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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Chance to Succeed or …

         The Chance to Succeed or …
In this day and age there’s lots of talk about the wealth of the successful and how they are not paying their fair share.  Of course, some third party is going to decide what their fair share is.  God instructed the Israelites to present 10% of their earnings to the LORD.  Presumably, He didn’t believe in a progressive income tax or in taking more from the rich because that would only be “fair.”  But since most liberal thinkers and leaders don’t really like the idea of a God, they play that role.  They put themselves in the role of God via the government and decide what is best for everyone.  How nice.  How wrong.
Today, the powers that are in Washington praise small business, but condemn big business.  In other words they condemn success, i.e. those small businesses that grew into big businesses.  They praise workers, but condemn those who create jobs.  They talk about excess profits and love to prattle on about the excesses of the wealthy.  Some of it is just class warfare politics and the rest is petty jealously.  All of it is sinful.

Pitting one person against another person is hatred.  Being jealous of another person is covetousness.  God condemns both.  Wanting to gain control over others through any means (including government) is the original sin of wanting to be like God.  No one is immune.  Individually it’s disagreeable, through the aegis of government it’s the road to slavery.

America used to celebrate success.  Horatio Alger stories enthralled and inspired young people to strive for success.  The lives of those who started poor like Edison, Ford, and Carnegie and made great fortunes were people to be admired.  It was understood that they succeeded because they took risks, exercised persistence, and were blessed by God.  Recently the US lost one of those inspirational leaders, Steven Jobs.  A college dropout, Jobs not only created thousands of jobs directly at his plants and retail outlets, but like Ford and Edison and Carnegie before him, he made life better for millions of Americans and for millions of others around the globe.  Thankfully Jobs wasn’t just a small businessman with modest success, he became incredibly successful and wealthy, but that wasn’t what drove Jobs.  It was his passion to do something new and better than ever before.  It’s the same thing that drives all innovators and developers and businessmen.  And because Steven Jobs was so driven, our lives are blessed by innovative products like the Apple Computer, the iPod, iPhone, and more recently the iPad. 

Steve Jobs and Ford and Edison and Carnegie and many, many others personify the American dream and the power and miracle of the American free enterprise system.  They personify the freedom to succeed or to fail in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Of course, much is written about their success, but today I want to write about their failures.  Jobs was booted unceremoniously out of his company because he failed to lead his company to profitability.  Edison was a legendary failure, bragging about how many times he failed.  In fact, Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

Ford failed over and over again.  Hershey and Disney went into bankruptcy multiple times.  But they learned from their failures and that propelled them to greater success than they had ever before experienced.  And because they succeeded we were all blessed.

Starting your own business doesn’t guarantee success.  In fact, the high probability is that you will risk everything and you will lose everything.  Much more than 50% of all new business ventures end in abject failure.  Name me a businessman or woman who hasn’t failed and you’ll name an also-ran or a liar.  Failure is the father of success, if you can survive it.

I’ve put two companies into bankruptcy.  I’ve had three mortgages on my house.  I’ve been in debt so far that all my assets together didn’t amount to 25% of the debt I faced.  That’s a typical story of any “successful” businessman. 

Failure is necessary to achieving success.  When parents try to shield their children from failure they are not helping them, they are hurting them.  Everyone fails and because they do, they learn important lessons.  When government bails out a business or a bank (bankers are not businessmen), they hurt everyone.  Just look at the incredible mess created by the so-called “Great Society” of Lyndon Johnson.  Government has successfully destroyed the American dream for millions of impoverished Americans.

When government interferes in the marketplace with regulations or with subsidies, they damage everyone.  Propping up a non-market business like Solyndra with a loan guarantee hurts everyone.  It’s unfair to competitors, it’s unfair to taxpayers, it hurts lenders and vendors, it hurts those who were subsidized, and it drives up the cost of living for everyone.  Government does not belong in the marketplace.  It was the cause of the Great Depression and it is the cause of Obama’s Great Recession.

The right to fail is just as important as the right to succeed.  It’s a positive destructive process that brings efficiency to the marketplace.  I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but letting business ventures fail is essential to a healthy marketplace.  The more rapidly a business fails, the less the damage to everyone.  Healthy failure is essential to making sure the right products and services succeed for the benefit of everyone, and that the wrong, non-marketplace goods and services disappear forever.

