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Liberty Is Winning, Mostly

Written by Gary North on December 13, 2012

Tom Bethell has written a fine article on the America he has known, 1962-today. He was an immigrant from England in 1962. He came here to study New Orleans jazz. That’s a man after my own heart. He loved George Lewis’ music. So did I. He wrote a book on Lewis. That, I did not do.

He is a conservative. He sees things pretty much the way I do. Not many others do.

He thinks progressive liberalism is on the run, all over the world. So do I. He thinks technology is on freedom’s side. So do I. He thinks jazz has declined since 1970. So do I. He thinks India and China are the wave of the future because statism is declining in both nations. So do I.

Here are highlights.

Culturally, it has been downhill.

When I later saw what happened to American popular music—tumbling from ragtime to the idiocies of rap in less than a century—I have been dogged by a sense of decline. Classical music, ditto: Bach to Bartok. Where’s the improvement? It’s all downhill. Perhaps that helps explain why I don’t believe in evolution. Things don’t evolve; they peak quickly and inconspicuously, then they fall apart. . . .

His rallying cry: “Shut it down!”

Like welfare, foreign aid hurts those who receive it, and I’m always glad to read that a country has rid itself of the Agency for International Development. Howard Phillips, appointed by President Nixon to head the Office of Economic Opportunity, promptly attempted to shut it down, and Howie and I have been friends ever since. . . .

Communism is dead. Liberalism isn’t.

What of Communism today? As a party program with satellite countries, millions of “apparatchiks,” and a queen bee in the Kremlin, it is dead. But American-style liberalism is its remnant and it lives on in its dishonest way. . . .

What do modern leftism (American liberalism) and communism have in common? Both are godless and egalitarian, but liberalism has “evolved.”

Communists wanted to kill off capitalism, for example, but liberals know it must be preserved—in a highly taxed and regulated form. It must be permitted to create sufficient wealth to redistribute to favored groups—single mothers, minorities, college professors—if the system is to keep Democrats in office. Liberals want market outcomes to be “predictable.” Appeals to envy and blame heaped on the rich can also be used as a bludgeon, as Obama has shown. . . .

Liberals fear democracy.

The liberal-left, who in some ways constitute our intelligentsia, are never reliably in power in a democracy. It frustrates them that they must submit to majority rule. Hence the importance they attach to the Supreme Court, a tribunal where five votes can enforce the things they most care about. Unrestricted access to abortion is probably their top issue today, and has been for some time. . . .

But there have also been opposing trends since the Hiss days. Blue-collar workers, once known as the working class, have shown they are not revolutionists. They aspire to join the middle class, not overthrow it. Think “Reagan Democrats.” It’s intellectuals who are, and always have been, the core of the revolutionary party.

The free market is winning.

Another change is that market forces, despite the liberals’ regulatory zeal, are far stronger than they were in 1962. The world’s two most populous countries, China and India, are becoming market economies, and we should no more fear their growing wealth than we did Japan’s after World War II. Regulatory agencies, including the EPA (a Nixon creation!), may hamstring the U.S. If so, China will move ahead all the faster. Don’t think of China as “Communist” either. True, that’s what their government calls itself, but they seem to be pulling off the unprecedented feat of both staying in power and encouraging capitalism. Taiwan may be the mainland’s undeclared model. China is not our enemy, and the same goes for Russia.

In Europe there’s a comparable lesson. Bond markets are now more powerful than politicians, despite the best efforts of the IMF. This frustrates the intelligentsia, who want Europe to submit to their foolish Euro-diktat. It won’t work. Europe is fragmenting, not uniting. Its countries are subdividing and will continue to do so. The EU is emerging as one of the great planning disasters engineered by the postwar ruling class.

Technology is our friend.

Technology meanwhile is ushering in huge changes. I am thinking of the digital world, the Internet in particular. It is so recent that predictions about it are hazardous. But its major effect will be to decentralize power. This is already happening, and the mainstream media can tell you about it. But they would rather not. Their semi-monopolistic mainstream is dividing into a thousand rivulets. Television is finally waning. The stock price of the Washington Post has fallen by two-thirds, while that of the New York Times is down to one-sixth of its peak a decade ago.

Read the whole article. Please.

Continue Reading on spectator.org

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12 thoughts on “Liberty Is Winning, Mostly

  1. Anonymous Coward says:

    Things may be getting better outside the United States, but it is getting decidedly worse and less free here. We are already a police state, and it looks like it will only get worse.

    • Texas Chris says:

      It will get better, just be sure that you are in a freedom-loving area, and that you are familiar with the remnant.

