Preparing to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, my wife and I went to see "Motown the Musical" here in Music City USA. It was fantastic! We watched Smokie Robinson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson sing their classic hits.
Actually, none of the original celebrities were present but their impersonators sure sounded and looked genuine. We felt like "Dancin' in the Streets!" as the old song goes. Exiting the auditorium we remembered this was a big production carefully orchestrated to project an image not rooted in reality.
I wonder how many impressionable and uninformed people who leave a Clinton or Sanders campaign event are aware they're experiencing a similar production? Here I refer to the technique of using deception to accomplish one's goals. A musical for entertainment is one thing but when you're dealing with the future of our nation, it's a much different story.
The Socialism Seduction
The two Democratic candidates for president both espouse forms of socialism, although Bernie Sanders is much more upfront about it. He's calling for a new "political revolution" to change culture even more than Barack Obama has done!
Young people are his primary supporters because of the negative things they've been taught about capitalism in school, plus they are understandably enticed by his lofty and unachievable promises. Fans say they "feel the Bern" after his events but Americans will feel even more burn with our obscene $19 trillion debt!
Listen to Bernie in his rallies and he will tell you about the suffering of people due to corrupt capitalism and explosive student debt; inadequately payed two job families and starvation living wages; insufficient childcare; lack of proper medical care; seniors eking out an existence on fixed incomes; and, the need for progressive, "democratic socialistic" policies to stop the income inequality rampant in America. That is how he will save the day and develop more dependency on the Democratic Party.
Free college tuition, childcare and medical care plus hefty raises start as we recognize the system is rigged; Wall Street billionaire bankers are immoral and capitalism must be replaced by democratic socialism like welfare states in Europe and other "progressive" nations.
Mrs. Clinton is subtler and does not go quite as far with her rhetoric, but she knows how to sway the audience with government programs and giveaways.
When she follows Bernie's lead in lamenting the horrible state of our country, are folks aware she, Mr. Sanders and their party have been in charge for seven years? After her recent Nevada win she said, "This is not just what we're going to give to you but what we're going to build together." Don't forget, years before Obama she advocated government control of the health industry plus is a rabid Planned Parenthood supporter.
Hillary also targets the wealthy but is more clever and contrived in her approach. She knows discerning people who dig out facts aren't as easily fooled. Example: Her applause line castigating corporate CEOs earning 300 times more than their employees conveniently fails to include the fact that she earns more in one speech than the average CEO makes in a year!
The average CEO in America makes $216,000 annually. Hillary Clinton's speaking agency charges $275,000 for her speeches although she did give Goldman Sachs a "deal" for three speeches at $675,000. And check out what she gets on college campuses where she blasts rising costs and burdensome debt!
Many educated baby bloomers have some knowledge of history and world events so they scoff at the utopian deception presented by Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders. But for those under 30, the choreographed speeches catch their attention as a "new idea" whose time has come. It's very appealing and intoxicating if you're not discerning.
The Sad Story of Socialistic Societies
One of the towering figures of world history is Winston Churchill. He provides some historical perspective with these relevant words for today. "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, it's inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
The very day Hillary and Bernie were waving their socialistic banners in their campaigns, USA TODAY ran an article on the current situation in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez was elected their president in 1999 and led a socialist government until his death in 2013.
Here's some gleanings from the article: "In Venezuela … Rampant inflation and staggering economy… Huge shortages of food, medicines and staples such as toilet paper and shampoo … government price controls … faces $14 billion in foreign debt payments this year … Inflation is out of control and the value of the currency has plummeted…'We just get poorer and poorer'..."
A young conservative writer, Aaron Windeknecht, puts it best.
5 Things Bernie Supporters Will NEVER Understand:
1. When Bernie says 'free' it doesn't ACTUALLY mean free.
2. You are NOT entitled to someone else's hard-earned money … Ever.
3. You CANNOT tax a nation into prosperity.
4. The rich are not responsible for your financial situation. YOU are.
5. Socialism will DESTROY the innovation that made America great."
I've been in South Korea on multiple occasions. What a contrast with North Korea. One country allows people freedom to work and be rewarded according to their diligent efforts as Scripture teaches. The other is a dismal example of socialistic communism where the government is god and supposedly income equality rules the day (that is of course except for the ruling class elite!).
When President Obama visits Cuba in the coming days, be assured he won't see the stagnation and suffering of the poor Cuban people trapped in a time warp whose origins trace back to Castro's socialistic "political revolution." In time the socialism morphed into communism and to this day people secretly continue building their little boats to escape what was once presented as Utopia. Hitler did similarly in Germany with his National Socialistic party.
Our president won't find a single lawyer, doctor or engineer who owns his own business in Santiago or Havana. Hardly anyone has a computer in their home. Graduates of the University of Havana earn $20 average salary a month from the state. Last year alone over 8,600 people were arrested or detained as political prisoners.
Free medical care? Free college education? Free childcare and income equality? After five decades of socialistic/communistic rule, would you like to relocate there as you relinquish your censured iPhone?
Beware The 'Equality' Trap
Although they are different in their approach, both of the Democratic candidates advocate political structures and economic systems that promote "equality" and provide more government control and giveaways to garner votes. In theory both communism and socialism sound appealing but historically countries that have tried this approach have either failed or become dictatorships.
Under communism, the working class supposedly owns everything and everyone works together for some communal goal. Socialism has some similarities to communism but is not as extreme. Socialism is a political and economic philosophy where income is adjusted and limited by the government through taxation, so there is "income equality" and womb to tomb benefits.
Although there is no perfect system, capitalism is our heritage and provides the greatest opportunity for initiative and financial success, if you're willing to work hard and persevere amidst setbacks. The Book of Acts does record how the early Christian community shared amongst themselves. However, it was voluntary not mandatory. Of course it is our duty and privilege to give a "hand up" not a "hand out" to those in legitimate need.
Lesson From our Beginning
When the English Puritans sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower in 1620, they wanted to escape religious persecution and share life as an unselfish Christian community. Initially they thought they would work together and share everything in common. "Equality" was their aspiration but in time they learned an important lesson.
When everyone was promised to share in the same fruits of their harvest, they noticed the less industrious members of the colony came late to their work in the fields and were slack in their labors. The harvest was minimal and people literally starved. The diligent colonists became rightfully resentful of the redistribution of the harvest to everyone equally when some were just plain lazy and lacked personal initiative.
We visited the Plymouth Plantation and read as a family a copy of the actual diary of Governor Bradford who led the community. Here's what he wrote as they recognized their deception and changed from a destructive socialistic system to a capitalistic, free enterprise approach.
"And so assigned to every family a parcel of land according to the proportion of their number for that end… This had a very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means..."
The Plymouth colony experienced a phenomenal harvest of food. Private ownership meant that there was now a close link between their individual work and their individual reward. People were incentivized to be industrious and work hard to enjoy the fruits of their own labors.
May Governor Bradford's closing words wake up those being lulled to sleep by the seductive socialistic lullaby of some candidates today. The early colonists rejected socialistic collectivism and embraced individualism out of which they could share voluntarily and generously with those in need.
"By this time harvest was come and instead of famine now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed to the rejoicing of the hearts of many for which they blessed God!"
This is the lesson of our country's first Thanksgiving. It's the triumph of Capitalism over Socialism. Let's heed its lesson and warning in this ongoing, unpredictable election season.