It’s the reason government should not be in the business of interfering with the free actions of free men in the economic marketplace.  When government starts protecting businesses or buyers or workers or employers, it always causes more unfairness, not more fairness.  The arrogance of a government bureaucrat or a politician to think that he can make decisions better than the marketplace is laughable and always ends up as making things worse.  Think of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Think of Solyndra.  Think of all the Chrysler bond holders that were damaged by government interfering with the failure of that company.

Liberals/progressives always see the marketplace as static, but it’s anything but static.  It’s constantly changing and moving and driven by millions of free decisions by individual consumers.  In a free market the consumer is king, not some government bureaucrat or politician.  Millions of consumers decide whether a product or service should succeed or fail.  And while you and I may marvel or shake our heads at the Forbes 400 list of billionaires, what we fail to notice is that those on that list and the rolls of millionaires changes from year to year and month to month.

I know several individuals whose personal net worth was in the hundreds of millions of dollars and today all their wealth is gone.  Why?  Because after they succeeded they failed so dramatically that they can never financially recover.  Such is the nature of individual freedom.  They had the right to succeed and to fail.  We should never deny anyone of that right.

An academic liberal would never be willing to share his grade point average with a failing student, nor should he.  Yet that same individual takes it upon himself to tell others that they have too much and it’s only fair that they share that wealth with others.  Really?  God gives us talents and blesses us with good or bad circumstances as He chooses.  Why are we to question His decisions? 

No matter how well intentioned someone may be in wanting control over the lives of others, it always ends up badly.  Churchill said that freedom and democracy are messy and indeed they are.  Totalitarians like order and control, but free people understandably don’t like to be under anyone’s thumb.

Today Americans, and indeed the entire world, are struggling to restore prosperity, but the remedies of the current Administration only threaten to make the situation worse.  Only by shrinking government, reducing its power, restoring a government of laws, and dramatically limiting government interference in the marketplace, will prosperity be restored.

It won’t happen under the current President, but I’m increasingly optimistic that the next election will usher in an American renaissance which will restore and expand freedom and prosperity to every level of our society.  The restoration began with Reagan.  Perhaps it will be continued by President Cain.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Demonic: A Book Review

Demonic:  A Book Review

Ann Coulter’s latest book is titled Demonic (Random House, Inc. 2011) and like the books that preceded it, Ann gives no quarter.  That’s good and bad in my opinion.  Starting with the bad, the problem I have is that she doesn’t define liberals as closely as I would like.  I could do it for her.  What she is talking about is the hard core political liberal leader who has abandoned any semblance of a coherent philosophy or love of freedom and has moved on to brass knuckles liberalism at its worst.  There are, in fact, many degrees of so-called modern liberal thought (as opposed to classical liberal thought personified by Edmund Burke, et. al.).  Much of it is shallow, but genuinely well intentioned.  In fact, most of it is based on anti-intellectual and mushy thought and the arguments made by such individuals won’t stand up to very close scrutiny.  But, in fact, these rather mild mannered liberals would (or should) distance themselves from the hard core leftists who lead today’s Democratic Party.  It is, as I have noted in an earlier blog, not your father’s Democratic Party, nor is it the Party of Truman or John F. Kennedy.

What’s good about Ann’s analysis is that she correctly, I believe, understands the roots of today’s radicals who have captured the modern Democratic Party.  She has also uncovered some very interesting history of the Democratic Party of which I was unaware and I am sure that most Americans are unaware.  Ann, who is an attorney, deserves great credit for doing all her own research, something that is true of all her books. 