  2. More pscho-babble! I hate to tell him but COMMUNISM is alive and thriving in this DEAD REPUBLIC! The politburo is taking charge of our pathetic state of free enterprise and soon they will confiscate PRIVATE PROPERTY as in the sheeples 401 plans as the FUHRER is professing to do! Your homeswill probably be next; be prepared to have another family living with you if you have extra bedrooms and I foresse the KREMLIN WEST housing there useful idiots in the foreclosures too! I beg to differ, bud, COMMUNISM is alive and starting to thrive under this Muslim-Marxist, NWO implant! The beginning of the Third World Totalitarian Oligarchy is firmly in place and the Police State is about to get ramped up after the SHEEPLE let this Godless Communist regime confiscate your guns as they are about to do! Don't think these sensless, random killings aren't being carried out by programmed zombies! THEY WILL GET YOUR GUNS, in one way or another as the sheeple haven't the disciplne, resolve, courage and gumption to resist this last piece of the puzzle to enslaving them! The line should be drawn with the KREMLIN WEST trying to unaarm us! You want them, you can have them, BARREL FIRST!

  3. Both capitalism or communism are similar in that the end result is wealth and power are concentrated in a few people.
    Read the book "Toward a Truly Free Market — A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, and Deficits" by John C. Medaille.
    It supports true freedom for every individual — the foundation on which this nation was built. Read "The 5000 Year Leap — Principles of Freedom 101" by W. Cleon Skousen. It contains the principles on which this nation was founded. Something that is/was not taught in schools!!!

    • "Both capitalism or communism are similar in that the end result is wealth and power are concentrated in a few people."

      If you believe that what we have now is capitalism, (which it isn't) yeah.

      • Texas Chris says:

        No, it's true, there is a wealth gap with capitalism. But that's the way it should be. The industrious and successful life should produce accumulated wealth; the lazy and poorly planned life must lead to poverty.

        The thing to remember is that capitalism also improves the station of the poor, not just the rich. Would you rather be poor in China, or poor in the US? Granted, the US is no bastion of free markets, but it once was, and the prosperity and wealth stored up was immense enough for two generations to live on. Until now.

  4. Whoever wrote that article has to be on drugs! 'Liberalism on the run'…………don't think so!! Somebody is living in an alternate universe and definitely needs to have their eyes checked. There isn't a politician in this country that could reunite the people. If our Republic is ever restored it will be after a revolution/civil war that will be a blood bath the likes no one has ever seen!! Just as sure as the sun rised in the morning, this is what is coming so get prepared as best you can!!

    • Texas Chris says:

      The article didn't say libertarianism has won, only that liberalism is decreasing. And the election results tend to agree with that assessment.

  5. Wow–such vehemence against what is basically a thoughtful and well-reasoned article. I don't share Bethell's optimism, but I don't think that invalidates his premises.

  6. Shane must be taking the day off–I thought he'd go ballistic at this one!

  7. Bethell does make some good points about culture and communism, but (and this is to be expected from a longtime senior editor of the neocon American Spectator) he way over-exaggerates the "threat" of Islam and the "helplessness" of Israel. The 2 countries on the march to WWIII today are the US and Israel. Israel is the 6th largest nuclear power on the planet, and is committing daily atrocities against the captive population of Gaza, while the whole world watches — just as the world's democracies stood by in the late 30's when Hitler was invading his neighbors with the same brass.
    Bethell knows he would be out of a job faster than the paleoconservatives were purged at Buckley's National Review if he were to criticize Israel and not pound on Arabs.

  8. awkingsley says:

    The perception of Russia and China as our friends is based on lack of knowledge about economic and fiscal policy. Neither country is our friend, and in fact both relationships are accidents waiting to happen due the battering we give both countries with our fiscal and economic policies. Our Middle East policies are going to be the catalyst for a war with China and Russia, if we stay in the Middle East. Israel can take all of the countries in the Middle East, and pretending this isn't the case is setting the U.S. up for a major conflict with other nations. Israel won the 1967 war. That was 45 years ago. Israel's military defense system and military strength today is formidable compared to other Middle Eastern countries. Israel has a far better defense system than the U.S. For those who look at Biblical references, it is one thing to attack Israel and quite another to back away from a growing hazardous situation for the U.S., since China is building oil refineries in Iran and Israel is bent on aggression toward Iran. If Israel wants to do live testing of its defense systems, and attract fire from Iran, it needs to do that on its own. Americans need to back off from Israeli belligerence before we get drawn into a war that destroys the U.S.

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