Rev. Jones: Another Mass-Murdering Darling of Democrats

The Democrats’ Mass-Murdering Darling

When Harvey Milk met Rev. Jimmy Jones.

By Lloyd Billingsley

Since the 1960’s, Democrats in America have developed a strange love affair with mass-murdering socialists-communists. Revolutionaries like Che’ Guevara, Pol Pot, Nelson Mandela, and Rev. Jim Jones are representative of the murderous anti-American despots that make the list of leftist heroes. Mr. Billingsley gives us a brief account of Rev. Jim Jones and his enthusiastic admirers. (P.C. Coker)

“Your conscience Socialism is God. God is Socialism, and I am Principle Socialism and that’s what makes me God.” That was the Rev. Jim Jones, darling of Democrats such as Rosalynn Carter, Walter Mondale, Jerry Brown and others. San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk even praised Jones’ People’s Temple after the November 18, 1978 mass suicide in Guyana.

In the ensuing 40 years a lot of nonsense has been written about Jones and Milk, played by Sean Penn in the 2008 Milk biopic, winner of two Oscars. Fortunately, in Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days that Shook San Francisco, Daniel Flynn blows away some major myths surrounding this pair.

Jones believed “the Bible is the root of all our problems today” and sought to “infiltrate the church” to spread the socialist evangel. He was also a racist who called Medgar Evers a “house nigger” and Duke Ellington an “Uncle Tom.” That proved no obstacle when Jones moved his flock to California. His People’s Temple congregation included some Black Panthers and Jones became the darling of the California Democrats.

Assemblyman Willie Brown, mentor of Senator and presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, compared Jones to Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr. In a letter to Fidel Castro, Willie Brown called Jones a “close personal friend and highly trusted brother in the struggle for liberation.” New Left icon Tom Hayden hailed Jones’ “high standard of ethics and morality,” and the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner named Jones “Humanitarian of the Year.”

Admirers included governor Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally and congressman Phil Burton. San Francisco mayor George Moscone appointed Jones commissioner of the city’s Housing Authority. For his part, Jones delivered the votes and supported groups such as the murderous Symbionese Liberation Army which, he said, “moved us a little closer to change.”

Jones moved his flock to Guyana and some saw his Jonestown compound as a more egalitarian society, free of racism, homophobia and such. Flynn calls it a “concentration camp” and notes that Jones piped in harangues by Angela Davis. In 1979, Davis won the Lenin Peace Prize, twice ran for vice-president with the Communist Party USA, and is now a high-profile attacker of President Trump. (Vladimir Lenin was another fascist mass-murderer; PC Coker).

As Flynn also shows, the State Department undermined efforts of Americans to rescue their relatives. Envoy Dick McCoy provided the Temple hierarchy with lists of Jonestown inhabitants that relatives wanted to set free. So as the New York Times noted, Jones boasted extensive government connections.

Jones ordered the suicide of more than 900 followers and his goons murdered Congressman Leo Ryan and four others, leaving current Rep. Jackie Speier wounded. After all that, San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk refused to condemn Jonestown outright. “Guyana was a great experiment that didn’t work,” Milk said. “I don’t know, maybe it did.” Like Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, the conservative Flynn has been on to this guy from the start.

Born in on Long Island in 1931, a year after Jones, Milk served in the Navy from 1951-55. Contrary to claims that the Navy drummed him out for being homosexual, Milk was honorably discharged. Milk worked as a schoolteacher, stockbroker and camera shop proprietor, and in San Francisco he recast himself as a political leader.

As Flynn notes, “Milk’s taste in men veered toward boys,” including Jack Galen, who was only 16 to Milk’s 33. Even so, Milk was never outed, “as a pederast.”

Milk was attracted to Jim Jones who, Flynn recalls, “used the pulpit to extoll homosexuality.” So Milk became one of Jones’ most eager advocates, writing, “Such greatness I have found at Jim Jones’ People’s Temple.” Jones responded with support for Milk’s campaigns but nothing about Jones emerges in the Milk movie.

Blue-collar Democrat Dan White, a former policeman and firefighter, voted with Milk to support gay issues. Supervisor White has been portrayed as a right-wing anti-gay bigot but as Flynn explains, “this isn’t true.” And it wasn’t true that White killed Milk because he was gay. Flynn cites supervisor Dianne Feinstein, who said “this had nothing to do with anybody’s sexual orientation. It had to do with getting back his position.”

As Flynn laments, “myths prove harder to kill than men.” Those who praised Jim Jones went on to great fame and in 2009 POTUS 44 awarded Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A U.S. Navy ship now bears the name of this pederast.

For Flynn, the lesson of Jonestown is to rely on the brain, not ideology, to think. He ends the story with the Jonestown placard: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That George Santayana reference, and the valuable lessons of Cult City, are worth pondering as the November election approaches.

Leftist Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are now hailing socialism with revivalist fervor. Conservative Republicans find themselves called “evil,” and targets of vicious smears, as in the attack on Brett Kavanaugh, and violence, as in the attack on Steve Scalise. As the Democrats’ demonology surges, someone could get killed.

Some may recall that this happened before, but nobody can remember what they didn’t know in the first place. For all but the willfully blind, Cult City will an asset of lasting value.

*****

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, recently updated, and Hollywood Party: Stalinist Adventures in the American Movie IndustryBill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield, is a collection of his journalism.

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Nazi’s, Fascist’s, and FDR

Three New Deals: Why the Nazis and Fascists Loved FDR

By David Gordon

Critics of Roosevelt’s New Deal often liken it to fascism. Roosevelt’s numerous defenders dismiss this charge as reactionary propaganda; but as Wolfgang Schivelbusch makes clear, it is perfectly true. Moreover, it was recognized to be true during the 1930s, by the New Deal’s supporters as well as its opponents.