The gist of her postulation is that the current leaders of the Democratic Party and today’s progressives/liberals can accurately trace their roots back to the French Revolution.  She spends a great deal of time in her book referencing a book written in 1896 by Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.  Le Bon’s book analyzes the characteristics and driving force behind the bloody and certainly non-democratic French Revolution.  The early chapters run a bit slow as she explains in detail the various observations of Le Bon as to how the modern Democratic Party and their subset of leftist groups act amazingly similar to the leaders of the French Revolution.  In fact, you even see that today in the demonstrations against freedom and capitalism and for anarchy in New York City.  The total disregard by modern “liberals” for the actual meaning of the US Constitution, the abandonment of the Ten Commandments as a guiding rule for moral behavior, the willingness to interpret laws in any way necessary to reach the desired ends, and the justification of the most vile and disagreeable public behavior are all consistent with the attributes of the French Revolution that could be more aptly described as the takeover of government by the mob.  A mob is in essence the best description of today’s Democratic Party.  Total disregard of customs, traditions, good manners, and a government of laws is a fair and accurate picture of Pelosi, Reid and Obama.  They would have felt at home in the French Revolution until the French Razor began chopping off their heads.

The closest thing to a mob in the American Revolution (to which modern conservatives can fairly trace their roots) was the so-called Boston Tea Party.  American defenders in the British Parliament were appalled by this destruction of private property and Edmund Burke refused to continue his defense of the American patriots until they offered to repay the tea company (as they did).

As Ann points out, “This country’s founders were strongly against the mob—as are today’s Tea Party patriots.  Noticeably, modern Tea Partiers haven’t engaged in one iota of property destruction, in contradistinction to nearly any gathering of liberals.”  And on she goes, “Liberals hate the idea of a revolution by gentlemen, which is why they celebrate hairy, foul-smelling revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, and Susan Sarandon.”  That last reference is, of course, a typical Coulter jab at leftist heroines.  Speaking of the American Revolution, she writes, “This was a revolution waged by thinkers and debaters constantly prattling about the reasons for the war.”  Indeed, only Jefferson considered himself a Francophile while other American leaders quickly abandoned support for the mob led French Revolution.

Ann also does an excellent job of debunking the silly idea that the American Revolution and those before them who made the Revolution possible were not serious Christians.  To quote Ann, “Fifty-two of the fifty-six signers of the American Declaration were orthodox Christians who believed in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or as they would be known today ‘an extremist Fundamentalist hate group.’”  She also quotes John Adams, “He said, ‘The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity.  I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.’”

Tellingly, she writes about the linage of the French Revolution, “Practically overnight, the greatest nation in continental Europe became a human abattoir.  That is why the French Revolution remains an inspiration to liberals everywhere.  France’s revolution-by-mob would be imitated in Germany, Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and elsewhere, always with the same bloody consequences.”

The entire section on the involvement of the Democratic Party in keeping down African Americans was an amazing revelation to me.  The great hero of today’s liberals, who have reverted to the name progressives, is Woodrow Wilson.  They can have him.  As Ann documents, it was the Republicans who kept introducing and re-introducing civil rights bills that were (until the bill of 1964) based on the US Constitution.  And it was the Democrats who kept blocking them.

Let’s listen to the situation as portrayed by Ann Coulter, “With a lock on the racist mob vote, Democratic politicians won elections and promptly resegregated the entire South with Jim Crow laws.  In 1913, Progressive Democrat President Woodrow Wilson even instituted segregation in Washington, D.C., bringing Jim Crow to the federal workforce.  Wilson summarily dismissed black officials from their federal jobs in the South and in D.C. ‘Segregation is not a humiliation,’ Wilson explained to a black delegation that came to the White House to complain, ‘but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.’  During Wilson’s first term, Booker T. Washington went to Washington, D.C. and reported, ‘I have never seen the colored people so discouraged and bitter as they are at the present time.’”

I assure you that this is just the tip of the iceberg in regard to the record of the modern Democratic Party’s abuse, neglect, and manipulation of Black Americans for political gain.  There is also the story of how it was the Republican President Eisenhower who actually integrated the military, although Truman gave the order.  In fact, Truman made no effort to implement the order.  The commitment of the Democratic Party to holding down Black Americans was not limited to Southern Senators and Congressmen, it was fully supported by Senators from the West and North as a means to gaining and holding political power.  It was not until they envisioned support of civil rights as good politics that they finally came to the party that the Republicans led.

Ann Coulter’s book, Demonic, is not only well written, chocked full of facts, but also entertaining and enlightening.  I highly recommend that you go out and buy it and read it.  It is certainly an eye-opener as we approach the 2012 election.