policy than the actual president.
Here is one of the blogs:
President George Bush has been in office for 7 1/2 years. The first six the economy was fine.
A little over one year ago:
1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%
4) The DOW JONES hit a record high--14,000
5) Americans were buying new cars, taking cruises, vacations overseas, living large!
But Americans wanted 'CHANGE'! So, in 2006 we voted in a Democratic Congress and yes--we got 'CHANGE' all right. In the PAST YEAR:
1) Consumer confidence has plummeted
2) Gasoline was over $4 a gallon just a month ago
3) Unemployment is up to 6.1% (a 35.5% increase!)
4) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 TRILLION DOLLARS (and prices are still dropping)
5) 2% of American homes are in foreclosure.
6) THE DOW is probing new lows every other session....
$3.5 TRILLION DOLLARS HAS EVAPORATED FROM STOCKS, BONDS & MUTUAL FUNDS INVESTMENT PORTFOLIOS!
The President has no control over these issues, the Congress does. And, what has Congress done in the last two years? Absolutely nothing to prevent it. On October 13, 2008, a CBS/New York Times poll showed that Congress had a 12% Approval Rating*...and this is a Congress that is 100% CONTROLLED By Democrats.
Here is an article from AmericanThinker.com that also explains this:
September 10, 2009
By Randall Hoven
President Obama inherited a mess of an economy. He inherited it from his fellow Democrats in Congress. As it turns out, which party controls Congress, especially the Senate, probably has a lot more impact on the economy than who resides in the White House.
The last time Republicans controlled Congress, unemployment stood at 4.4%, the S&P 500 closed over 1400, and the economy grew at an average of 3% per year over the four years under a Republican Congress.
After two and a half years of Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, the unemployment rate is at 9.7% and teen unemployment is at 25.5%, the highest since it started being tracked in 1948. The S&P 500 lost more than 25% of its value. And real GDP has declined each of the last four quarters and is, in fact, below where it was when Republicans last controlled Congress.
The rest of this article, including some graphs are here:
Posted by Pleasanton Mom, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2010 at 9:18 am
Totally! Did you see the graphs in that American Thinker article above? It is incredible to see the history: Unemployment generally goes down under a Republican Senate and up under a Democrat one. Since 1994, it's almost been like throwing a switch.
Posted by steve, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2010 at 9:53 am
No, American exceptionalism is not just about our society's ability to embrace ideas.
This very exercise, this conversation of disagreements and the freedom to do so, though too often taken for granted is another good example of our exceptionalism. To further illustrate that, many of us, including myself would fight and die for your right to openly disagree with me, simply to maintain my right to disagree with you. Can you say the same?
Posted by wcollins, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 13, 2010 at 11:21 am
You have yet to actually disagree. You use the words of someone else to do it for you. You and your friends are too afraid of being wrong to think for yourselves. You lack the one ability required to have a dialog. The ability to be wrong.
I see nothing exceptional about the America you describe, or the one you pretend you live in. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2010 at 2:07 pm
Facts do not lie and it is hard to argue that liberal democrats do not screw up the US everytime they get into office. Let's just hope this time it is not a fatal error for all of us and it is not so damaged that it cannot be repaired. I do not want to be Greece.
Posted by wcollins, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm
Typical Steve your not afraid of reading just afraid thinking. Can either of you make a point? Or is that my fault, I mean the liberal straw-man's fault? Idiots are those who pretend verbally abusing people is an argument.
Speaking of turds, Rat but again you make my point. Wrapping me in anti-Americanism is the same as wrapping yourself in the flag. Facts are subject to interpretation we all see them differently. Dude, don't melt down until the end. You don't question your source because it proves you are right. You can't let go an argument until you prove to yourself that you are not wrong. Since you never actually think about what people say, you inevitably argue them to the point of claiming superiority and resorting to belittlement.
Posted by Rat Droppings, a resident of the Gatewood neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2010 at 7:22 pm
"Facts do not lie and it is hard to argue that liberal democrats do not screw up the US everytime they get into office. Let's just hope this time it is not a fatal error for all of us and it is not so damaged that it cannot be repaired. I do not want to be Greece."
You're absolutely right, Rat Turd, we need some more good, old-fashioned Republicans like Bush, Nixon, Palin and McCarthy to keep America strong.
Posted by Rat Turd, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2010 at 9:39 pm
What are you smoking? Bush was not a conservative nor was Nixon. Palin has been tarnished by the press and by herself but honestly all of them are better than Obama who is a disaster and dangerous at that. I want to ask one question. What has he ever accomplished of significance in his life? Do not say being elected President because he did it as an empty suit. The guy is a complete and utter joke not only to anyone who is objective in this country but also to the rest of the world. Oh sure, everyone loved how well he spoke in front of his prompter but after the dust settled and we sobered up he was not as pretty as well thought and at the end of the day is just another Chicago politican. We need real leadership in this country and they all need to go. McCain,Pelosi, Reid, Barney Frankfurter, Dodd, all of them need to be thrown out until we get true leadership and not phonies.