When Roosevelt took office in March 1933, he received from Congress an extraordinary delegation of powers to cope with the Depression.

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. (p. 18).

The Nazi press enthusiastically hailed the early New Deal measures: America, like the Reich, had decisively broken with the “uninhibited frenzy of market speculation.” The Nazi Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, “stressed ‘Roosevelt’s adoption of National Socialist strains of thought in his economic and social policies,’ praising the president’s style of leadership as being compatible with Hitler’s own dictatorial Führerprinzip” (p. 190).

Nor was Hitler himself lacking in praise for his American counterpart. He “told American ambassador William Dodd that he was ‘in accord with the President in the view that the virtue of duty, readiness for sacrifice, and discipline should dominate the entire people. These moral demands which the President places before every individual citizen of the United States are also the quintessence of the German state philosophy, which finds its expression in the slogan “The Public Weal Transcends the Interest of the Individual”‘” (pp. 19-20). A New Order in both countries had replaced an antiquated emphasis on rights.

Mussolini, who did not allow his work as dictator to interrupt his prolific journalism, wrote a glowing review of Roosevelt’s Looking Forward. He found “reminiscent of fascism … the principle that the state no longer leaves the economy to its own devices”; and, in another review, this time of Henry Wallace’s New Frontiers, Il Duce found the Secretary of Agriculture’s program similar to his own corporativism (pp. 23-24).

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'” (p. 31). 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” (p. 32, quoting Tugwell).

Why did these contemporaries see an affinity between Roosevelt and the two leading European dictators, while most people today view them as polar opposites? People read history backwards: they project the fierce antagonisms of World War II, when America battled the Axis, to an earlier period. 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.

Once more we must avoid a common misconception. Because of the ruthless crimes of Hitler and his Italian ally, it is mistakenly assumed that the dictators were for the most part hated and feared by the people they ruled. Quite the contrary, they were in those pre-war years the objects of considerable adulation. A leader who embodied the spirit of the people had superseded the old bureaucratic apparatus of government.

While Hitler’s and Roosevelt’s nearly simultaneous ascension to power highlighted fundamental differences … contemporary observers noted that they shared an extraordinary ability to touch the soul of the people. Their speeches were personal, almost intimate. Both in their own way gave their audiences the impression that they were addressing not the crowd, but each listener as an individual. (p. 54)

But does not Schivelbusch’s thesis fall before an obvious objection? No doubt Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini were charismatic leaders; and all of them rejected laissez-faire in favor of the new gospel of a state-managed economy. But Roosevelt preserved civil liberties, while the dictators did not.

Schivelbusch does not deny the manifest differences between Roosevelt and the other leaders; but even if the New Deal was a “soft fascism”, the elements of compulsion were not lacking. The “Blue Eagle” campaign of the National Recovery Administration serves as his principal example. Businessmen who complied with the standards of the NRA received a poster that they could display prominently in their businesses. Though compliance was supposed to be voluntary, the head of the program, General Hugh Johnson, did not shrink from appealing to illegal mass boycotts to ensure the desired results.

“The public,” he [Johnson] added, “simply cannot tolerate non-compliance with their plan.” In a fine example of doublespeak, the argument maintained that cooperation with the president was completely voluntary but that exceptions would not be tolerated because the will of the people was behind FDR. As one historian [Andrew Wolvin] put it, the Blue Eagle campaign was “based on voluntary cooperation, but those who did not comply were to be forced into participation.” (p. 92)

Schivelbusch compares this use of mass psychology to the heavy psychological pressure used in Germany to force contributions to the Winter Relief Fund.

Both the New Deal and European fascism were marked by what Wilhelm Röpke aptly termed the “cult of the colossal.” The Tennessee Valley Authority was far more than a measure to bring electrical power to rural areas. It symbolized the power of government planning and the war on private business:

The TVA was the concrete-and-steel realization of the regulatory authority at the heart of the New Deal. In this sense, the massive dams in the Tennessee Valley were monuments to the New Deal, just as the New Cities in the Pontine Marshes were monuments to Fascism … But beyond that, TVA propaganda was also directed against an internal enemy: the capitalist excesses that had led to the Depression… (pp. 160, 162)

This outstanding study is all the more remarkable in that Schivelbusch displays little acquaintance with economics. Mises and Hayek are absent from his pages, and he grasps the significance of architecture much more than the errors of Keynes. Nevertheless, he has an instinct for the essential. He concludes the book by recalling John T. Flynn’s great book of 1944, As We Go Marching.

Flynn, comparing the New Deal with fascism, foresaw a problem that still faces us today.

But willingly or unwillingly, Flynn argued, the New Deal had put itself into the position of needing a state of permanent crisis or, indeed, permanent war to justify its social interventions. “It is born in crisis, lives on crises, and cannot survive the era of crisis…. Hitler’s story is the same.” … Flynn’s prognosis for the regime of his enemy Roosevelt sounds more apt today than when he made it in 1944 … “We must have enemies,” he wrote in As We Go Marching. “They will become an economic necessity for us.” (pp. 186, 191)

***

Originally published September 2006.

[This article is a review of: Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939. By Wolfgang Schivelbusch. Metropolitan Books, 2006. 242 pgs.]

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Why Socialism Fails and Always Will

4 Fundamental Design Defects of Socialism

Antony P. Mueller

The new “democratic socialists” want to make their followers believe that one could redistribute wealth and income and socialize a large part of the economy without harming production and productivity. They claim that a comprehensive control of the economy by the government would bring more justice and more prosperity. The democratic socialists want more planning and less market. Yet this postulate ignores that socialism does not fail by accident or circumstance. Socialism fails because it suffers from four fundamental design defects.

