Are things getting better? Are things getting worse? This question still divides the American Right.
On the moral front, things are getting worse. On the economic front, things are getting better. It is true that median family income, adjusted for price inflation, slowed dramatically, beginning around 1974. But in the crucial areas of information and communication, things are getting magnificently better. The NSA is more of a threat to our privacy, but it is still limited by bureaucratic inertia. It can find more needles in haystacks, and faster, but it rarely does anything when it finds them. What Ludwig von Mises wrote about bureaucratic management in 1944 is still true. So is Parkinson’s law.
Let’s go back 40 years: 1974. In that year, Robert Welch, the founder and head of the John Birch Society, gave an exclusive speech to the national JBS council. It was filmed. You can find copies of this speech all over the Internet.
In his speech, he made 10 predictions. It is worth reviewing these predictions. It gives a sense of the pessimism that prevailed in American conservatism . . . and still does.
Every site that provides the video says the same thing. First, he made these predictions in 1958. But there is no proof offered that he did so. Second, every site says how accurate these predictions were. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a speech of 10 predictions that was more wrong.
Here is the list.
1. Greatly expanded government spending for every conceivable means of getting rid of ever larger sums of American money as wastefully as possible.
2. Higher and then much higher taxes.
3. An increasingly unbalanced budget despite the higher taxes.
4. Wild inflation of our currency.
5. Government controls of prices, wages and materials supposedly to combat inflation.
6. Greatly increased socialistic controls over every operation of our economy and every activity of our daily lives. This is to be accompanied naturally and automatically by a correspondingly huge increase in the size of our bureaucracy and the cost and reach of our domestic government.
7. Far more centralization of power in Washington and the practical elimination of our state lines. There is a many faceted drive at work to have our state lines to mean no more within our nation as our county lines do now within the states.
8. The steady advance of federal aid to and control over our educational system leading to complete federalization of our public education.
9. A constant hammering into the American consciousness of the horror of modern warfare. The beauties and the absolute necessities of peace, peace always on communist terms of course.
10. The constant willingness of the American people to allow the steps of appeasement by our government that amount to a piecemeal surrender of the rest of the free world and the United States itself.
Now let’s go through each of them.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)