“We have met the enemy and he is us.” — Walt Kelly
Walt Kelly was an American animator and cartoonist, best known for the classic comic strip, Pogo. Probably the most known saying of his cartoon character, Pogo, is “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
While some conservative commentators are on the right side of most issues, they are careful to stay “in bounds.” The last thing in the world any political pundit wants is to be seen as an extremist by his colleagues. Note Charles Krauthammer.
Recently, I watched a panel of think-tank experts debate how best to solve our country’s fiscal problems. What caught my attention was that no one — not even the free-enterprise spokesmen from the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation and the Free Enterprise Institute — so much as alluded to the unconstitutionality of any of the myriad government programs that have caused these problems.
What does this mean? Simply that the far left in this country has, for all practical purposes, already succeeded in fundamentally transforming America, regardless of who the next President is. The problem is that even though many conservatives are experts when it comes to debating the factual side of fiscal issues, they seem to accept — by default — the false premise that government transfer-of-wealth programs are Constitutional.
At least one motivating force behind this sad situation is pragmatism. For example, both Dick Morris and Donald Trump have opined that Republicans are committing suicide with Paul Ryan’s proposed plan to overhaul Medicare. And they could very well be right.
Morris is a strategy genius when it comes to elections, so it’s no surprise that his opinion is based on what he believes is necessary to win the next election. I get it.
But if conservatives fear that Ryan’s addressing the single biggest fiscal problem facing the U.S. will result in re-electing a Marxist President, it says a lot about the decline of America as a virtuous nation. More to the point, it means most voters are so addicted to our redistribution-of-wealth culture that they will vote against anyone who dares to threaten that culture.
Thus, the question of Constitutionality increasingly appears to be off the table when it comes to debating major fiscal issues such as the deficit, the debt ceiling, unfunded Medicare and Social Security liabilities, and redistribution-of-wealth programs ranging from unemployment benefits to food stamps.
I was again reminded of this while watching another recent debate on the aforementioned Medicare issue, this one between Ryan and Democrat Chris Van Hollen. These two men know the numbers on Medicare inside and out, but Ryan’s approach to solving the Medicare crisis is based on free-market solutions, while Van Hollen believes in government solutions.
I have great respect for Ryan, but I was disappointed that he didn’t address the question of whether Medicare is even constitutional. It’s as though the default position in every debate is that the program being discussed is Constitutional — even if it’s not.
Put another way, regardless of how conservative any particular participant may be, political debates are almost always based on the false premise that the Constitution is irrelevant. And as polling numbers regarding Ryan’s Medicare proposal demonstrate, more than half the nation’s voters agree with that false premise.
But there’s another subject that is avoided even more than the question of Constitutionality. In fact, it is virtually never mentioned by politicians or commentators. The subject I am referring to is dictatorship. Even if some members of Congress are knowledgeable enough about world history to be concerned about the dangers of a dictatorship befalling the U.S., they dare not mention the word out loud for fear of being labeled an alarmist or conspiracy nut.
And yet, as President Barack Obama and others on the far left know full well, that is precisely what unsustainable debt and a collapsed economy can lead to. One of the surest ways to bring about a dictatorship is through runaway inflation, which is caused by massive increases in the money supply (popularly referred to inside the Beltway as “quantitative easing”) in a frantic effort to continue paying for unsustainable government programs. This is what happened in the 1930s to the German Weimar Republic.
Although the inflation ended with the introduction of the Rentenmark and the Weimar Republic continued for a decade afterwards, hyperinflation is widely believed to have contributed to the Nazi takeover of Germany and Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Adolf Hitler himself in his book, Mein Kampf, makes many references to the German debt and the negative consequences that brought about the inevitability of "National Socialism". The inflation also raised doubts about the competence of liberal institutions, especially amongst a middle class who had held cash savings and bonds. It also produced resentment of bankers and speculators, whom the government and press blamed for the inflation. Many of them were Jews, and some Germans called the hyper-inflated Weimar banknotes Jew Confetti.
Additionally, later German monetary policy showed far greater concern for maintaining a sound currency, a concern that even affects Germany's present attitude in Eurozone debates concerning bailouts of failing national economies today.
Ultimately, people become panicked, and anarchy and chaos result. The government then “has no choice” but to resort to strong-armed totalitarian measures to “restore order.”
When pundits and politicians say things like “Barack Obama will have no choice but to start dramatically cutting back on spending,” “the President is going to have to come to grips with the reality that market forces always prevail,” etc., they ignore the fact that a dictatorship can override reality with an iron fist.
For example, under a dictatorship, oil prices can be whatever the dictator (or oligarchy) wants them to be. And anyone can own a house if the government mandates that others give it to him free of charge. Just about anything is possible through the use of force.
Roll your eyes if you wish, but do yourself a favor and stay alert for a possible drastic change in the American way of life as we continue to move briskly down the road to financial ruin. Do not be deluded into believing America is immune to the same consequences that have destroyed so many other nations.
Having said this, I hasten to add that Obama and his progressive allies are not our biggest threat. In fact, they would be as hapless as were Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels if it were not for the avarice of benefit-addicted voters who have no desire to compete in the free market for their livelihoods. With this in mind, I would argue it isn’t so much that people get the government they deserve. Rather, they get the government that reflects their own values. If a majority of Americans are willing to ignore the Constitution and demand that their transfer-of-wealth largess remain intact no matter how obvious the cataclysmic long-term consequences may be, they will vote for politicians they believe are most likely to keep the government redistribution-of-wealth machine well-oiled and running.
Thus, instead of complaining about corrupt politicians, Americans need to take a good look in the mirror and start thinking long and hard about their own tainted morals, as well as what kind of nation they want to leave their children and grandchildren. While the far left is certainly an enemy of freedom, if Americans are willing to look in the mirror, they might just recognize that (to put a twist on comic-strip character Pogo’s famous quotation) the most dangerous enemy is us.