  • First, socialism eradicates private property and markets and thus eliminates rational calculation.
  • Second, socialism allows soft budgets, so there is no mechanism in place to discard inefficient production methods.
  • Third, abolishing private property and replacing it by the state distorts the incentives.
  • Four, the socialist system with its absence of private property and of free markets inhibits the economic coordination of the system of division of labor and capital.

The Importance of Market Prices

Socialism cannot bring prosperity because it destroys the market functions of private property. Under socialism, private ownership of the means of production no longer exists, and thus there are no market prices for capital goods available. Institutionally, socialism consists in abolishing the market economy and replacing it with a planned economy. By doing away with private property of the means of production, one wipes-out market information and valuation. Even if the socialist administration puts price tags on the consumer goods, and the people may own consumer goods, there is no economic orientation about the relative scarcity of capital goods.

Many supporters of socialism suppose that business management is nothing more than a kind of registration or simple bookkeeping. Vladimir Lenin believed that the knowledge of reading and writing, and some expertise in the use of the basic arithmetic operations and some training in accounting, would be enough for the conduct of business operations. The socialists promote engineering and science, but they believe that there is no need for the entrepreneur. The regime may spend heavily on education but when there is no entrepreneurial economy, the people will stay poor, nevertheless.

The Role of Scarcity

The socialists ignore scarcity. They assume that a plan could stipulate the allocation of goods and services according to needs and wants. Yet the planners must answer how such a plan should find its standards of valuation. Without prices and markets, there is no orientation about which factors of production are more and which are less valuable. The socialist planners have no knowledge of the costs of the production process. Without markets, the prevailing value structure remains unknown.

Supply in relation to want makes goods valuable. In a market economy, the relative prices show the degrees of scarcity. By observing the prices, the market participants receive the information that guides them to align their economic decisions to the market signals. The price system informs about relative scarcities. There is no need for a comprehensive system of detailed information about the origin and nature of the scarcity beyond the prices to make a rational decision. The price system reduces complexity for the individual decision maker to the single number of the price. In a market economy, the economic participants need only partial knowledge to act rationally. In capitalism, the motivation to gain profits and to avoid costs work as an incentive to behave rationally. In a market economy, the prices provide information and incentives simultaneously for the seller and the buyer.

All production faces the problem of an almost unlimited number of ways how to produce a good. One can manufacture a commodity with very different raw materials, technologies, and combinations of the production factors and in an endless variety of designs.

Setting Priorities

Along with the technological feasibility of a project, one must calculate its profitability. Without costs in relation to sales, a technical evaluation makes no sense. That a project is technically viable does not mean that its realization is also worthwhile. What appears efficient from a technical point of view need not be so in terms of economic expediency. With costs left out of the consideration, socialist production is blind to the risk of producing goods that cost more than they are worth. In a socialist economy, even a benevolent dictator could not provide the right mix of goods in terms of price and quality

Socialists suppose that to implant their rule on the economy all that is necessary is to socialize the private companies, replace the management, and install worker councils, and the new economic order would flourish. The early socialists expected that abundance would follow not least because now the workers would get what before went into the hands of the capitalists as profits. Yet the socialists ignored that the socialization of the means of production was just the beginning. They failed miserably in running the economy.

The error of socialist economic planning is to assume that business management could also continue as before after socialist operators take over the capitalist management. While the socialist regime can train administrators and engineers and put the party members in the position of directors, these new leaders cannot decide according to relative scarcities because there is no longer a private property-based entrepreneurial price system available.

The reality of socialism is the command and obedience. Without orientation from markets and prices, brute force rules the allocation of the goods. The claim to combine socialism and democracy is as much a fraud as the assertion that socialism would bring prosperity. Socialism’s true face is totalitarian despotism .

It is no wonder that even a degenerate capitalism produces more prosperity than the best socialism. Therefore, the task ahead cannot be to remove capitalism in favor of socialism but to make capitalism better. In other words: make it more capitalist.

***

Originally Posted as; 4 Reasons Why Socialism Fails.

German-born Antony Mueller teaches economics at the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS) in Brazil. See his website, blog, youtube channel, tumblr.

Article from Mises.org

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Socialist Symmetry: Marxist, Fascist, and National

Nazis Were Not Marxists, but They Were Socialists

Jörg Guido Hülsmann

The abject practical failure of the Marxist revolutionaries in the post-WWI period had done much harm to their image as the vanguard of social progress.

The explanation for this failure in the writings of Mises, Max Weber, and Boris Brutzkus had led many economists to revise their views about the suitable scope of government within society. But others remained unrepentant advocates of the total state. They merely rejected the specifically egalitarian agenda of the socialists.

The uncontested leader of this group was Werner Sombart, the greatest star among the interwar economists in Germany. Sombart had started his career popularizing Marxism in academic circles with his 1896 book Sozialismus und soziale Bewegung im 19. Jahrhundert (Socialism and Social Action in the Nineteenth Century).1 Later editions testified to Sombart’s increasing estrangement with his initial Marxist ideals. The tenth edition, which appeared under a new title in 1924, featured an outright demolition of Marxist socialism.2 Sombart had turned back to the mainstream Schmollerite socialism, which advocated the total state without an egalitarian agenda.3

Sombart’s intellectual qualities had gained him a place of preeminence. Where most Marxist intellectuals held dogmatically to the tenets of Marx and Engels, Sombart sought to analyze and develop their doctrines with a critical mind in quest of objectivity. This made his work the perfect target for a thorough criticism of the intellectual current of anti-Marxist socialism, and Mises provided such a criticism in an article with the title “Antimarxismus” (Anti-Marxism).4

Already in his article on price controls, Mises had pointed out that the shortcomings of interventionism did not result from the egalitarian agenda that some governments pursued, but from the very nature of government intervention itself, namely, the infringement of private property rights. Socialism and interventionism were destructive economic systems whether explicitly egalitarian or not. They would be unsuitable forms of social organization even if they pursued some other ideal of distribution—even meritocracy. There might be certain superficial similarities between a free society and a non-egalitarian one controlled by a total state, but these two would still be essentially different:

[On the surface the social ideal of etatism does not differ from the social order of capitalism. Etatism does not seek to overthrow the traditional legal order and formally convert all private property in production to public property. . . . But in substance all enterprises are to become government operations. Under this practice, the owners will keep their names and trademarks on the property and the right to an “appropriate” income or one “befitting their ranks.” Every business becomes an office and every occupation a civil service. . . . Prices are set by government, and government determines what is to be produced, how it is to be produced, and in what quantities. There is no speculation, no “extraordinary” profits, no losses. There is no innovation, except for that ordered by government. Government guides and supervises everything.5]

Mises showed that the error in the idea of the omnipotent state has nothing to do with the state’s particular agenda. The government is not omnipotent if its goal is to improve “collective life” (as opposed to that of mere aggregates of individuals). But neither is it omnipotent if it seeks to enhance the welfare of the totality of individual citizens. In both cases, government intervention is counterproductive. It follows that the time-honored and seemingly significant distinction between individualism and collectivism is of only secondary importance. The primary distinction is between policies that work and policies that do not work, which leads in turn to the distinction between a social order based on private property (which works) and those social orders that depend on infringements of private property rights (and do not work). It is therefore beside the point whether individuals or collectives run the economy—provided only that the property rights of all individual members of the collectives are preserved. It also follows that the size of the firmis of no importance. As long as private property is respected, the buying decisions of the consumers reward only those companies that offer the best products. If these companies are larger than others, so be it.6

Mises emphasized this fact against the doctrines of Dietzel, Karl Pribram, and Spann, which had a great influence on interwar political thought in Germany and, after World War II, in the wider western world. Dietzel and Pribram sided with individualism, whereas Spann championed collectivism, but they all agreed that these were the ultimate categories and that all political points of view derived from them.7 Mises disagreed.

He argued that there was a point of view that was derived from neither individualism nor collectivism, namely, the utilitarian method of social analysis.8 He had already proved how successful this method was in analyzing the static and dynamic problems of social “wholes” such as language communities, and he emphasized that the analysis of such wholes is the very point of theoretical social science.9 It was fallacious to believe that individual action could be understood out of its wider social context, just as it was false that the proper understanding of social wholes required that the social analysis itself be holistic.

The utilitarian method alone was a truly scientific one because it traced all social phenomena back to facts of experience:

[The utilitarian social doctrine does not engage in metaphysics, but takes as its point of departure the established fact that all living beings affirm their will to live and grow. The higher productivity of labor performed in division of labor, when compared with isolated action, is ever more uniting individuals to association. Society is division and association of labor.10]

Each person seeks to enhance his welfare, and cooperative labor is more productive than isolated labor. Therefore, insofar as the growth of a person’s welfare presupposes greater quantities of material goods, the person can best attain his ends by engaging in a division of labor. This is how society comes into being.

All elements in this economic explanation of society are ascertainable facts. In contrast, the doctrines of individualism and collectivism do not lend themselves to any such causal explanation of the origin of society because they are based on postulates rather than on analysis of fact. And Mises proceeded to show that the same criticism also applied to the Marxist theory of proletarian class struggle. He did not deny that human history featured many group conflicts and that they often had great importance for the course of events. Rather, he argued that the fashionable struggle theories—of which the Marxist theory of class struggle was but one particular instance—purported to be much more than they really were. Group conflicts were not, and could not possibly be, the basic elements of human life. The real question was how any group could come into existence in the first place. One first had to explain the formation of groups before one could explain the struggle between them. But all struggle theorists, Marx included, failed on this front.

The reason for this negligence is not difficult to detect. It is impossible to demonstrate a principle of association that exists within a collective group only, and that is inoperative beyond it. If war and strife are the driving forces of all social development, why should this be true for classes, races, and nations only, and not for war among all individuals? If we take this warfare sociology to its logical conclusion we arrive at no social doctrine at all, but at “a theory of unsociability.”11

Mises pointed out that Marx’s theory of class struggle even failed to give an empirical account of its most basic concept. What is a “class” in the Marxist sense? Marx had never defined it. “And it is significant that the posthumous manuscript of the third volume of Das Kapital halts abruptly at the very place that was to deal with classes.” Mises went on:

[Since his death more than forty years have passed, and the class struggle has become the cornerstone of modern German sociology. And yet we continue to await its scientific definition and delineation. No less vague are the concepts of class interests, class condition, and class war, and the ideas on the relationship between conditions, class interests, and class ideology.12]

Werner Sombart, along with the great majority of German sociologists of whom he was the undisputed leader, had adopted the Marxist view that proletarian class struggle was the ultimate driving force in modern societies. He was now an opponent of Marxist ideology, but his analyses still remained Marxian. He merely refrained from drawing all the practical conclusions, which Marx and the Marxists had consistently deduced, from the theory of class struggle. He did not and could not provide an alternative to the Marxist scenario of social evolution. His only objection came in the form of a postulate: things should not happen as they would happen according to the theory of class struggle, therefore government should resist such developments. Yet with this admission, Sombart and the bulk of the German sociologists had again left the realm of science and entered that of religion and ethics. Sombart in fact championed a return to medieval forms of social organization—the guilds—just as Keynes in England proposed “a return, it may be said, towards medieval conceptions of separate autonomies.”13 Similarly, the few theorists who had thoroughly criticized Marx’s concept of class struggle, like Othmar Spann, marveled at the alleged blessings of national socialism in the middle ages.

Mises concluded:

[for every scientific thinker the objectionable point of Marxism is its theory, which seems to cause no offence to the Anti-Marxist. . . . The Anti-Marxist merely objects to the political symptoms of the Marxian system, not to its scientific content. He regrets the harm done by Marxian policies to the German people, but is blind to the harm done to German intellectual life by the platitudes and deficiencies of Marxian problems and solutions. Above all, he fails to perceive that political and economic troubles are consequences of this intellectual calamity. He does not appreciate the importance of science for everyday living, and, under the influence of Marxism, believes that “real” power instead of ideas is shaping history.14]

“Anti-Marxism” caused outrage among the Marxists. What was Mises’s sin? First, he had dared criticize the great master with a penetrating analysis of the incurable shortcomings of Marx’s theory of class struggle. Second, he had again contended that from an economic point of view Marxist socialism was not essentially different from the various new brands of national socialism that had begun to spring up in the 1920s, mostly in reaction against Marxist movements. Thus a fraction of Italian socialists, who rejected the teachings of Marx and called themselves “Fascists,” rose to power under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. There was also a movement of non-Marxist “National Socialists” in Germany. The father of this movement was Friedrich Naumann who, by a strange coincidence, later came to be regarded as the godfather of twentieth-century German liberalism.15 The leader of the National Socialists from the 1920s until their bitter end was, of course, Adolf Hitler.

Marxist socialists vociferously object to being classified under the same heading that includes Fascist Socialists and National Socialists. But as Mises showed, all distinctions between these groups are on the surface. Economically, they are united.

*****

Article Excerpted with minor revision from Mises: Last Knight of Liberalism 

  1. Before Sombart’s appearance, the German universities received Marx’s writings very critically. In the United States, too, the rise of Marxism encountered the same reservations in academic circles until, some forty-five years after Sombart, Joseph Schumpeter popularized Marx as an important thinker in his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York: Harper & Row, 1942).
  2. Werner Sombart, Der proletarische Sozialismus (“Marxismus”), 10th ed., 2 vols. (Jena: Gustav Fische
  3. Here is the most favorable thing Mises had to say about Sombart: “He was highly gifted, but at no time did he endeavor to think and work seriously. . . . And yet, it was more stimulating to talk to Sombart than to most other professors. At least he was not stupid and obtuse.” Mises, Erinnerungen (Stuttgart: Gustav Fischer Verlag, 1978), p. 68; Notes and Recollections (Spring Mills, Penn.: Libertarian Press, 1978), p. 103.
  4. Mises, “Antimarxismus,” Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv 21 (1925) reprinted in Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, pp. 91–122; translated as “Anti-Marxism,” in A Critique of Interventionism, pp. 107–38.
  5. Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, pp. 124f.; A Critique of Interventionism, pp. 140f.
  6. Keynes was convinced that, in attacking and criticizing individualism, he had destroyed the case for laissez-faire. See John Maynard Keynes, The End of Laissez-Faire (London: Hogarth Press, 1926), pp. 39f. The postulate of a dichotomy between individualism and collectivism led Keynes to anticipate the now-famous Coasean view on the problem of optimal social organization. Thus Keynes surmised that the “ideal size for the unit of control and organization lies somewhere between the individual and the modern State” (ibid., p. 41). The Coasean theory is best expressed in Ronald Coase, The Firm, the Market, and the Law (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988).
  7. Heinrich Dietzel, “Individualismus,” Handwörterbuch der Staaswissenschaften, 4th ed. (1923), vol. 5; Alfred Pribram, Die Entstehung der individualistischen Sozialphilosophie (Leipzig: Hirschfeld, 1912); Othmar Spann, Der Wahre Staat (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1921).
  8. Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, pp. 95f., 111. He stated:
    In the final analysis, there is no conflict of interest between society and the individual, as everyone can pursue his interests more efficiently in society than in isolation. The sacrifices the individual makes to society are merely temporary, surrendering a small advantage in order to attain a greater one. This is the essence of the often cited doctrine of the harmony of interests. (A Critique of Interventionism, pp. 112f.)
  9. 2“What society is, how it originates, how it changes—these alone can be the problems which scientific sociology sets itself.” Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981). To be perfectly clear, Mises believed that the positive analysis of the emergence and transformation of social wholes had to rely on methodological individualism. Based on this analysis, one could apply the utilitarian method, that is, raise the question whether any given policy was suitable to attain its goals. Othmar Spann rejected not only individualism as a political orientation, but also as a methodological device.
  10. Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, p. 96; A Critique of Interventionism, p. 112.
  11. Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, p. 100; A Critique of Interventionism, p. 116. Mises quotes here Paul Barth, Die Philosophie der Geschichte als Soziologie, 3rd ed. (Leipzig: Reisland, 1922), p. 260.
  12. Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, pp. 101f.; A Critique of Interventionism, pp. 117f.
  13. Keynes, The End of Laissez-Faire, pp. 42f.
  14. Mises, Kritik des Interventionismus, p. 121; A Critique of Interventionism, p. 137.
  15. See Ralph Raico, Die Partei der Freiheit (Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius, 1999), chap. 6.

Jörg Guido Hülsmann is senior fellow of the Mises Institute and author of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism and The Ethics of Money Production. He teaches in France, at Université d’Angers.

Article from Mises.org https://mises.org/wire/nazis-were-not-marxists-they-were-socialists

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The Secularist Search for Meaning

Leftism as Secular Religion

By Dennis Prager

One of the most important books of the 20th century — it remains a best-seller 59 years after it was first published — is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

Marx saw man’s primary drive as economic, and Freud saw it as sex. But Frankl believed — correctly, in my opinion — that the greatest drive of man is meaning.

One can be poor and chaste and still be happy. But one cannot be bereft of meaning and be happy — no matter how rich or how sexually fulfilled one may be.

The greatest provider of meaning for the vast majority of human beings has been religion. In the West, Christianity (and on a smaller scale, Judaism) provided nearly all people with the Bible, a divine or divinely inspired text to guide their lives; a religious community; answers to life’s fundamental questions; and, above all, meaning: A good God governs the universe; death does not end everything; and human beings were purposefully created. In addition, Christianity gave Christians a project: spread the Good News, and bring the world to Christ. And Judaism gave Jews a project: Live by God’s laws of ethics and holiness and be “a light unto the nations.”

All this has disappeared for most Westerners. The Bible is regarded as myth, silly at best, malicious at worst — there is no God, certainly not the morality-giving and judging God of the Bible; there is no afterlife; human beings are a purposeless coincidence with no more intrinsic purpose than anything else in the universe. In short: This Is All There Is.

So, if the need for meaning is the greatest of all human needs and that which supplied meaning no longer does, what are millions of Westerners supposed to do?

The answer is obvious: Find meaning elsewhere. But where? Church won’t provide it. Nor will marriage and family — increasingly, secular individuals in the West eschew marriage, and even more do not have children. It turns out, to the surprise of many, that marriage and children are religious values, not human instincts. In the West today, love and marriage (and children) go together like a horse and a carriage for faithful Catholics, Orthodox Jews, religious Mormons and evangelical Protestants — not for the secular. I know many religious families with more than four children; I do not know one secular family with more than four children (and the odds are you don’t either).

The answer to the great dearth of meaning left by the death of biblical religion in the West is secular religion. The first two great secular substitutes were communism and Nazism. The first provided hundreds of millions of people with meaning; the latter provided most Germans and Austrians with meaning.

In particular, both ideologies provided the intellectual class with meaning. No groups believed in communism and Nazism more than intellectuals. Like everyone else, secular intellectuals need meaning, and when this need was combined with intellectuals’ love of ideas (especially new ideas — “new” is almost erotic in the power of its appeal to secular intellectuals), communism and Nazism became potent ideologies.

With the fall of communism and the awareness of the extent of the communist mass murder (about 100 million noncombatants) and mass enslavement (virtually all individuals in communist countries — except for Communist Party leaders — are essentially enslaved), communism, or at least the word “communism,” fell into disrepute.

So, what were secular intellectuals to do once communism became “the god that failed”?

The answer was to create other another left-wing secular religion. And that is what leftism is: a secular meaning-giver to supplant Christianity. Left-wing religious expressions include Marxism, communism, socialism, feminism and environmentalism.

Leftism’s guiding principles — notwithstanding the principles of those Christians and Jews who claim to be religious yet hold leftist views — are the antitheses of Judaism and Christianity’s guiding principles.

Judaism and Christianity hold that people are not basically good. Leftism holds that people are basically good. Therefore, Judaism and Christianity believe evil comes from human nature, and leftism believes evil comes from capitalism, religion, the nation-state (i.e. nationalism), corporations, the patriarchy and virtually every other traditional value.

Judaism and Christianity hold that utopia on Earth is impossible — it will only come in God’s good time as a Messianic age or in the afterlife. Leftism holds that utopia is to be created here on Earth — and as soon as possible. That is why leftists find America so contemptible. They do not compare it to other nations but to a utopian ideal — a society with no inequality, no racism, no differences between the sexes (indeed, no sexes) and no greed in which everything important is obtained free.

Judaism and Christianity believe God and the Bible are to instruct us on how to live a good life and how the heart is the last place to look for moral guidance. Leftists have contempt for anyone who is guided by the Bible and its God, and substitute the heart and feelings for divine instruction.

There may be a clash of civilizations between the West and Islam, but the biggest clash of civilizations is between the West and the left.

*****

This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

It can also be viewed at www.dennisprager.com   

 

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The Harlot that Rides the Beast of Revelation

The Harlot: The Whore of Babylon

By Brian Godawa

Every year, we are served up a platter of new predictions of doom by Christian Bible prophecy pundits who believe we are living in the end times. And every year, they are wrong over and over again. Blood moons, Shemitah, 1988, 1999, 2012, 2015, all predictions of the “last days” that never happened. How could all these well-meaning Christians be so consistently wrong? And is there a way to cut through all the wild speculation with some sane appreciation of Bible prophecy?

Here is the key: New Testament prophecy is a highly self-referential system of images and symbols that is rooted in a prophetic tradition of the Old Testament. If you want to understand what a prophetic symbol means in the New Testament, compare it with how that symbol was used in the Old Testament and you are guided to a much clearer picture than modern Christians have by imposing their own cultural bias onto the symbol.

A case in point is the Whore of Babylon, to which I will refer to as the Harlot that rides the Beast of Revelation. Who or what does the Harlot represent in the obvious symbolism of the prophecy? The predictions about her are in Revelation 17 and 18 and constitute the longest prophecy in the New Testament. The Babylonian harlot is an important symbol of judgment by God. There have been many interpretations of this spiritually unfaithful woman through history.

Today, Bible prophecy pundits claim a number of options: a reconstituted Roman Empire, or the Roman Catholic Church, or Islam, or even America. Most agree she represents a collective entity (empire, kingdom, nation, people) that is so evil and against Jesus Christ that the group of people she represents will be judged by God. That’s serious stuff, and certainly worthy of trying to figure out.

The problem is that some elements of prophecy can appear on the surface to be quite generic and applicable to a virtually infinite number of possibilities. For example, in Revelation 18, the Harlot is described as a great city that appears to be rich in resources and trade as well as political influence. But that generic image can be applied to every empire or powerful collective entity in history since the writing of the book of Revelation. It can be applied to hundreds of cities all along that timeline to this very day. Thus, prophecy pundits spend each decade detailing a myriad of factoids trying to link this generic description to their pet empire, kingdom, or nation. Just like they are doing today. And of course, they’ve always been wrong.

But when you look into the historical tradition of how that image of a harlot was used by the Jewish Old Testament prophets, it gives biblical definitions of clarification that end up precluding all the possibilities except one. It’s amazingly simple. And it’s in the biblical text. I’ll show you.

Old Testament Harlot in Prophecy

The metaphor of a harlot is a very common image used by Old Testament prophets. And it is always and only used in their prophecies as a symbol for spiritual adultery against Yahweh as a husband. Only a wife could be unfaithful to a husband. And Yahweh claimed that Israel was his only wife.

Isaiah 54:5

For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name. (also: Hos 2:2, 7, 13, 15; Ezek 16; Jer. 2.2; 31.32)

Marriage is a covenant of exclusive commitment. Yahweh was covenanted in marriage to one and only one nation in the ancient world: Israel. And this is why he was “jealous” over Israel’s faith as a husband would be jealous in demanding his wife’s exclusive sexual love. When Israel worshipped gods other than Yahweh, he would describe that in terms of spiritual adultery/unfaithfulness/whoring/harlotry.

Exodus 34:14–15

(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods…

Malachi 2:11

Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. (also: Deut 31:16; Lev 20:5-6; Hos 2:2; Jer 3:6; Ezek 6:9).

Yahweh would often call the city of Jerusalem a harlot as the representation of the rest of Israel (Isa 1:21; Ezek 23:4, 11-21). This was because the religious leaders of Israel were headquartered in the holy city with its temple as the house Yahweh shared with his “bride.” Religious leaders were the representative rulers of Israel and thus her proxies before Yahweh for both blessing and cursing (Matt 23:36-39).

Gentile nations were never called unfaithful harlots by the prophets because Gentile nations were not covenanted in marriage to Yahweh. You cannot commit adultery against someone if you are not married to him. Only a covenanted wife can be unfaithful. There are only two times where the metaphor of unfaithful harlot was used of Gentile cities: Nineveh (Nah 3:1-4) and Tyre (Isa 23:15). But upon closer consideration, these two cities were uniquely described as being covenanted to Yahweh. Nineveh had turned to Yahweh in faith (Jonah 3:5-10) and the king of Tyre was “covenanted in brotherhood” with Israel (Amos 1:9), helping Solomon build the temple (1King 5:7-12), the “house” where Yahweh dwelt with his bride.

Because Gentile nations and cities were not covenanted to Yahweh, they could not possibly be called spiritual harlots in the Bible. That would eliminate every modern suggestion of who the Harlot of Revelation is. Rome could not be the Harlot because Rome was never in covenant with Yahweh. Islamic nations or cities could not be the Harlot, and neither could America, or any other Gentile nation, because Islam, America, and other Gentile nations are not covenanted in marriage to Yahweh. Ancient Israel was the only nation in history that was covenanted with Yahweh. And with the coming of the new covenant messiah, Jesus, Yahweh divorced ancient Israel and married a new bride, His Church made up of believing Jews and Gentiles (Matt 21:40-45; Rev 21:9).

So even modern Israel could not be the Harlot. Only first-century Israel could be the Harlot in accordance with Scripture. Once Messiah came and inherited the nations through his death, resurrection, and ascension (Psa 2; 82), his kingdom became transnational. Yahweh no longer has a covenant with any specific nation because His covenanted people are in every nation on earth. His covenant now is exclusively with His people, the Church of believing Jews and Gentiles “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev 5:19). So, is it possible that the Harlot is an apostate version of the Church? Nope.

The Great City

There are many other proofs that indicate the Harlot can only be first-century Jerusalem led by the apostate priesthood. But space allows me only one more. And this one’s a QED knockout punch.

The Harlot is referred to in different ways by the apostle John. She is referred to as “the woman” (Rev 17:18), but also as “Babylon the Great” (Rev 17:5, 18:2), and “the great city” (Rev 17:18; 18:10, 16, 17, 19, 21).

When prophecy pundits seek to answer the question, “what is the ‘great city?’” they invariably begin endless exegesis of history books and other prophecy writers to discover who it could be: Rome? Mecca? America? All the usual suspects. They exegete everything except the book of Revelation where John tells us explicitly what the great city is: He says it is first-century Jerusalem. Just turn a few pages back in the book of Revelation to chapter 11 and it’s there in black and white.

Revelation 11 tells us about the ministry of the Two Witnesses and how they are killed by the Beast. And then it tells us what happens next:

Revelation 11:8

…and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

There is no controversy about where “their Lord,” Jesus, was crucified: first-century Jerusalem. So the book of Revelation gives us the hermeneutical key to interpreting what “the great city” is. It is first-century Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt, two of the three biggest enemies of God in Scripture. The other enemy was Babylon, which perfects the unholy trinity of condemnation that John is using to describe how apostate Jerusalem had become God’s enemy and was about to be destroyed by the Roman armies during John’s own era. The great city Jerusalem had become Sodom and Egypt and Babylon in God’s eyes.

However we interpret the rest of Revelation 18 and God’s judgment on her, John has told us that ancient Jerusalem is the great city. Not ancient or modern Rome, not Islam or America, or any other city in history. When God’s own Word tells us explicitly what the symbol means, looking elsewhere is a form of denial. We need to begin adjusting our preconceived theological systems to fit the Bible’s explicit definitions, not the other way around.

So, What Did She Look Like?

Biblically speaking, the only possible candidate for the Harlot of Revelation is first-century Jerusalem led by the apostate priesthood of Israel. This would create a shock to many people’s theological systems. If first-century Jerusalem was the fulfillment of the Harlot, then that would mean that the judgment of Revelation occurred in the first century. This does not comport with the futurist assumptions of many Christians who believe that the prophecies of Revelation are only for our future. But fidelity to Scriptural interpretation requires it. That means there are plenty of questions that Christians will need to have answered. What did that look like? How is all the other symbolism to be reinterpreted in that first-century context?

That is what I am doing with my novel series, Chronicles of the Apocalypse. I tell the origin story of the book of Revelation and how its symbols were understood at the time John wrote it. But instead of a book on theology, I’ve written a dramatic narrative series of novels that is both entertaining and informative. I weave Scripture, history, and fiction together. I depict the Harlot as first-century Jerusalem led by apostate Jewish religious leaders who had rejected Messiah. They suffer under the judgment of having their holy city and temple trampled underfoot by the Roman Empire of Nero Caesar. Readers will understand Revelation like never before as they experience it through the eyes of the first-century Christians to whom it was written. Oh, and there are angels and demons, so get ready for spiritual warfare Armageddon.

It all begins with Tyrant; Rise of the Beast.

*****

Brian Godawa is an award-winning Hollywood screenwriter (To End All Wars), a controversial movie and culture blogger (www.Godawa.com), an internationally known teacher on faith, worldviews and storytelling (Hollywood Worldviews), an Amazon best-selling author of Biblical fiction (Chronicles of the Nephilim), and provocative theology (God Against the gods). His obsession with God, movies and worldviews, results in theological storytelling that blows your mind while inspiring your soul. And he’s not exaggerating.

Article from Godfather Politics: https://godfatherpolitics.com/who-is-the-harlot-of-babylon-in-revelation/

 

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Liberal Pope Francis Corrects God and the Bible?

Pope Francis Rewrites Catholicism … and the Bible

By Dennis Prager

 Last week, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had changed the Catholic catechism. After 2,000 years of teaching that a moral use of capital punishment for murder is consistent with Catholic teaching, the pope announced that the catechism, the church fathers and St. Thomas Aquinas, among the other great Catholic theologians, were all wrong.

And God and the Bible? They’re wrong, too.

Pope Francis, the product of Latin American liberation theology — along with many other Catholic religious and lay leaders — is remaking Catholicism in the image of leftism, just as mainstream Protestant leaders have been rendering much of mainstream Protestantism a branch of leftism, and non-Orthodox Jewish clergy and lay leaders have been rendering most non-Orthodox synagogues and lay institutions left-wing organizations.

The notion that it is immoral to execute any murderer — no matter how heinous the murder, no matter how many innocents he has murdered, no matter how incontrovertible the proof of guilt — is an expression of emotion, not of reason or natural law or Christian theology or biblical theology. Regarding the latter, the biblical commandment to put premeditated murderers to death is unique.

First, it is fundamental to biblical morality. The injunction of putting murderers to death is the only law found in each one of the first five books of the Bible (the Torah).

Second, all other sins involving the death penalty were only applicable to Jews (and for thousands of years, Jews regarded those death penalties not as literal but as pedagogic — to teach the seriousness of various offenses in an attempt to create a moral and holy nation).

But the Bible makes it clear capital punishment for murder is applicable to all of humanity. It is the first law God gives Noah after the flood, after commanding him to be fruitful and multiply. Putting murderers to death is therefore the first moral law God gives the world. Why this draconian penalty for murder? Because the penalty is a statement about the seriousness of a crime, and the God of the Bible deems the wrongful, deliberate taking of a human life the pinnacle of injustice. Allowing all murderers to keep their own lives diminishes the evil of murder and thereby cheapens the worth of the human being. In God’s words, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6).

It is precisely to preserve the unique worth of the human being that the Bible mandates putting murderers to death.

In 2015, Pope Francis wrote, “today capital punishment is unacceptable, however serious the condemned’s crime may have been.”

Unacceptable? To whom? It is acceptable to about half of American Catholics and about half of the American people. But it is unacceptable to the elites of our time, the people who have the most contempt for Catholicism and every other Bible-based religion.

The death penalty, Francis wrote, “entails cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.” These are all subjective opinions. I suspect most people do not think the death penalty as punishment for premeditated murder is necessarily cruel, inhumane or degrading. What are all of us missing? And why isn’t life imprisonment cruel, inhumane and degrading? (Indeed, opposition to life imprisonment is already the norm in many progressive countries like Norway, where someone murdered 77 people, mostly children, and received a 21-year prison sentence.)

The Pope also writes that no matter how serious the crime that has been committed, “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.”

Most of us think it is the murderer, by committing murder, who has attacked his dignity and inviolability, not the society that puts him to death. We also think it is the dignity of the murder victim that is attacked by rewarding the murderer with room and board, TV, books, exercise rooms and visits from family members and girlfriends.

Furthermore, why isn’t keeping a murderer in prison one day longer than is necessary to protect society an “attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”? For that matter, isn’t every punishment an attack on the dignity of the punished? Of course it is, which is why progressives ultimately oppose all punishment, equating it with vengeance.

In the middle of the night on July 23, 2007, two men entered the Cheshire, Connecticut, home of Dr. William Petit Jr. and his family. They nearly beat Dr. Petit to death with a baseball bat. Then, one of the men raped his wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and the other man sexually assaulted her 11-year-old daughter, Michaela — an assault he photographed with his cellphone. Dr. Petit managed to escape, but Hawke-Petit was strangled to death; Michaela and Hawke-Petit’s other daughter, Hayley, were tied to their beds; and the house was doused with gasoline and set on fire.

In a 4-3 decision, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment violated the Connecticut Constitution, thereby preventing the execution of the murderers and assaulters of Dr. Petit’s family.

This was Dr. Petit’s reaction: “I think when people willfully, wantingly, without any remorse take someone else’s life, they forfeit their right to be among us.”

For those who believe in the Bible, Dr. William Petit of Cheshire, Connecticut, echoes God’s view. Pope Francis of the Vatican does not.

*****

Article from: http://www.dennisprager.com/pope-francis-rewrites-catholicism-and-the-bible/

 This column was originally posted on Townhall.com.

 

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